Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Feb. 2011


Sumatran tiger to leave Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

After five years of unsuccessfully breeding at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, a male Sumatran tiger leaves Thursday for the Dallas Zoo to meet his new mate.

Java, 12, came to Tacoma in 2006 through a recommendation from the Sumatran tiger Species Survival Plan, which manages the population of more than 70 Sumatran tigers in North America.

There are less than 400 of the endangered animals left worldwide and zoo staff said they recognize the importance of breeding.

When he arrived, Java was paired with Jaya, a female tiger at Point Defiance, but the pairing was unsuccessful. Jaya later mated

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Gregoire orders flags flown at half-staff for fallen DNR employee

Gov. Chris Gregoire has directed that flags at all Washington state agency buildings be lowered to half-staff Thursday in memory of Washington State Department of Natural Resources employee Sam Gaydeski of Beaver.

Gaydeski was killed on the job Monday while clearing brush near Clearwater in Jefferson County.

Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business Thursday, or first thing Friday morning.
Other government entities, citizens and businesses are encouraged to join in this recognition.


Federal Way mayor wants to pursue development of downtown land again

Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest wants the city to ask for developers’ proposals once again for a piece of city-owned downtown property after plans for a three skyscraper project collapsed.

Priest told the City Council Tuesday night he wants the council to consider requesting proposals “sooner rather than later.”

The mayor said the city can’t afford to miss a chance at potential development. He compared the city’s risk of inaction to a surfer waiting in water to “catch a wave.”

“If you’re not out there, you will never catch a wave,” Priest said.

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Sumner council debates new meeting rules

The rules governing Sumner City Council meetings don’t explicitly ban public comments made to advance political campaigns.

But they soon could.

The new language is part of a slew of proposed revisions to the rules that outline how meetings are run. They haven’t been changed since 2006 and are due for an update, city officials said Monday.

The discussion is especially timely because conduct at council meetings has been a point of contention in recent months.

“We’ve definitely had the importance of our rules front and center,” Councilman Steve Allsop said after Monday night’s study session.

The council spent three

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Mandatory sewer hookups in Tillicum a step closer

The Lakewood City Council will consider at a future meeting options to make hookups to the new sewer system serving two of the city’s poorest neighborhoods mandatory.

The council gave staff that direction after a lengthy work session Monday night that highlighted the difficult and thorny policy issues it faces over a system intended to reverse the economic fortunes of the Tillicum and Woodbrook neighborhoods.

The city adopted a voluntary hookup program for residents fronting the sewer lines several years ago and offered incentives to generate interest, but participation has been lax. Its decision moves the discussion from the conceptual

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More than 4,500 attend UP library opening

Patrons waited in line 45 minutes  Saturday to get a first look at the new University Place Pierce County Library.

The 4.5-hour opening day drew 4,541 through the doors of the 15,000-square-foot library located inside the Civic and Library Building, said Mary Getchell, spokeswoman for the Pierce County Library System. More than 2,600 people entered during the first hour.

“We knew the community was eager about the new library,” said Neel Parikh, the library system’s executive director. “At the grand opening their beaming faces and constant excitement showed that the anticipation was worth it.”

Patrons checked out 4,150 items,

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Pierce County seeks land use commissioners

Live in Frederickson?

Work in Graham or South Hill?

If so, you could be eligible to join the Pierce County land use advisory commission that reviews development applications and other issues in your area.

The county is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies in Frederickson, Graham, Key Peninsula, Midland, South Hill, Spanaway and Summit View. The groups meet monthly.

There’s an application form and more details on the county’s website.


Watch those burning candles on Valentine’s Day

The Washington State Fire Marshal has a Valentine’s Day warning: keep an eye on burning candles:

Last year, 124 candle fires causing over $4.5 million in damages were reported to the Office of State Fire Marshal by fire agencies across the state.

That number has increased by 33 fires and almost twice the cost in damages from 2009, $2.3 million.

Before using candles to “set the mood” this Valentine’s Day, residents should be aware that on average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day.  Twenty percent of the fires, the candles were unattended or abandoned.

“Although the ambiance of

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