Serving those, who have served us

It is not a surprise that our days at the County Council are filled with many meetings. Sometimes, we are fortunate enough to get invited to tour facilities that house programs we have funded. Staff and I recently had the opportunity to tour one of those facilities, the Betsy Ross Hall. I feel compelled to share with you the wonderful things this program does. Located on the grounds of the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting, Betsy Ross Hall is for women veterans. I had never been to the Soldiers home and as I drove onto the grounds, I felt a sense of calm. Maybe it was the beautiful day, or that the facility sits at the foot of Mt. Rainier, but I believe that this environment provides a wonderful place…
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Have a Voice

Last week, Auditor Julie Anderson presented a report to the Council on the recent primary election. There are approximately 500,000 registered voters in Pierce County. As of August 10, there was an estimated voter turnout of 33-34 percent turnout in Pierce County, compared to a State turnout of 38-39 percent. Our turnout needs to be better! Fascinating to me is how people have chosen to submit their ballots. This is the first year that pre-paid postage was provided for ballot returns. The funds to cover the postage came from the State and roughly 60 percent of voters took advantage of using the postal service to submit their ballot. I believe the voters will hope and expect this one-time special appropriation to continue with future elections. Over 72 percent of voters chose…
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Honoring Our Medicine Canoe Journey

Starting July 28 until Aug. 4, our community will be able to experience an outstanding event! A multitude of Native American Tribes from all over the west coast, including Canada and Alaska, will be arriving by canoe to the shores of Commencement Bay. The Puyallup Tribe will be welcoming over 100 canoes to celebrate and honor the water that sustains us. “We celebrate the theme of Honoring our Medicine. Our elders have always taught us that water is a powerful medicine—a life-giving force that sustains, heals, and protects us,” stated Puyallup Tribal Chairman, Bill Sterud. The journey gives the tribes an opportunity to honor and celebrate their shared bond. It allows for the children to learn and understand and protect ways, lands, and waters of their ancestors. The Puyallup Tribe…
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Pierce County Graduates

Ok, I am warning you…I am about to brag! Our granddaughter, Justice, whom is a graduate from Spanaway Lake High School,  graduated last Sunday from the University of Washington-Seattle, Foster School of Business in Accounting. She has a summer intern job with Price Waterhouse and then next fall will be attending UW to get her Master’s degree. We are extremely proud of her for her dedication to learning and her successes. Although Justice stands out in my mind, she is just an example of the many students that have also worked hard to achieve a degree or certifications in workforce training. They are all examples of what comes from our local education systems. In Pierce County we often hear about the need for us to have an educated and well-trained…
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City of Tacoma’s Stability Site

There has been a great deal of focus on homelessness for a number of years and effort by government on how we can eliminate this problem. When we think of homelessness, more often than not we think of the people on the corner or in an encampment. Those of us in government often hear from our constituency demands to find a solution to this problem. The City of Tacoma is doing something about it. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the “Stability Site”, part of Tacoma’s strategy to work on homelessness. The site is actually tents within a larger tent. We met with staff inside of a fenced area but outside of the large tent. There were a number of trailer-type buildings including bathroom facilities, showers and laundry.…
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A Ray of Sunshine

[caption id="attachment_12214" align="alignleft" width="300"] 2018 Daffodil Princesses from District 4[/caption] About this time every year, the Council is honored to be visited by the Daffodil Princesses and I am always impressed. For those of us that grew up in this area, springtime is a time for daffodils and the Daffodil Parade. We have seen the Daffodil Princesses on the floats year after year in rain or shine waving to the crowd with their figure eight wave. These young women are selected by their high schools and serve as ambassadors for Pierce County. They are trained in servant leadership and learning about service to community. They go to senior centers to bring light and joy to the residents and to local schools to talk with students about goals. They are also learning…
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Pierce County’s Picture of Health: 2018 County Health Rankings

I found this article interesting and thought I would share with you. Cindan Gizzi works at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and uses data to tell compelling public health stories. The story below talks about the health of Pierce County residents which is important to us all! Pierce County’s Picture of Health: 2018 County Health Rankings by Cindan Gizzi One of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions is tricky jigsaw puzzles—a field of red tulips or a hundred cats that look alike. We spend days trying to finish it, and cheer when we place a key puzzle piece that sheds new light on the picture. As we put more and more pieces into place, the whole picture is finally revealed. Success! We can think of Pierce County’s health as a puzzle, too. Each…
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Setting the Foundation for 2018

Recently, the County Council took part in a two day strategic planning retreat. I was a little nervous that we would actually get through this process, work together and come to a consensus of the direction of the Council and the County. In the five years I have been on the Council we have never had a strategic plan. I have always worked under a strategic plan in another government office that I have held, in the non-profits that I worked in and the various boards I have served on. So, I always thought it odd that this Council and apparently former Councils never have had a plan. This year the Chair of the Council, Doug Richardson, agreed to hold a retreat. Some of the other members were hesitant but…
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Apart we’re smart, together we’re brilliant

Last week I went to a National Association of Counties’ “Health & Justice” forum. There were other county council members and commissioners from throughout the country sharing their efforts to work on the intersection of health and justice. So often, in government we work within our own specialty. Our justice system works on keeping our streets safe, arrest, prosecute, try, and if guilty, lock them up. Our health system focuses on educating the public on good health practices, preventing disease and injuries, as well as working with the community to improve conditions that can lead to unhealthy lifestyles and environments that often result in negative impacts on the community at large. I have a favorite quote that I try to live by, “Apart we’re smart, together we’re brilliant!” My big…
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Remembering Our Fallen

A number of years ago my husband John, and I attended the Law Enforcement Memorial’s annual fundraiser. For a period of time John and I would put on our finest, drive up to one of the big hotels next to Sea-Tac, enter a large ballroom room, visit with others, look and bid on auction items, and eventually sit down with friends for a nice banquet dinner. Pretty typical for a fundraiser dinner/auction. But this one was different. As dinner was winding down, the lights dimmed, large screens around the room lit up, and then it started…. This event was to honor and remember fallen officers in Washington State. Not just in the last year, but since before the turn of the century. The room was full of men and women…
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