Word on the Street

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

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Category: Joint Base Lewis-McChord


New school construction to start this summer at JBLM

Here’s a construction update from the Clover Park School District in Lakewood:

The district, in partnership with Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is building two new elementary schools on base: Carter Lake and Hillside. The schools will be built at their current locations. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer and be completed by fall 2013.

Funding comes from the Department of Defense and Washington state school construction funds. The DOD funding is the result of a national study of schools on military bases around the country. Carter Lake, located on the McChord section of the base, and Hillside, on Fort Lewis,

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$6.9 million secured for I-5 studies through JBLM

Efforts to relieve congestion on Interstate 5 through Joint Base Lewis-McChord received a $6.9 boost earlier this month.

The supplemental transportation budget state lawmakers approved included the money for studies required by the federal government to rebuild five interchanges along the freeway corridor in Pierce and Thurston counties.

A regional alliance formed last year to better manage South Sound’s military-related growth had requested $7 million. The House and Senate had set aside a total of $5 million in each of their transportation budgets, but negotiations to iron out differences ended up adding another $1.9 million.

Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson said

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Former Stryker brigade commander poised to lead JBLM

Army Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, who led Fort Lewis’ second Stryker brigade into combat in Iraq in 2004-05, has been nominated to command Joint Base Lewis-McChord and I Corps, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

Brown, who is in  line to be promoted to lieutenant general, would succeed Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who took command of the base in October 2010 but then deployed to Afghanistan in July to become the No. 2 commander of that war.

The Army had lined up a new job for Scaparrotti upon his return. He has been nominated as director of the Joint Staff,

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Wife of alleged Afghan shooter releases statement

Karilyn Bales, the wife of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier suspected of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan, just released a written statement through the family’s spokesman, Seattle attorney Lance Rosen:

Here’s the statement in its entirety:


State to use shoulders to move I-5 traffic through JBLM

Motorists will be able to drive on widened shoulders along Interstate 5 during heavy traffic as part of the state’s effort to ease congestion through Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Part of a $15 million federal grant the state Department of Transportation secured Thursday will pay to allow “hard shoulder running” in both directions of the chronically congested freeway stretch between Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane.

The widened shoulders will improve traffic flow by giving motorists extra distance and time to exit I-5 or merge into traffic compared to on- and off-ramps, state officials say.

“It isn’t as good as having

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Yep, you’re seeing more C-17s than usual up there; they’re on a training mission

Up, up, up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane – no, it’s seven C-17s.

If you think you’re seeing more than the usual number of jumbo Air Force planes flying overhead today, you’re right. You’re seeing septuple.

Seven C-17 Globemaster IIIs began taking off from McChord Field at around 10 a.m. for a daylong airdrop training mission for airmen and soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, according to a news release from the 62nd Airlift Wing.

The huge C-17s are the workhorses of the Air Force, and they’ll get a workout today.

During the training exercise, air

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State to review controversial rail plan after all

The state Department of Transportation announced today that it will review the effect of the Point Defiance Bypass project on its surrounding communities after all.

DOT will conduct a project-level, Environmental Assessment of the $91 million project, something for which Lakewood officials have repeatedly asked the state.

It isn’t clear how the environmental assessment, which officials say could take up to two years, will affect the $590 million the state received this year to improve passenger rail along the Interstate 5 corridor.

The state must build the bypass by 2017, or it could potentially lose the federal money.
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