Placing children at the center

Placing children at the center

Executive
While it wasn’t the first time I had visited Baby Court, the case I watched unfold in the courtroom last week had a strong impact on me. For those not familiar with the program, Baby Court is an innovative approach to working as a community to reunite babies who have been removed from a  with a parent or family member.  Mostly, it involves the parent re-taking control of their lives, and frequently requires breaking the grip of addiction. Thanks to Judge Hickman, Lisa Mansfield in the Department of Assigned Counsel, Sally Mednansky of Juvenile Court and many others, Baby Court in Pierce County has received national recognition and acclaim for the critical difference it is making in the lives of our youngest residents – and their families. It also happens to be…
Read More
Greener greens

Greener greens

Executive
For nearly a quarter of a century, the Chambers Creek Regional Park Master Site Plan has included plans to build a golf course, restaurant, hotel and other community amenities.  It also included enhancements to the initial trail system. Since that time, the Environmental Services Building was constructed, the world-class golf course was built and hosted two USGA championships (with plans to host another in 2021) and untold numbers of walkers, runners, cyclists and dogs have enjoyed the spectacular beauty of the park and views of the water. There is no question that Chambers Bay Regional Park is a remarkable place and I take my role as a steward of it very seriously.  My partner in this stewardship is the Council. Being a steward in this case also means being accountable…
Read More
Gatherings

Gatherings

Executive
Gatherings serve an important role in our community.  They rally us around a common interest or concern.  And, they give us a shared place to put differences aside for a bit of time. Gatherings give us an opportunity to learn from one another and broaden our perspective, too.  And sometimes, a gathering is simply a great excuse to celebrate Spring. Pierce County is home to several significant – and even historic – gatherings this time of year. For example, this morning I was at the 26th Annual Puyallup Kiwanis Community Prayer Breakfast.  It’s one of those gatherings I make a point of trying to attend every year. I always appreciate the thought-provoking and inspiring speaker.  This year’s keynote was from Mike Lehman, who retired to Puyallup after 27 years in…
Read More
Lives at stake

Lives at stake

Executive
I can’t think of a more important job than saving a life.  Sometimes it can be in a very controlled environment when skill and precision are paramount – think of a surgeon in an operating room.  Sometimes it can be in the middle of chaos, when faced with a situation we never envisioned.  The heroic actions of the King County Metro bus driver, Eric Stark, who got his passengers to safety after being shot in Lake City is an example.  And sometimes, it may not involve blood or physical trauma, but mental and emotional wounds.  Those are the kind of lifesavers I saw this week. I had the honor of participating in the Sheriff Department’s Annual Awards Recognition Ceremony this week.  I am always humbled by the experience – hearing…
Read More
#ThePierceCountyWay

#ThePierceCountyWay

Executive
During this year’s State of the County Address I had the honor of telling our community about the great work you’ve been doing on behalf of our residents as well as some tremendous community collaborations where we play a variety of roles. I also shared a new concept with them: The Pierce County Way.  I’ve started using it to describe our approach to how we get things done together.  The Tacoma News Tribune used a video excerpt about The Pierce County Way in their story. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the entire address, you can view it here: [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--lKtvPkEkY[/embedyt] During my remarks, I mentioned the new Coffee Oasis for youth experiencing homelessness. The new shelter/coffee shop/job training site was modelled after a Coffee Oasis that has…
Read More
A unique partnership

A unique partnership

Executive
I talk about the power of partnerships frequently. That’s because I believe in partnerships strongly and see them in action around the County on a daily basis. In all cases, people from different organizations with different strengths, abilities, and perspectives come together around a common goal.  They know they can accomplish more, and more effectively, as partners than as separate individuals or organizations. Personally, I had the privilege of partnering with one of the most amazing dogs to ever walk on this earth.  Scout, a pointing Labrador Retriever, was my hunting partner for nearly 13 years.  I have incredible memories of the days we spent in the field, were we teamed up to hunt upland birds.  Watching her work in the field was one of the greatest joys of my…
Read More
Lights….camera….action!

Lights….camera….action!

Executive
The character Mike Baxter on the show “Last Man Standing” is a big fan of using vlogs (video blogs) to reach the customers of Outdoor Man.  Vlogs are an effective and different way to engage people.   For many, watching a short video is much easier than reading a blog! So, I’m going to augment my weekly blogs with a monthly vlog called Inside Pierce County.  The primary goal is to give our residents a peek into our world, but I think many of you will like to view it as well. The series kicks off with a look inside a place you typically can’t access – the property room! Take a look and let me know what you think.  I’m up for suggestions on other cool Pierce County places to…
Read More
The power of differences

The power of differences

Executive
I have been fortunate to have had many different “careers.” Serving in the Navy in a variety of locations; as a quality leader and operations executive for a manufacturing company; on the Puyallup School Board; in both the Washington State House and Senate (and they are shockingly different cultures); and now in Pierce County.  Each of these jobs has given me the opportunity to work in different organizations with different missions and cultures, with wide a variety of people, addressing important challenges.  These experiences have strengthened my own belief in the power of differences. Each of these experiences also taught me two critically important principles. First, strong teams are made up of a diverse set up people with different skills, backgrounds and talents. Second, to best serve our community, we…
Read More
A world of difference

A world of difference

Executive
By now you know that I really like and appreciate history – and the people who have confronted significant challenges and overcame them.  So, have you heard about the amazing life of Dr. Nettie Asberry? I must admit I had not until we shared her story on Twitter as part of Black History Month. She was born at the end of the Civil War to a father who was a plantation owner and a mother who was a slave.  Think for a second about the social upheaval at that time in our country’s history and the challenges she faced personally.  What if I told you she was not only one of the few women of color to enroll in college, but went on to earn a doctorate in music? In…
Read More
Frozen

Frozen

Executive
In the movie, Frozen, ice queen Elsa sings “the snow never bothered me, anyway!”  Well, it may not bother Elsa, but it sure made life miserable for our residents. Thankfully for them, we had an amazing group of County employees – and some equally amazing volunteers - who came together to help us thaw out and (mostly) return to normal. (While I am always concerned that once I start calling out some people that I will forget others that should be recognized but, in this case, I will take that chance and ask for your forbearance for anyone I overlooked.) Of course, the main heroes of our #Snowpocalypse2019 are our Roads crew, under the skillful leadership and coordination of Bruce Wagner and the Road Operations Center (ROC). Our snowplow drivers…
Read More
2019 Snowmageddon

2019 Snowmageddon

Executive
Thanks to Mother Nature, this week's blog will be shorter than normal. I would to thank everyone who will be working this weekend and in the days ahead to keep our residents safe. From our Sheriff's Department to Emergency Management, thank you for all the sacrifices you are making to serve our community. A special thanks to Bruce Wagner and the roads crew, and the rest of Planning & Public Works who will working around the clock to keep Pierce County moving. [caption id="attachment_1574" align="alignnone" width="640"] An inside view from a Pierce County snowplow.[/caption] As for the rest of us, please stay tuned to the employee hotline, PC WARN, and our social media channels for the latest information. Please be safe and stay warm, Bruce    
Read More
Without a home

Without a home

Executive
We all know that some people in our nation, state, and communities are struggling with homelessness.  The federally required annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count gives us a snapshot of those people throughout the nation.  In Pierce County, we conduct personal interviews and collect the data on smartphone apps.  While the results may be as much anecdotal as scientific, it is some of the best information we have to assess the effectiveness of our programs – and re-adjust our strategies. In 2017 I went along with a daytime PIT teams – focusing on veterans.  But this year I wanted to see firsthand the challenges faced by our “chronically homeless” – generally those who have been without a home for years and are reluctant to accept services. So, I signed up for the…
Read More
Hola!

Hola!

Executive
Hola!  My name is Maia Espinoza and I’m the new Director of Constituent Services in the Executive’s Office. My primary job is to make sure that constituent matters that come directly to our office are routed to the correct department so that issues may be resolved - but keep reading to learn more! As an ambitious, 20-something, aspiring entrepreneur, I was admittedly a little hesitant to come to work for county government. After a few weeks on the job, however, my impression of the County has been rather surprising. We often think of government as bogged down with process and bureaucracy—people not very concerned with the minute matters of the individual constituents. My experience thus far has proved that preconceived notion to be dead wrong. It is evident to me…
Read More
A powerful lesson

A powerful lesson

Executive
What if I told you students in Puyallup can graduate with an RN degree by age 20?!  It’s true! The Puyallup School District has teamed up with Clover Park Technical College to offer a nursing program that begins in high school and finishes in college with a nursing degree. High school students can choose to take the Nursing Assistant Certification, or NAC, class at Emerald Ridge, Puyallup or Rogers high schools.  The classes are offered at their school and their hands-on practical work is done at the Puyallup Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. From high school, students can transfer to Clover Park and complete the curriculum and training needed to swiftly enter the RN degree program and finish the final two years before they can legally drink alcohol or rent a…
Read More
Boom town

Boom town

Executive
I love it when people outside of Pierce County invest in our community and our residents!  I love it even more when people who are already here decide to re-invest! 40 years ago, far-sighted community leaders set aside 500 acres in Frederickson for a planned industrial center. Fast forward to today and thousands of our residents are benefitting from family-wage jobs as existing industrial and manufacturing companies are expanding and new companies are relocating.  And, more are on the way! The link below will take you to a great overview by the Economic Development Board (EDB) about the amazing transformation at Frederickson that has occurred over four decades.  You will note that Pierce County is acknowledged for the investments we’ve made in the area’s road and transportation infrastructure – signals,…
Read More
Farewell & Welcome

Farewell & Welcome

Executive
The Sheriff tweeted out his congratulations for the 22 members of the Department who retired in 2018.  Shockingly, the combined service to the people of Pierce County came to a total of 523 years!   If you added that to the retirees from the rest of the County family, I know it would top 1,500 years of service.  Mind-blowing! Sometimes it is hard to think we can survive such a loss of experience.  Fortunately, we have others who are stepping up to start their service with the County as well! On Wednesday, the Council officially welcomed new members Dave Morrell and Marty Campbell.  Thursday afternoon, our new Prosecutor, Mary Robnett, took the oath of office in a packed Court Room 100. [caption id="attachment_1529" align="alignnone" width="640"] District 1 Councilmember Dave Morell…
Read More