Word on the Street

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

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Category: Issues


Youth and adults mark Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and 73 Washington communities are using Town Hall meetings to raise awareness and mobilize efforts to prevent underage drinking.

A youth-led event, “It’s Only Fun If You Remember It,” is scheduled for 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. April  27 at Mel Korum YMCA, 302 43rd Ave. S.E., Puyallup. It is sponsored by Trauma Trust of Tacoma. For more information, e-mail kim.nygard@multicare.org.

Other organizations listed as awareness month participants include Safe Streets of Tacoma (contact: mwilson@safest.org) and Orting Standing Together on Prevention. (contact: heather@ortingstop.com.)

According to the Centers for Disease Control, underage drinking cost the

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Driving while holding cell phone may cost you

The twisted metal and shattered glass of Heather Lerch’s black 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt served as a grim example Friday to raise awareness of a new cell phone law that will take effect June 10.

State Patrol Chief John Batiste, Licensing Director Liz Luce and state Sen. Tracey Eide praised the law at the news conference outside State Patrol and DOL offices in Parkland. The wreckage of Lerch’s car sat nearby on a trailer.

Lerch, 19, died instantly in a one-car crash Feb. 23 south of Olympia. It was a stretch of road she had traveled hundreds of times. Yet as she drove home from work that night, she was also sending text messages.

“Hey you and I need to hang sometime ;-)” she wrote. “Alright cool :-)”

That was her last text message, sent at 10:27 p.m. The first caller to report her crash dialed 911 at 10:30 p.m. Read more »


Get out your work gloves and brooms!

Here’s a few more details about an event that I briefed in the paper version of The News Tribune earlier this week:

Organizers are hoping 1,500 volunteers young and old will show up to tidy up Tacoma’s Eastside this Saturday (May 2).

Already, 1,200 students, families and other community members have signed up to clean around schools and along safe walking routes to schools from 9 a.m. to noon in the 2009 Eastside Clean Sweep project, according to a Tacoma School District news release.

Four St. Vincent DePaul trucks will be stationed throughout the Eastside community to

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More than 1,400 bird strikes reported in state since 1990

The Federal Aviation Adimistration just released its database on bird strikes.

Washington saw more than 1,400 since 1990. There were 134 last year.

The FAA cautions, however, that they think only about 20 percent are being reported.

That would mean there were really about 7,000 in the last 19 years.


Another reporter on a listserv for computer-geek journalists spotted this description deep in the national data:

“Gotta love the 5 green iguana strikes, like INDEX_ID=114998: "REPTD BY PILOT WHO WAS NOT INVOLVED

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‘We’re about solving the program’

Columnist Kathleen Merryman, upon reading the Crosscut article below about the panhandling ordinance, weighs in with this:

Tacoma now has a variety of Housing First programs. They include those that get housing for the chronically homeless, the people living in encampments, veterans, and people with mental illness.

Tacoma is following up its initial Alcohol Impact Area with another that will cover most of the south and east parts of town.

Tacoma shelter and drop-in center providers have coordinated their hours to provide maximum shelter and meals for those who need them. That’s important, because people here know

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