Monthly Archives: February 2012

Dave Hannon’s Guitar Was Stolen Last Night

In the photo above, you’ll see Dave Hannon with his Taylor guitar. Last night (02/21) his car was parked near 6th Ave & Junett. Someone smashed his window and stole his guitar.

Given that it’s a high end model worth about $4,000. So there’s a good chance the thief will try to sell it. If you know anything about this theft, contact the Tacoma Police Department at 253-798-4721.

5 Question Friday with Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland

I’ve been extremely lucky when it comes to 5 Question Friday. Very few people I’ve asked to participate have turned me down. Still, I have to admit I was surprised when the Mayor of Tacoma took time out of her busy schedule to answer five questions for a blog that’s been around for less than a year. This is just another example of how cool Marilyn Strickland is.

1. What is your favorite part of being mayor of Tacoma?

Mayor is the best job in politics. One thing I enjoy is the privilege of serving as the ambassador for our city regionally, nationally and internationally.  I am most honored to have the opportunity to visit schools and speak to students. My favorite visit so far was with a second grade class at my alma-mater, Edison Elementary. The students were inquisitive, funny, bright and a reminder of why some of us choose public service.

2. What do you feel is the people misunderstand the most about the mayor’s office?

Great question. Many people don’t distinguish among the silos of government and think that everything ranging from schools to the Port to jails are under my direct jurisdiction. I’ve had residents contact me about a variety of issues such as child custody battles and health care billing. I once received a call at 10pm on Christmas Eve regarding a car illegally parked on a lawn strip.

3. What is your view on the Occupy Tacoma movement?

To the credit of the organizers of Tacoma’s Occupy movement and the Tacoma Police Department, the relationship has mostly been peaceful, mutually respectful and not rife with staged confrontations to create media events and generate controversial headlines.  This movement has inspired some participants to attend city council meetings and testify about issues related to city government.   I sincerely hope the participants will occupy voter registration drives, occupy voting ballots and occupy social service organizations as volunteers to help strengthen our community.

 4. Where would you take a first-time visitor of Tacoma?

Point Defiance, one of America’s most spectacular urban parks.  Stanley and Seaforts, dining with one of the best views of the city.  A show at the Pantages Theater, Tacoma’s most beautiful historic building.  1022 South, cocktails and interesting clientele where old-school meets modern.

5. Where do you think Tacoma could improve?

Tacoma’s self image is finally improving. Some folks, however, need to understand that people come and go all the time.  Businesses succeed, businesses fail and sometimes they just move on.  Instead of over-reacting to departures or interpreting them as some indictment of our community, consider them part of the natural ebb and flow of life in any city.  Stay focused on what’s next. Tacoma is an inclusive, vibrant city with amazing people and strong assets. Great things are happening every day and there is more to come. Keep calm, carry on and love the one you’re with.

I really can’t thank Mayor Strickland enough for participating in 5 Question Friday. As always, if you or anyone you know wants to be part of 5 Question Friday, email me at

–          Jack Cameron

18-Year-Old Chris Virdell is Missing

On the morning of Thursday, February 9th           18-year-old Christopher Virdell was going to catch a Pierce Transit bus to get to his job at the South Hill Safeway on 13308 Meridian East. Chris never arrived for his shift. He was last seen between 9 and 10 in the morning in the area of 224th and 42nd in Spanaway.

Chris is not known for disappearing and his family is worried. He is 5’5”, 120 lbs. He often wore a fluorescent orange hunting type hoody and a ball cap.

If you have any information, not matter how insignificant you think it might be, please call the Pierce County Sherriff’s Office at 253-798-4721. His friends, family, and coworkers are very worried about him.

Update: Chris Virdell’s remains have been found. Read more about it here.

A Word About The Murders Of Charlie And Bradon Powell

At Tacoma Stories, I limit my coverage of homicides to those that occur in the city of Tacoma. If I started to cover murders outside of Tacoma, I’m not sure where that stops. Do I cover all of Pierce County? Do I cover just the significant homicides? As soon as I ask myself that question, it upsets me because they’re all significant. Every homicide victim has family and friends who now have a hole in their lives.

So when seven-year-old Charlie Powell and his brother five-year-old Braden Powell were brutally murdered by their father in Graham, I was a bit torn about weather I should write about it. The murders did not take place in Tacoma. And if I wrote about it, I would feel compelled to write about the next murder that happened in an area surrounding Tacoma. Because otherwise, I’m saying that this homicide is somehow more important than the next and that’s just not something I believe.

In the days that followed these homicides, many questions were asked. How could this have been prevented? Did the judge do the right thing allowing the father to have supervised visitation? Did the social worker do everything she could? Did the 911 operator handle the call correctly? All of these are good questions if they lead to positive changes. They are not good questions if you’re looking for someone to blame because the person to blame is the murderer.

Today in Tacoma, there is a funeral for Charlie and Braden. Hundreds if not thousands are expected to arrive. The vast majority of them will be people who have never met Charlie and Braden or any of their friends or family. Some will be reporters ‘live tweeting’ from the ceremony. KIRO TV has promised live coverage and aerial footage from their helicopter.

At one point a ‘church’ known for its hate claimed that it was going to picket the funeral. I won’t name the organization because what they want is publicity. Others, including the local ‘Occupy’ movement promised a counter-protest. Charlie and Bradon’s family asked that they all not show up and rightly so. None of this is going to make saying goodbye to these children any easier.

I will not be attending the ceremony for the same reason I haven’t attended most funerals; I did not know them. My presence there would not be any sort of comfort to the family and since I technically write about homicides, I could be seen as ‘press’ which would be even worse.

– Jack Cameron