Ray Miller-Still

Mandatory voting could be a boon to our democracy | Our Corner

President Obama spoke in Cleveland two weeks ago and mentioned his support of mandatory (or compulsory) voting in the United States. The president said it would “completely transform the political map in this country,” and argued mandatory voting would help remove big money from politics, encourage the young, working class and disenfranchised citizens to vote and increase voting turnout numbers.

A blooming cherry blossom memory

Beautify Bonney Lake and the Sumner and Bonney Lake Area Communities for Families Coalition teamed up for the Plateau’s 22nd Annual Community Summit last week.

Kids get to meet some of their favorite authors

Many Lake Tapps Middle School students were able to meet some of their favorite young adult novel authors at a recent book signing event at their school. The school’s PTSA organized the event on March 10 and invited nine local authors to talk to students, discuss their books and autograph their works. “(The PTSA) really wanted to make sure that kids get to realize books are alive and well, and that things beyond technology are really viable,” said Superintendent Judy Neumeier-Martinson.

Local authors sign books at Lake Tapps Middle School | Slideshow

Nine local authors came to Lake Tapps Middle School on March 10 for a book fair. Many students took advantage of the fair to get their favorite young adult books signed by the authors.

Plateau students compete in international art competition

Peace on earth may still be a ways away, but this year, Bonney Lake and Sumner middle school students explored what peace meant to them by competing in the Lions Club International Peace Poster contest.

No reservations when becoming a reserve officer

When Ben O’Leary first thought about pursuing a career in law enforcement, he started out going on-ride alongs in his last year of high school for his senior project. After graduating from the Washington State University with a degree in criminal justice and political science, O’Leary came back to his hometown to join the Bonney Lake Police Department as a reserve officer.

National treasure Bob Milne to perform in Enumclaw

You normally have to travel to see a national treasure; Arizona has the Grand Canyon, Detroit hosts Rosa Park’s bus and the Statue of Liberty stands tall in New York. This weekend, though, living national treasure Bob Milne will be visiting Enumclaw to perform ragtime and boogie-woogie music at the Chalet Theater. Milne was declared a national treasure by the Library of Congress in 2004 after three days of interviews and filming his piano skills.

East Pierce fire commissioner Rick Kuss retires

East Pierce Fire and Rescue Commissioner Rick Kuss announced he will be retiring from his position on the board on March 1. “I have been in public service since I was 17 years old and planned to retire at 62,” Kuss wrote. “So after 44 years I am retiring and to do so I need to resign my position at East Pierce.” Kuss wrote in an email that his retirement has nothing to do with his recent disagreement he had with the rest of the board concerning the process for recruiting and hiring a fire chief.

Pack the Gym 2015 | Slideshow

Check out the awesome game between the Bonney Lake/Sumner and Franklin Pierce!

Sen. Roach written up for “abusive behavior”

State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, is about two months into her seventh term and she has already been admonished for abusive and inappropriate behavior by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen who serves as president of the Senate. Owen sent a letter to Roach Feb. 13 in response to a complaint filed against the 31st District senator concerning her behavior as chair of the Governmental Operations and Security Committee.

Pilot transportation program comes to the Plateau

According to the Pierce County Beyond the Boarders program, access to transportation helps makes healthy communities. This is why starting this month, Beyond the Boarders is expanding into the Sumner and White River school districts with a pilot transportation program for low-income families.

Washington’s smoke signals: Science of cannabis

While research on the long-term health effects of marijuana use and Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC have only just begun, the cannabis plant itself has been thoroughly studied. The anatomy of the plant is well-known; the iconic five-leaf plant is easily recognizable in popular culture. The science of growing and processing the cannabis plant is also well documented and studied, giving both businesses and medical dispensaries innumerable ways to utilize the plant. On a chemical level, we know how THC affects the human brain and can even synthesize those same chemicals in a lab. Consider this your Cannabis 101 class - the science behind the plant.

East Pierce moves to hire new chief

The East Pierce Fire and Rescue Fire commissioners have decided the direction they will be taking the fire department in the near future. During the Feb. 11 special meeting, the commissioners voted 6–1 to hire Greg Prothman to perform a national search for a new fire chief. Commissioner Kevin Garling said he believed it is the board’s responsibility to make sure the department is not rudderless when Fire Chief Jerry Thorson retires at the end of April.

Students prepare for state, regional performances

Sumner High School students hit all the right notes last weekend when they competed at this year’s Valley Region Solo-Ensemble Contest. The contest, which included all Puyallup, Sumner and Federal Way schools, was held at Puyallup High School on Feb. 7. “This Saturday was an incredible performance by all Sumner High School soloists and ensembles,” said Karlene Miles, the choir director at Sumner High School. “I couldn’t be prouder of their preparedness, professionalism, and sheer talent.”

Washington’s smoke signals: Myths and misconceptions

Think back to high school health class. You may have seen the old propaganda film “Reefer Madness,” originally released in 1938, though it was revived and brought back to schools in the 1970s. Sparing the plot details of the film, it paints marijuana as “the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers.” The film claims marijuana is a violent and soul destroying narcotic which leads to “acts of shocking violence, ending often in incurable insanity.”

East Pierce Fire & Rescue chief aims for April retirement

After what may be East Pierce Fire and Rescue’s hardest months now behind them, Fire Chief Jerry Thorson announced his retirement during a special meeting Jan. 28. Thorson said he has been thinking about retiring for several months, and has settled on April 30 as his official retiring date.

East Pierce deputy chief ready to retire

East Pierce Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief John McDonald has seen the fire department grow from a small city fire department to the largest fire district in the county. And now, after 18 years of working with East Pierce, McDonald will be retiring at the start of March. “I set a goal for myself to do 30 years and retire while I was still young enough,” McDonald said. “As I got into my career, I thought that was a good goal I set when I started.”

Firefighters commended for new training apparatus

In order to stay on top of their duties, East Pierce Fire and Rescue firefighters constantly practice and train to work equipment, fight fires and navigate hazardous environments. Recently, Firefighters Jeffery Collins and Adam Lathrop lead a construction project for a new training roof for the department, and received Certificates of Commendation during the Jan. 20 Board of Commissioners meeting for their efforts.

Back in the spotlight; Roach wins American Open title

It's been six years since Bonney Lake resident Melanie Roach competed in weightlifting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, placing sixth. Last month, though, Roach came back into the spotlight by winning the American Open, a biannual national weightlifting competition. The competition was held last December in Washington D.C., where Roach placed first in the 53 kilogram (116.8 pounds) division.

Bonney Lake approves marijuana ban

The official vote for a ban on marijuana businesses in Bonney Lake brought about one of the largest City Council meetings of the year. Many citizens voiced their approval, or disapproval, of a recreational marijuana store in the city at the meeting. Although citizen comments appeared to split the room nearly in half over the issue, the City Council remained unswayed by residents who wanted a recreational marijuana store and voted 6–1 to approve Ordinance No. 1502 (D15-08A) on Jan. 13.