John Larson

grew up in Richland, Wash. He began hanging out in Tacoma at age 13, when his brother Tom was stationed at Fort Lewis. After graduating from Richland High School, he moved to Tacoma. After completing his studies at Tacoma Community College in 1994, he moved to Pullman. In May 1997 he graduated from Washington State University, earning a bachelor’s degree with majors in broadcasting and history. His first job out of school was at Prosser Record-Bulletin. He has worked at Tacoma Weekly since January 2000.


26 June 2013

Local Restaurants: Poodle Dog celebrates 80 years in business

The Poodle Dog celebrated its 80th birthday on June 24 in grand style by rolling back prices on selected items as they were sold when the Fife dining institution opened in 1933.

Lorissa Williamson, general manager of the restaurant, came up with the idea to offer guests 1933 prices, something last done when the Poodle…

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19 June 2013

Arts & Entertainment: Taste of Tacoma

Emerald Queen Casino’s Taste of Tacoma is a highlight of the summer festival season. Cuisines ranging from Caribbean to Cajun to Greek will be represented among more than 50 food booths at Point Defiance Park from June 28-30.

A new attraction this year is The Taste Cooks! It will feature chefs from some of the area’s…

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12 June 2013

Tacoma man will push himself to the limit

On average, only 15 percent of participants finish the Spartan Death Race. Given his physical training regimen and military background, Travis Gendron would seem to have a good chance to be in the elite group that completes the grueling test of mental and physical prowess.

Gendron grew up in Vermont. After finishing…

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12 June 2013

Arts & Entertainment: ‘The Laramie Project’ is compelling, powerful drama

In her program notes, Brie Yost noted that one of her theater colleagues told her: “Tacoma is not ready for ‘The Laramie Project.’” Sometimes plays force people to address difficult subject matter. “The Laramie Project” does so in a very powerful manner. People should see it, regardless if some local playgoers…

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5 June 2013

First Victory for Tacoma Trauma

A strong defensive effort, led by four interceptions by defensive back Zakiya Shaw, earned Tacoma Trauma the first victory in team history on June 1 at Curtis High School. The Trauma, in their first year of competition in the Women’s Football Alliance, defeated the Everett Reign 24-0.

The teams struggled to sustain…

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29 May 2013

Arts & Entertainment: Post-apocalypse refuge

Assemblage Theater is gearing up to offer Tacoma audiences a challenging play from a playwright likely unknown to most Americans. The drama group will present the West Coast premiere of “Bluebeard,” by Pericles Snowdon.

Director/Producer David Domkoski learned of the play while reading a review of a performance…

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22 May 2013

Seniors Announce Their Plans

Lincoln High School celebrated the future goals of its seniors during its second annual Signing Day on May 17. Held in the gymnasium, the event had much of the hoopla and excitement seen at schools that hold ceremonies for athletes accepting football or basketball scholarships. The difference is this event was for all students…

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22 May 2013

Make a Scene: Dan Reed looks forward to first 253 show

Dan Reed was born in Portland and moved as a young boy to South Dakota, where he grew up on a cattle ranch. He met a Japanese exchange student who taught him to play guitar, which made him want to pursue a life as a musician. After graduating from high school, he moved back to his hometown.

Dan Reed Network was formed…

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8 May 2013

Overcoming adversity celebrated

An audience of around 700 people heard inspiring stories of people who overcame obstacles in life to land gainful employment and the rewards that go with it. The occasion was Tacoma Goodwill’s annual Ready to Work Breakfast, held May 7 at Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.

Chad Wright, chair of Tacoma Goodwill’s…

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24 April 2013

Rebuilding Hope: Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County

Rebuilding Hope: Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County recently expanded its name and relocated its office, but it continues to provide the same services to victims, while expanding efforts to educate society about sexual abuse of women, men and children.

The agency’s roots go back to 1972, when a group of local…

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18 April 2013

Gray skies do nothing to dampen Grand Floral Parade

A light drizzle did not dampen any spirits during the 80th annual Daffodil Festival Grand Floral Parade as it rolled down Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma on April 13.

Popular floats were the entries from Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the Daffodil Festival, which carried Daffodil Queen Kenna Erhardt and her court.…

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10 April 2013

Paying it forward

While some college students spend their spring break socializing with friends, a young man from Tacoma spent his helping people recover from a major natural disaster.

Luan Nguyen-Tran grew up in Tacoma and graduated from Foss High School in 2011. He is a student at the University of Redlands in Southern California.…

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3 April 2013

Ladenburg proposes later start times for council meetings

Pierce County Councilmember Connie Ladenburg thinks that starting council meetings later could boost attendance. The council holds its main meetings on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. at the County/City Building. Ladenburg, who began her first term on the council in January, has proposed changing this to 5 p.m. A primary reason is that…

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3 April 2013

Arts & Entertainment: Sacred Red Road Cultural Center

“More than just a bookstore….a cultural awakening.” With that motto as her guide, Melissa Hoskins is opening a business she hopes will be a place where people of all ethnicities gather to learn about the culture and history of American Indians.

Sacred Red Road Cultural Center is a for-profit business. It is affiliated…

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27 March 2013

Reactions mixed concerning Proctor 28 development

A proposed six-story, mixed-use project in Proctor District intends to up the vitality of the district, but it is being met with some opposition.

The project, Proctor 28, will include 135 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail space at street level. It would be located at the intersection of Proctor and North…

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27 March 2013

Mayor welcomes new stores to 6th Avenue

Mayor Marilyn Strickland joined neighborhood residents and employees of 6th Avenue businesses on March 23 to welcome three new establishments to the popular commercial corridor.

The mayor participated in the first ribbon cuttings at Ubiquitous Journey, a spice shop. Owned by Robin Liss, it sells a variety of products…

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20 March 2013

Arts & Entertainment: TLT examines the immigrant experience in ‘The Joy Luck Club’

Tacoma Little Theatre delves into a common American experience in its production of “The Joy Luck Club.” This is based on the book by Amy Tan and adapted by David Hsieh.

That experience is the one of immigrants, as those who were born in the old country struggle to pass on their culture and customs to the younger…

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14 March 2013

Magical Night for Kenna Erhardt

Kenna Erhardt of Rogers High School on South Hill is the new Daffodil Queen. Erhardt and girls from schools around Pierce County competed for the title during the Queen’s Coronation, held at Life Center in Tacoma on March 8.

Kayla Prewitt of Curtis High School in University Place was selected as Miss Congeniality.…

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7 March 2013

School board hears presentation on charter schools

The process of determining how and where charter schools will be established is underway. Last November Washington voters narrowly approved Initiative 1240, authorizing charter schools.

A few things are clear. Up to 40 such schools could be opened within five years. Charter schools would not have geographic boundaries.…

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6 March 2013

Local students face off in food service competition

While basketball teams from around Washington competed for state titles at Tacoma Dome last week, other students faced off on March 2, in a different type of competition. The event was the Boyd’s Coffee Pro Start Invitation, held in the McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood. The program…

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8 September 2011

Taylor Swift rocks the Tacoma Dome

Concerts are best when they are big – big productions in big venues in front of a big audience. Taylor Swift brought her “Speak Now” world tour to town in a big way last night.

Unlike many concerts in Tacoma Dome, there were no black tarps covering the upper decks at this show. They were nearly full of fans,…

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7 July 2011

New stadium hits it out of the park

The new Cheney Stadium is a big hit with fans, Tacoma Rainiers players and staff with the minor-league baseball team.

Mike Combs was instrumental in the project through his position as public assembly facilities director for the city. He retired from the job a few months ago, shortly after the new ballpark opened.

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8 June 2010

Cougar fans rally in Tacoma

Local car dealer Bruce Titus celebrated pride in his alma mater last week while raising money for a good cause. Bruce Titus Automotive Group hosted the Pierce County Cougar Tailgate at Bruce Titus Subaru/Nissan on South Tacoma Way on June 3. The event served as a fundraiser for Washington State University's Student-Athlete…

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9 June 2011

Two days in the life

While planning for this issue of the paper, I offered to hit the streets for an up-close look at homelessness. I was not assigned this task, or required to do so. I came up with the idea and volunteered to do it. I give credit to Richard Sypher, who was a reporter for The News Tribune and covered city government in the late…

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3 March 2010

Birney community mourns Miss Paulson

Jennifer Ann Paulson was a cheerful young woman who cared deeply for her students and brightened the lives of her relatives and colleagues. Her brutal murder has created a sense of deep mourning in people across Pierce County.

A man who had been stalking  Paulson, a special education teacher at Birney Elementary…

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