Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Dec. 2008


Illuminated salmon season extended

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has given us an extra chance to catch that cool illuminated eagle swooping down to catch a salmon and bring it back to the youngsters in the aerie. Also the giant tiger, the Narrows bridges, hopping joeys, skating penguins and all the other delights of ZooLights.

Metro Parks announced that “ZooLights will remain open until Jan. 4, as scheduled, and will reopen again Friday, Jan. 9 through Sunday, Jan. 11, to give snow-bound families one more chance to enjoy the lights.”

Don’t forget to bring your old holiday lights for Metro Parks to

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We need a visit from the Asphalt Fairy

Great chunks of asphalt appear to have made a break for it in the waning days of our snow dump.

City and county work crews struggled to make streets safe for people who had to venture over snow, freezing rain and ice in the days leading up to Christmas. With huge effort, they kept the arterials, and many of the hills, passable with constant sanding and plowing. They must be exhausted.

Now they’ve got a new problem: A plague of potholes.

Stretches of some heavily used streets crumbled under the pressure of freezing and thawing snow

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Ski ‘n’ read

Hats off, or perhaps pulled down over the ears, to the dedicated library user spotted at 8:20 a.m. at Tacoma Public Library’s King Branch at South 19th and Pine streets.

Tacoma’s libraries are closed today, thanks to the snow, but this dedicated reader was determined to get her books returned on time.

How dedicated? She made the trip on her cross-country skis.

We were doing pretty well at keeping our car slow and steady, and decided against veering uphill into the parking lot to see what she was reading, and whether those skis were no-wax or vintage

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Finding a sled in local stores problematic; call ahead

Looking for a sled? Snow shovel? De-icer?

A random check of a half dozen stores in Pierce County found availability is a mixed bag. A few stores had some of those items; some had none.

The best advice is to call first. A few stores reported shipments just came in or were on their way.

"We just got a shipment in (of sleds) but there are going fast," Chelsea Miller at the Fred Meyer in Bonney Lake said late this morning. "They are going fast."

The store also has a few generators and just received

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Memorial set for horses killed in barn fire

Pierce County 4-H will hold a memorial Monday for the 15 horses that were killed last week at the boarding stable fire in the Summit area of Pierce County.

Lori Grohs, who coordinates the 4-H horse program in Pierce County, said the memorial is an effort to offer support to all the owners of the dead horses and their families. At least four of the horses were owned by 4-H members, including a 4-H adult leader, she said.

The memorial will be held at 7 p.m. at the Real Life Family Center, 17708 28th Ave. East, in the

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Help put Tacoma toilet in museum!

The New York Times’ Jennifer 8. Lee blows the lid off the world of art museum toilets in a post to the news org’s City Room blog.

So to speak.

Actually, it’s The Art Museum Toilet Museum of Art that documents the world of art museum toilets and bathrooms.

The museum, which exists only online, has photos and links to artistic toilets and urinals from around the world. It even includes a call for submissions.

In my brief survey, I didn’t see any reference to Tacoma’s “Lovesick Walls,” the art on the walls of the third-floor restrooms at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.

Anyone care to toss Tacoma’s toilet room into the fray?

Here’s what TNT art critic Jen Graves had to say in 2004 about the art, set inside two bathroom stalls, and created by Seattle artist Alex Schweder:

The smooth white porcelain blocks forming the walls have begun to slump and form holes and lumps that are both beautiful and grotesque, in a serene kind of boldly fleshy entropy that begs to be touched. As odd as the idea seems, this is the most private place in the center, particularly suited to this powerful and almost primal work of art.

The art installation, Lovesick Walls, can be found in the restrooms on the Ballroom level at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Artist Alex Schweder’s work is made of porcelain. Photo taken Tuesday, November 9, 2004. (Janet Jensen/The News Tribune)

Click ahead to read the full article.

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Santa’s a big hit for kids at East Side event

The kids took home presents, ate a spaghetti meal and had a chance to shop for mom and dad.

But the highlight of Christmas at the North Pole, an annual event at Tacoma Christian Center, was a unanimous choice for the three Gonzalez children.

"I liked taking a picture with Santa Claus," said Andrew, 8.

"Yeah, I liked taking a picture with Santa Claus too," said Israel, 6.

And even though 5-year-old Vanessa remained quiet and clung to her mother’s leg, she eventually agreed that she also enjoyed getting a snapshot with St. Nick.

"They had an absolutely great time," said 26-year-old Julia Gonzalez of Tacoma, the kids’ mother. "This was such a nice thing the church put on."

The Gonzalezes were among more than 2,000 people who participated in the event Saturday, a joint project of Tacoma Christian Center and World Vision. The activities included songs, games, videos, a meal, a gift for the kids (already wrapped), a spot for kids to get their picture on Santa’s lap, racks of donated clothes and a room where the kids could pick up gifts for their mother and father.

More than 100 volunteers helped route the kids through the various rooms of the large church on Tacoma’s East Side. It took about three weeks to set up the celebration, the church’s pastor, Terry Harris, said.

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‘I guess miracles do happen’ – Stranded UP man headed back Saturday

From reporter Brian Everstine:

The retired University Place teacher who has been stuck in Bangkok will be able to return in time for a family holiday celebration that he was once almost sure he would miss.

Dean Rennie, 75, traveled to China this summer to teach English and visited Thailand to look at orphanages that he may volunteer at during a return trip. Shortly before he was scheduled to leave, demonstrators took over Bangkok’s two civilian airports, stranding more than 300,000 travelers, including Rennie. But this week the demonstrations ended, and Rennie has been able to make reservations

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