by John Fannin TACOMA – I’ll admit going outside and roaming around downtown Tacoma isn’t the first thing that comes to mind on this, the first day of spring. Tacoma sadly has an unfortunate reputation for crime and for years it’s been infamous for the “Tacoma aroma.” But Seattle’s neighbor to the south changed my impression two weeks ago when I was in Tacoma covering the 3A girls State basketball tourney. With a couple of hours to sight-see, I hopped on the free, yes free, light rail near the Tacoma Dome and decided to check out the Museum of Glass. I never made it for a tour of the museum because there were so many great things glass-related to see before I even got to the museum’s entrance. And they were all free! I love history and architecture, and the glass artwork blends nicely with the neighboring larger-than-life, century-old Union Station, now a federal courthouse and a must-see in its own right. Famed artist Dale Chihuly has done well by his hometown of Tacoma with all the public glass art he and others have created and presented totally free to the public at the city’s waterfront area. It’s indeed spring, so step outside and have a blast with glass the next time you’re in Tacoma. - John Fannin can be reached at email@example.com or at 837-4500.