Tag Archives: Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Pierce County Match Up’s Kate Miller

I know the weather hasn’t entirely cooperated lately, but it’s March. It will soon be spring. Many of us could stand to lose a few pounds. And even more of us could use some cash. So when Kate Miller from Pierce County Matchup contacted me about her program, I thought a lot of local people might be interested in this. Rather than trying to explain it myself, I asked Kate Miller to join me for 5 Question Friday. Here’s Kate:

1. What is the Pierce County Matchup?

The Pierce County Matchup is a three-month weight loss challenge in which teams of five compete to win $18,000 in cash prizes (first prize is $10,000; second place is $5,000; third place is $3,000).  The winning team is the one that loses the greatest percentage of weight during the contest.

The contest begins March 16th and runs through June 8th. The winners will be announced on June 9th at the Roman Meal Sound to Narrows. The entrance fee is $20/month for three months (or $60) for each member of your team.  The $60 fee allows you to compete for the $18,000 in cash prizes.


2. How did the Pierce County Matchup get started?

The Pierce County Matchup is a collaborative effort between HealthyWage, a popular, national company that encourages weight loss with three challenge offerings and cash incentives, Pierce County YMCA and MultiCare. Since 2009, HealthyWage has been helping been helping people across the country lose weight and get fit because they recognize that wellness is valuable.


3. How can people participate in the Pierce County Matchup?

Anyone can join the Pierce County Matchup. Signing up is as easy as visiting the Pierce County Matchup website. Verified weigh-ins must occur on March 14th, 15th or 16th at the following times and locations listed here.


4. What is your favorite thing about this project?

The best part of the Pierce County Matchup is being a part of helping the community get healthy!


5. What’s next for Pierce County Matchup?

The Matchup lasts for three months and will culminate with the exciting announcement of winners on June 9th at the Roman Meal Sound to Narrows.


I’d like to thank Kate for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday. As always, if you or anyone you know is interested in participating in a future 5 Question Friday, contact me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

-Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Tacoma Poet Laureate Josie Turner

This week’s 5 Question Friday is a guest post from Luke Byram. Luke has done a handful of these before and always finds interesting people. Here he is with Tacoma’s own Poet Laureate, Josie Turner. 

I first saw Josie Turner on CityLine talking about her recent appointment as Poet Laureate of Tacoma and her plans in that role. Without further ado… here is Josie Turner.


1. What do you most love about poetry, why?

The poetic form allows the reader/listener to open the imagination.   Poetry can make you laugh, cry, break your heart, bring the senses alive.  It is what makes us human – that appreciation for the emotion.

2. What is your number one goal as Poet Laureate? 

I just want people to become more aware of poetry, to realize that poetry is not an abstract, but a living art form.   People often  think poetry was something written in the 19th century or even before and thus, because of the complexity of reading language we are not use to hearing, people think poetry is unapproachable or only cerebral.  But poetry in its best contemporary form speaks to the human condition and its metaphor reaches the reader/listener in some deeper place of the soul.

3. What is your favorite type of poetry, why?

I like good well written poems that speak to me.  I don’t have a favorite type of poetry.  I am open to all forms and love the discovery and appreciation of new poets.

4. Who is your favorite poet, why?

I don’t have a favorite but am influenced by a wide range of poets.  In the area, I have tremendous respect for Allen Braden, Marjorie Rommel, Rachel Dilworth, Kelli  Agodon Russell, Kathleen Flinniken, Michael Magee… gosh there are so many.  Casting a wider net, some of the more contemporary poets I continue to return to include Lola Haskins, Jane Kenyon, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Mark Doty, WS Merwin.  I was raised on the coast of California and never tire of Robinson Jeffers.  We have a great press in Washington State – Copper Canyon  in Port Townsend.  I adore the various translations they have published and would recommend someone new to poetry to search their website for an interesting read.

5. What are your plans for 2012 as Poet Laureate? 

There was a recent death in my family so I am a bit behind firming up plans for this year.  That said, I plan to organize an activity around National Poetry Month in April and will be giving a couple of workshops – one in the spring and one in the fall.  I have been invited to read at Fogdog Poetry in Arlington in October and am looking forward to that.  In November, I hosted a reading by young poets at Kings Books.  I am very interested in promoting the efforts of youth and providing opportunities for them to read so I will be organizing another couple of these events in the coming months.

If you are interested in participating in 5 Question Friday or know of someone you think might make a good participant, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com  – Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With YOU!

This week we’re going to change it up a bit. Most of the people who come to this site are from Tacoma. So this week, 5 Question Friday is all yours. I’m going to ask 5 Questions and if you like, you can answer t hem in by commenting on this post. Let’s start with Tacoma Places.

Make your answers long or short, serious or funny.

1. Where is your favorite place in Tacoma to have a good dinner and why?

2. You’re drunk, but the night’s not over yet. What Tacoma dive bar is going to be graced with your presense?

3. What Tacoma business that is now gone do you wish would return?

4. Walking the waterfront. Ruston Way or Owen Beach?

5. What’s the most overrated place in the city of Tacoma?

I’ll be interested in what you come up with.

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Joslin Bernard From Babes For Boobs

Last week I was contacted by a woman named Joslin Bernard. She lives in Seattle, but she’s a former resident of Tacoma and she has a good cause that I feel people who come to this site would want to know about. It’s called ‘Babes For Boobs’. It’s a cancer charity.  Next Thursday my mother-in-law is going to have cancer surgery. She’s been fighting cancer for the last year. So cancer charities are something I pay a lot more attention to now. I feel bad that I didn’t before. What Joslin and the others are doing with Babes For Boobs is good for cancer and fun. I’m glad that Joslin and Babes For Boobs could take the time to be part of this week’s 5 Question Friday.

1. What is your personal history with cancer?
We are a group of friends, and friends of friends who decided to get together and take a stand against breast cancer. Most of the women involved in this project have had a friend or relative that has battled cancer at one point. Sisters Joslin and Darci have a mother who fought and defeated breast cancer, Babes for Boobs was founded in her honor.

2. How did Babes For Boobs get started?
In 2010 a group of us wanted to participate in a breast cancer walk. We were looking for a fun way to raise money and came up with this idea. We ran with it and within a week we had 12 models and a photographer lined up! Our photographer, Derek Johnson, stepped in and made it all happen. He had the experience we didn’t, and Babes For Boobs was born!

3. Where did you get the idea for the calendar?
I’m not sure how I came up with it. I was just sitting at home brain storming and it hit me! Instead of just asking for money, we could “sell” something that people would enjoy and would support a cause. At first it was said jokingly, but when I told my sister she loved the idea. We ended up shooting a few weeks later. Derek took the photos, edited them, created the calendar and even set up our website!

4. How can people get involved with Babes For Boobs?
They can “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BabesforBoobs, share the love on their wall, buy a calendar, or become a model in next years calendar. Our website is http://www.babesforboobscalendar.com

5. What do you see for the future of Babes For Boobs?
We would love to gain 501c3 status and have this be a huge money maker. We want to continue supporting cancer research, education and help fund things like mammograms for women that can’t afford them. The sky is the limit for Babes for Boobs!

I want to thank Joslin for taking the time to be part of this. I wish her and her group the best of luck. For more information about Babes For Boobs, check out the links above.

If, like Joslin, you think you might want to be part of 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

5 Question Friday With Fingerprint Confections’ Clay Richart

I first met Clay Richart about ten years ago when we both worked at Amazon.com. He’s a fairly laid back guy with an incredible music collection. We got along well. Thanks for Facebook, we’re still in touch. Since then he’s moved on to bigger and better things much like I have. The big difference being that he’s making candies with bacon in them and he has an Awesome mustache. Since five questions about a mustache would be somewhat dull, I decided I’d ask him about Fingerprint Confections, the new candy business he’s started with his wife, Holly. 

1. How did you and your wife start Fingerprint Confections?

I came across spicy candied Bacon through a friend of Holly. You dredge Bacon in sugar and chili pepper, and bake it. It comes out all candy coated and amazing.
We were making this like all the time, kids parties, afternoon snacks, you name it… I was commenting on how we needed a different delivery method for this flavor, and the wife mentioned candy.

2. What varieties have you made so far?

Well, Bacon was the first. After much insistence from Holly and her friends – I made my first batch of sea salt. I used Morroccan at first, now I use my own blend of 3 different French sea salts in all of the flavors. So aside from Bacon and sea salt the other flavors are:
-Caramel Loves Coconut
-Caramel Loves Lavender
-Caramel Loves Gingerbread

3. What’s your most memorable moment so far in this enterprise?

Some of the most memorable moments are really hard to remember. We have pulled a few all night scrambles to put the finishing touches on some special orders. I really like that Holly and I are able to collaborate in a way that we really never had before.

4. Where can people get your candies?

Well up until really recently, we were bootleggers – so you either had to know us, or someone we knew. Now we have opened it up a bit more. We have a FB page, just search for “Fingerprint Confections”, and we are just getting our website together: fingerprintconfections.com

5. What’s next for Fingerprint Confections?

Total global confection domination.

I’d like to thank Clay for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday and for making one more thing with bacon in it, though honestly, I like the sea salt ones better.

As always, if you or anyone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

About My Tacoma Homicide Posts

Originally, I started writing about homicides in Tacoma because of Tacoma’s reputation as a city of crime. Tacoma has a long and colorful history of crime and corruption. That history continues, but when it comes to homicides, Tacoma really isn’t as dangerous as it used to be. Crime rates have dropped significantly since the 1990s. My original purpose was to show that there really aren’t that many homicides in Tacoma. Usually about one a month.

Since most media reports tend to focus on the killer, I chose to focus instead on the victim. Personally, I don’t think killing someone should make you a household name. So whenever possible, I don’t mention the name of the killer. Another aspect of it is that the victim is usually forgotten and little if anything is written about who the person was. I wanted to write about these people who could no longer share their story, whatever their story was.

Soon after I started doing this, I found a new purpose in writing about these murders. I found that friends and relatives of the victim would often contact me. Some would be old friends who hadn’t seen the victim in years and only found out they had died through a Google search that found my site. Others would be mothers, wives, fathers and children of the victim. It became clear that what I was doing mattered to some people.

There was also the flipside of that coin. Particularly when gangs were involved, I’d get other messages. I’d get threatening emails. Once I got one with information only someone directly involved with the killing would have known. I forwarded that one on to the police. At the time, it occurred to me that while some liked what I was doing there were others who didn’t and some of those others were killers. And so I stopped for a few years.

During that time, I’d occasionally reread the emails from the friends and relatives of victims. I was contacted by one who asked me if I could find the name of the person who killed a woman a few years ago. It took a bit of research since I don’t mention killers, but the person who wrote me wanted to know who killed her mother. I sent her the information I had. I was reminded that what it comes down to is that the victims can no longer tell their story and someone should.

I started writing about Tacoma homicides again in 2011. I plan on continuing to do so for the foreseeable future. Because there have to be limits on something like this, I only write about homicides that occur in the city limits of Tacoma. I include police involved shootings because I am told that they are counted in official homicide statistics and because those victims have a story too. I don’t include vehicular homicides because they are much more difficult to write about. Often charges aren’t filed until much later, and writing about everyone who is killed in a car accident in Tacoma goes a bit outside of what this is for.

When writing about these crimes, I use whatever information is available to me at the time. I read newspaper articles, news sites and television news broadcasts. I also use whatever personal knowledge I might have of the victim, the area or any other information I might have. Whenever possible, I try to write it with a sympathetic ear towards the victim. This year, that’s been a bit difficult. There were two police involved shootings and two instances where a homeowner shot intruders in their house. While it’s debatable whether they were justifiable or not, there were no charges filed in these cases and in each of them, it’s understandable why events occurred the way they did.

I’m not a reporter. I’m not objective. I do have an opinion on each homicide I write about. I try not to let that influence me too much, but it’s impossible to keep my bias out of something I write. I’ll be the first to admit that occasionally I get it wrong. Often this is due to a lack of information on the case at the time that I’m writing about it. This is why I tend to wait until the name of the victim is released. Usually by that time, the story of what happened is out there and reasonably complete.

It’s my hope that telling these stories helps those who have lost someone and gives others a better picture of people Tacoma has lost.

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Jamie Chase from Credit Union Strategic Planning

I first met Jamie Chase many years ago. There are people you meet and you forget about them. If life were a movie, they’d be an extra. Jamie Chase could never be that. She’s smart, outspoken and willing to back up what she thinks with action. She’s exactly the sort of person I want participating in 5 Question Friday and amazingly enough, she took the time to indulge me.

With all the talk about corporate greed and big banks, I can think of no better time to start talking about credit unions. And there’s really no one better to do that than Jamie Chase. Here she is.

1. For those who don’t know, what are the major differences between a bank and a credit union?

There are two major differences between a credit union and a bank:

    1. Credit unions are not-for-profit service organizations. They exist to provide a community service. Banks are profit driven companies. In this environment banks are profit maximizing. Banks make choices to make the most profit possible for their business. Credit union make choices to give the best service possible.
    2. Credit unions are member-owned cooperatives, like the Tacoma Food Co-op, REI, USAA, and PCC. The member-owners elect volunteers to represent them, to protect them. As a result, the volunteer board of directors make sure the credit union never makes choices like Bank of America did this week to charge $9 a month to use a branch and $5 a month to use a debit card. This is one reason, beyond being not-for-profit, why credit unions do not have sky-high fees on credit cards and didn’t trick people into buying houses they couldn’t afford.

2. BofA and Citibank have both announced monthly fees for use of debit cards resulting in many people considering credit unions instead. What should a prospective customer look for in a credit union?

Given that all credit unions are not-for-profit. They are all a better choice than banks. When a person switches, they should look for a credit union that is located close to their home or work. I also recommend a credit union that is part of the shared branching network. With shared branching, credit unions from all over the country share facilities to give members thousands of convenient locations to perform transactions just as if they were in their home credit union. Imagine Bank of America sharing their branches with Key Bank, hilarious. Yes, credit unions really do this. Why? Because their mission is service. They work together, cooperate, instead of competing.

3. What is CU  Strategic Planning?

It is a small business located in Tacoma, WA that invents poverty reduction programs deployed through not-for-profit credit unions that serve distressed communities across the United States. We are the number one writer of Department of Treasury, Community Development Financial Institution grants for credit unions. As a result, every year we assist credit unions with obtaining millions of dollars in grants so that they can deploy loans to small businesses to create jobs, moderate and low income people to purchase or maintain affordable housing and for unsecured alternatives to payday loans that move people from debt to asset building.

4. For Tacomans, what credit union(s) would you recommend?

My top recommendation is BECU. It has the best rates and along with Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union (SMCU) is the most philosophical for consumers that love the cooperative principles.

Harborstone offers the best small business services. TAPCO has the friendliest head teller, Cindy, but they are not part of the shared banking network. Heather at Sound Credit Union’s 38th Street and Pacific Ave. location is one of the best tellers in the state.

Express Credit Union and TULIP Cooperative Credit Union serve low income consumers with poor credit scores. If your friends can’t open an account at a mainstream credit union, these credit unions have a special mission to help out.

5. With all of the recent bank consolidations, what do you think the future holds for credit unions?

Credit unions are the solution, and that will become more clear to people. Right now, we can all move our car loans and credit card balances to credit unions from the higher interest charging banks. Why would you not do this immediately. Run, don’t walk.  The mission of credit unions is, “People helping people to help themselves.” That is exactly what people need. I also see credit unions providing financial education and helping consumers to improve their credit. The new answer for credit unions that may have declined a loan to a consumer in the past will not be, “No, we can’t lend to you. “ It will become, “We can’t give you a loan right now, but if you take this class your credit score will improve and we will give you a loan in two months.” That is very powerful. They do this because they exist only to serve.

I’d like to thank Jamie for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday. Feel free to comment below. Got comments you just want to send to me? Got someone in mind for a 5 Question Friday? Email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

–          Jack Cameron

As an added bonus, Jamie included the following piece below for those of you interested in leaving your big bank for a local credit union. Enjoy:

How to move your money from a profit-maximizing bank to a not-for-profit credit union:

  1. Withdraw your money. Close your corporate bank account.
  2. Use theGo to http://www.findacreditunion.com/ to find a not-for-profit credit union you are eligible to join.
  3. Joining the credit union is just like opening an account at a bank, only when you “join” you become an owner/member of the cooperative. Yes, credit unions are cooperative and you are the owner, in addition to being not-for-profit. This is the big ideological difference between the creation, management and motives of credit unions and banks.

The most important step in the switch from a bank to a CU:

  1. Ask the credit union to transfer your car loan, credit card balances and mortgage from your various banks into the credit union.
    1. You will save hundreds of dollars and pay off the loans faster! Credit union not-for-profit rates are much lower than profit-maximizing banks.
    2. This is how you really Occupy from Home. Stop the banks from making money off of YOU! They make their money from the interest you pay on your loans, far more profit than from your debit card fees.

And finally:

  1. Set up online banking, direct deposit and automatic payments that were previously connected to your account at the evil bank.

Your new credit union will help you with all of this. Why? Because you will be an owner, and credit union’s exist to serve. In fact the credit union mantra is:

“People helping People to Help Themselves.”

By: Jamie Chase, Instigator of Goodness, and inventor of poverty reduction programs deployed through credit unions across the nation serving distressed communities and underserved populations that are unprofitable to corporate banks.