Word on the Street

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

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Archives: July 2010


Baby tigers to make public debut at Point Defiance Zoo

The 8-week-old Sumatran tiger cubs at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will make their public debut tomorrow at noon.

The cubs, one male and one female, were born May 25. They currently live with their mother, Jaya, behind the scenes “while they grow as a family,” according to a press release.

You can vote for the cubs’ names at www.pdza.org until Wednesday, July 28.


Old-time fun at Waller Road Grange Fair

Of all the fairs of summer, the Waller Road Grange’s is truest to tradition.

Sunday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the festival at 2708 64th St. E. will serve up slices of rural life, and from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. an excellent chicken barbecue. Admission and parking are free.

Kids bring their pets and farm animals to win ribbons in the judging. Cooks bake their best pies. The produce and flowers brought to the contests are enough to make an aphid die of despair, knowing there are such fine gardeners so close by.

Kids love this

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Puyallup will use search firm to find new leader

Puyallup officials will pay a search firm about $25,000 to find their new city manager, council members decided Tuesday.

The city has been without its top executive since April, when former city manager Gary McLean resigned. Puyallup Parks Director Ralph Dannenberg has filled the post on an interim basis since then.

On Tuesday, the council chose Bellevue-based Prothman Company over two other firms to lead its search for a permanent city manager.

Specifics about the search, such as whether it will be nationwide or confined to the western United States, will be discussed at a meeting between the council and the search firm Tuesday, according to a schedule approved by the council in May.

Greg Prothman, president of Prothman Company, said that the firm will charge the city a $19,000 professional fee, plus the expense of advertising and travel costs to interview candidates. Those fees would probably run about $6,000 to $8,000 for a city of Puyallup’s size, he said, making the total anticipated cost of the search $25,000 to $27,000.

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Federal Way council rescues sand sculpting contest

A divided Federal Way City Council voted Tuesday night to give an added $58,000 for a sand sculpting contest to start Sept. 8.

Organizer Rudi Alcott told council members the World Championship of Sand Sculpting would be canceled unless they approved the “seed money.”

Alcott said event organizers intend to pay back the money within the first 15 days of the competition, scheduled to take place in Federal Way for the first time Sept. 8-Oct. 3.

Council member Jim Ferrell said the payment was a “wise risk.” He said organizers “are trying to put Federal Way on the map in a good way.”

Council member Dini Duclos said she’s excited about the sand sculpting competition because it is an international event. “I see this as an investment in our downtown,” Duclos said.

Organizers say they expect 63 competitors from 17 nations.

But council member Mike Park opposed authorizing the money because the competition’s board of directors has collected only a fraction of the event’s budget. So far, it has only raised $5,000 of the $25,000 in projected sponsor money.

“Your progress hasn’t been according to your plan,” Park said.

Alcott said other sponsors are lined up and need to be contacted to finalize their donations.

The event has a budget of $399,500, with more than half to come from ticket sales. Organizers needed the $58,000 to balance the budget. Tickets will be $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for seniors and children.

Alcott, a member of the board of directors and publisher of the Federal Way Mirror, projected attendance ranging from at least 37,900 to break even to as much as 80,000.

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Retired Federal Way schools superintendent honored

Retired Federal Way schools superintendent Tom Murphy will receive a statewide honor for his support of career and technical education.

Murphy will be given the distinguished service award from the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education at its conference in Spokane Aug. 8.

Despite budget reductions, Murphy supported the development of 15 new career and technical education programs in the past eight years. One of those 15 is the auto technology program at Decatur High School, which recently gained national certification for automotive technician training.

Murphy, 64, retired June 30 after leading Federal Way Public Schools for 10 years.


Free the blueberries! Save the trails!

We’re heading for a weekend filled with chances to chip in with the people making Pierce County more beautiful every summer.

July 17 will be the third Saturday of the month, which means that Charlotte Valbert has plans for you.

Valbert’s the eco-diva who has, over the past 20 years, mobilized volunteers to clear the blackberries and Scotch broom out of what was once a thriving blueberry farm off of East D and 72nd Street. All that yanking and mowing has given the community the fabulous free-pick Blueberry Park. But, as any farmer knows, weeding never ends. So

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Large truck ban approved for Levee Road in Fife

Large trucks and semitrailers will be prohibited along a narrow stretch of North Levee Road East in Fife starting around Aug. 1.

The Fife City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday night not to allow trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds to use Levee Road west of 66th Avenue East and the Melroy Bridge.

The council moved the boundary for the heavy truck ban from the proposed 70th Avenue East so trucks could continue crossing the Puyallup River on the Melroy Bridge. Members of the business community said trucks need ongoing access to that route, said City Manager Steve Worthington. The council

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Meet giants of Tacoma parks in the cemetery

This is the weekend for those who’d like to thank those long-dead folks who gave Tacoma her parks.

Tacoma Historical Society, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum and New Tacoma Cemeteries will bring the dead benefactors to virtual life at their second Living History Cemetery Tour.

The walking tours will leave every 20 minutes from 6 to 7:40 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, at New Tacoma Cemetery, 4801 South Tacoma Way. Tickets are $8 per person, and must be purchased in advance at the Tacoma Historical Society Resource Center, 3712 S. Cedar St. For information,

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