Word on the Street

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

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Archives: March 2013

March
28th

Don from Tacoma: Is he for or against same sex marriage?

Is Don really representative of the 2-5-3?

That’s the question, after a Tacoma man appeared last night on ABC’s late night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The man, who identified himself as “Don from Tacoma, Washington,” was featured on Kimmel’s recurring audience participation game called, “The Pedestrian Question.”

The object:  Members of Kimmel’s studio audience try to guess how people interviewed on the street will answer the question of the day.

Yesterday’s question posed to Don: “Are you for or against same sex marriage?”

Not only did Don answer that question, but

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March
28th

Lakewood sues to stop rerouting of Amtrak trains

The city of Lakewood has sued the state to stop the proposed rerouting of Amtrak passenger trains through the community in its tracks.

The city claims that the Washington State Department of Transportation’s environmental review of the project glossed over traffic and neighborhood impacts on Lakewood and, specifically, its isolated Tillicum neighborhood by using incorrect or insufficient information.

The city filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court.

The three-year environmental review, approved by federal officials on March 1, concluded moving Amtrak trains from the waterfront route around Point Defiance to an inland route passing

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March
26th

County Council approves contract for equipment operators with cost-of-living raises in 2014

The Pierce County Council has approved a contract that will give a group of employees its first cost-of-living wage increase in three years.

The council unanimously ratified a contract calling for a cumulative 2.5 percent wage hike for 23 heavy equipment operators in 2014. The two-year agreement has no cost-of-living adjustment for 2013.

Council members made no comments Tuesday before casting their vote.

It’s the first of eight ratified agreements with the same COLA schedule to reach the council for approval. Contracts for 12 other bargaining units have yet to be completed.

So far, 414 county employees have agreed

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March
26th

Tacoma City Council honors late Gov. Booth Gardner

The Tacoma City Council on Tuesday honored former governor Booth Gardner, who died March 15 at age 76.

“He was born in Tacoma. He died in Tacoma. He was Tacoma, through and through,” said Booth’s daughter, Gail Gant, in response to a resolution honoring the former governor that was read by Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Gant later received a standing ovation from council members and the audience.

Council members recalled Gardner not only as a gifted politician but a man who remained generous and accessible even after ascending to the state’s top elected office.

A public memorial service for Gardner

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March
26th

County Council approves measure calling for registration of foreclosed homes

The Pierce County Council unanimously approved a measure today calling for foreclosed homes to be registered and abandoned residential properties to be maintained.

Owners who don’t comply could face enforcement steps, including penalties.

Many details – such as what the registration fee and penalties would be – remain to be worked out.

After that, the council will need to adopt an ordinance in the summer enacting the new program.

County Council analyst Hugh Taylor said he expects an ordinance to be developed by the end of June with the council making a final decision by the end of

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March
26th

Open houses scheduled to explain Asarco yard cleanup program

The Washington State Department of Ecology has scheduled two open houses to inform North Tacoma residents about a new cleanup program for residential yards contaminated by the old Asarco Smelter.

The state has more than $60 million to spend on the cleanup from an Asarco settlement. Homeowners whose property is contaminated may qualify to have soil removed and replaced with clean fill.

The first open house will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at the Point Defiance Elementary School cafeteria, 4330 N. Visscher St., Tacoma.

The second open house will be held from 6:30 p.m.

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March
25th

Tollpayers can comment on proposed Narrows toll hike

Tollpayers and others have two chances to comment on a proposal by the Washington State Transportation Commission to increase tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge by 25 cents during each of the next two summers.

Comments will be taken at two commission meetings scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 15 and May 20. Both meetings will take place at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview Street. The commission is scheduled to take action on tolls at the May 20 meeting.

Those unable to attend the meeting can send comments via email or “snail mail.” Written

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March
25th

County Council committee postpones action on moving council meetings to a later start time

A Pierce County Council committee today delayed action on moving the full council’s meetings to a later starting time so more members of the public could attend.

The panel weighed increased access versus added costs of moving Tuesday’s council meetings from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Increased costs would include security screening at one entrance to the County-City Building and a Sheriff’s deputy for the meeting and building. Council budget analyst Paul Bocchi estimated the added costs at $13,300 a year.

Council member Connie Ladenburg, D-Tacoma, proposed moving the council meetings to 5 p.m.

She said the council needs to

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