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Housing Authority employee accused of embezzling

The agency that provides affordable housing for low-income people in Pierce County has sued a former employee, who is suspected of stealing in excess of $4 million in public funds. Pierce County Housing Authority has filed a lawsuit against longtime Finance Director Cova Campbell and her husband, Mark Campbell. They are accused of diverting the money to their personal use, including spending close to $2 million on 310 acres in Oklahoma. The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 28. Campbell was fired on Aug. 8. The agency posted the following notice on its website:

“Pierce County Housing Authority has been in the news recently due to the illegal actions of a former employee. If you are a participant in PCHA’s Housing Choice Voucher or Low Income Public Housing programs or a resident of a PCHA apartment community, please be assured that the ongoing investigation will not impact the services we provide. The agency remains committed to the provision of safe, decent affordable housing and economic opportunity, free from discrimination.”

Hailey project resumes on Tacoma Avenue South

The Hailey project – a $50 million 186-unit mixed-use apartment building at 1210 Tacoma Ave. S – officially resumed Sept. 3. The general contractor has begun mobilization of the site and visible construction should commence within two weeks. The completion date is expected in the first quarter of 2021. HQC USA LLC broke ground on the project in October 2017, but had temporarily halted work to resolve complexities related to foreign financing.

“The Hailey project will bring approximately 90 living-wage construction jobs to Tacoma and increase housing options,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “The City is very pleased that this mixed-use revitalization project has been reinitiated, and I want to credit the City staff in our Community & Economic Development and Planning & Development Services departments for their diligent work.” 

HQC USA LLC – based out of Renton, Wash. and headquartered in Vietnam – purchased the land for $750,000 in July 2017. It had previously served as a parking lot for the Tacoma Public Library’s downtown location.

When complete, the Hailey will feature five floors of living space as well as two floors of underground parking, and add feet on the street in Downtown Tacoma.

More information on the Hailey project, and other economic development efforts that have been planned or are underway, can be obtained through Community & Economic Development Project Manager Debbie Bingham at dbingham@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5117.

Tacoma nurse returning from Hurricane Dorian response

A registered nurse from Tacoma, Brian Halpern, is returning home after assisting the federal medical response to Hurricane Dorian as part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). Halpern serves as a member of an NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).

NDMS is a federal program that can support communities with medical care, veterinary care, and mortuary assistance during disasters or public health emergencies at the request of states; NDMS is among the resources made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). 

“ASPR pre-positioned more than 200 medical and public health personnel, along with caches of medical equipment and supplies, into areas of greatest risk for storm impact,” NDMS Acting Branch Chief Dr. Helga Scharf-Bell said. “Many of our DMAT personnel, including Mr. Halpern, were first pre-positioned in San Juan, Puerto Rico, then moved to Georgia and Florida as the path of Hurricane Dorian changed.” 

DMATs remain staged in Georgia and Florida, ready to respond where and when needed as the storm begins to affect the continental United States. Typically, DMAT personnel augment medical care at overwhelmed emergency departments, coordinate with Urban Search and Rescue teams to triage people rescued or provided basic medical care for evacuees at shelters.

Teams are deployed for up to 14 days. If needed, new teams replace teams that demobilize home. Since Hurricane Dorian continues to remain a significant threat to thousands along the southeastern coastline, new teams are moving into the area. NDMS efforts to help residents of Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolinas will continue until the states no longer need the support. 

NDMS comprises approximately 5,000 physicians, nurses, veterinary staff, paramedics, fatality management professionals, and experienced command and control staff, organized into several different response teams, including, but not limited to: Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams, National Veterinary Response Teams, and Trauma Critical Care Teams. When an emergency overwhelms local and state resources, ASPR looks to the expertise within NDMS from across the country to assist in the response. Although they hail from communities nationwide, when deployed they are federal government employees working as part of a coordinated federal response.

To learn more about HHS’ response to the 2019 hurricanes, please visit https://www.phe.gov/emergency/events/Dorian/Pages/default.aspx.

As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ASPR’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. For more information about federal medical response and NDMS, visit www.phe.gov.

Pedal with politicians on Sept. 12

On Sept. 12 Tacoma City Council members and other local politicians are biking around Tacoma to get up close and personal with the existing (and missing) bike and trail network in downtown Tacoma. At our annual Pedal with the Politicians bike ride you can ride alongside your elected officials and City Council candidates as we look ahead to local elections and an update of the Transportation Master Plan.

Key points on this year’s ride will be:

  • Lack of safe connection between existing infrastructure 
  • Bike and pedestrian connections to growing transit hubs
  • Fawcett Ave improvements and Brewery Blocks Development
  • Maintenance and perceived safety on shared-use paths like the Water Flume Line Trail and Scott Pierson

You can ride alongside Councilmembers Mello, Ibsen, Beale, McCarthy, Thoms, Ushka, and Mayor Woodards. We will also be joined by Metro Parks Tacoma Commissioner Hanberg, Fife’s Mayor Roscoe, and Puyallup’s Mayor Palmer.

The best way to advocate for bicycling in Tacoma is to get out and ride. And the best way to encourage our local government to better our roads for people on bikes is to ride alongside them on Sept. 12.

Unsure of the best routes in downtown Tacoma? Contact us about our Bike Buddies Program and we can match people up with a cooperative comrade. 

Other questions? Email or call hallyb@downtownonthego.org and (253) 392-7880.

13th Annual Destiny Dinner: Her Story – Our Tacoma

Please join Tacoma Historical Society for a celebratory evening of recognition in honor of women’s history. In addition to tributes to the women who’ve impacted our local history, Tacoma Historical Society will present its prestigious Star of Destiny Award. This year’s event takes place at the University of Puget Sound Memorial Field House on September 14, 2019.

This year’s Destiny Dinner theme, “Her Story – Our Tacoma,” looks back at outstanding women leaders over the past century in Tacoma who’ve left legacies that still echo to the present day. Through their leadership and activism in our community, these women have embodied the best of our civic values as Americans. Our dinner program will acknowledge and celebrate their contributions to Tacoma’s success and feature several women still actively serving as leaders in our community today.

Just as the contributions of women continue to impact Tacoma residents, you too can make an impact. The Destiny Dinner is a critical fundraising event for Tacoma Historical Society, and with your support, proceeds from the event will assist our efforts to preserve, promote, and present our proud Tacoma history.

Buy tickets now at www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-destiny-dinner-her-story-our-tacoma-tickets-63079483433. Join the Facebook event at www.facebook.com/events/857536427916713.

South Sound Philanthropy Summit presents ‘next gen philanthropy’

Association of Fundraising Professionals South Sound Chapter and the South Sound Planned Giving Council are pleased to announce the 7th annual South Sound Philanthropy Summit on Friday, Sept. 27.

Development and planned giving professionals, financial and estate planners, attorneys and philanthropists from across the region will convene at University of Washington-Tacoma’s Philip Hall, located at 1918 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., to “Unite to Unleash the Power of Philanthropy.”

Renowned keynote speakers include Michael Moody, Ph.D., cultural sociologist and author, on “Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving.” His work has been featured in The New York Times and Forbes. Kristen Corning Bedford, nonprofit consultant and author, will present “A Generous Heart: How Feminist Philanthropy is Changing the Culture of Giving.” Victoria Woodards, Mayor of City of Tacoma, will offer a special lunchtime address.

A Next Generation Expert Panel will provide practical applications on how to successfully engage the next generation in philanthropy, moderated by Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s VP of Communication and former NPR radio host, Megan Sukys. 

Continental breakfast, lunch and a happy hour beverage provided. Happy Hour reception to follow from 3-4 p.m. at Harmon Brewing. Special pricing available for members of Association of Fundraising Professionals and South Sound Planned Giving Council. For more information or to register, please visit https://bit.ly/2TCcxes

Generous event sponsors make the Summit possible, and many thanks go to Presenting Sponsors CHI Franciscan Foundation, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, and Wells Fargo; Corporate Sponsors The Alford Group, Campbell & Company, Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, Eisenhower Carlson, and Johnson Stone Pagano; and Supporting Sponsors Advancement Consulting, Community Health Care, Financial Insights, Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Lavine, and MultiCare. 

Space is limited. Save a seat today for the South Sound Philanthropy Summit’s renowned keynotes, expert panels and round table discussions, networking, camaraderie, learning and growth.

South Sound Democrats hold first-ever event

Tickets are now available for the 1st Annual South Sound Democrats Event, a joint fundraiser sponsored by multiple Pierce County Legislative Districts. This “Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt Champagne Brunch” will be held on Sept. 22 at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) Chris Knutzen Hall. There will be a pre-event reception at 10 a.m. with U.S. Congress members and candidates. Also enjoy a live auction, powerful community leaders, including one of our favorite inspiring speakers Erin Jones, former assistant state superintendent, consultant and inspirational equity instructor, plus Attorney General Bob Ferguson, State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, and Tina Podlodowski, WSDCC chair, with Desiree Finch as master of ceremonies, plus many more exciting speakers.

The food is always excellent at this venue! Check-in is 9:30-10:45 a.m., reception at 10 a.m., brunch and live auction from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Don’t miss this great day together to organize and activate for the critical 2019-20 election year – supporting candidates for county council, Port of Tacoma, school board and commission offices.

Tickets are $50 for the reception and $50 for the brunch. Purchase tickets at https://tinyurl.com/LD2Brunch. Sponsors, volunteers, auction items are encouraged. Contact Leeroy Perkins at (253) 209-2239 or Yanah G. Cook at (360) 786-8838 for more information.

Widow sues Moody Aviation for deadly air crash

The Herrmann Law Group filed suit in Spokane County Superior Court on Aug. 30 on behalf of Ms. Yuki Lee and her infant daughter against Moody Aviation College for the death of her husband Joochan Lee in an air crash near Deer Park on July 13, 2018. The aviation school is owned and operated by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. 

The complaint alleges Moody was negligent in maintaining and operating a 19-year-old Cessna 17R Skylark plane used for pilot training by the school, which caused the crash. All three occupants were killed. The pilot in command was Diego Senn, a Moody Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), who received his CFI license just six months before the accident.

Joochan Lee was a student at Moody’s flight school receiving his first actual flight lesson. He had never flown an airplane before. Andrew Trouten, a fellow student, was in the backseat as an observer.

“Unfortunately, this tragic air crash is another example of how cutting costs often results in loss of aviation safety,” said Lee’s attorney, Charles Herrmann of Herrmann Law Group. “Ms. Lee was pregnant at the time of the crash, carrying their first child whom Joochan never saw.”

Herrmann gained an international reputation for his role in winning the suit over the shoot-down of Korean Air Flight 007 by a Soviet MIG over Sakhalin Island in 1983. He currently represents families of 42 victims of both recent crashes of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The NTSB Preliminary Report states that the flight departed Felts Field Airport shortly before 10 a.m. heading to the Clayton practice area a little west of Deer Park. Radar tracks of the flight reflect that after executing a few maneuvers, the plane disappeared at 10:21. Witnesses on the ground observed the plane in a steep dive when the wings literally blew off the aircraft. 

According to the complaint, “All three people onboard, trapped in a wingless fuselage and unable to maneuver, plummeted to their deaths upon impact with the terrain below.”

The complaint does not specify the compensation demanded for Lee and her daughter, rather it states the amount will be proven at trial.

Herrmann Law Group was founded in 1950 by Karl Herrmann who served as a State Senator representing the Spokane valley before being elected Washington State Insurance Commissioner. The firm handles all types of personal injury cases from catastrophic disasters to car crashes with offices in Seattle and Tacoma.

Celebrate Festál: Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias at Seattle Center

Embrace the cultures of the Pacific Northwest and cultivate love, peace and understanding of the communities that make up our region. Join us for Seattle Center Festál: Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias, 12-9 p.m., Saturday Sept. 14 and 12-6 p.m., Sunday Sept. 15. Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias observes Latin American independence in ways that remind us all of the indomitable spirit of freedom. 

“Fiestas Patrias,” meaning “Patriotic Holidays,” or “National Holidays” in Spanish, commemorates the independence of Latin American countries, many of which celebrate their national independence days in the month of September. The festival highlights the history of these communities while taking pride in the new generations of Latinos that now call the United States home, with live performances of dance and music, art, activities for the family and authentic dishes. Enjoy tastes of Mexico City foods such as tortas, tamales, gorditas, pambazos and huaraches at food vendors. See cooking demonstrations of dishes like pozole, tamales and chile rellenos presented by Baja Taco, a local family-owned restauranted located in West Seattle. 

In the Armory Lofts, guests can explore two art exhibits. “¡VIVA! Latino/a Visions” is a display by local Latinx artists, and “Murales, No Muros” an exhibition sponsored by CNDH Mexico, UNAM Seattle-PAME and Sea Mar that features photos of actual murals on buildings in Mexico and Guatemala that capture the life of migrants who were detained on the border of Mexico and the United States.

Explore the annual health fair with informational booths for vital health screenings, cholesterol and glucose checks, health education, oral health, WIC/MSS services, behavioral health, insurance enrollment, Sea Mar assisted living and nursing services, cancer prevention and hearing exams. Educational activities for children include Nolan the Inflatable Colon. 

For full schedule and more information, visit the Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias website: http://seattlefiestaspatrias.org/, or Facebook event page: www.facebook.com/seamarchc

Newly added this year is the “Alaska Airlines Fly Away Giveaway.” Guests who obtain a passport inside Seattle Center Armory or by downloading online can collect stamps by attending festivals to be entered to win round-trip air travel for two to the Alaska Airlines destination of their choice. Each stamp is an entry to win; the more Festál events attended and stamps collected, the higher the odds of winning. More information at seattlecenter.com/festal

Seattle Center Festál highlights the culturally rich communities who shape the character of our region. Although the series began in 1997, the festivals took place earlier in their own ethnic communities. Now, Seattle Center serves as a central place, where festivals invite the public to join in their unique cultural expression. This year’s theme, “Love, Peace and Understanding,” is woven throughout 24 free, ethnic cultural festivals. In a time of divisive national rhetoric, Festál celebrates our shared humanity to build connections, tear down stereotypes and create trust.

Seattle Center Festál: Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias is a public program presented by Seattle Center in partnership with Sea Mar Community Health Centers. Admission is free of charge. For more information on this festival, visit seattlefiestaspatrias.org. To learn more about this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit www.seattlecenter.com or call (206) 684-7200.

First West Nile virus case of the year reported

A human case of West Nile virus (WNV) has been reported by Benton-Franklin Health District – the first case of WNV in Washington this year. Health officials advise people to take action to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes as WNV is currently circulating in several counties in Washington. In addition to the human case, who was likely exposed to mosquito bites in Franklin or Walla Walla County, WNV has been detected this summer in mosquitos from Benton, Grant, and Yakima counties. In past years, WNV has been detected across the state. In Washington, WNV season starts as early as July and can last until early October.

The majority of people infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. About one in five will develop a fever or other symptoms that go away without medical treatment. For a small number of people, West Nile disease can lead to permanent neurologic effects or death. People over age 60 and those with certain medical conditions are most at risk of severe disease.

Mosquitos are currently active in Washington, including WNV vector mosquitos. A few simple actions can protect against mosquito bites.

  • Use an effective, EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Cover up – wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
  • Avoid mosquito prime time. Many mosquitoes bite in the evening between dusk and dawn. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and morning hours.

Mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitos outside. Reduce mosquito-breeding areas around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis. For over a decade, Washington State’s Departments of Health and Agriculture, local public health agencies, and mosquito control districts have partnered to monitor mosquitoes, birds, horses, and people to learn more about the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases

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