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February 12, 2013 at 6:57am

Approve school improvement and safety upgrades in Tacoma and Puyallup

Photo courtesy of Renew Our Commitment - Yes on Prop 1/Facebook

Today, citizens of Tacoma and Puyallup will vote on $500 and $279.6 million school bonds, respectively, which seeks to renovate crumbling schools. Taxpayers would pay for the improvements with property taxes - about $58 a year for the 31-year payback in Tacoma and roughly $14.42 a month for every $200,000 of assessed value in Puyallup. If passed, the Tacoma School District will renovate 14 worn-out schools. In Puyallup, the money will be used to move kids out of portables, give them access to technology and expand or repair 11 schools.

The litany of problems facing our children and teachers every day is unbelievable: Leaky roofs, malfunctioning air conditioning, crumbling walls, wires hanging from the ceiling, poor lighting, classrooms that are too small, rats running through the ceiling and horrendous restrooms.

How do kids learn? How do teachers teach? It's been proven in study after study that poor conditions like these lead to kids underperforming academically, high absenteeism and a higher dropout rate.

It seems like a no-brainer. The repairs and improvements would create jobs and bolster the local economy and it's so obviously the responsible thing to do. Better schools will only raise property values, which will benefit even those homeowners who chose not to deal with dirty diapers. There are so many reasons why the two city capital improvement bond issues are a good idea. It's one of those rare opportunities where everyone can win - most importantly the children who so desperately need to make education a priority.

Voters have until 8 p.m. today to return their ballots to county drop boxes, or mailed ballots must have today's postmark.

Say yes to the future of our children and our cities.

LINK: Tacoma School District Prop 1 FAQ

LINK: Puyallup School District Bond Information

January 21, 2013 at 6:47am

COMMENT OF THE DAY: Ride your bike to school


Yesterday's comment of the day comes from Jon in response to the Weekly Volcano's intern Mckenna's story on how the failure of the Pierce Transit Prop 1 measure will make it harder for students to get to school.

Jon writes,

Those in decent physical condition can always ride a bicycle as an alternative and get rain gear (there are inexpensive bike rain capes at Amazon). However this won't work in ice or snow days on the road of which fortunately are few in numbers. Myself, I obtained a Veltop (Classic + model) windshield, top cover with vinyl transparent side curtains to ride most of the year on a bicycle without getting wet (although with this particular bicycle accessory I also can't ride during times of high winds either). Riding with my Veltop is far more pleasant than riding with a rain cape but it is also much more expensive and bulky.

Another alternative is to get a under 30 mph gas powered scooter (used perhaps $750 or so) as this doesn't require a motorcycle endorsement. (I think that no insurance is required too though I am not sure of this.)

The physically disabled Pierce Transit users will be hurt the most by cutbacks, though.

January 20, 2013 at 10:12am

Pierce Transit cuts will affect students


Friday, I caught the 400 Bus from Puyallup to Downtown Tacoma to meet with fellow Tacoma School of the Arts students. Besides the school, we share dependence on Pierce Transit. The topic of our roundtable was the defeat of the Prop 1 measure and the resulting outcomes.

"It is going to be a hassle for people trying to get to and from work," says Leah. "I work on the weekends."

The people around her nodded in agreement. A shared concern was the 34 percent reduction in service beginning in Septemeber, including the reduction of weekend Pierce Transit bus service.

"It is also hard for the disabled people who can't drive," Leah continued.

"What about the elderly?" asked another student. "Most just like to take the bus to the supermarket to shop on weekends."

Passengers aren't the only people affected by the defeat of Prop 1. Many Pierce Transit employees will be losing their jobs in September when the budget cuts go into effect. One student said, "If you know you won't have a job why work? I would just quit."

Sadly, that's the plan for many bus drivers.

My friend Emma McCrummen expressed her frustration about her bus being cut. "My route will be cut because of Prop. 1. My only way to downtown is gone. And that is a big issue - especially for SOTA and UWT students who live out of district, like myself. With the times changed and routes cut most students have no way to get to school on time."

As of now frustrated bus riders are complaining and trying to get the word out to find ways to lessen the oncoming blow.

A What's next for Transit? panel discussion will be held at noon Thursday, Jan. 24 inside the UWT Carwein Auditorium about the future of public transportation in Tacoma.

LINK: Hi, I'm Mckenna. I'm a student at the Tacoma School of the Arts. Thanks for following my Daily Trip

January 15, 2013 at 3:46pm

Hello, welcome to Kenna's Daily Trip!

MCKENNA SNYDER: Ride with me around cool cat Puyallup. Photo credit: Ravelle Snyder


Bonjour! My name is Mckenna. I'm interning at the Weekly Volcano for the next three weeks - specifically Jan. 14-31. In that time I will be covering things such as events, restaurants, pass times and the must sees in Puyallup. But before I go on blogging I wanted to formally introduce myself to you.

I am 16 years young, I attend the Tacoma School of the Arts, where all the aspiring artists go, and I am a vocal major - although my true passion is writing. I like things such as hanging out at sushi bars while watching reruns of Doctor Who on my phone and bicycling at night in Paris. I am also a book harlot. I go to bed every night with a different book. Of course, my favorite book series of all time would be Harry Potter, but the Night World series is a close second. Haven't read Night World? I would highly recommend it if you're a fan of supernatural romance or cheesy sob stories.

I live in Puyallup, the South Hill area. I'm also am an avid bus rider. I have an hour-long bus ride everyday to and from school. During my bus rides I meet many types of people and let me tell you, bus people are fun. Many people shy away from buses because they don't like the idea of sitting in a vehicle full of random strangers, but I have found that you meet really amazing people while on the bus. I can recall one time while sitting in the back - the place with the best view - and watching a guy board the bus. This guy looked like your average Joe - blue beanie hat, a sweater, khaki pants and he took the front handicapped seat. Since the bus was so crowded I practically had people sitting on my lap. He was carrying a large bag and from what I saw he looked like he had a seriously rough day and was looking forward to getting home. That said, when the bus pulled up to a stop and a bunch of little old ladies hopped on, he shot up out of his seat to let them sit. It made me smile since I have seen plenty of people do the opposite. Not only that, but this stranger made a bunch of other younger people stand up for them! In all, bus people are cool.

On that note, in my blog I also hope to share cool bus stories and people's opinions on the bus cuts. Because as I described, most buses are crowded enough, and with Prop 1 rejected, it's going to get a whole lot worse for us bus lovers.

I hope that you enjoy my blog while I am here and that I can share my love for Puyallup to you all by talking about some of my most favorite places to visit and see. It is a great town with lots to offer.

January 10, 2013 at 11:10am

ISSUE NO. 583: Comedian Kyle Kinane, Unwound is back, Tacoma beer taste test, Fresh Blends returns and more ...

THE WEEK OF JAN. 10-16, 2013 >>>

In this week's issue of the Weekly Volcano ...

"When you eat pancakes out of a bag in a semi-public place, there are rules," says comedian Kyle Kinane midway through an eight-minute story about watching a man on an airplane eat pancakes out of a grocery bag. You or I might see such a sight and, upon reporting it to our friends later, the extent of our story might be just, "Pretty weird, right?" But that's not how Kyle Kinane operates. Rev. Adam McKinney interviews Kinane before his three-day run at the Tacoma Comedy Club.

Imagine it's the early '90s. You are young, have an ear for music and love going to and recording shows. You hang on the scene long enough to make friends, start selling merch and next thing you know, you're at roadie status. Fast forward to 2001, after working with the Melvins - and on the road with Kill Rock Stars band xbxrx - tours collide with a group that asks you to come along on its next tour. Little do you know that you'll be driving a tour that will take you through the East Coast as the Pentagon is still smoldering from 9/11, that you will be accompanying a band that has been strong for the last 10 years, on its final tour, and that the music you record along the way will be compiled and released 10 years later in limited edition vinyl and unlimited digital downloads. If this scenario happened to you, you'd be Mike Ziegler.

Approaching its 125th year is an exciting time for all involved with the University of Puget Sound. Its web page boasts memories in pictures and words, including sporting events, kayaking trips and even tent camping in the library, where one student was highly dedicated to study for finals. For UPS president Ronald R. Thomas, 2013 also marks his 10-year anniversary of overseeing the university. Like students and staff, Thomas also has fond memories of time spent on campus.

Now that the holiday season has passed, many winter brews are exiting through a secret side door not to be seen again until next year when pinecone wreaths adorn our doors and Christmas lights dazzle from every window pane. It's not too late to get your lips around a pint or two of dark, delicious, roasted brews.Jackie Fender and two local beer experts taste several winter beers brewed in the area.

The original Fresh Blends was at Hell's Kitchen on Sixth Avenue. The night lasted one year and it brought down some of the best Seattle hip-hop to perform in Tacoma. The Fresh Blends stage housed the SportinLife roster and artists such as Xperience. Weekly Volcano columnist Josh Rizeberg says Fresh Blends has returned to Tacoma.

The "Greek and Roman Mythology" exhibition at Tacoma Community College is outstanding. The operative word is strength - depicted strength of character, purpose and ideology; beauty and strength in the human body, and strong drawing and composition. There is also a lot of humor and wisdom in the way these contemporary South Sound artists react to ancient myths. Read Alec Clayton's review of the show here.

LINK: The Broadway Center staff tell Neil Berg his business

LINK: Music critics' picks of the week

January 10, 2013 at 6:20am

5 Things To Do Today: Poet Casey Rocheteau, OlyBlues, Tacoma Public Schools and more ...

CASEY ROCHETEAU: She'll tell you how it is.

THURSDAY, JAN. 10 2013 >>>

1. Poet Casey Rocheteau was one of the leaders of the Hampshire Slam Collective from 2004-2007, during which she was a member of the first Hampshire/Five College teams at the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. Theatrical and totally "in the moment," her performance poetry shakes up the whole infrastructure of the dowdy old poetry world. Rocheteau is a fierce, lyrical acrobat. Catch her at 7 p.m. inside Orca Books in Olympia.

2. Currently at Pacific Lutheran University's Mortvedt Library is "Pressing On," an exhibition to celebrate 30 years of the existence of the Elliott Press. The exhibition consists of broadsides (hand-printed posters), hand-made books and other printed pieces by students who learn and work at the Elliott Press. Pieces include work by Oregon writer Kim Stafford and Copper Canyon Press founder Tree Swenson - both alumni of the Press, along with many other illustrious local artists, writers and editors. Check it out from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

3. Parents and Friends for Tacoma Public Schools - a community group dedicated to strengthening the public education system - will host a representative from Tacoma Public Schools Finance Department at 6:30 p.m. inside King's Books. One topic to be covered will be the benefits of passing the school bond next month.

4. The Oly Mountain Boys are stomping their way into the Yew Year. With nine shows booked in the South Sound over the next two months, the bluegrass masters hit The Spar Cafe in downtown Olympia around 8 p.m. The five piece uses all the bluegrass faves - harmonious vocals, mandolin, guitar, banjo, fiddle and bass - to hone a sound that's their own. Plus, they know how to dress. Have you seen the hats they wear?

5. Swing dancing's Africanist cousin, blues dancing, hits the Olympia Eagles Ballroom in the form of OlyBlues every Thursday at 9 p.m. Blues dancing derives from the so-called "Black vernacular" of Southern dance styles and includes such moves as the Lindy and the irresistibly named "Funky Butt." Worst-case scenario: you have two left feet but get to listen to Nina Simone.

LINK: Thursday, Jan. 10 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

January 7, 2013 at 1:42pm

University of Puget Sound celebrates 125 years in 2013

PRESIDENT RON THOMAS: He has a big year planned for the University of Puget Sound. Press photo


The University of Puget Sound will blow out 125 candles on its birthday cake March 17, 2013. One hundred and 25 years!The university was founded around the time the Convention of Constantinople was signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace. The English Football League was also established in March 1888. The Weekly Volcano also believes that was the year people started complaining about the Tacoma streetcars, wishing they had cars to move around more freely.

Anyway, 125 years is a big deal, and the university intends on partying hard this year. You may check out the university's plans at its 125 Anniversary Hub.

Weekly Volcano scribe Nikki McCoy caught up with President Ron Thomas — the university's 13th predident - to discover his favorite memories from his past 10 years as president. Read those memories in Thursday's issue of the Weekly Volcano.

McCoy also asked Thomas what upcoming UPS anniversary happenings thrill him the most.

"It's hard to choose, because there are so many things exciting about the year ahead," Thomas says. "I am pretty excited about the new residence hall now under construction that will be completed this year - a beautiful new building from one of the world's top architects - AIA Gold Medalist Peter Bohlin. It will house upper class students in ‘houses' dedicated to international affairs, environmental policy, the humanities, entrepreneurship, and spirituality and social justice - with great views of Mount Rainier, too."

Thomas also says he's thrilled Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist Wole Soyinka will visit Feb. 7, among a stellar group of artists and intellectuals scheduled to visit the campus in 2013.

"As we celebrate our first 125 years, we look forward to continuing to innovate at Puget Sound, as we always have, to become a leader among the best liberal arts colleges of the future - real, relevant, and always true to ourselves," Thomas says. "I am excited by our $125 million campaign to make sure that happens.

"And what always excites me most is the amazing (and unpredictable) achievements of our students, who surprise me every year in the distinctions they earn. I am looking forward to that," he says.

By the way, he's excited to cheer on the Logger teams and tracking their progress as they make their Drive for 125 wins this year.

"I'm never happier than when I can cheer on our student athletes as they light up the scoreboard," he adds.

Filed under: Schools, History, Tacoma, Arts, Word, Sports,

November 28, 2012 at 9:10am

5 Things To Do Today: Artist Live/Work Space discussion, Black Panther Party book, school chat and more ...

ARTIST LOFTS: Let's get it done Tacoma.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28 2012 >>>

1. No one knows for sure when the first Paleolithic cave-dweller stuck a wholly mammoths tail in crushed-up berries and began painting stick figures on the wall of his rocky abode, but you can bet the market value of the neighboring caves instantly went up. Nothing gentrifies a neighborhood, for better or worse, like the addition of a group of freewheelin' artists. Join Arts Leadership Lab from 6-8 p.m. at The New Frontier Lounge for a panel discussion and question and answer time exploring what live/work space is, some of the issues and benefits related to artist live/work spaces, how it can be done sustainably and affordably, ways to use/reuse Tacoma's current architectural assets, and other related topics. Want to inject a little life into your urban blight? Bring in a bunch of artists.

The Weekly Volcano bets the men out there are happy the Victorian Country Christmas opens this morning at 10:30 a.m. We're sure the reminders from the better halves have been tiresome that the largest Christmas festival in the Pacific Northwest was coming up. By the way, if guys are forced to watch the Red Hat Day fashion show Thursday, and sit through the Cinderella Scholarship Pageant Showcase, the show organizers could at least provide a few amenities. The Weekly Volcano's official recommendation is a keg every 15 feet, just to keep up morale. And if alcohol is deemed too negative an influence on children, how about the strolling carolers dressed a little more like Victoria's Secret models?

3. Parents and Friends for Tacoma Public Schools will meet at 6:30 p.m. inside King's Books. The meeting's agenda will include a review of election results and how they may impact education, explore areas of interest to form committees and learn more about the Tacoma Public Schools' Bond campaign.

4. The University of Puget Sound will host an open figure drawing session from 6-9 p.m. in Kittredge Hall 201.  The session is free and open to the public. 

5. Author Aaron Dixon will discuss his new book, My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain at 6 p.m. inside Orca Books. Dixon dedicated his life to the struggle for change, founding the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968 at age 19.

LINK: Wednesday, Nov. 28 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

April 23, 2012 at 7:05am

5 Things To Do Today: Umber Sleeping, ‘Food Matters,' Makeover Week begins, 'Shipwrecked' and more ...

UMBER SLEEPING: It will be rockin' Magoo's Annex tonight.

MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 >>>

1. Every Monday at 8:30 p.m. inside Magoo's Annex DJ Melodica hosts the Monday Showcase - a night of guests DJs and live bands. Tonight, guest DJ Darren Selector will spin his garage tunes in between sets by Umber Sleeping.

2. We often hear the cliché about "taking things to the next level." But what does that mean exactly? Would we recognize the next level if we saw it? Maybe so. Beginning today, the City of Tacoma would like you to take your homestead to the next level, and by that we mean off the Sanford & Son Junkyard Spitting Image Tour before someone at City Safety has "The big one." The City won't send over colorful fellas from the Bravo network, but it has developed a yard load of awesome free workshops and events to help you improve your home and yard during its Tacoma Neighborhood Makeover Week April 23-28. 

3. The Tacoma School District needs to know your thoughts on budget, services and programs. It asks you to attend a 6 p.m. meeting at First Creek Middle School and participate in an interactive polling session where you will use an individual handheld electronic device - like a TV remote control - to vote on and prioritize more than 60 district programs and services.

4. Tacoma Food Co-op invites the public to its screening of Food Matters at 7 p.m. in Rausch Auditorium on the campus of the University of Puget Sound. The focus of the documentary is in helping society rethink the belief systems fed to people by America's modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative ways that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.

5. In Jon Wells' new book Shipwrecked: A People's History of the Seattle Mariners he asserts that the reasons the Mariners haven't reached the World Series are poor management and short-sighted ownership, despite the fact that they have three first-ballot Hall of Fame players. Hear his thoughts live at 7 p.m. inside the Olympic Room at the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs in the South Sound

LINK: South Sound happy hours

April 6, 2012 at 7:25am

MORNING SPEW: Wacko from WACO, Ghost Ship, ‘Walking Dead Mad Men' ...


Big House On Campus: State House Democrats approved a $31.1 billion supplemental budget that avoids new cuts to K-12 schools or universities. The 54-43 vote went along party lines. (News Tribune)

Wacko From WACO: Robin Ann Chase, 44, was busted for stealing more than $73,000 from her former employer, the Olympia-based Washington Association of County Officials. (News Tribune)

State Supreme Court: It ruled warrantless searches violated Slippery Snapp's right to drive other people's identities around town under the state constitution. (News Tribune)

Washington State Lieutenant Governor Candidate Bill Finkbeiner: He wants Olympia lawmakers to ditch current seating practices and intermingle "We Are The World" style, if not alphabetical. (Daily Weekly)

Ghost Ship: No word if it was those pesky kids in the Mystery Machine van that tipped the U.S. Coast Guard, but a ghost ship set a sail during the Japanese tsunami was sunk due to the possible dangers that comes with unmanned ships floating around. (CNN)

U.S. Economy: The United States economy added a relatively weak 120,000 jobs in March, compared with 240,000 in February. (The New York Times)

Dating Advice From Charles Dickens: A "Manly Young Lady" and a "Poetical Young Gentleman" walk into a bar. (Brain Pickings)

Too Much?: Bacon taco shell. (Obvious Winner)

Walking Dead Mad Men: One awesome zombie ad agency mashup. (Huffington Post)

Some dogs Tryin' To Get Their Thuggish Ruggish Bones

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