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Fireman’s Park community input meeting on Aug. 29

Fireman’s Park located at (801 A St.) has undergone safety enhancements and has been open for public use throughout the summer. City of Tacoma staff has been soliciting feedback on how the community sees using the park in the future. The next opportunity for community input is on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 6 – 7 p.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St., RM 148).

Staff from multiple City departments will be available to provide updates and collect additional input for the next phase, which covers tree plantings, some landscaping, seating options, and art installations. Information on the community input received to date, tree plantings for Green Tacoma Day, and examples of potential seating options will also be shared.

The Port of Tacoma, in partnership with the City’s Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality, is commissioning new artwork commemorating the Port’s 100th anniversary that will be installed at Fireman’s Park in 2020. Local artist team Rotator Creative was recently selected for the project through a competitive process. The artists will also be at the meeting to discuss their process and answer questions.

For more information, visit cityoftacoma.org/FiremansPark, or contact Public Works Assistant Division Manager Jennifer Hines at jhines@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5320.

Tacoma establishes state’s first Transit Oriented Development Advisory Group

The state’s first Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Advisory Group has been established in Tacoma, bringing together residents, businesses, property owners, and the planning and economic development communities. Sponsored by Robert Thoms, Tacoma’s City Council Member representing Downtown Tacoma, the TOD Advisory group will help inform the design and development of significant transit projects throughout the City including the Dome District, one of the region’s most transit-rich areas. The TOD Advisory Group seeks to encourage residential development and connections to employment and services as part of a strategic design.

The TOD Advisory Group will meet for the first time from 4-5 p.m. on Aug. 19 in the Tacoma Municipal Building (747 Market St., 2nd Floor, Room 243).

Thoms and State Transportation Committee Chairman and Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma) will introduce the TOD Advisory Group members and their initial goals to give Tacoma’s community members a greater voice in the transportation investment decisions being made. 

“We’re on the cusp of tremendous growth in Tacoma and across our region, and significant investments will be made in our transit infrastructure,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “As these investments are translated into concrete plans that will enhance our region, decisions will be made that have great impact on Tacoma and the South Sound area for decades to come. It is vital that these decisions are informed and community-based, and I am grateful to those who have stepped up to serve on the TOD Advisory Group to contribute their voices to this process.” 

As Tacoma’s transit infrastructure undergoes a period of dramatic transformation with Sound Transit’s Central Link Extension, Pierce Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit service, and the City’s planned Puyallup Avenue design project, the TOD Advisory Group will offer input on how the City and its partners can best ensure new developments are built in a manner that facilitates long-term sustainable growth.

“I’m proud to have partnered with civic and business leaders to sponsor the first ever TOD Advisory Group to ensure Tacoma’s vision and values are protected when historic infrastructure investments are made in the very doorway to our city,” said Thoms. “The Tacoma Dome Station must be done right. For many, it will be the first thing they see when they arrive in Tacoma. I believe it will be the second or third most used station in the Sound Transit system the week it opens, so investments that support our city addressing current parking, safety and future infrastructure needs must be addressed now. Tacoma can exemplify how communities lead and embrace development in their neighborhoods, but transit serves people first, and impacts to community members, neighborhoods and business districts should serve as the focal point of design, placement and infrastructure added to protect people’s quality of life.”

“The Dome District is ideal for TOD and is an integral part of connecting the region,” said Fey. “Through the availability of train, bus and light rail, commuters, residents and guests can more efficiently access jobs and housing as well as services and amenities in Tacoma and throughout the Puget Sound.”

The City has retained VIA Architecture to help coordinate the work of the TOD Advisory Group and communicate recommendations to local transit agencies.

More information about the TOD Advisory Group and the work that they are doing will soon be available on the City’s website, cityoftacoma.org.

Labor Day weekend schedule for Pierce County Ferry

The Pierce County Ferry will offer additional runs to accommodate Labor Day weekend travelers. 

Pierce County will operate two boats between 12:30 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, and between 10:30 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2. The ferry will operate on the standard weekend schedule Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1.

The Monday, Sept. 2 schedule is altered from the printed schedules. Additional runs have been added Monday morning to better serve riders leaving Anderson Island.

Riders can view the ferry schedule and sign up for rider alerts atwww.piercecountywa.gov/ferry

Extreme low tides may delay or cancel scheduled ferry runs Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. Extreme low tides are those zero feet or below. Vehicles with low ground clearance or that are oversized may be asked to take a different sailing. Please check tide tables prior to travel and call the ferry terminal with questions at (253) 588-1950.

The Pierce County Ferry provides service between Steilacoom, Anderson Island and Ketron Island.

South Sound 911 using RapidSOS for better 911 call location accuracy

In an emergency, seconds count. It’s important to know where you are so 911 can direct responders to your exact location to deliver life-saving aid. Now, South Sound 911 can receive more accurate cellular location data for 911 calls the agency receives, using RapidSOS.

In Pierce County, where more than 81 percent of 911 calls come from cell phones, the “know your location” message has become increasingly important over the years. The existing 911 system was designed for landlines associated to a fixed location, so obtaining accurate location information from mobile callers needing emergency aid has been challenging for 911 call takers and dispatchers nationwide. 

While RapidSOS does not eliminate the need for callers to know their location, it will help responders get better location information.

“When someone is in distress, sometimes the simplest information – like knowing where you are – can be difficult to remember or relay,” South Sound 911 Executive Director Andrew Neiditz said. “If there’s a tool we can use to get that vital information in order to do the work better, to help first responders, and to dispatch the proper response, we want to use it.”

South Sound 911’s use of RapidSOS means the technology is available for calls placed within the jurisdictions of all 38 local police and fire agencies in the county.

In order for South Sound 911 to use the service for a 911 call, members of the public should ensure their cellular phone operating systems are up-to-date and the device must be able to send data. Only 911 centers with access to the RapidSOS Clearinghouse will receive device location information during a 911 call for calls made from iPhones (iOs 12+) and Android (version 4.0+) devices.

The data provided by RapidSOS comes from “connected device companies” which provide mobile applications and “smart” technologies, and location data from Google and Apple. Other data may also be available from sources such as MedicAlert and the American Heart Association; however, data from Uber’s “Call 911” Live-Location Availability is not yet available in Pierce County.

RapidSOS location data supplements, but does not replace, existing 911 and carrier-provided location information and may not be available for every call. A variety of technical factors may impact the availability and accuracy of device-based location, such as the need to allow simultaneous voice and data delivery.

Call for Arts Activities in Tacoma Arts Month

The Tacoma Arts Commission is seeking submissions of arts activities happening during Tacoma Arts Month this October. We are looking for a variety of activities spanning all categories of art and culture including but not limited to music, visual art, literary art, dance, theater, and film.

If you will be hosting an exhibition, performance, class, workshop, reception, lecture, tour, artists’ market, celebration, meeting, presentation, or any other programming, let us know. We will list your arts event in an interactive and searchable online calendar of events on tacomaartsmonth.com. There is no cost to you. We will be promoting the many events going on throughout the month through newspaper and magazine advertisements and articles, electronic newsletters, television ads, radio ads, and through a variety of social media outlets.

This month would not be possible without the participation of local businesses, organizations, and community members. We encourage you to participate by hosting your own arts activity or event.

Activity submissions will be accepted a rolling basis and added to the events calendar on a rolling basis.

To qualify: Your arts activity must be located within the City of Tacoma limits and occur during the month of October.

To participate: Fill out the online submission form via Submittable: https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit. Please note: If you are submitting multiple events, please fill out an individual form for each event.

Questions? Contact Chevi Chung at (253) 591-5171 or cchung1@cityoftacoma.org.

Pierce County Council approves accessing state dollars

The Pierce County Council voted 5-1 on Ordinance 2019-57s, which authorizes the County to collect a portion of the state’s sales and use tax for investments in affordable and supportive housing. There will be no increase to the sales and use tax for the consumer. 

“There is a housing crisis in our region and the ability to access these state funds represents a great opportunity to help address our affordable housing needs,” said Pierce County Council Chair Doug Richardson.

The state passed SHB 1406 which allows cities and counties to collect a portion of the state’s sales and use tax to make local investments in affordable and supportive housing. Funds can be used for acquiring, rehabilitating or constructing affordable housing; operations and maintenance of new affordable or supportive housing facilities for residents whose income is at or below 60 percent of the median income of the county imposing the tax. 

Councilmember Derek Young, District 7 stated, “By passing SHB 1406, our state legislators took bold action to address the affordable housing crisis and encouraged us to develop local partnerships to find solutions. Implementing the bill won’t completely solve the problem, but it will help ensure more people have access to housing.”

In the coming weeks, the Pierce County Human Services Department will be preparing a plan for Council to consider how dollars should be allocated.

Centerforce receives $2,427.50 from Whole Foods

Centerforce is pleased to announce it has received $2,427.50 in partnership with Whole Foods Market through its Bag Refund program. These funds will support our mission of advocacy, employment and education that includes our Community Inclusion and Community Employment services. 

The money raised through Whole Foods Market’s quarterly program was applied to our recent annual Just Like You event, with proceeds helping to reduce the cost of uncompensated services, such as securing housing, transportation, job supplies/training, financial/legal paperwork and more. Unfortunately, these services are not reimbursed by government and partnerships like Whole Foods’ Bag Refund program continue the enrichment of the lives of these clients, such as Andrew, who is in our Community Employment program.  

Andrew has been a Centerforce client since 1992, participating early on in our sheltered employment workshop, then janitorial program and later to the grounds crew department. He started working for KleenBlast in 2014 as part of Centerforce’s Individual Employment program. There, he fills bags with sand as high and heavy as 4,000 lbs., assembles boxes and operates a forklift. Andrew has come a long way in trusting Centerforce to meet and obtain his career goals, as well as providing challenging new goals he can obtain. 

“Andrew is a very hard worker. He has blossomed as a person since taking this job at KleenBlast,” said Debby L. Graham, executive director at Centerforce.

“I am so appreciative of the support from Whole Foods Market. Their support is essential and enables us to continue to serve our clients in our Community Inclusion and Community Employment programs,” Graham said. 

Whole Foods Market Bag Refund program gives customers a 10-cent credit for bringing their own shopping bags. Customers can choose to donate that credit instead to a local, partner charity. 

Graham said Centerforce’s Community Employment and Community Inclusion programs currently serve 200 individuals (students and adults) with disabilities throughout Pierce and King counties. The individuals served have a wide range of disabilities and a number of barriers to traditional employment.

Kidz Kraze features free family activities

Grab your sunscreen and comfy shoes and get down to Pierce County Parks and Recreation’s Kidz Kraze Children’s Festival! This free annual event is held at Chambers Creek Regional Park from 12-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25 in the Central Meadow, located at 6320 Grandview Dr. W. in University Place. 

The park will be transformed into a gigantic play zone for families with a variety of fun activities, including field games, LEGO building, water balloons, a gaga pit, three bouncy houses; get artsy with rock painting and face painting; meet and learn about real reptiles with the Reptile Man. Also, enter our raffle to win prizes like birthday packages from Bricks 4 Kidz and Debbie Doolittle’s Petting Zoo and so much more. 

Throughout the day, attendees can quench their appetite and thirst from on-site vendors, which include Jazzy’s Cookie Company, Brew Dog, Egg Roll Hut, Bliss Creamery, Boy Scout Troop 436, and the Old Spaghetti Factory will be giving away free Italian sodas.

Parking will be limited, so plan accordingly. We encourage you to prepare for the weather. Bring sunscreen, water bottles, or rain gear as the event will run rain or shine.

This free community event is made possible through sponsorships from the Chambers Creek Foundation and University Place Recycle and Refuse.

To learn more about this event visit our website at www.piercecountywa.gov/kidzkraze.

Regional Pet Adoption Event with Pawsitive Alliance and Mud Bay Sept. 7

Join Pawsitive Alliance and several of its adoption partners on Saturday, September 7th from 12 pm to 4 pm at Mud Bay stores throughout the Puget Sound area for a regional pet adoption event. The event will feature adoptable dogs at all stores and cats for adoption at the Tacoma area store. Adopters will receive goodie bags packed with information, coupons, and other pet-related items. 

The event will take place at four stores: 

Pawsitive Alliance representatives and adoption partners will be at each store. Come find a new member of the family. Adoption partners will vary by store. 
Issaquah– Motley Zoo 
Lynnwood- Greyhound Pets Inc.
Tacoma– Collar of Hope
Tacoma– Sunny Sky’s
Queen Anne– Seattle Dogs Homeless Program 
Queen Anne– Auburn Valley Humane Society

Pawsitive Alliance is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to help end the euthanasia of cats and dogs in Washington by increasing adoptions, supporting spay and neuter programs, and improving pet retention. The organization’s mission is a healthy and happy home for every cat and dog in Washington. Pawsitive Alliance is best known for its #WhyNotMePets program which works with shelters and rescues throughout the state to find homes for animals that have been homeless more than two months or have barriers to adoption, such as age or disability. To learn more about Pawsitive Alliance, visit the website at www.pawsitivealliance.org

Application open for Valerie Sivinski Fund historic preservation grants The Valerie Sivinski Fund is an annual program of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation that provides grants of up to $2,000 to organizations engaged in historic preservation around Washington State. The goal of the Fund is to support historic preservation where it really happens: at the community level. The Washington Trust is pleased to announce that the application for the 2020 round of Sivinski Fund grants is now open. The deadline for submitting an application is Tuesday, Oct. 15. 

Established in 1997, the Sivinski Fund has awarded grants to 146 projects totaling over $155,000 worth in funding and services to local historic preservation organizations and advocates engaged in the important work of preserving Washington’s cultural heritage. Historic places not only represent our history but are part of our collective cultural identity. Preserving historic places allows communities to build a future on that meaningful identity and the valuable historic resources already at hand. Historic resources contribute to vibrant communities and architectural diversity.

“Successful historic preservation is rooted in partnerships,” said Jennifer Mortensen, Outreach Director for the Washington Trust. “We are honored to be able to support local communities and help make historic preservation happen at the local level through the Valerie Sivinski Fund.”

Funding priority for the Sivinski Fund grants goes to “bricks and mortar” projects that contribute to the preservation of a specific historic place. Projects that include costs directly related to physical materials and preservation are preferred, but grant funds may also be used to hire preservation professionals or organize preservation advocacy efforts for a specific historic resource. Applications must be submitted by an organized group such as an incorporated non-profit, an unincorporated citizens or advocacy group, a public agency or civic organization, or a religious organization. Applicants for Sivinski Fund grants are required to become members of the Washington Trust (at the non-profit level or above) if they are not already current members. 

The online application form, along with all program details, can be accessed on the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s website at: preservewa.org/sivinski. The application process is entirely online, and must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the due date. Award recipients will be announced at the Washington Trust’s annual Sivinski Holiday Benefit in December

Please contact Jennifer Mortensen at (206) 462-2999 or via email at jmortensen@preservewa.org for more information. 

Premera Awards $2.1 million in community grants

Premera Blue Cross through its Premera Social Impact program announced $2.1 million in grants made to seven nonprofit organizations in Washington and Alaska to expand housing services and improve access to behavioral health services for underserved communities.

“These seven organizations continue to make great strides in supporting the individuals and families in our communities. They, like Premera, are committed to creating healthier communities,” said Paul Hollie, head of Premera Social Impact. “Most of the time, people don’t have the tools to stand up on their own, so we’re investing in the services that will help them live stable and healthy lives.”

Grants were made to the following organizations:
All Alaska Pediatric Partnership, in Anchorage, Alaska, will receive $750,000 to support the Help Me Grow (HMG) program, a national system model designed to support children’s healthy development, as well as create a more connected, collaborative and equitable system in Alaska to support families and anyone caring for children.

Associated Recreation Council, in Seattle, will receive $25,000 to improve behavioral health resources for children in the community, by training its staff in trauma-informed childcare, especially when addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC), in Walla Walla, will receive $122,579 to reach Walla Walla’s homeless population with intensive, housing-first case management and a long-term housing retention model. The funds will also support renovation of the BMAC Community Service Center, which serves the chronically homeless.

Catholic Charities of Spokane, in Spokane, will receive $175,000 to support Rising Strong, its family-centered drug treatment and housing program.

Comprehensive Life Resources, in Tacoma, will receive $300,000 to expand the service area of its Mobile Community Intervention Response Team (MCIRT) project, which provides home-based services to those affected by mental illness, substance abuse, or unmet medical needs.

Juneau Housing First Collaborative, in Juneau, Alaska, will receive $250,000 to expand its existing permanent supportive housing facility for adults who face barriers to housing stability. The facility provides onsite primary care, behavioral health care, addiction assistance services, and 24/7 support staff.

Volunteers of America Western Washington, in Lynnwood, will receive $500,000 to fund its Neighborhood Center, a facility that will bring multiple services providers together to improve access for the community’s growing vulnerable population of children, youth, families and seniors.

In 2018, Premera Social Impact awarded more than $9.5 million in grants and sponsorships in Washington and Alaska. The program launched in 2017 and focuses on awarding grants to organizations that support behavioral health solutions, particularly in underserved communities.

To learn more about Premera Social Impact, read the company’s community giving report.

Question PAC vows to challenge every single Republican legislator running in Washington State

Republican leadership has subjected the United States to unprecedented levels of chaos and corruption, led by a dishonest and dishonorable president and propped up by the countless federal and state Republicans who have turned a blind eye to the insanity taking place in our nation’s capital.

A local political media group, Question PAC, has determined that it will create political content to challenge every single Republican legislator running for either state or federal positions in Washington State leading up to the 2020 elections.

Question PAC is a non-profit independent expenditure 527 group (i.e. a “Super PAC”) located in Ephrata, WA.

The group was founded in April of 2018 by former talk-radio producer Charles Wiegand, who is using his broadcasting and publicity training to disrupt the political environment in rural Washington. 

“The media landscape around here makes it so that the average news consumer is hardly ever exposed to a progressive point of view. Much of the political content in rural Washington that isn’t in the middle of this unbalanced media teeter-totter is sitting firmly on the Republican side, and that’s a disservice to Washington voters,” said Question PAC media director Charles Wiegand.

“And considering the chaos, corruption and cruelty that the Republican Party has been willing to inflict on the United States, it’s easy to say with certainty and moral clarity that any politician who identifies with the GOP is not capable of being a good politician, because the GOP itself is incapable of good governance.”

Question PAC intends to reach out heavily on new media platforms as well as extensive Spanish-language outreach in order to inform unengaged and undecided voters. 

“The last thing any GOP politician running in Washington wants is to be tied directly to the absurdity of the Trump administration as well as destructive Republican policies such as their attacks on health care, their tax cut giveaway, and their cruel migrant policies,” said Wiegand. “And that’s the first thing that Question PAC will be doing.”

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