Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fall of 2010 Disaster Preparedness Updates

Citizen Corps Council of Pierce County was at PLU and at TCC for their Student Volunteer Fairs. We were also at the Disaster Preparedness Summit in Fircrest this year and at one in Gig Harbor. We need reliable volunteers that can work during flooding events.  We need people at the EOC, Emergency Operations Center, as well as watching the streams, setting up temporary shelters, evacuating animals and many other situations. The stream watchers use radios to keep us updated on how fast the rivers are rising. PCART, Pierce County Animal Response Team, is reorganizing. We had one Director leave, then the one that stepped in left about 6 months later. Paperwork is missing, so we are getting our act together and we will be better than before.  We have a core of about 8 people that are determined to make this a great success. We are recruiting volunteers, and would love to sign up animal lovers that can help in an emergency. We need kennels, boarding facilities, and animal hospitals that can take in some animals in a flood/evacuation event.  We need a bunch of people that have large horse trailers and can load nervous animals.  We need to find out which shelters (usually churches and community centers) have their own "animal teams" and which ones would like for us to come out and help get animals registered and settled in. With the La Nina weather pattern this winter, we will be in for some excitement for sure.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tillicum Centennial was a blast!!

TWNA (Tillicum/Woodbrook Neighborhood Association) may be a small organization, but we can sure throw a party. We planned the Centennial, and raised funds, for over a year.  We can really get things done. I took about a hundred photos. Some vendors were new and didn't realize (and we didn't either) that they need a permit any time they appear in public to sell food. I escorted the health dept. lady around to the booths and checked to be sure they had a hand-washing station and food was checked with a thermometer. Everyone got their tables or booths set up, the fire truck arrived. We had many people from the City Council and some other politicians show up along with Mrs. Washington. Our MC/announcer for the day was a former Tillicum resident and former KING 5 TV News personality. Jane McCarthy is now the evening co-anchor in Spokane for KREM 2 News.  She graduated from our local Clover Park High School and received her BA from Uof W (majoring in Broadcast Journalism).
We had some gorgeous classic cars. The awards were based on popular votes. This was a learning experience. We had so many votes, it took quite a while to count them. There were 4 of us working on it before we finished. On our stage, we had live music provided by The Rockin' Relics and The Rebel Rousers, and a magician. We sold most of the remaining Centennial Tshirts, mugs and shot glasses. The ones remaining will be available for sale at our monthly meetings, first Thursday each month at 6:30 pm.  We still had a few bills to pay after the Centennial. I posted photos (the first half) on the Centennial website on Multiply, and the second half were posted on flickr.  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lakewold Gardens Extended Summer Hours!

Lakewold has extended their summer hours and are now open until 8 pm on Wednesday nights. This is me busy folding newsletters to go out in the mail. We work on the newsletters in the cooler morning hours, then we can take a walk through the peaceful gardens. This is an outstanding place to go when you need to relax or think something through. On a hot summer day, the garden feels so cool. Tall trees act like air conditioners for the outdoors. I first noticed this in Arizona. I took a few photos the last time I walkedhrough the garden. Enjoy.

You may see some eagles while taking a walk. There is a Japanese style garden you can walk through near the lake's edge. There are garden benches placed around the garden if you want to relax, watch some birds, or just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Friday, July 2, 2010

SummerFest at Ft. Steilacoom Park

This year the sun was shining all day and the crowd was much bigger than last year.  There were a lot of dogs, but they were either on leashes or very well behaved.  Owners were very responsible and cleaned up after them. Lots of vendors and booths, including Lakewood CERT, Dept of Emergency Management (Pierce County), PCART (Pierce County Animal Response Team), and TWNA's Tillicum Centennial.

The reason I was not at one of the other booths in the morning is because I was at the Lakewood Emergency Sheltering Trailer. When we started our Emergency Sheltering program back in 2007, the trailer was only a dream. Now we have a second trailer waiting to be outfitted. The trailer has 100 folding cots and 120 blankets along with a generator, first aid supplies, and more. Lydia and I got there at 12 noon. There weren't any handouts, so I got some from the CERT booth and the Dept of Emergency Management's Command Center.

This is Lydia.
At 2 pm, Bob and Art Henry arrived.  I stayed until 4:30. A couple came at 4 pm to watch the trailer until 6 pm. After visiting CERT, DEM, and PCART, I was at the Tillicum Centennial booth until 7 pm with Jim Taylor and his daughter, Sharon Plummer. They were there all day, set up and took down the tent.  The Centennial will be on August 14, 2010 at Harry Todd Park in Tillicum. We had Tshirts, blue mugs and shot glasses to sell.  We didn't sell very many, but we handed out a lot of flyers. We also explained to many people where Tillicum was and how to get there.  Tillicum is between I-5 (on west side) and American Lake, between the Thorne Lane/Logistics exit and the Berkley/Madigan Hospital exit. The Thorne Lane/Murray Road/Logistics exit is the first one after the Gravelly Lake exit.  Gravelly Lake goes into Lakewood after passing Lakewold Gardens and the road to American Lake Veteran's Hospital.
The Centennial logo was designed by a student at Tillicum Elementary School. The full color logo was on the Tshirts, the mugs had a simplified version in dark blue and the shot glasses had the simplified version in red.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another PTA Bites the Dust

I have been involved with the PTSA of a nearby middle school since 2006. Sarah had been doing it alone for a year, but this school year (2006-2007) a bunch of moms showed up. We elected 4 officers. By the end of the year, one lady had moved her son to another school and dropped out. The next year another lady moved out of town. We were down to 2 officers, me and Sarah. The only other members were mostly teachers and staff. Our sons moved on to high school, but we were still there (2008-2009). This year, only a few teachers showed up at a meeting and parents complained that 3:30 was too early. So, we publicized a late meeting. The day of the meeting, the principal and librarian stayed late. No one else showed up. A lot of the teachers live out of town and didn't want to drive back. So, this year, 2009-2010 is our last.
The photo shows me presenting two envelopes to Beth, the head of the ASB for the school. All those bookfairs, box tops and labels paid off and we spent the money on the school. One check was for $500 for either a scoreboard or other items needed by the sports department. The other check was for $425 for the student body (dance, party, tshirts, food, etc. - whatever they needed or wanted). I also presented a check for $100 to the school nurse who runs the garden club. There was no garden club this year due to lack of funds. Next year, we will have a garden! When they get ready to weed the courtyard next September, I am on call for that.
The last check was for books. One teacher instills a real love of reading in his students. He encourages them to bring in box tops and labels, attended the book fairs, and filled out his wish lists (many parents bought books for his class, the PTA bought those on his wish list he still needed). Many of the teachers never filled out wish lists for the book fairs. The other students brought labels and box tops when we gave out free popcorn at lunch to those that filled up a box top page (with 10 box tops). This past year, the only box tops and labels I collected were from this teacher's class.
Many parents get very involved with PTA while their students are in elementary school. I guess a lot of mom's look forward to a break when their kids get into middle school. Many go out and get a job or get involved in some other volunteer work. I really wish more parents would get involved in PTA while their kids are in middle or high school. This is when kids lose interest in school, especially when their parents act like it doesn't matter. In our neighborhood, many single parents work at more than one job if they can. At this time, many parents are out of work and have to spend time looking for work. This affects kids at home as well as at school.
I was talking to my son about my generation and our expectations.  We watched a show called The Jetsons, and expected the future to resemble their world.  I said that we all expected to have flying cars by now. My son said the schools had to improve and if they did, in 10 or 20 years we could have a base on the moon and a colony on Mars (and flying or automated cars here). He is 16 now and I wonder what his future will look like.
Baby boomers are getting much older and worried that they won't be taken care of. For a while now, we have been spending more money on our generation than on the younger generation, including schools.  Seems like many laws are passed which impact the future in negative ways. What are we leaving our grandkids? How come no one thinks about the future and how our actions are affecting it? In America, we have lots and lots of lawyers and whenever something happens we try to find someone else responsible. We need to start accepting responsibility for all our actions and for our lack of actions also.
Are your middle schools or junior highs having similar problems with lack of parent involvement? Does your school have a PTA? Have you found something that worked to change it? I look forward to your comments.