Word on the Street

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

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Category: General


No Lakewood measure this year for street upkeep fee

The Lakewood City Council continues to spin its wheels over asking voters to approve a fee or tax for street maintenance.

Council members have turned their focus to 2014 with time to get the measure on this year’s ballot running out — the deadline to send a measure to the November ballot is Aug. 7 — and as they remain undecided on a specific proposal.

After more than two years of research and discussion, including separate reviews and recommendations by a citizen advisory board and an ad hoc committee of three council members, the full council remains unsure what fee or tax

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Lakewood, fire district to honor 19 Arizona firefighters

The city of Lakewood and West Pierce Fire and Rescue will fly their flags at half-staff and encourage residents to observe a moment of silence Tuesday, July 9, in remembrance of the 19 Arizona firefighters killed in a wildfire last week.

The day coincides with a memorial service for the firefighters that Vice President Joe Biden will attend.

Mayor Don Anderson, a former volunteer firefighter, alluded to the November 2009 murder of four Lakewood police officers when he stated in a press release that the city shares a “special understanding of the loss suffered by their families and community.”

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Public exposed to measles at Sea-Tac, officials say

Public health officials say people who were at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the Fourth of July may have been exposed to measles.

A contagious traveler flew from Beijing to Seattle and passed through the South Satellite baggage claim and customs area, then took the train to the main terminal and the baggage claim area there.

Most people in the Puget Sound area have immunity to the measles through vaccination so the risk to the general public is low, according to James Apa, spokesman for Public Health Seattle & King County.

However, people

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New Lakewood city manager to fill key executive jobs

Incoming City Manager John Caulfield will have two key jobs to fill when he starts work in September.

After last month’s departure of assistant city manager Choi Halladay, officials learned communications director Jeff Brewster, a Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, has been mobilized for the second time in more than two years.

Interim City Manager Heidi Wachter, who will return to her job as city attorney with Caulfield’s arrival, said she’s seeking feedback from Caulfield before beginning the search for Halladay’s successor.

Halladay, who was hired by Lakewood in May 2007, accepted a job as vice president for administrative services at

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Lakewood City Council to OK new city manager’s contract

The four-month search for a new Lakewood city manager ends tonight when the City Council is poised to approve a contract with Mountlake Terrace City Manager John Caulfield to lead the daily operations of Pierce County’s second-largest city.

Caulfield starts work Sept. 3.

Caulfield would earn $165,000 to start, according to his proposed contract. Former city manager Andrew Neiditz earned $156,124 a year when he resigned in February, according to his most recent employment contract.

The new city manager also will receive $16,000 a year in deferred compensation. Neiditz’s deferred compensation was based on 11 percent of his current base

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Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll rates increase Monday

As the temperature goes up, so do Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls.

The toll rates will increase 25 cents on Monday, the first of two increases approved by the Washington State Transportation Commission in May. The second 25-cent increase will take effect on July 1, 2014.

Good to Go! tolls will be $4.25, and tollbooth and pay-by-mail tolls will be $5.25 and $6.25, respectively.

State official financed the project by backloading the debt in an effort to keep tolls as low as possible when the new span opened in July 2007. Officials assumed increases in tolls —

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Tacoma’s population passes 200,000 for 1st time, estimates show

The City of Destiny reached a new destination on April 1: 200,000 people.

Tacoma’s population surpassed that number for the first time in its history, according to the latest state population estimates released Thursday.

The city’s population grew by 800 people in the last year for a total population of 200,400, according to the estimates prepared by the state Office of Financial Management.

Tacoma remains the state’s third most populous city behind Seattle, population: 626,600, and Spokane, population: 211,300. Spokane solidified its projected lead on Tacoma as the state’s second-largest city in the last 12 months, with the gap growing

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Fife police officers receive department’s Lifesaving Award for helping save infant in April

Two Fife police officers were honored at the Fife City Council meeting on Tuesday for efforts that saved a young life.

Officers Tobin Volkman and Jeff McNaughton of the Fife Police Department were awarded the Lifesaving Award for responding to a call dealing with an infant who stopped breathing, said city spokeswoman Laurel Potter.

The award is given to officers whose quick action and sound judgment result in saving a life, she said in an email Thursday.

When Volkman and McNaughton arrived at the scene on April 1, the baby was having extreme difficulty breathing and soon stopped breathing altogether,

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