Bulletin Board

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FIRST FLU DEATH OF SEASON REPORTED

A Pierce County man in his 40s died Oct. 22 in the hospital from flu-related complications. He had chronic health concerns that increased his risk for complications. This is the first flu-related death in the 2018-2019 flu season.

“This death is a reminder of the importance of early vaccination, especially for those with diabetes, obesity, asthma, and other risk factors for influenza-associated complications,” said Public Health Nurse Matthew Rollosson. “Immunization against influenza not only protects you, it also reduces the risk of influenza in the community,” he said.

Every year, thousands of people across the country die because of the flu. In the 2017-2018 flu season in Pierce County, 31 people died from flu-related complications. The 2016-2017 season had 50 flu-related deaths, as many as the previous three seasons combined: 15 in 2015-2016, 25 in 2014-2015, and 10 in 2013-2014. Flu season is typically October to April but can last longer.

No vaccine is 100 percent effective. If you get a flu shot and still get sick, the vaccine can reduce your symptoms, their duration, and the chance you will spread the virus. It can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective.

You can get a flu shot at many local pharmacies. Also, check with your healthcare provider about the vaccine. Learn more about where to get the vaccine and other flu facts at www.tpchd.org/flu.

 

COMMUNITY INVITED TO BLACK VOTER EDUCATION PANEL

Tacoma Urban League is hosting a very important (and completely free) educational event on Oct. 27, a day of learning and discussion about the importance of the black vote from elected black officials and candidates running in the Nov. 6 election.
Panelists include:

  • Keith Blocker, Tacoma City Council Dis. #3
  • Denise Daniels, Kent School Board Director Dis. #4
  • Lorra Jackson, (candidate) Puyallup County Council Dis. #1
  • Jesse Johnson, Federal Way City Council
  • Melanie Morgan, (candidate) State House of Representatives Legislative Dis. #29
  • Karl Williams, (candidate) District Court Judge

Although this event is made by black communities and for black communities, it is open to the public. All allies are encouraged to attend and learn, and youth are highly encouraged to attend. Educational materials will be provided by the Black Women’s Caucus of Washington State and refreshments will be provided by the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Community of Practice from the PWI. Accessible to people of all abilities.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will be held at

2550 S. Yakima Ave., Tacoma. For more information, visit

www.facebook.com/events/286464458861847.

 

CITY’S SNOW AND ICE TRAINING HAPPENS NOV. 1-2

Drivers in the Tacoma area could see snow plows operating throughout the city on Thursday, Nov. 1 and Friday, Nov. 2, 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 for crews to experience operating these vehicles along snow routes and around traffic.

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.

Community members can prepare now for winter weather by equipping vehicles with good tires, windshield wipers, chains, sand and emergency supplies. 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. A location should be chosen where putting on chains can be done safely. It is also advised to research public transportation options as another means of travel during a snowstorm event.

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

 

ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION HOSTS TOWN HALL EVENT

The Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter invites area residents to participate in a free public policy Town Hall, taking place Monday, Oct. 29 from 9:30-11:00 a.m. at the People’s Community Center, 1602 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma.

This annual community event gives residents a chance to hear from and ask questions of local leaders about public policy and legislation related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Most notably, attendees will have a chance to learn more about progress being made by the Dementia Action Collaborative in implementing the Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.

Panelists at this year’s event include Mary Lynn Pannen, president and CEO of Sound Options and member of the Dementia Action Collaborative; Bob Wellington, a member of the Dementia Action Collaborative living with memory loss; Juanita Wellington, family caregiver; and Madeleine Foutch from SEIU 775. Bob Le Roy, executive director for the Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter, will also be on hand to give an update on funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research and other state and federal legislative priorities.

In Washington State there are more than 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s and this number is expected to increase to 140,000 by 2025. It is currently the third leading cause of death in the state and costs Washington taxpayers $497 million a year in Medicaid costs.

Open to the public; advance registration not required. For more information, please visit http://alzwa.org/townhalls or call (206) 363-5500.

 

CHANGE IS COMING TO THE RUSTON WAY WATERFRONT

The Ruston Way waterfront needs your help ensure its future as an accessible attraction that everyone can enjoy.

Two unusual public meetings are planned for Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30. Envision Our Waterfront, a joint effort of Metro Parks Tacoma and the City of Tacoma, has planned the events to call attention to Ruston Way issues and propose solutions to looming problems.

Both gatherings will be at Court House Square, 1102 A St., Tacoma. The first, from 5-8 p.m. on Monday, is a visioning workshop to solicit ideas. If you go, you’ll have a chance to view the waterfront through virtual reality goggles, record your suggestions in sound and discuss challenges and opportunities in small groups. You’ll also get to see a giant timeline of the history of Ruston Way.

Bring your kids if you like. While adults focus on the topic, children will be supervised during hands-on art activities. Snacks also will be served.

The second session, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, is a drop-in open house that will showcase the results of the initial gathering. Everyone is invited to participate in both or either of the two sessions.

“The Ruston Way waterfront is a gem, but we have a lot of work to do to preserve it, and to make it even more accessible to everyone,” said Andrea Smith, president of the Board of Park Commissioners. “It’s vitally important that we hear from people throughout the city, even if they don’t visit Ruston Way very often.”

The goal is to develop a shared vision for the Ruston Way waterfront that will guide future activities, improvements, development and land use in a way that protects the shoreline and ensures public access. The two sessions will bring potential problems to the forefront and encourage residents to share what they think about possible solutions.

Many Ruston Way visitors are happy with the waterfront as it is. However, the roadway, sea walls, bulkheads, trails and sidewalks are deteriorating. This is partly due to age, but also because of erosion brought on by winter storms. Scientists studying the future effects of climate change already have predicted sea level increases of between 1 and 3 feet within the next hundred years. That, combined with more frequent and intense storms, poses a risk of damage along Ruston Way.

In addition, the waterfront area is hard to reach without a car, making it difficult for some residents to enjoy, and also resulting in frequent traffic jams.

“Besides climate change, Envision Our Waterfront is putting a spotlight on equity and transportation issues related to Ruston Way’s future,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “These community conversations will help us prioritize how to improve this area for future generations.”

If you would like to contribute to the process and are unable to attend the workshop or open house, please contact Envision Our Waterfront project manager Andrew Austin at (253) 305-1021 or andrewa@tacomaparks.com.

For more information, go to EnvisionOurWaterfront.org.

 

HELP PLAN THE FUTURE OF TITLOW

Metro Parks Tacoma wants to make parts of 75-acre Titlow Park more publicly accessible while restoring and conserving its natural landscape. So if you enjoy visiting Titlow Park or care about its future, please attend a 6 p.m. brainstorming session Nov. 7 at Titlow Lodge.

In 2014, voters approved a $198 million Metro Parks bond issue, including money earmarked for Titlow Park. Specifics included improved trail access to Hidden Beach and natural area restoration. The district also is considering how to manage a now-vacant waterfront site at Titlow Park’s north end to best benefit the public. Tacoma Outboard Association, which had leased a boat ramp, dock and clubhouse at the site, departed in 2016.

The meeting is part of Metro Parks effort to refine its 2010 Titlow Park master plan to reflect recent changes. Substantial public involvement contributed to the development of the original plan. This revision is focused exclusively on the shoreline and the forested areas north of the park’s lagoon.

Andrea Smith, president of the five-member Metro Parks Board of Commissioners, said she treasures Titlow Park and hopes others who value it will contribute ideas. “As a child I spent time at what was called Hidden Beach day camp, learning about sea life at low tide and how trees contribute to our well-being and environmental sustainability,” Smith said. “I’m excited to hear how residents want to use this park in the future.”

The November meeting will be the second in a series of public gatherings to ensure park visitors and other residents have opportunities to share and comment on proposals. Discussion at the upcoming session will focus on the shoreline, the bridge to the former Tacoma Outboard Association site, and the park’s north and central forested zones.

In all, 46 acres of Titlow Park are undeveloped forest, dominated by alder, big leaf maple and Douglas fir trees. The park is designated as bald eagle and pileated woodpecker habitat and includes several streams and wetland areas.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, but have questions or would like to comment, please reach out to Project Administrator Tom Dargan at (253) 305-1017 or tomd@tacomaparks.com.

Find out more about proposed Titlow Park improvements at TitlowParkVision.org.

 

BUSINESSES TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS AT SOUTH SOUND SUMMIT

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber will host its 2nd annual South Sound Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. This half-day conference has all the components needed to advance South Sound business.

The program will kick off with an address by Chamber President and CEO Tom Pierson highlighting the Chamber’s accomplishments this year and vision for the future.

Conference speakers are composed of both community and business leaders including: Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer, both from the House of Representatives, and Dr. Ali Modarres of University of Washington Tacoma, along with – Dr. David Hirschberg of Readiness Acceleration and Incubation Network (RAIN), Joseph Williams of theWashington State Department of Commerce, and Bryan Reynolds of Anthem Coffee.

For the complete agenda and list of speakers and presentations visit www.southsoundsummit.com.

Attendees will convene in the round to hear the keynote presentation by top business speaker and entertainment industry visionary Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass and Co-Founding Executive ofNetflix. Lowe will share his experience from working with successful startups like NetflixRedbox, and MoviePass to teach entrepreneurs how to simplify their business and to create a winning culture.

The evening will conclude with an elevation celebration – where cocktail party meets business expo. Attendees will be able to connect and meet future business partners in a relaxed environment.

Visit www.southsoundsummit.com for tickets and more information about Mitch Lowe, speaker sessions, and our generous sponsors.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SPEAKER TO PRESENT AT UNIVERSITY OF PUGET SOUND

Monday, Oct. 29, the Collins Library at University of Puget Sound is sponsoring a book talk and lecture presentation, along with campus student government, titled “The Green Amendment: Securing our Rights to a Healthy Environment.” Maya K. van Rossum, a leading environmental rights advocate, will talk about her recently published book of the same name in which she lays out an inspiring new agenda for environmental advocacy, one that will empower people, level the playing field, and provide real hope for communities everywhere.

The event

It is open to the public and will be held in the Rasmussen Rotunda (Student Center) from 6-7 p.m. and van Rossum’s books will be for sale.

She will discuss:

·      how legislative environmentalism has failed communities across America,

·      the transformational difference environmental constitutionalism can make,

·      the economic imperative of environmental constitutionalism, and

·      how to take action in your community.

As she advocates, we all have the right to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment. It’s time to claim that right – dfor our own sake and that of future generations.

Van Rossum is the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The role of the Delaware Riverkeeper is to give the Delaware River, and the communities that depend upon it and appreciate it, a voice at every decision making table that could provide help or do harm. Van Rossum, who is skilled as an environmental attorney, strategist, community organizer, facilitator, coalition builder and manager, has led DRN for more than 23 years. As Delaware Riverkeeper, she organizes concerned citizens, testifies before state and national governing bodies, oversees DRN litigation, and watches over the Delaware River and all of its tributary streams. Through appointments by governors and agency heads, she has played a role in shaping water quality, quantity and habitat policies and regulation in the Delaware River watershed for nearly two decades.

Read more about more about her work at www.mayavanrossum.green/the-green-amendment.

 

CHI FRANCISCAN ANNOUNCES GENERAL SURGERY RESIDENCY PROGRAM

The South Sound’s first general surgery residency program, sponsored by CHI Franciscan Health’s St. Joseph Medical Center, was approved this fall by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The residency program will begin accepting applications beginning October 15 to fill the first class. The physicians-in-training will be selected on Match Day – March 15, 2019.

The residency program, the first in Pierce County, is designed to train the next generation of general surgeons. According to a recent report from the Office of Financial Management/Health Care Research Center, Pierce County averages just 19 surgeons per 100,000 population, slightly less than the statewide average of 21. However, King County, which houses the only other general surgery programs in Washington state, exceeds the statewide average with 29 surgeons per 100,000 population. It is estimated that about 60 percent of physicians practice medicine within 50 miles of their residency program.

“We are incredibly proud and excited to announce the approval of our general surgery residency program,” said Tommy Brown, M.D., FACS, a CHI Franciscan surgeon and residency founding program director. “Residents will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become exceptional and compassionate general surgeons, allowing our program to successfully provide much needed medical services to everyone who needs them.”

The five-year program will consist of surgical oncology, colorectal surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery, trauma and acute care surgery, gynecologic oncology, urologic oncology, bariatric surgery, breast surgery, neurosurgery, gastroenterology, general surgery, transplant surgery, pediatric surgery and opportunity for electives in other subspecialties. Within the next five years the program will train a total of 10 general surgeons, adding two each year. In the future, the program plans to expand its class capacity to accept additional residents.

“The residency program will bring immense benefits to Pierce County, filling the need for general surgeons across our communities,” said Syd Bersante, market president for Pierce County at CHI Franciscan Health. “CHI Franciscan is dedicated to meeting the needs of the region, and I am confident our general surgery residency program will benefit the growing South Sound region for years to come.”

“We believe the most important attribute of physicians is selfless care and dedication to their patients,” Brown said. “Secondly, we believe general surgery residents should be well trained across a broad spectrum of surgical disciplines to provide comprehensive care to the patient with surgical disorders of the head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. We will prepare residents for a wide variety of career opportunities ranging from private practice, to university and academic medicine, to a career as a sole missionary surgeon in a remote area of the world.”

 

GET HELP APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL AID

As of Oct. 1, students can begin applying for financial aid to go to college in the 2019-20 school year. To help people with their financial aid applications, the Washington Student Achievement Council is organizing College Goal Washington events across the state.

Beginning in October and November, College Goal Washington events will take place throughout the state for the rest of the school year. Anyone who wants to pursue education after high school can attend these events. In Tacoma, sites include Mount Tahoma High School, Wilson High School, Clover Park Technical College, Stadium High School, University of Washington-Tacoma, Foss High School, Science and Math Institute and School of the Arts. Find College Goal Washington event dates and locations on the 12th Year Campaign map, updated weekly: https://tinyurl.com/y7f9vz92.

In Washington, there are two different ways to apply for financial aid. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens apply for federal and state financial aid with the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. People who can’t file the FAFSA due to immigration status can still apply for state financial with the WASFA, the Washington Application for State Financial Aid.

All prospective students should apply as early as possible, as some types of aid are first-come, first-served. Colleges have different financial aid deadlines, so students should meet the deadlines for the colleges they want to attend. Students and families can visit ReadySetGrad.org for more information on admissions, financial aid and college readiness.

Applying for financial aid is an important step to continuing education after high school, and students who file the application are far more likely to attend college. “A lack of resources should not be a barrier to students pursuing their dreams,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “All high school students should receive the information and the support they need for financial aid options. College Goal Washington is a good way to help young people and their families achieve their goals.”

College Goal Washington is part of the 12th Year Campaign, a Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) initiative to increase educational attainment. This work is made possible through state funding and support from the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) as well as site volunteer support from the Washington Financial Aid Association (WFAA).

 

SUPPORT TACOMA CREATES AND SUPPORT STUDENTS

Need a compelling reason to support Tacoma Creates? How about the success of students from your own neighborhood?

Research shows that students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, higher standardized test scores, and lower drop-out rates – regardless of their socio-economic status. Our youth need opportunities to boost their success in school and life. Prop 1: Tacoma Creates will provide those opportunities, right now, to our current students. Support Prop 1 this November. Let’s not wait until they’ve graduated.

Researcher James Catterall is known internationally for his studies on the cognitive impact of music and the arts on education. His studies showed a strong correlation between high engagement with arts programing and academic outcomes. Across math, science, and writing, as well as overall grade point average, students of low-socioeconomic status that were highly engaged in arts programming far exceeded their peers of low arts/low-socioeconomic experiences.
Some of the most promising data reported on by Catterall found that 71 percent of high arts/low-socioeconomic students attended college. Their peers with low-arts engagement? Only 48 percent college attendance.
Tacoma Creates legislation specifically calls out scaling cultural arts opportunities to ensure increased participation of students lower on the economic scale. In Tacoma, that’s nearly 60% of Tacoma Public Schools’ 29,000 students. Furthermore, the US Department of Education reports that access to arts education for students of color is significantly lower than for their white peers. In Tacoma, nearly 60 percent of public school students are students of color. To help address these populations, Tacoma Creates provides practical solutions, like transportation for school age children to cultural facilities, programs and events. This simple issue has been one of the recognized barriers for access.
The improved outcomes in school performance may also affect our labor market. When compared to their peers, twice as many high arts/low low-socioeconomic populations enrolled in professional majors, such as accounting, finance, and management. Think of how that could impact our city.

Learn more at www.TacomaCreates.com.

 

HANDS-ON STEAM ACTIVITIES AT LIBRARY MAKERFEST

Enjoy building, creating, crafting, coding and more at MakerFest. Join neighbors Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Washington State Fair Event Center, 110 9th Ave. S.W., Puyallup. The Pierce County Library System, Puyallup Public Library, Tacoma Public Library and Timberland Library are partnering to present this free, all-ages event.

“This is a true community event. People of all ages come together and share and learn as a community,” said Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “People told us they wanted the library to provide opportunities to connect with others and share interests, and that’s what MakerFest is all about!”

MakerFest features nearly 50 exhibitors including arts and crafts, technology, robotics, homesteading, health, upcycling, emergency preparedness, science and many more. Exhibit booths will feature hands-on activities to help people learn do-it-yourself (DIY) processes.

Participants can stop by for an hour or stay all day and join in STEAM activities – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Attendees can use a bicycle to blend a smoothie, test artificial intelligence, and try their hand at game design. Robot battles will take place throughout the day and a photo booth with celebrity exhibitors including Star Wars’ R2D2 will also be available.

Children can have fun while playing and learning with KaBOOM! Imagination Playground. The big blue blocks help children build math skills as they count and sort blocks; literacy skills as they talk about building projects; and many other abilities.

Visit makerfest.pcls.us for more information.

CLOVER PARK’S HAYES CENTER RECEIVES GRANT FOR CHILDCARE

The United States Department of Education announced that Clover Park Technical College has been selected to receive funding to support childcare efforts for low-income parents under the Child Care Access Means Parents In School program (CCAMPIS).

The four-year grant will provide CPTC $58,675 per year beginning in October 2018 and concluding in September 2022 for a four-year total of $234,700. That money will be used to help subsidize on-campus child care costs for up to 40 families per year and will help provide supplies for a new school-age summer care program.

“Increasing federal support to help low-income student parents finish school and pursue a better life while ensuring their children are getting a good start is exactly the goal Congress had in mind when we worked earlier this year to more than triple funding for the CCAMPIS program,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a former preschool teacher and the current ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “I’m so pleased to see these strengthened investments flow to institutions like CPTC that have been working for decades to bridge the gap between the educational needs of their students and Pierce County’s lack of affordable, high-quality child care options. This is great news not only for student parents at Clover Park, but also for our state’s growing economy and all of us who want to see current and future generations of Washingtonians succeed in school and life.”

Created in 1998, the CCAMPIS program seeks to encourage low-income parent participation in postsecondary education by providing funding to colleges to assist with campus-based childcare services. Clover Park has operated a licensed campus child care center for almost 40 years, and the Hayes Child Development Center was constructed in 2005 to provide a modern facility with the capacity to serve more than 100 children.

Hayes is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and prioritizes serving low-income student parents. In fact, in 2018, 80 percent of parents received childcare subsidies that enabled their children to attend Hayes. Nearly 50 percent of CPTC Pell Grant recipients in Fall 2017 were parents, while just over 24 percent were single parents. Many of those students have limited options to receive childcare subsidies, and this is the population the college will look to assist with the CCAMPIS funding.

“We have a large number of student parents who want to pursue an education, but they do not qualify for state assistance child care,” said CPTC Director of Child Development Services Angela Johnson. “The CCAMPIS grant will allow those students to change their future pathway at CPTC, while their children learn school-readiness skills at a quality center.”

Over the four years, Hayes and the college will track the effects of the CCAMPIS funding. The goal is for the funding to increase both enrollment and persistence/graduation rates.

 

WORKSHOPS TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR FAMILY CAREGIVERS

Caregivers know the stress and exhaustion that accompanies compassionate care. Caregivers can gain support and actions to strengthen their important work at Family Caregiving Workshops presented by Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center with the Pierce County Library System.

An estimated 43.5 million adults in the U.S. play a caregiver role in households across the country, according to a Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 study. Those in Pierce County who care for children, sick, elderly or disabled loved ones will benefit from attending a workshop.

Participants are invited to engage in facilitated conversations about a variety of caregiving topics throughout November, National Family Caregivers Month.

Upcoming workshops:

  • Saturday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m.at Key Center Pierce County Library, 15921 84th  KPNW, Lakebay
  • Monday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.at Eatonville Pierce County Library, 205 Center St. W.
  • Monday, Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m.at Lakewood Pierce County Library, 6300 Wildaire Rd. S.W.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 6, 3 p.m.at University Place Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Place W., Suite 100
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m.at South Hill Pierce County Library, 15420 Meridian E.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m.at Summit Pierce County Library, 5107 112th  E., Tacoma
  • Thursday, Nov. 15, 3 p.m.at Sumner Pierce County Library, 1116 Fryar Ave.

For more information about these and other events at Pierce County Library System, visit piercecountylibrary.org.

 

BENTLEY ROAD EAST REOPENS WHERE IT MEETS 72nd STREET EAST

Bentley Road East has reopened where it intersects with 72nd Street East. The road was closed July 11 as part of a project to rebuild a slope along 72nd Street East. The slope is located on the north side of 72nd Street East about 270 feet west of Bentley Road East. The slope failed during a rainstorm in December 2015.

Work on the project started July 9 and is expected to be completed by late fall. Work will continue along 72nd Street East over the next few weeks. Crews will install drainage facilities and pave a section of roadway. This work is weather dependent.

Work hours will run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. 72nd Street East will remain open, although it may be reduced to one lane with alternating traffic during work hours. Flaggers will be onsite to direct traffic during these hours.

Scarsella Bros. Inc. is the contractor. The construction cost is approximately $872,000, with $755,000 coming from federal Emergency Relief funds and $117,000 coming from County Road Funds.

A project webpage is available at www.piercecountywa.gov/crp5845.

 

FEDERAL WAY POLICE RE-OPEN SEX ABUSE CASE

Former Federal Way High School student Tally Thomas and her attorney filed a tort claim on Oct. 16 against the Federal Way Public Schools district, seeking $3.5 million in damages from a 2016 voyeurism case that involves one of the school district’s top former basketball players.

The claim states that while hiding in a bedroom closet, student and athlete Jalen McDaniels used his cell phone to video record Thomas engaging in oral sex with one of McDaniels’ friends, without Thomas’ knowledge or consent. She was a minor at the time. The claim goes on to state that McDaniels shared the video with his teammates and coaches including head coach Jerome Collins. Thomas states that Collins encouraged her to accept an apology in order to avoid any disruption to the imminent state basketball tournament that Federal Way was expected to win with McDaniels in the game.

Thomas says she suffered severe emotional distress from

bullying that occurred after word of the video spread throughout her school. She then left Federal Way High School and was homeschooled by her aunt. She told KING 5 news that she attempted suicide during her freshman year at Stanford University.

As stated in the tort claim: “Coach Collins and the district failed to comply with mandatory reporting requirements…to ensure that the video was destroyed and not further disseminated. Coach Collins did not impose any consequences on McDaniels or any of the involved students. Coach Collins placated Ms. Thomas saying that he would fulfill Ms. Thomas’ request that McDaniels participate in community service, possibly at a women’s shelter where he may be educated about respecting women. Coach Collins never required McDaniels or any of the involved players to volunteer time as a consequence for their wrongdoing. …The district failed to address the bullying Ms. Thomas experienced at school that was so severe Ms. Thomas withdrew, missing half of her senior year. She has suffered extreme emotional distress that has prevented her from fulfilling her hard-earned dream of attending Stanford.”

Thomas is being represented by Tacoma attorney Joan K. Mell.

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