Word on the Street

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

NOTICE: Word on the Street has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Word on the Street.
Visit the new section.

Archives: July 2009


Be glad you don’t have this job this week

For people who say their roughing it with this week’s heat, try working Choon Kim’s job.

The owner of Fircrest Cleaners not only has to deal with the heat from outside, but inside his business it’s even hotter. The dry cleaning operation’s pressers are steaming from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The usual reprieve from the heat is to open the windows or walk outside, but not this week.

“We always use fans and air conditioning, but it’s not enough,” Kim said around 11 a.m. today, when the mercury in his business’ thermometer reached 94 degrees.

Read more »


It’s a hot one, alright

Today’s temperatures are causing havoc for people trying to stay cool. One option might be a Metro Parks spray park.

I stopped by the one at Jefferson Park today for my story on the heat wave. About 70 kids and their parents were having fun in the spray area around 1 p.m.

Christy Branton of Tacoma was laying on a blanket with her two sons, Joetavis, 8, and Ben, 5. The boys had just come from the aquatic playground.

Ben was kind of shy, but Joetavis was more than willing to share his favorite part of the park. “I like the cup that drops water on your head,” he said, referring to one of the spray park’s more popular features today.

Read more »


Get all old timey at the Waller Road Grange Fair Sunday

Fans of egg tosses, penny candy, barbecued chicken and roving politicians will flock to the Waller Road Grange Community Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The grange, at East 64th Street and Waller Road, is a bastion of traditional rural skills. The fair will feature 4-H animals, pie, produce and preserves judging, displays of farm machinery and fire equipment as well as games for children.

It’s also a favorite stop for candidates and politicians.

Admission and parking are free, and the famous chicken barbecue is a bargain at $8 for a whole chicken dinner

Read more »


Dogs have their day at Fort Steilacoom Park

It’s starting to feel like the dog days of summer, so today was a perfect day for the 19th annual Dog-A-Thon at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood.

Organizers expected 2,500 people and 500 dogs to attend the event, a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Tacoma-Pierce County.

Pure-breeds and mutts alike gathered at Fort Steilacoom for the event, which featured demonstrations of dog herding and agility, contests for the best dog costume and biggest dog and other festivities.

"It’s a canine carnival," said Kathleen Olson, the society’s executive director. "People like to see and be see

Read more »


Help a budding track star and get a clean car today

Supporters are throwing a car wash today, Saturday July 25, to help send Tacoma 12-year-old Tyler Hill to the National Junior Olympics.

Tyler’s mom, Chantell Hill, says in an e-mail that Tyler hopes to compete in the National Junior Olympics in Greensboro, N.C., July 27 to Aug. 2. He’s been participating with a USATF track team this summer.

To qualify, the Stewart Middle School student placed second earlier this month at the regional meet in Salem, Ore., in the 200 meter and 400 meter. His team placed second in the 4 X 400 meter relay.

Read more »


Safe Streets reaches south

It’s been tough finding crime-fighting activists in the neighborhoods along South Hosmer Street just north of 96th Street.

But it’s an area rich in affordable housing and apartments, and community mobilizer Darren Pen has been working to bring residents into the effort to make it more secure.

That work is paying off. Local heroes have started meeting, and turned out by the dozens for the recent march against crime.

Now they’re getting down to the real work of setting their priorities and figuring out how to address them. If you’d like to be part of that, ditch

Read more »


Flat Stanley flies to Afghanistan – with help from a Pierce boy and his father

Flat Stanley may be made of paper, but he’s no ordinary paper doll in the hands of 6-year-old Connor Covel and Connor’s dad.

Connor’s Flat Stanley survived 15 combat missions in Afghanistan. He made bombs for demolition exercises, and rode an Army helicopter and a C-17 transport. He won a Bronze Star – and Connor has the photos to prove it.

Not bad for a piece of paper.

Flat Stanley is the fictional character in the 1964 book by the same name that has inspired thousands of kids to learn about geography and life in other

Read more »


Garbage angels strike in Midland

You know you’re dealing with a hard-core activist when her idea of “heartwarming” involves disappearing garbage.

Cindy Beckett, who crusades to save and repair wetlands, spent Saturday, July 7, on Portland Avenue picking up beer cans, food wrappers and all manner of other roadside trash with Midland Resident’s Assn. volunteers.

“As usual, the area nearest 72nd Street was the worst,” she said. “When we were done, we drove our truck and trailer along Portland Ave. to pick up all the bags and piled them in one location at 85th and Portland to make it easier for the county

Read more »