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PUBLIC INVITED TO CANDIDATES’ DEBATE

The Pacific Lutheran University Politics and Government Department and the University of Puget Sound Forensics Program invite the community to “The Debate for Tacoma 2017,” a unique chance to hear from and engage local leaders running for public office. The evening will include mayoral candidates Victoria Woodards and Jim Merritt; Port of Tacoma Pos. 2 candidates Noah Davis and Dick Marzano; Tacoma City Council At Large Pos. 6 candidates Lillian Hunter and Meredith Neal; and Tacoma City Council District 2 candidates Philip Cowan and Robert Thoms.

The debate will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at University of Puget Sound’s Thomas Hall in the Tahoma Room. For more information, email TacomaDebate2017@gmail.com.

ICE RINK RELOCATES TO POINT RUSTON’S GRAND PLAZA

The City of Tacoma has suspended operation of the ice rink at Tollefson Plaza for one year while exploring suitable and sustainable alternative solutions.

The ice rink will temporarily relocate to Point Ruston’s Grand Plaza for community members to enjoy this winter. During this period, City staff will seek input from Downtown Tacoma community partners and conduct an in-depth analysis on issues relating to the ice rink’s location, contracting relationships, expenses and sponsorship dollars.

With a surface unsuitable for optimal ice production, and a footprint not adequate to accommodate a high quality experience, Tollefson Plaza had proven to be a less than ideal location for the ice rink. Additionally, in the past two years, expenses associated with the operations and management of the ice rink had increased by nearly $70,000 while sponsorships had decreased by more than $30,000.

With a continued focus on helping attract visitors to Downtown Tacoma, City staff will work with Downtown Tacoma stakeholders to program other recreational and entertainment activities in Tollefson Plaza for the 2017 holiday shopping season.

ANNIE WRIGHT BECOMES ONLY I.B. CONTINUUM IN WASHINGTON

Annie Wright Schools received full authorization to deliver the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP), making Annie Wright the only school in Washington and one of fewer than 20 schools in the United States to offer the full continuum of IB programming from Preschool to Grade 12.

The MYP, which provides a framework for curriculum and assessment, focuses on understanding the concepts behind facts and developing lifelong approaches to learning. Both inquiry-based and trans-disciplinary, it emphasizes strong communication skills, challenges students to think analytically and creatively, and provides opportunities to solve problems and make decisions in real world contexts.

“Watching students engage the MYP is so exciting, not just for the concepts and skills they are learning, but for how it challenges them to take action and enhances their capacities for empathy and reflection,” said Bill Hulseman, Director of Middle School.

Along with traditional subjects, language acquisition (a choice of Spanish or Chinese at Annie Wright) and design are important components of the MYP, and collaborative, action-oriented projects are common to every subject.

Last year, for example, a group of six Grade 8 students, inspired by one of their members whose grandfather was in long-term hospital care, developed an idea for an app for to share medical patients’ progress and needs to families and friends. Their concept won the Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge competition for the state of Washington earlier this year.

Annie Wright Schools gained authorization to deliver the Diploma Programme in its Upper School in 2009 and the Primary Years Programme in its Lower School in 2015. The Middle Years Programme bridges the gap, providing consistently rigorous, inquiry-based and internationally-minded education throughout the school.

“Over the last decade our faculty has worked hard to implement the IB programs across the school,” said Christian Sullivan, Head of Schools. “We are thrilled to receive final authorization for this gold standard of education, but more importantly, we are proud to offer programs that inspire students to solve problems and make the world a better place.”

Originally developed for children of diplomats, IB programs, currently offered to more than one million students in nearly 150 countries, provide a framework to assess performance according to world standards and promote a more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

CITY FILES SUIT AGAINST OPIOID MANUFACTURERS

The City of Tacoma has filed suit against Purdue, Endo and Janssen, three of the biggest manufacturers of prescription opioids in the United States. The suit was filed to hold Purdue, Endo and Janssen accountable for providing false and misleading information to doctors and patients about the safety and efficacy of prescription opioids over approximately the last 20 years.

“The City of Tacoma joins other municipalities, counties and states across the country that are seeking to hold opioid manufacturers liable for the harms they have inflicted on the community, and the financial burden their product has caused taxpayers,” said Tacoma City Manager Elizabeth Pauli. “We will vigorously pursue these claims and are exploring all of our available options at this time as we work to protect our community members from the harm caused by the companies that put their profits ahead of our community’s safety.”

The City of Tacoma has suffered significant damages.

The Tacoma Fire Department responds to opioid-related health crises on a daily basis.

It is estimated that at least 50 percent of Tacoma’s homeless population is addicted to opioids, which dramatically increases the costs and difficulty of providing needed human services to those individuals.

The City of Tacoma devotes substantial resources to various human services in responding to the opioid epidemic including, for example, providing housing and shelter, and maintaining behavioral health support services and mental health centers.

Opioid-related crimes have soared. In the 1990s, for example, opioids were rarely seized by the Tacoma Police Department routinely finds thousands of pills and many pounds of heroin in drug busts, and has had an officer dedicated to the Pill Task Force Team in collaboration with federal, state, and other local governments.

The City of Tacoma, as a self-insured entity, has spent and continues to spend substantial sums on prescription opioids, including over $1 million in the last two years alone.

The City of Tacoma has hired Keller Rohrback L.L.P. to represent the City in this litigation. Keller Rohrback L.L.P. is a national law firm based in Seattle that has recovered billions of dollars for its individual, institutional and governmental clients in major corporate fraud and abuse cases throughout the country.

PCAF CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF COURAGE, COMPASSION, RESILIANCE

2017 marks 30 years of service for PCAF (formerly the Pierce County AIDS Foundation), which provides HIV and AIDS programs and services throughout the South Sound region.

PCAF is proud to announce a series of events and activities designed to commemorate the work and history of the organization as it acknowledges 30 years of courage, compassion and resilience. Through the remainder of 2017, PCAF will commemorate this milestone through a series of events in Tacoma and Olympia, a Story Project, a fundraising campaign, and a special 30th Anniversary event on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, PCAF has been on the front lines fighting HIV and AIDS and combating HIV related stigma. PCAF assisted with opening the first legal needle exchange in the United States in 1988; organized the inaugural AIDS walk in Tacoma in 1992; created the Housing Options Program in 1993 to address the needs of our clients for safe, affordable, and accessible housing; served as an incubator for LGBTQ programs in our community; and began providing services in Olympia in 2012 for people previously served by United Communities AIDS Network, which ceased operations in 2011.

The organization continues to grow to better serve our community. PCAF now has two welcoming and renovated offices serving the South Sound region including Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, and Mason Counties.

“In the 30 years since our founding, we’ve deepened our understanding of the HIV virus and the AIDS epidemic, and of the influences it has on people’s lives” stated Erick Seelbach, PCAF’s executive director. “Much has changed since we began 30 years ago, but what hasn’t changed is our core mission: taking care of people living with HIV, preventing the spread of HIV, and fighting stigma. What hasn’t changed is the courage, compassion, and resilience that help us carry out that core work.”

The community is invited to all events, which are free and open to the public. Events include: 

Sept 23: Oly Olio, a Performance Festival at Le Voyeur, Olympia;

Sept 28: UNWIND with PCAF at Cultura Event Center, Tacoma;

Oct 6-7: Arts Walk Installation at Downtown Welcome Center, Olympia;

Oct 19: Book Brawl at Kings Books, Tacoma;

Nov 10: Heartsparkle Players at Traditions Cafe, Olympia;

Dec 1: World AIDS Day and PCAF 30th Anniversary Event at Star Center, Tacoma

For an updated listing of events and more details, visit www.pcaf-wa.org.

To commemorate 30 years of service, PCAF is collecting stories from our community. PCAF invites community members to share their stories of how they or someone they love have been impacted by HIV or AIDS. PCAF invites submissions from supporters including current and former clients, volunteers, board members, donors, and community partners. Stories should highlight a moment or moments in PCAF history and demonstrate courage, compassion, or resiliency. If you have a story you’d like to share, contact Jill at 253-722-0709 or jrose@piercecountyaids.org.

A special fundraising campaign with a goal to raise $30,000 to commemorate 30 years of service has been launched and will run through November 15. Anyone wanting to donate, fundraise as an individual, or form a team to raise money to support PCAF’s programs and services is invited to register via a link on the PCAF website.

For more information on any of the 30th Anniversary happenings, visit www.pcaf-wa.org for more details.

Through education and service, PCAF prevents HIV infection, assists persons affected by HIV/AIDS, addresses related health problems, and combats associated stigma and discrimination. With offices in Tacoma and Olympia, PCAF serves Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, and Mason Counties. We’re dedicated to assisting persons living with HIV or AIDS to meet their needs for food, housing, healthcare, and personal support. We also provide extensive outreach, education and prevention programs including free HIV testing to help stop the spread of HIV and work to combat HIV related stigma. More information is available at www.pcaf-wa.org.

AMERCAN MUSLIMS AND 

A COMMUNITY CONVERSATION

Indivisible Tacoma, the University of Washington Tacoma Muslim Student Association, and Humanities Washington invite the community to an engaging conversation with Turan Kayaoglu, a member of the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau. This free event takes place Wednesday, Oct. 4 at TUUC, 1115 S. 56th St. in Tacoma.

Too often, Muslims are still discussed as “the other” in American society – a group confined to discussions about marginalization or radicalization. But these discussions have largely ignored that the American Muslim experience is an American experience. Led by University of Washington Tacoma professor Turan Kayaoglu, this talk explores how American Muslim identities have shaped and been shaped by American culture, history and politics. A story covering four centuries, this talk connects Muslim life under slavery, the emergence of the Nation of Islam in the context of the Great Migration and the race relations of the 1920s, the Immigration Act of 1965, the involvement of Muslims in the development and spread of the blues, and American Muslims’ embrace of standup comedy. Touching on issues such as the interaction of racial, cultural and religious identities; the politics of immigration and citizenship; and interfaith and religious dialogue; this talk uncovers how American Muslims have been integral to the American experience.

Turan Kayaoglu is a professor of international relations and the associate vice chancellor for research at University of Washington Tacoma. Kayaoglu was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute and visiting professor at Qatar University. His research explores issues related to religion, international relations, human rights, and the American Muslim experience. Kayaoglu is the editor-in-chief of Muslim World Journal of Human Rights and the author of “Legal Imperialism: Sovereignty and Extraterritoriality in Japan, the Ottoman Empire and China and “The Organization of Islamic Cooperation: The Politics, Problems, and Potential,” in addition to more than 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. Kayaoglu is currently working on a project about how American Muslims are shaping global Islam.

Learn more at indivisibletacoma.org or humanities.org/calendar-events.

SETTLEMENT REACHED 

IN PSE GENERAL RATE CASE

Puget Sound Energy, the staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the Montana Attorney General’s Office, the Sierra Club, and six other entities have come to an agreement on the majority of issues in PSE’s general rate case.

For a minimal increase in customer electric rates, the settlement will help PSE pave a path to the cleaner energy future that customers want and increase funding available for customer bill assistance and weatherization. If the settlement is approved, customers would see an electric bill increase of approximately one percent and a decrease on their natural gas bills of approximately four percent.

The settlement would establish a financing mechanism for the decommissioning and remediation needed after the shut-down of PSE’s coal-fired Colstrip Units 1 and 2, which is scheduled for July 2022 at the latest. The settlement also sets aside funding to pay for shut-down and cleanup costs for Units 3 and 4 at Colstrip, although no shut-down dates have been established for those newer units.

“This settlement establishes a workable mechanism to fund the decommissioning and environmental remediation at Colstrip,” said Ken Johnson, PSE’s director of Regulatory Affairs. “It ensures future generations will not be burdened by costs resulting from decisions made five decades ago.”

As coal becomes less of PSE’s portfolio, a $10 million fund to help the community of Colstrip transition is also part of the settlement. While the details of how the transition fund will be spent have not been finalized, it is envisioned that economic development and job training for existing community members would be key components.

“While PSE represents only one of six Colstrip owners, we believe the community transition fund is an important first step in creating a viable funding source to help the community transition to new opportunities for employment in the years to come,” Johnson said.

For the newer Colstrip Units 3 and 4, the schedule for depreciating those investments has been accelerated from a period ending in 2045 to one ending in 2027. This does not mean that Units 3 and 4 will shut down in 2027; rather it means the money invested in the units will be recovered by then.

Also resolved in the settlement is continuing a mechanism to set money aside to help pay for storm damage. A few issues remain unresolved, including mechanisms to encourage conservation and service reliability. Remaining issues will be debated before the WUTC commissioners, who will make a final decision.

The settlement announced today will be filed with the WUTC and reviewed by the three commissioners. The commissioners will then approve, reject or modify the agreement.

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