Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Oct. 2012


Puyallup council may increase social service funding

The Puyallup City Council is on course to increase the amount of money the city allocates to community social service groups.

A majority of the seven members indicated during a budget workshop Tuesday that they support setting the pot at $110,550 – about $10,000 $5,500 more than this year – with the money split among groups including Puyallup Food Bank and St. Francis House.

“I didn’t want to see the commitment (to these groups) go

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20,000 participate in I-1240 telephone town hall

Opponents of the charter school initiative, I-1240, said that 20,000 Washington voters joined a statewide conference call last week to learn about the proposal facing voters Nov. 6.

People for Our Public Schools, which opposes the initiative, asked voters who called in to weigh in on several questions.

Here are some of the results, reported by People for Our Public Schools:
Which of the following do you feel should be the top priority for funding?
Restore art, music and similar enrichment courses: 26.83%
Create a system of charter schools in Washington: 12.67%
Reduce classroom overcrowding:

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County Council approves tax exemption for Parkland project

The Pierce County Council today unanimously approved a 12-year property tax exemption for a residential development that will change the face of Parkland.

Construction on a $20 million project to build 104 apartments, plus office and retail space, a block away from Pacific Lutheran University is expected to start in January and finish 12 months later, said developer John Korsmo.

The four-story project, called Garfield North, has been controversial not only because of the tax break that will help drive it. The development also is displacing seven small businesses. Owners of one business are critical of how they’ve been treated by developers.

Council member Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, said the Garfield North will be the best thing that’s happened to Parkland in a decade, bringing jobs and “a higher quality of life.”

Councilman Stan Flemming, R-University Place, said the project will further revitalize the Garfield area.

State lawmakers this year approved a 12-year property tax exemption on the values of new residential housing on Garfield Street. It’s a tool cities have had for years.

“In order for the project to make sense financially, the tax abatement was a necessity,” said Korsmo, president of Tacoma-based Korsmo Construction.

Garfield North aims to attract PLU professors, staff members and other professionals to live near campus instead of in downtown Tacoma or Seattle.

The tax exemption starting in 2015 applies only to the residential portion of the 127,000 square-foot project.

The exemption would create an estimated annual tax burden of at least $239,000, resulting in higher taxes, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

But developers don’t expect an overall loss in property tax revenue from current levels because the land and retail space would be taxed.

In addition, $15 million in construction costs are expected to generate $1.4 million in sales tax.

The council voted 7-0 today in favor of the tax exemption. In August, it had designated the Garfield neighborhood as a larger target area for the multi-family property tax exemption. The tax break is contingent on 20 percent of the units being rented as affordable housing.

The development is a partnership of PLU, Korsmo Construction and Affinity Investments of Tacoma.

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Car museum hosts benefit for sick boy

A nine-year-old boy with roots and family in the Auburn area is fighting for his life and needs an expensive cell transplant. That’s why his family and friends are hoping to sell lots of tickets for a fundraiser they’re holding Saturday night in Tacoma at LeMay: America’s Car Museum.

Eli Olsen was only 3 years old when he was diagnosed with hereditary pancreatitis, celiac disease and a cystic fibrosis gene. For the last 4 months he’s been unable to eat and has been sustained through a feeding tube in his chest. Eli and his family have moved to California, but

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Bethel schools boundary re-draw discussion tonight, Thursday

Tonight is the first of two opportunities for residents of the Bethel School District to hear about proposed adjustments to attendance boundaries for the district’s middle and high schools. If approved, the changes would take effect at the start of the 2013-14 school year.

The district plans to adjust the boundaries to alleviate overcrowding and to accommodate the shift to middle schools for students in grades six through eight, which the school board approved Oct. 9 . This year, middle schools served only students in grade seven and eight, while ninth graders moved from the former junior highs to the

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South Sound students take a bite out of hunger

Federal Way High School students are coordinating a Halloween “We Scare Hunger Campaign.”

Students from more than 21 area high schools – including students from the Puyallup, Tacoma, Auburn, Kent and Highline school districts – will gather at 7 p.m. at the Federal Way Lowe’s, 35425 Enchanted Pkwy. South, to kick off the event Wednesday.

Students will gather canned foods for Halloween trick or treating between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., return to Lowe’s and fill up two trucks with canned food to take to the Federal Way Multiservice Center.

The campaign is part of a district-wide initiative in Federal

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Point Defiance Zoo seeks donations in race to save tigers

There’s no running involved in the race to save tigers.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is hoping people will contribute to their efforts to raise $5,000 for Tiger $5K: The Race to Save Tigers, a campaign trying to halt poaching in Southeast Asia.

Money raised in the campaign will support Wildlife Conservation Society efforts to stop poaching, reduce human-tiger conflict and provide veterinary care to tigers caught in snares, said zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck.

“If we don’t act now, these tigers could disappear from the wild within a generation,” Goodrowe Beck said.

Donations are tax deductible. They can

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Registration for University Place caroling contest under way

University Place’s holiday caroling contest is right around the corner.

Groups have until Nov. 19 to register for the 2nd annual “Duck the Halls” Caroling Competition in University Place. UP for Art and Families Unlimited Network are sponsoring the event.

The contest will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1 in the University Place Market Square, located in front of the new civic and library building. It will be held in conjunction with the city’s tree lighting ceremony.

Competing groups should practice at least two holiday songs with a maximum time limit of eight minutes for judging

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