Top 10 most read stories on 2013 on

// The following stories were the most read, by the numbers, at in 2013.

1. Here’s an item from the 253 disgusting folder

Daily Mashup: Feb. 5, 2013

After two incidents, the downtown Business Improvement Area's security department and the Tacoma Police Department issued an alert about a man assaulting women. During one week there were two incidents involving a black male approaching unsuspecting female employees in the Antique Row business area along Broadway. The subject would distract the employee and begin masturbating when she was not looking. At least one unconfirmed report on social media outlets stated the man ejaculated on at least one of the victims while she had turned away.

Police and the Downtown Business Association worked in coordination with the department's Special Assault Unit detectives on suspect identification. The suspect was apprehended a few days later. He was arrested and booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of fourth-degree assault.

2. HORROR ON HILLTOP: In a Zagat guide, Hell’s Gateway haunted house would rate five stars

Hell’s Gateway haunted house generated a lot of buzz last year for its maze of spectacular misery, a techno-rich home for all things gory compliments of screamologists Ian and Sandy Johnson who transformed vacant houses in Hilltop to a Halloween fanatics’ playground. These masters of liquid latex, scavengers of thrift stores and post-season sales, crafted corpses hanging from hooks large and small. They accessorized limbs unencumbered by bodies. They gave werewolves an extra spring to their leap.

“We used to throw a Halloween party at our house,” Ian Johnson said. “Our friends would say, ‘You guys should do a haunted house. You’ve got enough stuff.’ We did. We kept it in a trailer.” They looked close to home in Federal Way, he said, but “the city of Federal Way didn’t want anything to do with a haunted house.” Tacoma’s zoning, business and code enforcement officials steered the fright flight south for all to enjoy in T-Town.

3. Changes come to Weekly Volcano

Daily Mashup: April 30, 2013

Weekly Volcano publisher Ron Swarner announced in 2013 that The Weekly Volcano would no longer print as its own publication. Instead, the popular alternative weekly became an entertainment supplement inside the Ranger and Northwest Airlifter publications in order to continue its one-of-a-kind coverage of area arts and entertainment.

4. Stonegate welcomes Tacoma’s first pot club

Before the first licensed marijuana retail outlets were expected to be up and running in T-Town, one Tacoma business jumped right in to capitalizing on the legalization of recreational pot use in Washington, as allowed by the passage of Initiative 502 in November.

Stonegate Pizza & Rum Bar, at 5419 South Tacoma Way, launched its new Vape Club on Jan. 29 in conjunction with Green Light Expo, a collective medical marijuana garden located across the street. Potential club members filled out an application and paid a nominal fee: $1 for a one-day membership, $5 for a week and $20 for a year. Then they were allowed into the Stonegate's upstairs lounge, where they could puff on vapor pens loaded with cannabis-infused oil. Sadly, the Vape Club didn’t last as authorities forced its closure not long after it opened.

5. Tacoma Housing Authority will take applications for rental assistance

Tacoma Housing Authority began accepting rental assistance applications for the first time since 2008. Back then, 9,000 people stood in lines to fill out the forms that would give them a chance at a Section 8 voucher. The rules changed, as there would be no lines, with the voucher coverage aimed at readying those who can work to get the jobs that can make them independent.

There are changes, too, in the old Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program. It has a new name: Housing Opportunity Program, or HOP. It will help low-income households pay the rent on private-sector homes or apartments. Under HOP, that sum will remain the same, and will not change with the participants’ income.

THA will offer employment and job search services to all participants who are able to work. It also will set a five-year limit on assistance for people who can work. That limit will not apply to seniors or to people who cannot work because of a disability.

6. Hell’s Angels open clubhouse in Dome District

The Washington Chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club opened a clubhouse in a building on East ‘G’ Street near Freighthouse Square in the Dome District. Tacoma Police Department (TPD) is keeping a close eye on this development.

TPD officials learned members planned to move in on May 1, (2010). That same day about 150 members of the Outsiders Motorcycle Club were spotted riding together on North 21st Street.

Lieutenant Bart Hayes told Tacoma City Council members that no particular motorcycle group is claiming Tacoma as its turf. The Outsiders have operated a clubhouse on Hilltop for several years, he noted. Other groups that are known to be active in the Tacoma area are the Bandidos and Outlaws.

7. What’s Right With Tacoma: NW Furniture Bank does right by old mattresses

The fate of a forsaken mattress can rank with the nastiest of breakups. Dumped, it festers forever, wasting space, leaking toxic memories. It deserves better. We deserve better. And now NW Furniture Bank is giving us better.

Bill and Joelene Lemke have added the Spring Back Mattress Recycling business plan to the non-profit they founded in 2007.

Mattresses are the mainstay of the good they do, and they accept those in good condition to sanitize and send to a new home. They also have rejected thousands too worn and stained to be used again.

The fate of those mattresses troubled them. When the factory space across the parking lot from the store went vacant, NW Furniture Bank acquired it and loaded in three vertical balers that compact mattress components into materials for which recyclers pay good money. Drop-off fee is $10 per piece (king sets are three pieces), Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2301 Dock St., Tacoma, 98421.Telephone: (253) 627-1290 and at

8. TERRIFIED IN TACOMA: Real ghost hunters lead tours of Gritty City’s haunted history

Tacoma historians Charlie and Andrew Hansen have researched about 50 ghost sightings and paranormal experiences in downtown Tacoma, but they only mention about 25 of them in their "Terrified in Tacoma" tour because they strive to weave Gritty City’s past with its haunted history by visiting the sites on their walking tour. Some of the great hauntings occur in the suburbs and residential neighborhoods.

The Hansens cover the better-known ghosts of downtown, including “Gus” in the Old City Hall, the sightings linked to Alexander Pantages and Klondike Kate in the Pantages theater, the Case of Allan Mason and his cursed mummy, the mysterious sinking of the Andelana and much more.

Terrified in Tacoma tours are offered at 6 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. Reservations are booked by calling Spooked in Seattle (425) 954-7701.

9. The world needs more people like Caroline Allen

Tacoma Weekly readers seemed to really enjoy contributing writer Sean Contris’ tribute to his good friend Caroline Allen. He wrote, in part, “Caroline has a personality that resembles her hair. Long and tumbling, it descends down her back and across her shoulders in wild and frizzy curls spinning uninterrupted and free in every direction. Like her hair, Caroline is totally and utterly free. She is loud, excited, jubilant and joyful, with a laugh and rosy smile that are entirely her own. Best described as a ray of sunshine, Caroline brightens the world around her by uplifting those who need it, and never stopping to drag anyone behind her.” Read the rest at

10. Vote for the 253’s cutest couple

Daily Mashup: Feb. 4, 2013

Among all the contests Tacoma Weekly held in 2013, none seemed to draw as much attention as our call for the 253’s cutest couple. More than 500 people voted online and through e-mail and by a handful of votes, babies edged out a picture of a soldier and his girlfriend.

The babies received a bouquet of roses from Fife Flowers and dinner for two at Fife City Bar and Grill. The soldier-girlfriend runner up received two gift certificates from Dirty Oscar’s Annex, while the third-place picture of a couple rocking matching yellow shirts received a single gift certificate from Dirty Oscar’s Annex.


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