Word on the Street

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

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Archives: June 2011


New federal data on local schools

The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday released data that attempts to identify inequities in education. The information, known as the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), is based on surveys and covers about 7,000 school districts. It provides statistics on teacher experience, the number of students enrolled in advanced classes, race and ethnicity of students, and more.
The federal website includes a searchable database, which contains information on local schools and districts. You can read more about it here

In addition, non-profit public interest journalism site ProPublica produced its own analysis of federal education data in an

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Pair of red wolves added to Point Defiance Zoo exhibit

The public can now see a pair of endangered red wolves that were added to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s Red Wolf Woods exhibit today.

Wilson, 11, and Havana, 7, recently arrived from Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Tx.

There are now three red wolves at the zoo. Graham has been here since the exhibit opened and he will stay in a separate area than the new arrivals.

The zoo’s female red wolf, Ocean Blue, died unexpectedly in May from a uterine infection.

A meeting will be held in July to determine which female red wolf would be

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Puyallup councilman says he’ll opt out of small meetings

Puyallup City Councilman Rick Hansen says he no longer will attend monthly meetings with small groups of council members and the city manager.

While he believes they’re legal, they raise an “appearance of fairness” issue, he said.

The sessions have irked some residents. Councilman John Knutsen hasn’t been going, citing concerns about the appearance of openness.

Other officials have defended the meetings as efficient, helpful and above-board. They’re purely informational, with no quorum and no action taken, they’ve said.

Hansen said last week that he attended some of the sessions because he wanted to ensure he got all the

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Puyallup council talks budget, tax hikes

Puyallup City Council hasn’t raised utility rates this year to pay for repairing and replacing infrastructure.

But it might in 2012.

Council members spent about two hours at a study session Tuesday talking about how they want to approach next year’s budget, including whether water, sewer and stormwater rates should go up so there’s money to cover broken pipes and other needed fixes.

They also looked at raising the tax on private utilities – like phone and cable – to cover street work, as well as hiking property taxes.

Finance Director Cliff Craig said the city has enough money for

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See the cute cubs at Point Defiance

If you’re headed to Point Defiance Park this weekend for the Taste of Tacoma, you might make a longer day of it and head up to the zoo. On Saturday, those adorable clouded leopard cubs will be on public view for the first time since their June 14 birth.

The cubs will be visible several times a day in a specially designed cub den in the zoo’s new Cats of the Canopy exhibit, which will fully open later this summer. The time to come is during their daily feedings at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 5:45 p.m.


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County Planning Commission delays decision on Sumner land proposal

The Pierce County Planning Commission decided last night that it wants more time to consider a proposal that would pave the way for a mixed-used development in Sumner anchored by a YMCA.

It’s now slated to make its recommendation to the County Council in July, said senior planner Dan Cardwell.

The proposal calls for expanding the city’s urban growth area by 182 acres to the south. The Sumner-based Investco Financial Corp. owns most of the property there, and its chief executive officer has listed shops and medical and higher education facilities as possible tenants.

He’s also offered space

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Summer safety reminder

Tacoma Public Schools is reminding parents of two citywide initiatives to help ensure student safety over the summer.
The Tacoma Police Department has initiated a summer party patrol to cut down on teen drug and alcohol use. To report underage parties where drugs or alcohol are present, call the police department’s hotline at 253-830-6548.
Also, there is a curfew in Tacoma for anyone age 17 or younger between midnight and 6 a.m. There are exceptions, which you can find, along with other information about the city’s curfew, here.


National spot filming at Lakewood Ford

A film crew arrived at Lakewood Ford on Tuesday to begin shooting a commercial that will air nationally next month.

Ford Motor Company picked the auto dealership on 11500 block of Pacific Highway Southwest as the spot’s location after a national search. The dealership was constructed in 2007.

The company noted the dealership’s modern exterior and comfortable, upscale interior in a press release.

Fifty actors are involved in the filming, which concludes Friday. The commercial will air in July across the nation.

Henry Krebs, the dealership’s general manager, said he is thrilled to have the store and community in the

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