City Briefs Jan. 23rd, 2013
MELLO ARRESTED IN DUI INCIDENT
Tacoma City Councilmember Ryan Mello was arrested by a Washington State Trooper Saturday night for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after he reportedly failed field sobriety test, according to a report on MYNWNews.com and picked up by the New Takoman.
Mello was elected to the Tacoma City Council in 2011 and represents an at-large position.
Mello attended the University of Puget Sound, where he earned a degree in Politics and Government. Ryan has also served as a chief of staff for State Rep. Hans Dunshee and before that as an AmeriCorps volunteer implementing the Youth United program at the United Way of Pierce County.
He currently works as the executive director for the Pierce Conservation District. His term on the council expires in 2015.
CALL FOR CUTENESS: TACOMA WEEKLY'S PHOTO CONTEST
With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, we promoters of all things lovey dovey in the 253 would like to celebrate with a "cutest couple" contest.
Email a photo of you and your love muffin to SteveDunkel@TacomaWeekly.com by Feb. 1. The collection of photos will be posted at TacomaWeekly.com and on our social media sites on Feb. 4.
Voting will run from Feb. 4 to Feb. 11. Simply comment on the photo with your vote, email your vote or “like” it. The winner is the one with most valid votes and will be announced Feb. 12.
The winning couple will receive a bouquet of roses from Fife Flowers, which is also donating a dinner for two at Fife Bar and Grill.
WHITMAN ELEMENTARY ADDED TO NATIONAL REGISTER
Historic Tacoma reports that the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places has accepted the nomination of Whitman Elementary. Whitman Elementary, built in 1952, is a strong example of International Style architecture and was designed by the firm of Lea, Pearson & Richards. The building was one of several designed to replace older schools damaged in a 1949 earthquake.
NALLEY VALLEY DEMO WORK RESUMES
Demolition of the original eastbound State Route 16 Nalley Valley viaduct in Tacoma has resumed. WSDOT and contractor Mowat Construction suspended demolition work Jan. 11 after a bridge support column, called a “tetrapod,” fell onto the shoulder of South Tacoma Way. Per WSDOT’s standard practices, a safety buffer was in place while this section of the original viaduct was being demolished and no injuries occurred. The demolition work is part of WSDOT’s
I-5/SR 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley project.
Following the incident, WSDOT and contractor Mowat Construction reviewed the project’s demolition practices and procedures. Mowat determined that the incident was caused by cutting the girders that connect the tetrapod’s legs before removing enough concrete. The top-heavy weight of the tetrapod allowed it to lean and ultimately fall onto the roadway below.
Revised demolition practices include removing more concrete from the tetrapods before separating them from the bridge deck and doing additional inspections during the demolition process. WSDOT believes that these changes will provide safe demolition practices for the four remaining tetrapods. The old viaduct had 13 tetrapods in total.
The weight of the fallen tetrapod damaged local water and gas lines that were subsequently repaired by utility crews. The roadway shoulder and an adjacent lane were also repaired and repaved. All costs associated with the utility and roadway repairs will be paid by the contractor. The incident did not affect the overall project schedule.
Motorists can expect continued lane closures and realignments on both South Tacoma Way and South Center Street as work on the project continues.
CHAMBER’S GASTRONOMICAL SPECIAL CONTINUES
Until March 31, 2013, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is extending an offer to restaurants, bars/taverns and cafes that allows them to not only join the Chamber, but also ensure customers visit their businesses.
The Chamber's investment schedule is based on number of employees. Realizing that restaurants, bars, taverns and cafes have a multitude of employees - making Chamber membership dues somewhat prohibitive - we have a promotion for them. The special promotion consists of joining the Chamber at the minimum investment level of $385 and then paying the remainder of the balance with gifts in kind (gift certificates, catering services, products, etc.). The donations will then be used as give-a-ways or services at Chamber events during the year.
The one-year membership to the Chamber will allow access to all events and communications and be listed in the 2013 Business Directory (printed and online). Businesses listed in the directory will be seen by over 17,000 eyes in the course of just one year.
If restaurants, bars/taverns and cafes choose to pay their full membership fee (based on employee count) the Chamber will provide them one month free advertising on the Chamber website.
Interested restaurants, bars/taverns and cafes should contact the Chamber Membership Sales team, Dawn Doyle, email@example.com, (253) 682-1728 or Brenna Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org, (253) 682.1733.
DISTINCTIVE SCHOOLS HONORED
Wilson High School and Stanley Elementary School have each earned the School of Distinction award for the second time. Stanley first received the honor in 2010 and Wilson earned its first award in 2011. The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) and its partners honored 45 schools in 21 districts in the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) as 2012 Schools of Distinction at an awards ceremony on Jan. 24 in Renton.
The award is given to the top 5 percent of elementary, middle/junior high schools and high schools in Washington that have made sustained improvement in reading and math over a five-year period.
The CEE with the Association of Educational Service Districts, the Association of Washington School Principals, Phi Delta Kappa-Washington Chapter, Washington Association of School Administrators, Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and Washington State School Directors Association grant the annual awards to schools in Washington that achieve this high standard.
“We are pleased to honor schools within our region that have realized dramatic sustained achievement gains for students,” said John P. Welch, PSESD superintendent. “We recognize the difficult and important work this takes. We salute your students, families, educators and communities for your success.”
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction created the award in 2007 to honor students, teachers, administrators, parents, schools and communities for the gains they made in preparing children to learn, work, live and succeed in the 21st century.
AWARD NOMINATIONS SOUGHT
Greater Tacoma Peace Prize Committee seeks nominees for the award in 2013. Nominations are being accepted through March 31. The award was established in 2005 and was inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize. It recognizes people who support peace effort. Information about qualifications and the nomination process can be found at: http://www.tacomapeaceprize.org/howyoucanparticipate.html.
STUDENTS RESTORE WATERSHED
First Creek Middle School’s Environmental Science Club held its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service event on Jan. 21. About 65 First Creek students signed up to continue their work restoring the First Creek Watershed. More than 120 people worked at the creek site. The school’s partners this year include Green Tacoma Partnership, Salishan Housing
Association, University of Washington Tacoma (UWT), City of Tacoma, Pierce Conservation District and REI. Other participants included two Washington Conservation Corps teams, several youth groups from the community, students from UWT and University of Puget Sound, and AmeriCorps members from the Goodwill, and representatives from Russell Family Foundation. The Rescue Mission brought a group of youth from its family housing program.
“The school’s goal is to keep improving the watershed, demonstrate to Salishan residents that volunteers can help keep their green spaces awesome, engage students in hands-on science, teach civic engagement, and honor the community service demonstrated by Dr. King,” said Donna Chang, First Creek Middle School science teacher.
TRANSIT REDUCTION PLAN
After lengthy consideration, the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners on Jan. 11 passed a resolution directing staff to implement service reductions on Sept. 29, 2013. The 34 percent cut in service is due the loss of Proposition 1 in November 2012.
“We understand these reductions will deeply impact thousands in our communities,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, chair of the board. “This was a difficult decision. Reducing service in September allows our riders time to make plans in advance and the agency to provide stable service."
Pierce Transit currently operates 417,000 annual service hours. The revised service plan, with the September implementation, will reduce annual service hours to approximately 275,000. Pierce Transit will distribute information through print materials, open houses, and presentations. A public hearing on the implementation plan will happen in May.
Elements of the reduction plan include elimination of Saturday, Sunday, and holiday service and route 62 in northeast Tacoma. Primary impacts to weekday service include reductions in service past 7 p.m. and mid-day service, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
NGUYEN CHOSEN FOR BOARD
WorkForce Central CEO Linda Nguyen was recently appointed to the board of directors for the Washington Economic Development Association. This is a statewide, non-profit association of private businesses, economic development councils, ports, governments and others committed to enhancing the state’s climate for economic development. It represents a broad cross-section of individuals throughout the state having the ability to develop and utilize extensive coalitions on any issue central to economic development.
COUNTY HIRES GUERIN
Tracy Guerin, a top manager of State government, has been selected as the deputy director of the Pierce County http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/index.aspx?nid=94 Budget and Finance Department.
“Tracy brings extensive experience in the major services provided by the county and will hold a leadership role in ensuring the integrity of county finances,” said County Executive Pat McCarthy. “Tracy will assume multiple roles as Budget and Finance, like other county departments, consolidates positions. She will also be an active member of our performance management team.”
Guerin currently serves as the chief of staff of the Department of Social and Health Services. She has also served in senior leadership positions at the Department of Corrections, the Department of Information Services and the Office of the Secretary of State.
“I am excited about the opportunity to join the county and use my experience to ensure that county resources are used to provide high quality and efficient services,” Guerin said.
Guerin has completed the Executive Education program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Strategic Leadership program at Duke University. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College. Guerin is currently the chair of the Washington State Employees Credit Union Board and will pursue a leadership position on the board’s Investment Committee in 2013.
Guerin will formally assume her new position on Feb. 1. She will report to Budget and Finance Director Gary Robinson.
City Briefs >>
Letter to the Editor
If you would like to contact us directly, please submit a Letter to the Editor here.