Word on the Street

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

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Archives: March 2010


Sound Transit to close Lakewood train crossings

Less than a block away from Chuck Kimrey’s store, crews are preparing to improve a set of train tracks that will link Lakewood riders to Tacoma and farther north.

It’s part of Sound Transit’s effort to extend Sounder commuter service to Lakewood, something South Sound taxpayers first voted for in 1996.

The multi-county transit agency aims to extend Sounder service to Lakewood by 2012. From Tacoma Station, the tracks will run out of the Dome District and South Tacoma, into Lakewood and end at Lakewood Station.

Sound Transit is now upgrading a set of freight train tracks that run through Lakewood. Part of the job requires closing four train crossings over city streets, including 100th Street Southwest near Kimrey’s mattress store. That agency will close that crossing April 23-25.
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Grassi says UP needs new approach to Town Center

One of University Place’s original leaders who supported its vision for Town Center said it’s time the city rethink its approach to the project’s retail component Monday night.

UP City Councilman Ken Grassi – a businessman himself who supported the mix of retail, civic and other services – said after Monday’s meeting that the city needs a new approach to secure developers for the $250 million project.

The city should try to attract outlet stores of major retailers – a cost-effective alternative to major retailers that isn’t readily available between Tacoma and Lakewood, the flower shop owner said.
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Free house-painting deadline approaches

Low-income senior or disabled homeowners in need of a free exterior house painting this summer are invited to apply to the Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful program. Deadline for applications is April 15.

Using volunteer labor and donated supplies, paint crews are matched with homeowners all around Pierce County, from the urban core of Tacoma and Lakewood all the way out west to Gig Harbor and east to Elbe and Ashford. The program, sponsored by Associated Ministries, is in its 26th year.

Last summer, more than 1,600 people volunteered and painted 82 homes. Crews have painted 1,902 homes since the program began.

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Five Federal Way students expelled for using body spray to light selves, clothes on fire

Federal Way schools Superintendent Tom Murphy is warning parents about an Internet fad in which kids use a popular body spray to light themselves or their clothing on fire. Five Federal Way middle school students have been expelled since Feb. 23 for the practice, spokeswoman Deb Stenberg said this afternoon.

No injuries or damages were reported in the incidents, she added.

All of the students were sixth-grade boys who attended either Saghalie or Lakota middle schools, Stenberg said. The first incident occurred Feb. 23 and the most recent happened last Wednesday. Two of them happened in a classroom; one occurred on a bus.

Four of the students were readmitted to school after completing a Fire Stoppers program through South King Fire & Rescue, Stenberg. The fifth remains out of class.

They’re apparently following a word-of-mouth fad that began on YouTube. There are a number of videos showing kids turning aerosols – reportedly Axe Deoderant Bodyspray – into flamethrower . One shows a group of boys lighting their arms on fire and laughing, then extinguishing the alcohol-fueled flames.

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Yes, you may fill out your Census form before April 1 – in fact, Uncle Sam wants you to

That 10-question Census form is very clear. Right there at the top, it asks how many people are living in your household on April 1.

So why, when April 1 is still three days away, are those folks at the Census pushing people to fill out their questionnaires and mail them back before Thursday?

A sharp-eyed News Tribune reader wants to know.

And while we’re on the subject, where are the Census forms for people in Eatonville – or other places – who have only P.O. boxes and no home mail delivery?

The short answers, according to local Census Bureau spokeswoman Cecilia Sorci, are:

• Yes, it’s OK to fill out your Census form and send it in now, even though the questionnaire uses an April 1 count date.

• Census forms are coming to rural residents who don’t get mail on their porch or at the street, but they’ll be hand-delivered and it may take some time. If you haven’t received your form, expect it within a few days.

Both questions were posed to The News Tribune reader representative by subscribers. Each asked that her name not be published.

“The form says the count is to be taken as of April 1,” one reader said. “What if you fill it out before then and there’s a change?”

The reader said she knew of some people would could die before April 1, and that would change the count.

April 1 is officially designated Census Day, the official reference point for the every-10-year snapshot of the U.S. Population, officials say.

But it’s not a hard-and-fast fill-out-the-form date, Sorci said.

“The reality is that most people’s households are quite stable and they know who will be in their homes come April 1,” she explained.

“But if you do anticipate that your household numbers will change by April 1, if someone’s gravely ill or if someone’s expecting a child or if you’re planning to move, then by all means, wait until April 1 to fill it out and send it back.”

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Lakewood’s pig-tailed fighter

Katie Kaiser put on her new white uniform Friday afternoon before stretching, counting and running with the rest of the karate class. At times, only her little fingers and feet were visible because the “gi” was so big.

But the four-year-old’s excitement never faded.

“Katie,” her instructor (sensei) said, “you have earned your uniform.”

“Ossu! (Yes Sir!)” she answered in a muffled but excited voice.
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Junior Daffodil Parade to take over Proctor Saturday

Rain or shine, the 49th annual Junior Daffodil Parade will invade Tacoma’s Proctor Business District Saturday.

Thousands of kids representing their schools, churches and youth groups are expected to participate in what’s become an annual tradition for many families. This year’s theme is “Carousel Of Spring.”

The event begins at 10 a.m. at Mason Middle School, 28th and Proctor streets, heads south on Proctor, then heads east along 26th Street through the business district. Streets in immediate vicinity will be closed to traffic for the morning.

The parade will be replayed several times on TV Tacoma (channel

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Web chat on surviving stress

It has been a rough year or two in the South Sound, between the economy, the wars and a string of  horrific crimes. All of that has drained our resources and left many people sad.

Wednesday morning, 248 readers joined Sheriff Paul Pastor, and mental health and trauma experts Troy Christensen, Meg Spratt and Sue Lockett-John for a lively Web chat.

Readers and experts discussed signs of trouble, and local mental health resources, ways to take constructive action.

Here’s the transcript:

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