Say cheese

If you love cheese, the Seattle area is your kind of place.

Seattle, buoyed by its prevalence of cheese and wine events and cheese-hawking farmer markets, is number 7 on the 2023 list of Best Cities for Cheese Lovers, as determined in a study commissioned by LawnStarter. Bellevue and Tacoma aren’t too shabby, either, ranking 34th and 88th, respectively.

Seattle trails only (in order) New York City, Madison, Wis., Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

More details from the full study are at

Exercise and vaccinate for a healthy holiday

The holiday season is time to reconnect with family and loved ones, but it also brings unique health and safety risks, according to doctors who recommend a bit of extra vigilance to protect the health of yourself and those close to you.

“Awareness, along with the adoption of a few healthy habits, can help people enjoy this special time of year in the best of health,” said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association.

For instance:

  • Vaccination is the best protection against a serious respiratory viruses circulating this fall and winter. Get up to date on your vaccines, including the annual flu shot, as well as the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone six months and older. Vaccines are also available to protect older adults from severe RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). New tools to protect infants during RSV season include maternal vaccination as well as the monoclonal antibody immunization.
  • Watch what you eat. Pay particular attention to food labels and avoid processed food as much as you can, especially those with added sodium and sugar. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, and eat nutritious, whole food like fresh fruits and vegetables alongside richer holiday fare.
  • Make time to exercise. A good rule of thumb for adults, including ages 65 and up, is at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity (a brisk walk), or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity (such as walking). Doctors at the National Institutes for Health recommend healthy seniors walk the equivalent of three miles each day—not necessarily all at once, but throughout the course of the day.Brisk walks are a way to get off the couch and elevate your heart rate over the holiday season. If you’re traveling, don’t forget to pack your walking shoes.
  • Drink in moderation. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines that as up to one beverage of alcohbol per day for women and two per day for men.

Runner, Pierce Transit’s on-demand ride service, has been launched in Puyallup.

The service, which uses passenger vans, picks up and drops off seniors, students, workers, and limited-mobility individuals wherever transit buses can’t, officials said.

More information, including how to request a ride, is at and 253-270-1340.

Fares are $2 for adults and $1 for holders of a regional reduced fare permit. The rides are free for anyone 18 or younger who has a youth ORCA card.

Runner also operates in the Spanaway, Parkland, and Midland areas of Pierce County.

Ballots found in abandoned mailboxes

Ballots found in out-of-service mailboxes   Thirty-seven ballots cast by voters in Pierce County in the general election in November were discovered in out-of-service Postal Service mail boxes after vote-counting began but have been included in the final results.
Under state law, the ballots had to be counted because they had signature dates on or before the official election day of Nov. 7. All but two of the ballots had Lakewood-area addresses. They change the outcome of any ballot measures or races for office, election officials said. 
“While it’s normal for ballots to trickle in for days, sometimes weeks after the election, it’s unusual to see something like this,” said Pierce County Auditor Linda Farmer, who oversees elections in the county. “The Postal Service is a critical partner in the voting process and we trust that they will have the issue of out-of-service mailboxes cleared up in time for the next election.” 
Voters can mail their ballots or deposit them in official dropboxes.