Pierce County News

1. Bunney is Council’s choice for 2005 chair

Shawn Bunney, starting the third year of his four-year term, will lead the Pierce County Council following a unanimous council vote Tuesday, Jan. 11. The 2004 leadership team also includes Terry Lee, vice chair, and Calvin Goings, executive pro tem.

“It is an honor to be chairman of this particularly outstanding group of elected officials,” Bunney said. “I am committed to continuing the open and fair process used with great success by my predecessor (Harold Moss, who served the maximum two council terms). I see the chairman’s responsibility as giving each member the opportunity to participate fully regardless of differing views on issues.”

The new chair sees economic development and jobs creation as the council’s top priority for the third consecutive year. In addition to serving as Rules and Operations Committee chair, Bunney will continue serving on the Economic and Infrastructure Development Committee, which he chaired last year. Lee chairs that committee this year.

Bunney was elected by the seven-member executive committee as 2005 chair of the Regional Transportation Investment District, which is composed by the 25 council members in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. The district was created by the Legislature to identify projects and funding sources for regional highway projects of statewide significance. “We want to make sure transportation projects needed to create new jobs and retain old jobs get built,” he said.

The 41-year-old councilmember represents the east county area including Edgewood, Milton, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Wilkeson, Carbonado, South Prairie and Orting. “It’s the place where the urban meets the rural; 85 percent of the farmland remaining in Pierce County is in the 1st District,” he said. He views his district also as the “land of great recreational opportunities, Lake Tapps, Crystal Mountain and the north part of Mount Rainier National Park.”

2. Gig Harbor Basin Plan community update Jan. 18

Pierce County Water Programs will update the community on the Gig Harbor Basin Plan at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18 in the Peninsula Light Company business office, 13315 Goodnough Drive N.W., Purdy.

Information will be provided at the meeting on completed and scheduled construction projects and water quality sampling results. Progress on floodplain habitat acquisition and program changes will also be discussed.
The basin plan is used to evaluate and prioritize potential capital improvement projects aimed at reducing flooding problems and protecting water quality and habitat. County stormwater utility fees collected from property owners within the basin provide funding for the plan and its implementation. The basin plan ensures that fees collected in the Gig Harbor Basin are spent in this basin.

3. 31 schools to participate in annual prevention conference

Pierce County students ranging from grades five through 12 will gather on Thursday, Jan. 13 to participate in a drug and alcohol prevention conference. The conference will be held at the University Place Presbyterian Church, 8101 27th St. W., University Place. The purpose of this eighth annual event, sponsored by Pierce County Human Services Chemical Dependency Prevention program, is to allow students from 31 schools to share ideas and develop plans for their schools to prevent drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

The students will also hear from several speakers.

Conference attendees are members of their school’s drug and alcohol prevention team. These teams put together programs in their own schools during the year such as assemblies, mock crashes, television programs, newspaper articles, community wide events, speakers and other prevention campaigns. Additionally, the teams are asked to review their school alcohol and substance use policies and attempt to get substance abuse issues on the agenda of all class groups and meetings.

Prevention teams from 31 schools receive mini-grants from Pierce County to help pay for an advisor and for supplies for the programs that the participants put together during the school year. Schools that have prevention contracts are: Columbia Junior High, Cougar Mountain Junior High, Drum Intermediate, Emerald Ridge High, Ferrucci Junior High, Frontier Junior High, Gates High, Giaudrone Middle, Gig Harbor High, Gray Middle, Hudtloff Middle, Jason Lee Middle, Kopachuck Middle, Lakeridge Junior High, Lochburn Middle, McIlvaigh Middle, Mountain View Junior High, Oakland High, Orting High, Orting Middle, Ptarmigan Ridge Intermediate, Puyallup High, Spanaway Junior High, Steilacoom High, Sumner Junior High, Surprise Lake Middle, Truman Middle, Washington High, White River Middle, Wilson High and Woodbrook Middle.

The conference is a collaboration between Pierce County Human Services, the Health Department, Girl Scouts, Horizon Treatment Services, Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, DUI Victims Panel, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the 31 participating schools.