Word on the Street

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

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Archives: April 2010


Fife’s Robert Mizukami: A legacy of community and military service

Fife pioneer Robert T. Mizukami fought for his country in the U.S. Army after he and his family were placed in internment camps for Japanese Americans.

He came home from World War II with scars on his face from mortar shrapnel and a Purple Heart.

Besides running a wholesale flower growing business in Fife, Mizukami went on to serve on the first Fife City Council. He remained a council member for 30 years, including the final seven years as mayor.

Mizukami died Saturday at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma after suffering a heart attack three days earlier. He was

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Bates teachers vote “no confidence” in administration; trustees to meet Tuesday

Teachers at Bates Technical College took a vote of no confidence in acting President Lyle Quasim and the Board of Trustees, their union announced today.

Many in the faculty are upset over the college’s issuance of layoff notices to more than 40 staff members last week.

Quasim said the notices were necessary due to a budget imbalance.  The college issued more than three dozen notices to comply with union rules governing  potential layoffs, but officials don’t expect that many faculty members to lose their jobs, Quasim said last week.

The college’s board is due to meet Tuesday at 3 p.m.

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Schooners sail into Tacoma

Twelve tall-mast ships are plying the waters of Commencement Bay this weekend for the Schooner Rendezvous. The festival runs through 6 tonight, then continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma.

Admission costs $5; parking also costs $5. The schooners are open for tours, and some offer sailings.

Organizers hope it will become an annual event to kick off the schooner sailing season in Puget Sound.

“It creates excitement on the waterfront, which is growing in its uniqueness and its beauty,” Stan Selden, president of the Tacoma Waterfront Association, said Saturday.

For more

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Honor someone by crossing Narrows Bridge Saturday

Normally when you cross the eastbound Narrows Bridge, you pay a toll. On Saturday, you can also honor someone who paid the ultimate toll, or who made some other significant sacrifice.

ROTC cadets from Wilson High School will lead an event called “Crossing the Bridge of Honor.”

The cadets from Wilson’s Marine Corps Junior ROTC program will host opening ceremonies at War Memorial Park at 10 a.m., perform at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and lead closing ceremonies at 4 p.m. The park is just off the Jackson Avenue exit of Highway 16 on the east side of the bridge.

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Traffic camera protests planned for Saturday

Photo enforcement protests

When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Fife: Pacific Highway East and 54th Avenue East.
Lacey: Pacific Avenue Southeast and Sleater-Kinney Road Southeast
Renton: Rainier Avenue and Southwest Grady Way
Bremerton: Kitsap Way and Marine Drive
Lynnwood: 196th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West
More information: www.bancams.com
Facebook: The group is here, the fan page is here.

Pete Chamberlain of Lakewood protests traffic cameras last month at State Route 512 and South Tacoma Way. (Photo by Dean J. Koepfler/The News Tribune)

To get the attention of passing drivers, Nick Sherwood covered his head with a giant cardboard box shaped like a traffic camera. A sign that hung from his neck said, “Will Flash For Ca$h.”

Nearby, others held signs with slogans such as “Honk if you hate cams” and “Safety before profit.”

Above them, they counted 11 photo-enforcement cameras that snapped away at passing vehicles in the intersection of State Route 512 and South Tacoma Way.

“We saw tickets being issued every minute, every time the light was changing,” said Tim Stocker of Tacoma, who was among two-dozen camera critics who staged their first protest last month in Lakewood. “They’d get caught in the wide intersection, because the traffic would pile up. Boom, there’s another” $101 ticket.

Saturday afternoon, protesters again will target cameras at five intersections in Western Washington. The protests are part of an organized effort to eventually get a statewide ban on the cameras, which aim to capture speeders or red-light runners. Read more »


University Place residents voice frustration over city’s finances

Jennifer Hales, public safety manager for UP Police, explains how cuts have affected the department’s response times Thursday during a funding meeting at UP City Hall.

University Place wanted to hear if residents would be willing to pay to add police, improve streets and maintain parks and recreation.

The city ended up getting an earful about taxes and a whole lot more Thursday night.

What was intended to be an input-gathering, open house on the city’s finances turned into a heated Q&A session where residents voiced their frustration on the way UP leaders have handled budget cuts, future growth, roundabouts and, of course, the Town Center project.
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Tacoma Power financial aid helps customers keep the lights on

Tacoma Power is offering a program to assist people who have trouble paying their electric bill.

Tacoma PowerAid gives up to $150 for people who meet income requirements, according to a press release. Customers can get financial aid through the end of the year or while funds are available, as long as they have not already received assistance from Tacoma Power’s Family Need program.

To qualify for Tacoma PowerAid assistance, gross monthly household income must fall between the ranges below for the number of people in the household:

Household Size Gross Monthly Household Income

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Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound announces new CEO

The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound has announced its new President/CEO.

Mark Starnes, who has served as interim President/CEO since November 2009, was chosen for his leadership during tough economic times, according to a press release.

Starnes has 30 years of management experience from Proctor & Gamble and Weyerhaeuser, retiring as a vice president with Weyerhaeuser in 2006. He has been active in the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound since 2005, with roles on the Campaign Cabinet, Corporate Board and Executive Board.

Starnes’ next projects include completing the  Henry T. Schatz Branch at the

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