City News


On Nov. 21, Sound Transit, the City of Tacoma Arts Program and the Dome District community celebrated the installation of “The Locks,” the first in a series of public art pieces for the Sounder ‘D’ to ‘M’ Streets project that extended commuter rail service to South Tacoma and Lakewood last fall.

Inspired by the famous love locks that began appearing on Paris bridges several years ago, Lock-On Tacoma (known as “The Locks”) is a sculpture featuring enlarged padlocks and skeleton keys painted in auto enamel candy colors that surround the support structure for the commuter rail tracks overhead. The columns, located at the ‘A’ Street pedestrian passageway, are wrapped in metal mesh to create a screen where visitors can attach their own “love locks.”

Created by Tacoma artist Diane Hansen, “The Locks” is intended as a communal gathering space in the Dome District. The artwork invites people to bring a lock and make a wish dedicated to the love of a special person, place or memory. As part of the Sound Transit art project, Hansen facilitated community workshops earlier this month, where members of the public decorated their own locks for inclusion on the sculpture.

“I am excited about this opportunity to create public art that invites people to share special memories and wishes with locks of their own,” said Hansen, who worked with youth from Hilltop Artists to cast glass ornaments for the sculpture. “I look forward to watching the sculpture grow into its full expression as people attach their locks to the piece.”

Hansen, a sculptor and glass artist, is one of six artists creating public art for the Lakewood Extension project. Sean Orlando has been commissioned to create gateway artwork for the Pacific Avenue and South 26th Street area, James Sinding has been selected to create a second pedestrian-scale piece at the base of the Pacific Avenue overpass, and Claudia Reidener, Chris Jordan and Kenji Stoll will collaborate for the 66th Street underpass.


Hopefully 2013 will be different than the last five holiday seasons. From 2008-2012, an average of 49 people died in traffic crashes in Washington between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

DUI is still the leading cause of traffic death, however it doesn’t have to be that way and that is why between Nov. 27 and Jan. 1, extra officers will be looking for drivers under the influence on Washington roadways.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently asked people what the goal should be for the number of traffic deaths in Washington. Everyone indicated they would like to see fewer people killed. But when asked what the goal should be for their family members, everyone responded, “zero.” (Well, almost everyone. Visit to see what residents think about zero traffic deaths).

To reach zero traffic deaths takes effort from everyone. Please join law enforcement in working toward zero traffic deaths. Make sure all the people at your Thanksgiving table are also around to celebrate the New Year. Visit to review important safety tips, such as:

Call 911 if you see a suspected DUI driver on the roads.

If you drink, use marijuana, or take other drugs, don’t drive. Make plans beforehand for how you’ll get around.

If you are hosting a party, make sure your guests get home safely! Plan to have sober designated drivers available. Buy a few extra air mattresses so guests can stay the night. If it’s an office party, limit alcohol, provide shuttle service or book hotel rooms. Remember, as a party host, you are liable for the actions of the people who leave your party intoxicated.

Talk with your children about alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Help them understand the ways alcohol and marijuana use can harm their bodies, their brains, and their future. Let them know that they can call you instead of ever getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking, using marijuana or taking drugs.

Give the best gift of all at the Holiday Season with the Designated Driver Gift Card found at

Addiction is a complex issue. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol, marijuana or drug abuse, call the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1 (866) 789-1511.

For more information, visit Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website,


On Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., a benefit will be held at Serious Soul Café (35501 21st Ave. SW, Federal Way, 98023) to help House of Matthew Transitional Services in Tacoma help homeless veterans. Featuring great music and great food, smooth jazz master Darren Motamedy will give a special performance, with Frank Brown and Camisha as host/emcees. A delicious prime rib dinner will be served, included with your ticket – $40 at the door, online at (253) 661-0767, or at Purchase your ticket in advance and receive a $5 off coupon for a future House of Matthew fundraiser every first Sunday at Serious Soul Café. Bring a non-perishable food item and receive a free raffle ticket. Visit


A recipe featuring Harmon Brewery’s house favorite Steep and Deep took first place in Beveridge Place Pub’s Iron Brewer competition, knocking out last year’s champion Odin Brewery. 

Similar to Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” the year-long competition pits professional brewmasters against each other in a blind brew-off.  Entrants must incorporate three unique ingredients into their final recipe. Each contestant has roughly eight weeks to prepare their entry.

“Over the year the Harmon Brewery has competed against some of Washington’s best breweries and has come out on top,” said co-owner Pat Nagle. “We are very proud of our team; this is a prestigious win for us.”

The competition is a bracketed system pitting two breweries against each other in a blind sampling using sometimes off-the-wall ingredients. This year the ingredients matched the season – yams and rosemary. The championship round featured Seattle’s Odin Brewery against Tacoma’s Harmon Brewing Company. Using a blend of candied yam and rosemary tea and Steep and Deep Winter Warmer, the Harmon swept up the title.

Steep and Deep is one of the Harmon’s house favorites with notes of burnt chocolate, toffee and a hoppy bite. The rosemary and yam tea complemented well with the original recipe and was chosen by the public as the Iron Brewer champion.


Jake Musga, 19, was sentenced Nov. 20 to 50 years to life in prison after pleading guilty on Sept. 9, 2013 to Murder in the First Degree and Rape of a Child in the First Degree. The defendant sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s two-year-old son and beat him to death.

“This is one of those exceptionally despicable crimes that defy understanding,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “The defendant will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison.”

On Friday, March 29, 2013, the defendant noticed the victim "had more bruises than normal," was quieter than normal and "wasn't himself." When the victim’s mother came home from work, they noticed the bruises appeared to be getting worse. They contacted their pediatrician who advised them to seek care if the bruises worsened. The couple discussed taking the victim to the doctor, but decided that he "looked too bad." They stayed home.

At approximately 6 p.m., the victim’s mother left for the night and the defendant and took the victim to a park. They returned home and watched television. The defendant poured himself a large drink of Pepsi and vodka. At approximately 4 a.m., the next morning, a 911 caller reported that the defendant was in the lobby of the Commencement Terrace apartment complex holding a badly bruised young boy who was not breathing. Medical aid arrived and the victim was transported to a trauma center. Hospital staff noted the victim was in "major shock" and his condition was "catastrophically bad." The victim was bruised from head to toe, and had a blood alcohol level of 0.12. He showed no significant brain activity and was pronounced dead later that day.

An autopsy revealed that the victim suffered injuries too numerous to count, but there were specific, fatal blows to the head and torso. The medical examiner said the injuries were consistent with abuse. Furthermore, the victim suffered internal and external injuries to the rectum consistent with penetration by an object.


Nonprofit fundraisers in the Puget Sound area: Here is an opportunity to meet some of the people whose financial support could help your venture achieve its goals.

Representatives from up to 15 of Washington’s major grantmaking foundations and organizations will gather to meet and talk to nonprofit professionals in an intimate, round-table format at University of Puget Sound on Friday, Dec. 6.

Grantwriters and other nonprofit officials are invited to come to the 8–11:30 a.m. Puget Sound Grantwriters Association (PSGA) Third Annual South Sound Funders Forum. Attendees will meet in small groups with funders including Bank of America, Ben B. Cheney Foundation, The Boeing Company, Boeing Employees Community Fund, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Medina Foundation, M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Pride Foundation, Puget Sound Energy, State Farm, Washington State Combined Fund Drive, Weyerhaeuser, and others. The forum, including a continental breakfast, will take place in Rasmussen Rotunda in Wheelock Student Center on campus. See below for more details, directions, and a map of campus.

Those attending will be asked to choose the four funders they would most like to meet. They will then meet one funder as part of a small group and switch tables every 25 minutes, until they have met all four. Participants will learn about the grantmakers’ giving priorities, deadlines, application processes, and contact information. They will also have a chance to ask questions. The forum is not intended for individual pitches.

Space for the event is limited to the first 120 participants. Grantwriters and others interested in corporate and foundation funding can register at The event is $50 for PSGA members and $65 for nonmembers.

To register and to get more details, click on the event in the “Upcoming Events” box at For more information, contact the PSGA office at (206) 367-8704 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


“Poetry at the Speed of Sound” is a free spoken word workshop for teens with Lucas Smiraldo, Tacoma's Poet Laureate. It will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at StoryLab and Olympic Room at the downtown main library.

Create poems and perform them with power, confidence and certainty. Create original content that changes the air currents and shakes up listeners. Make a poem that packs a wallop. Move your message from the paper to the microphone to digital media, all in one day. Explore your writing voice and performance identity. Folks who take this workshop will come away with the ability to write original works of poetry with full of life and absent of stereotypes, revise your works into lean pieces of spoken word, prepare performance for recording that will move new listeners and viewers, develop finished audio works that can be partnered with various forms of digital media and find renewed pride and power in their emerging voices.

Smiraldo is a multi-genre generative artist. His recent works include a 17 track CD titled “Voice of the Americas” which was coupled with an original score from sound artist Wrick Wolff and a series of short films titled "Slam Town." Smiraldo will publish two works of poetry including the book "Practice," which will be coupled with original black and white works from a local photographer. Smiraldo has performed commissions for the Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, Black Pilots Association, Seattle Mayor's Hip Hop Awards, Hempfest and many others.

Workshop attendance is kept small to ensure personalized instruction and advance registration is required. Register on-line at (follow links to the on-line calendar) or by telephoning the library at (253) 292-2001.


December always brings a spike in the number of scams, frauds and identity thefts by crooks taking advantage of the fast paced holiday season. Many of these crimes happen because shoppers are a little less attentive to their surroundings.

As technology changes, scammers are making more use of electronic phishing, malicious apps and bogus offers. Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources will offer “Scams for the Holidays: Avoiding Unpleasant Surprises,” a workshop that will look at some of the more popular scams and ways to avoid traps that may lead to loss of private financial information.

The workshop will be repeated four times at four different Tacoma locations:

  • Dec. 9 – 12:10-12:50 p.m., Pierce County Annex Main Meeting Room, 2401 S. 35th St.; and 7-8 p.m., Sound View Building, 3602 Pacific Ave.

  • Dec. 11 – 12:10-12:50 p.m., County City Building Rainier Conference Room, 930 Tacoma Ave. S., 7th Floor; and 7-8 p.m., Summit Branch Library, 5107 112th St. E.

“Scams for the Holidays” will be presented by the Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center. The workshop includes a special AARP video and examples of the most current scams targeting seniors and families. The workshop is free and open to the public. For details call the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600.


According to Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, drone strikes kill 50 civilians per every one terrorist. Drone policy has become a hot button issue in the public sphere and the T.O.H Karl Forensics Forum at Pacific Lutheran University is bringing that discussion to students and community members of Tacoma.

The Forensics Forum is excited to announce the Ruth Anderson Public Debate series, which will bring experts to the campus to discuss contemporary issues relevant to the community. The inaugural Public Debate will take place on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Scandinavian Cultural Center in the Anderson University Center.

The 2013 Ruth Anderson Public Debate topic is: The U.S. drone program is fatally flawed. This debate topic will address remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, that have become an increasingly popular weapon under the Obama administration. Many analysts note that drones effectively eliminate threats abroad without risking soldiers’ lives. However, many critics worry that the use of drones undermines the separation of powers by placing the oversight of these combat instruments in the executive branch of government. Other critics argue that drones increase collateral damage, which undermine our diplomatic goals. This raises the question, are drones helpful to U.S. foreign policy?

To answer this question, the debate will feature two experts on U.S. Drone policy: Pacific Lutheran University’s own Dr. Pauline Kaurin, professor of Philosophy and University of Puget Sound’s Dr. Seth Weinberger, professor of Politics and Government.

This event will end at approximately 8:30 p.m. and is free to all members of the public. Space is limited to 200 people so attendees should arrive early.


Broadway Center  and Immanuel Presbyterian Church continue their partnership with Humanities Washington to bring Think & Drink for its second installment as part of the Tacoma Free for All on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at a new location, Engine House No. 9. The topic for the evening will be “'Tis the Season: Holiday Shopping and the American Consumer Culture.”

This free event puts the holiday shopping season into perspective, asking: How did America become a consumer culture? Does our race, class, or gender influence how we shop and what we buy? And how does our consumption affect our economy - and our community? Ashley Gross, business and labor reporter at KPLU, will serve as the event's moderator. Linda Nash, professor of U.S. history at the University of Washington and Meenakshi Rishi, professor of economics at Seattle University, will further explore the topic as panelists.

Humanities Washington sparks conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across our state. Humanities Washington's Think & Drink program brings hosted conversations on provocative topics and new ideas to pubs, tasting rooms and other non-traditional venues around the state, fostering community discussions by meeting people where they already gather.

Engine House No. 9 is located at 611 Pine St., off of Tacoma's popular 6th Avenue. Seating will be first-come, first serve, and the event will be all-ages until 10 p.m., at which time the venue becomes 21+.

The Broadway Center's Tacoma Free for All offers many free events throughout the year. Guests must register online to request free ticket to each event by visiting and using the search term "Tacoma Free for All."


With assistance from the City of Tacoma's Local Employment and Apprenticeship Training Program (LEAP), WorkForce Central’s Pierce County Construction Partnership recently introduced over 2,000 local youth to possible career opportunities in utilities, construction, manufacturing and transportation at Pierce County Career Day.

"This event really gets at the heart and soul of what the City of Tacoma's LEAP program aims to do, so it's important for us to help ensure its success every year," said Pierce County Career Day Sponsorship and Budget Chair Peter Guzman, who also serves as the LEAP Program Manager in the City of Tacoma's Community and Economic Development Department. "LEAP exists because there is a need to level the playing field with training, resources and employment opportunities so that the citizens we serve can earn better wages."

As a workforce development tool, Pierce County Career Day provides local youth with interactive exhibits that teach them about the technical skills required to be successful, as they gain information about internships, registered apprenticeships, training resources and more.

"This was our sixth year helping to put on Pierce County Career Day," said Pierce County Career Day Volunteer Chair Debbie Chilton, who also serves as a LEAP Program staff member in the City of Tacoma's Community and Economic Development Department. "It is always a major collaborative effort, and we're very pleased with how this year's event turned out. Incidentally, nearly 1/5 of the youth participating in this year's event happen to be from Tacoma."

From 2007 through 2012, 16 percent of those who worked on the City of Tacoma's Public Works projects were Tacoma residents and apprentices who emerged from the City of Tacoma LEAP Program. Visit for more information.


Tacoma City Council is looking to fill three volunteer positions on the 10-member Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority Board: one banking or financing position, one licensed realtor or broker position, and one certified public accountant position. The Board, among other things, administers loans to a variety of clients including low-income Tacoma families that need help buying or repairing their homes, developers that provide multi-family housing to low-income families, businesses that create jobs or rehabilitate blighted commercial spaces, and non-profit organizations that provide services to the Tacoma community.

Board members serve two-year terms. To the extent possible, the board shall be comprised of two members with experience as attorneys, two members with experience in banking or financing, two members with experience in the construction or development industry, two members with experience as certified public accountants, and two members with three or more years of experience as licensed real estate brokers or agents.

For additional information on the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority Board, visit the City of Tacoma’s website or contact Jacinda Howard at (253) 591-5221.

Applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by Dec. 13, 2013. To apply, visit or contact Linnea Meredith at (253) 591-5178, City Clerk’s Office, Room 220, Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Tacoma, WA 98402.


Spanaway Lake residents, business owners and recreational users can learn about an upcoming study of the lake’s health at a community meeting on Dec. 4. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Spanaway Lake Elementary, 412 165th St. S. in Spanaway.

Pierce County will use information obtained in the study to create the Spanaway Lake Management Plan in 2014. The plan will include results from the study, the process for identifying and implementing solutions to protect the lake and improve its health, and ways the community can get involved with the planning process.

“Spanaway Lake is an important part of this community,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “It is everyone’s responsibility to protect the lake so future generations can enjoy it.”

Public Works and Utilities’ Surface Water Management division will conduct a study of the lake’s health in 2014. Data will then be analyzed and presented to the community to identify potential solutions and how to implement them. Funding for lake protection or clean-up efforts in the future will likely be based on recommendations in the plan.

Funding for the Spanaway Lake Management Plan was included in the 2013-2015 Washington State budget at the request of State Rep. David Sawyer (29th District). That funding will be provided to Pierce County to develop the plan.

“I look forward to seeing citizens get involved in this process that will have an impact on the community for years to come,” said Executive McCarthy. “I also appreciate Representative Sawyer’s interest in the health of the lake, and his support for funding the study.”

For more information, visit the project website at


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