Originally titled Tidbits for Ten from December 1990 to May 1991, Happenings on Hilltop was started by two Hilltop residents and representatives from Hilltop Action Coalition (HAC), Larry Norman and Bill Charles. The newsletter was originally printed and circulated for residents who lived in “area Ten” of the Hilltop community. Within six months, Tidbits from Ten became Happenings On Hilltop. The newsletter began as an organizational journal affiliated with the Hilltop Action Coalition. It then became an independent paper published and distributed by creator Larry Norman.
Happenings On Hilltop covered a variety of topics such as neighborhood events, other community organizations, housing, education, politics, and recipes. There were many contributors to the newsletter. Community leaders wrote editorials and letters submitted by residents who were incarcerated. It was also a venue for community members to share their art and creative writing. The newsletter also had an emphasis on keeping residents safe in Hilltop. They aimed to educate about and bring awareness to the effects of gang violence and teach residents how to prevent crime. Happenings On Hilltop also advocated for solidarity among the Black community and the fight against racial injustice. Many national events were covered in this newsletter including the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and the Million Man March, with focus on local issues such as the police involved death of Kenneth Boyd. Each month Happenings on Hilltop shared pictures of the people, events and activities that made up the Hilltop community.
Larry Norman grew up in Hilltop on South Ainsworth Avenue. After graduating high school, he joined the Air Force. He returned to Tacoma in 1989 where he encountered an increase in drugs, gun violence, and incarceration. From 1993 to 2003, Norman said he attended 23 funerals for people he knew from the neighborhood who died due to the violence. Their ages ranged from between 11 and 24. While working as a Seattle firefighter, he started Happenings on Hilltop (originally titled Tidbits from Ten), a community newsletter devoted to documenting the neighborhood and sharing information with the community. Norman led the effort to construct an "All Lives Are Precious" memorial in 1993 which was dedicated to victims of violence in Hilltop. He relocated to Colorado in 2003 and returned to Tacoma in 2015.