Steve Dunkelberger

has been a journalist in Washington for more than 15 years. He is a historian and book author. He is also a media contest judge for Sigma Delta Chi, the national fraternity for journalists.

Email: stevedunkel@tacomaweekly.com

22 July 2015

Council slates $12 wage proposal for fall ballot

Tacoma City Council last week slated a plan for the November ballot that would boost the city’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2018. The council’s proposal will ride the same ballot as a citizen initiative that would set the minimum wage at $15 on Jan. 1, 2016.

The $12 package comes after the city organized a Minimum…

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22 July 2015

Completion of State Route 167 finally gets funded

Gov. Jay Inslee formally signed a transportation package last week that will flow $16.2 billion toward roads and transportation packages around the state for the next 16 years.

Funding for the transportation package comes from an increase to the state’s gas tax. The per-gallon tax will jump 11.9 cents in phases starting…

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22 July 2015

It’s official: Pothole plans to be on Nov. 3 ballot


Tacomans will vote in November on two street repair and maintenance packages that would increase a host of taxes to raise as much as $325 million during the next decade to fix a backlog of about $800 million in road repairs in the city that was created by underfunding street repairs since the 1980s.

The…

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14 July 2015

Arts & Entertainment: ‘West Side Story’ provides a solid, albeit uneven, gem

Tacoma Musical Playhouse is ending its main stage season with “West Side Story,” the most popular contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” by Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Berstein.

This tale of star-crossed lovers has the Puerto Rican immigrant “Sharks” feuding…

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14 July 2015

City ponders ‘Water Forest’ options after vandal damages columns again

Howard Ben Tré’s public sculpture “Water Forest” quickly became one of the most popular public art pieces in the City of Tacoma’s collection when it was installed outside the Museum of Glass Main Plaza in 2002.

The 12 pillars and cascading waters that comprise “Water Forest” almost demand visitors to…

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7 July 2015

Wage task force finalizes recommendations as vote nears

Tacoma’s City Council-appointed Minimum Wage Task Force only agreed on a few recommendations to the City Council, but one point was certain – the initiative to boost the city’s minimum hourly wage from $9.47 to $15 overnight would be bad for the city’s economic backbone.

“The members of the Tacoma Minimum…

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7 July 2015

Revised Road Plans

Everyone who remembers the $500 million roads repair plans Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland roughed out in her state of the city address in February should largely forget that plan. Those ideas didn’t fly with stakeholders, so she has spent the last few months retooling options to fix the city’s crumbling roadways. The…

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1 July 2015

Farmland rezone plan held for more study

The Pierce County Council unanimously passed a slate of Comprehensive Plan changes on Tuesday as part of its biannual zoning review process. Dropped from that list of changes was a reclassification of what constitutes agricultural land. That was left unchanged by an amendment that sets aside the issue until 2017. The two-year…

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30 June 2015

Fireworks could get expensive with fines, fires

Independence Day fireworks have been banned in Tacoma since 1997, but that doesn’t stop the whizzes and bangs from echoing in every neighborhood at the risk of fines and possibly jail time.

“We do actually still catch some people with the fireworks,” Tacoma Police Public Information Officer Loretta Cool said.…

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30 June 2015

City streamlines process for outdoor cafes

The City of Tacoma has streamlined the permitting process for local restaurants to add sidewalk seating in time for sun-seeking patrons this summer.

Tacoma’s Planning and Development Services department has launched a new process that offers an expedited permit as well as provides a sidewalk expert to shepherd restaurant…

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24 June 2015

Burning is for learning at Tacoma Fire practice

Tacoma Fire Department firefighters took advantage of the increasingly rare opportunity to conduct live fire training at a property in Fife.

Live fire training opportunities are getting harder to come by these days because of increasing environmental demands concerning smoke emissions that require the property owner…

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23 June 2015

Tacoma inmates set to face short-term shuffle

Anyone arrested for petty crimes in Tacoma might face some cell shuffling for the next few months as the city shifts its inmate housing back to Pierce County Jail, following the end of a contract Tacoma had with Fife.

Tacoma City Council unanimously approved four jail services contracts with Pierce County, Fife, the…

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23 June 2015

TPU poll suggests little support for Click! Cable


Tacoma Public Utilities officials presented the results of a telephone poll of its customers to the City Council on Tuesday regarding the future of Click! Cable. A consultant’s financial analysis of various options was also presented. Both point toward leasing the fiber optic network out to a private company…

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16 June 2015

Student Handcuffed

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor is investigating the details involving the handcuffing of a Washington High School student in a hallway for charges that were later dropped. The student, however, was denied a chance to walk at his school’s graduation after school officials banned him from the ceremony because of the incident.

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16 June 2015

Proctor residents call for hiatus to study impacts of future developments


Proctor residents who are concerned about potential quality of life impacts caused by large housing developments in the works want the city to issue a moratorium to allow for more study on what effects a boom in high-density projects could have on the neighborhood.

An online petition has more than 600…

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16 June 2015

Pierce County Asylum preps to become center of haunted hub

An army of volunteers at Pierce County Asylum is busy sanding and painting and splattering fake blood and guts around their haunted house in preparation for Halloween in July and plans for a sibling haunted house upstairs.

The co-location of two haunted houses in Freighthouse Station, which is better known by its former…

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11 June 2015

Three petitions set to ride fall ballot


Two city-specific petitions and one county-wide effort are at, or close, to the required number of signatures to be deemed valid, clearing the way for them to face voters in the fall.

The petition to raise the Tacoma’s minimum wage to $15 an hour cleared the signature-gathering requirement already.…

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The Daily MashUp

5 February 2016

Father sentenced to 70 years in infant’s beating death

Dwayne Patrick Cowart, 32, was sentenced to 840 months in prison for beating…Read More

4 February 2016

Tacoma Municipal Court Judge David Ladenburg announces bid for Superior Court

Tacoma Municipal Court Judge David Ladenburg has announced his candidacy for…Read More