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December 6, 2012 at 7:51am

5 Things To Do Today: Dumpster Values show, choral concerts, Green Drinks and more ...

NI-HAO: The Japanese band squeezed in an Olympia show tonight during its world tour. Photo courtesy of Facebook

THURSDAY, DEC. 6 2012 >>>

1. After several months of silence Broken Water has emerged. This serves as a relief to those concerned about the state of the band following the groups critically acclaimed LP, Tempest. Tonight at 8 p.m. inside Dumpster Values, Broken Water will perform with Ni-Hao from Japan, Vex featuring HPP bassist Aaron Larsen, and a new super-group of sorts featuring Abigail Ingram and Kanako Wynkoop from Broken Water and the Need's Rachel Carns.

2. After work and dinner, and while your better half gets the kids to bed, why not get some holiday shopping out of the way at Tacoma's Antique Row? Thursdays, now through Christmas, the 70 merchants that make up Antique Row offer free parking after 6 p.m. and have extended hours until 8 p.m. So pick up the perfect book for your niece, grab an original framed local art piece for your mom, or find that great shabby chic nightstand for yourself. 

3. The Saint Martin's University community invites the public to share in the joy of the upcoming holidays with the University Chorale and the American Legion Band in a Christmas concert and carol sing-along at 7 p.m. inside Saint Martin's Marcus Pavilion. This free event, a collaboration of the Chorale and the Office of Campus Ministry, will launch the Christmas season with a concert of familiar carols, followed by a tree blessing celebration.

4. Speaking of free holiday concerts, three vocal ensembles from Tacoma Community College - TCC Singers, TCC Voices and the TCC Gospel Choir - present a fall choral concert at 7:30 p.m. inside TCC Building 2.

5. Green Drinks Tacoma holds its final gathering of the year at 6 p.m. inside Doyle's Public House. The social organization that mixes sustainability, conservation and environmental conversations with cocktails asked Dana Lyons to perform at its meet-up since wrote a song bout the coal trains blazing through Tacoma. Read an interview with Doyle's co-owner Russ Heaton regrading tonight meeting/show.

LINK: Thursday, Nov. 6 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 5, 2012 at 12:29pm

Green Drinks Tacoma hosts coal train discussion and concert at Doyle's

DANA LYONS: The singer/songwriter will add his two cents Dec. 6 at the Green Drinks Tacoma gathering at Doyle's. Press photo

SEE YOUR FUTURE, BE YOUR FUTURE >>>

"One of the obligations of owning a proper public house is being open to the public," says Russ Heaton, co-owner of Doyle's Public House in Tacoma.

So when Green Drinks Tacoma approached him about having Dana Lyons perform his song "Sometimes" about the coal train slated to head from Billings, Mont. through Tacoma, it was a no-brainer. The show is tomorrow at 6 p.m.

"There is going to be a hearty and robust conversation," says Heaton.

Indeed. Green Drinks Tacoma holds its final gathering of the year tomorrow at Doyle's. The social organization that mixes sustainability, conservation and environmental conversations with cocktails asked Lyons to perform at its meet-up.

"I would like to make sure we've done our due diligence and talk about the issues. If you don't start talking about it - you're going to have knee jerk reactions from both sides," adds Heaton, honored Green Drink Tacoma choose Doyle's for the concert.

Lyons, who is known for his political leans, gruff voice and acoustic pleasantries, is perhaps most well known for his song, "Cows with Guns."

Heaton is looking forward to Lyon's performance, stating he'd seen some of Lyon's work online, but opted out of watching "Sometimes" because he wanted to experience it first hand.

Doyle's and Green Drinks seem a natural collaboration, as Heaton explains Doyle's has taken great lengths to minimize its impact on the environment.

"We pay a pricier sum for some of our electricity because we asked the power company for a renewable source. We've switched from plastic to sugar based silverware. We're in process of switching over to LED light bulbs. We're also working with tenants and the city for the food waste recycling program."

And as final encouragement to enjoy the show and engage in learning about the coal train, Heaton says, "Before passing judgment on anything, make sure to get all the information you can gather."

DOYLE'S PUBLIC HOUSE, GREEN DRINKS TACOMA, THURSDAY, DEC. 6, 6 P.M., $8-$10 SLIDING SCALE, 208 SAINT HELENS AVE., TACOMA, 253.272.7468

Filed under: Community, Green Crush, Music, Tacoma,

November 5, 2012 at 11:30am

Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project has launched

GREEN FLASH: In honor of the "Green Flash" art installation that will grace the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, dignitaries snapped green glow sticks.

MONDAY MORNING GROUP HUG >>>

This morning, Tacoma officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, a beautification and innovative storm water improvement plan that includes new street paving, sidewalks, bicycle lanes and crosswalks along the Pacific Avenue stretch from Old City Hall at Seventh Street to the Tacoma Art Museum at 17th Street.

This is not your Grandfather Sprague's streetscape project.

At the gathering around Fireman's Park just off the north end of the proposed project, Congressman Norm Dicks, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma Councilmember Jake Fey and others explained how improvements will enhance the business opportunities and livability of downtown's core street — the "front porch" of downtown Tacoma – adding new curb, gutter and sidewalks, including a bicycle sharrow, on-street parking, landscaped curb bulb outs, street trees, new transit stops, new street furnishings, lighting, public art and signs to direct visitors to various attractions.

"A brighter downtown will be an incentive for smaller and larger businesses alike to bring more jobs and additional economic activity to this community," Rep. Norm Dicks.

In addition to the beautification, the project will integrate innovative stormwater improvements, including storm water planters, pervious pavement and plantings. The green storm water infrastructure includes 14 new rain gardens, which pass the storm water through organically enriched soil that filters out pollutants and either slows the release of the water into the storm system or percolates it into the ground — before draining into the Thea Foss Waterway.

"We have a great partnership with the Tacoma Art Museum," said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. "We were able to successfully complete a National Endowment for the Arts grant for the 17th Street portion of this project."

As part of the beautification of Pacific Avenue project artist Elizabeth Conner will install green textural tiles in strategic locations along the 10-block stretch of street and 20 to 28 large-scale botanically-themed concrete sculptures that can convey storm water. The “green flash” concept will be integrated into four bus shelters. Green flashes are optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset on the ocean's horizon.

Also, strings of lights will be strung above Pacific Avenue near Eighth Street to create a bright canopy of lights.

After many years of planning, design work, construction and implementation, the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project received a major boost this summer after $3 million from the state's public works board and $978,300 from the Federal Highways Administration arrived. Combined with $4.4 million in grants and local matches previously secured, the city chose Tucci & Sons, Inc. as the project's contractor.

The project is expected to be completed in December 2013.

Dick McKinley, City of Tacoma Public Works director

Rep. Norm Dicks

Sen. Derek Kilmer

Tom Pierson, president and chief executive officer of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce

September 28, 2012 at 2:20pm

Fall Gardening - Tips from a pro

Now through early November is the best time to plant bulbs

The forecast for the next few days calls for mostly sunny skies with the temperature hovering around 70 degrees. What a great time to get outside for some fall gardening.

We spoke with Gabe Valbert, owner of Gardensphere, an urban gardening resource store in Tacoma, about what should be done in the vegetable and flower garden this time of year.

“Right now through the end of October is a great time to plant garlic and shallots,” said Valbert.

Other parts of the vegetable garden need attention to prepare for the upcoming winter months.

“Try to rip out everything that looks tired,” advised Valbert. “Then you can either plant a crop cover (from seed) that will grow all winter and you can work back into the soil in spring, or you can leave it alone and make sure to blend in fertilizer and compost before planting.”

For guaranteed color in spring, plant bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths along borders, in beds or containers. Now through early November is the best time to plant these pleasant flowers that will bloom year after year.

Tips on planting bulbs?

“Every bulb needs a different depth,” said Valbert. “Make sure you read the package.”

“Also mix in a high phosphorous fertilizer such as bulb food or fish bone meal to ensure lots of color.”

Filed under: Tacoma, Olympia, Green Crush,

April 28, 2012 at 7:18am

9 Easy Tips to Save Money on Gas


While you can't do much about the global price of oil, you can take steps to reduce pain at the pump.

With current gas prices on the rise, you may be tempted to trade in your car for a scooter - or resort to pedaling your way to work.

Before you make any drastic financial or lifestyle sacrifices, consider these tips provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, fueleconomy.gov and gasbuddy.com.

1. Slow down.

Although each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at different speeds, gas mileage usually drops dramatically at speeds above 60 mph. As a general rule, every 5 mph you drive above 60 mph is like paying an extra 30 cents per gallon of gas.

2. Be gentle.

Avoid jack-rabbit starts and sudden stops, which can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and by 5% around town.

3. Lighten your load.

Try not to keep unnecessary items in your car, especially heavy ones. Each 100 pounds of extra weight can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 2%.

4. Scout out cheap gas.

Avoid gas stations in affluent areas and near major freeway exits. In major metropolitan areas, outlying suburbs tend to have the lowest gas prices, according to gasbuddy.com. If you're not in a hurry when traveling, drive a few blocks from the freeway exit to find lower gas prices. Also, avoid service stations with on-site auto repair shops, which often charge more for gas. Download the gasbuddy.com app on your mobile device to locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices. If you don't see a download for your device, just go to m.gasbuddy.com, which can be used from any mobile device.

5. Skip traditional gas stations.

Check out wholesale clubs, grocery stores or department stores with gas stations onsite. These businesses often sell gas at discounted prices and may offer credit for in-store purchases when you fill up with gas.

6. Keep your older car in shape.

While traditional tune ups are becoming a thing of the past for newer vehicles, older cars with worn spark plugs, low transmission fluid and dragging brakes can suck your gas tank dry. Check your owners manual for recommended maintenance schedules and get regular engine checkups. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.

7. Avoid idling.

For every hour a car idles, between a quarter-gallon to a half-gallon of fuel is consumed. Restarting your vehicle only takes a few seconds' worth of fuel. However, restarting your car excessively can cause starter wear.

8. Don't neglect your tires.

Keep your tires properly inflated and make sure you have them aligned periodically. You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Plus, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. 

9. Choose the right oil.

All oils aren't created equal. That's especially true when it comes to engine oil. Using only the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil cited in your owners manual can improve your fuel efficiency by 1% to 2%

Filed under: Green Crush,

April 28, 2012 at 7:15am

JBLM has a hydro bus

As part of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Initiative, Joint Base Lewis-McChord received a hydrogen bus last year to develop a route to take Airmen and Soldiers, civilian employees and family members around the installation.

The JBLM Duty Shuttle begins service on Monday. The two-route shuttle system will cover main roads from McChord Field to Lewis Main and Lewis North.

When establishing the route, officials at Directorate of Logistics thought about where the most Soldiers and Airmen were throughout the day, and where they most often need to go.

"The purpose of the bus is to get people back and forth between appointments during the duty day," Lt. Col. A.J. Mims, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander and DOL deputy director, said.

The Blue Route will start at 62nd Airlift Wing Headquarters and make stops at McChord Health and Wellness Center, McChord Clinic, McChord Education Center and Madigan Army Medical Center. It will then turn around and head back to 62nd AW Headquarters with the same stops. The route will go through gates between McChord Field and Lewis Main but will not need to be stopped for an ID check, as riders will already have been vetted when they entered JBLM for work that day. The bus on this route is expected to be a Bluebird bus and not the one hydrogen bus.

The hydrogen bus will be used for the Green Route. The route will run from the Hawk Education Center on Lewis North to Madigan where it will pick up and drop off passengers who need to ride the blue route, and turn around to head back to Lewis North. Stops include Lewis Army Museum, Garrison headquarters, Waller Hall, Lewis Main Exchange, Stone Education Center and Madigan.

The busses will have signs in the window designating it the Duty Shuttle and there will also be signage at each stop with information on the bus and route times.

The bus routes begin Monday and will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will not run on holidays, weekends or days with inclement weather. For more information visit: www.facebook.com/jblmcommutes or call 982-2684 (option No. 4).

Filed under: Transportation, Green Crush,

April 19, 2012 at 8:01am

MORNING SPEW: Washam fined, craft beer app, children-only airline flights ...

CRAFT BEER: There's an app for that.

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Tacoma Takes The High Road: Cheney Stadium Sustainable Stormwater Project is actually cool. (Weekly Volcano)

Checking In With Wily Washam: Pierce County Ethics Commission says Pierce County assessor-treasurer Dale Washam used public resources for campaign purposes in an effort to unseat county Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. (News Tribune)

Oh Lovely: Anders Behring Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in Norway last summer, used the video game Modern Warfare 2 as training. (CNN)

Oh Lovely II: India successfully launched a missile with nuclear capability and a 3,100-mile range, giving it the ability to strike Beijing and Shanghai. (The New York Times)

Pulitzer or Peabody?: Colbert and Huffington debate. (Poynter)

Families And Flying: Should airlines offer children-only seating areas and flights? (Huffington Post)

Which Cities Are Setting Music Trends?: Not the ones you'd think. (Time)

Because 50 Isn't Enough: 53 reasons why we need a new Star Trek TV series. (Huffington Post)

Record Stores: Popular musicians come clean with their favorite records stores. (Pop Matters)

Got 99 Cents And Love Craft Beer?: There's an app for that. (Craft Beer App)

April 16, 2012 at 8:53am

MORNING SPEW: Puyallup woods, Exit 133 closure, female 'Entourage' and more ...

FINGER FOODS: Not as cool as Tacoma Restaurant Week. Photo courtesy of BuzzFeed

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Screw You Concrete: The City of Puyallup to buy nearly 9 acres of wooded land that's part of the Maplewood Springs watershed. (News Tribune)

Exit 133 Will Be Closed at Night: WSDOT show you how to navigate the closure. (News Tribune)

Thank You Bill And Dr. Jo Harding: Tornado warning system had helped prevent a higher number of fatalities over the weekend in the Midwest. (The New York Times)

Ballsy Write Offs: Fancy dresses, boob jobs, body oil ... (Neatorama)

Rad Rides: The best BMX bikes of all time. (Cool Hunting)

Finger Foods: Tony food sculptures that look good enough to eat. (Buzzfeed)

By The Book: David Sedaris, the author of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, on his reading habits. (The New York Times)

Oh Gees: Robin Gibb is in a coma after contracting pneumonia. (USA Today)

Did You Miss Radiohead's Set At Coachella? It's on YouTube. (Pitchfork)

Female Version Of Entourage: HBO will let you in on the secret lives of Girls. (Zap 2 It)

Happy Monday!

March 14, 2012 at 6:53am

5 Things To Do Today: Ecosystem science, "Hope in Hard Times," Big Friction Jam, "Anna Karenina" and more ...

Puget Sound: It takes a beating.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2012 >>>

1. The Puget Sound is on the mat starring up at Climate Change in tights, mask and cape on the top turnbuckle and its going to receive a hard elbow. Then Over Population will raise Puget Sound above its head and throw it into a metal chair. In a full sprint from the dressing room Pollution will toss Puget Sound back onto the mat, then stomp, gouge and pin it. The Puget Sound is gonna go, well, there you are, I'm finished, sorry, and walk out. Today, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Puget Sound Science Panel will meet in the City of Tacoma's TAGRO office to review and discuss the scientific aspects of a regional plan to prevent Puget Sound from leaving. The meeting is open to the public. Bring your knee pads.

2. America's ineffectual government, led by an unpopular president, is helpless to combat meteorological catastrophe; meanwhile, avaricious bankers rape the working class. The insulated elite barricades itself behind gilded walls, while haggard masses wander aimlessly, scavenging the ravaged landscape. This isn't an allegory for The Walking Dead. It's the story of this country's Great Depression. The Washington State History Museum examines the era through The exhibit, Hope in Hard Times, and how ordinary people worked for change in their communities, pulling together to find ways to deal with the crisis. A billy club used during the 1934 "Battle of Smith Cove," WPA artifacts, and everyday items are among some of the objects showcased in this exhibition. The paintings and sketches of Ronald Debs Ginther, also featured in the exhibition, comprise one of the most complete visual records of the Great Depression. Take a walk through from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Despite the philosophic passages, introspective musings, pageantry, and Russian geography of Leo Tolstoy's supreme achievement in novel form, Anna Karenina is also a whopping good story whose characters are so finely drawn that one comes to love them as friends. So it's no wonder Tacoma's Classic Book Club - which has been meeting since 1994! - will tackle the novel at 7 p.m. inside King's Books.

4. The Harmon Tap Room Underground hosts an open mic from 7-9 p.m. It's a good opportunity to check out the remodeled music room.

5. There was a time when the Big Friction Jam at Jazzbones was THE place to be for Sunday night maxin', relaxin' and jammin'. Powered by the groove-heavy leanings of saxophonist Brett "Big Friction" Cummings, and aptly backed by a rhythm section the South Sound knows well - drummer Darin Watkins and bassist Jeff Leonard, of Vicci Martinez Band fame - the Big Friction house band took the stage, laid down the funk and groove, and magic ensued, with a cast of talented locals streaming through to take the stage and get down. At 8:30 p.m., under the increasingly-cool "Wednesday Sessions" header, Jazzbones welcomes back the Big Friction Jam for an evening that's sure to blow your usual Hump Day plans out of the proverbial water.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight in the region

LINK: South Sound happy hour food and drinks

March 3, 2012 at 8:39am

5 Things To Do Today: "Zigzags," Snake Lake Science Fair, Slider Cook-Off, Sustainability Expo and more ...

Julie Alpert: Her "Telephone blueprint 3," 2012, collage, 5.5" x 8.5" hangs at the Telephone Room Gallery in Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Julie Alpert

SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2012 >>>

1. The tiny Telephone Room Gallery will host 6-9 p.m. opening reception for Julie Alpert's Zigzags, Stripes, and Shadows, an art exhibit showing, according to Alpert, "Stream of consciousness drawings become blueprints for how I respond to the Telephone Room's cramped, charming, and curious architecture. Utilizing the shelves, telephone alcove, cabinet doors, and window, painted lines follow and cascade off the various surfaces transforming the once useful room into a mysterious three-dimensional painting."

2. Fun fact: Before there were expos, people had no idea how to disseminate information about sustainability. It was a bleak time. Luckily, events like today's South Sound Sustainability Expo at the Tacoma Convention and Trade Center have solved this problem, bringing "green" to the masses. According to hype, the South Sound Sustainability Expo is "intended to provide residents and business owners in the greater Tacoma metropolitan area a place to discover services, products, companies, and agencies in our region that address sustainability needs in our community." As part of that goal, instruction and information on everything from urban chicken cooping to waste minimization and recycling will be discussed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3. Kids these days are no damn good. You hear about it all the time. But at 1:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Nature Center anyone interested can get a look at some of the positive things kids are capable of - like baking-soda volcanoes and paper towel strength test. It's called the Snake Lake Science Fair, and kids from throughout Tacoma - many of them homeschooled - will participate with gusto this weekend, making for an event that's sure to be both enjoyable and enlightening. And it's also free to drop in on.

4. Artist John Miller's five-foot tall Venetian glass sculpture "Cheeseburger Goblet" and smaller "Slider Goblets," currently on display at the Museum of Glass as part of the Gathering: John Miller and Friends exhibition, have inspired Slider Cook-Off "Shake, Rattle & Grill" - an evening of 1950s kitschy fun at the museum, centered around a culinary battle pitting area chefs and their sliders competing for bragging rights, awards and art trophies beginning at 6:30 p.m. "We've given the chefs free rein to bring any recipe they'd like. They definitely all won't be beef cheeseburgers," says event organizer and Museum of Glass Corporate and Donor Relations Manager Mandy Lane of the sliders expected to compete. Read Jennifer Johnson's full feature on the Slider Cook-Off, including recipes and events, in the Restaurant section at weeklyvolcano.com.

5. The Missionary Position, SweetKiss Momma, Hot Bodies In Motion and Ape Machine will perform beginning at 7 p.m. inside Jazzbones.

PLUS: More event recommendations in our Weekend Hustle

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight in the South Sound

LINK: South Sound Happy Hours

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