Pierce Pioneer

Washington State passes its first Capital Gains tax

The home of America’s two wealthiest men now has its first capital gains tax. 

Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5096 on May 4 that taxes the asset revenues of up to 18,000 residents. The new law is effective January 2022. 

The law imposes a 7% tax on the sale of stocks, bonds and other high-end assets over $250,000 for both individuals and couples, and is expected to bring in $500 million in 2023 and upwards of a billion dollars from 2025-27. 

Retirement accounts, real estate, farms and forestry would be exempt from the proposed tax. Also, qualified taxpayers will be allowed to deduct up to $100,000 a year from their capital gains if they made more than $250,000 in charitable donations in the same tax year.

Washington state was deemed the “least equitable” tax system of any state by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in a 2018 report. In light of this fact, Democrat lawmakers have focused on creating a tax system that would produce funds for K-12 schools and child care programs.

According to  one of the bill’s lead sponsors, Washington’s wealth inequality has led to rampant homelessness and less access to education and opportunities. 

“This is a way to invest in people, a way to invest in infrastructure and the needs we have in order to make people successful,” said Sen. Joe Nguyen.

Opponents to the new law challenged that the bill is unconstitutional based on the Washington Supreme Court decision against an income tax in 1933. The court’s decision determined that income, once received, became an asset, therefore the income tax was a property tax rather than an excise tax. 

Under the state constitution, property tax rates must be uniform across any type of property, so a graduated income tax was seen as a nonuniform property tax.

Former Attorney General Rob Mckenna has joined the second lawsuit against this tax on the grounds of its unconstitutionality. 

“Every taxing authority in the country, including the IRS and all other state revenue departments, agrees that capital gains are income,” the lawsuit reads. “Most states tax capital gains as ordinary income subject to the state’s income tax rates. Neither the federal government nor any other state levies an excise tax on capital gains.”

Yet, proponents of the bill suggest that the measure is a tax on the sale or exchange of assets such as stock and bonds. If the owner doesn’t choose to sell their assets then they will not be taxed on this exchange, therefore classifying it as an excise tax rather than a property tax.

Washington moving to Phase 3

On May 18, 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state is moving to Phase 3 and reopening June 30. If at least 70% of Washingtonians over the age of 16 begin to get vaccinated before then, the reopening date could be sooner; currently we are at 56%.


The list of permitted activities is on the Roadmap to Recovery. It includes 50 people at an outdoor home event, 50% capacity for indoor sports and fitness facilities and 400 people at outdoor entertainment establishments. 


The reopening was recently paused for two weeks, but hopefully it doesn’t need to be pushed back any further. Washington will go back to a lower phase if the statewide ICU capacity exceeds 90%. If all goes well, then Washingtonians should be able to enjoy the sun this summer.


To be up to date on Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcements, visit his website here.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom welcomes new Vice President

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom welcomes its new Vice President of Learning and Student Success, Dr. Ilder Andres Betancourt Lopez, following an email announcement from PCFS’s President Julie White on June 3. Lopez is expected to join our Pierce community come August 2, 2021.

“[Lopez] brings a wealth of expertise to our work to create an anti-racist institution, in order to fulfill our mission at Pierce College: to provide quality educational opportunities to a diverse community of learners to thrive in an evolving world,” White stated.

White further shares in an email announcement a biography provided by Lopez himself, which gives more insight into our new vice president. From his biography, it states that Lopez grew up in an impoverished area in Los Angeles, being born from undocumented, Latino immigrants.

“When Ilder entered Stanford University, he felt blessed but he also wondered how to best maximize the privilege,” White stated. “A career in the community colleges became the obvious answer. It was and still is the nexus of opportunity for many of his family members and peers.

“Throughout his career, Ilder applies an equity and social justice lens to all his leadership decisions. Ilder believes it is not our students that need to change but the institution that can change to better address the issues faced by our students. He has devoted his career working at the community college to fulfill this philosophy.”

Lopez is currently the Dean of Science at Bellevue College, where he has developed and overseen their division’s efforts to provide learning opportunities during the COVID pandemic. Some of Lopez’s work also includes providing culturally responsive teaching and services training to all employees through a partnership with Bellevue College and the national Puente Project.

Pierce College looks forward to welcoming its new vice president with open arms. In due time, students and staff alike will be able to get to know Lopez more personally as he becomes a part of the Pierce community.

Mass Shootings – A Seemingly Endless American Tragedy

With mass shootings on the rise again, we take a look at what may be the causes for such violence in America.

Fifty-nine dead and 500 injured: Las Vegas. Forty-nine dead and 58 injured: Orlando nightclub. Fourteen dead and 22 injured: San Bernardino, Calif. Thirty-two dead and 17 injured: Blacksburg, VA. Thirteen dead and 24 injured: Columbine, Colo.


These mass shootings happened between 1999 and 2017 and were executed by people of various ages and races. Mass shootings are not new to American society but are still a surprise when they occur.


Wanting someone to blame is a natural response for these repeat occurrences, but pointing a finger is not as easy as it seems. Perhaps what happens before a mass shooting is worth taking a look at, in hope of finding a solution before such violence occurs. 


Dr. Jeffrey Simons, an expert on terrorism and political violence, believes mass shooters are lone wolves and more dangerous than terrorist groups. “One thing to remember about lone wolves and what makes them so dangerous is they’re not part of a group, so there is no constraint on their level of violence,” Simons said in an interview with NBCLX.


According to the gun violence archive website, mass shootings are defined as there being four minimum victims either killed or injured, not including the shooter if the shooter were to be killed during the incident. There have been 610 mass shootings in 2020, even with nationwide quarantines in effect. Since 2014 mass shootings have been on the rise in the U.S., and Washington State lists as having had 29.


The most obvious statement one can make is that the list of mass shootings is long and getting longer. The desire to end such a threat, which can happen at any moment and any place, is great, but the question is how to defeat a threat that is invisible until it decides to show itself?


The reality is that anyone is capable of committing such an act of violence and the rest must try to look for signs of it. As difficult as it seems, violence does not stop, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.


On the mentality of mass shooters, Simons said that 30% to 40% have some type of mental illness. “Many times, that mental illness will affect their perception of reality, but they also can be very dangerous in what they do.”


The perception of mental illness being directly correlated with mass shootings is a normal one. Yet some think that the cause of gun violence is more complex than just mental illness.


According to a study done by  Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, the factors for mass violent acts are due to childhood abuse, neglect, household antisocial behavior, binge drinking and stressful life events. This is not to say that mental illness plays no role in the matter, but the study does seem to bring out preventable issues.


The article went on to say that many researchers have had an understanding that most people with mental illness are non-violent and that a lot of the violent acts are committed by people who have no mental illness. The study wanted to point out that substance abuse along with mental illness is responsible for the increased risk attributable to mental disorders.


Looking at reports of violent acts is difficult, to say the least, and there is a more difficult view of the cause of violent acts. There is a consensus among researchers about mental illness and violence, but the difference in opinion lies in what is at the center of the recurring incidents.


The study found that having a mental and substance disorder simultaneously will put an individual at the highest risk of expressing violence. The conclusions from the study signaled that severe mental illness with substance abuse had a stronger relationship to violence. In contrast, severe mental illness and violence had a modest relationship.


Solutions have been brought up in the effort to deter and stop mass violence such as arming teachers, banning assault weapons, banning high-capacity magazines, universal background checks, active shooter drills, banning violent video games, having people report potential threats, funding CDC research for gun violence and more. Still, the issue of mental health problems to any degree arises and the risk of any type of violence is real and is left unchecked while deciding powers debate the issue.


All of the proposed solutions would have either a low or high level of success but the debate over the cause of mass violence is ongoing and finding a solution seems far from over. At the moment people must be on the lookout for the threat before it happens and find a more personal solution for it.   



Jeffrey Simon’s interview with NBCLX


Mental Illness and Violence Article


A Crisis at the Border

U.S. borders see an increase in migrants following President Joe Biden’s pause on non-citizen deportation

Since President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has seen a 15 year high in migrant border crossings. According to the CBP, 172,331 migrants went into custody in March. This was up from 101,028 detainees in February. 

In January, the Biden Administration announced that for the first 100 days, it would pause the deportation of non-citizens and discontinue the previous administration’s usage of the “remain in Mexico” policy. Formerly known as the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, it requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico for an American court hearing.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske said that the U.S. faces a significant challenge at the southwest border, while confronting a serious global pandemic in a memorandum release in January. 

“In light of those unique circumstances, the Department must surge resources to the border in order to ensure safe, legal and orderly processing, to rebuild fair and effective asylum procedures that respect human rights and due process, to adopt appropriate public health guidelines and protocols, and to prioritize responding to threats to national security, public safety, and border security,” Pekoske said.

Since January 2019, 60,000 migrants have been sent back across the border under the MPP policy. Now they are eligible to be housed or remain in the U.S. while waiting for a court hearing.

With the rise in illegal crossings, many have critiqued the administration’s border policies. According to Rep. French Hill (R), who visited the border this month, the Biden administration rescinded former president Trump’s policies and took a lighter stance at the border. 

“Despite what the Biden administration says, the administration’s policies, words, and actions have created the current public health, humanitarian, and security crisis at the border, and its refusal to take the crisis seriously is having a negative impact on our country,” Hill said.

Last March, $86 million was allocated to house 1,200 migrant family members in hotel rooms. This was completed with government contracts between hotels near the Mexico border in both Arizona and Texas. 

A growing influx in illegal crossings and asylum seekers created a strain on border facility capacities. With the strain of COVID-19 protocols, the administration has to deal with the daunting task of where to hold so many people.

A major difficulty for the Biden administration has been finding housing space for an influx in unaccompanied minors. In March, CBP encountered 18,890 unaccompanied minors, which was a 100% increase from February. Once minors are detained, Border patrol is required to transfer them to the Department of Health and Human Services, who then designates housing space or works to reunite children with family members. 

Although, due to COVID-19 restrictions, HHS was working under reduced capacity, and there was limited space to house the increase in migrant children. This required HHS to open up previous housing facilities or build more primarily in Texas to support more children and still attempt to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Children are not to be held in border patrol custody for more than 72 hours, but the high number of children and lack of bed space in HHS facilities left children in CBP possession for 122 hours on average. Border Patrol facilities then became crowded with minors as the transfer process became backlogged. A Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas was reported to be over 700% capacity with 1,800 people in an area designed for 250 migrants. 

Additionally, the number of unaccompanied children in CBP facilities peaked at 6,000 children in March. During the last administration, the height of unaccompanied minors was 2,600. This has more than doubled and now matters remain increasingly difficult with more health restrictions and less housing space.

An influx in migrant border crossing has been attributed to both relaxed policies of deportation and the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most children are fleeing economic hardship and violence from Central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Yet, along the way migrants face more violence and harm. It is estimated that 1/3 of women are sexually assaulted along the journey to the U.S. border.

Moving to April, CBP still saw a slight increase in migrant crossings with 178,622 border encounters. Yet, the amount of unaccompanied minors decreased compared to April while the number of single adults rose. 

A poll published in May by Associated Press-NORC at the University of Chicago found that 43% of adults approve of how President Joe Biden is handling the crisis at the border. On the other hand, 54% do not approve of his administration’s actions since January.

The Biden administration still faces a daunting task of resolving a near 20 year high of border crossings with no end in sight.

Washington State University Becomes the First College to Mandate Vaccines

WSU was the first college in Washington State to mandate vaccines, many other public colleges are following their footsteps.


With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming more accessible throughout Washington, several universities such as The University of Washington and Western Washington University are requiring their students to return to campus fully vaccinated. Washington State University was the first public university in the state to require proof of vaccination.

Proof of vaccination will be due Aug. 6, before the fall semester begins, students not living on campus will need to submit their proof of vaccination by Nov. 1, according to President Kirk Schulz. Those who don’t meet this deadline will be unable to register for classes.

However, exemptions may be in place for those not wishing to get their vaccine. “Our desire is that all students, faculty, staff and volunteers are vaccinated by the start of the fall semester. I think you always need to have exemptions in place. We are expanding that exemption category to include personal exemptions because, again, we’re not interested in getting into a debate with individuals. We really want to make sure people are making a conscious choice and are taking action one way or the other,” explains WSU’s spokesman Phil Weiler. 

While exemptions will be allowed, WSU aims to make sure a majority of their students are vaccinated so on-campus classes may be brought back sooner. “If we can get everybody vaccinated, we can have the kind of academic experience that everybody expects and everybody wants,” said Weiler.

 It’s not just the president and spokesman pushing for this requirement either. According to Daryll DeWald, chancellor of WSU’s health sciences, many deans from the pharmaceutical and nursing colleges are advocating for this requirement, while WSU Senate Chair David Trumbull said older and at-risk staff members would be concerned without this mandate.

 “WSU has an obligation to serve the public good and do all it can to ensure the health and safety of citizens in the state of Washington,” said DeWald.

DeWald’s words encourage not just WSU students but all university students and staff to make the choice to get vaccinated so that the community can pave the way back to their campuses in a safe and healthy way.

In our want to social distance, has ordering delivery actually brought financial strain to restaurant businesses?

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, third-party delivery apps such as Doordash, Grubhub, and Ubereats have seen double the amounts of customers and partnered businesses. Despite the large following these delivery apps have gathered, nobody seems to be on the winning side when it comes to ordering from them. To Irene Jiang of the Business Insider, restaurant owners may be losing money. 

“Diners are seeing their costs raised, either by delivery companies that need to pay delivery drivers or by the restaurant owners who raise prices to offset delivery fees,” Jiang stated. “And delivery drivers still make low, unpredictable wages frequently with no benefits.” 

Delivery services were popular pre-pandemic, but with the loss of dine-in options for many restaurants, delivery has become a way to substitute a loss of business and to help keep restaurants afloat. However, Jiang states that these local businesses are losing a large chunk of their money to pay for these delivery partnerships, approximately 30% in commissions. 

To offset these rates while supporting the community, look for restaurants that offer curbside pickup instead. Curbside pickup gives the restaurant all of the money directly and allows users and the restaurant staff to stay healthy and safe by social-distancing.

For those preferring delivery to takeout, Kerry Breen of Today would encourage checking to see if the restaurant delivers directly. “Third-party sites can charge restaurants a significant amount, meaning that only a small amount of what you’re spending goes to the restaurant you’re trying to support,” Breen stated. 

Delivery drivers are another piece of the food delivery puzzle, with drivers working on low salaries with little to no benefits during the COVID pandemic. Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura of the New York Times revealed that while drivers working for food delivery apps can earn as much as $22 per hour, including tips, many drivers say they’ve never earned anywhere close to that much.

Since many delivery drivers are relying on these apps for full time income while their places of employment are closed, it’s important to tip drivers as much as possible when placing an order. An even better way to help out your delivery drivers is to tip in cash, especially with apps like Doordash that use gratuities to provide their workers’ minimum wages. 

The blog  Maid Sailors backs this up by saying when tipping a Dasher in cash, DoorDash has no record of it. “Instead, they see that the driver has not made the minimum guaranteed amount for the order, so they kick in the amount required to meet that minimum,” Maid Sailors stated. 

“On top of that, the driver receives the cash tip that you provided. This increases the driver’s total pay for the delivery without costing you an extra penny. In addition, paying cash makes the Dasher a happier person as they can readily use the money and not have to wait until payday.”

By following some of the examples above – ordering from local deliveries, doing curbside pickup, and paying attention to the pay models of different delivery apps – customers can help our local businesses and delivery workers while not doubling the cost of a single meal.

How The Criminal Justice System Improved 10 Years After Lakewood Police Shooting

Then-Gov. Chris Gregoire leaves the podium after her eulogy for the four slain officers. The service, attended by thousands, was Dec. 8, 2009.

In a Parkland coffee shop on Nov. 29, 2009, Maurice Clemmons opened fire at four Lakewood police officers. They had been working on their laptops around 8 a.m. when the shooting occurred. This moment was before their actual work shift started. The four police officers whose lives were cut short were Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold, and Greg Richards.

Immediately after the incident, law enforcement went on a huge search for Clemmons. Police officer Benjamin L. Kelly found him hiding in Seattle. Clemmons resisted his arrest, which ultimately led to his death by Officer Kelly.

Clemmons was a violent repeat offender with behavioral issues who was seeking revenge on the criminal justice system. With eight felonies from his teenage years, did the system fail by allowing him to be released into society?

Originally convicted in Arkansas for violent crimes, he was granted permission to move to Washington. His original sentence was 95 years but was lessened by Governor Mike Huckabee to 47 years due to its severity. This made him eligible for parole and he was released in 2000.

Psychologists had deemed Clemmons as dangerous and highly likely to re-offend. At the time, the bail system allowed for defendants to post bail before seeing a judge as long as the bond is approved. This meant they had not looked at his history. Clemmons was released multiple times despite the red flags.

This tragic incident led to certain reforms to Washington State’s Criminal Justice System. Afterward, the Washington Criminal Justice System became more cautious when reducing out-of-state convicts’ sentences. Improvements were made with risk assessment tools to gauge the behaviors of inmates before their release. Many people did not like the idea of criminals from outside of WA potentially committing crimes inside the state.

In memory of the fallen soldiers, the owners of the coffee shop changed their name from Forza Coffee Shop to Blue Steele Coffee Company. The community came together to pay their condolences. A memorial fund was set up to remember the officers. They managed to raise up to $3.2 million by 2012.

In 2009, the Lakewood Police Department also set up a Fallen Officers Food Drive to honor the police officers. The food drive takes place annually near the date the shooting had occurred. The community can donate non-perishable food in support of the Emergency Food Network to the Lakewood Police Department.

The unfortunate incident of losing four beloved Lakewood police officers due to errors in the criminal justice system will not be forgotten. Much effort and reforms to combat the leniency of releasing violent criminals have been addressed since then. According to PoliceOne columnist, Richard Fairburn, police departments cannot always expect the unexpected, but they can train their officers to be more alert in their surroundings.

Unfortunately, Clemmons fell through the cracks because his mental health evaluations were ignored, and he was mistakenly viewed as safe enough to be released from prison. Strict regulations have been put in place to hopefully prevent another incident like at the coffee shop.

Today, Governor Jay Inslee wants to increase public safety by focusing on mental and behavioral issues. Overcrowding populations in prisons has been expensive and inefficient in rehabilitation. He intends to target mental illness and substance abuse as a way to effectively combat overcrowding within correctional facilities. Nearly half of inmates in jails and prisons suffer from a mental illness. By having a system with a stronger focus on treating inmates’ mental health, this reduces pressure from issues inside correctional facilities.

Did the criminal justice system make multiple mistakes in releasing a highly violent re-offender? Yes. It is a hard lesson to be learned. With a stronger focus on mental health and a strict look at inmates’ records before release, there is hope for increased public safety.

Breast Cancer Awareness Event

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer
Fully painted awareness pumpkin!

It’s that time of the year. The middle of the first quarter, when midterms are almost upon students, along with Halloween, and everyone could use a chance to unwind and have some fun. 

This is what many students could be found doing on Wednesday afternoon outside the cafeteria, for the Breast Cancer Awareness event. With the room decked out in pink decorations, tables, and music playing, it’s enough to make anyone want to join in. 

Since the first organized event recognizing breast cancer in 1985, awareness has been wide-spread globally, with October now officially being National Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

Michelle Adams, a student who attended the event said, “I think this is fabulous and a great representation of supporting women and their health.” 

There were also many arts and crafts to catch students’ attention at the event. Jaida Noble, a student at Pierce, said, “What drew me to the event was I get to paint pumpkins.” Many students could be found excitedly painting and decorating their own pumpkin, or even getting henna tattoos.  

Another part of the event that drew many people in was all the food available. With muffins and donuts, not many people would want to pass up on stopping by for some snacks in between classes. Kayla Belen, one of the coordinators of this event, and a student at Pierce, stated how this event happened last year as well.

Lots of thought and planning going into each of the student-led activities at Pierce. Belen mentioned how the organization of this particular event has been going on since August. Student leaders work together to do their best at providing valuable opportunities for students to meet new people, while participating in fun activities.

The Breast Cancer Awareness event offered a great opportunity for students to socialize with friends in a fun environment. It also gave everyone a chance to unwind and take a break from the vigor of their classes, while showing awareness for a disease that affects so many women across the globe.


Promoting Peace in Times of Trouble

Veronica Lu / Staff Photographer
Kwabi Amoah-Forson took this sign to prompt conversations about peace.

Peace activist attends local elementary school in hopes of educating children about peace, empathy, love and how they can implement it in their communities.

I say Peace Bus. You say Peace Bus.

That is how peace activist Kwabi Amoah-Forson opened his all school assembly at Lister Elementary. On Oct. 3, Forson spent the whole school day visiting classrooms, connecting with students and spreading the history of his peace movement, the Peace Bus – a bright blue Mitsubishi. 

Many who attended voiced they won’t forget the experience. Laura Sorgenfrei, an instructional coach, said the Peace Bus team just taking time to be there with them was impactful. “Students want peace, they crave it,” said Sorgenfrei. “In our world today, coming together around that common theme was important and powerful for them.”

Michelle Hahn, a second-grade teacher, reflected on her experience with students who struggle to understand other points of view. “Look beyond just the words that are being used, to understand why they’re saying what they’re saying and how their feelings are coming through,” said Hahn.

After graduating from City University with a master’s degree in business, Forson was unsure where his path was leading. He began going to Wrights Park with a poster and boombox playing classical music, as he made conversation with people about peace. After being attacked, he started travelling to surrounding parks and even Europe. “That negative scenario was turned into a positive because it allowed me to get out of that space,” said Forson.

Veronica Lu / Staff Photographer
Students created a poster to thank Forson for attending, putting the word “peace” in puzzle pieces, symbolizing how we all must work together on making peace in our communities.

Forson was inspired by many peace activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Brian Haw, but most importantly, Abie Nathan. Nathan was an Israeli bomber pilot. He later realized how his violence directly affected people and decided to fly an airplane from Tel Aviv to Cairo as an activist, in promotion of world peace. 

This story inspired Forson to begin taking flight lessons. “The Peace Bus is forever. But I want to have a peace plane and be the first person to circumnavigate the globe in the promotion of world peace,” said Forson.

The Peace Bus team returned in August from a trip down to the United States-Mexico border, after an unexpected experience with the border patrol officers. He described the atmosphere as calm and not chaotic, unlike how the media depicts it to be. “I think it was an intervention from God,” said Forson. “Or some sort of force because how often does border patrol have random people come and let them interview them, let alone stand next to them.”

The assembly ended and students crowded the Peace Bus, asking for autographs and photos. The students weren’t the only people who felt personally impacted by the assembly however. “I walked away with a greater sense of community and a greater sense of hope for generations to come,” said Sorgenfrei.

With his goal of being a peace pilot in mind, Forson has many projects in the works, one being a television show centered around The Peace Bus. In the meantime, he encourages other schools in surrounding communities of any level, to reach out, Lister Elementary being the first school he attended. “I can do this day and night. With any school that’s willing to have a conversation about peace, togetherness and how to communicate with each other.”

The remembrance of Ron Schwartz

Courtesy Photo / Pierce College Archives
A photo of Ron Schwartz in 2012.

On August 8, English and philosophy professor Ron Schwartz passed away after having lived with brain tumors for over 12 months.  Schwartz taught at Fort Steilacoom, Puyallup and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and has been a beloved member of the Pierce community for 16 years.. 

Schwartz was born on January 7, 1955 in Youngstown, Ohio. After being an undergraduate at the University of Chicago in 1978, Schwartz would go to earn his master’s degree and post-masters at King’s College, later receiving  his Ph.D in literature and theology in 1998. 

Schwartz has made himself a part of numerous other communities outside of Pierce College. Prior to teaching at Pierce, he taught theology at Pacific Lutheran University, served as a professor at Colby College, and taught Business admin in California during the 1980s. Schwartz was an economist in Philadelphia for some time.

 Pierce faculty and Pierce students will miss Schwartz. Stephen Jones, an economics professor at Pierce’s Puyallup Campus, personally feels this loss.

“Ron was one of my favorite people at Pierce, which says a lot in and of itself,” said Jones in an email. “I admired his intellect and dedication. I learned much from him that I applied in my classes, and any conversation with him was rich and exceptional in content and insight. But perhaps what I appreciated most about him was his gentleness and compassion. We were lucky to know him.” 

Schwartz was known for his passion of the academics and students. His keen sense of humor and his intellect will be remembered. 

Schwartz’s obituary may be accessed here

The Pioneer sends our condolences with Ron Schwartz’s family and friends.

2017 Solar Eclipse


Carly McErry with wife Jordan McErry:

Carly (took picture of eclipse through 3-D glasses: science has always fascinated me, ever since I was a child. About the picture: I love photography, and am always experimenting. I had an idea about using the glasses to see if it would work.”

Dorothy: I love the stars and am always interested in events like this.

Carly (took picture of eclipse through 3-D glasses: science has always fascinated me, ever since I was a child. About the picture: I love photography, and am always experimenting. I had an idea about using the glasses to see if it would work.”

Dorothy: I love the stars and am always interested in events like this.

Ralph Morasch, Chem Lab Technician: (picture)

Owns the big microscope pictured, it sits on a motorized base. Once is calibrated, it will track the eclipse. The smaller gold one on the right is specialized to view solar flares. Incidentally, the college has purchased two smaller ones for use.

Andrea Macy (behind Morasch) “I am here to teach my children. This a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Andrew Homan, Cubmaster of Pack 148:

because it is an historic event, remembers watching the 1979 when he was much younger. There are 35 boys in his cub scout pack, each one will earn a badge that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) made just for this event.

*note: they are also part of a STEM project. It is designed to encourage boys in engineering and is intended to give them a real-world experience.

“Very thankful for Pierce College putting on this event today, especially thankful for providing the glasses. I am also thankful that this is done for the community.”


Marge Blount, Dorothy with husband Kevin Curry: (picture)

Marge: I’m always interested in science, I even have my own telescope. I didn’t bring it because it is too big.”

Dorothy: I remember the one in 1979. This time I figured I’d like to see it with my husband.”

Comments (0)

The Pioneer intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Pioneer does not allow anonymous comments, and The Pioneer requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All Pierce Pioneer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest