Word on the Street

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

NOTICE: Word on the Street has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Word on the Street.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Sep. 2011


Tacoma Public Schools announces new graduation dates

Tacoma Public School has announced new dates for its high school graduation ceremonies.

The dates have been pushed back because seniors must have 175 instructional days during the school year, the district said in a news release. Classes were canceled for eight days in September while the district’s teachers union was on strike.

The new dates are:

June 11: School of the Arts.

June 12: Wilson and Mount Tahoma high schools.

June 13: Oakland High School.

June 14: Foss, Stadium and Lincoln high schools.

Details: www.tacoma.k12.wa.us.



UP for Art begins free art and concert series Friday

The first of three free art and music events sponsored by UP for Art begins Friday, Sept. 30.

All three events will begin at 7 p.m. in the atrium of the new civic and library building, 3609 Market Square West. A reception follows.

Friday’s event features the UP String Quartet and driftwood artist Barry Crust.

Tim Hoban presents “Edgar Allan Poe: The Poet’s Journey” on Oct. 28. The featured artists are quilters Helen Hein and Anne Doumit Sparks.

The Nov. 18 event features guitarist Andrew Sherbrooke and gourd artists Stacy Annon and Sally Favors.

More information about the participants is

Read more »


Library closure, card drive in October

The Pierce County Library System will temporarily close its Gig Harbor branch and hold its annual card drive during October.

The Gig Harbor Pierce County Library will close from Oct. 12 to 31 so workers can centralize its customer service area, install new carpet, apply a fresh coat of paint and create a new area for patrons to look for and check out DVDs and CDs. The library is located at 4424 Point Fosdick Dr. NW.

During the closure, patrons can continue to pick up items they placed on hold in the library’s meeting room. Hours are 10 a.m. to

Read more »


Bonney Lake won’t rename road for veterans – yet

The Bonney Lake City Council wants more time to consider renaming a section of roadway in honor of veterans.

Council members tabled the idea Tuesday.

“We just want to make sure we look at this very closely,” said Councilman Mark Hamilton.

He recently proposed renaming the roughly three-quarter-mile section of Sumner-Buckley Highway East that falls within the plateau city in honor of veterans. Among the possibilities: Veterans Highway and Memorial Drive.

But some property owners raised concerns about the expense they’d incur.

Hamilton said he expects the council to revisit the idea in the next month or so.


Tacoma School Board signs off on teacher pact

It’s a done deal.

The Tacoma School Board today ratified the new three-year teacher contract in a unanimous vote, one week after leaders from the district and teachers union reached a deal leading to the end of an eight-day strike.

“We ratified the contract and are ready to move on,” said Kurt Miller, school board president, after the brief meeting.

Andy Coons, president of the Tacoma Education Association union, said: “I’m so glad the contract was ratified by the school board today. We look forward to being able to focus on the students for the rest of the school year.”

Read more »


Showing restraint, UP City Council OKs deals for mixed-use building, cafe at Town Center

There was no celebration and sparkling apple cider this time around.

The University Place City Council cleared the way Monday night for construction of a five-story building with 100 apartments as well as ground-level retail at the Town Center mixed-use development.

With a second unanimous vote, the council also leased one of two retail space inside the new civic and library building, Town Center’s centerpiece, to a new local business that will offer coffee and a children’s indoor play area.

Council members have waited a long time to see a return on the tens of millions of dollars in public

Read more »


After long delay, bridge toll fines are in the mail

The state resumed Monday mailing out $52 fines to drivers who didn’t pay tolls when crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge this summer.

Computer glitches that arose during the conversion to a new tolling contractor in February caused some people with electronic tolling accounts, known as Good to Go!, to be improperly fined. The state stopped issuing the fines as a result, creating a backlog of 50,000 potential tickets.

The Washington State Department of Transportation and its Texas-based contractor, Electronic Transaction Consultants Corp., have been working out the kinks as they’ve encouraging Good to Go! customers to check and update their

Read more »


Digital billboard update: King County about to allow them; In Tacoma, Clear Channel says settlement is binding when it comes to compensation

It looks like the King County Council will vote next week to allow digital billboards.

Eric Scigliano over at Crosscut.com has done two pieces on billboards in the past few months, and the one posted today recaps the King County situation thusly:

(T)the bold new electronic future is coming to this county’s roadsides. On Sept. 13, a County Council committee that three months ago had deferred a measure to allow the image-shuffling, television-like electronic signs quietly considered an amended version.  Councilmembers Larry Phillips, Jane Hague, Pete von Reichbauer, Bob Ferguson, and Joe McDermott voted unanimously to approve

Read more »