Local organization shift gears to care for urgent and COVID-19 possible patients.

TRA Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging Northwest are serving as a triage center for imaging during this major national crisis.

TRA Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging Northwest are shifting gears to care for patients under evaluation for possible COVID-19. Starting immediately sites will only be seeing symptomatic patients (experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath) for urgent X-ray and CT exams at the TRA Lakewood location.

At TRA Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging Northwest, providing safe, high quality care is our #1 priority as we navigate the challenges of flattening the curve of COVID-19. By creating a dedicated imaging center for symptomatic patients needing urgent X-ray and CT exams, we intend to serve as a relief valve for hospital emergency departments that are likely to be overwhelmed. We also recognize that reducing exposure for non-COVID patients (including our vulnerable populations) at our remaining TRA and DINW imaging centers is critical to reducing the spread of infection.

TRA has allocated their freestanding imaging center in Lakewood to serve as the first dedicated imaging location for symptomatic patients. Additionally, TRA will be extending billing due dates to help ease patient stress financially during this uncertain time.

“We recognize that this will be a defining moment for our health care system and our region. Getting through this will require commitment, collaboration and all the resources we can bring to bear as a medical community,” states Douglas Seiler, M.D. TRA’s Physician President. “TRA stands with our partners MultiCare Health System and CHI-Franciscan Health as we face this unprecedented challenge together.”


TAM Provides Connection to Art Online

While we are all spending more time at home, Tacoma Art Museum is continuing to provide mission-focused content via the Museum’s website and digital channels during the Museum’s closure. Utilizing TAM’s permanent collection on eMuseum people can view and interact with the collection from their home computers.

“TAM’s eMuseum is a great way to get to know the collection. While it is typical that a museum has on average about 5% of their permanent collection on view at any one time, TAM strives to have close to 10% of our collection incorporated into our current exhibitions,” noted David Setford, Executive Director. “Through generous private and government support, TAM has about 70% of our collection viewable online allowing us to share this wonderful community resource even when we can’t provide access in person.”

In August 2009, Tacoma Art Museum received a Museums for America (MFA) grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to increase information related to its collection and make it accessible online. A second IMLS grant received in September 2014 supported digitization and new photography of the Museum’s permanent collection. Launched on November 1, 2011, TAM’s eMuseum is a work in progress. New objects, information, and updated photographs are being added to the database regularly. Currently, of the Museum’s 5,000 objects about 3,500 can be seen on eMuseum.  Additionally, there are several curated collections for visitors to enjoy including the following:  In Honor of Women’s History Month, Works by Native American Artists in the Northwest Art Collection, and Artists and the Environment.

 “While we don’t have every art work represented on eMuseum, we hope this is a way people can still be connected through art during this time of international crisis,” said Margaret Bullock, Interim Chief Curator and Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions. Connect with Tacoma Art Museum’s database collection at: https://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/explore/collections/

Community helping Restaurants

The COVID pandemic is brutalizing every industry. Every industry has their experts, and I trust them to tell their stories. For the last 13 years, we have told the stories of the people in the food and libations industry and we have come to love and adore the local owners. 

As you can imagine we have seen a lot. Due to the recent outbreak restaurants are closing and having a tough go of things. Many report business is down between 20-80 percent. Small, independent restaurants need our help the most. I’m not against chain restaurants. But right now—if you have the means—pick a couple independently owned places to support. Most chain restaurants have the financial means to weather the economic fallout of COVID (some independently-owned franchises are an exception). Most bistros or local spots you love do not. 

What’s crushing them further is that restaurant profit margins have always been notoriously low. The way they make money is through the high markup on alcohol sales. With the mandate to close restaurants this has become a difficult time for restaurants as alchohol sales are limited.

What can you do?  We’re trying to balance two things here—preventing the spread of a global pandemic, while also preventing economic ruin for our neighborhood restaurants and the untold number of locals employed by them. What we can do is order food to-go from the restuarants that are offerign this service. Many local favorites are offering curbside pickup. Several people we know have said, “we are committed to dining take out with our local restaurants twice a week to support them through this,” We like that idea to keep it simple and easy and strategic support the local business owner. If you are choosing to opt in for home dining only, buy a gift certificate from them for later use.

Bottom line is that this is all changing minute to minute. But for now, it looks like we can support local restaurants without putting our at-risk people at more risk, with take out and gift certificate purchases. 

Tim Timmer at O Bee Credit Union

O Bee Credit Union is now home to Tim Timmer as the V.P. of Business Lending, a new department which is already being recognized for its contributions. Along with his dedicated team, Thierry Steuby and Leah Hontz, Tim has brought a new level of service and customer relations to O Bee. Tim endured a challenging upbringing, but it was one that ultimately set him on a path to success.

Tim had his share of challenges from early on. “Between the ages of 4 and 12, my family moved from Washington to Illinois, and then to Minnesota,” he says. “My father owned a restaurant but lost it during the farming crisis of 1984.” When Tim’s father abruptly passed away in 1993, Tim says frankly that he “had nowhere to live.” After being temporarily taken in by a friend’s parents, Tim finally found his calling as a personal bank teller for the US Bank.

Tim enjoyed building relationships with customers and eventually transitioned to South Sound Bank. “I had a great mentor in President and CEO Dan Yerrington,” he says. That’s also where he met his current business partners. “Leah and Thierry are a major reason I’ve been so successful; I couldn’t do it without them,” he adds. After Timberland acquired South Sound Bank in 2018, the team entered the O Bee family and have excelled since.

Just recently, they received a Top Partner Award for their work in the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 program from Evergreen Business Capital. “The SBA is a great program that helps small business owners access business loans for real estate purchases with specialized rates and terms. Winning the award helps generate awareness for the program so we can help more of our members save money on terms and realize ownership of their business location,” Tim says. 

Tim is looking forward to a lot in 2020, from hiking and camping with his wife and son to raising awareness for homelessness and growing the Business Lending department at O Bee. He is a co-owner of Fresh Start Housing, a passion project that manages multiple properties to house the homeless. “We connect them to resources and provide a safe living environment with supervision and regulations that they have to live by,” he emphasized. “Our primary mission is to provide clean and sober, low barrier housing to individuals who are out of treatment, incarceration or mental evaluation. These are leading causes of homelessness and we feel we are doing our part to take a dent out.”

Tim and his team have quickly become part of the O Bee family, sharing their considerable talent, energy, and invaluable expertise. To learn more about the team or what they do, visit the O Bee website.

Pacific Raceways: Celebrating 60 Years

This year marks 60 years of Pacific Raceways, the iconic motorsports facility in Kent where attendees experience some of the most exciting races in drag and road course, as well as enthusiast club events.

Known for its renowned 10-turn, 2.25-mile course, the track was opened in 1960 by Dan Fiorito Sr. and is now operated by his grandson Jason Fiorito. One thing that all drivers and media agreed upon right from the first year was that the track is “gorgeous.” The cozy feeling created by surrounding fir trees, foothills of Mount Rainier looming over the background of Turn 9, and the elevation losses and gains on the back portions create a very special feeling and makes the course as appealing as any in the states.

Now, after 60 legendary years, the iconic track is getting a few upgrades. Jason Fiorito is excited to share this new part of Pacific Raceways with the public. “We are thrilled to have a third-generation business celebrating 60 years of racing and innovation,” Fiorito says. “This year we will open the Pacific Innovation Center, which will pair motor racing with innovative technology and is on track to open this summer.”

The Pacific Innovation Center, which seeks to highlight “innovation companies and start-ups in the automotive industry,” is part of an expansion project begun in late 2018. These additions include a repaved raceway, 200,000 sq/ft of mixed space, garages, and upgraded concession facilities, along with the Pacific Innovation Center. They are scheduled for opening beginning summer 2020, which gives fans of the track an exciting change to anticipate.

The 2020 race schedule for Pacific Railways gives even more reason to look forward to what the track has in store. Races are set in which tens of thousands will frequent the same grounds where Mario Andretti won an incredible USAC race in 1969. As the celebration unfolds throughout 2020, Fiorito and his team also encourage fans and the public to share memorabilia that will be assembled and presented as a cumulative history of the track. Join in the camaraderie, history, and future of Pacific Raceways in its 60th year by visiting their website: pacificraceways.com or the track itself, at 31001 144th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98042.


America’s Car Museum Drives into the Future

Cars are for everyone.

That’s how Jennifer Maher sees it. She’s the new CEO of LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma.

“We are working to reimagine what the museum’s experience is all about,” Maher explained. “We are shifting from a visual experience to a hands-on, immersive one that brings visitors coming back repeatedly for family and youth programs, events and special exhibits.”

Maher described the importance of inspiring the next generation of children who are looking for ways to connect to a passion, a hobby, a potential career or, at the very least, a community of like-minded enthusiasts.

That can be done by “delivering opportunities to explore the past, present and future of automotive technology,” Maher said. The museum is organizing STEM education opportunities for students across the region.

“We’re all wired differently,” Maher said. “For many, cars are the connector to friendships, sense of community and, for some, careers. When we find our ‘peeps’ and interests that pique our curiosity, intellect, skills and passion, we find our place in the world.”

Maher has found her place in a male-dominated field. She acknowledges that she stands out at national conferences and conventions, but that could change.

“I find the industry extremely welcoming and excited to welcome more women into it,” Maher said. “It’s time we embrace women’s passion for cars, driving and careers in the automotive industry and get to the point in our storytelling that people no longer see it as a ‘male-dominated’ field.”

The museum is launching two new initiatives—Women Techs Rock and Women Driving Change. The overall plan is for the museum to become “a beacon in Tacoma that is a great community partner, that attracts visitors and drives tourism, that helps to empower schools and educate students and that provides exciting and engaging experiences for people of all ages.”

For Additional Information

America’s Car Museum



Farmers Markets for the Community

If there is any question about the popularity of Farmers Markets, then the expansion of dates and locations over the past several years throughout the south Puget Sound should completely put that question to bed. More Farmers Markets are popping up, including the City of Lakewood adding a second market location every other Friday night beginning in Mid-April. There are waterfront markets in Gig Harbor and Steilacoom and markets open seasonally like Tacoma’s four locations around the city (Proctor, Ruston, Eastside and Broadway). And there is the Olympia Market which is open year-round. These markets provide a venue for local farms, small businesses and organizations to directly connect with their end users.

There is no doubt that adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet is a good idea. A diet rich in produce sold at Farmers Markets has many health benefits including improved cardiovascular health, a lower risk of cancer, improved vision, better digestion and assistance in diabetes control. Not to mention, the activity of shopping at a Farmers Market is good exercise and a lot of fun when so many provide a wide variety of entertainment.

In addition to produce, most markets feature even more. One of the largest in the state, the downtown Puyallup Farmers Market, showcases locally grown and harvested floral and specialty items like honey and spices. You often find wares on sale from talented artisan crafters or specialty food vendors serving up delicious items to eat on site.

With varying harvests and vendor schedules, visiting Farmers Markets frequently ensures you won’t miss out on fresh asparagus in spring, gorgeous Rainier cherries in summer and a wide variety of apples in fall.


Olympia Market | olympiafarmersmarket.com

Gig Harbor Waterfront Market | waterfrontfarmersmarket.org

Lakewood Market | cityoflakewood.us/lakewood-farmers-market

Puyallup Market | puyallupmainstreet.com

Tacoma Markets | tacomafarmersmarket.com

Proctor Market | proctorfarmersmarket.com


May: Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, now officially proclaimed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, takes place in May. It celebrates the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Here in the South Sound area, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC), located in Tacoma, will be celebrating the month in a variety of ways.

Kicking off the celebrations on May 2nd will be Korea Day and the Center’s monthly Taste of Asia event to feature Korean preparations. Both events will be held at the APCC located on South Tacoma Way. Throughout the month, the APCC will be bringing several activities to the local grade schools to ensure students are connected to their culture and educating others about the artistry, history, business protocols and social practices of this vast group of 47 nations across Asia and the South Pacific.

Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Faaluaina Pritchard of Lakewood is, as expected, passionate about the organization whose mission is to bridge community and generations through art, culture, education and business. According to Pritchard, “The organization serves as an interactive cultural crossroads between local and international communities. We are more than just art as entertainment.”

The local government and business communities also view the APCC’s mission vital as evidenced by their sponsorship and support. Notable partners include the City of Tacoma Arts Commission, the National Endowment of the Arts, Arts of Washington and the Asian Counseling and Referral Service. Business partners include MultiCare, Alaska Airlines, Columbia Bank, Group Health Foundation, Pierce College and Catholic Community Services, to name a few.

The Asia Pacific Cultural Center was founded in 1996 through the vision of three generations of Americans with Asian and Pacific Island heritage.

For Additional Information

Asia Pacific Cultural Center



St. Peter Foundation Christmas in the Forest

The history and magical traditions continued at this year’s 32nd annual Providence St. Peter Foundation Christmas in the Forest. Gala guests gathered at the Hotel RL Olympia for a fantastic evening of dining and bidding to support the mission of Providence in Southwest Washington to serve the poor and most vulnerable.

The swanky event raised more than $654,000 in greatly needed support. $310,000 was raised to support the expansion and relocation of Providence Sexual Assault Clinic and Child Maltreatment Center.

Washington College Savings Plans

Washington College Savings Plans, or WA529, is a collection of 529 college savings plans offered by the State of Washington.

WA529 is composed of the Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET Program, which entails paying tuition in advance at a set price. Value is guaranteed to keep pace with in-state college tuition.

WA529 Benefits

– College savings reduce the need for student loans in the future.

– College savings help motivate your child toward higher education—students who know they have a college savings account are more likely to attend college.

– GET accounts are protected by state law (unique among state-sponsored 529 plans). You can pay a set price now and over time for future tuition. The value is guaranteed to keep pace with tuition, no matter how much it changes in the future.

– Both DreamAhead savings and GET units can be used nearly everywhere—including out-of-state institutions, private schools, community colleges, and even at trade and technical schools. Since 1998, more than 55,000 students have used GET in all 50 states and 15 countries worldwide. 

– If your child gets a scholarship, or decides not to go to college, you can use your funds for room and board, books and other qualified higher education expenses; you can request a refund, or you can transfer the account to another relative of the child (even yourself).

DreamAhead is a 529 college investment plan whose investment returns are tied to financial market performance. Account owners select one of two saving options: year-of-enrollment portfolios where investments automatically adjust over time, or static portfolios, that let you set your investment strategy and stay the same until you make changes.

These two plans offer Washington families a flexible set of college savings options. Families can choose GET, DreamAhead, or both. Neither plan charges an enrollment fee for enrolling online, so it’s easy to start an account.

What’s New for 2020

The SECURE Act, enacted at the end of 2019, includes new provisions that allow 529 Plan account owners to withdraw assets to pay for certain apprenticeship programs, and to pay principal and interest on qualified higher education loans for the beneficiary or any of the beneficiary’s siblings. For more detailed information on this change, visit: get.wa.gov/Secure_Act

Compare Washington 529 Plans | wastate529.wa.gov

GET 529 Prepaid Tuition Program | get.wa.gov

DreamAhead 529 College Investment Plan | dreamahead.wa.gov