Cities, culture, business hold great expectations for 2014

c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.comDecember 31, 2013 

It’s been one of those years, and now here comes another one. So Happy New Year, 2014.

Here’s a just a little hint of what you can expect in and around the South Sound.

TACOMA

A new hotel on the Foss Waterway, at last? Maybe. McMenamin’s new facility in the old Elks Temple near downtown? Maybe.

Can Point Ruston continue expanding and building its retail core, or will it stagnate with but a single large building completed? And how many of the 1,500 apartments on the drawing board in Tacoma will be completed as the economy continues to stew quietly? Will the economy continue to stew quietly? Will the people of the Proctor District welcome a large retail-residential complex, and how will Tacoma riders react when asked to pay to ride the Link?

But enough questions. Here’s some facts.

MultiCare, the county’s largest private employer, will hire a new CEO. Bass Pro Shops will open its premier Pacific Northwest store in South Tacoma. State Farm will continue expanding downtown.

Old City Hall will remain under the watchful eye of city inspectors who hope to prevent further deterioration. Wells Fargo Bank will move its downtown branch from the Wells Fargo Tower to a smaller location on lower Pacific Avenue. Columbia Bank will move from Broadway to its headquarters on A Street.

At the Port of Tacoma, officials will continue looking for buyers interested in port properties in Maytown and at the former Kaiser Aluminum facility, both now facing a second round of tire-kickers.

Mars Hill Church, home to high-energy worship music and conservative Christian views, later next month will celebrate the grand opening of its Tacoma location at the former First Congregational Church near Wright Park.

MUSEUMS AND SUCH

The Haub Family Galleries – with a magnificent collection of Western art – will open in late fall at the Tacoma Art Museum. Other TAM exhibitions will include a look at female artists: rarely seen early works of Agnes Martin later next month; Northwest artist Camille Patha in February; and photographer Matika Wilbur, a member of the Swinomish Tribe, in May.

America’s Car Museum will looks at “Vee Dub Bohemian Beauties” through April, then celebrate 50 years of the Mustang beginning April 12. The hoods will go up for an extended Father’s Day recognition in June. And the rebranded Pacific Northwest Concours d’Elegance will arrive in September.

At the Museum of Glass, “Tradition in Transition,” an exhibition of Irish glass, will continue through September. “Irish Cylinders” by Dale Chihuly and Saver Leslie likewise.

Tacoma-based Dan Parker, one of only 13 certified LEGO professional builders, will open his “Block By Block” LEGO exhibition at the EMP in Seattle.

CULTURE

Judy Collins will sing at the Pantages next month, followed by the family-friendly Stunt Dog Experience in February. The six-year, 10-play August Wilson cycle will culminate with “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” in February at Theatre on the Square, while Australia’s Ten Tenors will hit the Pantages on Valentine’s Day.

The Tacoma Concert Band will present a pair of world premiers March 1, featuring a work by Philip Sparke and a new version of Robert Jager’s “A Sea of Glass Mingled with Fire.”

Ira Glass will come to town in May. So will Red Green. “Hair” will play in April.

A new musical director at the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Sarah Ioannides, will begin fulfilling a five-year contract in July. The 41-year-old Oxford-educated Australia native was one of some 120 applicants for the job, and she says she plans to bring the orchestra into the community.

Tacoma Opera will offer “Barber of Seville” in February and “Madama Butterfly” come April. Northwest Sinfonietta will go with J.S. Bach’s monumental “St. John Passion” in March.

In May, Tacoma Youth Symphony will present “Bolero.”

Look for artist Sean Orlando’s work on the “art gateway” at the 26th Street and Pacific Avenue Sounder pedestrian overpass.

August will see the first Destiny City Film Festival at the Blue Mouse Theatre, and July will see the 28th Pacific Coast Swiss Singing and Yodeling Festival at Hotel Murano and in Bonney Lake.

Among other presentations, the Lakewood Players will offer “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” next month, and “Spamalot” in June. Tacoma Little Theater will offer “To Kill a Mockingbird” next month and “Bye Bye Birdie” in May. Tacoma Musical Playhouse will take on “La Cage Aux Folles” in May, then “Young Frankenstein” in July.

Merle Haggard will visit the Emerald Queen in March.

MILESTONES

Dylan Thomas would have been 100 years old in 2014. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown turns 75. The Corvette turns 60, and the Maserati marks 100. The Fender Stratocaster turns 60. Dr. Who enters his sixth decade. Shakespeare would have been 451.

Twiggy will turn 65 and Jimmy Carter 90. Richard Nixon resigned 40 years ago, and the Exxon Valdez oiled the shore of Alaska’s Prince William Sound 25 years ago. The Panama Canal turns 100.

It was 25 years ago that Chinese soldiers bloodied Tiananmen Square and 100 years since Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo – which means it’s been 100 years since World War I began. (The Washington State History Museum will present a display of World War I posters beginning Sept. 3.)

D-Day turns 70 in June. The “Star Spangled Banner” turns 200, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution turns 50, and it’s been 25 years since the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.

“Jeopardy,” the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and the first appearance of the Beatles on American television all celebrate their 50th anniversaries. So does the Good Friday Alaska Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

LEGALLY SPEAKING

Look for the trial of Jeremiah Hill, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of fellow soldier Tevin Feike.

The bankruptcies of Prium founders Tom Price and Hyun Um will stretch into a fourth year. A court trustee might force them to sell their million-dollar homes while other developers might be readying offers for other Prium properties, including the Winthrop Hotel.

Then there’s cannabis, marijuana, reefer, mary jane. Will Pierce County and University Place follow state law, which calls weed legal, or federal law, which does not? Which local potrepreneurs will win the privilege of growing, processing and selling the stuff? Stay tuned in, or out, as the case may be.

COUNTYWIDE

The Puyallup Planning Commission will begin to study approaches to Initiative 502, and the New Year will see a newly appointed mayor in the Fair City. The buzz around town, says Deputy Mayor John Knutsen, the only sitting City Council member who has served at least one full term, will be the successor to outgoing, term-limited Mayor Rick Hansen.

Julie Door and Heather Shadko, new members of the council, have the potential to change the dynamic of the group – which has a history of divisiveness. One major issue this year concerns improvements to Sound Transit access at the downtown Sounder station.

In Sumner in April, the 110,000-square-foot YMCA will break ground. (And in Tacoma, look for a new Y rising to serve the University of Washington Tacoma.)

FOOD

Gordon Naccarato will open Smoke+Cedar at the new Elks Lodge in Tacoma. Primo Grill stalwarts Charlie McManus and Jacqueline Plattner will move their pioneer Sixth Avenue Italian eatery to a new location a block or so away.

Grassi’s will come to University Place after being displaced from its longtime location in the University District in downtown Tacoma. Down the street where there once stood a Blockbuster, expect the opening of Applebee’s. Meanwhile, construction will begins on the UP Town Center retail anchor Whole Foods at 35th Street West and Bridgeport Way West.

Brown & Haley will work on redevelopment of the Mountain Bar.

SCHOOLS

Look for a bevy of levy elections in February.

In Tacoma, students will return to a revamped Washington Elementary School in September. Construction will begin in December on a permanent Science and Math Institute (SAMI) campus at Point Defiance.

Two elementary schools – Greenwood and Clarkmoor – are under construction at JBLM and should open in the fall. Elsewhere in Lakewood, the new Harrison Preparatory School and a school designed to replace Oakwood and Southgate elementary schools are under construction and slated to welcome students next year.

Charter schools? Stay tuned. A lawsuit might derail plans, although the smart money says charter schools might open in the state – and one in Tacoma – next fall.

ON TV

Say goodbye to Jay Leno in February, replaced by Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” and welcome Seth Myers to “Late Night.”

“Last Comic Standing” will return come summer, and “24” in May. “Downton Abbey” will arrive in January.

AT THE MOVIES

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Captain America,” “Godzilla,” another in the “Hunger” series, another visit to the “Planet of the Apes.” “Annie” in December,” “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” in March, “The Jersey Boys” in June. Add another “Spider Man,” plus “Pompeii.”

MILITARILY

Troops at JBLM will be taking on assignments worldwide now that the war in Afghanistan is over for now. Following a trend that began last year, more military service members will leave the armed forces than will go to war: Figure 8,000 troops separating or retiring in 2014 from JBLM.

Still, some local military units will likely deploy to Afghanistan, with Special Operations units among the last to come home. Add support units, including personnel from the base combat aviation brigade.

The Army will deactivate the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, known as the last combat brigade to fight in Iraq. Two remaining Stryker brigades will train this year in California, while JBLM personnel will likely head to East Asia for training exercises.

POLITICALLY

Three Pierce County Council members – Stan Flemming, Dan Roach and Rick Talbert – will face re-election, and the results could shift the balance of power within the halls at the County-City Building, which itself might face changes as the council decides, probably in the fourth quarter, whether to build a $67 million county headquarters on the campus of the former Puget Sound Hospital.

The state Democratic Party will hold its annual convention in Spokane in June. The state Republican Party will hold no convention, opting instead for something called a “leadership conference.” A state party spokesman said Republicans will stick with the platform from 2012.

Election-year dynamics might limit which problems state legislators are willing to tackle in their 60-day session and which they’ll save until 2015. Expect at least some discussion (if not passed legislation) concerning toxic flame retardants, controls on gun sales and whether to require health insurers to include abortion in policies that cover maternity care.

Gov. Jay Inslee will look for headway on a major transportation tax package. All 98 seats in the state House and 49 seats in the state Senate will be on the ballot, and so it might be risky for officials to ask for a hike in the gas tax to help solve transportation issues. And so it could be 2015 before anything gets done.

But state lawmakers will not have the option to hide from the issue of school funding, as the Legislature is under orders from the Washington State Supreme Court to fund public education. State schools chief Randy Dorn has asked for $544 million toward that goal.

Senate Republicans say their top priority is reform of the state’s workers’ compensation policies.

In Congress, all 10 state seats are in play.

Nationally, look for the launch (and the un-launching) of presidential campaigns. After all, only 34 months remain until we elect a successor to Barack Obama.

Later in the year, Tacoma City Councilman Anders “Semper Fi” Ibsen will return from training to become a U.S. Marine.

And then there’s the whole Boeing thing. Is $8.7 billion in tax incentives enough to keep the planemaker in-state? We’ll see. The Machinists will vote later this week.

SPEAKING OF WHICH

Expect the maiden flight of Boeing’s aerial tanker, the KC-46A in 2014. The derivative of the 767 will be built in Everett and could attract orders beyond the 179 planes the Air Force ordered three years ago. Possible customers include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Korea and India.

SPORTS

Former New York Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano will join the Seattle Mariners, who paid $240 million for the privilege of his presence at Safeco Field. Also new to the team will be Corey Hart, lately of Milwaukee, and Logan Morrison, formerly at Miami. Add a new manager – the eighth in 10 years – in the person of the recent Pirate Lloyd McClendon.

Chris Peterson, who painted the Boise State University field blue and earned a record of 92-12, will replace Steve Whatever-his-name-was who has left the Huskies for greener pastures in California.

The Winter Olympics will land in Sochi. The World Cup heads to Brazil

Tacoma will host the Tacoma City Marathon on May 4 (the same day Spokane plans to host its annual Bloomsday run).

The Seahawks travel east to Super Bowl XLVIII in February, and they will beat the Denver Broncos by a score of XXVII-XIII.

MISCELLANEOUS

New sharks — bamboo and epaulette varieties — will come to the Stingray Cove touch-tank at the Point Defiance Zoo. Critically endangered black and white ruffed lemurs will head to the Kids’ Zone. Meanwhile, last year’s moose, fox kits and wolf pups adjust to new surroundings at Northwest Trek.

Look for the Kalakala to leave the Hylebos Waterway. Really. It’s finally going away.

The 81st annual Daffodil Festival — with a theme of “Ready, Set, Grow” — will host the three-city Grand Floral Parade on April 5.

GATHERINGS

The Go West Summit will come to Tacoma in February with 450 domestic and international tour operators filling the Murano and Marriott hotels. They’ll be visiting Mount Rainier and South Sound museums, and perhaps wine country across the mountains.

In March, 2,000 Mary Kay enthusiasts will turn the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center pink. Indoor gardeners, again in the neighborhood of 2,000, will visit in April. In June, the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show will return for its sophomore year at the convention center. Add a flurry of cheerleading competitions and displays, and Gymnastics USA later this month.

Monster trucks will return once again to the Tacoma Dome, and Mylie Cyrus will twerk her way into town next month. Bullriders arrive in March, and the Nuclear Cowboys will bring their motorcycle stunts in April. George Strait will continue his farewell tour that same month.

And as the Dome ends its 30th anniversary celebration, look for the city to begin aggressively marketing naming rights and signage rights at the facility.

MILESTONES, PART 2

Barbara Walters, Arnold Palmer and Bob Newhart will turn 85.

Pat Boone will turn 80. So will Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren. Tina Turner turns 75, as do Lily Tomlin and Grace Slick.

Gary Busey hits 70.

Bruce Springsteen turns 65, and Jerry Mathers (as the Beaver) reaches his full retirement age of 66. Keanu Reeves hits 50.

AND FINALLY

With the figure climbing 13 cents to $9.32 an hour beginning Jan. 1, Washington state will maintain its record as offering the highest minimum wage in the nation.

The United Nations calls 2014 the International Year of Family Farming.

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation call it the Year of the Salamander.

The Chinese call it the Year of the Horse.

With that in mind, Emerald Downs will open in April.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535
c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.com

Staff writers Adam Lynn, Adam Ashton, Sue Kidd, Craig Sailor, Kim Bradford, Debbie Cafazzo, John Gillie, Kathleen Cooper, Kari Plog, Dale Phelps, Melissa Santos, Brad Shannon, Jordan Schrader, Steve Maynard, Rosemary Ponnekanti and Brynn Grimley contributed to this report.

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