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FREE s Friday, April 12, 2013 GLASS SISTERS A5 A4 SPECIAL SECTION INSIDE Y 24 YE A R S O F SE R V I C E BE C A U S E CO M M U N I T Y MAT T E R S LINK ROUTE UNDECIDED Open houses to examine options By Steve Dunkelberger PAYING IT FORWARD Student from Tacoma spends spring break on Hurricane Sandy relief CHURCH SHUFFLE IS UNDERWAY By John Larson W hile some college students spend their spring break socializing with friends, a young man from Tacoma spent his helping people recover from a major natural disaster. Luan Nguyen-Tran grew up in Tacoma and graduated from Foss High School in 2011. He is a student at the University of Redlands in Southern California. The school requires students to perform a certain number of hours in community service. Nguyen-Tran met this requirement during his freshman year, but continues to volunteer his time. Redlands students have traveled to various places to lend a hand, including the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast in late October, school officials saw another chance to help. Plans were made to send students to assist Habitat for Humanity during spring break. Nguyen-Tran saw this as a more appealing option than hitting the beach in Mexico with other college students. “For spring break I wanted to do something with meaning,” he remarked. His birthday was in March. His parents offered to pay for his travel expenses to go back east as a birthday present. Nguyen-Tran and about 20 other Redlands students, along with a few professors, traveled to Breezy Point, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. They slept on cots at Christ Community Church. Like many structures in the region, the church suffered damage during the storm. It still does not have running water, so the students used portable toilets and brushed their teeth with bottled water. The line on the walls marking how high the floodwaters went Helping kids A3 RAMPIZI: Antique Row store offers many unique treasures. PAGE B4 Downtown On the Go and Transportation Choices Coalition held a forum last week to discuss the ins and outs of transit-oriented development as Tacoma ponders which route to support for an expansion of its Link light rail system. Then Sound Transit held an open house about the “hybrid routes,” while a citizens’ group met as well to coordinate their support for their routes of choice. Still, no route choice has gained overwhelming support as a decision date looms. In the hot seat at Downtown On the Go during the University of Washington-Tacoma gathering were: Puget Sound Regional Council/Growing Transit Communities Program Manager Ben Bakkenta, Sound Transit Government and Community Relations Officer Chelsea Levy and Tacoma City Councilmember David Boe, who pointed out that he was speaking as an architect and urban planner and not as a member of the council. While much of the discussion was about the impact transit hubs and routes could bring to a community, Boe used numbers to suggest that, although 6th Avenue has some developable land, parcels would have to be cobbled together to make any larger developments financially viable. The most obvious “developable” site X See LIGHT RAIL / page A5 Process creates LGBT-friendly religious complex By Steve Dunkelberger PHOTOS COURTESY OF GOLIN HARRIS CLEAN UP. (Top photo) University of Redlands students Luan Nguyen-Tran and Tom O’Toole clear debris outside a damaged house. The students recovered photo albums and other personal belongings, which were cleaned and returned to their owners. was between four and five feet high. There were many damaged houses, especially along the waterfront. Some were lying on their sides, testimony to the intensity of the hurricane winds. “It was crazy,” Nguyen-Tran said. The students cleaned out homes that could be saved, in some cases removing flooring that became moldy and ruined. They cleared alleys of sand and delivered sheetrock to houses that were being renovated by Habitat for Humanity. “It was a smaller piece to the bigger picture,” he said of their efforts. “There is still a lot of work to be done.” One student answered phones in the church office. “That may not seem like a lot, but we all did our part to make Breezy Point a better place.” In one back yard they cleared, they found personal belongings such as a teddy bear, wedding dress and photo albums Ready for home opener A6 City Briefs ................A2 Pothole Pig ...............A3 with pictures from weddings and other special occasions. The students packed these up so they could be returned to their owners. “Those things were meaningful,” Nguyen-Tran observed. “After a hurricane, for some people that is all they have left.” It made him think of the scrapbooks his mother compiled of photos from his childhood. “I could not imagine having to dig for those in the dirt.” Nguyen-Tran looks forward to doing similar volunteer work in the future. “The experience was unforgettable,” he said. “It is something I would like to do again.” Nguyen-Tran recently decided to major in sociology, with a minor in business. After finishing college he would like to land a job as a high school teacher, preferably in Washington. Eventually he would like to become a school administrator or student government advisor. Bike month B1 Sports ......................A6 A&E ....................... ..B1 A Pierce County religious complex that is outwardly welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members is closer to becoming a reality. With the struggling First Congregational Church having sold its downtown church at 918 Division Ave. to mega-church Mars Hill last summer, the next step comes later this month when the sale proceeds fund the purchase of Hope Lutheran Church at South 72nd and Puget Sound streets in South Tacoma. The historic Division church sold for $1.9 million last year, while Hope Lutheran’s sanctuary cost $650,000, providing funding to support the Congregationalists’ plans of inclusiveness, charity and social activism. “We are certainly a church in transition,” Congregational Trustee Chairman Phil Blackledge said. “A lot of smaller churches are struggling to reinvent themselves and grow. We are starting a new church, but one with a long history of social activism. We are just doing it with a million dollar bankroll to make it happen.” Church members opted to sell the 106-year-old church on Division rather X See CHURCH / page A5 Facebook: Twitter: @Tacomaweekly Tumblr: Pinterest: Flickr:ÁLFNUFRPWDFRPDZHHNO\ Make A Scene ........ B5 Calendar ................. B6 Look for daily updates online! Two Sections | 20 Pages


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