Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ninth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Hyson Sabb

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41-year-old Hyson Sabb arrived at a house near the 1500 block of South L Street last Saturday night around 10pm. A female friend of his was arguing with a 50-year-old man. The argument was getting physical. Hyson decided to get involved. The argument between the two men became heated. The older man threatened to kill Hyson and then left saying he would be back. Charging papers say that Hyson had his friend retrieve a gun from Hyson’s trunk. It was unloaded. Hyson allegedly talked with another friend about getting bullets, but then the older man returned. The older man stopped his car in the street, got out of the car and shot at Hyson hitting him at least once. Hyson was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.

Two weeks earlier, Hyson Sabb had eloped with his fiancé Adreine. They had a child together. Friends say he was looking at turning his life around. Instead Hyson Sabb is the ninth Tacoma homicide victim this year. And the fourth one on Tacoma’s Hilltop in the last twelve months.

At the time of this writing Tacoma Police have issued a warrant for 50-year-old Yancy Ray for Hyson’s murder. Crime Stoppers if offering a $1,000 for the arrest and charges filed against him. Read more about it here.

It’s easy for those who do not know the victim to think of it as just another shooting. If you’re connected to the victim, it’s anything but. Over the last decade that I’ve been writing about Tacoma homicides, I have heard from family and friends of homicide victims months and years after the event. The loss of a loved one echoes through the rest of their lives. In this case a child will grow up never knowing their father. My thoughts are with the friends and family of Hyson Sabb. I am sorry for your loss.

As always, the comments section is moderated. Only comments from friends and family of the victim will be approved.

– Jack Cameron

Eighth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Emmitt Taylor Jr.

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On the evening of July 10th 59-year-old Emmitt Taylor Jr. was drinking at a homeless camp with a woman he knew near the 1100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. They were joined by a 24-year-old man. At some point the man and Emmitt got into an argument. The argument got loud but eventually Emmitt chose to walk away. The other man followed. Emmitt was found a short distance away bleeding from the head. He was dead when paramedics arrived.

The 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged with first degree manslaughter.

This is Tacoma’s eighth homicide this year. And the second one that went virtually unreported by the press until someone was charged with his killing. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out much about Emmitt. This I have found is quite common with the homeless population. They rarely leave a digital footprint, but they are every bit as worthy of remembrance.

Associated Ministries is performing a moment of blessing at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South 11th Street today, July 20th from 3:30pm -3:45pm

Emmitt’s only daughter contacted  me and provided the photo above. She said he did all he could as a father and grandfather. He will be missed.

As always the comments section is reserved for friends and family who knew him to share any thought or memories they might like to share.

– Jack Cameron

Seventh Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Samuel Cruces Vasquez

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I have operated TacomaStories.com as a one-man website for ten years in one form or another. In that time I have made media, police, and government contacts, but my resources remain limited. This means that sometimes a homicide happens in Tacoma and I don’t find out about it until weeks or months later because it was never in the news. Such is the case with the death of 24-year-old Samuel Cruces Vasquez. His homicide went unreported in the media until a man was charged with his murder two weeks ago.

On April 28th, Samuel ended his shift at a restaurant in Southcenter Mall at around 10:30pm. He made a phone call to a friend saying he was going out for drinks. A little less than an hour later Samuel was found in 7800 block of South Trafton in Tacoma on the ground outside of his car. A butterfly knife was nearby. He had been stabbed multiple times. Paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital where he later died.

A friend of his was later arrested for the stabbing. The friend claimed it was part of a gang initiation. Samuel Cruces Vasquez was the seventh Tacoma homicide this year.

His girlfriend says that he was a very caring person who always put others before himself. He was also the father of two children.

As always the comments section is reserved for friends and family who knew him to share any thought or memories they might like to share.

– Jack Cameron

Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Marquel Bradley

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In the early morning hours of Saturday April 16th, 23-year-old Marquel Bradley was standing on near East 35th and L Street with a group of other people. At around 3:45am, a couple in a Dodge Avenger showed up. Survelience video shows that someone fired a shot at the car. One of the people in the car got out and shot into the group of people. There were at least 71 shots fired over the course of a minute. When the shooting was over, the couple in the vehicle drove a few blocks before their car with twelve bullet holes, a flat tire, and a steaming engine stopped working. They were soon arrested. Back at the scene of the shooting Marquel Bradley who was unarmed and had fired no shots at all had been shot in the head. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical in critical condition.

Marquel Bradley died ten days later. He was a family man with a six-year-old daughter and a fiancé with another child on the way. He would walk his daughter to and from school every day. Friends and family say he was funny. He had a real presence when he walked into the room.

Marquel is the sixth Tacoma homicide this year and the second homicide this year on Tacoma’s East Side. East Side residents have been fighting a battle for their neighborhoods for most of my life. It’s an area full of lower middle class residents who want what’s best for the community.  Recently the community came up with plans for a new East Side Community Center. It will include water slides, a recording studio, a teaching kitchen, and a 300-person social hall. You can find out more about this at   http://www.ImagineEastSide.org

We cannot bring Marquel Bradley back, but we can help make sure his children and our own grow up with a better East Side.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for friends and family of Marquel. Marquel’s mother has put up a GoFundMe page to help with the costs of his funeral and his young family. Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/2fcegmdv

– Jack Cameron

Wanted: JD Ashton For Theft

jd2I had my X-Box 360 for over eight years. For the last three years you had to leave a disc in it or the disc tray would not open. About six months ago it not only had trouble opening but sometimes would not read the disc. It was dying, but it had lasted a long time and served by my son and me well. Two months ago I got the money together to replace the X-Box 360. It wasn’t easy. I’m a full-time student. I don’t have a lot of income. But I managed to get the money together and over the last couple of months I even purchased a few games.

Anyone who has been to my house can tell you that I don’t own much. I have a couple of nice things but most of what I own was given to me secondhand or bought at a thrift shop or yard sale. I can count on one hand the things I own that I spent over $100 on.

Over the weekend my girlfriend and I went on a two-day vacation to celebrate the third anniversary of our first date. This again was something we saved for months to do.

My 18-year-old son had the house to himself and chose to invite three friends over Saturday night. As parents-out-of-town-parties go, that’s pretty low-key. They went to sleep around 4:00am. One of them, a young man who goes by the name of JD Ashton got up, took our X-Box One (Serial #207185552648) , six games, and walked out the door sometime before 7:00am.

A quick check at his ex-girlfriend’s finds that she kicked him out the day before. The Tacoma Police Department was notified of the theft and we were given a case number. My son and I did our best to get the word out about this thief. It turns out this was far from his first theft. Multiple individuals have come forward to say he stole items from them as well. Many of these were people who had previously considered him a friend. It also turns out that when owners of the downtown skate shop Grit City Grindhouse saw the photo, they recognized him as the man who broke into their shop last year and stole over $1,000 worth of equipment.

I rarely post personal things on this page. However, JD Ashton has nont only stolen from me. This young man has been stealing from Tacoma residents for years. He is wanted by the Tacoma Police Department right now. If you recognize him, see him, or have any information to share please contact the Tacoma Police Department at 253-798-4721 and reference Incident Report #1611509007.

I am certain I have not heard from all of his victims. If JD Ashton has stolen from you, please comment below with the details and incident report number if you have it.

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Sharayah Kinney From The Tacoma Tool Library

green-horizontal.pngLast week someone mentioned the opening of the Tacoma Tool Library. I had never heard of it but it sounded like an interesting idea. I contacted Sharayah Kinney at the Tacoma Tool Library and asked if she would like to join me for a 5 Question Friday to tell us more about it. She happily agreed. Here’s Sharayah.

1. What is the Tacoma Tool Library?

Tacoma Tool Library is a community project whose goal is to develop a sustainable, community tool lending library in Tacoma that is accessible to residents regardless of income. The library provides low cost access to shared tools and other durable goods, and encourages re-use, repair, and reduced consumption. In addition, it hosts a safe community space for learning how to use household tools, and empowers Tacoma residents to care for their homes and neighborhoods, house by house and block by block.

2. How can people participate in the Tacoma Tool Library?

Get involved by becoming a member and/or volunteering.

BECOME A MEMBER

Interested in becoming a member of the Tacoma Tool Library? We’d love to have you! We operate on a membership system, and ask members to give a yearly suggested donation to help us keep the doors open. Members have access to all of the tools in the library’s collection, and can also participate in workshops that are offered at the library. To become a member, please make a suggested donation either online or in person at the library. We’ll also ask you to sign a membership form, waiver, and tool use & borrowing policy the first time you use the library.

Suggested donation levels:

  • $40 General
  • $30 Student/Senior
  • $20 Low-Income
  • $100 Founding Member
  • $150 Business
  • $250 Lifetime Member

VOLUNTEER

Tacoma Tool Library is currently volunteer run. We have five board members and a network of volunteers who help us with our day to day operations. We are looking for folks with knowledge of and experience with tools, but don’t be discouraged if you are a beginner, you can learn with us. As we prepare to open we are especially in need of volunteers with these skills:

  • Knowledge of tool repair
  • Knowledge about specific types of tools (ex. plumbing, automotive, etc.)
  • Interior construction
  • Tool sharpening
  • Data entry
  • Customer service
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Teaching experience/ interest in teaching a workshop

If you are interested in volunteering with us please send an email to info@tacomatoollibrary.com or call us at 954.866.5253.

 

3. What are tools you don’t have in the library that you’d like to get?

Here’s a list of our greatest needs at the moment:

  • Sawzall
  • Multi-tool
  • Impact hammer
  • Chop saw
  • Wet/dry vac
  • Ladder
  • Extension cord
  • Hand truck

We would also like to have some more uncommon such as an engine lift, scaffolding, and weed wrenches.

To donate tools, check out the calendar page on our website for upcoming open hours or contact us at info@tacomatoollibrary.com. We accept all tools in good working order, except for gas-powered.

 

4. How can people help the Tacoma Tool Library?

Become part of the tool library community, whether through donating your time, skills, or money.

 

5. What do you hope for the future of Tacoma Tool Library?

Since we just officially opened our hope for the future is focused on goals to accomplish within the next year, such as expanding our membership, increasing the number of volunteers involved, adding to our inventory of tools available and implementing a series of workshops. At some point in time, we hope to be able to have a portion of our space used for a makerspace, where members can use tools in the space that are too big to check out.

I want to thank Sharayah for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday. You can find out more about the Tacoma Tool Library at their website http://tacomatoollibrary.org. If you or someone you know would like to participate in a future 5 Question Friday email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com. 

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday Regarding The Proposed Methanol Plant

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If you live in Tacoma, you’ve probably heard something about the methanol plant being proposed for the Port of Tacoma. There have been recent meetings about the topic. The Tacoma City Council has been notably quiet about the issue. (Though it is worth noting that the idea for this 5 Question Friday came from a Tacoma City Councilperson who contacted me.) The neighboring Federal Way City Council just last night held an emergency session to condemn the plan.

Over the last few weeks, I have contacted many people about this issue. And for this week’s 5 Question Friday I contacted the Port of Tacoma (the location where the plant may be built), NW Innovation Works (the company building the plant), and Redline Tacoma (a grassroots activist group against the plant). I asked them each the same five questions. The idea here is to get different perspectives on the same topic from people closer to this project than I am.

Here we go: 

1.What is the basic plan at this time for the proposed methanol plant?

Port of Tacoma: I’ll defer to Northwest Innovation Works on its plans for the proposed facility.

NW Innovation Works: NW Innovation Works proposes to construct a two-phased, $3.4 billion gas-to-methanol plant at the Port of Tacoma. Methanol produced at this facility will be exported to Asia, where companies will convert it to olefins, which are the building blocks of products we use every day like medical supplies; safety and industrial equipment; consumer electronics like smartphones, televisions and computers; and clothing. The plant will include up to four methanol production lines, each with a production capacity of 5,000 metric tons per day, for a total of 20,000 metric tons per day. At the peak of construction, the project will create up to 1,000 jobs. Once operational, the facility will employ approximately 260 full-time jobs.

The plant will utilize ultra-low emissions (ULE) reforming technology, which will emit substantially lower greenhouse gas and other air pollutants compared to conventional technologies for reforming natural gas to methanol.

The facility is planned for the former Kaiser property, returning the site to productive use for industrial manufacturing that generates jobs and local revenue. Nearby facilities include Schnitzer Steel, Targa Sound Terminals, and Port of Tacoma breakbulk- and containerized cargo facilities. The Port of Tacoma approved a lease agreement with NW Innovation Works in May 2014, allowing the permitting processes with the appropriate regulatory agencies to begin.

Redline Tacoma: NWIW Tacoma LLC proposed the largest methanol refinery in the world for the heart of our city. NWIW LLC never built anything, anywhere. The refinery is proposed to consume 14.4 million gallons of fresh drinking water per day, 450 MW electricity and 524 million cubic feet of fracked gas per day. It would pump about 1.4 million gallons polluted waste water each day into the City of Tacoma water treatment facility and it would release toxins such as sulfur dioxide, benzene and formaldehyde. The sole purpose for the refinery would be to feed a plastics manufacturing facility in the city of Dalian, China, who is also a financial backer of the project.

 

2. What aspect of this project do you feel is most misunderstood by the public?

Port of Tacoma:  When the studies are complete, the data may well show the facility has a significant net environmental benefit. Facts about a proposed development are fleshed out during the environmental review process, but, in this case, misinformation without any basis in fact has been allowed to overshadow data and rational conversation. Here are some of the reasons the Port of Tacoma considered this proposal a good fit for the former Kaiser Aluminum smelter site.

  • Environmental benefits: Many of the products we use every day—cell phones, eyeglasses and contact lenses, exercise clothing and gear, medical devices, carpeting, toys, camping gear, the plastic components in buses, trains, airplanes and other common items—have traditionally been made with coal and oil. Replacing coal and oil with methanol, a clean, biodegradable manufacturing feedstock, would improve global air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Environmental regulation: I have heard some people express concerns that the facility would pollute our air, water and land. Washington state has among the most stringent regulations in the nation. A manufacturing facility that cannot meet or exceed these hundreds of regulations could not be built. The contamination the Port removed from the property after purchasing it from Kaiser occurred before these regulations existed.
  • Proven commodity: Methanol facilities have operated safely all over the world for decades. The Methanol Institute, an industry association, reports there are more than 90 facilities all over the world, and each day more than 80,000 metric tons of methanol is shipped from one continent to another. More information about methanol facilities and uses is available on the Methanol Institute’s website: http://www.methanol.org/Methanol-Basics/The-Methanol-Industry.aspx.
  • Environmental review process: Many people professed shock that they hadn’t heard of the proposal until now, when, in fact, the environmental review process is the first step in examining the feasibility of a development. The steps generally are environmental review (scope, draft EIS, final EIS) and permit applications—all of which have public comment periods—before any construction can begin. A typical comment period is 30 days with one public hearing. This process is more than twice the standard.

NW Innovation Works: The NW Innovation Works Tacoma facility offers a more environmentally responsible way to produce the items we all use every day. By using natural gas instead of coal, emissions are reduced 70 percent. NWIW is taking an even bigger step by using ultra-low emission technology, which result in an even greater (up to 75 percent more) reduction in emissions compared to coal.

Methanol is water-soluble, bio-degradable, and non-carcinogenic. You can buy methanol at your grocery store, gas station, hardware store and even on Amazon.com. The methanol produced at the Tacoma facility will not be used just for cheap plastic products, but instead for several important products we use every day, like insulin pumps, hearing aids, smartphones, eyeglasses, contact lenses, clothing, industrial equipment and more.

Redline Tacoma: The Pacific Northwest and in particular the Puget Sound region is becoming a major through way for massive fossil fuel exports. Tacoma already has the distinction of being traversed with the most oil trains, 80,000 barrels a day and climbing, rattling away on underinsured, publicly owned Tacoma Rail. Also proposed for the port of Tacoma is a Bellevue-based, Australia owned PugetSoundEnergy LLC Liquefied Natural Gas export facility. This LNG tank would be 18 stories tall and hold 8 million gallons of liquid fracked gas held at MINIS 260 degrees. LNG is very dangerous and international standards say it can only be built 3 miles away from civilians. We are not just dealing with methanol, but with becoming the toxic petrochemical kitchen for exporting our natural resources at an unprecedented scale.

3. Residential use of water in Tacoma is 5.7 million gallons a year. The new plant requires 3.8 million gallons a year. We had a drought last summer where we were all told to conserve 10% of our water. If similar conditions should occur in the future, what assurances do we have that residential use of water will have the priority?

Port of Tacoma:  I’ll defer to Northwest Innovation Works and/or Tacoma Public Utilities on the proposed facility’s water use and availability and sources of water.

NW Innovation Works: Tacoma Water has 242 million gallons available on a daily basis and an additional 183 million gallons in storage, according to the Tacoma Public Utilities website (http://www.mytpu.org/tacomawater/water-source/supply-storage.htm).

And according to data available from the TPU’s publicly available 2014 Financial Statement, this is the breakdown of water use on an annual and daily basis:

Data from 2014 Financial Statements

Customer class Billion gal/year Million gal/day
WestRock (papermill) 6.05 16.6
Residential 7.97 21.8
All other, Commercial and Industrial 3.17 8.7
Total 17.19 47.1

NWIW will employ innovative design features that allow for greater volumes of water to be reused throughout the process. The majority of the water at the plant will be used for cooling and will be released back into the atmosphere as water vapor, with small percentages consumed in the methanol production process.

We will work with the Port of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Utilities to make sure we are responsible during regular and potentially changing conditions.

Redline Tacoma: There are no assurances at this point. Who will get the water? Hospitals, schools, Metro Parks, breweries, hotels, farmers, salmon, vegetables, paper industry, export facilities or the already fastest water bottling plant in the world Niagara Bottling? Niagara’s water use went up drastically during the drought, see below: Niagara water use '14,'15.

 

4. What infrastructure will be in place to handle the practical and financial consequences if something goes wrong at the plant and there’s an explosion or other dangerous incident?

Port of Tacoma: Here’s what we know so far. A new fire station is scheduled to open in the Tideflats area as a result of Puget Sound Energy’s planned liquefied natural gas facility. An Intelligent Transportation System, which will help guide traffic through the industrial area, is also planned for the Tideflats. The Environmental Impact Statement will determine what other enhancements might be required.

NW Innovation Works: We absolutely understand that safety is a community concern, and it’s one shared by the project team. Safety is always our first priority. Methanol is safely produced, manufactured, stored and transported within the United States and internationally. NWIW will maintain this strong safety record and is committed to working with stakeholders and community members to build a facility that meets or exceeds applicable safety standards.

We are working with appropriate emergency responders and authorities to plan state-of-the art safety systems as we plan our system design. We will develop emergency preparedness and response plans for local and state approval to address potential spills, fire and security at each site. In addition, each facility will have a dedicated and trained on-site fire brigade and equipment to support emergency response.

Redline Tacoma:  NWIW Tacoma LLC is a limited liability corporation. LLC’s take the profits and pay it out to investors. The money is gone. Should something go wrong, they simply declare bankruptcy and Tacoma and the Port will have to deal with it. Should the accident be bad enough we can call FEMA. NWIW Tacoma LLC is not just one corporations, it is made up of several LLC’s, or shell companies. They can re-incorporate every year and can have a tax shelter somewhere in a tax-free heaven. Tacoma in its history always let industry pollute and when they made enough profit, they pull out and leave the toxic mess for Tacoma to clean up and live with it.

5. Do you see the methanol plant as a good thing for the future of the city and port of Tacoma and why?

Port of Tacoma: Tacoma has the opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gases to address climate change by providing cleaner alternatives to the coal and oil currently used to produce consumer goods we use every day. It’s important for us to fully understand the potential impacts of any development. I hope people will keep an open mind as we gather all the facts because we have an opportunity be a global climate leader, helping build a bridge to a cleaner future while creating valuable jobs for our community.

If the environmental review demonstrates the proposal’s feasibility, this could be a positive transformational project that provides global environmental benefits, hundreds of family-wage jobs and sizable city and school tax revenues.

NW Innovation Works: Tacoma has a proud history of pioneering innovation and being at the forefront of embracing the opportunities of our ever changing world.  With the NWIW proposal, we have the chance to build on that foundation and create a better future not just for ourselves, but for everyone who is concerned about climate change.

NWIW is proposing to pioneer a technology that that can transform how methanol is produced, removing coal from the equation and providing the world a cleaner way to manufacture goods essential to our daily lives.

This facility provides a way for Tacoma to be part of the global fight to reduce climate change. In addition, the project represents a $3.4 billion investment in the local economy that will create approximately 1,000 jobs during construction and 260 full-time jobs during operation of the facility.

Redline Tacoma:  Turning our publicly owned natural resources into a toxic chemical for export and plastic manufacturing is stunningly short sighted.

 

I want to thank the representatives at the Port of Tacoma, NW Innovation Works, and Redline Tacoma for taking time out of their schedules to answer these questions.

You can find further information about the Port of Tacoma on their website at http://portoftacoma.com

You can find further information about NW Innovation Works at http://nwinnovationworks.com/

You can find further information about Redline Tacoma at http://redlinetacoma.org/

What are your thoughts on the methanol plant? Feel free to comment. All comments are moderated by me, but I’ll be fairly open to whatever you want to post as long as it’s substantive. 

– Jack Cameron