Word on the Street

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

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Archives: May 2013


State: DuPont owes $600,000 for pension errors

State retirement officials have ordered DuPont city officials to pay a total of $600,000 for incorrectly classifying three current and former city employees as independent contractors.

An audit released Friday by the state Department of Retirement Systems found that Fire Chief Greg Hull wrongly received retirement pension payments while contracting to run the south Pierce County city’s fire department. It held the city liable for them because it did not report accurate information to the state-run pension system. Officials said the amount totaled $555,000.

The audit also ordered the city make contributions owed to the system from two other employees,

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Search for new Lakewood city manager narrows to 13 applicants

A consultant is focusing on 13 people as the best candidates to become Lakewood’s next city manager, according to documents obtained by The News Tribune.

Of the 32 people who applied for the job, consultant Greg Prothman identified in a memo to the Lakewood City Council that he selected 13 for first-round interviews that are currently underway. (Fourteen of the 32 applicants were from Washington state, three from Texas and two each from Minnesota and Oregon.)

Mayor Don Anderson said the candidate pool is deep, noting that the hiring process that landed former city manager Andrew Neiditz, who resigned in

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Tacoma: Arts Commission to convene review panel on June 4 to contemplate totem pole

With the fate of Tacoma’s totem pole still undetermined, the city’s Arts Commission is now set to convene a “de-accession” review panel on June 4 to consider whether the aging artifact should be removed from the municipal art collection.

During the special meeting, panel members will be tasked with reviewing the city’s de-accession policy, or the formal process to remove an artwork from the city’s collection. The panel will then consider its recommendation based on health, safety and cultural considerations.

As we’ve written about here, here, here and here, two city commissions and an ad hoc

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Pierce County Auditor’s Office announces special 3-day candidate filing period for elections

The Pierce County Auditor’s Office announced an elections filing period for races that have yet to attract candidates for the August primary and the November general election.

The special three-day filing period begins Wednesday and concludes June 7, according to a Pierce County news release.

There are 25 county races without candidates across Pierce County, including positions for city councils and school, fire and water districts. State law requires filing be reopened when no one files for a position during the regular filing period, according to the release.

People interested in open positions can file online at

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Two Tacoma restoration projects – Point Defiance Pagoda and Murray Morgan Bridge – win awards from State Historic Preservation office

The annual awards presented by state Historic Preservation Officer Allyson Brooks coincide with National Preservation Month.

Two of the awards for 2013 recognized significant restoration projects in Tacoma, one by the city and the other by the Metropolitan Park District.

One of two Valerie Sivinski Awards for Outstanding Rehabilitation went to the city’s renovation and reopening of the Murray Morgan Bridge across the Foss Waterway. The century old steel draw bridge reopened in February. Here’s what the state office said about that project:

… after years of delayed maintenance and repairs, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced plans

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Pop stars Carly Rae Jepsen, Hot Chelle Rae added to long list of concerts at the Washington State Fair

A popular pair of Raes in pop music will hit the stage at the Washington State Fair in September, according to a fair news release.

Canadia Idol star Carly Rae Jepsen and the pop quartet Hot Chelle Rae will perform on Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Fair’s concert series.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, June 1, and cost $20-$50 including Fair admission. Tickets can be purchased online at thefair.com/concerts or in person at the Fair’s box office at 9th Avenue SW and Meridian Street on Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., according to the release.

The Washington State Fair

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What’s open, what’s closed this Memorial Day

Here’s a breakdown of what services are open and which are closed for the holiday:

• City and county offices will be closed.

• Pierce County libraries will be closed. Tacoma libraries are not open on Mondays.

• Post offices will be closed and there will be no home mail delivery.

• Garbage will be picked up as usual in Tacoma, and the city’s landfill and recycling center will be open.

• Pierce Transit services will run on a Sunday schedule. Phone information services will be closed.

• Sound Transit buses and Tacoma Link Light Rail will operate on a

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Puyallup City Council approves appointments to new citizens task force on homelessness

A new task force is in place and will begin scheduling public meetings soon to discuss issues related to adult homelessness in Puyallup, according to city spokeswoman Melanie Harding.

On Tuesday night, the Puyallup City Council confirmed appointments to a new citizens group tasked with reviewing issues related to homelessness and its impacts on citizens and businesses in the city.

The six-member committee will look at a variety of focus questions and, with the help of a facilitator, work to identify solutions to key issues.

Members will approach the issue from a variety of perspectives.

Zac Green and Patrick McGregor

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