Jill Russell

hails from Lakewood, WA. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2008, where she studied print journalism and had the opportunity to travel to Europe and Australia. She had a 10-month stint as a reporter and photographer in Washington's wine country, Prosser. She also covered education for The Daily News in Longview for several months. She now lives in Tacoma with her fiance and eight-year-old cat, Murrow.

Email: jrussell@tacomaweekly.com

30 March 2011

Home sweet home

After weeks of uncertainty, Tacoma Food Co-op board members recently announced they have reached a deal to purchase the Neighborhood Market located on the corner of 6th Avenue and Junett Street.

Board members delivered a letter of intent March 24, for the asset purchase of the property and lease to current…

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30 March 2011

Three cheers for ‘Nine’

Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s production of “Nine” offers everything play-goers look for in an entertaining musical – good acting, strong solo performances and catchy lyrics.

The set is simply decorated with faux-marble pedestals and a coastal backdrop to illustrate the posh Italian spa, where…

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30 March 2011

Blues fest returns

The return of blues downtown gives locals a sure reminder that spring has returned. Organizers of the fourth annual Gray Sky Blues Festival have been busy making sure this year’s musical line up will exceed expectations.

The Tacoma Events Commission and South Sound Blues Association have joined forces once again…

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23 March 2011

To be held and to hold

The message officials from Urban Grace Church and St. Leo’s Catholic Church hope to plant in their congregations this Easter is that God holds us, but people in the world need to hold each other up too.

That is also the idea behind Holy Week, a series of community-based events sponsored by the churches that begin…

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17 March 2011

A labor of love

Phil McAllister had a lot to live up to when he took a longshore job more than 40 years ago.

Men in his family have been working on Tacoma’s docks since 1885. McAllister’s great-great-great cousin, Thomas, was among the first longshoremen working aboard Tacoma’s first trading ships in the late 1880s.…

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16 March 2011

Tacoma Reads Together

The Tacoma Public Library announced its choice for the 10th annual Tacoma Reads Together last month, as part of the city’s community reading initiative.

The novel, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, is the story…

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16 March 2011

Bountiful investment

Last year Holly Foster’s farm, Zestful Gardens located in the Puyallup Valley, was hit hard by a long, cold growing season. Crops were smaller and resources were tighter.

“It was the hardest year we’ve ever had,” Foster said. “It was really scary, but ended up being okay.”


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10 March 2011

Raising concerns

Several people lined up on the sidewalk in the McKinley Hill neighborhood in front of Eloise Cooking Pot Food Bank on a gray afternoon March 4. One by one they entered the bank, handed volunteers a card displaying the number in their household, and picked enough food to last for the next couple days.

The food bank,…

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3 March 2011

How it works

With a highly diverse population and more than half of its students receiving free or reduced lunch, the Tacoma School District struggles to get students to meet state standardized test benchmarks.

This year, the state’s uniform bar requires 58.7 percent of middle school students to pass math and 82.5 percent…

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24 February 2011

Being the spark

It has been said that modern youth are indifferent toward creating better schools and communities. But recently, local students helped shatter that stereotype.

About 150 students from Lincoln High School were invited to participate in the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s Youth Against Violence Initiative on…

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16 February 2011

Stadium student honored

A local Stadium High School student was one of two people chosen statewide to receive an award for his commitment to volunteerism.

Logan Melander, 16, of Tacoma received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. Stadium High School nominated its junior student, who was one of two statewide to receive the honor. Justin…

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10 February 2011

New port programs

A Port of Tacoma program aimed at curbing truck emissions gained support and increased participation among businesses and truck drivers this year.

Last month, officials registered 6,500 Clean Truck Program stickers to drayage truck drivers that met the port’s 2010 goal of reducing emissions of vehicles made in…

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2 February 2011

Ambitious outlook

Last year was tough for everyone, but Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland told her constituents that a positive change will happen in 2011.

Strickland outlined an ambitious plan, during her first State of the City address Jan. 31, to transform the city into a safe, clean location for residents and visitors, and a diverse,…

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26 January 2011

Encouraging optimism

Boze Elementary School’s diversity and unity was showcased during Kids at Hope Day on Jan. 21. More than 500 students, parents and local dignitaries packed the school’s auditorium during the celebration to help promote positive reinforcement and encourage a sense of hope and optimism within students. “Our celebration…

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19 January 2011

Baker shakeup

And then there were five.

State education officials recently named Page Content

Baker Middle School as the fifth Tacoma middle school ranked among the lowest performing schools in the state.

The school received consistently low test scores in reading and math on the state standardized tests over the…

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19 January 2011

Jazz fusion at Stadium

The Stadium High School jazz band has teamed up with acclaimed local jazz talent, Lance Buller, to host “Jazz at Night.” The event will feature an 18-piece big band to open the show, followed by Buller’s jazz quartet, and finale with Buller and the students playing jazz favorites.

Canadian- born Buller has…

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6 January 2011

Department prevents bullying

Bullying can take many forms. Just ask Chris Backman.

As former Tacoma School District coordinator of guidance and counselors, Backman helped schools address issues ranging from physical violence to verbal disputes. Although every bullying incident was different, they all had the same effect on victims.


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16 December 2010

One City, One Book

“We could all read the same book, but we don’t read the same story,” Seattle author Nancy Pearl told a small group of book lovers gathered in the Tacoma Public Library earlier this month. “Everyone brings unique life experiences to a book.”

This is the idea behind Seattle Reads, a project Pearl spearheaded…

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9 December 2010

Giving Back

For those struggling to make ends meet home repairs, such as insulation and fixing leaky pipes, is often the last priority. But, these improvements become more important when chilly winter temperatures set in.

One nonprofit organization is helping low-income residents overcome their obstacles to repair and winterize…

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1 December 2010

Community Memorializes Lakewood’s Fallen Officers

One year later, the legacy of Lakewood's four murdered officers is forever memorialized in stone and steel.

Hundreds of community members gathered Nov. 29 to catch the first glimpse of a new stone memorial erected at the Lakewood Police Department headquarters to honor Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens,…

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