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CITY OF DESTINY AWARDS 

NOMINATIONs NOW BEING ACCEPTED

Nominations for the City of Tacoma’s 2018 City of Destiny Awards, which spotlights exceptional volunteers who have worked to drive Tacoma forward, are being accepted now through Jan. 26, 2018.

“Tacoma’s legacy of volunteerism and giving back inspires us every day,” said City Events and Recognitions Committee Chair Erin Lee. “We are privileged to recognize those committed to making a difference in Tacoma.”

Eligibility requirements for the award categories are available on the current nomination form. The form is also available in hard copy upon request through Kala Dralle in the Special Events Office at kdralle@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 573-2523.

Since 1987, the City of Tacoma has honored more than 200 outstanding local volunteers through its City of Destiny Awards program. The City of Destiny Awards program is spearheaded by a City Council appointed City Events and Recognition Committee comprised of local community leaders from a broad array of backgrounds and areas of expertise. This committee develops the City of Destiny Awards nomination tools and selection criteria, selects the City of Destiny Awards winners and plans the annual City of Destiny Awards event.

More information about the City of Destiny Awards program is available at cityoftacoma.org/destinyawards.

ICE AND SNOW TRAINING 

BRINGS PLOWS TO CITY STREETS

Tacoma residents could see snow plows operating throughout the city on Wednesday, Nov. 8 and Thursday, Nov. 9, between 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day as part of the City of Tacoma’s effort to be prepared for winter snowstorms. During this time frame, emergency snow vehicles will be dispatched so crews can experience operating these vehicles along snow routes and around the travelling public.

During a snowstorm event, City crews plow and de-ice streets on a priority level, starting with primary arterial streets and then followed by secondary and auxiliary routes. The time required to clear these routes depends on the intensity of a particular snowstorm and how much snow or ice accumulates.

Residents can also prepare for winter weather by:

Equipping vehicles with good tires, windshield wipers, chains, sand and emergency supplies. Researching public transportation options

Those living on a hill or somewhere difficult to access in the snow should look for a place to legally park their vehicles on nights when snow is forecasted. They should also choose a location where putting on chains can be done safely.

For more information on winter preparedness and to view the snow routes map, visit cityoftacoma.org/InclementWeather.

TEMPORARY EXIT NUMBER, NEW 

CONSTRUCTION SIGNS ADDED TO I-5 IN TACOMA

Drivers who use southbound Interstate 5 through Fife and Tacoma are now seeing more orange, as the Washington State Department of Transportation has made improvements to construction signage for drivers on southbound I-5 headed to State Route 16 and Tacoma’s city center.

Previously installed green highway signs directing drivers to SR 16 and I-705 have been replaced with orange signs. The new signs also reference a new exit number, #134, which is the access point to the collector/distributor lanes that lead to SR 7, I-705, SR 16 and South 38th Street. The access to the collector/distributor remains unchanged, but WSDOT hopes that giving the exit a temporary number and changing the signs to orange will provide more visible and clear direction to drivers.

Additional southbound I-5 signage was added as far north as the 54th Street overpass in Fife.

This summer, crews reconfigured southbound I-5 into two distinct roadways separated by barrier. In this temporary southbound alignment, the two lanes to the right of the barrier (the collector/distributor lanes) provide access to exits that serve State Route 7, I-705, SR 16 and 38th Street. The three lanes to the left of the barrier serve travelers heading toward Lakewood, Olympia and beyond.

WSDOT created a video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UTW5XW1-fo&feature=youtu.be) describing the new lane configuration to help drivers plan ahead.

This temporary southbound I-5 alignment is scheduled to be in place through early 2018, when a new stage of construction is expected to begin. At that time, the orange signs and temporary exit number will be removed.

Updated weekly ramp and lane closures for I-5 in Tacoma are available online at TacomaTraffic.com.

NEW NORTHBOUND I-5 BRIDGE 

OPENS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

Contractor crews building the new northbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge have opened the new bridge to ramp traffic ahead of schedule.

Drivers who use the 28th Street on-ramp to northbound I-5 now cross the new 1,569-foot Puyallup River Bridge prior to merging with mainline I-5 traffic. In addition, drivers on northbound I-5 heading to the Port of Tacoma Road and 20th Street East are exiting mainline I-5 south of the river and cross the new Puyallup River Bridge to reach the interchange. The new exit is approximately a half-mile south of the current exit.

Shifting the ramp traffic onto the new bridge allows crews to build lanes to match the new alignment of northbound I-5 leading up to the new bridge. If weather cooperates, all northbound I-5 traffic could be driving on the new bridge as soon as spring 2018.

The Washington State Department of Transportation provided a graphic on Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/37533273071/in/dateposted that shows the new ramp locations and work zone. Updated weekly ramp and lane closures are available online at www.TacomaTraffic.com.

SEE THE STATE SUPREME COURT IN ACTION AT UPS

The public is invited to observe the Washington Supreme Court in action, as three legal cases are argued by opposing attorneys on stage at University of Puget Sound.

The cases are being heard live in Tacoma so the public has a chance to observe the justice system in action, and so people can take the rare opportunity to pose questions to the nine justices. The “traveling court” is part of the Supreme Court’s policy of providing open access to local communities. Attendance is open to all, with no tickets required.

Three appeals will be heard before the public on Tuesday, Nov. 14, between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall, a short walk from Union Avenue and North 14th Street.

In addition the public is invited, on Monday, Nov. 13, to join campus members and school groups at two panel discussions with the justices. The first, from 2-3 p.m., is on the topic “Free Speech and Activism: First Amendment for Whom?” and will be moderated by Seth Weinberger, professor of politics and government. The second, from 3:30-4:30 p.m., is “Young People and the Law” and will be moderated by Tiffany Davis, associate director of diversity and inclusion. Seating at the event in Schneebeck Concert Hall will be on a first-come basis.

In Tuesday’s oral arguments before the court, the first case, from 9–9:40 a.m., involves a man who sued the Lyft ridesharing company after he received an unsolicited text on his phone. The second, from 9:55-10:35 a.m., involves a stroke victim and requires the court to determine if indecent exposure requires a motive of sexual gratification and how long after a person’s release from prison is “shortly after.” The justices are free to interrupt and ask questions of the attorneys at any time. At the end of the two hearings, the justices will engage in a Q&A with the audience until 11 a.m.

The third appeal, a drug case, considers a police officer’s protective sweep of an apartment, after the two officers were invited inside. Arguments will be made from 1:30-2:10 p.m., followed by a Q&A session. Decisions on the cases will be delivered at a later time.

The visit is a valuable opportunity for the public, campus members, schools, and Puget Sound’s pre-law students to see justice in action. A number of the justices also will sit in on classes exploring topics ranging from ethics, to science, to foreign languages, to poetry.

Washington State Supreme Court, in 1995, became one of the first courts in the world to allow gavel-to-gavel coverage of its cases. The arguments of Nov. 14 will be carried statewide by public cable television TVW.

LOWER NATURAL GAS BILLS START NOW

Just in time for the winter heating season, Puget Sound Energy gas customers will receive a drop in their rates. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved multiple requests from PSE to decrease the combined average monthly natural gas cost by 2.6 percent for residential customers. This means an average household using 64 therms per month would see a decrease of $1.80, bringing their bill to $68.

In December, PSE anticipates the UTC to rule on a separate request to overall lower natural gas rates by another 3.8 percent.

Combined, November’s drop in natural gas bills along with the anticipated decrease in December will result in an overall average 6.5 percent decrease in natural gas rates.

The lowered natural gas bills are a result of adjustments reflecting market prices for gas supplies the utility purchases for customers and the costs of operating the natural gas system.

MOODY’S UPGRADES CITY’S LTGO BONDS RATING

Moody’s Investors Service announced an upgrade to the City of Tacoma’s Limited Tax General Obligation (LTGO) bonds and Unlimited Tax General Obligation Bonds (UTGO) bonds from Aa3 to Aa2.

“This is great news for the City,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “We will continue to work hard to sustain these fiscal improvements, make fiscally responsible decisions and maintain our solid financial footing.”

The rationale Moody’s cited for the increased ratings included: the City’s sizeable tax base; the improving economy; solid reserve levels and liquidity; and its manageable debt and pension liabilities. This ratings adjustment follows an upgrade to the City’s LTGO rating from A1 to Aa3 in February 2017 to mirror the rating on its UTGO obligations.

Moody’s noted that the City’s financial profile has improved materially over the past five years. The City’s strong performance over this period reflects a number of factors besides the healthy economic recovery, including its focus on structurally balancing its budget, strong financial policies and a significant increase in its reserve levels.

“The City continues to focus on a variety of policy measures and planning processes targeting long-term fiscal stability,” said City Manager Elizabeth Pauli. “Judicial use of one-time funds, budget monitoring, and multi-year financial planning now guide our actions and have contributed to our improved financial outlook.”

“We are pleased to receive this upgrade, which is testament to the continued improvements to the City’s financial profile over the past few years resulting from conservative financial management practices along with a strengthening local economy,” said City Treasurer Teresa Sedmak.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. COMMUNITY 

SERVICE AWARD NOMINATIONS DUE NOV. 6

Recognizing and encouraging excellence in community service activities, the City Events and Recognition Committee is now accepting nominations for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award. The committee is particularly interested in receiving nominations highlighting youth, or individuals, organizations or groups serving youth.

Nominations for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 to be considered by the committee. Nominations can be submitted by e-mail at MLK@cityoftacoma.org, fax at (253) 591-5232, or mail at City of Tacoma, Attention: City Events and Recognitions Committee, 747 Market St., Room 900, Tacoma WA 98402.

Questions or requests for hard copy nomination forms can be directed to MLK@cityoftacoma.org, 311 within Tacoma city limits or (253) 591-5000 from anywhere else, or the Customer Support Center in the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St., second floor) during regular business hours.

The award winner will be selected by the committee and recognized at the City of Tacoma’s 30th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration on Jan. 15, 2018. More information about the 30th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration is available at cityoftacoma.org/MLK. ​

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