So many kittens to care for

The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County expects to be providing critical care for more than a thousand kittens in the coming months, and to get ready, it’s hosting its annual virtual Kitten Shower.

Throughout April, the public can donate money and essential items at www.thehumanesociety.org/kitten-shower.

Last year, the shelter cared for about 2,400 homeless kittens and is expecting more this year.

“While tons of nursing kittens may seem adorable, caring for them takes a lot of resources and requires round-the-clock attention. We rely on our community’s support to make this lifesaving work possible,” said Leslie Dalzell, chief executive officer of the local Humane Society.

Overall, the agency shelters or cares for approximately 10,000 animals each year, officials said.

First-time home buyers, especially millennials and Gen Xers, are facing an uphill battle when it comes to house hunting. This is in part because of a growing trend in which baby boomers, the generation that owns the largest share of American homes, are planning to stay put—leading to less inventory for new buyers.

However, rates of baby boomer homeownership vary across local and state markets. Researchers calculated the percentage of owner-occupied households that are headed by baby boomers, then ranked locations accordingly.For the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area, here’s some of what was learned:

  • Baby boomers account for 33 percent of homeowners in Seattle, though they make up only 18 percent of the metro area’s population.
  • Nationally, while baby boomers comprise 20 percent of the population, they account for 37 percent of all U.S. homeowners. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue percentage is the ninth-lowest nationally.
  • Overall, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue housing market is less dominated by baby boomers than the nation as a whole.

The research was conducted by Construction Coverage and based on analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s population survey data. Construction Coverage, based in San Diego, Calif., provides construction-related business and market information for builders and real estate professionals.

According to the Census Bureau, the national share of homeowners older than 55 increased steadily from 44 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in 2021.

AARP reports that 77 percent of Americans over the age of 50 would prefer to remain in their current home, rather than move in with relatives, to a nursing home, or to an assisted-living facility.

New features at Cirque Bridgeport Park in University Place might be on the drawing board soon.

City officials are studying possible expansions of recreation opportunities at the 22-acre community park in the heart of the city. It was listed in the 2020 Parks Recreation and Open Space plan as an immediate opportunity for improvements a currently vacant gravel lot in the northwest part of the park. A community center has been discussed as a possible future addition to the site.

Officials are inviting public input. Information on how to be involved in the process is at cityofup.com and 253-566-5656. 

The park’s current features include ball fields, a picnic shelter, walking paths, restrooms, and a skate park.

The park is at 7250 Cirque Dr. W., near the intersection of Bridgeport Way.

University Place has four other parks:

  • Adriana Hess Park, a two-acre wetland site with a Tahoma Audubon Society office, on 27th Street West.
  • Brookside Park, an undeveloped natural area across from Curran Apple Orchard Park. The latter is maintained by volunteers.
  • Colegate Park, a 12-acre, undeveloped natural site.
  • Chambers Crest Wildlife Habitat, seven acres bordered by Chambers Creek.
Rural areas getting more help with wildfires

People living in certain rural parts of Pierce County, including Key Peninsula and Orting, will soon have more government-funded resources to prepare for wildfires thanks to a $1 million grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. 

The EPA awarded the money to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for a three-year period to protect against wildfires, wildfire smoke, and the health effects associated with both.

“Climate change is linked to longer, warmer, and drier summers that lead to an increase in wildfires,” said Cindy Haverkamp, a coordinator of the project. “This new problem might be a lasting one. We must do all we can to help prepare our communities.” 

The federal funding will support the community-led Wildfire Preparedness Initiative. Officials said the Health Department will work with Pierce Conservation District and community partners on outreach and education, and develop relationships to form coalitions in what are considered underserved rural areas that include Lakebay, Orting, and Eatonville, among other communities. The areas were chosen because they have more people than other areas in Pierce County who are 65 or older, live alone, are disabled, have lower birthweights and life expectancies at birth, and are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Residents will participate in public dialogues about wildfire issues, finishing with a countywide summit meeting.