Community Center Brings Tacoma’s Eastside Together

Metro Parks Tacoma. Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting at the Eastside Community Center.. Photos by Russ Carmack

A new addition to Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood has been stirring up a lot of excitement. On Oct. 20, Metro Parks Tacoma welcomed the community to the newly constructed Eastside Community Center. Within the first month, more than 2,200 people became pass holders to access the 55,000-square-foot facility. The center includes a multiuse gymnasium, sound recording studio, social hall, culinary kitchen, weight room and cardio-fitness areas, and a large pool with a party room, lap lanes, diving board and hot tub/spa.

While the center’s amenities definitely warrant high marks, what’s more impressive is how this building is bringing a community together. During the design process, youth from the area participated in workshops, site visits and guided design brainstorming with industry professionals to provide input for the culinary kitchen and sound recording studio. With the building now complete, these youth can be proud of their influence, which led to the trendy wall color and comfy hangout couches in the sound recording studio.

Large hearts on the floor of the kitchen serve as a reminder that the kitchen is the heart of a home.

Matthew Etienne, one of the students who contributed to the process, could hardly contain his enthusiasm when he toured the building shortly before it opened. “It means so much—it’s such a big deal—it’s for everybody,” he said. “It really touches my heart to see that somebody actually cares about the Eastside, and about the kids.”

Partnerships with nonprofit groups are also helping to strengthen community bonds. Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound has been able to double the number of students it serves on the Eastside. Catholic Community Services uses the culinary kitchen to prepare and serve a nutritious and delicious lunch two days a week for seniors. Several other groups use the meeting spaces throughout the week to teach skills or provide services.

“We hope to become the hub of the Eastside,” said Ben Foster, the center’s supervisor. “This can be where everyone comes for business meetings, community events, health and fitness, or just to play. We want everyone to utilize it and feel welcome.”


For Additional Information

Eastside Community Center
1721 East 56th St, Tacoma

A Day of Pampering at Point Ruston

Situated on the picturesque Commencement Bay waterfront, Point Ruston is the perfect place for a day of pampering for your mom, your girlfriends or just yourself. Whether you have a special day to celebrate or just need a day to kick back and relax, you’ll find everything you could need nestled together in this growing resort-like destination.

Start your day by enjoying a mimosa and the stunning view at Wild-Fin American Grill. This Northwest original boasts a locally sourced menu and offers a terrific weekend brunch. After fueling up, get ready to explore some of the unique specialty shops. Blush, Purpose Boutique, and Rebels & Lovers are all stocked with this spring’s hottest fashion trends.

If you need to freshen up your home décor, don’t miss TREE. From modern and contemporary furniture, to rustic and vintage pieces sourced from around the world, there’s always something uniquely beautiful to see at TREE.

Get your afternoon coffee at Anthem or the Jewel Box, two adorable cafes with plenty of delicious treats. Enjoy a stroll along the walking path that connects Point Ruston to the waterfront parks all the way to Tacoma’s Old Town. Or stay put and take in a movie at Point Ruston’s Galaxy theaters.

Make sure to leave time to stop in for spa treatments at Pink Polish and The Intaglio Salon, where you can enjoy an exceptional manicure, pedicure or salon experience that will have you relaxed and looking fantastic.

Finally, take a quick peek at the farmers market stalls and pick up some tasty seasonal treats and a beautiful bouquet to grace your home and remind you of your delightful day at Point Ruston.


For Additional Information

Savings Made Simple: WA College Savings

In today’s world, where the price of a bachelor’s degree can rival that of a single-family home, having a 529 college savings plan can offer young parents peace of mind. It’s easy to enroll, either on your own or through a financial adviser, and once you’re signed up you can set up automatic contributions to fund the account. Your investment grows tax-free and won’t be taxed when you withdraw, as long as the money is used to pay for qualified education expenses.

Beyond the double benefit of tax-deferred investment growth combined with tax-free withdrawals for qualified expenses, there are a number of advantages to saving in a 529 account. A brand-new benefit as of January 1, 2018, is you can use 529s to save for private school tuition for kindergarten through 12th grade. This provides tax savings for parents who plan to send their kids to private school.

You can withdraw up to $10,000 per year, per student for this purpose. Additionally, you can set up an unlimited number of plans, and there are no rules on who the beneficiary can be. This means you can create an account for a relative, friend, or yourself. The gift of education is one that will open doors to a world of opportunity and is sure to last a lifetime.

For many new parents, receiving a college fund as a baby gift packs a stronger punch than a new toy or baby bib. “Giving the gift of higher education is really amazing,” says Lucas Minor, Interim WA529 Director. “An entire family can participate. When someone is saving for your child’s future and cares about your child’s success, it reduces barriers and encourages kids to grow up with the incentive and expectation to attend college.” When opened for a newborn baby, the account has 18 years to grow, with interest compounding on interest, making it an especially savvy present for money-minded gift-givers.


Compare Washington 529 Plans

There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition plans and education savings plans. Explore both options to find the right plan for you. | 800.955.2318

GET 529 Prepaid Tuition Program

The GET prepaid tuition plan lets a saver or account holder purchase units or credits at participating colleges and universities (usually public and in-state) for future tuition and mandatory fees at current prices for the beneficiary. Enrollment through May 31, 2019. | 800.955.2318

DreamAhead 529 College Investment Plan

The DreamAhead education savings plan lets a saver open an investment account to save for the beneficiary’s future qualified higher education expenses—tuition, mandatory fees and room and board. Withdrawals from education savings plan accounts can generally be used at any college or university, including some non-U.S. colleges and universities. | 844.529.5845

Tacoma Art Museum’s New Wing is in Full Bloom this Spring

If you listen carefully you can almost hear the flowers opening on the life-size glass trees by Debora Moore that recently debuted at the Tacoma Art Museum. Commissioned last January for the opening of the new Benaroya Wing, these majestic art pieces are a fitting representation of the museum’s new and bold expansion embracing the medium of glass.

David Setford, TAM’s executive director, sees the new wing as a natural expression of the museum’s mission focusing on the art and artists of the Northwest. He notes that the museum has a longtime interest in glass. This is evidenced by the museum’s earliest glass exhibition in 1971, precisely when the glass scene was really getting hot.

Seattle glass aficionados Jack and Rebecca Benaroya selected the Tacoma museum to receive their collection of over 300 objects. The collection represents the finest achievements by important artists whose work tells the story of Northwest art and identity. The artwork joins the museum’s already robust glass collection. The Benaroya Collection will allow for a deeper reflection on the history and impact of glass in the region and beyond.

In addition, the collection places Tacoma Art Museum into an elite realm of museums with exceptional collections of studio glass. Tacoma, of course, has a longtime connection to the medium and a reputation as the epicenter for modern glass. The city is the birthplace of internationally revered artist Dale Chihuly, as well as the nationally acclaimed Hilltop Artists program. The Museum of Glass and numerous working hot shops also dot the city. Whether you are entranced by Moore’s glittering trees or inspired by classic Chihuly forms, TAM’s new wing will add another jewel to our region. It is sure to attract attention from across the country and around the world.


For Additional Information

Ladies’ Night Out – Providence Christmas Forest

The Christmas in the Forest Gala Dinner and Auction drew 300 attendees. Guests enjoyed the auctioneer John Curley, who is the co-host of the Tom and Curley Show on KIRO radio and former host of KING 5’s Evening Magazine.

More than $280,000 was raised during the Funda-Need portion of the gala, benefiting Providence hospice services. The entire Christmas in the Forest event ran for several days and raised just over $600,000 in total.

St. Martin’s University Gala International: Hawai`i and Pacific Islands

More than 600 alumni and friends attended the St. Martin’s Gala featuring chef Roy Yamaguchi, known throughout the world for his beautiful restaurants. Throughout the evening, chef Roy offered culinary demonstrations of the five-course gourmet dinner at the stage kitchen.

The menu included hamachi crudo with yuzu kosho aioli and white balsamic prawn burrata crostini; yukuri ahi tataki and matcha soba salad and king crab fennel and arugula salad; cilantro ginger halibut with king oyster mushrooms and seared baby bok choy; slowbraised beef short ribs; marble potatoes; and kale and multicolored Swiss chard.

Eachcourse was paired with specialty wines from sponsors Maryhill Winery, Stottle Winery, Cadaretta and Donedei.

The program included a live auction and the much-anticipated “Feed-a-Mind” paddle raise to generate scholarship funds for St. Martin’s students. The evening’s proceeds were $1.3 million in total.

The Meridian Café has Re-Opened

More than a year after a roof fire forced its closure, Meridian Café is open for business. A perennial breakfast-and-lunch spot in downtown Puyallup, the surrounding communities are thrilled their beloved cafe is back open for breakfast and lunch.

Owner Shaun Brobak said there was never a doubt he would reopen – thanks in great part to the people of his community. Opening day saw a steady stream of old and new customers walking through the doors.

As is often the case with old buildings, reconstruction proved challenging. Brobak took this opportunity from the fire to reassess the restaurant’s needs and make improvements.  “Reconstruction after the fire gave us the opportunity to bring back the Café in a BIG WAY. New modern kitchen, a larger dining room, a new private banquet space and larger bathrooms, says Brobak.”

“The dining room has been updated, too,” said Brobak. He added new floors and the walls showcase old photos of historic Puyallup. Plastered walls artfully surround the brickwork preserved from the original building.  You will experience the charm of this historical building the moment you walk through the doors.

He also focused on comfortable and additional seating. Custom, hand crafted booths, similar to those at Brobak’s other business, Crockett’s Public House in downtown Puyallup, were added. The redesigned dining room ended up making room for an additional 20 patrons.   

As for the menu, with the new larger and more modern kitchen and grill, they will offer additional menu selections. “We’ve reopened with the classic menu we’ve always had and will let our guests tell us what they’d like to see on the menu. We have the capacity to introduce more items, with the same attention to quality we’re known for,” Brobak said.

Cafés have been a part of American life for more than 140 years and we know why. Few foods are comforting in quite the same way as scratch made cafe food. If you haven’t dined at Meridian Cafe lately, stop in and  to enjoy a wholesome, made-from-scratch breakfast or lunch. Bring your appetite, portions are generous, food is fresh and delicious.
Kelly Lenihan

Meridian Café – open every day 6am – 3pm for breakfast and lunch
213 N Meridian, Puyallup WA 98371
t: (253) 435-8833  

Mama Stortini’s to Open New Location

An old local favorite restaurant is getting a fourth brand-new location this May. Veteran restaurateur Roger Stilson is bringing his popular Mama Stortini’s Restaurant and Bar to Federal Way. This well-loved restaurant offers an extensive full-service food and beverage selection in all of their locations.

“We are excited to bring Mama’s Italian favorites to Federal Way,” Stilson says. “The area near the Commons is brimming with dining, shopping and entertainment choices, and we think our menu of authentic Italian and Northwest flavors will be popular. Mama’s is owned and operated here in the Puget Sound – and bringing Western Washington guests a wonderful local restaurant is important to us.” Stilson goes on to say, “Whether someone wants to drop in for happy hour on their way home, or enjoy date or family night out, our staff works hard to create an exceptional food and service experience.”

Specialty Restaurant Group opened the first Mama Stortini’s in Puyallup in 2004, followed by a Kent location in 2009, and more recently Seattle, at the Northgate Mall, in 2014. “Federal Way along 320th has become the area’s favorite retail and entertainment destination,” says Stilson. He describes Mama Stortini’s as “a go-anytime, order-anything restaurant featuring Italian favorites made with local ingredients.” The casual and comfortable ambiance with rich Northwest design accents and the large bar is perfect for “drop-in snack dining, lively socializing, and watching sporting events.”

Food and Beverage Director Derek Stewart describes Mama’s menu as “featuring familiar Italian classics with a creative Northwest influence.” The restaurant/bar duo has proven to be very popular by offering a wide range of choices at affordable prices.

Federal Way’s own Mayor Jim Ferrell also anticipates the new restaurant. “We’re excited to welcome Mama Stortini’s to Federal Way,” Ferrell says. “We look forward to enjoying an Italian and Northwest favorite restaurant in our community and giving our residents one more outstanding choice for their dining needs.”

Mama Stortini’s is opening a fourth location in Federal Way this coming May, and we are likewise excited to enjoy the timeless options and great prices they have to offer!