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HOP ON OUT TO THE SPRING EASTER EGG HUNT

Hop straight to Chambers Creek Regional Park’s Central Meadow for the Spring Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 31. This free event starts at 9 a.m.

The egg grab is designed beautiful for children ages 1 through 11. Kids will be delighted to find colorful, goodie-filled eggs scattered around the park – and a few lucky ones will discover golden eggs with special prizes. And there’s more. Onsite will be a bounce house, facing painting, and opportunity to take selfies with the Easter Bunny.

Three egg hunts are planned, so round up the kids and be sure to bring a basket for your eggs:

  • 9:30 a.m. ages 1-3
  • 9:45 a.m. ages 4-7
  • 10 a.m. ages 8-11

The free egg gathering will commence rain or shine. Chambers Creek Regional Park’s Central Meadow is located at 6320 Grandview Drive W. in University Place.

This community event is made possible through the sponsorship from University Place Modern Dentistry and the partnerships with Whole Foods, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, and the Old Spaghetti Factory.

For more information visit piercecountywa.org/parks.

ROBERT GATES TO SPEAK AT UPS

Robert Gates, U.S. secretary of defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will speak at University of Puget Sound.

The highly decorated statesman, scholar, and best-selling author will appear in Tacoma for a discussion titled “A Conversation With Dr. Robert Gates” on Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus. Benjamin Tromly, Puget Sound associate professor of history, will serve as moderator for the one-hour talk. A map of campus and ticket information for the Pierce Lecture are below.

Gates’ professional experience in intelligence and leadership roles spans the period from the time of the Cold War to today’s war on terrorism. He served as the 22nd secretary of defense, from 2006 to 2011, and is the only person serving in that role to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected president. On Gates’ last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

The former U.S. Air Force second lieutenant, who rose through the ranks to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1991–93), has shared his views and his memories on leadership, war, and the way America’s government works – and too often doesn’t work – in three books. The most recent, “A Passion for Leadership” (2016), is an urgent assessment of why big civic and private institutions are failing us, and how smart, committed leadership can inspire others and bring badly needed change.

An earlier book, The New York Times best-seller “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” (2014), covered his experience serving two presidents during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In lectures subsequent to the book, Gates has expressed the view that America will continue to face the most challenging international environment since the Cold War for some time to come.

Considered the “Soldier’s Secretary” for his commitment to the safety and preparedness of men and women in uniform, Gates made significant advances in his time as secretary of defense. Soldier safety was improved, in part, by replacing vehicles in the field with heavily armored vehicles. He was instrumental in the reshaping of U.S. nuclear weapons policies, the removal of troops from Iraq, and the resurgence of troops in Afghanistan – culminating in the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966.

He spent nearly nine of his 27 years as an intelligence professional with the White House’s National Security Council, working under four presidents from both major political parties. Gates also has served as an academic, lecturer, and as president of Texas A&M University (2002–06).

Recognitions of Gates’ dedication to his country include the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (three times), among other honors.

He is currently a partner in the consulting firm RHG LLC, alongside former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others. Past roles include positions on the board of the American Council on Education and as president of the Boy Scouts of America. His alma maters are College of William & Mary (B.A.), Indiana University (M.A.), and Georgetown University (Ph.D.).

Tickets are available online at tickets.pugetsound.edu, or at Wheelock Information Center, (253) 879-3100. Admission is $20 for the general public. Entrance is free for Puget Sound faculty, staff, and students with campus ID, but tickets are required. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

EASTBOUND SR 16 MERGE TO NORTHBOUND 1-5 CHANGES

During overnight hours of Wednesday, March 28, contractor crews working on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s I-5 M Street to Portland Avenue HOV project reduced the State Route 16 approach to northbound Interstate 5 to a single lane. This temporary change allows construction crews access to a work zone while they continue work on the project.

If the weather cooperates, starting at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, crews will close the eastbound SR 16 ramp to northbound I-5 and the northbound I-5 exit to I-705 and SR 7 (#133). At 11 p.m., all lanes of northbound I-5 will be routed through the parallel northbound collector/distributor via exit #132.

By 4 a.m. Thursday, March 29, all lanes will reopen and the SR 16 ramp to northbound I-5 will open in its reduced configuration.

This ramp configuration has been in place previously and has caused delays. This temporary configuration will be in place through fall 2018 while crews finish the project. To help eastbound SR 16 travelers bypass some of the anticipated backups, WSDOT encourages drivers to try an alternate route that uses SR 7. More information about this route is available on WSDOT’s YouTube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUXxaiv7zyQ.

Travelers who use the ramp from eastbound SR 16 to northbound I-5 may want to plan extra time into their commute.

Additional information on HOV construction can be found online at www.TacomaTraffic.com.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG – AND SO HAS LUAU SEASON

With the beloved mountain poking occasionally through the rain clouds, you could say that spring is back in the South Sound. That means more sunshine ahead, warmer evenings – and the chance to again indulge in the Polynesian colors, tastes, and music of University of Puget Sound’s annual Spring Lūˋau.

Students from the Ka ‘Ohana me ke Aloha Club on Saturday, April 14, will present their 48th Spring Lūˋau – an event they organize each year to familiarize Pacific Northwesterners with their storytelling cultures.

The celebration will include a Hawaiian dinner and a stage show with traditional dances from Pacific Ocean peoples. The event is one of the biggest celebrations of Polynesian culture in the state, attracting nearly 1,000 people each year.

Dinner will be served from 5-6:30 p.m. in the dining hall of Wheelock Student Center, near the North Alder Street entrance to campus on North 15th Street. This year no tickets are required for the meal and guests will choose their own a la carte items from an array of Hawaiian dishes, paying with cash, a card, or student dining dollars.

The colorful stage show, including music and dancers, is ticketed. This will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Fieldhouse, just off the corner of Union Avenue and North 11th Street.

The organizers have chosen this year‘s theme as Ho‘ohanohano I Nā Moʻolelo O Nā Aliʻi, which translates to “To Honor the Stories of the Aliʻi” (the hereditary line of rulers).

“This year’s goal is to educate the Puget Sound and local communities about the history of Hawaii and Polynesia even more than we have in past years,” says Amber Odo (class of ’19), club president.

Music will be provided by Northwest Blend, a local group specializing in Hawaiian infused music and known for their use of four-part harmonies. The show will include numerous dances from cultures including Hawaiian and Tahitian.

Tickets are on sale now, and are available in advance or at the door. Tickets: dinner – a la carte purchases in the dining hall. Show only – general admission $10, Puget Sound campus members, seniors (65+), military: $8, children 4 years old and under enter free. To pay with a credit card call Wheelock Information Center at (253) 879-3100. To order online, go to tickets.pugetsound.edu. For more information, contact luau@pugetsound.edu.

GOVERNOR SIGNS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CARE BILL 

On Tuesday Governor Jay Inslee signed a measure sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban that seeks to improve behavioral health care in Washington.

SB 6491 will simplify and reduce eligibility criteria for assisted outpatient mental health treatment to make it more accessible and broaden the scope to include substance use disorder treatment.

“We can’t wait until a patient’s substance use addiction, or mental health condition, deteriorates to the point of involuntary treatment to get them care, said O’Ban (R-University Place). “We need this tool to keep them in the community and involve a judge to help get their attention and order treatment before it’s too late.”

This measure will allow for stronger enforcement of court orders for assisted outpatient treatment by placing a person who is struggling in a facility for inpatient treatment. This bill will also allow family members, guardians or conservators of a person who is not detained or committed but struggling with a substance use disorder to file a request that the court require the filing of a petition for assisted outpatient behavioral health treatment for that individual.

SB 6491 will go into effect on April 1.

BLOCKER TO HOST DEPORTATION DEFENSE FUND KICK-OFF

Councilmember Keith Blocker is hosting a community kickoff for the Deportation Defense Fund on Thursday, April 5, from 7-8:30 a.m. at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (4851 South Tacoma Way).

In response to growing community concerns about Tacoma residents facing deportation, the Tacoma City Council authorized the creation of a Deportation Defense Fund to assist with their legal defense services. Basing the fund’s establishment on one of several recommendations provided by the Immigrant and Refugee Task Force, the City of Tacoma made an initial allocation of $50,000 towards this fund. Through local community efforts, an additional $2,000 has been raised as well.

“The need for services far outweighs present resources and my hope is that this kickoff promotes a deeper level of understanding about this important issue,” said Blocker. “Every little bit counts and, hopefully, those who are able to are compelled to take that next step and contribute to the Deportation Defense Fund.”
Community members can contribute to the Deportation Defense Fund by sending a check to the City of Tacoma Treasurer’s Office (747 Market St., Room 246, Tacoma, WA 98402) with the subject line “Deportation Defense Fund” or submitting a donation online at https://payment.cityoftacoma.org/donation.

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