Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Dec. 2011

Dec.
16th

State to use shoulders to move I-5 traffic through JBLM

Motorists will be able to drive on widened shoulders along Interstate 5 during heavy traffic as part of the state’s effort to ease congestion through Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Part of a $15 million federal grant the state Department of Transportation secured Thursday will pay to allow “hard shoulder running” in both directions of the chronically congested freeway stretch between Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane.

The widened shoulders will improve traffic flow by giving motorists extra distance and time to exit I-5 or merge into traffic compared to on- and off-ramps, state officials say.

“It isn’t as good as having

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Dec.
16th

Stranger gives bargain shoppers early Christmas gift

Shoppers at Bargain World on North Pearl Street got more than they bargained for Friday.

An unidentified man came in and handed $20 bills to shoppers. Not once. Not twice. But three times, according to Cherrissa Little, the store’s floor supervisor.

“These days, you don’t see kindness like that,” she said. “To hear that somebody actually did that is very shocking, and it’s very nice.”

Little said the man asked a store clerk when there would be more shoppers at the store and commented he might return yet again.

Tacoma resident Florence Milan was one of a half-dozen or so

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Dec.
15th

First meeting on possible Pierce Transit boundary changes set for Friday

The group of elected officials from around Pierce County that will decide whether to revise Pierce Transit’s boundaries will have its first meeting Friday in Puyallup.

The Public Transportation Improvement Conference meeting is 2:30 p.m. at the Puyallup Library, 324 S. Meridian. The session is open to the public.

Pierce Transit’s board voted last month to convene the conference, which includes elected leaders from every city in the county, and the county government itself

The transit agency today covers about 414 square miles and collects a 0.6 percent sales tax within its boundaries. But after the failure of a

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Dec.
15th

UPlace collecting messages, gift cards to support Army unit mourning loss of four aviators

The city of University Place will collect until Wednesday, Dec. 21, messages of condolence and gift cards in support of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, which lost four aviators when two helicopters crashed in Thurston County during training Monday night.

Five days before the crash, city officials held a holiday reception at the civic and library building to welcome the 16th CAB as University Place’s new Community Connector partner.

Under that program, major subordinates units based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord team up with surrounding communities to build the relationship between service members and residents.

Its soldiers had worked with

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Dec.
13th

Say farewell to old Baker Middle School

Baker Middle School students, alumni and community members can tour the old school building, sign a farewell wall and say goodbye to the old facility as the Tacoma School District prepares to open a new Baker.

The “Final Bite of Baker” celebration is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15 at the old school, 8320 S. I St.

There will be food sold by local vendors, and a student and alumni band will entertain. If you’re interested in joining the alumni band, email band teacher Dean Wagner at dwagner@tacoma.k12.wa.us.

Dec.
13th

Tacoma Waldorf open house Friday

The Tacoma Waldorf School will host a Parent-Child open house from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 16.

Parents, grandparents and caregivers, along with children ages 2 to 3, can spend the morning and learn more about the Waldorf philosophy of education.

The school’s early childhood education is designed to provide families with support and companionship in the early years of parenting. A new class session begins in January and another starts in April.

For more information or to RSVP, call the school at 253-383-8711, email enrollment@tacomawaldorf.org or visit www.tacomawaldorf.org.

Dec.
12th

Cities give cool reception to return of flood control zone

It’s coming down to the same old arguments as Pierce County and its cities weigh the formation of a countywide taxing district for flood control.

Officials from DuPont, Lakewood and Steilacoom questioned Monday night why the proposed flood control district should assess the same tax rate countywide when residents in some areas would benefit from its projects more than those living in other areas.

Lakewood City Councilman Michael Brandstetter said establishing a blanket rate “seems arbitrary given where the risk is” and favored asking property owners in the Puyallup River watershed to pay more given they’ll receive the

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Dec.
12th

Bogus Orting Middle School Facebook page removed

A Facebook page purporting to be associated with Orting Middle School and featuring what several online commenters described as offensive photos has been taken down, according to Orting Schools Superintendent Michelle Curry.

She said the page was brought to her attention Sunday, but that it was removed, apparently by Facebook. She said the page containing the photos was not affiliated with Orting schools and was not connected to Orting Middle School’s official website. The district was trying to contact Facebook on Monday, she added.