News Briefs

Firefighters host bingo night



The East Pierce Fire and Rescue Volunteer Firefighters' Association invite public to a bingo night on March 22 at the Buckley Eagles Hall, 29021 State Route 410 E. A hamburger dinner is available starting at 6 p.m. Bingo starts at 7 p.m. Bingo
cards may be purchased at the door. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. A silent auction and raffle will be held during the event. All the proceeds go to the association's scholarship fund.

In 2007 the association established Scholarships of Excellence to be awarded annually to one graduating senior at each of the high schools within the East Pierce Fire District, including Bonney Lake High School, Sumner High School and White River High School. This year Edgewood and Milton have been added. The scholarships can be used to attend any two or four-year accredited college or university, or service-oriented technical college in Washington. The student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and intend to enter the fields of firefighting, law enforcement, medicine or social work.

Last year three additional scholarships were awarded to children of East Pierce firefighters. They were Ali Ehle, EPFR; Rachel Goodlet, EPFR and Shayna Moran, Bonney Lake recipient.

"This is the primary fundraiser for our scholarship program," East Pierce volunteer firefighter Bill Dedge said. "We are very proud to be able to present these worthy students with much needed financial aid."


Flood hazard plan released

On Feb. 29, Pierce County released its proposed plan to manage flooding and channel migration hazards on major rivers, large tributaries and associated floodplains over the next 20 years. The draft Rivers Flood Hazard Management Plan is a comprehensive approach to reducing damages from major river flooding and channel migration, protecting public safety and improving fish habitat. The plan's associated draft Environmental Impact Statement, also released on Feb. 29, evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the plan, as well as two alternative approaches.

"Pierce County landowners, businesses and residents can be severely impacted by flooding," said Harold Smelt, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Surface Water Management manager. "This plan addresses vital areas, such as reducing risks to life and property, and identifies flood hazard management activities that are both cost-effective and environmentally sensitive."

Residents are invited to attend an upcoming public meeting about the draft plans. Project staff will provide an overview and answer questions. It will take place from 6-8 p.m. on March 13 at Sumner High School, located at 1707 Main St.

Port hires HR director

After seven years with other organizations, Jean West has rejoined Port of Tacoma to become chief human resources officer. West served most recently as assistant human resources director for the city of Bellevue, where she was responsible for labor relations, compensation, benefits and retirement services. West also has worked for Seattle City Light, Smith Barney and KING Broadcasting. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from University of Washington.

In her new position, West is responsible for leading the port's human resources strategy, recruiting and staffing, compensation, benefits, retirement services, training and employee relations.

Audit committee seeks member

Pierce County Council is seeking applicants to fill one at-large position on the Performance Audit Committee. It meets eight to 10 times a year to decide what should be audited, plan specific audits, acquire audit contractors through a request for proposals process, hear audit reports, and make recommendations for action to the council and county executive. Most meetings are held on the final Monday of each month at 1:30 p.m., with occasional evening meetings. Performance audits are authorized by Pierce County Charter.

The committee has six members: County Councilmembers Dick Muri, Dan Roach and Rick Talbert; Gary Robinson, director of the Department of Budget and Finance; and two at-large members who are selected by the other four members and represent the public.

The ideal citizen member is interested in serving the public through more efficient and effective local government, and recognizes the value of sufficient and appropriate evidence and auditor independence. Committee members should see performance audits as a useful tool for oversight of county government.

The position does not include monetary compensation. Those interested can contact performance audit analyst William Vetter at (253) 798-2330 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

County selects planning director

Citing his vast experience in the private and public sectors, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has selected veteran planning manager Dennis Hanberg to lead the Department of Planning and Land Services. Hanberg has worked as an environmental health specialist, land-use planning consultant, business owner, commercial property owner and planning director. He has 29 years of experience with two engineering firms, including roles as owner and managing partner.

In 2010 McCarthy hired Hanberg as a consultant. He later was hired as a deputy director of the department, and he has served as interim director since last fall, when former Director Chuck Kleeberg left for a job in Seattle. McCarthy selected Hanberg after a nationwide search that vetted 40 applicants who have land-use management experience with cities, counties, states and private companies.

"Dennis has the perfect blend of experience," McCarthy said. "He has a deep understanding of planning and permits from the customer's perspective. His work with Planning and Land Services over the past two years has already resulted in significant changes that make the department more efficient and effective, even in the face of major budget cuts. I am confident Dennis can reach the goal I set of creating the best permitting agency in Washington."

Libraries go totally smoke free

To increase the library's comfortable, accessible and welcoming environment for all people, the properties the Pierce County Library System fully owns will be smoke and tobacco free. That means Fife, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Eatonville, Gig Harbor, Graham, Lakewood, Parkland/Spanaway Pierce, South Hill, Steilacoom and Summit Pierce County Libraries, as well as the Processing and Administrative Center will not allow smoking anywhere on the property.

Milton/Edgewood is not affected because the library system doesn't own the buildings. Others not affected by the new policy are: DuPont, Key Center, Orting, Sumner, Tillicum and University Place libraries.

"We weighed our decision to become tobacco free with our mission to bring the world of information and imagination to all people of our community," said Neel Parikh, executive director for the Library System. "Smoking at entrances to some libraries was making some people feel unwelcome. We also noted that staff was taken away from providing services to enforce the smoking at entrances law."

In January, the Library's Board of Trustees adopted a Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus Policy, which goes into effect next month.

The policy defines the library's properties as buildings, grounds and vehicles. The policy defines tobacco as smoking in all forms, including the use of electronic cigarettes and smoke-free oral tobacco products.

A procedure to the Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus Policy allows people to smoke within their private vehicles that are parked 25 feet from an entrance to the buildings or an air intake vent.

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