Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Nov. 2009

Nov.
18th

Puyallup weighs tax options

Puyallup’s rosy financial picture has darkened in 2009, and city officials are looking at ways to save.

But their first move hasn’t been laying off staff or slashing programs: rather, the city is reconsidering $7.8 million in tax cuts that it promised citizens last year.

That’s how much city officials estimated it cost them to run the Puyallup Fire Department before it annexed into Central Pierce Fire and Rescue at the beginning of 2009.

Before voters approved the merger, city officials said that they’d reduce Puyallup’s taxes to offset the loss of the city fire department before 2010, when Central Pierce would begin taxing Puyallup residents for fire service. The City Council passed a motion specifying the amount of the promised tax reduction – approximately 7.8 million – in September 2008 and told residents in the Pierce County Voters Guide that “there would be no ‘double tax’” if voters approved the proposal.

Then the economy tanked.

Now, Puyallup officials want to reduce taxes by less than the $7.8 million total, citing declining city revenues.

“These are tight times,” Mayor Don Malloy said Tuesday. “These are tight times for governments, and these are tight times for families. I think we have to be responsible for both.”

Read more »

Nov.
12th

Daffodil Festival in trouble again

The Daffodil Festival is renewing its call for financial help, saying it may not have enough money to put on the 2010 Daffodil Parade without more contributions.

The festival’s Grand Floral Street Parade marches through Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting each April and has been an annual tradition since the 1930s.
Festival spokeswoman Susan McGuire sent out a letter requesting donations Tuesday, warning that a parade in 2010 was far from a certainty unless the organization gets more help.

“Right now we’re looking pretty dire,” McGuire said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We’re working hard and we want to make it happen, but we’ve got to draw the line someplace.”

Fundraising director Robyn DeLorm said the organization will be about $20,000 short of where it needs to be to put on the 2010 parade if donations continue at their current rate. A parade in 2011 is looking even more doubtful, she said.
Most of the 23 area high schools that participate in the festival’s royalty program have already selected their princesses to compete for the title of Daffodil Queen next spring.

But DeLorm said that if there is no spring parade, there won’t be a Daffodil Queen coronation, either.

“There would be no royalty program, no queen, nothing,” DeLorm said.

Read more »

Nov.
11th

Turkeys from Auburn to Federal Way

Churches, grocers and kind-hearted souls are organizing to bring 800 turkeys, plus fixings, to needy families in Auburn and Federal Way.

The Community Big Give aims at raising enough donations to send 300 families in Federal Way and 500 in Auburn home with an eco-friendly grocery bag stuffed with Thanksgiving meal basics.

Last year, the Auburn Food Bank, Auburn Top Food & Drug and Northwest Family Church debuted the effort in Auburn. Inspired by that success, Federal Way Top Food & Drug, Open Life Church of Bonney Lake and Christian Faith Center of Federal Way signed on to expand. They

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Nov.
10th

Neary asks residents to write feds with concerns over train project

As reported in my story today, Lakewood residents and their elected leaders voiced their concerns over the state Department of Transportation’s plan to reroute passenger train service through their community.

Monday night’s tight deadline meant I had to leave out most of the back and forth between the city and DOT representatives from the meeting.

Councilman Walter Neary urged the 50 or so people who attended, the majority of whom said they opposed the Point Defiance Bypass project, to write their elected federal and state leaders who might have more pull.
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Nov.
10th

Gay Iraq war veteran speaks at Tacoma college tonight

The University of Puget Sound this evening will host a free public talk by a gay Army lieutenant who has become the latest case study in the debate over the military’s controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

In March, Lt. Daniel Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq veteran fluent in Arabic, announced he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Less than one month later, the Army said it would initiate discharge proceedings against him for violating the military’s policy on gays and lesbians in uniform, which allows them to serve as long as they keep their

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Nov.
9th

Harbor History Museum wins audio contest

The unfinished Gig Harbor History Museum includes The Jim and Carol Milgard Maritime Gallery (rear) and the main museum building (right). September 17, 2009 Peter Haley / The News Tribune
The unfinished Gig Harbor History Museum includes The Jim and Carol Milgard Maritime Gallery (rear) and the main museum building (right). September 17, 2009 Peter Haley / The News Tribune

The Harbor History Museum is winning accolades, and it isn’t even open.

The museum announced today that it won the Antenna Audio Tour Contest, which asks organizations to give audio tours that showcase their museum or cultural site.

“The Harbor History Museum’s audio tour takes the listener on a journey from thousands of years in the past to peninsula life today,” according to the museum’s press release. “The narration complements the gallery exhibits by providing additional information and interesting facts on the history of the region, including native Americans, early explorers and pioneers, heritage and culture, and the growth of the peninsula through agriculture, industries, fishing and commerce.”

Here are a few samples of the museum’s winning entry (the MP3’s are located at the bottom of the screen).
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Nov.
9th

Get ready for new hotel on Pac Highway

Photo of the Candlewood Suites Hotel, the model for the future Lakewood hotel.
Photo of the Candlewood Suites Hotel, the model for the future Lakewood hotel.

Come this time next year, travelers in Lakewood will have another option for lodging in the Lakeview area of Pacific Highway Southwest.

Workers broke ground last week on the 83-room Candlewood Suites at the corner of Pacific Highway and 108th Street Southwest. It is scheduled for completion September 2010.

It will offer amenities such as fully equipped in-suite kitchens with appliances, large workspaces and free high-speed internet access. Guests will be able to choose from single-studio, double-studio and one-bedroom suites.

The hotel’s construction is the latest effort to help transform the Pacific Highway corridor. To date, the city has invested more than $18 million to redevelop more than two miles of the corridor, including widening and improving roads. New buildings have added to the transformation, such as Lakewood Ford and Lakewood Station – to which Sound Transit commuter train service is scheduled to run by 2012.
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Nov.
5th

Would you like glass with your cupcake?

Kevin Freitas has a blog post this morning about a construction accident that sent a light post into the windows of downtown’s Hello, Cupcake.

A truck backed into the post which smashed into the upper windows of the Pacific Avenue storefront. No one injured.

As he notes, it is hard enough to keep a retail business going downtown without early morning visitors like this. The store expects to open by 10 a.m.

Help out today. Buy a cupcake (or three).