Word on the Street

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

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Category: Key Peninsula


Key Center library to reopen ahead of schedule with improvements

The Key Center Pierce County Library in Lakebay will reopen ahead of schedule on Feb. 4 with more computers, faster Wi-Fi service and more usable space.

The library has been closed since Nov. 14 for the improvements. It was originally scheduled to reopen Feb. 27.

Here’s the news release:

TACOMA – Good news! Key Center Pierce County Library, located at 8905 KPN, Lakebay, plans to reopen earlier than planned, on Monday, Feb. 4, nearly a month ahead of schedule.

Work to make improvements at Key Center Library has gone much faster than planned.

The library will be closed

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High school rivals unite to help sick children

High school rivals from Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools are working together to help sick kids.

During the two schools’ recent football game, the FISH Bowl, students from both schools sold school spirit materials to raise money for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

The students are part of an effort called Students Working Wonders, or SWW. Their efforts will benefit Tree House, a residence for out-of-town families whose children undergo treatment at Mary Bridge.


We’re seeking readers to discuss impact of bridge tolls

The new Tacoma Narrows Bridge turns five years old next month.

The project eased the commute for tens of thousands of residents living and working on the peninsula, but the faster drive came at the cost of bridge tolls.

We are working on stories that examine the future of tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and how they have affected the lives of residents who regularly pay them.

We want to feature residents discussing how tolls have impacted their household budgets, how they’ve adjusted their lifestyles to pay that expense and how they’ll adjust their finances to pay for the

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Key Center: A new traffic light turned on today

Key Center intersection with new traffic light. The parking areas for the ribbon-cutting are shaded.

A fully functioning traffic signal was turned on today on Key Peninsula Highway in the Key Center area, replacing a flashing yellow beacon.

The light is the cornerstone of $2.2 million in improvements to the intersection of Key Peninsula Highway, Olson Drive KPN, and Cramer Road KPN.

A half-hour ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30 in the parking lot of O’Callahan’s Pub and Grill, next to the intersection.

Besides the new traffic signal, the improvements include lights at all corners of the intersection, left turn lanes along Key Peninsula Highway, sidewalks, guardrails, and pedestrian crossings.

The roadway surrounding the intersection was widened from 24 to 44 feet to include paved shoulders.

Construction started in June. But the project’s concept dates back to 2004.

About 8,000 vehicles pass through the intersection on Key Peninsula Highway each day.

The rural area of unincorporated Pierce County is home to about 19,000 people, an increase of more than 70 percent since 1990.

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Wharf’s open, boaters welcome – again – at Longbranch Marina

If you sail or power your boat up to the Longbranch Marina these days, you can actually get off of it and walk to land.

Use the portable toilets. Take a stroll. Check out the Longbranch Improvement Club.

Some 40 people gathered Monday for a ribbon cutting at the new wharf, which replaces an aging structure condemned and fenced off by Pierce County in September.

The wharf was the only way boaters using the Longbranch Improvement Club’s Marina at Filucy Bay could get from their craft to shore – without taking a swim, club president Geoff Baillie said.


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Peninsula students enjoying healthier lunch menu

Students at Harbor Heights Elementary eat lunch Friday. Janet Jensen, staff photographer.

Sophia Gregg snacked on a zesty soft taco during her lunch break Friday at Harbor Heights Elementary in Gig Harbor.

That might not sound different than the thousands of other lunches served every day in school cafeterias across the country, but the 11-year-old wasn’t eating a normal school meal.

Sophia and the 600 other kids Harbor Heights, as well as Voyager Elementary, are being served a healthier lunch menu that’s meant to increase fiber, limit salt and suger.
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Meeting Tuesday on proposed bridge toll increase

The state is recommending toll increases for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. File photo by Drew Perine, The News Tribune. 2008

Residents will get a chance to comment on a proposed increase to toll rates at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Tuesday.

The state’s Citizen Advisory Commission on tolls will meet from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview St.

The committee will discuss the state Transportation Commission’s Jan. 21 recommendation to increase the toll from $2.75 per roundtrip to $3.25 per roundtrip for drivers with a Good to Go! electronic transponder. Drivers without a transponder would pay $5 a trip, a $1 increase to what they pay now.
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Gig Harbor history museum moves closer to opening

The Harbor History Museum could open to the public by summer.

It isn’t definite, but the group behind the 14,500-square-foot, waterfront museum says it’s possible. After receiving some large donations in recent months, the Harbor History Museum has raised $9.68 million toward its $11.4 million goal.

Jennifer Kilmer, the museum’s executive director, said the group is trying to sell a building that’s located near the future museum.

“If we’re able to sell the property within the next few months, I’m hopeful we can open this by summer,” she said today.

To find out more about the project or to make

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