5 Question Friday With Angela from Crescent Moon Gifts

cmgThere has been a lot of activity on 6th Ave lately. Primo Grill, Tacoma Games, and Crescent Moon Gifts have either changed locations or are in the process of changing but they’re still on 6th Ave. This Saturday (September 20th), Crescent Moon Gifts is having their 10th Anniversary Celebration that coincides with the Grand Opening of their new store. Crescent Moon Gifts’ owner, Angela was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to join me for 5 Question Friday. Here’s Angela:

1. What is Crescent Moon Gifts?

Crescent Moon Gifts is many things to different people. To some it is a great place to support a small business and pick up a unique gift, To others it is a place where they come to have their spirits lifted when they are having a bad day or feeling down (I have been told that when they come in and experience the music, the scent and the “vibe” they always immediately feel better), and to others it is a place where they can learn about different cultures and mythologies, or have their “woo-woo” questions answered without anyone looking at them funny.

 2. What can you tell us about the new location?

It’s HUGE! My tiny business started as a table at the Star-Lite Theater Swap & Shop 10 years ago, if someone had told me then that I’d be running a 5,400 sq. ft. “community center” in the future I would have laughed, but that is exactly what it has become. It is so much more than a gift shop now, and I love to see people come in and spend hours here. Between the Starlight (a nod to our origins) Tea Lounge, the cozy “library’ reading nook, the classes and workshops we offer, the intuitive readers and the complementary business tenants- reiki treatments and spiritual counseling on our upper level; I feel like we are offering many services and products to meet more of the communities needs. We even have an area for weddings, and ordained ministers on staff. Oh, and there is a 27 space parking lot free for our customers to use while shopping, that is definitely a perk with the limited street parking here on 6th Ave. Did I mention we have A/C…

3.  What’s the most misunderstood thing about your shop?

That it is sometimes labeled as a “New Age” store, and only appeals to that type of clientele. I don’t actually give my store a label, when people come in and ask me what “type” of store it is, I always ask them to tell me what they think. I have heard so many different answers: “the fairy store”, “the shop with great incense”, “my favorite place for tea”, etc. We have an expansive and diverse client base appealing to people of all ages, religions, and genders.

4. What’s your favorite thing about Crescent Moon Gifts?

Crescent Moon is where my imagination comes out to play. When setting up the themed areas in the store I get very in touch with my inner child. That sense of wonder, magic and playfulness that many don’t get to experience in their day to day adult life. I strive to create an atmosphere that immediately takes people off guard and transports them out of the “norm”. I want them to come in and not have to worry about the stress of everyday life, the bills they have to pay, the errands and chores they have to do, etc. I want them to relax and remember that life is here to be enjoyed, and their spirit needs to be nurtured. I just love it when people walk in and immediately their eyes get wide, they do a double take, smile and say “WOW”. Every time someone says “I just found my new favorite store!” I feel like all the hard work, and many hours put in to running a small business is all worthwhile.

5. What’s next for Crescent Moon Gifts?

Even though it’s been 10 years I feel like we are always growing and evolving, if not in size (hopefully we are now in our forever home), then in offerings to our community. We are just getting settled in now, but I do plan on hosting some of our larger events like the Spring Fairy Festival (www.springfairyfestival.com) right here on site making it a free outdoor event; partnering with the 6th Ave. business district to host more community events throughout the year to increase the foot traffic to neighboring businesses, and I plan on adding an e-commerce aspect to our business in the next year or so as it has been the #1 request from customers over the years.

You can visit Crescent Moon Gifts in their new location at the old Sunset Theater at 2502 6th Ave. Thanks to Angela for participating in 5 Question Friday. If you or someone you know is interested in joining me for 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

- Jack Cameron

Tenth Tacoma Homicide of 2014: Michael Ward Jr.

Screenshot_2014-09-07-19-10-36-1It was hot last Saturday night in Tacoma. Long after the sun went down, it was still 80 degrees on one of the last days of summer. Sometime around 4am, police arrived at South 39th and Yakima Avenue responding to reports of gunfire and found the body of 32-year-old Michael Ward Jr. He’d been shot.

Police canvassed the area and roused an afterhours place run by a local motorcycle club. As of this writing, no suspects or witnesses have been located.

This is the third Tacoma homicide near an afterhours party since 2011. And the second homicide on the South Side of Tacoma in the last nine days. It’s also Tacoma’s tenth homicide this year.

Unfortunately there isn’t much information about Michael that I could find. And this is why I have the comments section for this site. It is reserved for those who knew Michael and want to share memories of him.

Police are asking for anyone who saw anything or knows anything about this shooting to contact them at 253-798-4721.

My thoughts go out to his friends and family. I’m sorry for your loss.

- Jack Cameron

UPDATE: Michael’s family is collecting funds for his funeral services. If you would like to donate, here’s the link http://www.gofundme.com/e82k6w

Ninth Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Doug Medlock

dougmedlockOn the evening of Friday, August 29th, 20-year-old Doug Medlock was hanging out with a group who decided to rob a local pot dealer. The robbery took place near South 24th and Yakima. Another 20-year-old beat the pot dealer in the head with the butt of his pistol. The last time he hit the dealer the pistol discharged. The bullet hit Doug Medlock in the leg.

About 20 minutes later police arrived at the Jack In The Box on South 23rd and Pacific. It was 9:30pm. They found a 16-year-old and the 20-year-old who shot Doug. Both were very upset. They directed the officers to a car where they found Doug bleeding profusely from his leg injury. Paramedics were called, but the bullet had hit an artery and Doug Medlock bled out becoming the ninth homicide in Tacoma this year. 

Initially the shooter told officers that someone else shot Doug and ran off, but eventually the 16-year-old gave a full account of what happened,

The shooting occurred only a few blocks from St. Joseph’s Hospital. Unfortunately the shooter was unfamiliar with the Tacoma area and had driven downtown to get help. The shooter has been charged with first-degree manslaughter and attempted robbery.The 16-year-old is not being charged.

Police are still looking to talk to anyone who was there when the shooting occurred.

As always, the comments section is moderated by me and is reserved for friends and family who want to share stories and memories of Doug.

- Jack Cameron

Eighth Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Kevin Young

kevinyoungLast Thursday morning, a woman called 911 from a room at the King Oscar Hotel off of South 72nd and Hosmer. Her boyfriend had been shot with a shotgun. The wound was in his gut. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Later that afternoon he died from his wounds. His name was Kevin Young. He was 41 years old.

In the days that followed, two men and a woman have been arrested for his murder. Court documents show that an acquaintance of Kevin’s girlfriend was hanging out with them. They went to a nearby ATM where Kevin got out $30. Shortly after that the woman met with two men outside. One of the men wore a mask and had a shotgun. They entered the room. Kevin handed over the money and the man in the mask shot him. The entire robbery took less than twenty seconds.

While the arrests will hopefully get his friends and family justice, the pain of the loss of Kevin remains.

Kevin Young is the eighth Tacoma homicide victim this year. He had at one point worked for a fishing company in Alaska and more recently for Commercial Metals Company. He was the father of two.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Kevin who want to share stories and tell us about him and his life.

- Jack Cameron

Seventh Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Renee Brooks

reneebrooksIt was between five and six in the morning on Thursday July 3rd. A man walked into his apartment in the 1100 block of Highlands Parkway just off of Pearl Street. Witnesses heard two or three shots. And then he left.

The next day on the Fourth of July, a friend and coworker of 28-year-old Renee Brooks’ stopped by that apartment. They had become concerned about her whereabouts and came to check on her.  The friend found Renee’s body and called the police.

Renee’s death had been caused by multiple gun shots. Renee’s husband would be found and arrested on Tacoma’s South Side near South 49th Street on Saturday.

Renee worked at Subway and had previously worked at the Tacoma Rescue Mission. Renee, her husband and 3-year-old daughter had only moved into that apartment a few weeks ago. Neighbors say there were frequent fights.

Renee has become the seventh Tacoma homicide this year and the sixth Tacoma homicide this year that involved domestic violence. When the person responsible for the murder is a romantic partner, a parent, or child of the victim a homicide becomes an even worse tragedy for the family. Love ones are shocked and torn up by such a stunning event. Often it’s nearly impossible to reconcile the violent actions with the loved ones they once knew.

If you or someone you know is involved in a situation or relationship that is abusive or violent, I urge you to look into some of the resources at the link below. I’d rather not have to write an article like this about you.
http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/one.aspx?objectId=20334

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of Renee Brooks. Please share your thoughts and memories of Renee with us. Tell us about her life and what Tacoma has lost with her death.

-          Jack Cameron

Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Terrence Green

terrencegreenOn June 13th, 3-year-old Terrence Green was brought in to a local urgent care center by his father. He was lethargic and vomiting. A nurse advised him to take the child to the Emergency Room. His father chose not to do that. On Saturday, eight days later Terrance was brought to the hospital. He was unconscious. Doctors would soon find multiple injuries on his chest and head including a skull fracture. They would perform CPR a dozen times over the course of the next two days before finally taking Terrance off life support on Monday.

Terrence’s parents did not live together. Terrence had spent most of the last month with his father. He shared a bed with his father. According to his mother, Terrance had repeatedly wet the bed. His father has been arrested and charged with Terrance’s death.

Any time a life is taken from our city, it’s a tragedy. But it’s especially tragic when that life is so short lived. Terrence Green was only three-years-old. We will never really know what we’ve lost with his death.

The grief of the friends and family of Terrence is something I can’t imagine. My condolences to them all. As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew the victim or their family and want to post remembrances.

-          Jack Cameron

Tacoma Homicide FAQ

policelineI’ve been writing about homicides in Tacoma since 2006. Over the years I’ve received dozens of emails from the families and friends of victims. These emails are what I look at whenever I feel like I should stop. They remind me that what I write sometimes is exactly the thing a grieving person wants to see. If I can be even a small amount of comfort, then I don’t see how I can morally stop writing about these times when people are taken from our city.

I also receive emails and am asked questions in person about how I go about writing these things and why I write about one thing and not another. I’m going to try to tackle all of these frequently asked questions in this post. Here goes:

How Do You Get The Information About Tacoma Homicides?

Almost every piece of information I post about Tacoma homicides is found online through a combination of news reports, my own research, and a handful of local contacts.

Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to get information on how homicide victims died than it is to get information on how they lived. I do my best to include details about the person who was killed whenever possible, but I more than anything I rely on the friends and family of the victims to help share who we’ve lost from our cities. In some circumstances, I’ve welcomed friends and families to do guest posts about their loved ones.

Why Don’t You Write About Vehicular Homicides?

Most police departments treat these differently than regular homicides. In fact up until recently you perpetrators of vehicular homicide only received a third of the sentence they might have received if they’d shot the victim. But the reason I don’t cover them is simply that they’re difficult to cover. Often charges aren’t brought until long after the incident and if I covered every vehicular death then I might as well start covering every unnatural death and that’s beyond the scope of what I want to accomplish here.

Why Don’t You Write About Suicides?

I want to write about suicides. There are far more suicides in Tacoma than homicides. But they’re rarely reported to the media and so getting any relevant information is difficult. Some suicides make the news and others don’t and I’d rather cover no suicides than just some of them.

Why Didn’t You Cover That Homicide in University Place/Fife/Parkland/Lakewood/Spanaway/Etc?

When I started TacomaStories.com I decided that as much as possible I’d confine my posts to things about the City of Tacoma because if I included surrounding areas I’m not sure where I’d stop. Do I include Federal Way? If so, do I also include SeaTac? Where does it end?  I would more than welcome someone else picking up the torch for Lakewood or other local cities and starting LakewoodStories.com or something.

What’s The Worst Thing That’s Come Out of Writing About Tacoma Homicides?

There have been a couple of death threats and an incident that I had to report to the police before it became something violent, but thankfully nothing ever came of any of it. It was also difficult to write about a former classmate of mine who was shot and killed.

So…Why Do You Do It?

I’d started out writing about Tacoma’s homicides to prove a point about the city and its reputation. It’s a far safer city than it was in the 1990s. In fact it’s so safe that I can write about every Tacoma homicide and still do other things. Not a possibility in a place like Chicago. In fact even Seattle has 3-4 homicides a month vs. Tacoma’s one homicide a month sometimes.

However, as I stated at the beginning of this, the reason I keep writing about Tacoma homicides is that the families and friends of the victims appreciate it. I’ve heard from people sometimes years after their loved one’s death. In some cases my article is the only online evidence of what happened.

That’s about it for now. If you have any other questions for me, let me know.

-          Jack Cameron