Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Feb. 2010


Northwest natives in Santiago during quake

We’ve heard from two people with Northwest ties who were in Santiago, Chile, during the 8.8-magnitude earthquake. A tsunami warning is in effect for Hawaii.

Derek Lactaoen, a graduate of Gig Harbor High School, is studying journalism in Santiago. He said he’ll send us a report of his experiences at the scene.

Sarah Kate Botkin, a 2000 graduate of Auburn Riverside High School and a 2004 graduate of Western Washington University, is teaching English in Santiago. I sent her an e-mail asking her to share her perspective.

Her father, Steve Botkin, who lives in the Redondo area

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Is Tacoma man America’s Hottest Husband?


A Northeast Tacoma man is one of 22 finalists for Redbook magazine’s “America’s Hottest Husband Contest.”

Scott Battishill, 39, is a 1988 graduate of Foss High School. He and his wife, Wendy, 38, have been married for 16 years and they have two children: Julia, 10, and Jackson, 5.

Here are some of the ways Scott is making the rest of us husbands look lazy:

Scott brings his wife coffee every morning and constantly surprises her with thoughtful gifts … Scott also single-handedly plans romantic weekend getaways and family trips … He recently spent a weekend building a birdhouse.

Wendy entered Scott in the contest this past summer. “I have seen the Redbook contest in past years and always thought, ‘If I entered Scott he would so win.’” she said in an e-mail Thursday. “I went online, submitted a few pictures and wrote the essay about what makes him hot.”

What was Scott’s reaction?

“The best part of the contest for me was when Wendy read to me her submission essay,” he said in an e-mail Thursday night. “That was truly wonderful to hear and has more than made the (substantial) ribbing I’ve received from my buddies worth it.”


“He’s not going to stop talking about this for months”

Chase Swisher, left, sprays water out of a firehose Thursday with the help of University Place firefighter Chad Walker. Swisher, 8, is a patient at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma and was named an honorary firefighter for the day. Drew Perine/The News Tribune

Chase Swisher gripped the end of the 16-foot-long fire hose and waited for the signal.

With the fire engine humming, a rush of water snaked its way through the hose and burst out in a straight, misty line.

“Pretty cool, huh?” asked firefighter Chad Walker, who accompanied Chase all day and helped him hold the hose. “That’s a big garden hose, huh?”
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Pierce County libraries to be closed March 4

All branches of the Pierce County Library system will be closed March 4 for staff training, according to a news advisory.

While the library is closed, you can still download e-books and other materials here.

You can also use e-sources for subscription magazines, investment information, car repair manuals and other resources, the news advisory said.

Or go to Pierce County Library Web site for more information about library services.


Drop a coin, get a drink

Chase Swisher, the honorary University Place firefighter and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital patient who was sworn in about an hour ago, is already learning some valuable lessons about firefighting.

The biggest so far: always carry your union coin.

The University Place firefighters union has a time-honored tradition. If someone drops his or her union coin on the ground, then the other firefighters in the room better darn well do the same … fast. Take too long, and drinks are on you.
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Fife council member resigns over potential conflict of interest

Fife City Council member Cedric “Butch” Brooks has resigned, citing a possible appearance of conflict of interest.

Brooks, whose term expires at the end of 2011, submitted his resignation following Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Brooks said a forthcoming business promotion at his current place of employment may give a perception of holding public office for personal gain, according to a city statement released today. The promotion could compromise his ability to remain an effective member of the council, Brooks said.

Brooks, who has been mayor pro tem on the council, has been vice president of Woodworth & Company,

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UP Fire welcomes its newest (and youngest) firefighter

It’s not every day that a new employee gets standing ovations and radio welcomes, but not every firefighter is like Chase Swisher.

The 8-year-old from Tumwater is a patient at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital who is being treated for a brain tumor. He told volunteers there that one of his biggest wishes was to be a firefighter.

Today, that wish came true as Chase was officially sworn in as an honorary firefighter with University Place Fire. Fire Chief Mitch Sagers gave Chase his official oath, which the wide-eyed boy recited quietly.

“I, Chase William Swisher,” he whispered.
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“Bad news” about Lakewood fire hydrants

Lakewood may be on the hook to pay for maintenance of its fire hydrants – an annual expense to the tune of $195,000 annually.

City Manager Andrew Neiditz said this week that the Lakewood Water District — citing a 2008 state Supreme Court decision that placed the responsibility of fire hydrant maintenance on local governments — wants the city to pay for maintenance.

“This is certainly a major cost, a cost we have never covered,” he said.

“This is not good news,” he added.
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