Word on the Street

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

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Category: Point Defiance


Seal pups go on exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Thursday

Visitors to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will get to meet two newborn harbor seals for the first time Thursday.

The pups, whose names will be announced at their public debut, are swimming well and will be released into the main harbor seal exhibit pool at 11 a.m., the zoo said.

Shila, 8, gave birth to a male pup June 2. Qilak, 9, had a female pup June 10.

Since their births, the pups have been nursing behind the scenes.

The zoo is also home to harbors seals Blackie, 37, and Louise, 36.


Meet Tien, Tacoma’s newest clouded leopard

Six-week-old Tien, an endangered clouded leopard cub is held by staff biologist Kadie Burrone, during his afternoon feeding time. (Janet Jensen/Staff photographer) See more photos of the cub in our gallery.

The clouded leopard cub born last month at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium now has a name and can be seen by visitors to the zoo.

Tien, (pronounced Tea-n), was named by zookeepers for the Thai word meaning strong, stable and steady, though it’s not a direct translation, according to staff.

He was born to mother Chai Li and dad Nah Fun May 1,

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Second harbor seal pup of the month born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Harbor seal Qilak gave birth to a 22.6-pound female pup Monday, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s second in eight days.

A male pup was born June 2 to 8-year-old Shila.

Both newborns are bonding with their mothers behind the scenes, and have yet to be named.

The male pup is “already becoming quite a swimmer,” said Neil Allen, curator of aquatic animals.

The newborns need time to nurse and gain a layer of blubber to regulate their own temperatures, according to the zoo. It could be a couple weeks before they make their public debuts.


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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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Book signing Saturday featuring new photo history of Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park

I’m a sucker for these Images of America books that have blossomed lately.

The product of a South Carolina publisher, the series includes nearly 8,000 books featuring cities, towns and subjects from across the country. Authors work with Arcadia Publishing to select topics, collect historic photos and write the chapter lead-ins and the captions. They get a royalty for each book sold.

Like most people, I most enjoy the books on places I am familiar with such as the editions on the Proctor District, the Stadium District, downtown Tacoma, Old Tacoma or topics of interest like Baseball in Tacoma-Pierce County.

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Irrigation line replacement could impact visitors to Point Defiance Park

Crews today will begin upgrading the irrigation main at Point Defiance Park, a project that should take about eight weeks to complete.

Nearly 7,000 lineal feet of main line, which is about the length of 20 football fields, will be installed.

Park Superintendent Vito Iacobazzi said workers will do everything possible to minimize the impact on visitors, but some areas may close and traffic could be rerouted as lines under the roads are replaced.

Pathways from the Pearl Street entrance through the pond and gardens will be affected, as well as the Visitors Center, Pagoda and tennis courts.

The project

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Drive to qualify Lakewood bypass initiative short of goal

Backers of an initiative aimed at stopping high-speed passenger trains from rumbling through Lakewood neighborhoods have a long row to hoe to qualify for the May ballot.

David Anderson, who started the signature drive, said Wednesday supporters have collected 297 signatures, 5 percent of the 5,500 signatures he wants to have in hand by his Dec. 11 deadline.

Supporters must gather 4,029 valid signatures from registered voters in Lakewood to qualify the initiative. They seek 20 percent more to account for invalid signatures the Pierce County Auditor’s Office throws out because the signer doesn’t live in Lakewood or didn’t register

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Zoo, park light up holidays with annual displays

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Spanaway Park come alive this week with the glow of thousands of holiday lights, fashioned into elaborate displays of animals, landmarks and scenes of the season.
Fantasy Lights opens Thursday; Zoolights opens Friday. Both run through Jan. 2.

Here are the details on the popular displays.


What: A two-mile drive along Spanaway Lake, featuring more than 300 displays using thousands of lights spaced around the park. The 16th annual event is sponsored by Pierce County Parks and Recreation. You’ll see “bears flying kites, snowboys kicking field goals, penguins sliding down an igloo, Santa sailing a ship, frogs jumping on lily pads, reindeer leaping over your car,” and a Wonderland Train Station, according to the Fantasy Lights website. As you drive, you can set your radio to 93.7 FM for holiday music performed by a local high school.

Where: Spanaway Park, 15602 Pacific Ave. S.

When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. nightly, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Admission at the gate: $13 per passenger vehicle; $28 per mini-bus (16 to 24 people); $45 per bus

Discount admissions: $10 admission per passenger vehicle available at Lakewood Community Center, Sprinker Recreation Center and Garfield Book Co. at Pacific Lutheran University.

Be prepared for long lines: Waits can be an hour on busy Friday and Saturday nights, according to the website. The display is less busy Sunday through Thursday.

More information

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