WEST NILE VIRUS FOUND IN TACOMA WETLANDS
Positive West Nile virus was recently found in a testing of mosquitos in local Tacoma wetlands. No human cases have been reported as of Sept. 5.
No symptoms in most people. Most people (eight out of 10) infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.
Febrile illness (fever) in some people. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
Serious symptoms in a few people. About one in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
- Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
- Severe illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk.
- Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects to the central nervous system might be permanent.
- About one out of 10 people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.
- See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above.
- Your healthcare provider can order tests to look for West Nile virus infection.
- No vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for West Nile virus infection are available.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms
- In severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.
- If you think you or a family member might have West Nile virus disease, talk with your health care provider.
Patients should prevent mosquito bites, especially when travelling to areas where mosquito-borne diseases are common. They should also eliminate breeding opportunities for mosquitoes by maintaining a clean outdoor environment with no standing or stagnant water. More information and resources are available at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website: www.tpchd.org/westnile.
CELEBRATE OPEN STREETS AT DOWNTOWN TO DEFIANCE
On Sunday, Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma will host the sixth annual Downtown to Defiance event. This free, family-friendly event opens almost seven miles of Tacoma’s waterfront to human-powered transportation.
The event runs along the Thea Foss Waterway and Commencement Bay, from downtown Tacoma at South 21st Street Park at the Foss Waterway Esplanade, along Dock Street, Schuster Parkway, and Ruston Way to the end of the Waterwalk near Point Defiance Park. Participants are invited to join the event at any point and travel as far as they choose, with many opportunities to stop and enjoy food trucks, kayaking, electric bike test rides, bubble soccer and many other activities along the way.
At the event, participants can visit one of the registration booths to receive a schedule of the day’s events. Kids can track their park visits with the new Parks Passport for a chance to win prizes. For more information on where to join the course or to pre-register today, visit DowntowntoDefiance.com or call (253) 591-5380.
The event is sponsored in part by U.S. Bank, Puyallup Watershed Initiative’s Active Transportation Community of Interest, and Pierce Transit. This event is part of the City’s Green Events Program and with environmental sustainability in mind recycling stations and water fountains will be provided to limit waste from disposable plastic bottles.
PIERCE TRANSIT WANTS YOUR THOUGHTS ON RAPID TRANSIT PLANS
Pierce Transit is studying the feasibility of implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along a 14.4-mile corridor on Pacific Avenue/SR-7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway. The corridor is currently served by Pierce Transit’s Route 1, which has the agency’s highest ridership.
Earlier this summer, the Pierce Transit Board officially designated BRT as the best mode for the corridor. The Board also selected the BRT’s beginning and ending points (Commerce Street Transfer Center in Tacoma and the intersection of 204th Street East and SR 7 in Spanaway) and the route’s alignment (with the Tacoma Dome Station access route to be determined following a traffic analysis and additional public input).
BRT systems are designed to carry larger numbers of riders with greater speed, reliability and frequency than a standard fixed-route bus. BRT stations have additional amenities, such as real-time arrival information; off-board fare collection, raised platforms and multiple doors for faster boarding; transit signal prioritization for faster travel times through congested intersections; and unique, branded vehicles that carry more passengers, have room for bicycles onboard and provide easier wheelchair access.
The agency is holding six open houses in September along the corridor to share information about the BRT project and gather public input on potential station locations and lane configurations. The public is invited to attend an open house to learn more about the various options, meet the design team and offer feedback: Monday, Sept. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at
Parkland/Spanaway Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma.
U.P. LITTLE CEASARS FINED FOR TEEN WORKER VIOLATION
A Little Caesars Pizza restaurant franchise in University Place faces $42,000 in fines for youth labor law violations, including allowing teenagers to work too many hours without a rest period on more than 100 separate occasions.
NW Caesars 1 LLC is appealing the citation and fine, which is one of the largest in recent years that the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has issued for a workplace violation involving youth. A hearing date for the appeal will be set in November.
“This is important because meal and rest breaks for teens are mandatory,” said Josie Bryan, youth employment specialist for L&I. “Not only that, but breaks can help prevent injuries on the job.”
L&I’s inspection focused on two of the franchise’s restaurants in University Place – one at 5502 Orchard St. W., and one at 7305 40th St. W.
The agency found there were more than a 100 separate instances of missed rest periods. There were also violations involving minors working during school hours, working past 10 p.m. on a school night, and working with equipment that teens under 18 are not allowed to use.
TOWN HALLS WITH CITY COUNCIL SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER
Town hall meetings with City Council members are scheduled in October 2018. Community members are invited to learn more about the City of Tacoma’s proposed 2019-2020 Biennial Budget. Thoughts shared by community members will help inform the way the City of Tacoma utilizes its resources.
- 8, 6-8 p.m. at Stewart Middle School (5010 Pacific Ave.) withDistrict 4 Council Member Catherine Ushka and At-Large Council Member Ryan Mello
- 11, 6-8 p.m. at Center at Norpoint (4818 Nassau Ave. NE) with District 2 Council Member Robert Thomsand At-Large Council Member Conor McCarthy
- 22, 6-8 p.m. at Wilson High School (1202 N. Orchard St.) with Deputy Mayor Anders Ibsen and District 3 Council Member Keith Blocker
- 27, 2-4 p.m. at STAR Center (3873 S. 66thSt.) with District 5 Council Member Chris Beale and At-Large Council Member Lillian Hunter
If information regarding the City of Tacoma’s proposed 2019-2020 Biennial Budget is needed an alternate format, or if special accommodations are needed at any of the scheduled town hall meetings, please contact David Nash-Mendez at email@example.com or (253) 591-5116.
More information about the City of Tacoma’s budget process is available at cityoftacoma.org/budget.
SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL TEEN BACKPACK PROJECT
The community is cordially invited to save the date and mark your calendars for our 7th Annual Homeless Teen’s Backpack Project on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m., hosted at the I.L.W.U. Local 23 Longshore Union Hall at 1306 Alexander Ave. E. in Fife.
The 2018 goal is to build 1,500 backpacks to be distributed to homeless high school students in Tacoma and greater Pierce County area public schools. As you know, there is a serious unmet need for resources for homeless students in our public schools. The youth in our community go without proper food, shelter, hygiene supplies and necessary items that help keep them mentally focused and in school. High school completion is the gateway to success in later life. The coats, socks, clothing, blankets, toiletries, gift cards, backpacks, and the other important items your generosity provides will help our students get through the long winter school break that lasts from before the holidays until after the New Year. This is a critical time for homeless youth. School provides two meals a day and a warm place to be that many young people do not have during winter break. We believe that students who stay in school and graduate have better life outcomes, and we work tirelessly to support our homeless at-risk youth who need an extra leg-up.
Join this family friendly fundraiser, silent and live auction, 50/50 raffle, wildcard drawing, music, light hors d’oeuvres and no host bar compliments of Rock the Dock Pub & Grill (21+, I.D. required).
Doors opens at 5 p.m., auction registration opens at 5:15 p.m.,
silent auction opens at 5:30 p.m., live auction begins at 8 p.m.
Entry is $15 per adult, $10 per student and includes one entry per person, one Team Backpack memorial bracelet, light hors d’oeuvres, and one complimentary drink from R.T.D. (21+).
Purchase presale tickets at
LAKEWOLD WELCOMES FAMILIES FOR DAY OF COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
Lakewold Gardens will host its annual Community Kids Day on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is either $1 or a donation of an item suitable for The Wishing Well Washington, an organization that gives foster children confidence by providing for their basic material needs. All proceeds and donations go to the Wishing Well. Community Kids Day celebrates community connections and introduces guests to resources available in our region – from the Girl Scouts of Western Washington and West Pierce Fire and Rescue to Wolf Haven International and the Pacific Science Center (and many more!). Everyone is invited to learn, enjoy a variety of activities, and explore the grounds of Lakewold Gardens in their end-of-summer glory.
Lakewold Gardens is partnering with Lakewood Towne Center for parking and shuttle services, which will make getting to and from the gardens simple. For information about Community Kids Day 2018, visit http://lakewoldgardens.org/community_kids_day.html or call (253) 584-4106. To learn more about the Wishing Well and what items are suitable for donation, visit http://thewishingwellwa.org/donate. Community Kids Day 2018 is sponsored by Heritage Bank.
PSE RECEIVES NEARLY 100 PROPOSALS FOR NEW ENERGY RESOURCES
Puget Sound Energy has started to review proposals for new renewable and capacity resources to help meet the electric resource needs of customers for years to come.
Following PSE’s requests for proposals (RFP) issued in June, the company received roughly 95 proposals from a wide variety of companies offering on and off-shore wind, solar, battery and pumped hydro storage, run-of-river hydro, geothermal, biomass, natural gas-fired generation, demand response programs, non-unit contingent power purchase agreements and purchase agreements for unbundled renewable energy credits. Proposals included projects sited in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Nevada.
“It’s exciting to see the range of technologies proposed in this process that will provide both environmental and reliability benefits for our customers,” said David Mills, PSE’s senior vice president-policy and energy supply.
In the all-resources RFP, PSE seeks to replace the energy capacity shortfall of 272 MW from the coal-fired Colstrip Units 1 and 2 in Montana when they shut down by 2022. PSE also requests proposals for renewable energy capable of providing 671,000 renewable energy credits (RECs) in 2023 and larger amounts in subsequent years. PSE received roughly 90 proposals in response to the All Resources RFP.
PSE’s all-resources RFP also seeks proposals for energy storage capacity. The RFP coordinates with the energy-supply and planning needs stated in PSE’s 2017 Integrated Resource Plan.
A second PSE-issued RFP to aid in the creation of a demand-response program, which seeks technology tools and other resources that would enable customers to shift their electricity usage during high-demand periods to help reduce congestion on the electric grid and lower the wholesale cost of electricity, also drew six proposals.
A decision on both RFPs is expected by spring 2019.
LOCAL PILOT HELPS YOUNG PEOPLE DISCOVER FLIGHT
An area pilot has now given more than 500 young people a free demonstration airplane ride as part of the EAA “Young Eagles” program, which is introducing a new generation to the world of flight.
Among the more than 50,000 volunteers around the world who have donated their time and aircraft to the effort is Tom Brown of Tacoma. All pilots in the Young Eagles program explain the safe operation of airplanes and principles of flight before the short trips. Participating young people become official Young Eagles with the flight. The names of the pilots and the participants are also included in the “World’s Largest Logbook,” which is on permanent display in the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wis., and online through the Young Eagles web site. Young Eagles also have access to an online pilot training course, made possible by Sporty’s Pilot Shops, located in Batavia, Ohio.
The Young Eagles Program was unveiled by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in July 1992 and has now flown more than 2 million young people, primarily between the ages of 8 and 17. EAA is a worldwide organization with more than 200,000 members who enjoy all facets of recreational flight. The Young Eagles program goal is to allow young people to experience positive activities and discover the possibilities available to them within the world of aviation. For more information, visit www.youngeagles.org.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT EXPANSION WINS AWARD
The project to expand Pierce County’s Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant has won the American Public Works Association’s “Project of the Year” award in the “Environment – more than $75 million” category.
This national award recognizes excellence in the management and administration of public works projects.
The project increased wastewater treatment capacity from less than 29 million gallons daily (MGD) to 45 MGD. It nearly doubled the footprint of the plant from 49 acres to 89 acres. Most components of the plant – some of which date to the early 1980s – were enhanced or upgraded. Improvements include added capacity, increased odor control, new utility tunnels, new electrical system, and new on-site laboratory. New and upgraded facilities increase processing capabilities to substantially reduce nitrogen from the water discharged into the Puget Sound.
“We are proud of the Pierce County employees and partner companies involved with this project,” said Dennis Hanberg, Planning and Public Works director. “Winning this award shows that the quality of design, construction and project management stands out on a national level.”
The $342 million expansion is the largest construction project ever undertaken by Pierce County. It was completed under budget. The upgraded facilities are designed to meet county population and economic growth through 2040. Approximately 350 trade workers were on-site at peak work periods, with more than 1.4 million hours worked.
The 11-year long project was completed within four months of the planned timeline. Planning began in 2006, groundwork in 2010, construction in 2013 and substantial completion was reached in May 2017. The work was completed while maintaining operation of the plant.
An alternative project delivery method called the General Contractor/Construction Manager (GC/CM) model was used because it controls cost, optimizes schedule, mitigates risk and minimizes permit violations. M.A. Mortenson Company was the GC/CM, Brown and Caldwell was the designer, and EC Electric was the electrical contractor/construction manager.
The Pierce County sewer system collects wastewater from a 117-square-mile area serving 294,000 people in the cities of University Place, Lakewood, DuPont, Steilacoom and a portion of Tacoma. It also serves the unincorporated communities of Parkland, Spanaway, Midland, South Hill and Frederickson. The population served by the wastewater treatment plant is projected to double from 156,000 in 2006 to 351,000 by 2040.
HAVE COFFEE WITH YOUR LIBRARIAN
The Pierce County Library System is hosting “Coffee with Your Librarian” to talk about funding to serve growing and changing communities. At the open houses, library leaders will be available to discuss the Nov. 6 general election ballot measure, to restore the Library System’s regular property tax levy rate.
“At the drop-in coffee events we will talk with people about services the Library System would maintain with the restored levy as well as services we would reduce or eliminate without additional funding,” said the Library’s Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “A Community Advisory Committee, made up of community leaders, analyzed the Library’s funding and input from thousands of residents, and the committee recommended placing a measure on the ballot to ask voters to restore funding.”
A restored levy would maintain library services and return the Library’s levy rate to its full legal amount of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This would be an increase of approximately 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed property. To the owner of an average home assessed at $320,000 this would be approximately a $32 increase in 2019.
The restored levy or levy lid lift is on the November ballot because costs to operate and maintain library services and libraries are increasing at a faster and higher rate than revenues. In recent years, costs have increased by an average rate of 4-7 percent a year, while property tax revenues have increased at an average rate of 1-3 percent. Property taxes make up approximately 94 percent of Pierce County Library’s revenue. State law limits local governments, including Pierce County Library, to an increase in property taxes of no more than 1 percent plus property taxes from new construction each year.
In 2006 voters passed the only re-authorized levy in the 72-year history of the Library System. The Library System has met or surpassed all levy promises with funding from the 2006 levy that was projected to maintain services for up to six years. The Library has stretched that funding for 12 years.
Since 2006 the Library’s service area population has grown by 16 percent to 602,000 people and the number of people with library cards has grown by 63 percent to 323,000 people. During this time the demand for library services have increased, too.
Since 2009 to manage its budget, the Library System has eliminated, reduced, streamlined or not offered services and deferred maintenance totaling $20 million.
The restored levy would maintain services including open hours at 20 locations and online library resources; 1.5 million books, e-books, movies and other materials; staff to support learning with thousands of classes and events; computers, Wi-Fi and technology; and community spaces.
Without the restored levy, the Library System would further eliminate and reduce services including a 10 percent reduction in the hours libraries are open; a 14-21 percent decrease in the number of books, movies and other materials; and a 40 percent reduction in classes and events; as well as close two to three libraries.
Learn more about funding library services for growing and changing communities at “Coffee with Your Librarian.”
Anderson Island Pierce County Library, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 1-2:30 p.m.; Bonney Lake Pierce County Library, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 5:30-7 p.m.; Buckley Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 10, 2:30-4 p.m.; DuPont Pierce County Library, Thursday, Oct. 11, 4-5:30 p.m.; Eatonville Pierce County Library, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Fife Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 24, 11:30 a.m.to 1 p.m.; Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, Thursday, Sept. 20, 12:30-2 p.m.; Graham Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 24, 5-6:30 p.m.; Key Center Pierce County Library, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 6-7:30 p.m.; Lakewood Pierce County Library, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 3:30-5 p.m.; Milton/Edgewood Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 10, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Orting Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 17, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2:30-4 p.m.; South Hill Pierce County Library, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 1:30-3 p.m.; Steilacoom Pierce County Library, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2:30-4 p.m.; Summit Pierce County Library, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 3:30-5 p.m.; Sumner Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 24, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tillicum Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 10, 1-2:30 p.m.; University Place Pierce County Library, Monday, Sept. 24, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SUICIDE RATES IN WASHINGTON CONTINUE RISING
Suicide rates in Washington have continued to rise and health officials at the Department of Health want people to take five actions urged in the national “#Bethe1to” suicide prevention campaign (www.Bethe1to.com).
“We want people to know there are steps they can take that can help prevent suicide,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Learning these may be vitally important to those you love and care about.”
In 2017, 1,300 Washingtonians died by suicide, and from 2006 to 2017 suicide in Washington state increased by an average of 2.5 percent annually.
The national #Bethe1to campaign, highlights five actions people can take to help prevent suicide.
- Be the one to ask. Ask the tough question. When somebody you know shows warning signs, ask them directly: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”Take an online screening at http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org.
- Be the one to keep them safe. Do they have access to medications, firearms, or other means of suicide? Ask if they’ve thought about how they would do it and separate them from anything they could use to hurt themselves.Learn more from WA’s Safer Homes Coalition at https://depts.washington.edu/saferwa.
- Be the one to be there. People thinking about suicide can feel a burden to their loved ones.If your friend is thinking about suicide, listen to their reasons for feeling hopeless and in pain. Listen with compassion and empathy without judgement. Now Matters Now (nowmattersnow.org/skill/suicidal-thoughts) has videos from people who have experienced suicidal thoughts share what individuals can do to help manage those thoughts.
- Be the one to help them connect.Help your friend connect to a support system, whether it’s (1) 800-273-TALK (8255), the crisis text line (text “HEAL” to 741741), family, friends, faith-based leaders, coaches, co-workers, health care professionals or therapists, so they have a network to reach out to for help. 2-1-1’s online database (https://win211.org/search) is another way to find local resources.
- Be the one to follow up.Check in with the person you care about on a regular basis. Making contact with a friend in the days and weeks after a crisis can make a difference in keeping them alive. Send a caring contact. This could be a phone call, text, email, or letter. If you want to connect with someone anonymously, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255, chat, or text “HEAL” to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor.
More information on suicide prevention in Washington and the state’s Suicide Prevention Plan is online at www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/InjuryandViolencePrevention/SuicidePrevention and http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/631-058-SuicidePrevPlan.pdf.
The DOH website (www.doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign-up for the DOH blog, Public Health Connection, at https://medium.com/wadepthealth.
COUNTY ENDS MANAGEMENT OF FT. STEILACOOM GOLF COURSE
After 47 years, Pierce County Parks will no longer operate the Fort Steilacoom Golf Course (FSGC). The course is on land leased from the State of Washington and the property will return to the State’s control.
Pierce College and a few local businesses, including Disc Golf Amory, have expressed interest in providing recreation services on the site. The land is zoned open space and there are restrictions on the type of development or uses that can occur. The State will make the determination on which recreation activities will occur on the property after Oct. 1.
The nine-hole course, which sees about 16,000 rounds a year, will close on Sept. 24; annual pass members and those with vouchers will be allowed to access the course until those expire on Sept. 30. Tee-times will not be reserved and cart availability will be limited after Sept. 24.
Pierce County Parks also manages Chambers Bay Golf Course and Lake Spanaway Golf Course under an agreement with Kemper Sports Management. Each of those 18-hole sites hosts more than 30,000 rounds annually.
Pass-holders at FSGC are invited to take advantage of the fall promotions at Lake Spanaway Golf Course and benefit from the My Lake Rewards program, receiving credit for an introductory round in October. Lake Spanaway offers a restaurant, pro shop, and lessons, and is host to a local men’s and women’s club and tournament play. Learn more at www.lakespanawaygc.com.
SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES KILMER’S HATE CRIMES BILL
The United States Senate has passed The Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) co-wrote the bill and helped an earlier version of it pass in the House after a string of bomb threats were made nationwide against religious institutions, including one at the Stroum Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, Washington last year. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the bill in the Senate. Kilmer co-introduced the House bill with Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN).
“Americans should be able to practice their faith and gather as a community without the fear of being targeted because of their beliefs,” Kilmer said. “With the Senate’s action today, Congress is one step closer to classifying threats against religious community centers as a federal hate crime.”
The bill amends the Church Arson Prevention Act (18 U.S.C. § 247) to ensure that anyone who threatens violence against a religious community center because of the center’s religious affiliation can be prosecuted for committing a hate crime. It also creates a criminal penalty of a fine or a prison term of up to five years – or both – for people found guilty of such threats.
An earlier version of the bill passed in the House in December 2017. The Senate made some minor changes to the bill and then passed it unanimously today. The Senate version of the bill will come back to the House for another vote before heading to the president’s desk.
Kilmer authored the bill with input from community members who observed that while committing an act of violence against a religious community center was classified as a hate crime, the act of calling in a threat against them was not. He wrote about the issue in an op-ed for The Seattle Times and for the Mercer Island Reporter.
Earlier this year The Seattle Times reported: “Hate fueled threats and violence are up slightly, according to the FBI. In 2016, the most recent data available shows 6,121 reported incidents, up from 5,850 in 2015. In Washington State there were 387 incidents reported in 2016 and 275 in 2015.”
The Seattle Times also recently reported that that the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., has reported a 57 percent increase in them between the years 2016 and 2017.