MAYOR TO HOST STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS MARCH 19
In collaboration with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Marilyn Strickland will host the 2014 State of the City Address on Wednesday, March 19 at 11:30 a.m. in the Hotel Murano's Venice Ballroom (1320 Broadway).
Speaking on the theme “Tacoma 2.0,” Strickland plans to discuss an array of topics including economic development, Tacoma’s regional and national presence, education, and her youth summer employment program, SummerJobs253.
Event attendees and members of the public will be encouraged to engage with the mayor during her address using the #SOTC253 Twitter hashtag, and a live Twitter feed will be displayed prominently at the venue.
"Tacoma is an attractive waterfront city that has recently experienced some great wins, but there is some heavy lifting to be done if we are serious about realizing our full potential,” says Strickland. “I am pleased to share my vision for how our entire city must work together to ensure that growth benefits our neighborhoods, our business districts and the residents who choose to call Tacoma home."
Tickets are $25 for students with an ID and persons aged 55 and up. Tickets for general admission are $40 in advance. For more information, contact Janice Hutchins at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce by calling (253) 627-2175 or visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce’s website at http://www.tacomachamber.org.
COMMUNITY INVITED TO 27th DISTRICT TOWN HALL
State Senator Jeannie Darneille and State Representatives Laurie Jinkins and Jake Fey will hold a District Town Hall on Saturday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jason Lee Middle School Cafeteria, 602 N. Sprague Ave., Tacoma. The 27th District Legislators will give a mid-legislative session update and answer questions from constituents on issues important to them. Residents are encouraged to attend. Doors open and sign-in begins at 9:30.
"STANDARDIZED" ARGUES THAT TESTING IS RUINING PUBLIC EDUCATION
Parents and Friends for Tacoma Public Schools (PFTPS), a community group dedicated to strengthening our public education system, is partnering with Washington Badass Teacher Association (WA-BATS) to screen a film focused on the effects of standardized testing in public education. The documentary will run at 2 p.m., Sat., March 1, in University of Puget Sound's Tahoma Room in Commencement Hall.
“STANDARDIZED. Lies, Money & Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education” created by Daniel Hornberger is a 75-minute exposé of how mandated testing is undermining public education. Anticipating in a panel discussion following the film will be Representative Jake Fey of the 27th Legislative District as well as author and Professor Wayne Au. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.
According to Rockfish Productions, “For decades, standardized testing has been a part of public education. Within the last 10 years, however, the testing has taken on a more important, and possibly more damaging, role. Test scores, mistakenly viewed as effective assessments of student ability and teacher/school effectiveness, are anything but. This film sheds light on the invalid nature of these tests, the terrible consequences of high-stakes testing, and the big money that's involved.”
PFTPS is a grassroots organization with membership comprised of parents, community members, current and retired education employees, grandparents, and community activists. PFTPS also welcomes high school and college students, civic leaders, retired school district employees and neighborhood leaders who are interested in joining. Members are expected to support the mission and attend at least two meetings per year.
For more information about Parents and Friends for Tacoma Public Schools, visit http://PFTPS.org or visit Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ParentsAndFriendsForTacomaPublicSchools.
A WIN FOR FARMING IN PIERCE COUNTY
After a three-year battle, the developer Invesco and the City of Sumner have withdrawn their appeal of a Growth Management Hearings Board decision prohibiting the rezoning of 182 acres of prime agricultural land in Pierce County for residential and commercial development. This is a victory for anybody who wants to preserve farmlands and ensure a long-term farming economy in Pierce County.
Among numerous issues, the development would have expanded the urban growth boundary around the City of Sumner and placed significant residential and commercial development on prime agricultural land and within the land subject to geological hazards. If the project had gone forward it would have opened the floodgates to development on prime agricultural land in the Puyallup Valley south of Sumner.
An active coalition of organizations came together to oppose the rezone and prevent any further loss to Pierce County’s remaining prime farmland. The coalition included Futurewise, American Farmland Trust, Tahoma Audubon, PCC Farmland Trust, and the Friends of Pierce County, who successfully challenged the proposal before the Growth Management Hearings Board in 2012. The Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network; Cascade Harvest Coalition; Organically Grown Company; Tilth Producers; Terra Organics; Tahoma Farms; Let Us Farm; Washington State Farmers Market Association; and Charlie's Produce also joined these organizations in opposing the rezone.
“We were delighted when the Hearings Board agreed with our argument that building a big project like this on productive farmland is wrong,” said Tim Trohimovich, Planning and Legal Director of Futurewise, “We are even more delighted now that the developer and the City of Sumner have decided to end the appeal of the Growth Board’s decision. Sumner and Pierce County have plenty of land available for urban growth without paving over farms.”
“This is a big step towards a better future for farming in Pierce County,” said Dick Carkner of local berry producer Terry’s Berries, “We’ve lost far too much farmland to subdivisions and shopping malls in this area. Pierce County has a proud tradition of farming, and it’s time we protect our farms.”
According to Rebecca Sadinsky of PCC Farmland Trust, “We’re seeing a big revival of the agricultural industry in Pierce County due to the strong interest in local food. We can’t have local food without local farms, and the Orton Junction project would’ve taken us in the wrong direction.”
In 2011, the Pierce County Planning Commission recommended against the conversion of the 186 acres of prime agricultural land at Orton Junction, but the Pierce County Council went forward with approval.
The large coalition of organizations are now working together to develop and implement long-term solutions that will better protect farmlands in Pierce County, especially those around the urban fringe – to ensure the long-term sustainability of farming in the county.
TACOMA BREWING COMPANY HELPS NONPROFITS
Tacoma Brewing Company is proud to call Tacoma home. Its rich heritage inspires us, and community support sustains us. For this, we return the favor by donating a full 10 percent of Thursday taproom beer sales to local charities.
This commitment allows Tacoma Brewing Co. to elevate the financial assistance we can provide to local nonprofits that support us by making Tacoma a better place to live. Beginning Thursday, March 6 – coinciding with Tacoma Beer Week – and every Thursday through June, the Emergency Food Network will be the featured organization in the “10% For Tacoma” program. Then, starting in July, a new non-profit partner will be selected quarterly.
Besides the cash donations raised through the “10% For Tacoma” program, Tacoma Brewing Co. also donates beer to many non-profit organizations’ fundraising efforts and provides merchandise for charity auctions on an ongoing basis. “Beer is fun and gets people in the giving mood,” says Morgan Alexander, Tacoma Brewing Co. owner, “and we’re glad to participate knowing that our beer can help the success of community organizations.
Spaces are still available for the Tacoma Brewing Co. “10% For Tacoma” program. Organizations must be a tax-designated charity or registered non-profit.
CHURCH HOLDS FREE SCREENING OF ‘INEQUALITY FOR ALL’
On Thursday, Feb. 27, 5:30–7 p.m. there will be a free public showing of the film “Inequality for All” with Robert Reich at First United Methodist Church, 621 Tacoma Ave. S. Discussion and refreshments will follow.
This public viewing of an important documentary is part of a coordinated national Watch Party in hundreds of locations. Reich, former Secretary of Labor and present faculty member of the University of California at Berkeley, has been working with the organization Democracy for America in seeking to alert the American people to the deliberate disempowering of workers and others of the “99 percent,” so that the “redistribution of wealth” in this country upward to the few can continue.
According to the event organizers at First United Methodist Church, it is hoped that the showing of this powerful film “in church” will spark a strong local effort to design and take effective action to reverse the trend. Information concerning the central biblical call for economic justice, as a very high priority on God’s agenda, will be available, along with lists of resources which expose the roots of the growing inequality of life-resources now being experienced by so many.
PORT LAUNCHES MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEBSITE
Almost 20 years after becoming the first U.S. port to set up a presence on the World Wide Web, the Port of Tacoma this month launched a mobile-friendly website with enhanced capabilities.
The website, at http://www.portoftacoma.com, has undergone a number of upgrades since its 1995 launch to take advantage of advancing technology. This latest version features interactive maps and databases of facilities, supply chain service providers and available properties, as well as sharper search capabilities.
It continues to provide access to commission meetings streamed live and subscriptions to news, job announcements, cargo statistics, contract opportunities and more. Find the full list of available topics at http://www.portoftacoma.com/subscribe.
The Port also engages customers and community members through social media on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/portoftacoma, Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/portoftacoma, YouTube at http://www.youtube/PortTacoma and Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/portoftacoma.
VOLLEYBALL OFFICIALS WANTED
The Tacoma-Pierce County Volleyball Officials Board is in need of individuals who are interested in officiating middle school, junior high, senior high, college, and recreation department volleyball matches throughout Pierce County and south King County. A comprehensive training program is offered for all new officials and the opportunities to advance in the organization are extensive.
For students, retirees, or former athletes looking to re-connect with a sport, officiating high school sports is also an excellent way to earn some extra income and provide a great service to the teams.
Registration is now being accepted for the spring middle school programs in Auburn, Federal Way, Sumner, Buckley, and Enumclaw that begin in mid-April. Training sessions will be held April 8, 9 & 10 from 6-9 p.m. To sign up as an official, fees and registration forms are due no later than March 25th.
For additional information on becoming a volleyball official, please contact Marc Blau at (253) 677-2872 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIERSON NAMED CHAMBER ‘EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR’
Tom Pierson, ACE, president/chief executive officer of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, has been named the Chamber of Commerce “Executive of the Year” by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.). Pierson received this honor at the association’s annual management conference in Los Angeles.
"The amazing transformation that has occurred at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is largely due to the visionary leadership of its CEO Tom Pierson," said Dave Kilby, president/CEO of W.A.C.E. "Tom and his team have basically re-invented the chamber to meet the needs of their business community. Being named Executive of the Year was much deserved.”
The award is given each year to the Chamber executive who has excelled in the following areas during the past year: financial management, communications, legislative affairs, membership programs and community services performed by the chamber.
“It’s no secret that over the past couple of years Tom has turned our Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce into one of the most relevant advocates for business our community has ever experienced. This Chamber CEO of the year award is a resounding affirmation that our Chamber has the best leader we can get to bring prosperity to our community through supporting businesses in motion,” said Jeff Brown, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber chair.
W.A.C.E. is an association of chamber executives and staff professionals with members in eighteen Western states and Canada designed to promote and enhance the professional development of chamber of commerce executives. With over 850 members, W.A.C.E. is the largest state or regional association of chamber of commerce executives in the United States.
WHO WILL BECOME TACOMA’S BIGGEST CARBON LOSER?
Go ahead and take it personally. It’s what the Sustainable Tacoma Commission wants you to do. Of the city’s 23 volunteer committees, boards and commissions, it’s the Sustainable Tacoma Commission’s responsibility to oversee implementation of Tacoma’s Climate Action Plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through accountability, transparency and vigilance. To that end, the Sustainable Tacoma Commission is taking their service a step above these already worthy contributions through a Tacoma’s Biggest Carbon Loser challenge.
Five of the commission’s members are inviting the community to learn from their personal efforts to reduce carbon emissions at home. Residents can follow their progress through a series of videos being made in collaboration through a University of Washington Tacoma communications class project.
“It’s about walking the talk,” said commission member and effort organizer Ellen Moore. “If we’re going to be looking at policies and efforts around these issues, we should have a good idea of what that means on a personal level.”
The commission hopes other Tacomans will be inspired to join the challenge. Residents can calculate their own carbon footprint from the city website at http://www.cityoftacoma.org (search “carbon loser”), and learn some suggested changes. Then, they can enhance their lifestyles with new habits that decrease carbon emissions.
The commission members’ carbon weights will be revealed and the biggest loser (winner) crowned at the free Saturday, March 1 South Sound Sustainability Expo, http://www.southsoundsustainabilityexpo.org.
CITY OF DESTINY AWARDS BEING ACCEPTED NOW
Nominations for the City of Tacoma’s 28th annual City of Destiny Awards, which spotlights exceptional volunteers who have worked to drive Tacoma forward, are being accepted now through March 31.
Eligibility requirements for each of the award categories are available on the 2014 nomination form, which is available in hard copy at the various Tacoma Public Library branches and the TacomaFIRST Customer Support Center (Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., 2nd Floor).
The 2014 nomination form, and additional details about the City of Destiny Awards, is also available at http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cityofdestinyawards.
CANDIDATES SOUGHT FOR CIVIL SERVICE BOARD
The Tacoma City Clerk’s Office seeks candidates who are eligible to vote, and who live within Tacoma's city limits, to fill a four-year volunteer position on the Civil Service Board. The successful candidate will be elected to this position by classified City of Tacoma employees.
The timeline for this election is as follows: Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Last day to file nominations with the City Clerk with no less than 20 employee signatures; Friday, Feb. 28 – Last day for nominee to withdraw his/her name; Tuesday, April 8 – Ballots to be returned to the City Clerk's Office no later than 5 p.m. or postmarked no later than April 8; Wednesday, April 9 – City Clerk to tally votes and notify candidates
The Civil Service Board is responsible for making revisions to the City of Tacoma's Personnel Rules; advising city council and other officials on civil service and personnel matters; investigating conditions of civil service employment; conducting appeal hearings on suspensions of more than 30 days, demotions, or terminations; and conducting hearing complaints regarding Personnel Rules.
It is a quasi-judicial body that consists of three members elected by registered Tacoma voters, one member elected by classified City of Tacoma employees, and one member appointed by the City's management.
For additional information, contact the City Clerk’s Office at (253) 591-5361.
BABYSITTER CHARGED FOR RAPING BOYS IN HIS CARE
On Feb. 12, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Jonathan Harris, 26, with multiple counts of child rape, child molestation and possessing and dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $2,000,000.
“We see a lot of crimes, sex crimes, property crimes, and scams that originate on Craigslist,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “I urge people to be cautious on Craigslist, especially when it comes to child care.”
K.W.’s mother placed an ad for a male nanny in late 2011, when K.W. was 6 years old. She hired the defendant who cared for K.W. daily while his parents worked. Over the next two years, the defendant and K.W. had “naked parties” at each others’ homes. The defendant took multiple videos and photos of K.W. naked, which he stored on an external hard drive. They also touched each others’ genitals and performed oral sex on each other. The defendant performed anal sex on K.W. multiple times. K.W. told detectives that the defendant had a black bag called the “Kyle bag,” which contained sex toys and lubricant.
In October 2013, K.W.’s 13-year-old cousin I.S. spent a day with the defendant and K.W. The defendant took them to a Tacoma motel where the three took photos of each other naked. The defendant attempted to have anal sex with I.S.
The defendant began placing his own ads on Craigslist and found another victim, G.B. The mother of 5-year-old G.B. hired the defendant to babysit G.B. on Sundays while she worked. On Feb. 3, G.B. told his mother that the defendant took him to a Super Bowl party and the defendant sat G.B. on his lap and placed his hand over G.B.’s genital area. The defendant told G.B. that he knew a secret about another boy, and showed a video on his cell phone of victim K.W. in his underwear. G.B.’s mother was able to identify K.W. through the defendant’s Facebook page, and she contacted his mother.
On Feb. 6, detectives served a search warrant at the defendant’s home. They arrested the defendant and seized his cell phone. Detectives found naked photos on K.W. on the cell phone. They also found a text message stating, “I would like to get him into a public bathroom or locker room so that he can see me and I can see him so he see that it is no big deal… once he is in that level of comfort things will move really quickly.”
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
ST. JOSEPH RECERTIFIED AS PRIMARY STROKE CENTER
St. Joseph Medical Center, part of the Franciscan Health System, became the first hospital in Pierce County to be designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, a national accrediting organization, in 2009. This January, St. Joseph was reviewed by The Joint Commission and their certification as a Primary Stroke Center, accompanied by the Commission’s Certificate of Distinction, which was renewed for the next two years. This esteemed award comes with the right to bear the Commission’s Gold Seal for stroke care.
The Franciscan stroke team was commended for using best practices throughout St. Joseph and Franciscan’s community hospitals for door-to-tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) administration times. The national standard set by The Joint Commission for administration time is 60 minutes; St. Joseph’s median time is 51 minutes. According to the American Stroke Association, the earlier patients who qualify for the “clot dissolving drug” (t-PA) are treated; the better their chances are for a favorable outcome.
St. Joseph Medical Center has two Neuro Critical Care Units and two Post-Critical Care units, which use the most advanced technology to treat stroke and aneurysms.
“Our staff in these units is specialized in stroke recovery and other brain, spinal cord and nervous system disorders, “said neurointerventional radiologist Dennis Wang, MD, stroke program medical director. “Studies have shown that by placing the right patient at the right level of care, these specialized units help reduce complications as well as assist patients to heal more efficiently.”
People experiencing or seeing stroke symptoms in another person should call 9-1-1 immediately. Symptoms of stroke include: facial droop, weakness in the arms or legs, problems speaking or a sudden severe headache. To learn more about Franciscan’s Neurosciences visit http://www.fhshealth.org/strokecare.
TCC ANNOUNCES 2014 ALL-WASHINGTON SCHOLARS
Every year, each of Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges selects two outstanding scholars to represent the school as All Washington Scholars. The students will receive medallions from their school presidents and the governor at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, March 27 at noon. Tacoma Community College has chosen Pape Samba and Edward Vlasenko.
An international student from Senegal, Samba maintains a 3.96 GPA at TCC while studying business, volunteering and working as a tutor. His long-term goals include obtaining a PhD in economics, becoming a financial analyst and statistician, and moving back to Senegal to improve his country’s financial situation.
Samba is used to long-term planning. His current life in Washington State is the fulfillment of his dream to travel and see the world, especially the United States. But he knows it’s not always easy to follow through on your plans. When he was younger, Samba struggled in school and had to repeat a class, which is considered shameful in his family. With the support of his mother he rallied, becoming one of the top students in his high school and even getting involved in politics.
“I remember her telling me that a person is always responsible for his own destiny, and that hard work and determination determine everything,” said Samba.
As a high school student who wanted a more challenging educational experience, Vlasenko knew that TCC’s Running Start program was right for him.
“I wanted to take charge of my own education,” he said. “Balancing a part time job, high school commitments, and college classes proved to be much more difficult than I could have ever expected, but the experience has been worth it.”
Taking up to 20 credits per quarter, Vlasenko maintains a 3.91 GPA and is on track to graduate with both a high school diploma from Curtis High School and an Associate of Science degree with a biology specialization from TCC this June. His ultimate goal is to become a doctor.
His family immigrated to the United States from Belarus when he was a toddler. He grew up translating English into Russian for his parents. Now he does the same for his fellow TCC students as the only Russian-speaking tutor in the Writing and Tutoring Center. He’s currently working on a project to make the Center more accessible for ESL students.
In addition to his tutoring job, Vlasenko serves as treasurer of his high school National Honors Society and vice-president of the Medical Explorers Club, a program monitored by the Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps.
“While Edward has an exceptional scientific mind, he also has a pleasant personality and works well with others,” wrote instructor Brandy Eastman in a letter of recommendation. “He has an extraordinary drive for educational excellence, paired with great self-motivation.”
ANNIE WRIGHT PRESENTS ‘THE LEARNED LADIES’
Annie Wright Upper School presents Molière’s comedy “The Learned Ladies” with a modern twist, on Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. at Annie Wright Schools’ Kemper Theater, 827 N. Tacoma Ave. The greater Tacoma community is invited to attend the zany production of this delightful French satire and for an evening filled with comedy, pop music, and wild costumes. Come and discover if the 17th century characters will be doomed to re-live their story for all of eternity or if their modern counterparts will finally get it right and allow for the two lovers that belong together to finally be united.
As part of Annie Wright’s commitment to the community, Annie Wright Upper School will host a drive for the NW Furniture Bank. Attendees can help by donating any small home goods items such as: plates, cutlery, serving pieces, glasses or the like that are in good repair.
Students will be admitted free with their student ID and/or donation. Adults who donate a home decor item will also be admitted for free. General admission (without a donation) for students is $5 and for adults $7.
TACOMA RESIDENT FEATURED IN ‘THE SHRIVER REPORT’
Putting a face on the economic inequality in America, Julie Kaas, a preschool program supervisor from Tacoma, and Katrina Gilbert, a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, from Chattanooga, Tenn., joined President Barack Obama at the White House on Feb. 12 as he signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. Kaas and Gilbert, both single moms, were featured in “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink” as women living on the brink, and Gilbert will be featured in an HBO documentary that will be released on March 17, titled “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert,” co-executive produced by Maria Shriver and HBO’s Sheila Nevins and produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Shari Cookson and Nick Doob.
“The Shriver Report,” launched last month by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, has sparked widespread coverage and a national conversation around a stunning new American reality: Fully 42 million American women and the 28 million children who depend on them live on or over the brink of poverty. The mission of “The Shriver Report” is to ignite a conversation about women on the brink of economic collapse, and offer solutions for progress. As part of its launch, Shriver briefed President Obama in the Oval Office on the report’s findings, and the president echoed some of the language from the report in his State of the Union address.
Within its first week of publication, this third in the series of multiplatform Shriver Reports shot to number one on Kindle’s Hot New Releases in Women and Politics list, had more than 1 billion media impressions, and reached more than 400 million people on Twitter and Facebook.
Kaas is a preschool teacher who is adjusting to life as a single mother of three teenage boys after her husband of 25 years left the family. Unprepared for her new role as the sole breadwinner, Kaas turned to Washington Women’s Employment & Education for leadership training, “dress for success” courses, technology lessons, and community support. She graduated from the program during the summer of 2013. Kaas depends on child support, but thanks to her training at WWEE, she recently received a promotion in the school where she's worked for four years as a part-time pre-school teacher, and was able to negotiate a small raise. In her new leadership role, she hopes to gain skills that will give her confidence, as well as the financial security and benefits she needs for herself and her sons. Thanks to her employer's flexible policies, Julie has also recently decided to return to school to finish her degree.
“I dream I will have a job where I can make people feel important and where I will be able to earn enough to keep my home and support myself,” said Kaas. “Like anyone, I want to be independent, so it’s great to see the president recognize how important a decent wage is for so many people. I hope the rest of the country will follow.”
Julie and Katrina are featured in “The Shriver Report’s” extensive photojournalism project. A team of seven award-winning female photographers led by Barbara Kinney crisscrossed the country to document a day in the life of women living on the brink.
MORE WASHINGTON WORKING MOTHERS ARE LOW INCOME
Nationwide, there are now 4.1 million low-income families headed by working mothers, with almost 70,000 of those in Washington State, according to a new report.
The report, “Low-Income Working Mothers and State Policy: Investing for a Better Economic Future,” released by the Working Poor Families Project, utilizes the latest data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The report finds that as of 2012, there were 193,514 low-income working families in Washington, with 66,578 headed by working mothers.
“Communities fare better when working female-headed families, like all families, can pay their basic food, housing, and transportation expenses,” said Tony Lee, policy director at the Statewide Poverty Action Network. “From higher success rates in K-12 to increased family prosperity, investing in working women leads to an improved quality of life for children, families, and communities.”
Many of the factors keeping working mothers in poverty can be addressed at the state level, the report found. State governments have significant authority and opportunity to help low-income working mothers gain the education and skills they need to provide for their children, as well as provide important supports that can assist them as they strive to become economically secure.
The report found that 39 percent of women (25,871 women) heading low-income working families in Washington have no postsecondary education. According to the report, improving access to and success within postsecondary education is the most meaningful reform that can help low-income families. By expanding need-based financial aid to part time students along with subsidized affordable child care, the state can invest in upwards of 34 percent of their low-income working families. The report also suggests additional reforms, such as:
improving the quality of low-wage jobs by raising the minimum wage,
assuring all workers have paid sick leave and paid family leave,
facilitating a strong network of work supports, such as a state-refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and
expanding Medicaid eligibility.
“We applaud the legislature for addressing the needs of low-wage workers by expanding Medicaid,” Lee added. “But we can do more. Right now the legislature is considering bills that would increase the minimum wage and provide paid sick and family leave. Passing those bills and funding the Working Families Tax Rebate would be tremendously helpful in increasing the economic security of working families.”
The report defines “low-income” working families as earning no more than twice the federal poverty income threshold; in 2012, the low-income threshold for a family of three with two children was $36,966.
“Too many female-headed working families have no pathway out of poverty,” said Deborah Povich, co-manager of the Working Poor Families Project and one of three authors of the report. “Public policy can and must play a critical role in increasing opportunities so families can achieve economic security. Addressing the needs of low-income working mothers will benefit their children and future generations.”
“Low-Income Working Mothers and State Policy: Investing for a Better Economic Future,” can be found on the WPFP website at http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org.
MEDICAL EXAMINER WORKS TO ELIMINATE CORNEAL BLINDNESS
As many as 300 people will receive sight-restoring transplants each year thanks to an innovative partnership between the Pierce County Medical Examiner and SightLife, a global nonprofit focused on eliminating corneal blindness.
Under the partnership, Seattle-based SightLife’s tissue recovery technicians now have 24-hour access to the Medical Examiner’s office, which enables them to closely coordinate their work with the county’s death investigators.
“The old system was inefficient because our investigators and SightLife’s staff were operating independently. As a result, we were missing opportunities to save lives,” said Dr. Thomas Clark, Pierce County’s medical examiner. “We are not aware of any other situation in Washington State in which tissue banks are co-located with death investigators. Both of our organizations play important roles in public health, and working together means we will identify more prospects for tissue donation.”
As a global health organization and eye bank, SightLife works in partnership with surgeons and health organizations in more than 29 countries. They collaborated to provide nearly 17,000 corneas for transplant in 2013.
SightLife’s role goes beyond just eyes. SightLife operates a communication center in Seattle that coordinates the recovery of all tissues with two other nonprofit tissue banks.
"We estimate this partnership will result in up to 17 cornea donors and five tissue donors per month," said Monty Montoya, president and CEO of SightLife. "That could mean up to 300 people receiving sight-restoring transplants each year. Working together increases donation recovery opportunities. That benefits the people receiving these tissues as well as donor families, who know their loved ones are helping others."
"I am proud of Dr. Clark and his team at the Medical Examiner’s Office for making this important improvement in public health," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "One donor can save or improve the lives of as many as 50 people."
To register for organ donation, visit http://www.donatelifetoday.com.
CREATIVE KIDS INVITED TO ENTER EXHIBIT
Most every child you know loves to show off their creative side, and the Creative Kids Exhibit at the 25th annual Spring Fair is a perfect showcase for their work. Kids ages 6-15 years can enter their work in one of two age divisions. Entries must be made online by Monday, March 31 at 10 p.m. The Spring Fair runs April 10-13, 2014.
Pre-registered entries and summary sheets should be delivered to the north end of the Pavilion, first floor at the Washington State Fair Events Center, on April 3 and 4 only. Entries can be delivered by the entrant, their teacher, parent or other representative. No mailed entries will be accepted. Register at http://www.thefair.com/participate/exhibit-entries/.
Each child who submits an entry or entries in this popular annual event will receive a free gate admission ticket to the Spring Fair at the time of entry submission.
The exhibit will be displayed in the Pavilion, a building that focuses on kids. It will also feature KidZone, an interactive area featuring a wide range of free and fun youth activities, plus free face painting. The Puyallup School District’s new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will be held on the second floor of the Pavilion.
Creative Kids Exhibit categories include seven categories: art, baking & confections, creative writing, paper crafts & scrapbooking, photography, textiles, and an egg drop contest. Last year 1,058 entries were submitted.
The two age divisions are designed so that children can best exhibit their creativity and skill. They are 6 to 10 years, and 11 to 15 years. The two age divisions apply to all divisions in the Creative Kids Exhibit. Three types can enter: Individuals, School Classes, and Quick Groups (i.e. 4-H, home school). Only one entry per class (e.g., one mixed media and one sculpture) will be accepted.
The “Creative Kids Showcase” presentation will be held in the Pavilion on Sunday, April 13 at noon in the Pavilion. Students who enter their creative writing on April 3 or 4 can sign up to read their written work to the audience at the Showcase on Sunday.
In the Baking Department, awards for first and second place honors in each age division will be presented by the Washington Association of Wheat Growers for the most outstanding yeast bread using wheat. First, second and third place honors in each division will be presented by Seattle Fudge in the Parent-Child Candy Contest.
The Egg Drop Contest displays the containers in KidZone throughout the Spring Fair. Each must be a “one egg container” that will allow a raw chicken egg to survive, whole and unscrambled, when dropped from a height of 12 and 16 feet -- or higher. Students must arrive by 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 13 to put the egg into their containers for the 3 p.m. event. Individual entries only in this category. Prizes for the three highest eggs dropped in each division will be awarded, which include Washington State Fair gate tickets and rides this Sept. 5-21.
Local experts experienced in each of the seven specific fields will judge those categories. Ribbons and rosettes will be awarded. All first place entries will be displayed, with an effort made to display all other entries during the Spring Fair.
To obtain a Creative Kids Exhibit premium list outlining the specific rules, entrants may download the entry information online. Visit at http://www.thefair.com/participate/exhibit-entries/, then download the Creative Kids 2014 Entry Information.
Kids, ages 0-18 years can enjoy BECU’s Kids FREE Gate Admission from 2-10 p.m. on Thursday, April 10 only. Non-perishable donations are recommended for the Puyallup Food Bank’s food drive throughout the day on Thursday. Military Appreciation Day, presented by KVI 570 AM and KOMO News Radio 1000 AM / 97.7 FM will be on Friday, with free gate admission to active, reserve, retired military and their dependents with valid military ID.
Discount gate tickets are available March 17 at participating Fred Meyer stores, Safeway stores, and South Hill Mall for $7.50 (adults), and $5.50 (students 6-18 years).
Adult gate tickets are $10 at the gate, and Students (6-18 years) are $8 at the gate. Children five years and under are free. Parking is free. Hours are Thursday, April 10 from 2-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, April 11 and 12, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
PIERCE TRANSIT BOARD ELECTS RICK TALBERT AS CHAIR
At its regular meeting on Feb. 10, Pierce Transit’s Board of Commissioners elected Rick Talbert as its chair, effective March 1. Talbert replaces Marilyn Strickland, whose second one-year term as Chair ends on Feb. 28.
Following the unanimous vote of approval, Strickland called Talbert, “a strong advocate for public transportation,” and told him he would do well in his new role. Strickland chaired her last Board meeting on
Feb. 10 but plans to continue serving as a Pierce Transit Commissioner until her term ends in 2015.
Talbert has an impressive legacy on the Pierce Transit Board, having served as Commissioner during his eight years on the Tacoma City Council and for four additional years since his election to the Pierce County Council in 2010. He has had the unique experience of guiding the agency in times of service expansion and contraction, and he was actively involved in shaping Board policy that brought the Agency through five years of dramatic revenue losses and service cuts.
Largely due to increased sales tax revenue and a focus on efficiency and innovation, the Agency’s financial forecasts now project a six-year plan that is sustainable through 2019. When asked about the Agency’s prospects for the future, Talbert is optimistic.
“We now have the opportunity to build service back as the recovery continues,” Talbert says, “and I’m pleased to see the Agency successfully working with invested communities to develop new lines of service
like the Gig Harbor Trolley, the Fife-Milton-Edgewood Community Connectors, and the Custom Bus Express Service.”
Prior to his election as Chair, Talbert served as Vice-Chair of the Pierce Transit Board for two years, and sits on the Agency’s Executive Finance Committee.
In other action, the Board elected Commissioner Steve Vermillion as Vice-Chair effective March 1. Strickland also appointed Commissioner Lauren Walker to the Executive Finance Committee, replacing the vacancy created by the departure of Commissioner Derek Young.
COUNTY AUDITOR LAUNCHES NEW LOOK FOR DOCUMENT SEARCHES
The Pierce County Auditor’s Office records 250,000 public documents each year, including deeds, liens, foreclosures, maps and more. Approximately 38,000 people visit the Auditor’s Office website to access these records.
“Providing easy access to important public documents is a top priority,” said Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson. “Creating a public access portal where citizens can help themselves is an efficient and exciting way to do it.”
The auditor has rolled out a new version of its public access document search. Functionally, the search tools will be familiar. However, four important changes make records searches easier for the public:
Compatibility with a wider variety of computer browsers.
More intuitive menu options with an improved look and feel.
A simplified process to print free copies.
Quick retrieval of related documents, without additional searching.
More information about the Auditor’s Office is available at http://www.piercecountyauditor.org.
APPLICANTS SOUGHT FOR SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT BOARD
Pierce County is seeking applicants to fill vacancies on the nine-member Surface Water Management Advisory Board.
Advisory board members will be involved in such issues as storm drainage and surface water management; water quality; storm drainage plans; rate structures; capital improvement projects; financing; and annual program goals for the Surface Water Management Division of Public Works and Utilities.
The mission of Surface Water Management is to be a responsive service organization that efficiently addresses flood control, water quality, and the preservation of natural drainage systems.
Meetings are held monthly. Advisory board members will be selected to represent each of the watersheds and preference will be given to candidates living in unincorporated Pierce County. Surface Water Management will maintain a roster of applications to fill current and future vacancies on the board. These positions are uncompensated.
The application can be obtained by calling (253) 798-2725 or downloaded at http://www.piercecountywa.org/swab.
Completed applications should be submitted to Harold Smelt at Pierce County Surface Water Management, 2702 S. 42nd St., Ste. 201, Tacoma, WA 98409-7322, no later than March 7.
UNIVERSITY OF PUGET SOUND HONORED FOR CAMPUS FOREST
University of Puget Sound has been honored with a 2013 Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
“This national recognition is a well-deserved vote of appreciation for all that our grounds staff do to ensure the Puget Sound campus remains a place of local and regional pride,” said Bob Kief, vice president for facilities services. “I want to thank our Grounds Manager Joe Kovolyan and his staff for their dedication and passion in maintaining such a beautiful campus.”
Puget Sound is one among only six colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest to be awarded the Tree Campus USA distinction since the program’s creation. Awardees must meet five standards, including: maintaining a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan; dedicating annual expenditures for a campus tree program; observing Arbor Day; and offering a student service-learning project. The Tree Campus USA program is sponsored by Toyota.
“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”
The 97-acre Puget Sound campus is home to more than 2,000 trees, including towering Douglas Firs and other native evergreens, alongside deciduous shade and flowering trees such as birch, sycamores, dogwoods, and American Elms.
The trees are valuable assets. They create a welcoming space for campus members; they help keep the air and water clean by removing harmful pollutants; they improve storm water management; and by cooling spaces with their shade, they reduce energy use.
Puget Sound’s Department of Facilities Services works vigilantly to improve campus sustainability as it relates to landscaping, irrigation, and grounds management, especially during times of drought, wind storms, and new building projects. One example of this is the use of woodchips – created by pruning or removal of trees – as a mulch to help protect other plants and reduce weeds. The department has a special Sustainability Services branch, largely run by student workers, that contributes to the environmental mission.
In partnership with the City of Tacoma, campus grounds crews will enhance the neighborhood further by planting trees along Alder Street on the campus side of the road in early March. The city will provide the trees, and student volunteers and grounds staff will plant, mulch, and water the trees.
The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees. Last year Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested over $26 million in campus forest management. More information about the Tree Campus USA program is available at http://arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.
PIERCE COLLEGE TO OFFER STUDENTS NEW PROGRAMS
On Feb. 14, Pierce College signed on as the fifth community college in the U.S. to provide students with a rigorous honors program, and access to a transfer network of leading four-year universities. American Honors is the first national pathway program of its kind that allows students to begin their bachelor’s degree at a community college and then have access to a national network of both public and private universities across the country.
"We look forward to helping our American Honors students achieve excellence at some of the nation’s top universities,” says Pierce College District Chancellor Michele Johnson. “As the lead college in Western Washington for the American Honors network, we are committed to providing a variety of quality educational opportunities for both our students and other colleges.”
Pierce College, in collaboration with Quad Learning Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based education company, will begin enrolling students in the American Honors program for the Fall 2014 quarter. Students in the program take rigorous coursework to prepare them for junior- and senior- level classes when they transfer. The dedicated Pierce faculty in conjunction with American Honors instructional designers and honors advisors guide students to success both while earning their associate degrees at Pierce and afterwards at top four-year institutions. The American Honors program will provide high-achieving Pierce students with a pathway to complete their degrees at an affordable cost.
“We are excited that Pierce College will join a class of innovative institutions offering the next American Honors program. The college’s longstanding commitment to its community, including young people, adults, active military student, and veterans echoes our mission to provide high-quality opportunities to an outstanding group of students,” says Randi Cosentino, American Honors Chief Operating Officer.
Today, over 30 public and private four-year universities are part of the American Honors transfer network, including several Washington schools such as the University of Puget Sound, Gonzaga University, and Whitworth University. American Honors program graduates have been accepted to Stanford, Cornell, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Michigan, USC, Rutgers, Purdue, Reed, and Occidental, and have received significant financial scholarships.