Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Aug. 2009


Mrs. LeMay opens doors for lovers of cars – and stuff

By C.R. Roberts
The News Tribune

Only once a year – every year – Nancy LeMay opens the gates of her Parkland home to those who truly believe in Harold LeMay’s dream and who appreciate his obsession to collect.

The LeMay Museum is open year-around at the former Marymount Academy in Spanaway, and progress continues toward a newer, greater museum near downtown Tacoma.

Only one day in 365 can the public see the broadest extent of the late Harold LeMay’s collection.

The public came on Saturday, so many and so wet in the morning rain that volunteers opened the gates early.

Affectionately known as "the home," the LeMay compound contains all manner of things related to a life long lost along the American road.

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As the crow flies, as the world turns

For years, school officials have been lamenting the state’s underfunding of transportation.

Without adequate funding from the state, they say, districts must devote more and more of their local levy dollars to get kids to school.

One of their loudest charges: the state doesn’t reimburse districts for transporting students whose homes or daycares lie outside a one-mile radius from school. And instead of calculating the actual route mileage, the distance is measured as a direct line from school to home or daycare. Or, in the colloquial, “as the crow flies.”

Actually, says Allan Jones with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, the state does provide some money to bus kids within the one-mile radius. But not much.

Jones, director of pupil transportation, says the state gives districts some funding based on the total number of kids in kindergarten through through fifth grade within the one-mile radius.

The original intent was to help districts defray the cost of transporting youngsters who faced hazardous walking conditions, even though they lived close to school.

But it’s a lower rate than what the state funds for students living outside the one-mile minimum. And the districts don’t have to have hazardous walking conditions to get the money. They don’t even have to use the money to transport kids within that radius.

Here’s how Jones explains it, and the “crow flies” business in an e-mail to The News Tribune.

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Final remains of famous Tacoma Escalade headed for the landfill

Maybe not the landfill, but where ever contractors working on the Park Plaza South project put their old concrete and rebar.

The Tacoma Daily Index has this item about demolition of the hillclimb between Pacific Avenue and Commerce Street. At the lower right is evidence of the entry to the Escalade, Tacoma’s famous moving sidewalks that were meant to ease travel up and down the hills of the shopping district. And we had the name before Cadillac did.

Here are some pix from the TNT morgue showing the excitement surrounding the opening. And yes, those do look

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Crisostomo: Hero, inspiration, buddy and angel

Army 1st Sgt. Jose Crisostomo was a hero, an inspiration and a buddy, according to his grandchildren.

During a crowded and tear-filled mass today at Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Spanaway, they described how he loved them and encouraged them to live better lives, even more so than his.

Now, the soldier who died Aug. 18 in Afghanistan, less than two weeks before his 60th birthday, is their angel.

Tricia Crisostomo-Meyers, his daughter, said her father wanted to reenlist in the Army in 2008.

“When dad told us he wanted to go back to active Army service, I thought he was nuts,”she said, adding Crisostomo signed up for another year after his first tour was over.

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Local soldier’s memorial a tribute to service, heritage

It felt somber the minute I heard the cadence music coming from where the memorial to Army 1st. Sgt. Jose Crisostomo was parked.

Today marks the memorial for the 59-year-old Spanaway man who was killed last week in Afghanistan. The viewing and Mass took place at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church.

Driving up, the church’s exterior was lined with Patriot Guard Riders holding American flags. Parked near the church entrance was a Chevy pickup truck, the back of which served as a makeshift memorial to Crisostomo, who was a leader in the local Chamorro community.

If featured the ceremonial boots, rifle, helmet and dog tags, also known as a soldier’s cross. The bed was lined with greenery and Guam flags, a testament to the Chamorro heritage of “Sinbad,” as friends and family called him.

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Eddon Boat to open (finally)

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Five years after Gig Harbor residents voted to preserve Eddon Boat, the property is ready for its grand opening.

The city announced today that the former boatyard will open Sept. 30 with a few pilot programs related to Gig Harbor’s maritime culture and history.

To anyone who’s followed the boatyard’s progress over the years, the grand opening marks a long-awaited milestone.
The boatyard is a living piece of Gig Harbor’s history. Records show boat-building on the property dates to 1920, when it opened as Anderson & Sons Boat Yard.

Over the years, it grew, changed ownership and names. When the idea of developing the property into something else was floated in 2004, voters stepped in and passed a $3.5 million bond to save it.

But refurbishing the boatyard wasn’t easy, as contamination from years of boat-building slowed its rebirth. After months of working with the state, cleaning the property and restoring its buildings, it’s ready for business.

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Oakbrook golf club wants to change zoning

The Oakbrook Golf & Country Club wants to change the zoning for 2 acres of its course, a sign the Lakewood club may want to sell land to generate money.

A staff report from Lakewood Senior Planner Deborah Johnson states the 42-year-old course is confronted with "financial viability issues," and is looking to secure its future without raising fees for its 450 members.

The plan by the country club’s board calls for converting portions of its course into residential lots, up to 10, in the course’s fourth and fifth additions that could be developed into homes.
Kara Brevet, the country club’s manager, said the proposal to convert open space into residential lots is more of a fallback option for Oakbrook.

"This is something so that we have option," she said. "It’s not something that’s going to happen tomorrow. It’s something should we need it."

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