Word on the Street

The latest news in and around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Archives: Oct. 2008


A ghost at the Pantages Theater speaks?

Kim Varian of Paranormal Washington has agreed to share a little of what she found Monday night at The Pantages Theater.

In reviewing the voice recorders set up in the darkened theater she said she found "audio clips of the same female voice that was speaking in a language I believe is Italian. The voice is heard at two different times in the evening in the same location."

She forwarded to The News Tribune a clip of the recording of the woman’s voice. (Paranormal Washington retains full copyright for use of the audio clip.)

On the clip, Varian is heard saying "that’s interesting" and then a female voice apparently singing something that sounds like "Mia Mi" can be heard.

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Picketing for a better Safeway

Maurice Akins, Dion Ames and their families are loyal customers at the Hilltop’s Safeway at 1112 South M Street.

They like and admire the people who work hard to keep the store clean and orderly, and the atmosphere friendly.

Their issue is with the building. It’s old. It’s drab. And it’s too small to offer the services Safeway customers in every other quarter of Tacoma enjoy. It has no bakery, no deli, no coffee bar, no China Express. Its meat and produce departments are smaller than in other stores.

That’s why they were picketing the store this morning.

Ames’ sign read "If this store was a child, I’d have to call CPS."

Akins carried one that read "Safeway Shape Up Or Ship Out."

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No ghostly apparitions found in Pantages Theater but …

The Pantages Theater got a good going over Monday night by a team from Paranormal Washington but they report no apparitions, including the lady in the balcony.
That was word this morning from Kim Varian, a team member who spent the night in the performing arts center in downtown Tacoma.

"I would love to tell you that we saw an apparition ourselves but the truth is we did not," she said in an e-mail. The spotting last week of an apparition of a lady in the balcony late at night by a theater staffer brought the team to the theater.

Though it was "mostly uneventful as for personal experience," Varian said several investigators "felt as though someone was sitting next to them or following them."
A full report or what they call a “reveal” won’t be available until the team reviews 40 hours of recorded video gathered by six cameras during the seven-hour investigation, she said.

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Book uncovers mystery of 1856 Mashel Massacre

Abbi Wonacott used to ride the school bus past the Mashel River near Eatonville and as a young girl heard the story of a group of men from Oregon who came up and killed Indian women and children by the river in the Spring of 1856.

What was known as the Mashel Massacre was public knowledge but details were vague, she said.

"We didn’t know why it happened or who they were," the 44-year-old Bethel Junior High teacher said.

Until the Spring of 2007.

Wonacott and her ninth grade class of highly capable students took on the Mashel Massacre as a history research project. They delved into histories, libraries and original documents. They consulted historians, including Cecelia Carpenter, author and Nisqually tribal historian. They visited the site of the massacre.

Little was know and what was printed wasn’t accurate, Wonacott said, but the class finally solved the mystery of that terrible day in local history.

The result is "Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually: The Mashel Massacre of 1856," a 40-page paperback complete with maps and photographs.

Wonacott will join other local authors Saturday at the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup for the Third Annual Author’s Expo. Some of her students who helped in the research and editing of the book will be there with her from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to sign books and talk about their research. The book costs $10.

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Is there a lady haunting the Pantages?

It’s Halloween Week and what better way to celebrate than a ghost hunt.

That’s what Paranormal Washington will be doing tonight from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the Pantages Theater in downtown Tacoma.

A night-time caretaker at the theater told the group he saw the apparition of a woman up in the balcony last week. He invited the team to check it out.

Along with their curiosity they are bringing technology to record what, if anything, they find.

The team will be haunting tonight with infra-red cameras, audio recorders and a KII Meter for possible communication with any spirits living there, according to Kim Varian of Port Orchard, one of the group’s investigators.

By day she works at Point Defiance Zoo. By night, she looks for spirits.

Varian said the TV reality show “Ghost Hunters” got her interested in the subject nine months ago. She admits to being somewhat skeptical about the spirit world but wanted to find out for herself.

"I’m still on the maybe side," she said. "I think eventually I will believe. If something knocks me down I will believe."

Besides the cameras, she said they will set up an electro-magnetic detector since spirits are known to have detectable electromagnetic fields.

Varian said they will also have the newest tool in paranormal investigation: the KII Electromagnetic Field Detector. It supposedly allows one to talk to ghosts in real time.

Here’s how it works, according to Varian.

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Proctor Farmer’s Market extends an invitation

While most area farmer’s markets are closed already or are shutting down after this weekend, the Proctor Farmers’ Market is extending its season into November.

For the first time in its 15 years, the market will continue to operate through Nov. 22, according to co-market manager Jessica Troy. The decision to extend was made a while ago but she wanted to make sure the word got out. "We’ve talked about it for years," she said but finally vendors, customers and supporters decided it was time.

Along with vegetables, fruit and flowers, Troy said they have a few new

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Fallout from Celine Dion concert

We had a news item earlier about the parking and traffic problems from Saturday’s Celine Dion concert at the Tacoma Dome.

Here’s a first-hand report sent in by reader Len Barrett:

The Celine Dion concert on Saturday night was a reminder that Tacoma is not quite ready for prime time. It has been known for months that this concert was coming. Yet the lack of adequate parking, inefficient traffic control and incompetent dome staff made for a most unsatisfactory experience.

We arrived at 23rd and Pacific at about 7:15 PM after a wait of about 25 minutes to get to that point. As we got closer to the dome, the police directed us further away from the dome, specifically down the hill on D street to Puyallup Avenue.

As long distance walking is not feasible for this writer and handicap parking was apparently not available my passengers jumped out and walked to the dome while I drove around trying to find parking that might work.

It did not happen. I stayed with the car and parked on D Street near Johnny’s Dock restaurant and waited for friends and family to come out of the concert.

When we met after the concert, they told me how three different Dome staff members had directed them in three different directions to get to their seats. As they approached the dome, a staff member standing on the sidewalk directed them to the upper level ramp. When they got to the door, staff directed them to the lower level. When they got to the door at the lower level, they were redirected back to the upper level.

It would appear that Tacoma at many different levels is not ready to handle large crowds who want to attend events at the Dome. I can tell you that it will be a very long time, if ever, that this family ever buys a ticket to attend any event at the dome.

FRIDAY UPDATE: We just received a response back from city public assembly facilities director Mike Combs, with an explanation and some suggestions for future events.

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In search of the mythical rakitty

A tip from a reader sent me off late Tuesday afternoon to Point Defiance Park’s Five Mile Drive in search of a kitty.

This was no ordinary feline but one apparently living with a family of raccoons, according to the caller. A gray kitten, she said. Very cute.

I didn’t think cats and raccoons got along. Such an anomaly of nature seemed worthy of investigation, a photograph at least. It had national news written all over it, as one newsroom wag said.

The caller even had a general location for the kitty: it often can be seen on Five Mile Drive between mile markers 1 and 2 around 5:30 p.m.

I first called Metro Parks and the Point Defiance Zoo to find out if they had reports of the gray kitten among the park’s large population of beggar raccoons. No reports, they said with a laugh. And while such a co-mingling seemed very rare to them, they supposed it possible.

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