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Tacoma City Council has directed the city manager to start the process to collect and review candidates to temporarily serve as the District 2 City Council member while Councilmember Robert Thoms serves a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan as a U.S. Navy Reserve commander.

Applications for the temporary appointment are available on the city’s website and at the clerk’s office. The deadline to turn in applications is Feb. 22, with interviews of potential appointees set for the March 6 study session, two days after Thoms leaves for deployment.

“It’s going to be a short timeline, but we want to make sure we get someone appointed quickly,” Mayor Victoria Woodards said.

The city had announced last week that Thoms would be leaving to serve in Kabul, Afghanistan as part of Operation Resolute Support and had originally mentioned that At-Large Councilmembers Lillian Hunter and Conor McCarthy would pay special attention to the needs of community members in Thoms’ district while he was deployed. The city’s District 2 spans Tacoma’s North End, downtown and the Tideflats.

Further reflection and citizen comments, however, prompted a shift from that plan to one involving a temporary appointment to serve until Thoms returns to Tacoma to serve out the rest of his four-year term.  Both Hunter and McCarthy later supported the idea of having a temporary appointment.

For his part, Thoms pledged to keep in contact with his constituents and city staff as best he could during his deployment as well as advise the appointee on issues and concerns.

“I want to make sure District 2 is well represented while I’m gone,” he said during a study session on the issue on Tuesday.

The call for temporary appointees is not likely to draw the large numbers who submitted applications the last time the council sought to fill a vacancy because of the truncated timeline and the fact that applicants must reside within the district.

The last appointment process to fill a council vacancy occurred last year, after then Councilmember Victoria Woodards stepped down to concentrate her efforts on running for mayor and to avoid triggering the city charter’s rules on term limits. Council members are not allowed to serve more than two full terms without a gap in service. Her council seat was an at-large position, which drew 55 applicants from around the city. The council ultimately selected former Councilmember Lauren Walker Lee to serve out the term because of her familiarity with the council and the city’s issues as well as her pledge not to run as the incumbent when the term ended.

That position is now being served by Hunter, who was also on the short list to fill Woodards’ vacant seat.


The City of Tacoma’s Historic Preservation Office has announced that 2018 Heritage Project Grant applications are now available. Eligible applicants include non-profits, organized community groups, public agencies and educational institutions. Applicants can apply for anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 for their project. This is a matching grant with up to $40,000 in total awards being granted.

“Our goal with the Heritage Project Grant Program is to support projects that increase public awareness and access to Tacoma’s history,” said Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight. “We look forward to seeing innovative and informative proposals.”

Funding can be used for a number of projects including exhibitions, workshops, events or educational activities, development and production of interpretive materials, professional services required to research a historical publication or register nomination, documentation of an artifact or historical site, a historic site assessment, conservation materials and, in some limited cases, capacity building for organizations with heritage as their primary mission. Activities receiving heritage funding may be one-time events, a small number of closely related events, or an ongoing program or neighborhood public history project.

Applications are due Feb. 28. To find out more about the grant or to download an application, go to cityoftacoma.org/HeritageGrant or e-mail lhoogkamer@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 591-5254.


Chamber Luncheon, featuring the WorkWell Awards, is a Chamber awards program designed to recognize local employers who are committed to addressing workforce health issues. The Chamber celebrated strides Pierce County businesses are taking to make health and wellness a priority in the workplace. Congratulations to this year’s award designees:

  • Gold Designees: Received by an employer that implemented changes to all three categories of healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation – Better Business Bureau, CHI Franciscan Health, MultiCare Health Systems and Tacoma Public Schools.
  • Silver Designees: Received by an employer that implemented changes to two of the three categories of healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation: Tacoma Community House.
  • Bronze Designee: Received by an employer that implemented changes to one of the three categories of healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation: Generations Home Care.
  • Active Transportation Advocate Designee: Provides encouragement and incentives to their employees for using active transportation: MultiCare Health Systems.
  • Happy Heart Designee: Demonstrate a broad and long-term commitment to employee health and well-being: Better Business Bureau, CHI Franciscan Health, MultiCare Health Systems, Tacoma Community House and Tacoma Public Schools.


The Washington State Department of Health has reported 10 deaths related to the flu in Pierce County, and 132 across the state. Flu season typically peaks in February and may continue through May.

Flu-like symptoms – fever, feverish chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and tiredness – start suddenly, not gradually and a combination of these means you likely need to be seen by your primary care physician. If you are pregnant, diabetic, immunocompromised, or experience shortness of breath, such as chronic asthma or health failure, you should seek immediate medical care.

  • Do still get your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it’s not too late. Primary care doctors, wellness/convenience clinics and most retail pharmacies can administer a flu shot.
  • Don’t visit your local emergency room for a flu shot. Emergency departments should be reserved for medical emergencies – receiving a flu shot in the ER will come with longer wait times and higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Do seek medical care. If you are a typically healthy person who’s had a flu shot but think you may be experiencing a common case of the flu, call your primary care physician, visit a convenience, retail or urgent care clinic and consider a virtual visit with a doctor from your mobile device or computer.
  • Don’t infect others. If you are sick with the flu, stay home to prevent spreading flu to others. Most healthy adults can infect others one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick, which means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

To find a flu vaccine provider near you, visit the CDC Flu Vaccine Finder at cdc.gov/flu and enter your zip code.

(Courtesy of Dr. Eric Wall, market medical director, Pacific Northwest, United Healthcare)


The “Fill the Little Red Wagon Pet Food Drive” kicked off Jan. 19 at Tacoma Subaru and culminated at Miranda Lambert’s Feb. 1 concert, benefitting the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County’s animals and the pets they serve through the Pet Food Pantry.

Dog, cat, and rabbit food and treats poured in during the first portion of the drive held at Tacoma Subaru, 3838 South Tacoma Way. On Jan. 30, pet food donors’ names were drawn, and the lucky winners received 50 pairs of tickets to Lambert’s concert.

Bruce Titus Automotive Group then took it one step further and donated a brand new 2017 Ford Transit Connect, which Humane Society animals, volunteers, and staff will utilize for the Pet Food Pantry, Community Cat Program, spay/neuter services, and veterinary care in addition to transporting animals in from small or overcrowded shelters. Thank you Bruce Titus Automotive Group!

On Feb. 1, Lambert hosted four Humane Society adoptable dogs – two were transported in from Texas thanks to partner organization Project Freedom Ride – at the Tacoma Dome. A cuddle corner was set-up for Tacoma Dome staff and Livin’ Like Hippies band and crew to love on the animals and learn more about the programs and services available at the Society.

Later that evening, even more pet food and gift cards from local pet food suppliers came in during Miranda Lambert’s “Livin’ Like Hippies” concert. Lexie Olivier was the lucky winner who upgraded her tickets to the front row and got to meet Lambert herself. As Olivier summed up, “I’m shaking right now!” Thank you Miranda Lambert and Live Nation!

Pet food donations help the Humane Society serve more than 8,000 animals at its facility each year and many more animals in the community through the Pet Food Pantry.

For more information, please visit www.thehumanesociety.org.


Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier and The Adjutant General Bret Daugherty signed an interagency agreement between Pierce County and Washington State Emergency Management on Tuesday, Feb.13.

The agreement will enable Washington State Task Force 1 (WA-TF1), one of 28 national Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urban search and rescue teams, to respond to state and local emergencies in Washington. The signing was held in the WA-TF1 warehouse in Tacoma, Pierce County Emergency Management.

The Washington Task Force 1 (WA-TF1) was established in 1991 and currently has 26 participating agencies from three primary jurisdictions – Seattle Fire, King County, and Pierce County. The Task Force comprises more than 210 team members, drawn from fire departments, hospitals, law enforcement and public works agencies. WA-TF1 recently deployed to assist with Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.


Columbia Bank is the recipient of the 2018 Corporate Gold Star Award, presented by the University of Washington-Tacoma at the third annual Corporate Community Circle Breakfast.

The breakfast, held on Feb. 8, brought together representatives from more than 60 Puget Sound-area organizations that support UW-Tacoma philanthropically. The Gold Star Award recognizes one organization whose support of the campus during the year and over time has had a significant impact on the institution and its students.

Since the opening of the permanent campus in 1997, Columbia Bank has supported UW-Tacoma, contributing to excellence funds, scholarships and to the construction of William W. Philip Hall, a major gathering spot for campus and community. Columbia Bank was a founding

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