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Parking changes coming to downtown Tacoma

The City of Tacoma’s Parking Services wants to make it easier for those visiting the southern Downtown Tacoma area to find parking. Parking demands are highest in this area, particularly near the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

Because of this, the City’s Parking Technical Advisory Group (PTAG) has recommended the following changes that are expected to start on Monday, Sept. 16:

  • Extend the 90-minute paid parking to two-hour paid parking along Jefferson Avenue from South 17th to South 21st streets.
  • Institute a three-hour unpaid zone from Tacoma Avenue South to Market Street from South 17th to South 21st streets. Stalls that are already regulated in this area are exempt from these changes.

PTAG’s purpose is to analyze the City’s parking structure and make recommendations to increase efficiency. City staff and PTAG have spent time analyzing the area, and occupancy numbers show that street parking remains full throughout the day due to the significant parking demand. It is anticipated that these changes will help create more available parking in the area. 

For questions, contact Parking Services by calling (253) 591-5437, emailing parking@cityoftacoma.org, or visit tacomaparking.org for more information.

Application deadline for Grit City Trees extended to Sept. 20

Grit City Trees is the City of Tacoma’s free street tree giveaway program, and the deadline for the 2019 season has been extended to Friday, Sept. 20, for individuals and 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. 

Residents are encouraged to work with their neighborhoods to apply for trees as a group, and individuals are invited to submit applications as well. Successful neighborhood group applications are eligible to have trees delivered in mid-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 at 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.

Community invited to participate in Urban Forest Management Plan

The City of Tacoma’s goal is to grow a healthy and sustainable urban forest that is properly cared for and managed. An urban forest is comprised of all the trees, shrubs, and other vegetation within parks, along streets, in private yards, on empty lots and in urban natural areas.

To achieve a healthy system, the City is developing an Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) and is inviting the community to join in its creation. From September through November of this year, a series of community meetings are being held that will provide an overview of the UFMP process and how to get involved.

The first of these meetings is on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 6-7 p.m. at the Tacoma Public Library Wheelock Branch, 3722 N. 26th St. Attendees will learn more about Tacoma’s urban forest and the programs, projects, and efforts that help with its management. Participants are encouraged to bring their thoughts and ideas to engage in the UFMP visioning exercises and join in an open discussion on all things tree-related. 

Those who are not able to attend the meeting are encouraged to take the UFMP survey available at TacomaTreePlan.org/surveys. This initial survey is open now through Thursday, Sept. 26. Those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win a gift card to a local restaurant. 

Visit the project site at TacomaTreePlan.org for more information or contact the Urban Forestry Program at (253) 502-2138 or trees@cityoftacoma.org.

Senior citizens get half-off this month as NW Trek

Seniors aged 65 or older receive special half-price general admission at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park throughout the month of September. That means a ticket is just $11.50 per senior. 

To receive the discount, tickets must be purchased in person on the day of the visit. The reduced price is not available online.

It’s a wonderful time to visit. Kids are back in school, and the weather is traditionally grand. Also, herd animals in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area demonstrate behaviors that only occur during the fall. Every admission to Northwest Trek comes with a naturalist-narrated, 40-minute tram ride through the wildlife park’s meadows and forests. The Free-Roaming Area is home to American bison, Roosevelt elk, mountain goat kids, bighorn sheep, moose, deer and other animals. 

Seniors with grandchildren may enjoy a memory-making day out with the kids. And if the children need to run off a bit of steam, they’ll enjoy the half-acre, nature-inspired Kids’ Trek playground. 

When it’s time for a hamburger, ice cream or other treat, seniors receive 10 percent off in the Forest Café and gift shop. 

Hours: Sept. 4-29 are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

On Sep. 30 the park is open 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, go to www.nwtrek.org/seniormonth.

Tacoma Creates announces funding opportunity

Tacoma Creates has announced a new funding opportunity, one of several more to come. The current opportunity is designed to help organizations plan and prepare for Tacoma Creates-supported public programming in 2020 and beyond. Organizations interested in obtaining planning and capacity building funding through Tacoma Creates this year must first establish eligibility by completing a Tacoma Creates pre-application survey at cityoftacoma.org/artsopps. All pre-application surveys are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 23. Organizations that fill out a Tacoma Creates Pre-Application Survey – and establish eligibility – will receive an invitation to apply during the application period from Sept. 9-30.

“This is an exciting step for Tacoma Creates to begin directly supporting arts, culture, heritage and science organizations, setting them up for success in advance of 2020 funding programs,” said Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride. “This planning and capacity building funding is central to the foundational work we are doing this year with our local non-profits to spark long-term systemic change.”

Organizations selected to receive this planning and capacity building funding will each receive $10,000 to support the work that they will be doing October – December 2019 in several key areas:

  • Participating in Tacoma Creates data gathering efforts, in order to build baseline information about organizational programs and demographics;
  • Participating in various community engagement opportunities, such as focus groups or workshops;
  • Building organizational capacity to align with Tacoma Creates goals surrounding equity and access;
  • Building organizational capacity for doing business with the City of Tacoma, such as obtaining necessary levels of insurance;
  • Planning and development of 2020 programming to align with Tacoma Creates funding priorities

Eligibility for Tacoma Creates planning and capacity building funding extends to any 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Tacoma, whose primary purpose is the advancement and preservation of arts, culture, heritage, or science. These organizations must also have at least a two-year track record of directly providing programming or experiences in Tacoma that are available to the general public. Organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status, but meet other eligibility criteria, may be fiscally sponsored by eligible organizations. Excluded from eligibility is any agency of the state or any of its political subdivisions; any municipal corporation; any organization that raises funds for redistribution to multiple cultural organizations; and any radio or television broadcasting network or station, cable communications system, internet-based communications venture or service, newspaper, or magazine. 

Tacoma Creates will also be investing in other capacity building programs open to organizations and programs that may not yet meet eligibility criteria. More information about these opportunities will be announced later this fall.

United Way of Pierce County partners with Lyft

Limited free Lyft rides are now available to Tacoma residents in need. By calling United Way of Pierce County’s South Sound 211 program, eligible residents can now get connected to reliable transportation through Lyft for non-emergency healthcare appointments, employment needs and accessing public benefits.

United Way of Pierce County and its 211 program were among a small nationwide group selected by Lyft and United Way Worldwide to participate in the Ride United program.

In Pierce County, the mean travel time to work, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data, is nearly 30 minutes and 12 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. According to Penni Belcher, Director of South Sound 211, “The heart of the issue is access to reliable transportation and what that looks like to different populations. For the past two years, we’ve deployed a transportation navigator to help address structural barriers. This partnership with Lyft will provide a convenient way for our clients to get to critical appointments.”

In the U.S., 45 percent of people don’t have access to public transportation and roughly, 10.5 million people don’t have access to a vehicle. 211 operates in more than 25 local markets* and will be able to schedule Lyft rides for eligible clients without other transportation options.  

Rachel Krausman, Senior Director, 211, United Way Worldwide, offered background, “In 2018, we partnered with Lyft in 12 cities and provided 12,000 free rides for employment, medical care, and veterans’ services to help fill this gap and saw how transformational a single ride could be. Through Ride United, more United Ways and 211s will work with their communities to close transportation gaps throughout the country.” 

Nationally, the 2-1-1 network receives more than 230,000 transportation requests every year, and on average 25 percent of these can’t be met with existing resources. South Sound 211 serves Pierce, Thurston and Lewis Counties and last year alone, nearly 90,000 contacts were connected to vital services.  

Those interested in supporting Ride United or learning more can visit uwpc.org. Lyft customers can also select United Way as their partner of choice for Lyft’s Round Up & Donate program, donating the difference between their total ride cost and the next whole dollar to Ride United. Individuals in need of assistance are encouraged to dial 211 to speak to a local specialist about available resources, or to visit www.uwpc.org/get-help-now for more options.

Local docs warn about dangers of vaping during flu season

If you think vaping is bad for your heart and your lungs, a new study shows it can also up your chances of getting the flu, especially if you are a woman. 

As we enter the official flu season, local doctors with American Family Care (AFC) are warning patients about the health dangers of vaping as well as other habits that could put you at a higher risk of picking up flu infested germs over the next few months.

WHY VAPING INCREASES YOUR CHANCES…. 

  • Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reveals puffing on an e-cigarette disrupts your normal immune response to viral infections, like flu. The study also concluded that vaping really can take a toll on a woman’s immune system.
  • study that appears in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) found e-cigarette vapors can trigger substantial inflammation in the lungs making them more likely to get infected by bacteria or viruses like the flu.
  • The CDC has issued a health advisory encouraging medical providers to educate patients about an escalating outbreak of severe lung disease. Federal health investigators are looking into at least 450 possible breathing illnesses associated with vaping, including five deaths.

“These studies and all the recent reports of vaping related respiratory illnesses across the country, amplify the dangers of e-cigarette use during flu season. The red flags continue to pop up, vaping is a health hazard and doing it this time of year puts you at high risk to catch the flu,” says Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer of American Family Care, a national healthcare network with a local medical facility. “The number one defense during flu season is getting a flu vaccine, but you also need to avoid habits, like vaping, that can up your chances of getting the flu.” 

OTHER HABITS TO AVOID DURING FLU SEASON

Going Low Carb: Ditching bread and certain fruits is at the center of several low carb diets, but whole grains are good for your gut during flu season. Rice, oats and buckwheat can build healthy bacteria in your stomach. Research by the American Physiological Society concluded a substance found in fruit and vegetables called quercetin reduced the likelihood of flu in mice.

Doing It All: If you are starting to feel sick, don’t try to be a superhero and do it all. No one wants to be exposed to your germs. Stay home from either work or school and don’t even run errands like to the drug store to get medicine. When you have a fever, you should always stay home at least 24 hours AFTER your fever is gone.

Stressing Out: A heavy load at work or school can create a mountain of daily challenges. When you let stress take over, you are more susceptible to getting sick. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found long-term stress could weaken someone’s ability to fight infection.

AFC physicians advise it’s also important to take a few everyday preventive measures to boost your chances of avoiding the flu.

5 HABITS THAT HELP YOU AVOID THE FLU

 1. Avoid sharing pens. Whether at work or signing a credit card receipt at a store, never pick up a public pen because they’re covered with other people’s germs. Keep a pen handy for any situation that could pop up.

2. Knuckle it. When using a debit card machine, get into the habit of punching in your card pin with a knuckle instead of a fingertip. This way if you rub your eye or mouth with your fingertip, you’re not transferring germs.

3. Play it safe at the pump. Drivers must get gas for their vehicles no matter what, sick or not. Protect yourself at the pump, grab a paper towel before picking up the gas nozzle. You can also use the paper towel as a barrier when punching in your debit/credit card info.

4. Shake and Wash. People are more germ-conscious these days so avoiding a handshake is not as rude as once thought, especially during flu season. If you must do it, wash or sanitize with your hands immediately.

5. Hands off, please! You are constantly using either your phone or computer tablet to show friends and coworkers pictures or videos. This means other people are putting their germs on something you are constantly touching. Get into the habit of wiping your phone down with a disinfecting wipe to cut down on spreading germs. OR just text your friends photos and videos!

Wild Waves launches expanded Fright Fest

Wild Waves Theme & Water Park is expanding Fright Fest this year by offering new Family by Day activities for little ghouls and boils everywhere. Booville, perfect for family friendly activities, will be open every Saturday and Sunday during Fright Fest from 12-6 p.m. with not-so-scary characters, crafts, games, a hay maze and featuring Zackary the Magician.

Hay bales and cornstalks will adorn the midway at Wild Waves Theme & Water Park but guests need to beware – haunted houses, cobwebs and ghouls will be found around nearly every turn. The park will provide tons of fear and mayhem when Fright Fest 2019 opens on Friday, Sept. 27 including a nightly Parade of Ghouls, hungry for new souls. The park has three ultra-scary haunted attractions that have been updated with new twists and turns for those brave souls willing to enter. New this year is SCARE-a-oke by Pepsi in Sharkey’s Bar every Friday night from 7-10 p.m. Guests should beware that activities after 7 p.m., including the haunted attractions, are not recommended for children under 13.

“We are excited to be adding Family by Day to the Fright Fest line up of attractions this year,” said Park President Jody Kneupper. “Families will discover an even bigger experience for their little goblins, tailored to be fun, not scary. Fright Fest is also expanding by opening for six full weekends adding sixty-six more hours to enjoy roller coasters, fall fun and of course, terror!”

Many of Wild Waves Theme & Water Park’s popular rides are open during Fright Fest, surrounded by miles and miles of spider webs paving the way to thrills. Of course, guests will also find lots of great fall food and treats including Cookie Monster Fudge and Jack-O-Lantern Candied Apples.

With a Season Pass or daily admission ticket, guests can enjoy all the wicked fun including admission to the park’s three ultra-haunted attractions: Chamber of Souls, The Playground 3-D and Camp Whispering Pines. 

The fun does not end when Fright Fest dies. A 2020 season pass is on sale now for the scary low price of $59.99 and includes free admission for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020. This ghoulish offer for unlimited visits expires soon. Don’t miss the scariest and happiest times of the year. For more information, visit wildwaves.com.

Wastewater treatment plant receives ‘Outstanding Performance’ award

Pierce County’s Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in University Place has received the 2018 Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance Award from the Washington State Department of Ecology. 

“We are proud of all the staff involved in running the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant,” said Toby Rickman, Pierce County Planning and Public Works deputy director. “They work around the clock to protect the health of Washington’s waters while providing the highest level of service to our ratepayers.”

The award honors top-performing wastewater treatment plants statewide. Washington has more than 300 wastewater treatment plants. Pierce County’s plant is one of 110 plants that achieved full compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in 2018. The plants were evaluated on permit compliance parameters, which include water quality monitoring, reporting, spill prevention planning, pretreatment and operational effectiveness.

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.

Free Alzheimer’s conference focuses on nutritional health, creative alternatives

Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources, in collaboration with the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County, will host “Food for Thought: Nutrition and Dementia,” this year’s Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference theme. 

The event is set for Saturday, Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bellarmine Preparatory School, 2300 S. Washington St. in Tacoma.

The conference will feature a variety of practical information, tools and support to aid in the care of loves ones for caregivers, family members, and friends of individuals who experience Alzheimer’s or another dementia. 

The conference is free and open to everyone, however reservations are requested online at Brown Paper Tickets or by calling (253) 798-8787. Doors open at 8 a.m., program begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. 

A full lineup of presentations will provide family members and caregivers creative ideas and alternatives to help make meal time a much more pleasant experience.

Topics include:

  • Unlocking the Healing Power of Food
  • Alzheimer’s Focused Menus
  • Alternative Therapies and Resources
  • The Art of Alzheimer’s
  • Dance Happy
  • Music Mends Minds

Attendees will also have the opportunity to speak with professionals and providers from the South Puget Sound region. 

“The Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s was issued in 2016,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources manager. “One of the goals of the comprehensive plan is to ensure the well-being and safety of people living with dementia and their family caregivers. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by making sure that people are receiving a nourishing diet to maintain their health and support their immune system.”

Alzheimer’s is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and continues to grow. Between 2000 and 2015 deaths from heart disease decreased by 11%. At the same time, deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 123%. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Today, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. 

For more information about the event contact the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600.

Smile Source offices offer free dental care Sept. 21

Don’t put off seeing a dentist about that toothache anymore. Smile Source practices across Washington and Idaho are ready to help at no cost during the second annual Smile Source Gives Back Dental Day, Saturday, Sept. 21, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Local Smile Source private practice dentists in Seattle, Spokane, Puyallup and Post Falls, ID are teaming up to offer dental treatments free of charge, including extractions, cleanings, fillings and emergency treatment (limited to one tooth).

Four Participating Smile Source Locations:

Smile Source is a network of locally owned dental practices collaborating to provide quality dental care. Several of the Smile Source offices have been doing their own charity work for a long time but are now participating in the free dental day collectively across the region for the second year in a row.

It’s a great opportunity for these dentists and staff to give back to their local community.

“There is too much need locally to not do something,” said Dr. Kunal Walia of South Hill Dental. “There are too many people in our community that suffer from tooth pain and cannot afford to have anything done.”

“We are all looking forward to doing whatever we can do to help together. We are looking forward to seeing how many people we get to serve that day. Being a part of team and group of dentists who share this same goal is very rewarding to us and quite frankly fun,” said Dr. Jeff Henneberg of Ellingsen & Henneberg Dentistry.

Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-serve basis, starting at 8 a.m. One tooth per patient. No appointments will be made for the event. Each location will see the first 125 patients or work until 4 pm. Additional patients will be seen if time permits. Please Note: Not all locations will perform all services and timing may vary by location. 

For more information, go to www.drhappysmiles.com/blog/reasons-why-we-run-our-annual-free-dental-day.

Tools for running an effective nonprofit

Washington Nonprofits is hosting a nonprofit workshop in Seattle, presented by Nancy Bacon, associate director of Washington Nonprofits, and Lee Harper, executive director of Phinney Neighborhood Association. It is an opportunity to learn about the best practices for strengthening your organization in order to better achieve your mission, as well as to network with local nonprofits and others interested in or connected to the nonprofit sector.

Join your local nonprofit network on, Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N.,
Seattle. Event starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Registration is $30, with light breakfast and lunch provided. Cost should not be a barrier to participate. Please contact us if you have any requests, concerns, or questions.

Your organization exists to make a difference. During Tools for Running an Effective Nonprofit, we will cover the basics of running a nonprofit. We will draw on tested tips and tools, including Washington Nonprofits’ four learning toolkits on boards, finance, law, and planning. You will leave with concrete next steps on how to strengthen your organization to better achieve your mission. Join us on this road trip to a strong nonprofit!

Topics will include: sustainable sizing; legal and finance information; budgeting; program design; volunteer management; fundraising; and grant readiness. This workshop is designed for board, volunteers and staff of smaller organizations. Anyone who wants to know nonprofit basics and have concrete actions to move their organizations forward will find something in the day. While a team is not necessary, it is helpful to have at least two people from an organization.

Washington Nonprofits was founded in 2010. As the state association for all nonprofits, Washington Nonprofits makes sure nonprofits have what they need to succeed through learning, advocacy, and collaboration. It increases their influence with policymakers and philanthropy so that they have a place at the table when decisions are made. It connects nonprofits to people and resources so that they can focus on getting the job done. Washington Nonprofits envisions a strong, united nonprofit sector that is a valued partner in creating thriving communities across Washington.

For more information, please visit the events page at https://washingtonnonprofits.secure.nonprofitsoapbox.com/component/events/event/251, or contact Tom Lang, Director of eLearning, at tom@washingtonnonprofits.org.

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