City Briefs: July 29 - Aug 4


Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff are mourning the loss of Mali, a 1-year-old female Sumatran tiger cub, who died July 22 after undergoing emergency surgery and going into cardiac arrest.  

“Mali was well loved by our staff, our community and people around the world,” said zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck.

Mali was showing signs of distress, trembling and breathing heavily, and her stomach was taut and distended. The zoo veterinary team and a veterinary surgeon performed emergency surgery and found her stomach full of undigested meat, which should have passed into her intestines.

Mali went into cardiac arrest shortly after surgery and died, despite extensive resuscitation efforts.

Goodrowe Beck said Mali nearly died in November 2010 after undergoing a similar emergency surgery and going into cardiac arrest. At that time zoo veterinarians were able to resuscitate her.

Zoo veterinarians performed the necropsy examination on Mali the next day, but results may not be known for weeks.

Mali and her brother Bima were born at Point Defiancein May 2010. Their parents, Jaya and Bali, also live at the Tacoma zoo.




America’s Family Pet Expo – the world’s largest consumer pet show – is celebrating its successful inaugural event in Puyallup after 22 years in Southern California. The expo, produced by the World Pet Association (WPA), made its debut at the Puyallup Fair & Events Center July 8-10. A celebration of responsible pet ownership among an interactive backdrop, the expo featured stage shows, educational experiences and interaction with various breeds of animals, shopping, pet experts and family-friendly entertainment.

WPA donated 45 booth spaces to local shelters and rescue organizations, which resulted in the adoption of 226 animals. The adopted pets included 133 dogs, 55 cats, seven ferrets, 14 goats and 17 birds. Combined with adoption numbers from the yearly event in Southern California, America’s Family Pet Expo has helped more than 7,308 animals find forever homes since 1996.

“We are pleased with the success of our first-ever America’s Family Pet Expo in Washington,” said WPA President Doug Poindexter. “We were able to … bring our message of responsible pet care to the more than 12,000 local attendees.”



AHBL, Inc., selected by City of Tacoma in January 2010 as the prime consultant on the Pacific Avenue streetscape, has completed the project’s preliminary design. The plans reflect the project’s ultimate goal of creating a comprehensive downtown streetscape that will promote public events, revitalize businesses and create a more inviting street for all users.

To best answer the concerns of the local community, AHBL and the city developed these plans according to the City Council’s guiding principles and in response to three public meetings held between November 2010 and May 2011.

“We see ourselves as stakeholders. We will live and work in Tacoma and will see the results every day,” Doreen Gavin, civil engineering principal at AHBL, said of the project. “What really excites us about the Pacific Avenue streetscape project is that we will be part of a bigger and ongoing effort in the city to create Pacific Avenue as ‘The Address’ for the downtown core.”

The initial plans ensure that the streetscape reflects Tacoma’s stewardship of the environment. At this point in the design, sustainable elements will include rain gardens, water features and native plantings. An innovative stormwater program aims to improve the quality of stormwater runoff directed into Thea Foss Waterway. Additionally, the preliminary design integrates multi-modal transportation that safely and thoughtfully balances shared use by pedestrians, vehicles, transit, non-motorized vehicles and adjunct businesses.

The Pacific Avenue streetscape construction is scheduled for next year.



In August, Academic Year in America (AYA) is looking for Tacoma families to play host to German students.

This year, AYA is bringing hundreds of German high school students to the United States to learn about American culture while living with volunteer host families and studying at high schools across the nation. American families have the unique opportunity to learn about German culture during this mutually rewarding exchange.

AYA can help families find the ideal student for their home. The result is an enriching, lifelong relationship with a young person from abroad. In addition, for families looking to learn more about the German culture or language, hosting a student is a fantastic way to experience Germany without leaving home.

Students are ages 15 to 18 and arrive with full medical insurance, spending money and the hopes of experiencing life in America through the eyes of a caring host family. The students stay with their host for five or 10 months and attend the local high school.

According to AYA Director Melanie French, an important aspect of the AYA program is that there are many types of people who can host. "Just as there is no typical American family, there is no typical host family," states French. "Retirees, single parents and young couples are all able to give an international student a good home. Some host families may not even have children of their own. Bringing a German student into your home can mean giving the gift of culture to yourself, your family, your community – whomever would benefit from exposure to a new culture."

To learn more about hosting a German exchange student with AYA, contact local coordinator LaCinda Johnson at (253) 565-3335or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Visit AYA on the Internet at



Spaces are starting to fill up for Grit City Fest 2011 this Aug. 27 and 28, but there is still some room available. Rates start at $25 for promo table space and $85 for vendor table space. 

This is a great opportunity for fashion/apparel makers, food vendors, artists/art supply businesses, and music/entertainment businesses. 

All businesses are welcome. If you have a product or service you would like to promote to a mostly young adult audience but cannot “vend” at the fest such as first time home buyer mortgages, first time car buyer, theater group, insurance, etc., join a promo table for $25.30 for both days (that is less that $13 each day to reach around 2,000 or more people). E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)and go to for details on the lineup and locations.



Metro Parks’ Historic and Cultural Resource Manager Melissa McGinnis reports that the Point Defiance Pagoda is coming along nicely after being damaged by fire on April 25. The fire was contained primarily to one section of the basement (where the arsonist started the fire) and the south end of the building. Even though the majority of the building escaped damage from the fire there was extensive smoke and water damage everywhere.

McGinnis writes in the Historic Tacoma newsletter: “Metro Parks Tacoma is working with BCRA to develop the plans for the restoration of the pagoda. Of highest priority is the roof. All of the remaining clay tiles have been carefully removed from the roof, cleaned to remove smoke residue, and stored in the basement area of the building until they can be replaced on new wood sheathing. Reproduction tiles have been ordered to replace those broken in the fire. Even though the windows were not broken during the fire, the wooden frames and casing were permeated by smoke and will be removed from the building for cleaning and restoration.

“The basement of the pagoda, long used as a storage area and small office space, is being considered for expanded public space with meeting rooms and improved restroom facilities. The main floor will be restored to its historic appearance. 

“Metro Parks Tacoma plans to have the roof restoration completed by the end of the summer and the building open again in early 2012.”



Museum of Glass welcomed a record-setting 2,172 visitors between 5-8 p.m. during Third Thursday Artwalk on July 21. Many of the museum visitors participated in a Zumba dancing activity, presented in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, in addition to watching live glassmaking in the Hot Shop, touring the galleries and participating in a hands-on bracelet making craft. All activities were provided free of charge. 

The museum partnered with the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties to present the Zumba event in conjunction with the Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens initiative, designed to promote healthy diet and exercise. Zumba dancing will be offered again during the next Third Thursday, Aug. 18. Prior to July 21 the museum’s attendance record was 1,820 set in August 2003. The average Third Thursday attendance is 1,200 visitors. 





Nearly 100 students from public and private schools in Pierce and King counties participated this month in Franciscan Health Adventures, a fun and interactive program that introduces boys and girls to a variety of career possibilities in health care.

This popular summer program is designed for students who will enter the ninth grade this fall. It encourages them to begin focusing on a career and to learn whether health care might be a good fit for them.

Participants in Health Adventures learn about a spectrum of health care jobs, including those in nursing, pharmacy and general medicine. Students meet nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals and take part in hands-on activities that show them what it is like to work in a health care setting. The program also helps youths to understand the connection between classroom learning and skills needed in the workplace.

During the week of July 11, St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor and St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way hosted the Health Adventures participants. Students were at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood during the week of July 25.

For more information about Health Adventures or to enroll in future programs, contact Sheri Bebbington at (.253) 426-6785or by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



Tacoma City Council voted 7-0 on July 19 to approve a payment of $821,000 to M.A. Mortenson Company for work done on Cheney Stadium.

Council members had postponed voting on the matter when it was presented in June. Some expressed concern they had not been informed of these costs earlier. Before the vote, Public Works Director Dick McKinley told the council they should have been notified several months ago.

Councilmember David Boe recused himself. Councilmember Spiro Manthou is recovering from surgery and was not at the meeting.

Councilmember Jake Fey expressed frustration over the breakdown in communication between the staff and council. “It has been a communication nightmare as far as I am concerned.”



On July 21 a jury convicted Olujimi Blakeney of first-degree murder in the death of a popular city employee who was fatally shot in July 2010. He was also found guilty of drive-by shooting, second-degree assault and unlawfully possessing a firearm. Blakeney fired the shot that killed Lisa Melancon as she stood on the front porch of her Tacoma home. A dispute between a teenage girl living next door and another girl escalated into a fight and shots fired. Blakeney will be sentenced Aug. 3.



On July 21 King County Superior Court Judge J. Wesley Saint Clair dismissed a lawsuit brought by the family of Zina Linnik, a young Hilltop girl who was kidnapped near her home by a sex offender and killed in 2007.

The lawsuit named the city of Tacoma, Pierce County and the State of Washington as defendants. Lawyers for the three governments had argued they should not be held liable for the actions of Terapon Adhahn, who was convicted of killing the girl.



On July 21 the state Supreme Court ruled that Albert Ugas filed frivolous recall charges against Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. The court ordered Ugas and his co-petitioner, Dan Fishburn to pay $50,000 in attorney fees tied to Lindquist’s defense. Ugas works for Dale Washam, the county assessor/treasurer. Both men have feuded with Lindquist and other county officials.


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