TNT: 3 Pierce senators introduce bills aimed at reducing homelessness

"Three Republican state lawmakers who represent Pierce County released their plans on Tuesday to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in Washington, stressing they want to work with Democrats who control the Legislature.

Sen. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, noted that a recent Crosscut/Elway poll found that voters ranked homelessness as the top issue that lawmakers must address.

'The reality is people are facing housing insecurity. The reality is people are suffering from substance abuse disorder and mental illness. The reality is people are living on our streets and the reality is people are facing unsafe conditions. The people I’m describing are not all homeless, but they are deeply affected by homelessness,' Zeiger said at a press conference."

Continue reading James Drew's story at The News Tribune.

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TNT: How’s Pierce County doing on local jobs, housing? Economic forecast shows more needed

"After a fairly robust 2019, slower economic growth is anticipated for the Tacoma-Pierce County region for 2020.

That seems to be the overriding message in this year’s Pierce County Economic Index report, presented this week at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chambers’s Horizons Economic Forecast breakfast at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

The report, pulled together by Neal Johnson of Sound Resource Economics, is compiled annually. Last year’s presentation emphasized uncertainty given the partial government shutdown at the time. This year’s report shows 2019 actually offered areas of surprising growth."

Continue reading Debbie Cockrell's article at The News Tribune.

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TNT: Pierce County will help defend I-976 against lawsuit

"Pierce County has decided to help defend Initiative 976, the measure to lower car tabs passed by voters statewide last month, in a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

The Pierce County Council voted 4-3 along party lines Tuesday to intervene in the lawsuit brought against the so-called $30 car tab initiative, which was sponsored by Tim Eyman.

'Rest assured, your voices were heard in this process,' chairman Doug Richardson said in the council meeting."

Continue reading Josephine Peterson's story at The News Tribune.

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Q13 FOX: Pierce County executive wants to join $30 car tab legal battle; other lawmakers ready for own fight

"The Pierce County Council is set to vote on the County Executive's proposal to join in on the legal fight opposing King County and Seattle.

Executive Bruce Dammeimer says the statewide vote of the people that passed $30 car tabs should stand and if a judge disagrees, some state lawmakers say they are ready to launch their own fight."

"'As a Pierce County executive, I have a responsibility to the voters of Pierce County. I am acting in that capacity in their defense,' Dammeier said."

Continue reading Hana Kim's story at Q13 FOX.



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TNT: Parkland-Spanaway area to get new $6.1 million crisis center to serve mentally ill

"Pierce County has started construction on a new facility aimed to help those grappling with substance abuse and mental illness.

Elected officials, social workers and first responders spoke Wednesday of the long-awaited Parkland-Spanaway facility."

"Central Pierce Fire & Rescue Chief Dan Olson said fire departments, particularly in central and southern Pierce County, have seen an increase in the number of mental health calls. It can be challenging for first responders to arrive and transport patients from the middle of the county to facilities in the cities.

Many of the mental health or substance abuse responses are from frequent callers, who need help the fire department can’t provide, Olson said."

Read more of Josephine Peterson's story at The News Tribune.

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Strong Candidates for the Nov. 5th Election

Friends and supporters,

This is an off year election, but there is a lot at stake for local governments, especially the Port of Tacoma Commission races.

I am often asked who I personally support, and these local leaders have earned my endorsement. I believe they will be fiscally responsible, improve public safety, and help create jobs. Please consider voting for them and remember to return your ballot by November 5th

Deanna Keller, Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 3
Dave Bryant, Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 5
Keith Blocker, Tacoma City Council, Position 3
Conor McCarthy, Tacoma City Council at Large, Position 7
Paul Herrera, Puyallup City Council, District 2
Curt Gimmestad, Puyallup City Council, District 3
Tracie Markley, Gig Harbor City Council, Position 4
Michelle Matheson, Gig Harbor City Council, Position 5
Le Rodenberg, Gig Harbor City Council, Position 6
Mike Courts, DuPont Mayor


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TNT: This Almond Roca candy factory leftover will go to hungry bees

"Recently, managers realized one of them needed cleaning out. A crust of sugar had built up on the inside. Brown & Haley knew the process would create a lot of waste water, nothing more than food-grade sugar and water.

When a Brown & Haley manager contacted the city to discuss disposing of the sugary water, an employee at the wastewater plant, who is also an amateur beekeeper, had another idea, said city spokeswoman Christina Lorella.

'He said, wait a minute, this could be beneficial to the bees, instead of throwing it down the waste stream,' Lorella said Tuesday.

Fast forward a few weeks and — with the approval of the Pierce County Beekeepers Association — the city’s first candy factory bee feed is underway."

Continue reading Craig Sailor's story at The News Tribune.

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TNT: Youth shelter to open permanently at senior center

"The city of Tacoma is moving forward with plans to renovate and reopen a senior center as a permanent location providing services for homeless youth and young adults."

"The recommended renovations would co-locate both senior services and homeless resources, including overnight shelter and drop-in services, in one building. The estimated cost is between $4.5 and $5.6 million.

A preliminary design concept splits the building into two, with senior services along South 13th Street and homeless service on the north side of the building. Both would have individual entrances along Fawcett Avenue."

Read more of this story by Allison Needles at The News Tribune.

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TNT: Construction for South Sound 911’s new building underway

"On Monday, work began on a $59 million project for South Sound 911’s public safety communications building at the site of the former Puget Sound Hospital.

The project includes a new dispatch and record center on Pacific Avenue for police, fire and EMT agencies, equipment and furnishings and renovating the current center to become a backup dispatch center."

"The consolidation has brought together more than 230 dispatchers, IT and staff from across the county, who work in a building on 35th Street in Tacoma and answer more than 2,600 calls a day."

Read more of Jospehine Peterson's story at The News Tribune.

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KOMO: Spanaway food bank heavily damaged in fire

"A popular and decades-old food bank in Spanaway is scrambling to help its clients after its building caught fire early Friday morning. Firefighters were called to the Spanaway Food Bank on 159th Street East just after 5:30 a.m."

"When asked what could people do if they want to help, [director Harold] Smith suggested cash donations to the Emergency Food Network would be best, 'and they will help me take care of the people that are here.'"

Continue reading at KOMO News.


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TNT: Crime’s down in Pierce County? Believe it or not, stats show improvement in some areas

"Pierce County has seen a drop in burglaries and other property crimes in recent years, according to statistics from the county’s largest law enforcement agencies."

"'Property crime — and particularly residential burglary and auto theft have shown sizable decreases,' Sheriff Paul Pastor said in a statement. 'I attribute a substantial part of this decrease to the fact that we formulated a plan to deal with high rate offenders — the most active thieves and burglars — and the County Council wisely provided resources to staff our plan to arrest these high rate criminals.'"

Read more of Alexis Krell's story at The News Tribune.

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SUBTIMES: Newest addition to the Playground by the Sound – Dedication on Oct. 26

"The Chambers Creek Foundation has added an outstanding public art statue to the popular Playground by the Sound at Pierce County’s Chambers Creek Regional Park in University Place. The Foundation recently received a donation of a bronze sculpture, entitled 'Young Girl with Teddy Bear'. The installation is occurring during the week of October 7th, with a public dedication ceremony on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10:00 A.M."

"The Foundation received approval from its partner, Pierce County, as well as the County Arts Commission to locate the sculpture near the Playground by the Sound in the North Meadow of the County’s Regional Park."

Read more of this story at The Suburban Times.

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TNT: Feds will pay $80M to help move businesses too close to JBLM

"Lakewood announced Monday it is partnering with the state and the Department of Defense to move the businesses away from JBLM’s McChord Field runway. The defense agency has agreed to provide up to $80 million over 50 years."

"The City of Lakewood wants businesses to stay in the city and is willing to help in the relocation process. With $2.5 million from the state and $80 million from the federal government, a Lakewood economic team will help businesses look for new properties, pay fair-market value for their current property and demo the building in the clear zone."

Read more of this story by Josephine Peterson at The News Tribune.

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TNT: Tacoma City Council enacts tent ban in parks but delays enforcement as shelters sought

"Enforcement of a new park rule prohibiting walled structures, including tents, in Tacoma parks has been pushed back 60 days.

The City Council voted 8-1 to approve an amended ordinance changing the park code."

"[Mayor Victoria] Woodards said at the meeting that she intends to hold city staff and the council accountable for having more shelters by the time enforcement begins Dec. 1.

'I intend on holding our city manager and the rest of our staff accountable to make sure that we have a solution and that we’re not just telling people to move and giving them a place to go,' Woodards said. 'There may not be one today, but we’re going to work hard to make sure that there’s one by the time this ordinance is enacted.'”

Read more of this story by Allison Needles at The News Tribune.

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SUBTIMES: Pierce County Executive presents biennial budget to Council

"Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier presented his proposed 2020 – 2021 biennial budget to the County Council Tuesday afternoon.

The 2020-2021 biennial proposed budget includes and extends many of the successful initiatives launched since January 2017.  Those successes include the County’s renewed investment in behavioral health resources. In addition to an expansion of the Mobile Community Intervention Response Team, the new Crisis Recovery Center located in the Parkland/Spanaway area will be under construction soon, with completion expected in 2020."

"Dammeier has been working with mayors and communities across Pierce County on a regional approach to creating more affordable housing.  The effort, led in collaboration with City of Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and Councilmember Connie Ladenburg, is laying the foundation for action in 2020.  It will be funded, in part, by existing tax proceeds redirected to local jurisdictions by the state of Washington to accelerate the creation of affordable housing."

Read more of this story by Pierce County News at The Suburban Times. 

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TNT: 1,000 seek relief from Pierce County court debt

"Perhaps most cheerful were the defendants, who arrived en masse to have thousands of dollars in discretionary fees waived as part of the county’s first Legal Financial Obligation Reconsideration Day.

'This is a chance for you to get a brand new start,' Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu told 41-year-old Thrett Brown as she signed paperwork that brought his fees from $3,000 to $500.

'Like I won the lottery,' Brown said. His was one of the first cases of the day."

Read more of this story by Alexis Krell at The News Tribune.

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TNT: RIP, Sunshine. A smile from her was worth a few extra minutes in the grocery checkout line

"People called her Sunshine. It was fitting, because sunshine is exactly what Elvira Mangaoang Root brought to peoples’ lives."

"Whether it was her car — a gold PT Cruiser with purple flames climbing up its hood — or her choice of clothing — particularly on the Fourth of July, when the proud immigrant would don the wildest of red, white and blue attire — Sunshine was frequently the center of attention.

According to [Carmen] Lewis, however, the real reason her 'lola' touched as many people as she did was because of the attention she reserved for others."

Read more of Matt Discroll's column at The News Tribune.

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KOMO: Tacoma breaks ground on new women's shelter set to open in March

"Tacoma Rescue Mission's new 12,000-square foot shelter will add anywhere from 50 to 100 beds on top of the existing 60 beds available for women without children in Pierce County.

It's located along South Tacoma Way west of the Tacoma Dome and will have amenities such as a laundry room, showers and a clothing closet."


Read more of this story by LaMonica Peters at KOMO News.

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K5NEWS: Renewed plans for $200 million resort near Mount Rainier met with mixed reactions

"Although plans for a new resort near Mount Rainier National Park have been a topic of discussion for 20 years, a new hearing to determine the fate of the project has renewed public interest. 

Plans for the $200 million resort include a 270-room hotel with restaurants and a spa, a conference center, an 18-hole golf course, a shopping center, 325 residential units, an education center and a train station."

Continue reading Brittany Moorer's story at KING 5. 

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TNT: ‘Neighborhood’ college opens to adults, high school students in Spanaway

"For the first time this fall, students at Spanaway Lake High School can take free college-level courses during the day without having to leave campus, saving thousands in tuition. One five-credit course at Pierce College costs roughly $600.

'Kids who face challenges having to do with transportation or having funds to attend college can do it while they still stay at their home high school,' Seigel said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday."

Continue reading more from this story at The News Tribune.



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TNT: A look inside Tacoma's new homeless youth shelter

"The Coffee Oasis, led by executive director Dave Frederick, is a faith-based nonprofit that uses proceeds from its coffee cafes to fund homeless youth programs."

"The shelter, which opened on Monday, is open 24 hours and has six beds available for youth aged 13 to 17. The hope is to add another six beds by the end of the year, [Pamula Norfleet, housing manager] said."

Read more of this story by Allison Needles at The News Tribune. 






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TNT: Pierce County budget beefs up behavioral health services

"Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier will get his mental-health vans after all — at least one of them.

A four-month debate over local behavioral health funding ended Tuesday with a unanimous vote from the County Council, locking in a supplemental budget that includes about $3 million for services related to behavioral health and homeless programs.

The 6-0 vote represented a legislative victory for council Chairman Doug Richardson, who wrangled support from the council’s conservative and liberal wings."

Continue reading more of Sean Robinson's story at The News Tribune.

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TNT: County Council leaders like what they hear from Dammeier

"Pierce County Council leaders saw common ground with new county Executive Bruce Dammeier following his state of the county address Wednesday.

The speech highlighted Dammeier’s priorities, including a proposal for a $10.7 million supplemental budget adjustment, more than half of it targeted toward beefing up local behavioral health services.

'What we saw today was the executive’s priorities align with ours, and that certainly is good for us and for the county going forward. We’re looking forward to being able to work with him,' said county Councilman Rick Talbert, who sought the executive’s seat in last November’s election, won by Dammeier."

Continue reading more of Sean Robinson's story at The News Tribune.


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KING 5: Pierce County Executive proposes $750k for homeless veterans

"Pierce County is dealing with an exploding homeless population, and the newly elected Dammeier said he wants to focus the county’s efforts on the challenges faced by homeless veterans.

'It is unconscionable to me that anyone who has served our country in the military would not have a clean, safe place to live,' he said.

Dammeier proposed an appropriation of $750,000 to house and serve homeless veterans at the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting. A portion of that money, $250,000 would help run a facility for homeless women veterans at the Betsy Ross Project in Orting."

Continue reading Jenna Hanchard's story at KING 5. 

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TNT: So far, so good with new Pierce County executive — now what?

"There’s something gutsy about Bruce Dammeier choosing this Wednesday to deliver his introductory State of the County address, which apparently will mark the first time a Pierce County executive has given the speech favored by presidents, governors and mayors.

By sheer coincidence, Dammeier will go public with his vision for the county on March 15, also known as the Ides of March — a day that any student of Shakespeare knows is associated with dramatic political downfalls, not coming-out parties.

The former state legislator from Puyallup is not famous for making enemies, a la Julius Caesar; rather, he has a reputation as a solid moderate and a level-headed diplomat. But he also doesn’t strike us as the type to be daunted by history or tradition."


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Matt Driscoll: After tough campaign, Dammeier now has a more important task – to lead

"...[I]t is safe to say that the gestures Dammeier has made since the certification of the election have left his new colleagues on the County Council hopeful about what his leadership will mean.

Several of them I spoke with applauded the diverse group of seasoned advisers he appointed to his executive team, led by former Democratic state treasurer and lawmaker Dan Grimm. And Councilmen Rick Talbert, D-Tacoma, and Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, said Dammeier has spent time in recent weeks listening to county staff and council members."

Click here to continue reading Matt Driscoll's column at The News Tribune.

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TNT: Your last-minute guide to Election Day in Pierce County

"So the big day is almost here. Soon, we’ll likely know the outcome of the presidential race, along with dozens of others contests, near and far.

In the meantime, what do you need to know to participate, monitor or celebrate/berate the election?"

Click here to continue reading The News Tribune's last-minute guide to Election Day.

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TNT: There’s no excuse not to vote in the 253 - over and out

"In the 253 area code, we will decide whether to invest a princely sum in our grandchildren’s mass-transit future, and whether to make it easier for citizens to put do-it-yourself laws on the ballot. We will choose people to lead Pierce County out of King County’s shadow and into the dawn of 2020.

No vote should be taken for granted, no ballot left unmarked on the kitchen counter."

Continue reading the Editorial Board's Opinion at The News Tribune.

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Let Your Voice Be Heard!

We are only three days from Tuesday’s election, and it is critically important for us to submit our ballots! If you have not voted yet, now is the time to mail your ballot or return it to a postage-free drop box location. Submitting your ballot before November 8th will help ensure your vote counts toward the initial returns on election night.

For those who have already voted, thank you! Please encourage your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to participate as well. I am incredibly grateful for everyone’s support over the last thirteen months. Let’s finish strong!
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TNT Letters: Quality more important than party affiliation

". . . [Many Democrats in Tacoma] may be like my good friend who announced to me upon seeing my Dammeier sign that she planned to vote for both Bruce Dammeier and Bill Bryant. She watched Dammeier at work on the Puyallup School Board and highly respected his professionalism, work ethic and decisionmaking process."

"I sincerely hope that many Democrats will vote for the best candidate, not just a straight party ticket. Change can be healthy."

Continue reading Jan Fisher's Letter to the Editor at The News Tribune.

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PO Box 398, Puyallup, WA 98371
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