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I-5 LANES IN TACOMA SHIFT SOON

Contractor crews building a new southbound Interstate 5 bridge across the Puyallup River in Tacoma are getting ready to enter a new phase of construction that will move traffic in all lanes of I-5 from McKinley Way to the Port of Tacoma Road into new configurations.

Weather permitting, during the overnight hours of Friday, June 7, crews are scheduled to shift all lanes of northbound I-5 from East McKinley Way to Portland Avenue left toward the Tacoma Dome side of the highway. During the morning commute of Saturday, June 8, northbound I-5 drivers will see lanes shifted and narrowed from 12 feet to 11 feet through the work zone. This traffic shift creates the necessary work zone to widen I-5 and repave a section of the original roadway surface.

Once that traffic shift is complete, approximately one week later, crews will shift three lanes of southbound I-5 lanes on to the new northbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge. Crews will also create a temporary collector/distributor lane across the old southbound I-5 bridge for drivers using exit 135 at Bay Street.

What this means for travelers:

  • Southbound I-5 drivers exiting to State Route 167, Bay Street and Portland Avenue will need to stay in the right lane near Port of Tacoma Road to reach exit 135;
  • Port of Tacoma Road drivers headed to southbound I-5 will follow the same temporary collector/distributor lane across the old southbound I-5 bridge to rejoin southbound I-5;
  • Southbound I-5 travelers headed to Tacoma’s city center, SR 16 or Olympia will use one of the three left lanes near Port of Tacoma Road to reach their destinations.

WSDOT created a video (https://tinyurl.com/y3pf7ajq) describing the new lane configuration to help drivers plan ahead.

“The new temporary lane configuration may take some time for drivers to get used to,” said WSDOT Project Manager Gaius Sanoy. “We appreciate drivers’ patience while we work toward finishing this final HOV project.”

The temporary southbound lane configuration will be in place until the project’s completion in fall 2021.

Drivers are encouraged to adhere to the posted 50 mph speed limit in the work zone.

Visit the Tacomatraffic.com web page for updated HOV construction information. Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Inform/mobile.htm and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/wsdot_tacoma.

TRANSIT CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN FRONT OF STADIUM HIGH SCHOOL

Schools in Tacoma will be going on summer break in a couple of weeks and construction on the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension in front of Stadium High School will begin. Crews will be closing North E Street and North 1st Street just north of Division Avenue and at Tacoma Avenue from June 20 through Sept. 4.

By closing the roads, crews will be able to work simultaneously on several parts of the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension project. The work will include:

  • underground sewer and storm water utilities;
  • foundations for Link power poles and street lighting;
  • track installation; and
  • new pavement.

Detour routes for commuters will be on Stadium Way, North 1st Street, Division Avenue, Broadway and Tacoma Avenue. Trucks greater than 30 feet and buses are advised not to travel on Stadium Way and use other routes such as 9th Street to Tacoma Avenue. Smaller trucks can use Stadium Way and turn on Division Avenue.

Sound Transit is coordinating with Stadium High School, local businesses, apartment and condominium residents regarding access and minimizing disruptions. There will not be any vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian access in the construction area. There will not be any on-street parking in the construction area. The sidewalk along the high school will remain open.

Residents can expect construction noise due to road demolition and the replacement of underground utilities. Large construction equipment and materials will be stored in the construction zone. Crews will be working Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and potentially Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. if needed.

For more information on the Hilltop Link Extension and to sign up for project updates visit www.soundtransit.org/htlink

 

APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR GRIT CITY TREES PROGRAM

Grit City Trees is the City of Tacoma’s free street tree giveaway program, and applications for the 2019 season are being accepted now through Tuesday, Aug. 13, for individuals and Friday, Sept. 6, for group applications. The goal of the program is to increase tree canopy and beautify neighborhoods through community building by providing free street trees to Tacoma homeowners who are interested in planting in the right-of-way.

Individuals can submit applications; however, residents are encouraged to work with their neighborhoods to apply for trees as a group. Successful neighborhood group applications are eligible to have trees delivered in October. For those with successful individual applications, trees will be available for pick up at the city nursery in the fall.

Interested residents must fill out the Grit City Trees application form (https://tinyurl.com/y52ddugq)and the corresponding tree care agreement must be signed by all participating property owners. These trees are for planting in the right-of-way only and species availability is limited.

For more information, visit cityoftacoma.org/GritCityTrees, contact trees@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 502-2138.

 

METRO PARKS NAMED FINALIST FOR GOLD MEDAL AWARD

For the second time in three years, Metro Parks Tacoma is a finalist for the top honor in the parks and recreation industry.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities that demonstrate excellence through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development, and agency recognition.

“This award is the top of our profession, and it is a great privilege to be a finalist with other outstanding park systems,” said Aaron Pointer, president of the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners. “Our staff, volunteers and partners strive to be the best of the best, and we owe much of our success to people and organizations who enhance our efforts to serve the community.”

The Gold Medal Awards program is administered by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation, and one class for state park systems.

Metro Parks highlighted a variety of significant accomplishments in its application, including:

  • Opening the Pacific Seas Aquarium and Eastside Community Center in 2018.
  • Transforming a contaminated Superfund site into an incredible waterfront park that opens this summer.
  • Creating the Elementary Sports Program and Whole Child Access Pass to overcome geographic and economic barriers that make it harder for children to participate in recreational opportunities.
  • Expanding environmental and conservation education from pre-school through high school, and implementing programs such as the Ocean-Friendly Restaurant campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

“I’m proud of how hard our staff works to listen to the community and deliver the services they want. And we are delivering more services than ever before thanks to extraordinary cooperation and resource sharing among other agencies and organizations,” said Shon Sylvia, executive director of the park district.

Metro Parks’ Gold Medal Award application also highlights the diversity of the park district’s assets, which include 760-acre Point Defiance Park, two nationally accredited zoos; sports complexes; pools and spraygrounds; community centers; a marina; the nationally accredited Fort Nisqually Living History Museum; community gardens; Meadow Park Golf Course, and a Victorian-style conservatory inside an arboretum. Established in 1907, Metro Parks is the oldest independent park district in the state of Washington. The application includes a video (https://youtu.be/4GA1GSGU-Gk) that highlights some of the accomplishments and offerings.

Metro Parks is a Gold Medal Award finalist in the category for systems serving a population of 150,000 to 400,000. The other finalists in that category are the recreation and park systems in Norfolk, Va.; Tampa, Fla., and Greensboro, N.C. Metro Parks was previously a Gold Medal Award winner in 1985 and 1992, and a finalist in 2017.

Winners will be announced during the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in September.

NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR ANNUAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY AWARDS

In its 13th year, the LGBTQ Community Awards are held as part of Tacoma’s Pride Week. They honor individuals and organizations whose efforts have had a positive effect on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied community of Pierce County. This year’s event will be on Friday, July 12 and hosted in the lobby of the Pantages Theater in downtown Tacoma, beginning at 4:30 p.m. This gathering is the night before the festival’s main event, Tacoma Pride, and is free and open to the public.

The categories of the LGBTQ Community Awards are as follows:

Sapphire Award: Given to a youth organizer for service to the LGBTQ youth community of Pierce County. This award is open to youth ages 14-23.

Ruby Award: Given to an individual who is not part of the LGBTQ population, or an organization that’s focus is not primarily LGBTQ, but whose actions have directly benefited said community. This may be awarded for service in the past year, or for service rendered over an extended period of time.

Emerald Award: Given to an organization for service to the LGBTQA community of Pierce County, particularly service rendered in the past year.

Pearl Award: Given to an individual who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community for service to the LGBTQ community of Pierce County, particularly service rendered in the past year.

Amber Award: Given posthumously to an individual in recognition of their contributions and leadership in the LGBTQ community.

Diamond Hall of Fame Award: Given to an individual for consistent and exemplary service to the LGBTQ community of Pierce County. This award is given for service rendered over a considerable length of time.

All nominations must be received no later than Friday, June 21 at 5 p.m.. Please contact Ryan Mello with any questions or requests for support: 747 Market St., Suite 1200,Tacoma, WA 98402; (253) 591-5470; Ryan.Mello@CityofTacoma.org.

 

WORKSOURCE TO ASSIST AEROTEK TO HIRE FOR 200 OPEN POSITIONS

The Pierce County WorkSource Job Center, partner of the American Job Center network, will be hosting a job fair for Aerotek recruiting and staffing services. Aerotek, a leader in the recruiting and staffing services, announced that it is looking to fill more than 200 job openings for warehouse, manufacturing and production positions in the South Sound Region specifically (Tacoma and Federal Way area). There will be a job fair held for candidates to apply in person on June 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pierce County WorkSource office, 2121 S. State St., Suite 300, Tacoma, WA 98405.

Aerotek offers contract employees access to great job opportunities and job preparation, as well as excellent benefits and rewards. Working for our staffing company gives employees access to comprehensive health benefits and a variety of work-life benefits. Benefits include contributory medical, dental and vision, 401K, vacations and holidays. Aerotek also has partnered with many companies to provide employees with an array of corporate discounts. The length of employment ranges from two months to year-long contracts, with some contract-to-hire opportunities based on the position. Hourly pay ranges from $14.50 – $32.

Positions (all positions are contract or contract to hire):

  • Production and Assembly
  • Warehouse and Forklift
  • Machine Operations
  • Mechanics
  • Electronic Assembly
  • Soldering and Welding
  • Mechanics
  • Maintenance Technicians

Qualifications:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have reliable transportation
  • Background check required
  • Pre-employment drug test required

Interested applicants can visit the Pierce County WorkSource Job Center where interviews are being held on Thursday, June 20. Candidates should bring two forms of identification to the job fair, as offers will be made on the spot.

Contact Aerotek recruiter Kylie Godat at kgodat@aerotek.com or(253-733-4014); or WorkSource Business Solutions Consultant Robert Jonas at rjonas@esd.wa.gov, (253-593-7344). For more information about the open positions, please visit the Aerotek (Federal Way) location page at www.aerotek.com/jobs. You can show up or register on EventBrite for the event at www.eventbrite.com/e/worksource-hosts-aerotek-warehouse-logistic-hire-event-aerotek-tickets-62887783052.

 

 

COMMUNITY INPUT SOUGHT FOR AGING AND DISABILITY SERVICES

The Pierce County Human Services Aging & Disability Resources (ADR) division is initiating a survey (https://tinyurl.com/y3k82zvn) to gather community input for the creation of the 2020-2023 Area Plan. As the designated Area Agency on Aging for Pierce County, ADR must develop and oversee long-term services and supports for older adults and adults with disabilities living in our communities.

To develop the area plan, ADR will be collecting input from a variety of groups and individuals including current ADR clients, service providers, professionals from the health, long-term care and social service network within Pierce County, advocates and caregivers. Help shape future services for seniors and individuals with disabilities by completing the short, confidential survey.

“We want to hear about what concerns people,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Aging and Disability Resources manager. “To develop a strong plan for the next four years, we need to hear what’s most important to people with disabilities, older adults, and their caregivers and family members.”

The Area Plan lays out the direction for the service needs over the next four years, including gaps in local services to meet those needs. It also establishes funding priorities and describes strategies for delivering priority services to support older adults and adults with disabilities living in the community.

Surveys must be completed by Sunday, June 16. Respondents may complete the survey online or send a print copy to the main ADR office, located at 1305 Tacoma Ave. S., Suite 104, in Tacoma. This fall, a draft of the 2020-2023 Area Plan will be created and available online for the public to review. The community will have another opportunity to provide feedback during a public hearing in September.

To learn more about Aging and Disability Resources, including the Area Plan, contact Connie Kline at (253) 798-3782.

 

POWERFUL TOOLS ESSENTIAL FOR CAREGIVERS

The need for care isn’t just for older people. The unfortunate reality is that people of any age may require long-term care, defined as care lasting at least 12 months. When accidents happen, a short hospital stay may be the immediate aftermath, but what is the next step?

Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources is offering “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” a free six-week series that provides unpaid family caregivers with the skills and confidence needed to provide better care for themselves while caring for others. Participants will receive a copy of “The Caregiver Helpbook,” which is developed specifically for this class.

“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” will be offered Thursdays from 10-11:30 a.m. at the South Hill Branch Library, located at 15420 Meridian E., in Puyallup. Classes run from June 6 through July 18, but there is no class on July 4. Participants must commit to attend all six sessions. Topics addressed include:

  • Taking care of yourself
  • Identifying and reducing personal stress
  • Communicating feelings, needs and concerns
  • Communication in challenging situations
  • Learning from our emotions
  • Mastering caregiving decisions

Most of all long-term care is provided at home by unpaid family caregivers such as spouses, parents, adult children and other close relatives. Caregivers help with everything from buying groceries to managing medications. Caregiving is not easy and there are rarely breaks. It can result in emotional, mental, and physical health problems when the caregiver is tremendously invested in providing good, quality care to a loved one.

“Caregiving is the unheralded backbone of health care,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources manager. “We are often thrust into caregiving by circumstances out of our control. We are glad to do it and feel rewarded by it, but over time we can also become exhausted and stressed – the dangerous downside of caregiving.”

“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” is a free series and open to the public. Space is limited to 15 participants who must register in advance by calling (253) 798-4423. For more information about the classes, call the Aging and Disability Resources Center at (253) 798-4600.

 

TACOMA LITTLE THEATRE HOLDS AUDITIONS

Tacoma Little Theatre is holding auditions for its production of the comedy “Calendar Girls,” written by Tim Firth and directed by Victoria Webb.

Auditions will be held Sunday, June 30 and Monday, July 1 at Tacoma Little Theatre. Audition appointments will be set between the times of 6-9 p.m. on Sunday and 7-10 p.m. on Monday in five-minute increments. Callbacks will be held on Tuesday, July 2.

When Annie’s husband John dies of leukemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new sitting area in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow Women’s Institute (WI) members to pose nude with them for an “alternative” calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. The news of the women’s charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie’s friendship is put to the test under the strain of their newly found fame.

Actors are asked to prepare a 1-2 minute memorized comedy monologue of their choice. Actors of all ethnicities are encouraged to audition and all roles are available: Chris (female 50-60), Annie (female 50-60), Cora (female 40-50), Jessie (female 60-70), Celia (female 35-50), Ruth (female 40-60), Marie (female 40-60), John (male 50-65), Rod (male 50-65), Lawrence/Liam (male 20-35), Lady Cravenshire/Brenda (female 40-60), and Elaine (female 20-30).

To reserve an audition time, visit http://castingmanager.com/audition/info/lq7765r3QxUIrNk or call (253) 272-2281.

Once cast, “Calendar Girls” will run from Friday, Sept. 13 to Sunday, Sept. 29.

 

TACOMA GIRLS ROCK CAMP SEEKS VOLUNTEERS

Tacoma Girls Rock has several volunteer positions currently open: instrument instructor, camp counselor, workshop lead, morning workout lead and performer. TGR is a music-education camp for girl identified youth ages 8-13. We provide group music lessons, workshops and the opportunity for each camper to be part of a band to write, record and perform an original song. All materials are provided.

TGR is a volunteer-run organization and cannot do this without your support! Volunteer positions are both full and part time – or can even be just an hour long. To learn more, visit https://tacomagirlsrock.org. To register, parents can visit https://tacomagirlsrock.org/camper-registration/tacoma-girls-rock-2019-registration. To request a scholarship, all interested parties should email us at grcTacoma@gmail.com and a different registration packet will be sent.

 

READ, EARN PRIZES AND LEARN ABOUT THE UNIVERSE

Adventure out of this world with the Pierce County Library System’s summer reading programA Universe of Stories. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the July 1969 moon landing, the library will host a series of space-themed events and activities to boost learning and enjoyment during the summer months.

“Many children experience the summer slide, which means they lose some of their learning and literacy skills during the summer months,” said Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “With our Summer Reading Program, we help children glide successfully through the summer into fall and retain their learning and literacy while having fun as they continue to build literacy skills all summer.”

Reading is an important tool to help kids retain what they’ve learned and prepare them for success in the coming school year. The Library’s Summer Reading Program challenges students of all ages to read and adds incentives such as passes to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and tickets to the Seattle Storm and Tacoma Rainiers when they reach reading goals.

Participants may also read down their fines. After reading for 10 hours, every reader will receive a coupon to remove $5 off of fines they may have for overdue books and materials.

The Summer Reading Program fosters a love of reading for the entire family. The program also offers events for kids, teens and adults, including story times, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities and magic shows to encourage learning all summer with out of this world fun.

Following is just a glimpse at the many events.

Museum of Flight Portable Science: Summer Sky Stories of Alexandria: Travel back in time to second century Alexandria for a night of stargazing and storytelling! Meet a student of the great astronomer Claudius Ptolemy in this interactive planetarium show. Ages 5 and up. Monday, June 24, 2:30 p.m., Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, 4424 Point Fosdick Dr. N.W.; Wednesday, Aug. 7, 3:30 p.m., University Place Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Place W., Suite 100; Thursday, Aug. 15, 1:30 p.m., Milton/Edgewood Pierce County Library, 900 Meridian E., Suite 29, Milton

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: How the Moon and Stars Affect Wildlife on Earth: Connect how glowing orbs in the sky inspired space travel and how they relate to wild animals. Learn about transformations, brave journeys, and odd behaviors of wild animals from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff. Explore what strange things happen in nature by the light of the moon. Meet a live zoo animal and touch feathers, skulls and furs from animals guided by the night sky! Ages 6-18. Tuesday, June 25, 10:30 a.m., Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, 4424 Point Fosdick Dr. N.W.; Thursday, July 11, 1 p.m., Orting Pierce County Library, 202 Washington Ave. S.; Friday, July 12, 2 p.m., Tillicum Pierce County Library, 14916 Washington Ave. S.W., Lakewood (please call or stop by the library to register); Tuesday, July 30, 10:30 a.m., Sumner Pierce County Library, 1116 Fryar Ave.; Wednesday, June 26, 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., University Place Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Pl. W., Suite 100.

Science Tellers: Aliens: Escape from Earth: Join an action-packed and educational adventure totally out of this world! Listen to an intergalactic story that comes to life. Go behind the scenes of the special effects and recreate the science  experiments. Ages 3-18. Tuesday, July 9, 2 p.m., Summit Pierce County Library, 5107 112thSt. E., Tacoma; Friday, July 12, 11 a.m., Key Center Pierce County Library, 8905 KPNW, Lakebay; Wednesday, July 17, 11 a.m., Graham Pierce County Library, 9202 224thSt. E.; Thursday, July 18, 1 p.m., South Hill Pierce County Library, 15420 Meridian E.; Saturday, July 20, 10:30 a.m., Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, 4424 Point Fosdick Dr. N.W.; Tuesday, July 30, 2 p.m., University Place Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Place W., Suite 100.

Teen Escape Rooms: Escape in a mental and physical adventure and solve a series of puzzles and riddles from clues, hints and strategy. Designed for teens grades 6-12. Register online at piercecountylibrary.org/calendar or contact the host library for more information.

 

OLYMPIC ALZHEIMER’S RESIDENCE DIRECTOR HONORED

Angie Frantz, executive director of Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence, was recently recognized as WHCA’s 2019 Assisted Living Director of the Year for her exemplary work ethic, achievements and ability to administer high-quality, person-centered care.

In her nomination, Frantz was described as “team player” and as someone who “deserves to be recognized for her professionalism, focus on customer service, and dedication to residents.” According to her colleagues, Frantz advocates on behalf of her team members, ensuring they can enrich the lives of the residents they interact with on a daily basis.

“Since 1998, Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence has strived to provide the highest quality of care in a compassionate setting for our residents. Angie has been a vital part of that mission since joining our team and we applaud her dedication,” said Harold Delamarter, founding partner and CEO of Prestige Care.

As a testament to the outstanding work Frantz inspires, another OAR team member, Robina Gaines, was also recognized her passionate care by the WHCA.

Gaines serves as office manager of Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence and was awarded the Red Carpet Award for her professionalism, customer service expertise and dedication to those who, at times, can’t advocate on their own behalf. Gaines manages the memory care community and worked her way up from a caregiver position.

In her nomination, Gaines was described as having a “warm smile, an empathetic ear and a joyful spirit.” Her willingness to go above and beyond and devotion to residents and staff have made her a great asset to the senior living community.

WHCA evaluates hundreds of nominations from assisted living and skilled nursing communities across the state and honors eight individuals who display outstanding achievements, capabilities and innovation. Recipients were presented with their awards on May 22 in Vancouver, Wash. at the annual Quality Awards Luncheon.

Located between Tacoma and Gig Harbor, Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence is specially designed to care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and other forms of dementia, and offers the award-winning Expression Memory Care program, which uses innovated techniques and approaches to inspire community members to embrace an active, engaging lifestyle.

For more information on Olympic Alzheimer’s Residence, visit www.prestigecare.com.

 

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