Liz Hoeppner really enjoys helping out Peninsula High School students. She has been volunteering for the PHS Track Team as the S.A.V.E. thrift store volunteer coordinator since 2005 while her children attended the school. Her daughter, Jenny, graduated in 2004, while her son, Greyson, will graduate in 2007.

S.A.V.E. is located on Purdy Lane, just below the high school. The name is abbreviated for Seahawk Academic and Vocational Education. PHS actually owns the property so overhead costs are low, enabling most of the profit to go to a scholarship committee that oversees a scholarship program for seniors. Volunteers, including students, parents and friends, provide most of the manpower in the store. Over the years, the profits have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to PHS students seeking higher education. The students must participate for 10 or more hours for approximately one month to acquire their certificate of participation. In addition to receiving a scholarship reward, they learn retail sales skills and gather community service credit. Every senior who has a scholarship notebook receives some type of scholarship reward.

“I think it’s a fantastic program for the children,” said Gloria Bowman, one of the assistant managers of the store. Bowman has been involved with the store for many years. Although her daughter graduated in 2001, she is compelled to remain working in the store.

S.A.V.E. will celebrate its 20th anniversary this summer. Manager Kris Hohensee plans to have various special sales throughout the month of July. The highlight of the celebration will be on Saturday, July 15, with a special sale offering hundreds of books at very low prices. Everything in the store will be discounted, and complimentary refreshments will be offered to shoppers.

Besides the profits from the thrift store, Hoeppner plans to try a new approach for raising funds for the track team. With weather warming up, she is organizing a car wash. The perfect place seemed to be at the Harvest Time Country Store in Wauna, which allows people to hold fund-raising car washes in the parking lot. Many churches, schools, and other organizations have benefited from their generosity.

Students, family, and friends are welcome to participate in the fund-raiser, which will be held on two Saturdays, July 22 and 29. The profits will go to the graduating seniors of 2007.

“It’s very rewarding to work with other volunteers because they are very caring and generous people,” Hoeppner said. She plans to continue to volunteer her time for PHS throughout the following school year and most likely even after her son graduates in 2007.

Based on Hoeppner’s plans, it seems that July will be a great month to thrift shop, save money, and get the car washed, all for the great cause of helping out with the futures of young adults.

The new resolution prompted Gallacher, who reports to the five commissioners, to say in an interview, “We’re going to have to revisit the budget. The commissioners attend two meetings a month — three to five or six hours apiece. They also have other things that come to them from me. Fire district commissioners are paid for their meetings — and other county elected officials have small stipends. My hope is they (the commissioners) don’t take the full amount; there is nothing in the budget for it. But they should be paid. If we had to pay someone to put in the amount of time they spend on parks issues, it would cost a lot more (than what they’re allowed to take). There has to be some value attached to that.”

The actual budget to minimally run Volunteer Park, and bare-bones maintaining of Home Park and Rocky Creek Conservation Area since the district’s inception in March 2004, is as follows: 2004 annual (rounded) total: $67,500 with monthly average of $9,600; 2005 annual total: $122,600 with monthly average of $10,200; 2006 to date: $49,800 with monthly average of $9,900.

Pierce County is currently enjoying the greatest increase in retail sales tax since 1990, (up 11.3 percent, according to Washington State Department of Revenue), which is reflected in the increase in the KPMPD’s share of the zoo/trek tax. The park district’s challenge is that the district’s population is growing, and with it, park usage. The commissioners are intent on land-banking more property, which, according to Ed Taylor, an audience member at the May 22 meeting, “can be done in a way that doesn’t cost any money — if you do it right.”

Current parks have plenty of deferred maintenance, while the budget stays virtually the same. “Parks are important for economic development of an area,” Gallacher said. “People don’t always want to pay for them, but they want them. Sometimes you have to pay for what you want.”

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