Monthly Archives: April 2012

5 Question Friday With Poison Apple’s Jooley Heaps

Photo of Jason McKibbin & Jooley Heaps in front of Poison Apple

Owners Jason McKibbin & Jooley Heaps in front of Poison Apple

Last year Jooley Heaps was nice enough to participate in 5 Question Friday to talk about her store, Box Top Vintage, a vintage clothing store in downtown Tacoma. Box Top is no more but in its place is Poison Apple. I stopped by her shop a couple weeks ago and invited her again to let us know what she’s up to these days and how her new business is different from previous endeavors.  If you haven’t been to Poison Apple, you’re missing out, but I’ll let Jooley tell you about it.

1. What is Poison Apple?

Poison Apple is a different take on what I was successful with through Box Top Vintage. Vintage clothing was starting to become lackluster for me and I enjoyed selling novelties, retail, art and super fun stuff more. I teamed up with Jason McKibbin (who I’ve known for 20 years) and made it more pop culture with my items as well as comic books, action figures, cool dvds, music, etc.

2. How is it different from your old shop, Box Top Vintage?

What’s different is the store makes more sense than Box Top. Box Top was all over the place. Things are more organized, the paint colors work well together, the logo and cards are the same, thus the branding is more recogniziable. My friend JD Elquist and his team of boy wonders had a lot to do with helping me realize that. The shop is also more open and not as clustered together, making it more easy to shop.

3. Besides your own shop, what is your favorite local business?

Tacoma has a lot of businesses that I think are wonderful. Dorky’s, Embellish, Blitz florist, Dagmar Peterson “Henna Zilla”, Learning Sprout, What? Shoppe, Republic of 253, Top of Tacoma, Puget Sound Pizza, The Mix, Lulu, A little touch of magic, Cresent Moon Gifts, Supernova, Mad Hat Tea, Hell’s Kitchen, Pacific Grill, DOA, Comic Book Ink, there are literally SO many that I adore and that exist from coffee to vintage clothing to everything in between, Tacoma has a truly great mix of shops and people that run them. I know I’m leaving a bunch out, but that will give your readers a little work to do smurfin’ around to find them 🙂

4. You’re having an event this weekend. Could you tell us a bit about that?

We are having a free all ages open to the public event here on Saturday April 28th from 3-6pm. Phoenix Jones and Purple Reign, who are real life superheros, are coming down from Seattle to talk to folks and kids about domestic violence and bullying. These issues very important to Jason and I and we think that it will be a great event to be a part of. I’m stoked that they have the time to do it. Way cool.

5. What are your plans for the future of Poison Apple?

The door is wide open for world domination for the future of Poison Apple. We will continue to have super awesome gifts and products, we have a busy vending schedule of shows, events, and cons we will be at, and hope to have in store events. We are from Tacoma and love it and will always be apart of anything local we can sink our teeth into.

If you’re in downtown Tacoma, you owe it to yourself to check out Poison Apple. It’s located on 907 Pacific Ave.  You can also check out their Facebook page. I’d like to thank Jooley for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday and hope everyone can make it to Saturday’s event.

As always, if your or anyone you know wants to be part of 5 Question Friday, email me at

5 Question Friday With Shalisa Hayes, Founder of the Billy Ray Shirley, III Foundation

Billy Ray Shirley, III

Last August Shalisa Hayes lost her son, Billy Ray Shirley, III when he was shot and killed during an after hours party in a warehouse. As of this writing, his murderer has not been caught. It is the only unsolved Tacoma homicide from 2011. He was 17.

Billy Ray wasn’t your typical teenager. By all accounts he was someone who wanted to make a distinct difference in the community. He had a vision and he spent time making that vision happen.

Shalisa didn’t choose to lose her son. But she chose to make sure Billy Ray’s vision lives on in the form of the Billy Ray Shirley, III Foundation.  I contacted her and asked if she’d like to take the time and tell you about her Foundation and her son. Luckily, she accepted the invitation. Here’s Shalisa:

1. What is the Billy Ray Shirley, III Foundation?

A nonprofit business with a vision to build and maintain a fully functional state of the art community center on the east side of Tacoma that gives life to Billy Ray’s vision of having a fun, healthy & safe place for youth to go. This facility shall be one that will provide the programs and resources necessary to engage youth in conversation and activities that will promote positive life choices. We will also look to reinforce education, decrease violence and encourage healthy lifestyles while inspiring individuals to work at continuously building their communities regardless of social or economic boundaries.

2. What is your favorite memory of Billy Ray?

Billy Ray came to me one day and explained that he had noticed a young man at school that always wore holey shoes, so he decided that he wanted to give him a few pair of his own shoes but didn’t know how to approach the young man without embarrassing him or himself. Eventually, the thought of giving

shoes evolved in to giving him both shoes and clothing. I gave Billy Ray a suggestion about how to approach the situation and for whatever reason he decided to do things differently, only to have the young man reject his offer. Later in the week, the two talked and the young man agreed to take Billy Ray

up on his offer. I watched as my son loaded up the car with a few bags of clothes and shoes as he prepared himself to give to his new friend. My heart, mind and spirit will never ever forget the day that I got to meet this young man. Billy Ray was no stranger to doing something for someone else, but I think this story touched me so deeply because I’ve always preached to Billy Ray about how we are no better than anyone else, and no matter how beautiful or expensive the material things we have, they can all be lost or taken in the blink of an eye. So, to watch him take that seriously and rather than be judgmental of someone who may not have had as much as he and turn it in to an opportunity to hopefully make that someone feel good, warms my heart every time I think about it. To make this even more special…….as a teenager, I used to be that young man. I know exactly how it feels to walk around with

holey shoes, so in my mind, Billy Ray was giving to me.

3. What has been the response since you started the Foundation?

Very positive. I have yet to meet a person who lives in or knows the history of Tacoma’s east side and does not agree with the need for what I am trying to accomplish. In the past, the east side has had some facilities and programs that cater to our youth, however in recent times that has changed. Although there are still some programs available, they are very limited and spread out over the area so our youth appear to outnumber these programs. As a result, people from all walks of life have encouraged me to move forward with the idea of making this community center happen.

4. How can people help the Billy Ray Shirley, III Foundation?

We are looking to raise awareness as well as funds to support our cause. We need people who can assist in the following ways:

– Connect with more Tacoma residents (especially the east side) to rally their support. Adults are needed to help guide the project and youth are needed to help determine what’s needed within in the community center, as well as get involved with our various community service activities.

– Utilize individual job skills to help with the project, both with programming for the youth as well as the building or remodeling of a building to be used for a center (ie., architecture, budgeting, commercial building, etc).

– Send a donation. In these tough economic times, government funding is not easy to come by so private funding is also necessary.

– Purchase Team Billy Ray clothing to contribute to the fund. All funds received from clothing purchases will be used for the costs associated with building and/or maintaining the community center. The youth of Team Billy Ray is also involved in a lot of community service and fundraising activities, therefore these funds may also be used to help offset any costs to host these events (ie. facility rentals, group transportation, etc.).

5. What do you see for the future of the Billy Ray Shirley, III Foundation?

Billy Ray was a young philanthropist. I see this foundation growing in to a business that will continue that practice and provide a variety of items to the community. To name a few……. educational scholarships, membership/program scholarships (for patrons of the community center), food and clothing vouchers for the needy, as well as continuously raising funds to help maintain the operation of the community center in order to prevent it from becoming another casualty. The foundation will help support the community center that I envision to be a one stop shop for our youth.

For more information on the Billy Ray Shirley, III Foundation, you can go to their website at  or their Facebook page

I’d like to thank Shalisa for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday. As always, if you or anyone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, contact me at

– Jack Cameron

Fourth Tacoma Homicide of 2012: Bruce ‘Deymon’ Price

The bars close at 2:00am in Tacoma. A frequent question around last call is ‘Where is the after party?’ Many nights, especially on the weekends, the after party can be found at an empty downtown warehouse. This past weekend, an after party was at a warehouse on South 23rd and Fawcett.

In the early hours of Sunday, April 15th, 40-year-old Bruce ‘Deymon’ Price got into an argument with someone in the alley behind the warehouse. Around 4:30am multiple 911 calls reported shots fired. There are some reports that there was a gunfight. As police responded to the scene, a handful of vehicles were seen leaving. Some people stayed behind and tried to help Deymon, but he was later pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s hospital becoming Tacoma’s fourth homicide of 2012.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Deymon isn’t the only person to die at a warehouse after party in Tacoma. Last August 17-year-old Billy Shirley III was shot and killed outside an after party about a mile away from where Bruce Price was found.

These deaths make it clear that the late night warehouse party scene has become a problem for the City of Tacoma. I’m all for people getting together and having a good time but when gatherings start to have body counts, something needs to be done.

At the time of this writing, the motive for the murder of Deymon Price is unclear and there are no suspect descriptions. As always, the comments section is for those who knew Deymon Price or have something to say about his death. I personally moderate the comments so any hate speak, threats, or other outright offensive comments will not be tolerated. This is a place for friends and family to share their remembrances if they want to.

Hopefully something is done about these warehouse parties and this is the last homicide like this I have to write up.

–          Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With FlipSteady Inventor Isaiah Coberly

I’m a gadget guy. Give me something new and different and I’m pretty happy. I’m also someone who likes to help out friends. So when Isaiah Coberly approached me and told he’d invented something I got excited. I’ve known Isaiah for over twenty years. He’s one of the most hard working and creative people I know. I invited him to participate in this week’s 5 Question Friday so he can share his invention and vision with you.

1. What is New Pencil?

NewPencil Inc. is Tacoma based company that I started to facilitate my inventing and the licensing of my inventions.

2. What is the FipSteady?

The FlipSteady is a combination flip cover and stand that rivals the iPad Smart cover for the iPad2 and the New iPad. You might say, “If Apple’s Smart Cover is Smart, the FlipSteady is genius.”.

3. How did you come up with the FlipSteady?

I started developing the FlipSteady on April 13 2011. It started by folding a piece of paper and having a moment of eureka. I graduated to Cardboard and duct tape and fastened the product to a tablet computer. I was surprised by how versatile the stand was and started developing the product further. After several iterations of trial and error and testing materials and processes we now have the FlipSteady available for preorder from our Kickstarter project exactly 1 year later.

4. What was the biggest difficulty in the development of the FlipSteady?

Finding the time to dream and develop the product while juggling clients, relationships and spending time with my three children. Prototyping and coming up with solutions and new ideas was the easy part for me.

5. What are your plans for the future of New Pencil?

I foresee NewPencil creating several inventions that span industries and applications. NewPencil will also play a role in educating young local inventors to realize their ideas and teaching them to use high tech equipment in the process.

You can learn more about the FlipSteady and preorder one of your own at NewPencil’s Kickstarter page 

I’d like to thank Isaiah for joining me for 5 Question Friday. As always, if you or someone you know is interested in participating in 5 Question Friday, email me at

-Jack Cameron

Do You Know This Man? $1000 Cash Reward

The man in the picture above was at Dorky’s Arcade two Mondays ago. Dorky’s is an awesome little arcade down on Pacific Ave. The guy in the picture attempted to pry open the Donkey Kong game and managed to cause more damage than there were quarters in the machine. He got away empty handed but he still got away. More to the point, this isn’t the first time this has happened. There are reports that he’s struck other area businesses as well.

Dorky’s is offering a $300 cash reward for information on this guy. So if you see him or know him call the Tacoma Police Department at 253-798-4721 and Dorky’s Arcade at 253-627-4156.

And if you don’t know the guy, feel free to support Dorky’s by coming down and playing a few games.

UPDATE: This man has still not been found and  I’ve been told that the reward for information leading to this man’s arrest has been increased to $1000.


– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Lisa Fruichantie from the Gritty City Sirens

The Gritty City SirensI admit to being a bit biased, but I’ll go one record as saying that Tacoma has more great performers than we should given the size of our city. Personally I think it’s a combination of the city being open to just about any kind of performance you can think of and the fact that we have just enough rainy days to keep people inside being creative. Whatever the case, the Gritty City Sirens are most definitely a Tacoma original. I contacted their manager, Lisa Fruichantie and asked if she could take the time to be part of 5 Question Friday this week. Lucky for us, she accepted. Here’s Lisa:

1. What are the Gritty City Sirens?

The Sirens are Tacoma’s one and only modern day Burlesque troupe, who, from the beginning have honored burlesque’s past, while advancing the art with daring creativity. We are a group of performers that come together to showcase our varied individual talents, while introducing our local audiences to other performers, out of town guests and traveling entertainers while presenting an action packed cohesive show in a traditional vaudevillian style.

Second of all, we are a family. So much of who we are on stage is nurtured by our creative process offstage. What I enjoy is that we all participate in every act in every show, from ideas to costumes to choreography.

2. How did the Gritty City Sirens begin?

Rosie Cheex was the initial driver behind the formation of the Sirens.

She developed a passion for the art form over several years and with fierce determination she resolved to bring burlesque to Tacoma!  When the time was right she put the word out, found three lovely ladies who shared her goals and enhanced her long term vision of the troupe- Ava D’Jor, Funny Face Fanny, and Polly PuckerUp joined her at that time and the Sirens were formed!

Since then the Sirens have continued to blossom with in their first year, adding to their talent Tizzy Van Tassel, Pistolita, Pretty Ricky, Kitty Kisses, Dean Jameson and Heather Hostility

3. What’s the biggest misconception about burlesque shows?

There are two misconceptions that are both quite easy to pinpoint and quite stereotypical in their general assumption

1) being that Burlesque is “new” or trendy based on a recent surge of films on the genre

2) that being a burlesque performer is a fancy word for being a stripper and that its both naughty and x-rated.

Burlesque is the art of the TEASE, its not about simply “stripping”, rather the journey we take our audience on in that short span of time while we are onstage- not the end result. Burlesque has a rich history & been an empowering art form for over 100 years. Developing acts that feature and cultivate emotional responses that our audience can connect to through comedy , longing, sadness, sensuality and confidence is not something a stripper does. If anything it’s ribald satire directed at adults.

It’s sexual acceptance. It’s a culture exploring it’s taboo. When we, as an audience, emerge on the other side, we have a better understanding of certain issues. It’s actually gratuitously funny. In the baroque era they thought it was healthy to experience a wide range of emotions at a show you might laugh, cry, be angry, be confused. It’s recreational!!!

4. If someone is interested in burlesque, how do they get started?

The best way to get started is to read the history. Go to shows, meet performers, watch videos, and take classes from established performers in your area.

5. What are you future plans for the Gritty City Sirens?

We hope to continue to revive the burlesque & vaudevillian scene for Tacoma by continuing to produce a wide variety of unforgettable, lively and entertaining shows.

In addition to take our show on the road and travel after we complete our 2nd Year anniversary this December!!!!

You can find more about the Gritty City Sirens on their Facebook page:

Also the Gritty City Sirens will be performing two shows at Jazzbones on April 14, 2012. Jazzbones is locations at 2803 6th Ave in Tacoma.

Thanks to Lisa Fruichantie for joining me for 5 Question Friday. As always, if you or anyone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, email me at and let me know.

–          Jack Cameron

A Prayer Walk For South Tacoma Homicide Victims

I was contacted by Pastor Ken Sikes from Manitou Park Presbyterian Church. Tomorrow on Good Friday (April 6th) he is hosting a prayer walk for the victims of homicides over the last five years in South Tacoma. I grew up in South Tacoma on South 40th and Fawcett so I’m partial to neighborhood. Unfortunately,  I’m unable to attend, but I’m certain that many of the people who come to this site might be interested so I thought I’d share the event.

Here’s the list of times and locations. For more about the event or Pastor Ken Sikes, check out his website at:

Stop  Time  Mile             Location                                  Person

1        12:00                    Manitou Park                              Fernando Sandoval  (17)

2        12:20 1                 5004 S. 58th St (top of loop)       Teofilo Knight (28)

3        12:45 2                 5000 S. Tyler                                       Kyle Grinnell (21)

4        1:15   3.25             34th and S. Madison                    Terrance Sand (42)

5        1:45   4.75             S. Union and 45th St.                  Donald M. McCaney (17)

6        2:00   4.85             S. Puget Sound & 45th St.            James Smith (37)

7        2:20   5.25             S. Cedar and 43rd St.                  Dowell Davis Thorn III (20)

8        2:35   5.9               S. Pine and 50th                          Georgia Gunzer (33)

9        2:50   6.25             S. Oakes and 54th                       James A. Guillory (28)

A        3:10   6.6               5400 Steele St.                          Joshua Thomas Gatbunton(20)

B        3:20   7                 Shell Station at 56th Interstate     Julio Segura-McIntosh (3)

C        3:50   8.7               74th & Oakes                              Jonathan Ragland (27)

D       4:10   9.2               72nd & Lawrence                         Laura Anne Carlson (46)

E        4:25   9.4               70th & Puget Sound                     Saul Lucas-Alfonso (25)

F        4:40   9.7               Manitou Trestle (66th & So. Tac Way)

Finish 5:00   10.3             Manitou Park Presbyterian Church

– Jack Cameron