Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Nov. 2011


Key Center: A new traffic light turned on today

Key Center intersection with new traffic light. The parking areas for the ribbon-cutting are shaded.

A fully functioning traffic signal was turned on today on Key Peninsula Highway in the Key Center area, replacing a flashing yellow beacon.

The light is the cornerstone of $2.2 million in improvements to the intersection of Key Peninsula Highway, Olson Drive KPN, and Cramer Road KPN.

A half-hour ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30 in the parking lot of O’Callahan’s Pub and Grill, next to the intersection.

Besides the new traffic signal, the improvements include lights at all corners of the intersection, left turn lanes along Key Peninsula Highway, sidewalks, guardrails, and pedestrian crossings.

The roadway surrounding the intersection was widened from 24 to 44 feet to include paved shoulders.

Construction started in June. But the project’s concept dates back to 2004.

About 8,000 vehicles pass through the intersection on Key Peninsula Highway each day.

The rural area of unincorporated Pierce County is home to about 19,000 people, an increase of more than 70 percent since 1990.

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State declines to weigh in on Lakewood sewer franchise fee

The state Attorney General’s Office has declined a request from state Sen. Mike Carrell for a opinion on the legality of the franchise fee the city of Lakewood charges Pierce County.

Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Even wrote Carrell, R-Lakewood, in a letter dated Wednesday said the office doesn’t issue opinions on legal questions litigated in court.

Lakewood resident Anton Miller sued the city and county over the  fee in Thurston County Superior Court in March. A judge granted a motion filed by the city of Lakewood to dismiss the claims in May.

“Once an issue has been raised in court,

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UPlace city manager to make year-end presentation Dec. 1

University Place City Manager Steve Sugg will hold a meeting Dec. 1 to discuss major city projects and highlights from 2011.

Residents will have the opportunity to ask Sugg questions about any topic.

The hourlong meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 3715 Bridgeport Way West.

The public presentation will replay on University Place Television (UPTV). Replay times will be posted on the city’s website.

Citizens who are unable to attend the public presentation can send their questions to Eric Faison, assistant city manager for  administrative services, by e-mailing him at efaison@cityofup.com.

For more information, call Sugg’s assistant

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Adoptions finalized and celebrated at Juvenile Court

Kim and Tony Baumann knew they couldn’t let go of 12-year-old Tahlea Garcia, their foster child for the past nine months.

“I fell in love with her,” Kim Baumann said. “She stole our hearts.”

In Pierce County Juvenile Court in Tacoma today, Kim Baumann pledged to love and care for Tahlea, to see her get married some day and have a child. The Baumanns adopted Tahlea, who with the approval of Judge Thomas Felnagle officially became a Baumann.

Surrounded by balloons and cakes, 12 families gathered for National Adoption Day to have their adoptions of 15 children finalized.

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New Puyallup council member to take office this month

One of Puyallup City Council’s new members will take office at the end of the month.

The winner of the District 1, Position 2 council race will take his oath after the election results are certified – something that’s scheduled to happen Nov. 29. The results won’t be official until then, but it appears the winner will be John Hopkins. He has a solid lead over opponent Tom Smillie.

Both men vied for the District 1 seat that’s currently filled by Councilwoman Nicole Martineau, who was appointed in 2010.

Because she was appointed, she only serves until the election is

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Lakewood Playhouse wrapping up search for new director

The Lakewood Playhouse intends to name a new managing artistic director as early as next month.

The previous director, Marcus Walker, died March 11 of skin cancer after serving 10 years at the helm.

Board member Duncan Foley said about two dozen applicants applied after a national search. He said the board plans to hire someone in late December or early January.

“We’re moving along, but it’s not as fast as we hoped,” he said.

Meanwhile, the theater is making two permanent additions to honor Walker.

On Oct. 28, the eve of what would have been Walker’s 54th birthday, family,

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Puyallup council signs off on annexation

More than 100 acres northeast of Puyallup will become part of the city in January.

The City Council on Tuesday night approved annexing 113.6 acres. The land includes about five homes, agriculture land and the new Shaw Road overpass.

Mayor Kathy Turner said Neil Van Lierop, the majority property owner, has been exceedingly patient. The daffodil grower has wanted to annex for some time.

“I’m happy to say that one of my last acts as mayor will be to see this accomplished,” said Turner, who faces term limits and leaves office next month.

The land is within the city’s urban

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Denny’s holiday food drive gives back to donors, too

All 37 of the Seattle-Tacoma area Denny’s began a seven-week holiday food drive today to benefit Northwest Harvest.

Those who donate five canned or boxed food items at any South Sound Denny’s today will receive a voucher for a $1 Original Grand Slam breakfast.

Those who donate between Nov. 16 and Dec. 31 will receive a 10 percent discount coupon, which is good on any Denny’s food purchase through Jan. 15.

“At a time when most of us are preparing for holiday celebrations, more than 160,000 households in this area don’t know where their next meal will come from,”

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