Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Jan. 2013


Tacoma schools optional enrollment period ends Monday

Tacoma parents still have time to apply for optional enrollment for their fifth- or eighth-grade students. Tacoma Public Schools optional enrollment period ends Monday Feb. 4. Optional enrollment expands the choices for these students residing within the boundaries of the school district.

Families can visit the district Web site here  for a list of Innovative Schools to consider when submitting an optional enrollment application.

Parents can submit an application for their child to attend any middle or high school, providing the school has the capacity to add more students. Currently Mason and Truman middle schools are closed

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Book based on Ivan the Gorilla wins Newbery Medal

A book inspired by Ivan the Gorilla has won the John Newbery Medal for the year’s outstanding contribution to children’s literature, the American Library Association announced this morning.

Katherine Applegate’s “The One and Only Ivan” tells the tale of a gorilla who remakes his life after befriending a baby elephant and moving from his enclosure at a mall to a zoo.

The Newbery award is considered the most prestigious of its kind.

The tale was based on Ivan, a gorilla that spent 27 years in a steel and concrete cage at the B&I Shopping Center, which was once a

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Puyallup councilmen set neighborhood meeting

Three Puyallup City Council members have scheduled a District 2 neighborhood meeting for Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Puyallup Nazarene Church, 1026 Seventh Ave. SW.

District 2 council members Rick Hansen and John Palmer and at-large council member Steve Vermillion will attend and lead the forum. Hansen is also mayor of Puyallup.


Pierce County educators win statewide Golden Apple Awards

A Lakewood school and a Tacoma teacher will be honored at the 2012 Golden Apple Awards ceremony Feb. 1.

The awards, from KCTS9 public television in Seattle, will recognize Southgate Elementary School in Lakewood’s Clover Park School District and teacher Kathleen Casper, who works with highly capable students in Tacoma Public Schools.

Southgate is one of three schools that will be presented with the Pathways to Excellence award, new this year from the Golden Apples. The award notes Southgate’s transformation over the past five years. Examples: the percentage of third-graders meeting state standards in math grew from 42 percent in

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Open house scheduled on expansion of county’s wastewater treatment plant in UP

An open house on the $353 million expansion of the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in University Place will take place Jan. 31.

The expansion will increase the capacity of the county’s sewage treatment plant and add technologies to help protect the environment. Project staff members and contractors will be available at the open house to talk one-on-one with the public. The event will be from 5-7 p.m. in Pierce County’s Environmental Services Building, 9850 64th St. W., University Place.

Here’s the news release:

January 23, 2013

Learn about wastewater treatment plant expansion at

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Lakewood selects new mayor, deputy mayor

The Lakewood City Council unanimously selected Councilman Don Anderson as mayor Tuesday night.

The departure of Mayor Doug Richardson last week to the Pierce County Council left a vacancy in the largely ceremonial seat and council members had to name a successor. The mayor is not independently elected but selected from among the seven council members.

“It’s an honor and I look forward to the challenge,” Anderson said Wednesday.

Anderson is the fourth mayor in the city’s nearly 17-year history. In addition to Richardson, Bill Harrison and Claudia Thomas also served in the post.

Under Lakewood’s system of government,

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South Sound 911 board approves contract, annual salary of $175,000 for Neiditz

The South Sound 911 Policy Board today unanimously approved a three-year contract for Andrew Neiditz, who will be paid an annual salary of $175,000 as the new agency’s first executive director.

The board set Neiditz’s salary at the bottom of the position’s salary range of $175,000 to $205,000. Neiditz, 59, currently earns $156,000 annually as city manager of Lakewood.

The contract includes the option for a two-year extension in the future if the board and Neiditz agree, said Pierce County spokesman Hunter George.

Neiditz must give 30 days notice under his contract with Lakewood. George said Neiditz will start

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Free flu shot clinic in Tacoma Wednesday

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will provide free flu vaccines for children uninsured adults Wednesday.

Adults up to age 64 and children from six months to 18 years can get the vaccine from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 3629 S. D St., the health department.

The nasal spray vaccine will be available for children.

About 200 people came to the department’s free flu vaccine clinic Jan. 16.