Word on the Street

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

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Archives: July 2011


Say good-bye to old Geiger Elementary

Parents, staff and other community members are invited to bid farewell to the old Geiger Elementary School building from 2 to 5 p.m Sunday at the school, 621 S. Jackson Ave.

This event is an opportunity for Geiger alumni and community members to tour the 1949 school building, share memories and say goodbye. The public can also see a display of plans for a new school design.

The Tacoma School Board voted to continue with construction plans for Geiger, and temporarily move students to the former Hunt Middle School site, at 6501 S. 10th St., for the 2011-2012 school year.

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Vibrant Schools members press Tacoma School Board on negotiations

An estimated 30 members of the Vibrant Schools Tacoma Coalition turned out at Thursday’s Tacoma School Board meeting to press for their voices to be heard as the school district continues negotiations for a new union contract with teachers.
The coalition, which includes minority, faith-based and education reform groups, rolled out a platform this past spring at the start of negotiations. You can read it here.
Coalition member Patricia Talton urged the school board to make contract decisions that will help close the achievement gap for minority students. Daniel Bacon said teachers must be supported in their

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Point Defiance Zoo has named its clouded leopard cubs

This just in from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium:

Two 6-week-old clouded leopard cubs at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium received their names today. A total of 5,317 votes were submitted online over the past month through the zoo’s website and Facebook pages.

The male will be called Taji (TA-jee), meaning “little brother” in Burmese, and the female is Sumalee (su-ma-LEE), meaning “flower” in Thai.  Taji ran away with the male selections with 44 percent of the votes, and Sumalee won with 29 percent.

Zoo staff came up with five options for each cub with the majority of names coming

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Rally to oppose Camp Murray gate proposal on Monday

The Tillicum community will hold a rally at the Lakewood City Council meeting on Monday night to oppose a revived proposal to move the main gate serving Camp Murray.

The Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association and related Tillicum Action Committee will use the gathering to demonstrate to the City Council the community opposition to the proposal due to concerns about a lot of traffic driving down a major residential street.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main St. SW.

David Anderson, the neighborhood association’s president, pledged that the group would exhaust its appeals if the project moves forward.

“We only have one approach to this: no gate move at all,” he said. “It makes no sense.”

City Manager Andrew Neiditz said the city is receptive to moving the gate to the location it initially objected to after a recent traffic analysis showed little difference in traffic impact between moving the gate there or to the city’s preferred alternative — a block south at the end of Grant Avenue.

He said moving the gate would be “non-starter” for the city without mitigation the military department will pay for to deter pass-through motorists on the residential street, Portland Avenue, which connects to the Interstate 5 interchange serving North Thorne Lane.

“The status quo, leaving the gate as it is, is just not acceptable,” he said.

The Washington State Military Department, headquartered at Camp Murray, has proposed moving the main gate from the intersection of Berkeley Street and Union Avenue to the intersection of Boundary Street and Portland Avenue. Officials there said the current gate’s proximity to a busy intersection, Interstate 5 interchange and a rail line that could see increased use is unsafe for its citizen-soldiers, employees and visitors.

Neighbors worried that the new location would be unsafe for their community. The most recent traffic analysis estimates an additional 900 vehicles a day would travel down Portland if the gate were moved either to Boundary/Portland or Grant.

In September, talks collapsed after the military department was unable to commit federal money budgeted for the project by the end of the federal fiscal year because the city of Lakewood declined to issue a right-of-way permit for the Boundary/Portland location. The city said it would issue a permit for the end of Grant Avenue — a block to the south — if the state agency complied with numerous conditions. The permit is required to connect the new gate to the public street.

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Three free upcoming events at UPlace library

Three free events are upcoming at the University Place Pierce County Library.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Friends of the University Place Library will hold a used book sale. The proceeds will pay for future events as well as furnishings and other materials for the library.

On Aug. 4, local best-selling author Erica Bauermeister will read from and sign copies of her new novel, “Joy for Beginners.” The event begins at 7 p.m. The book is available for sale at the event.

On Aug. 6, residents are invited to celebrate the library’s new children’s area.

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William Mount’s Salishan YouTube video debunked

William B. Mount is going viral on Salishan.

The Tacoman once used public access television to air his world view, and now posts videos on YouTube. About five months ago, he and a woman named Jane drove through Salishan on Tacoma’s East Side with a video camera and a big box of misinformation. They delivered a 10-minute commentary on the mixed use and mixed-income redevelopment of the worn-out public housing site and posted it on the video sharing site.

The stew of untruths simmered there.

It’s at a boil now.

Tacoma Housing Authority and Tacoma City Council members are getting e-mails from people hot over what he calls misuse of Social Security funds. We are getting queries from people like Charles Davis of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Dennis Doyle of Chicago.

“Is the following accurate?” Doyle wrote, referring to Mount’s link.

The short answer to the big questions is: No.
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County Council approves Lakewood sewer fee

Lakewood residents will pay more for sewer service starting Sept. 1 after the Pierce County Council on a close vote approved Tuesday a franchise that the city had been seeking for more than a decade.

The associated fee, equal to 6 percent of customer’s monthly charge, will add $2.05 to the monthly charge for a single-family home of $34.19.

The vote was 4-3 after a brief discussion. Council members Roger Bush, Joyce McDonald and Dan Roach voted no.
The Lakewood City Council in March granted a 20-year franchise for the county, contingent on its approval, to install, operate and

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Gig Harbor opposes shrinking Pierce County Council

The Gig Harbor City Council formally opposed Monday night the proposal to pare down the Pierce County Council on a 4-3 vote.

The passage came the same day that a county council committee advanced the plan to ask voters to reduce the number of county council members from seven to five. The full county council is scheduled to vote on it Aug. 9.

Council members Steve Ekberg, Ken Malich, Paul Kadzick and Derek Young voted in favor of the resolution. Council members Paul Conan, Jim Franich and Tim Payne opposed it.

The resolution notes the proposal would add about

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