CALENDAR: 'Manimal House' at Zina's Playground (Tacoma) @ 6pm on Tues., Aug. 30
- Written by Rob Gramenz
"Manimal House," a reggae/funk band from Portland that includes some talent with Tacoma roots, will perform in a one-night stand at Back to School Night at McCarver Park (Zina's Playground) at South J & South 23rd St. in Tacoma. -- Be there! ...
CALENDAR: Military mental health focus at Coffee Strong on Fri., Aug. 12 @ 7:30pm
- Written by Abe DeJamminen and Hank Berger
On the evening of Fri., Aug. 12, the veteran-owned, veteran-operated coffeehouse Coffee Strong, located near Fort Lewis, will host an evening event dedicated to issues raised by the case of Sgt. Derrick Kirkland. -- Kirkland committed suicide on Joint Base Lewis-McChord on March 19, 2010, after being mocked by superiors and evaluated as being a "low-moderate risk" of suicide. -- But he had made three previous attempts to kill himself. -- Sgt. Kirkland's mother, Mary, will speak on Friday at Coffee Strong. -- She told the Seattle Weekly in January that the U.S. Army missed "three opportunities that it had to save him." -- A recent interview conducted with Jeremiah Kirkland, who was also in the U.S. Army and is a member of March Forward!, offers insight into the demons spawned by war that haunted his brother. -- "He was just a good person, full of compassion; and he didn’t know how to deal with killing people," Jeremiah Kirkland said. "Some of the pictures he showed me, there was one guy all shot up, at least seven times, one through the face. He’s going through all these pictures and saying 'this is what I did.'" -- On Jun. 26 the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) published an extensive article on Kirkland and military suicides, which included an interview with Kirkland's mother and a Freedom of Information request by the News Tribune. -- Adam Ashton noted that "Since April 2010, four soldiers and two military contractors killed themselves within Lakewood’s city limits. The total number of Lewis-McChord soldiers committing suicide has held steady, with nine in each of the past two years and seven in 2008. -- In addition to the suicides that happen quietly, two Lewis-McChord killed themselves in the past year very publicly. In August, Spc. Brandon Barrett went AWOL and died in a shootout with police in Salt Lake City. In April, Sgt. David Stewart killed his wife and then himself off Interstate 5 in Thurston County. Police later found their 5-year-old son dead in their Spanaway home. -- Some soldiers who’ve sought counseling at Madigan report receiving superficial help that doesn’t address problems including sleep deprivation or depression. They worry that a failure to find the right therapist could lead to dangerous behavior or suicides." ...
[PHOTO CAPTION: Mary Corkhill Kirkland, 49, of Indianapolis, holds a photograph of her son, Spc. Derrick Kirkland, who committed suicide while serving in the Army.]
LOCAL NEWS: Tacoma sacks city manager
- Written by Henry Adams
After receiving a mixed job review, Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson failed to win a contract renewal when a 6-2 City Council vote went against him on Tuesday. -- On Friday the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) characterized his departure as a "whimpering exit" after Anderson refused the paper an interview. -- Anderson's deepest problem, Lewis Kamb opined, was that he "held so tightly to control he lost it." -- His relationship with the City Council deteriorated over time, and Anderson, once a champion of open government, "halted his weekly press meetings" in his final months. -- BACKGROUND: Eric Anderson, previously the city manager of Des Moines, Iowa, Evanston, Illinois, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Munster, Indiana, was hired in 2005 after the 13-year 7-month tenure of the previous city manager, Ray Corpuz, self-destructed owing to personal problems in 2003. -- COMMENT: Anderson's 2011 job review (available online here) shows that there were many areas in which he was vulnerable to criticism. -- But his involvement in covering up the negligence of a Tacoma Police Department sergeant who fell asleep instead of transmitting an Amber Alert after Zina Linnik was kidnapped, raped, and murdered on July 4, 2007, and his resistance to disciplining the officer involved, probably sealed his fate; the comments on the local blog Feed Tacoma indicate how strong are feelings of local residents on the subject. -- It is regrettable that the News Tribune failed to mention in any of these articles the city government's problems with the Tacoma Police Department. -- For a glimpse of how rancorous this relationship is, see a May 13, 2011, News Tribune story entitled "Citizen's Critical Remarks Draw Police Union's Ire." ...