HELP FUND MARITIME PROGRAM FOR SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS
The Tacoma Youth Maritime Academy is a maritime program for special needs children and young adults in Tacoma. The program needs funding to restore and modify the academy’s flagship, the USS Defiance – a 72-foot retired U.S. Navy boat. She is in need of repairs, new paint and accommodations for children with special needs, and disabilities. To help raise money, Tacoma Youth Maritime Academy has set up a page at http://www.gofundme.com The a.cademy is in need of community support and volunteers to help bring the USS Defiance to the condition she needs to be in to serve kids. To donate, go to http://www.gofundme.com/7xstjs. For more information on the Tacoma Youth Maritime Academy, visit http://www.sailondefiance.com.
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR COMING TO TACOMA
Journalist and best-selling author Max Blumenthal is coming to Tacoma on Monday evening, April 7 to talk about “Israel Today, Unadorned & Unsanitized.” Sponsored by the Tacoma chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, he will be speaking at 7 p.m. at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma WA 98402.
Blumenthal’s writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, the Huffington Post and many other publications. His 2009 book, “Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party,” is a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller.
“Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” is his current book. In the preface, he wrote that it is "Americans’ tax dollars and political support that are crucial in sustaining the present state of affairs" in Israel and that, in the book, he wanted to show what that money is paying for and to present the facts, using the same journalistic methods used in his previous book, “Republican Gomorrah.”
Blumenthal says that pro-Israel zealots aren't happy with “Goliath.” Jewish Voice for Peace invites you to come and hear what this is all about.
SHARE YOUR IDEAS FOR BROWNS POINT LIGHTHOUSE PARK
DETAINEES CALL FOR WORK STOPPAGE
As the hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma entered its 21st day on March 27, Hassall Moses, detained immigrant and U.S. Army veteran, faced swift retaliation after suggesting hunger striking detainees add a work stoppage to their peaceful protest. Attorneys visiting hunger strikers were informed that Moses had been pulled from the general population after attempting to print a letter calling for a work stoppage.
In an audio recording made on March 26, Moses states he is in solitary confinement “because I tried to type up a letter making a work stop protest.” He explains, “I got put into segregation last night. I printed out a letter asking my fellow detainees to come together as one people, united.” He goes on to describe how his letter was intercepted by a GEO employee, who “called the sergeant and they put me in segregation.” He describes his reasons for calling for a work stoppage, stating, “Basically this facility is run by the detainees, and that if everybody stopped working, we could negotiate the pay raise, because right now everybody is working for a dollar. We could talk about the quality of the food, the living conditions.” He explains that he has been detained for 21 months, fighting his deportation without legal representation, and is “just trying to do this for my kids.” Between 80 and 90 percent of those detained at the Northwest Detention Center navigate their deportation cases before the Immigration Court without legal counsel.
Dozens of individuals continue on hunger strike in the Northwest Detention Center. They remain committed to their demands for improved detention conditions and a moratorium on deportations, and are calling for their release to their families and communities. At the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Conroe, Texas, where detained immigrants last week began a hunger strike of their own, ACLU attorneys were denied access to hunger strikers yesterday, and concerns over ICE’s retaliation continue to grow. Both hunger strikers and outside supporters are gearing up for the April 5 national day of action to mark two million deportations under the Obama Administration, with a large rally planned that day outside the gates of the Tacoma facility.
PUBLIC INPUT NEEDED ON STORMWATER DOCUMENTS
The City of Tacoma is inviting interested members of the public and construction and development professions to attend a technical workshop on proposed changes to Tacoma’s Stormwater Management Manual, Public Works Design Manual and the City’s municipal code from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, April 10.
At the workshop, Environmental Services staff will take comments and present an overview of draft changes to the City’s Stormwater Management Manual. The City’s Stormwater Management Manual outlines mitigation measures for new and re-development projects. Many of the proposed changes are designed to encourage low impact development, a stormwater and land use management strategy to minimize impervious surfaces, retain natural plants and decrease stormwater runoff.
Staff will also discuss their process for updating the Tacoma Municipal Code to encourage low impact development, including changes to the Public Works Design Manual. The Public Works Design Manual, last updated in 2004, regulates: street design, wastewater and stormwater systems design, street lighting, traffic signals, channelization, pavement markings and planning and design elements.
The updates are a requirement of the City’s Municipal Stormwater Permit, which is regulated by the Washington State Department of Ecology under the Clean Water Act. The full Stormwater Management Manual is available at http://cityoftacoma.org/stormwatermanual.
TACOMA MALL TO HOST EASTER EVENT FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Tacoma Mall has announced the return of its Caring Bunny Photo Experience. The event is intended to offer families of children with special needs a subdued environment to participate in the Bunny Photo Experience. Caring Bunny will take place Sunday, April 13, from 9-10:30 a.m. in Tacoma Mall’s JCPenney Court. Pre-registration is required and can be completed at: http://tacomamallcaringbunny.eventbrite.com.
Many steps will be taken to reduce sensory triggers at the Caring Bunny event, creating a more comforting environment for children’s cherished visit with the Bunny. The subdued environment is likely to include (specific elements or aesthetics may vary):
Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the photo set, dimming the lights and shutting down fountains for the duration of the event.
Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called.
Special activities geared toward the needs of the child during the “wait” period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.
“We’re so thrilled to offer Tacoma Mall as a location for this unique experience during this time of year,” said Director of Marketing and Business Development Sarah Bonds. “We look forward to welcoming local families to be a part of Caring Bunny.”
Caring Bunny has been developed by Simon Property Group and is guided by AbilityPath.org, a national online resource hub and special needs community. Over 80 Simon properties will host the Caring Bunny this season.
NARROWS BREWING COMPANY CELEBRATES NEW ALE
Spring has just about sprung, and in celebration of the budding season, Narrows Brewing Company is celebrating with their Siren’s Call Hibiscus Saison.
This seasonal release is a Northwest take on a Midwest-made and internationally inspired recipe. Back in 2010, Narrows Brewing Company’s head brewer, Joe Walts, brewed his first batch of the farmhouse style ale in his hometown of Madison, Wis., after his friend, Robyn Klinge, returned from Egypt bearing gifts of dried hibiscus flowers. The two concocted the fragrant brew at Joe’s house, and distributed a few bottles at Vintage Brewing Company. The brew was locally revered, and brewmaster Scott Manning adapted the recipe, offering it as a Spring and Summer seasonal at the brewhouse.
Several years later, Walts has resurrected the subtly sweet, tart and fragrant flavors found in this farmhouse style ale, and has integrated it as the most recent installment to the Narrows Brewing line-up.
‘BIKENOMICS’ WITH AUTHOR ELLY BLUE
“Bikes are good for the economy” and other little known truths about transportation and our collective and personal health and wealth will be part of the discussion this Friday, April 4, 2014 from noon to 1 p.m. at UW Tacoma (Joy 117).
Author Elly Blue will be in Tacoma to talk about her book "Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save The Economy" at the second annual Downtown On the Go Book Club. Attendees need not to have read the book and it will be available for purchase at the event. Learn more about the book at http://takingthelane.com/product/bikenomics/.
Join VeloFemmes, a local group of women who ride bikes, for an informal conversation with the author at 4 p.m. at Anthem Coffee and Tea the same day.
The event is free and open to the public. UWT is accessible by Pierce Transit routes 1, 41, 53, 400, 500, and 501 and Tacoma Link. On-street bike parking is available. For details and to RSVP visit the Facebook event.
DOTG’s Friday Forums are a chance to learn about transportation issues and opportunities in Tacoma, discuss real challenges facing downtown commuters and residents, and hear about new ideas in the transportation world.
Thanks to Landau Associates for sponsoring the event and to BLRB Architects for sponsoring our quarterly Friday Forum series.
PREPARE FOR CITIZENSHIP EXAM AT PIERCE COUNTY LIBRARY
Permanent residents can learn about becoming a citizen and prepare for the citizenship exam during free classes at Pierce County Library. Partcipants will study U.S. history, government, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens, while improving their English at the same time.
Classes will take place on evenings and Saturdays. To sign up, attend a required information session at Tacoma Community House, 1314 S. L St., in Tacoma – 5:30 p.m. on April 10, 10 a.m. on April 18, 10 a.m. on May 2 and 10 a.m. on May 30.
Information session includes a general program overview, complete intake and eligibility screening as well as registration for an English language level testing appointment. Bring photo ID or driver’s license and Green Card.
Free classes made possible by a partnership between Pierce County Library and Tacoma Community House. Funding from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Grant Program.
COUNTY ROADSIDE HERBICIDE APPLICATIONS UNDERWAY
An initial application of herbicides to combat weeds along road shoulders started April 1 and will continue through June. Targeted noxious weeds and brush control applications will occur through the end of November as needed. Only federal-and state-approved herbicides are used.
Workers will also mow, cut brush and trim trees along roads during the spring and summer. The work, which will be carried out weather permitting, is part of Pierce County’s integrated roadside vegetation management program.
“Properly maintained roadsides improve safety for motorists and pedestrians,” said Bruce Wagner, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities road maintenance manager.
The annual maintenance also reduces fire danger, optimizes storm water drainage, helps control noxious weeds and non-native plants, and promotes native plant growth.
Property owners who do not want roadsides adjacent to their properties sprayed can sign an “Owner Will Maintain” agreement with Pierce County. Under this agreement, the property owner agrees to maintain the vegetation. If the property owner fails to perform as required, the maintenance of the right-of-way reverts to the county.
The agreement must be renewed each March. The owner must display a sign indicating their participation in the program prior to the application of herbicides.
Agreement applications and signs are available at the Central Maintenance Facility, 4812 196th St. E. in Spanaway, and by appointment at the West County Maintenance Facility, 13209 Goodnough Drive in Gig Harbor. Call (253) 798-6000 for an appointment.
More information can be found at http://www.piercecountywa.org/ownermaintain or by calling (253) 798-6000.
COUNTY NEAR BOTTOM THIRD OF HEALTH RANKINGS
In the 2014 County Health Rankings, Pierce County ranked near the bottom third on overall health – 25 out of 39 – compared with other counties in the state.
The county’s position has remained relatively unchanged since the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation began the national ranking of counties by state in 2010.
“The County Health Rankings make it clear that where you live, work and play determine how healthy you are,” said Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, director of health. “This annual report on our community health is a signal that all community partners need to reinforce our current collaborative efforts to address specific health issues that impact Pierce County residents as well as the underlying problems of poor health, such as education and income levels.”
Pierce County fared worse than the state average in 26 out of 34 health indicators. Examples of worse health factors and outcomes among Pierce County residents include premature deaths, poor mental health days, smoking among adults, food environment index (an index of factors that contribute to a healthy food environment), Chlamydia infections, teen births, ratios of primary care physicians and dentists to people, high school graduation, unemployment and violent crime.
“The County Health Rankings mirror data from our recent Pierce County community health assessment that show Pierce County residents are not as healthy as other places in Washington state,” said Cindan Gizzi, assessment manager for Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
While the health department and community partners have taken important steps to improve the health of our community over the years, according to Gizzi, there is more that those who are interested in improving community health can do to help our residents lead healthier lives.
To combat Pierce County’s poor overall health status, the Health Department has focused on ongoing initiatives such as the prevention-focused Community Transformation Partnership, which has funded community-based efforts such as healthy eating and physical activity, active transportation, tobacco-free living, clinical and community health and health equity. Community partners lead efforts such as Graduate Tacoma! to address the underlying social and economic issues.
In addition, in 2012, the health department initiated the Community Health Improvement Plan, a long-term collaborative strategy to address major community health problems. Completed in partnership with Franciscan Health System, MultiCare Health System, and University of Washington-Tacoma, it will provide valuable information on the county’s top health priorities in order to address them as effectively as possible. Community partners can use the information for their strategic planning, budget preparation, collaboration, grant writing and other efforts. The recently completed the assessment portion of the plan included input from community members, including community leaders and diverse populations.
In the 2014 County Health Rankings, Pierce County scored the lowest in the health behaviors category, which accounts for smoking rates, adult obesity, access to exercise opportunities, a food environment index and sexually-transmitted infections. For example, the county had the highest rate of chlamydia infections in the state as of the 2011 national data.
In addition, the social and economic factors that affect health outcomes are also worse in Pierce County compared to the state. For example, the high school graduate rate is worse, violent crime rate is worse and the percent of residents with some college or higher is lower than the state average.
The County Health Rankings measure the health of nearly every county in the nation. Published online at http://www.countyhealthrankings.org the r,ankings help counties understand what influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live. The rankings look at a variety of measures that affect health, such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity, and teen births. The rankings are unique in their ability to measure the overall health of each county in all 50 states.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care in the United States. Learn more at http://www.rwjf.org.
For more information on the CHIP, visit http://www.tpchd.org/about/community-health-improvement-plan.
COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS ADVISORY BOARD SEEKS MEMBERS
The Pierce County Department of Community Connections is seeking citizen members to serve on an advisory board that makes funding recommendations for community development grants.
Members of the Pierce County Citizens’ Advisory Board help reduce the impact of poverty and homelessness through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) public service and capital projects.
Advisory board members determine community needs, review plans and reports, prioritize program activities, evaluate funding applications, and make funding recommendations to the Community Connections director. Applicants should have an interest in or experience with social service programs or community development activities. While not a requirement, individuals with experience in planning, design, or construction of capital projects or public infrastructure are encouraged to apply.
The board meets on a bi-monthly basis, usually on the first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m.