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Learn what’s on the horizon for Social Security in 2020

Since 1935, Social Security has been the cornerstone of retirement plans for most Americans. The program continues to evolve, responding to the challenges of each generation. For individuals preparing to start their Social Security benefits, current and future changes may impact their retirement plans. A few simple tips and knowledge in advance may save thousands of dollars. 

“Social Security Retirement 2020” is a fast-paced presentation for those currently receiving benefits or who are anticipating their benefits in the year ahead. This free informational workshop will be presented from 4-5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21 at Brookdale Allenmore Independent Living, located at 2010 S. Union Ave. in Tacoma. Refreshments will be provided. 

Attendees will learn strategies to maximize benefits including when to begin receiving them and the advantages of making claims based on spousal work history. Participants will also learn how to negotiate the rules about working, either full or part time, while receiving benefits. One of the best ways to understand benefits is by opening and using your mySocial Security Online Account. Before attending the class please open an account, printout, and bring your Social Security Statement. If you need assistance setting up your account, Kirk Larson will be available to help after the presentation. 

The presentation will be given by Kirk Larson, Western Washington Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration. He has worked with the agency for over 25 years in both technical and supervisory roles. Kirk has presented Social Security information throughout the west coast and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows to discuss Social Security issues. 

“Nine out of 10 Americans 65 and older receive Social Security benefits,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources manager. “Most estimates say 21 percent of married couples and 44 percent of single seniors rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. Regardless of current income, shifting to Social Security – in whole or in part – is an important step. Planning how to make the most of the Social Security benefit is crucial.” 

“Social Security 2020” is hosted by Brookdale Allenmore and sponsored by the Pierce County Human Services Aging and Disability Resource Center and Social Security Administration. The presentation is free, and no RSVP is required. For more information, contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600 or 1 (800) 562-0332.

Purchasing forum to connect businesses with government contracting experts

Businesses will learn first-hand how to compete for contracts with local, state, and federal governments at the annual Greater Pierce County Purchasing Forum, presented by Pierce County’s Economic Development Department and City of Lakewood’s Economic Development Department. 

This free event takes place Thursday, Oct. 17 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the McGavick Conference Center located on the campus of Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Building 23, in Lakewood. Registration is available online at http://www.PierceCountyWa.gov/forums.

The program will be highlighted by a morning keynote from Mr. Vincent Marsh, Director of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord office of Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC-JBLM)

Attendees may also join in Q&A sessions with local IT, construction, and small business procurement experts and connect with over 20 government agencies and organizations.

Participants include: American Indian Chamber Education Fund PTAC, City of Lakewood, City of Tacoma Procurement & Payables, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Maritime Puget Sound. Joint Base Lewis McChord, MBDA Tacoma Business Center/City of Tacoma Community & Economic Development, Municipal Research and Services Center-MRSC Rosters, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest, NAVSEA-Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Puget Sound, Pierce County, Pierce Transit, Port of Tacoma, Sound Transit, Tacoma School District, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), Washington State Department of Enterprise Services, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Procurement & Materials Management Office. 

Register online at www.piercecountywa.gov/forums or for more information contact Sara Garner at (253) 798-2335 or sara.garner@piercecountywa.gov.

Flu vaccine now widely available for all ages

Get vaccinated now: That’s the message from Washington health officials as we enter into flu season.

“It’s essential to take the flu seriously and just as essential to get a flu vaccine every year,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “Flu vaccine is now available statewide at most pharmacies and health care provider offices. Everyone six months old and older, including kids, teens, pregnant women and healthy young adults, should get vaccinated.”

Flu is a highly contagious disease that can cause severe, even deadly illness. Young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and those with certain chronic health conditions are at high risk from complications of flu. Health workers and caregivers of babies and older adults should get vaccinated to protect themselves and those they care for. However, anyone can get flu, including healthy young people.

“Every year flu kills many Washingtonians. We need to do better to protect each other. Get your family vaccinated now before flu strikes,” Lofy added.

During the last flu season, 241 people in Washington died from the flu and its complications – many more were severely sickened and hospitalized. Most flu-related deaths were among older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions. However every year there are deaths even in young, healthy people. This underscores the need for all people to get vaccinated, which forms a “cocoon” around those who are too young to receive a vaccine, and those who can’t be vaccinated because of certain medical conditions.

Washington state provides all recommended vaccines – including flu vaccine – at no cost for youth through age 18. These vaccinations are available at health care providers across the state. Providers may charge an office visit or administration fee, however a family who can’t afford the fee can request the fee be waived.

For help finding a health care provider or flu vaccine location, or to learn more about flu, visit KnockOutFlu.org. Each week the Department of Health produces an Influenza Update with information on flu activity, deaths, hospitalizations, and other timely data. Visit http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/5100/420-100-FluUpdate.pdf.

Change of season brings lower fares for county ferry riders

Non-peak season fares started Oct. 1 for Pierce County Ferry passengers.

The fare for vehicles up to and including 22 feet in length is now $18.35, compared to the peak season fare of $23.85. Customers with a Senior ID or Disability Permit driving a vehicle up to and including 22 feet will now pay $15.25, compared to the peak season fare of $19.80.

Non-peak season runs Oct. 1 to April 30. A full list of fares is available at www.piercecountywa.gov/ferry

Value pass, vehicle passenger, and walk-on fares are the same year-round.

Riders will be able to use remaining peak season tickets during non-peak season, although they will not be refunded the difference in ticket price. Riders can request refunds for unused peak season tickets through Oct. 10 at www.piercecountywa.gov/ferry or in person at the terminal. Questions about ticket refunds can be answered in person at the terminal or by calling (253) 588-1950.

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

‘Twisted Tour Guide to Seattle and Puget Sound Region’ released

The Twisted Tour Guide to the Seattle and Puget Sound area is the first in a series of alternative visitor guides compiled, written and photographed by author Marques Vickers. The guide escorts the reader to former headline destinations that previously generated significant public and media attention. Long after the screaming headlines and sensationalism has subsided, these bizarre, infamous and obscure historical sites remain hidden awaiting rediscovery.

Each visitation site in this guide is accompanied by a background story. Many of the narratives defy believability, yet they are true. The profiled cast of characters feature saints and sinners (with emphasis towards the latter). Notorious crimes, murders, accidental deaths, suicides, kidnappings, vice and scandal becomes captivating human-interest tales. Paranormal activity in the aftermath is common.

The Twisted Tour Guides series defies conventional tourism accommodating the restless traveler seeking unique and different tourist sites. A San Francisco Bay Area edition has been published with Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix and Western Montana scheduled for release within the next 12 months. Paperback and digital e-book editions are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble online outlets and TwistedTourGuides.com.

Seattle and Puget Sound profiles include:

Seattle: Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Nixon’s John Ehrlichman’s Seattle legal years, Seattle’s ethically-flawed founders and historic brothels, crime boss Frank Colacurcio, Strippergate, Felker House, Madame Lou Graham, Seattle’s homeless Jungle killings, Central Card Room, Merchants Café, People’s Theatre, self-defense killing of Seattle’s police chief, Triangle Hotel, Starvation Hill, Pioneer Square Hotel, Mahoney murder scandal, Sylvia Gaines incest murder, American teamster President Dave Beck Jr.’s embezzlements, recording artist Little Willie Johns, manslaughter, Lifeline Club infamous bingo raid, West Seattle Bridge ship collision and resulting skipper’s dismemberment, Donut House exploitation operation, Wah Mee Gambling Club massacre, The Monastery disco, Goldmark family murder, Judge Gary Little’s suicide, Pang Frozen Food fire, assassination of Judge Tom Wales, wasting away death of Alice in Chains Layne Staley, The Gits Mia Zapata’s killing, Capital Hill massacre, Mike Webb’s disappearance, beating death of Tuba Man, Café Racer shooting, Dinh Bowman’s murder experiment, Seattle Pacific University shooting and gay hate crime murders…plus

Bellevue: Prostitution employing contemporary technology applications, Mars Hills Congregational Church collapse, Bellevue’s creepy first mayor and the Rafay and Wilson family murders…Plus 

Tacoma: Serial killer Ted Bundy, The Enterprise crime syndicate, little girl’s ghost in the upper restaurant windows, unsolved kidnappings of Ann Marie Burr and Charlie Mattson, serial killer Jake Bird’s fatal curse, DNA profiles track down two child killers forty years later, the missing prostitutes along Puyallup Avenue, coffee shop killing of four police officers, Asian gangland slaying, DC Sniper’s associate killing…plus

Outlying areas: Green River serial killer, elementary school teacher pregnancy scandal, a survivalist murders his family, police shooting death motivated by impatience, Everett dockside massacre

Tacoma’s Feed Commodities wins Manufacturer of the Year Award

The Association of Washington Business has honored Feed Commodities of Tacoma with the 2019 Manufacturer of the Year Award. 

Feed Commodities, LLC is a premier recycler of bakery and food byproducts into livestock feeds. The company purchases high-quality ingredients through local, vetted suppliers, safeguards them from transportation through the production process, and ensures that the finished feeds meet high safety and quality standards. The company has also developed Normandy Waste Management Systems, an innovative solution to help companies reduce food waste, save money and benefit the environment through better tracking and management of bakery ingredients. 

The Manufacturer of the Year Award is given to a company that has a commitment to manufacturing excellence, has found creative solutions to challenges, as well as involvement in public policy that impacts manufacturers. 

AWB President Kris Johnson presented the award to company officials Wednesday afternoon at the Feed Commodities facility in Tacoma. 

“Feed Commodities has developed creative solutions for the Pacific Northwest food industry, and quality products for Washington’s farms and ranches,” Johnson said. “And this company has been involved in telling the story of manufacturing in Washington, advocating for policies that allow all employers to thrive.” 

Feed Commodities was established in 1996 and employs 35 people. It’s among the many Washington companies AWB will visit during the Manufacturing Week bus tour through Oct. 10.

“Receiving the 2019 Washington Manufacturer of the Year Award is quite an honor,” Feed Commodities CEO Jim Seley said. “We look forward to being part of the continual growth of positive and healthy Washington workforce environments, while supporting the Washington food industry with food waste diversion and reduction opportunities.” 

Washington’s manufacturing sector produced nearly $59 billion in economic output in 2017, and employed more than 287,000 people with good-paying jobs. 

AWB’s tour bus began the day at SEH America in Vancouver, and continued to G. Loomis in Woodland, Churchill Glove Co. in Centralia, Lacey Makerspace in Lacey, and Greer Tank in Lakewood.

“AWB’s Manufacturing Week bus tour is a celebration of Washington’s incredible manufacturing sector,” AWB President Kris Johnson says. “Manufacturing means good jobs, great products and a solid foundation for the economic health of our state. We’re proud to represent such extraordinary employers, from thousands of family businesses – many of them starting in a garage or basement – to some of the world’s biggest companies. We look forward to hearing their stories along the way and learning how we can help them advocate for smart policies that help manufacturers grow.”

Manufacturing has a big impact on Washington’s working families and communities, too.

More than 287,000 people worked at 7,636 manufacturing firms in 2017. The average compensation was more than $88,000 per year. Many of these jobs offer training and career opportunities without a traditional four-year college degree and are popular with those seeking to avoid student loan debt.

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