Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Aug. 2011

Aug.
31st

No agreement yet between Tacoma School District and teachers

UPDATE (6:18 p.m.) – The teachers union is preparing to begin voting now.

There’s no tentative agreement yet between the Tacoma Education Association (TEA) and the Tacoma School District, union officials told teachers who gathered this afternoon at Mount Tahoma High School.

“Hopefully, we’ll start school tomorrow,” said teacher Michael Merrill, as he was entering the meeting.

Merrill, a 26-year-teacher who teaches at Lincoln High School, said seniority is the main issue for him.

The school district today announced that it had made changes in its proposals, including a proposal to keep class sizes unchanged. That issue has been a

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Aug.
31st

Tacoma School Board talking teacher contract behind closed doors

UPDATE: (7:25 p.m.) Superintendent Art Jarvis said he’s “gladdened” to report that classes will go on as planned Thursday.

“It is my understanding that there is no vote by our teachers to do anything other than to show up tomorrow,” he said after the school board briefly reconvened its meeting about 7:25 p.m.

Jarvis said “it is obvious that we have a lot of work yet to do to achieve a contract that can be ratified by both sides” and that a state mediator will continue to help with negotiations.

The school board is back is executive session, although members

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Aug.
31st

Swimmers rally to save Titlow Pool

A coalition of local swim teams will hold an organizing meeting Thursday to help save Titlow Pool, which Metro Parks plans to close permanently after this summer.

The park district is shuttering the aging West End pool and replacing it starting next spring with a new wave pool under construction at Kandle Park in the Westgate area, funded by the district’s 2005 $84 million bond measure. But local swim teams don’t see the recreation pool as any substitute for the 50-meter, Olympic-sized competitive Titlow facility and want to press the park district to keep it open.

The Titlow Alliance Group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. at Titlow Pool to discuss the issue. For more information, see the group’s web site.

Below is a press release from the group.
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Aug.
30th

Open house for proposed rail bypass on Wednesday

The Washington State Department of Transportation is holding an open house Wednesday, Aug. 31, to provide an update on the Point Defiance Bypass project.

The event runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the rotunda of Building 3 at Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd. SW in Lakewood.

Residents can learn more about the project, speak with staff members, ask questions and provide comments and ideas.

WSDOT is proposing to reroute its growing Amtrak Cascades passenger service from a congested freight route around Tacoma’s Point Defiance, to a dedicated passenger rail corridor that runs through south Tacoma, Lakewood

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Aug.
29th

New two-way configuration on S. 13th in downtown Tacoma confuses some

We received this e-mail from someone who works in the Wells Fargo Plaza who said neighboring property owners received just one day’s notice of the reconfiguration of S. 13th between Pacific Avenue and C. Street. Before, that one-block was one-way.

After some recent street repairs, however, there is one lane heading westbound and two headed east. The westbound lane hugs the side of the street next to the Well Fargo Plaza parking garage.

“In addition to only being a one day notice, this change is going to be very confusing and create potentially dangerous situations with people entering and exiting

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Aug.
29th

Now that downtown Tacoma’s T City Grocers has a sign, where’s the wine? (Oh, there it is). Store opens next Wednesday.

This cool sign was installed last week, a sure sign that the opening of downtown Tacoma’s first full-serving grocery since Manning’s closed is imminent. Pacific Plaze developer Dan Putnam told our reporter Lewis Kamb the 16,000 square foot store is set to open next Wednesday.

But a sign is on the outside, what’s on the inside? Here’s the display window near the corner.

Here’s a link to the store’s webpage.

Aug.
24th

UPDATE: Tacoma Education Association responds to superintendent

The head of the union that represents teachers and other school district employees in ongoing contract negotiations said a message sent earlier today to the community from Tacoma Schools Superintendent Art Jarvis that talks about the union request for a salary increase is misleading.

“They are trying to portray us as greedy,” said Andy Coons, president of the Tacoma Education Association. He acknowledged that the union did ask for a 1-percent pay increase – but he said that was after the school district asked teachers to take a 1.9-percent pay cut.

The state cut funding for teacher salaries by

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Aug.
24th

Tacoma superintendent “frustrated” in teacher contract talks

Tacoma Schools Superintendent Art Jarvis says the union representing teachers and office workers in the school district has presented the district with “unexpected new demands” and asked for pay increases for its members, including substitute teachers.

In an e-mail sent to parents throughout the district, and also published on the school district Web site, Jarvis described this week’s negotiations with the Tacoma Education Association as “frustrating.”

The News Tribune is seeking comment from union representatives.

Jarvis’ message said that the union has rejected a district call that it accept wage reductions equal to the state salary funding cut handed to school districts by the Legislature.

Read on to view Jarvis’ open letter.

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