City News


CITIZENS FOR TACOMA, NOT TRASH CONTINUES TNT CLEANUP

A group of Tacoma residents is continuing its effort to stop The News Tribune from distributing advertisement bundles in orange plastic bags by cleaning them from the streets and yards in their neighborhood and filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau over what the group considers littering.

The City of Tacoma has posted information about advertising bundles to aid residents in their efforts by referring them to the TNT’s customer service department and stating that the bundles are not considered litter under city code. Visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=48191.

CITY COUNCIL GREENLIGHTS MLK ROUTE

Tacoma City Council unanimously approved a recommendation to route the light rail expansion from the Theatre District station on Commerce to Stadium Way and up then down Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

The recommendation now goes to the Sound Transit Board for final approval and further study. The expansion would add 2.3 miles of track to the Link system that already runs 1.6 miles from the Tacoma Dome station to Commerce Street’s station near Ninth Street.

The recommended route would run from Commerce to Stadium Way then on to North First Street and continue to Division Avenue and turn left to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Sound Transit maps call it the A1/B1 route.

The route received the most community support and is the most straightforward, although it will mean construction on Stadium Way, which just reopened following being redesigned and refinished.

City planners are looking at how the trains will impact traffic in the area, while the effort to raise money for the project continues as well. Estimates put the cost at about $165 million, but the budget estimated that the work would cost $150 million, which will be split three ways among federal grants, local funding and Sound Transit dollars.

The local dollars will likely come from in-kind services from the city, vehicle licensing fees, contributions from institutions, sales taxes, parking fees and possibly a Local Improvement District tax on property owners.

TACOMA TEACHER CHARGED WITH CHILD RAPE

On Feb. 7, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Meredith Powell, 24, with two counts of child rape in the third degree and communication with a minor for immoral purposes. She engaged in sexual conversations and activity with three of her students. The defendant pleaded not guilty and will be released on her personal recognizance.

The defendant is a math teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma. On Jan. 17, one of the victims went to the defendant’s classroom instead of attending the school’s Martin Luther King Day assembly. The two kissed and engaged in sexual activity.

A few days after the assembly, the defendant again engaged in sexual activity in her classroom with another victim. They kissed and the defendant performed oral sex on the victim.

Between the period of Jan. 17, 2014 and Jan. 28, the defendant exchanged explicit text messages with the victims. The messages included compliments about each other’s attractiveness. The defendant sent one of the victims a photo of her naked in the bathtub. She gave another victim her home address and asked him to come over. The victim declined. The defendant did not have intercourse with any of the three victims.

On Feb. 3, the defendant wrote a letter to the girlfriend of one of the victims. She apologized for the “promiscuous” and “unprofessional” comments and texts she sent to the victim. The girlfriend showed the letter to school administrators. The defendant was placed on administrative leave. Detectives arrested the defendant on Feb. 6.

PROCTOR PROJECT CLEARS ANOTHER HURDLE

Despite harsh words from a capacity public forum on the project earlier in the month, the planned six-story apartment and retail development is one big step closer to breaking ground.

“There are a lot of people who are really concerned about it,” Proctor resident Tom Egnew said.

Neighbors gathered at University of Puget Sound to hear developers make their case for The Proctor, a proposed six-story, 147-unit apartment and retail building slated for the corner of North 28th and Proctor streets. Many residents voiced concern that the proposed building would be too large for the neighborhood and wouldn’t have enough parking spaces to provide for its residents and therefore would cause a further car crunch in the community business district. The project plans to provide roughly one car stall per unit, but the development will offer two bedroom units, they pointed out.

“It is woefully under-parked,” Egnew said, adding that the lack of residential parking will cause a spill over into the surrounding street parking spots meant for local businesses. The mixed-used facility would have spaces for six businesses, but displace four existing businesses.

But while the mostly single-family-resident speakers talked about the downside of more people coming to the area, the project is well within the zoning codes of the area. It is the exact sort of live-work project the City Council wanted in business districts, actually, because it adds density while not displacing businesses. The city even made it easier in 2009 for developers to construct mixed-use developments in particular areas by allowing buildings to be six stories instead of the previous four –story cap.

The project is being backed by Proctor’s Northwest Shop and former city council member Bill Evans and Blue Mouse Theater backer and real estate broker Erling Kuester as well as Gig Harbor’s Rush Co. and a roster of other investors.

The project scored its latest win last week when a hearing examiner ruled that an alley bisecting the property could be vacated to allow for a sky bridge to span the alley and join to sections of the facility. The decision, however, now goes to the City Council for final review, but it is expected to approve the decision. It is expected to be on a council agenda later this month.

SPACEWORKS CALLS FOR MURAL VOLUNTEERS

Spaceworks Tacoma, a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce designed to activate empty storefronts and vacant space, has issued a call for volunteers to assist with the new round of Spaceworks’ murals. Work on the murals starts now and continues until March 17. Artists Chelsea O’Sullivan and Diana Leigh Surma have been selected to complete two spectacular new murals on the corner of 11th and Market Street. Volunteers are needed to help prepare the spaces, work with the artists on implementation, and to document the projects. This is an opportunity to be involved in the process of creating public murals, work directly with professional artists, join the Spaceworks team and help beautify Tacoma.

Volunteers are needed anytime from Feb. 14 to March 17. If you are interested, contact Gabriel Brown, Spaceworks assistant, at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, 950 Pacific Ave., #300, P.O. Box 1933, Tacoma, WA 98401-1933; phone (253) 682-1735; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Also visit http://www.spaceworkstacoma.com and http://www.tacomachamber.org.

REGISTER TODAY FOR UWT DIVERSITY SUMMIT

The public is cordially invited to UW Tacoma's 2014 Diversity Summit being held on Friday, Feb. 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in William Philip Hall. This year’s Diversity Summit will feature the Interactive Theater as Pedagogy Project (ITPP). ITPP uses interactive theater – with a focus on Theater of the Oppressed methods – to create collective spaces that promote engagement in difficult dialogues, critical thinking, and taking action for change.

Have you ever witnessed or experienced an act of oppression – sometimes overt, sometimes subtle, and yet always powerful? When these situations take place, many of us do not intervene or respond, or perhaps we do something that, later on, we wished we had done differently or more effectively. If yes, then join us as both a spectator and spect-actor to identify and respond to isms, phobias and more! 

Space is limited, so register today at: http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/diversitysummit.

KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS TURNS 150

The Knights of Pythias Commencement No.7 is marking the fraternal order’s 150th birthday with an open house and movie screening at its landmark lodge, at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 at 924 Broadway.

The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization founded at Washington, DC, on Feb. 19, 1864 by Justus H. Rathbone and Abraham Lincoln as a way for the North and South to heal the wounds gained during the Civil War.

The order draws its name from the legend of Damon and Pythias that illustrates the ideals of loyalty, honor and friendship that are the center of the order. The distinguishing principles of the Order of Knights of Pythias are “Friendship, Charity and Benevolence.” At its highest, the non-denominational, non-political fraternal society was the third largest fraternal order in America, behind the Masons and the Oddfellows. It and its Pythian Sisters groups currently number more than 2,000 lodges around the world, with a total membership of about 50,000.

The Pythian Temple, built in 1906 was designed by noted Tacoma architect Frederick Heath, who was also a member of the lodge. The facility is listed on the national and local historical registry because is largely remains intact as it was built more than a century ago. Its roster of members include the who’s who of Tacoma’s history, from mayors, lawmakers, police chiefs and business tycoons. The lodge space is currently a host to First Night events as well as a handful of community activities throughout the year as well as weekly lodge meetings.

In addition to being home to the Knights of Pythias, and the Pythian Sisters, the building houses the Tacoma Youth Theatre and Seabury Middle School.

During the open house, visitors will have a chance to tour the facility and learn its history as well as view the 1962 classic “Damon and Pythias.”

The movie follows the story of Pythias, a liberal Athenian who believes all men are brothers, only to find himself condemned to death by Dionysus, the tyrant of Syracuse. Dionysus, however, allows Pythias to return to Athens to visit his ailing wife with the understanding he will then come back to face his punishment. Damon, a friend of Pythias, volunteers to be a hostage to guarantee Pythias’s return. Dionysius doesn’t expect Pythias to keep his end of the bargain, thus exposing the falsity of his beliefs, but Pythias proves to be a man of his word.

The movie stars Guy Williams, who was coming off his successes as Walt Disney’s Zorro in both television and movies and would go on to play the role of John Robinson in the Sci Fi classic “Lost in Space.”

While donations will be accepted, the tours and movie screening are free and open to the public. More information can be found at http://www.Facebook.com/TacomaPythians. Tours of the Castle Hall will be held between 6 and when the movie starts at 7 p.m.

VOLUNTEER APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE NOW FOR U.S. OPEN

The United States Golf Association (USGA) and Chambers Bay have announced that volunteer applications for the 115th U.S. Open Championship are now available. The 2015 U.S. Open, the first to be played in the Pacific Northwest, is scheduled for June 15-21 at Chambers Bay.

Approximately 4,500 unpaid volunteers will be needed to fill positions on 24 committees, including hospitality, leaderboards, marshals, merchandise and spectator services. Those assigned to the 2015 U.S. Open will be required to work a minimum of four shifts, of five to six hours each. Volunteer positions will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

All volunteers are required to purchase the volunteer package for $165. This package will include apparel specially designed for the 2015 U.S. Open, a credential valid for all seven days of the championship and a meal voucher for each assigned shift. The volunteer apparel will consist of two golf shirts, a wind jacket and a piece of headwear.

To access the online application and read full committee descriptions, visit https://2015volunteers.usga.org. To request a mailed application, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For more information about the USGA, visit http://www.usga.org.

TACOMA ARTISTS DECORATE HOUSES FOR AUCTION

Tacoma based artists were invited to create original works of art for Shared Housing Services “Spring for Housing” dinner auction to be held March 1 at the Tacoma Golf and Country Club.

The art pieces began as 10-inch by 12-inch craft model houses that the artists transformed into sensational art pieces to be sold at the dinner auction. The non-profit is expecting over 30 houses to be displayed at the event, including one house by local junior high class Hilltop Artists. All of the artists were invited to come together before the event for an open house given by the board members and staff of Shared Housing Services.

The non-profit’s mission is dynamic, “connecting people and fostering independence through innovative and affordable housing, because everyone needs a place to call home.” Shared Housing Services matches low-income individuals seeking a home with those that have extra space in their home.

“Shared Housing Services facilitates approximately 150 home share matches per year, impacting 1,300 persons.”

Shared Housing Services offers three different programs to assist individuals with finding housing. They are: Adult Home Sharing, Transitional Family Housing, and the Host Home Program. All three programs have a slightly different focus, but have the same goal in mind - helping people in need find homes.

The Adult Home Sharing program allows people on the brink of homelessness to connect with a temporary or permanent living situation. Those willing to share their home may need assistance with household duties, companionship, or added income.

The Transitional Family Housing program provides low-income homeless families a home for up to two years to recover from the situation that made them homeless. This program not only provides families with a home, it offers a structured program stressing positive growth and tools families can use to achieve their goals.

The newest program, Host Home Program, began about a year ago. This program is transitional housing for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Grants through the City of Tacoma and Pierce County serve as extra funding for the families offering their spare bedroom to the person in need.

For more information about Shared Housing Services and the housing programs they offer, visit http://www.sharedhousingservices.org.

PRE-SCHOOL, KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION BEGINS MARCH 3

Parents can begin to register their children for Tacoma Public Schools’ preschools and kindergartens March 3.

For kindergarten: If your child will be 5 years old by Aug. 31, 2014, please visit your neighborhood school to register and bring:

A copy of your student’s birth certificate or other document to verify age. (Acceptable alternative documents to verify age include a baptismal certificate, hospital records or insurance records.) 

Immunization records.

All elementary schools offer full-day kindergarten programs and each elementary school will have an open house for kindergarten registration. To find dates and times, please visit the district’s events calendar on the website at: http://www.tacomaschools.org.

An early-entrance-to-kindergarten screening for children who will turn 5 years old between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 2014, will be scheduled for Aug. 4-7 and Aug. 11-14. Families can contact the Early Learning Department after March 3 at (253) 571-1049 for an appointment.

For more information about kindergarten registration, please contact Early Learning at 253-571-1049.

For pre-school: If you have a child who will be 4 years old by Aug. 31, you may qualify for a free preschool program at one of 28 elementary schools. Approximately 1,088 free preschool slots are available in Head Start, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), Title 1 and Peer Inclusion programs. Bryant and Geiger Montessori schools charge a monthly fee for their full-day preschool programs.

Browns Point, Crescent Heights, Lowell, Sherman and Washington-Hoyt elementary schools do not have preschool programs at this time.

Registration for all preschool programs will begin March 3.

To find out more about preschool offerings, please call (253) 571-1049 after March 3.

For information about how to register your child in one of the district’s Montessori schools, Bryant and Geiger, please contact the main office at those schools. Bryant’s office phone number is (253) 571-2800 and Geiger’s is (253) 571-6800.

Hard copies of the registration forms are available at each school.

SOUTHBOUND SCHUSTER PARKWAY CLOSED THROUGH MARCH 21

To allow for stormwater improvements, southbound Schuster Parkway will remain closed to vehicular traffic between South 4th Street and Pacific Avenue through March 21. Northbound lanes will remain unaffected.

The improvements are designed to improve storm drainage and prevent flooding on Commerce Street near the Spanish Steps.

Detour signs direct southbound traffic from Schuster Parkway to South 4th Street, Dock Street and to downtown or I-705 via the South 15th Street ramp. View a map of the detour route from the project web site, http://www.cityoftacoma.org/stadiumway.

The Schuster Parkway sidewalk will be closed to pedestrians and users for two to three weeks during the road closure. Signs will notify pedestrians when the sidewalk is closed. The pedestrian detour will be the same as the vehicle detour.

For more information contact Environmental Services Project Manager Erik Ward, (253) 502-2171.

ST. LEO FOOD GOES IRISH TO RAISE FUNDS

On Saturday, March 8, St. Leo Food Connect will hold its fourth Annual Bia-Ceol-Damhsa, an evening of Irish food, music and dance to support the St. Leo Food Connection. Tickets are $50 and include dinner, drinks, Irish music and an Irish dance performance by Evolution Dance. Specialty Irish cocktails and raffle tickets will be available for purchase as well. Bia-Ceol-Damhsa will be held at St. Patrick's School (1112 N. 'G' St., Tacoma) from 6-10 p.m. For more information or to order your tickets, contact Kevin Glackin-Coley at (253) 572-9405 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

St. Leo Food Connection, one of the the largest food banks in Pierce County, operates a number of emergency food programs, including the Springbrook Mobile Food Bank, serving more than 150 households weekly; a Backpack Program that provides two days worth of kid-friendly food to more than 750 Tacoma and Clover Park Public School students on Fridays throughout the school year; summer meals sites in Pierce and Skagit County that serve lunch and a snack to more than 700 children on weekdays throughout the summer; and an after-school snack and meal program that serves children in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood.

Director of Evolution Dance Melissa Curtis came to the Food Connection with the idea for this event three years ago.

”I teach non-
competitive Irish dance choosing to focus on performance rather than competing. One of the things
I’d like to do more of is use my 'talent' to help others. Since my talent seems to be teaching
Irish dance, I thought I’d add a social justice piece to my dance program. I immediately thought of The Food Connection as hunger has hugely impacted the Irish people and changed the course of their 
history with the famine in the 1800’s.”

SHERIFF'S COMMUNITY ACADEMY ANNOUNCES OPENINGS

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is looking for interested citizens to attend its winter Community Academy program. The University Place academy begins Feb. 20 and will meet each Thursday evening from 7-9:30 p.m. for 13 weeks. The South Hill academy begins March 19 and will meet each Wednesday evening from 7-9:30 p.m. for 13 weeks.

The academy is an opportunity for participants to learn first-hand about law enforcement in Pierce County and to meet the Sheriff and other department members. The course seeks to familiarize the public with all aspects of the Sheriff's Department and provides insight into the practices of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

The class covers topics such as the law, patrol procedures, use of force, detectives, narcotics, K-9, domestic violence, hiring and training, and more. Field trips are scheduled to the 9-1-1 Communications Center, Pierce County Jail, Sheriff’s headquarters, and the Range.

Pre-registration is required and applications are accepted on a first come first served basis until the class is filled. Applicants must be at least 16 years old. Fingerprinting and a photo I.D. are required after preliminary acceptance to the academy.

You can register online at http://www.piercecountywa.org or go to http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/267 to print and mail in the application. To get more information, visit the Sheriff’s Department website. More information on the class will be sent once your application is received.

TACOMA EAGLE SCOUTS HONORED

Thirteen Eagle Scouts and their Scoutmasters were recognized by the Pacific Harbors Boy Scout Council for their work in building the first trails by Eagle Scouts for the National Park Service (NPS) in 1925, which forged a partnership between BSA and the NPS that has continued to this day. The history of the project was presented by way of a wall display to the Pacific Harbors Council by the Friends of L. Ron Hubbard Foundation highlighting the pioneering project by 13 hand-selected Eagle Scouts from Tacoma, Seattle, Bellingham and Everett.

The original trail head marker was rediscovered in the summer of 2013 by Retired Mt. Rainier National Park Archeologist Carl Fabiani and Christopher Finn and read, “EAGLE TRAIL, BUILT BY SCOUTS OF EAGLE RANK, WESTERN WASHINGTON 1925.” The discovery of the trail and documents supporting its construction were located based on a reference made to Mt. Rainier in a recorded lecture in the 1970's by one of the Eagle Scouts involved, author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

The project was originally published on 13 August 1925 in the Tacoma News Tribune which headlined, “Scouts Begin Trail-Making Project in Park” and outlined the project that included the top Eagle Scouts from Western Washington cities who constructed two trails over a 10-day period with their lodging, food and expenses covered by the government.

Ted Woodlock, Acting Scout Executive of Pacific Harbors Boy Scout Council stated “This display will be enjoyed by many for years to come and highlights an integral part of the history and tradition of what our Scouts continue to exemplify through doing a 'good turn daily' in communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

The display can be viewed in the “Great Room” at the Pacific Harbors Boy Scout Council and features historical documents, newspaper articles, photographs, names of the Scoutmasters and Eagle Scouts involved and a letter from the 1925 Mt. Rainier Park Superintendent acknowledging them for their work and contribution to Mt. Rainier National Park.

At the presentation, Pacific Harbors Council honored Eagle Scout L. Ron Hubbard with a "Lifetime of Remarkable Achievement Award" commemorating the 90th anniversary year of him becoming a Scout at Tacoma’s 1923 Black Eagle Patrol, Troop 31 and in recognition of his Humanitarian work for the betterment of mankind. After starting as a scout in Tacoma, L. Ron Hubbard went on to become the nation's youngest Eagle Scout of the era.

Eagle Scouts from the 1925 project included (in alphabetical order); Merton Benham, Floyd Hanson, Glen Hofeditz, L. Ron Hubbard, Norman Hume, Al Jorgensen, Albert King, Clifford O’ Connor, Quintin Peniston, Norman Sears, Harry Shaffer and Vernon Vine.

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