Word on the Street

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

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Archives: March 2011


Book honors slain teacher

The life story of murdered Tacoma teacher Jennifer Paulson is now a biography written by Eric Lundberg.
Paulson, a special education teacher at Birney Elementary School, was gunned down outside the school in February 2010 by a stalker who had followed her since her college days.
Afterwards, Paulson’s family, friends and members of the community paid tribute to her at a memorial service and in a garden planted at the school in May. Lundberg’s book, “A Life Well Lived: The Jennifer Paulson Story,” aims at telling her story. The author says he wanted to inspire readers to pursue

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Lakewood police chief attends meeting with Attorney General Holder on officer safety

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar attended last week’s meeting in Washington, D.C., as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced an initiative to improve the safety of law enforcement officers.

The Law Enforcement Officer Safety Initiative comes on the heels of what Holder called a “simply unacceptable” increase in the number of law enforcement officers killed in the U.S.

Farrar joined other police chiefs from major cities, including New York City and Washington, D.C., and the heads of numerous federal law enforcement agencies for the March 22 meeting.

Farrar led the department when four Lakewood police officers were

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First Creek Neighbors among best in nation

First Creek Neighbors is a finalist in Neighborhoods, USA’s national Neighborhood of the Year Competition.

First Creek members mobilized first against the gangs, prostitutes and drug dealers on Tacoma’s East Side along Portland Avenue. They forged partnerships with Tacoma and Puyallup Tribe police, and helped bust and shut down the bad guys’ enterprises. They branched out into painting over gang tagging.

They hooked in with Tacoma’s Safe & Clean initiative and worked with the city to haul ton after ton of dumped junk out of the old T Street Gulch. They organized clean-ups, and hauled away more

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Sumner City Council applications available

The City of Sumner plans to have a new City Council member in place by April 18.

Applications to fill Matt Richardson’s seat are available on the city’s website.

They’re due April 8, with candidate interviews planned for April 11.

The person selected by the council will fill the seat through the November general election. The winner of that election then will be sworn-in.

Last week, Richardson was essentially removed from office by his fellow council members. They voted 4-1 not to excuse his absence from three consecutive council meetings.

Under state law, a council seat becomes vacant

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Student film premieres

Jacob Suazo, a student at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, will premiere “Blood, Sweat and Berries,” a full-length documentary he co-produced migrant farm workers. The premiere will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 110 of Harned Hall on Saint Martin’s campus, 5300 Pacific Ave. S.E., Lacey. The film viewing is free and open to the public.

The documentary is the culmination of a nearly three-year effort by Suazo to interview and document both farm workers and farm owners in the American West. Suazo worked on the project with University of Portland student Scott Hines, University of Washington student

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Sumner School District furlough day

The Sumner School DIstrict central administration and all other offices will be closed April 1 due to an employee furlough.
District employees agreed to several furlough days as part of budget reductions. Three previous furlough days were scheduled in September and December.
All Sumner schools and their offices are closed for spring break March 28 – April 1.


Kainen Bell is Boys & Girls Club state Youth of the Year

Kainen Bell has won Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington’s Youth of the Year award.

Bell, a senior at Stadium High School, advanced to the competition after winning the clubs’ South Puget Sound Youth of the Year award earlier this month.

Wednesday, the 15 finalists gathered at Qwest Field in Seattle to be interviewed by judges and to give the speeches they had written for the competition.

Thursday, they traveled to the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, where Governor Christine Gregoire announced the winner.

Bell attended and volunteers at the Al Davies Boys & Girls Club in Tacoma.

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Win, loss for homeless Tacoma students

Homeless kids in Tacoma marked a gain and a loss Thursday.
At a meeting of the Tacoma School School Board, the school district accepted a donation of $11,000 from the Shading Tree Foundation to help homeless students with school supplies, personal items and clothing.
At the same meeting, board members also approved the retirement of a longtime advocate for homeless students. Tamie Williams is retiring at the end of the school year as liaison at the Tone Resource Center, which supports homeless students in Tacoma.