Word on the Street

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

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Archives: April 2009


Local longboarders halfway across the country

Here’s another dispatch about longboarder Ben Warner and his crew, who are making their way across America.

I wrote about them in February. (Here is the photo that ran with the story)

The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound reports that the team is halfway across the country. Here is the letter Marketing and Events Associate Carissa Batka sent us regarding the team’s progress.

On March 21, 2009 Ben Warner along with his four teammates departed on a longboarding journey that would take them over 2,500 miles across the United States. Armed with their longboards, a 1990 navy-blue Chevy van and tent trailer in tow the 5 teammates took off on an adventure that is now nearly half way over.

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When the going gets tough, the tough go topless

If it can happen in Ohio, it can happen anywhere.

If you think bikini baristas are in poor taste, how would you feel about a bikini mannequin attracting customers to a BBQ restaurant? (No pulled pork jokes, please.)

I saw a post about just such a thing on Consumerist today.

The store manager said the promotion has boosted business by 30 percent.


Charles Wright, Bethel students to compete in MD

Remember the Charles Wright Academy students who met former Harlem Globetrotter Curly Neal as part of their history project?

They’re taking that project to the next level.

Charles Wright freshmen Koby Deitz and Alex Nielsen placed second at the state National History Day competition Saturday and will go to Baltimore to compete nationally in June.

They’ll compete in the group exhibits category with their project on Harlem Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein.

Also headed to the national competition are Bethel High School students Shelby Woods, Emily Molstad, Manny Estacio and Michael Gant. The team won first

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The sweet sound of toot, toot in DuPont

Keith Beaton’s hands shifted from gauge to gauge today as he leaned inside the 12-ton monument to pre-World War II Dupont.

The 51-year-old Stryker mechanic played doctor, tapping the insides of the small, rusty locomotive used in the old DuPont Explosive Co. powder works.

"Fire in the hole!" he yelled. And with some turning and tweaking of a few switches, the locomotive rumbled, and a piece of the city’s history came to life.

After moving to DuPont in March, Beaton has worked almost daily to breath air into the antique train’s lungs.

The 1941 locomotive, which the Army delivered to the city two years ago, is now running. My former colleague, Rob Tucker, wrote about its homecoming.

Some parts still need tweaking, such as a whistle that’s more of a whisper among the engine noise. (Above is a video lifetime DuPont native Fred Foreman made of the narrow gauge train running on its own for the first time)

Still, it’s a far cry from when the machine came to the city two years ago. Beaton, along with Foreman, are working to restore it 100 percent.

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Forum set for Steilacoom supterintendent interviews

Steilacoom Historical School District spokeswoman Nancy Covert sent word of when the community can hear from the two finalists for interim school superintendent.

Community forums are scheduled at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, at the Pioneer Middle School cafeteria, 511 Chambers St., Steilacoom.

Last Saturday, the Steilacoom Historical School board met with five semi-finalists before whittling the field down to two: Barry Gourley and Cathy Davidson.

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Honors for Pierce County ferry crew

The U.S. Coast Guard will honor the crew of the M/V Christine Anderson, a Pierce County vessel on the Anderson Island ferry run, for its quick thinking that saved a kayaker last year.

Coast Guard Capt. Suzanne Englebert will grace the Pierce County Council meeting with her nautical presence and lead the ceremony. The meeting starts 5:30 p.m., at Steilacoom Town Hall, 1717 Lafayette St.

Here is the county’s full press release:

The United States Coast Guard will present official commendations to the crew of the Pierce County ferry during Tuesday’s in-district meeting of the County Council.

Coast Guard Capt. Suzanne Englebert will preside over the ceremony, which recognizes the crew of the Christine Anderson for life-saving actions last summer. Tuesday’s Council meeting will be held in District 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Steilacoom Town Hall.

"A true mariner knows the dangers, a professional mariner prevents the dangers, and a lifesaver is a professional mariner who responds to save others from danger. With these awards we salute both professional mariners and lifesavers,” said Capt. Englebert, who serves as the USCG Commander Sector Seattle and Captain of the Port for the entire Puget Sound region.

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Tacoma shows its talent at TV show audition


We knew Tacoma had talent. But who could have guessed it has dancing nuns, prancing mimes and enough singers and musicians to fill several concert halls?

The breadth of the South Sound’s talent was evident this morning as hundreds of people auditioned for the television show "America’s Got Talent" at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.

The lure of becoming the country’s next entertainment sensation – think YouTube phenomenon Susan Boyle of "Britain’s Got Talent" – drew people from across the Northwest and as far away as Tampa, Fla. The line stretched several blocks as the talented awaited their 90-second chance to show their stuff and advance to a Wednesday audition for celebrity judges David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne.

"We love to dance and we think we’re American’s next great talent," proclaimed Sara Gray of Edgewood, one of seven local "Dancing Divas" waiting in line early this morning.

The Divas – dressed as nuns and prepared to sing a medley from "Sister Act" –made a great time of it. Diane Eklund of Edgewood showed off the yellow polka-dotted bloomers beneath her nun’s outfit.

"I’m not very quiet and very shy," she said.

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Ratty sofas doomed in Edison

South Tacoma’s Edison Neighborhood will hold its fourth annual cleanup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

This is cause for tons of rejoicing among activists who have coordinated the event with the City of Tacoma. The city will provide the containers and haul them away for free.

Here’s how it works: Residents of single-family homes or duplexes between South 56th and 66th streets between Oakes and Washington streets can bring their pesky junk to Edison Elementary School, 5830 S, Pine St., and have it hauled away for free. They must also bring a proof of

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