Highlights from the weekly report (March 20) from City of Lakewood Manager, Andrew Neiditz to the Mayor and Council Members:
- Traffic Impacts of Bridgeport Way Project – 59th Ave SW to Steilacoom Blvd SW: The contractor will be doing roadway excavation between Gravelly Lake Drive and Mt Tacoma for the placement of concrete curb and gutter beginning the week of March 22nd and lasting for two weeks. Excavation work for the placement the new traffic signal foundations will occur at the intersections of Steilacoom Blvd, 93rd St and Mt Tacoma Drive. In addition, between Gravelly Lake Drive and Steilacoom Blvd, various telephone and cable providers will be transferring their facilities to the new utility poles. As a result, the roadway excavation and placement of curb and gutter will require 24 hour closure of the curb-side south bound lane on Bridgeport Way between Gravelly Lake Drive and Mt Tacoma Drive. Traffic also may be shifted to utilize the center turn lane during peak hours. Intermittent northbound lane closures will occur along the entire stretch from Mt Tacoma Drive to Steilacoom Boulevard. Please expect delays and use alternate routes when possible, and check City website for info.
- City manager meets in DC regarding federal stimulus funding: The city manager attended the National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference this week in Washington DC, with over 100 others from Washington State, and about 2,500 from cities around the nation. He met with Congressmen Adam Smith and Norm Dicks regarding military base relations, and joined in a small group meeting with Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell on other Washington State issues. Workshops on federal “stimulus” programming through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 were presented by a number of federal officials, including President Obama’s key cabinet members: Attorney General Eric Holder, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
- Chief attends CALEA Conference: Police Chief Bret Farrar and Officer Jeff Carroll are attending a CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) conference this week in Raleigh NC in preparation for the LPD on-site accreditation assessment scheduled for August 2009.
- Brigadier General (Mayor) Doug Richardson retires from Army Reserve: On March 18th, Fort Lewis and I Corps commander, Lieutenant General Charles H. Jacoby Jr. officiated at the retirement ceremony for Brigadier General Douglas G. Richardson from the Army Reserve after 32 years of combined active and reserve service. Lt. Gen. Jacoby presented Brig. Gen. Richardson with a Distinguished Service Medal and Mrs. Charlene Richardson with a bouquet of yellow roses; he then emphasized how much he valued the Fort Lewis-Lakewood partnership and Richardson’s highly supportive mayoral leadership. Deputy Mayor Don Anderson and Council Members Helen McGovern and Pad Finnigan joined several city staff members and dozens of friends, fellow Soldiers, and retirees at the ceremony. Mayor Emeritus Bill Harrison and Attorney General Rob McKenna were also in attendance. For members of the Army, the Distinguished Service Medal is the third highest award behind the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. Lt. Gen. Jacoby departs later this month, with the I Corps headquarters, to serve as the commander of Multi-National Corps Iraq (MNC-I).
LTG Jacoby poses with BG and Mrs. Richardson. (Photo courtesy of Northwest Guardian)
- Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association Workshop: The March 12th WAPELRA (Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association) workshop on Cooperative Training was a success in providing valuable training information and resources to Human Resources Professionals in Washington State. HR Director and WAPELRA Board Member Debi Young assisted with the coordination of the event.
- Oak Grove Village development: Staff has prepared permits for the 254-unit Oak Grove Village multi-family residential development approved for construction on the northeast corner of Lakewood Drive and Steilacoom Boulevard. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared for the project in 2007. The project will preserve the majority of the oak trees on the site, while providing the City with a new well-designed residential complex. The project received funding from HUD, and a portion of the project will be reserved for affordable units. The permits are expected to be issued next week, and construction may begin immediately.
- City paralegal attends ABA Certified Paralegal Program: Paralegal Cynthia Wright participated in a focus group at Tacoma Community College for their American Bar Association Certified Paralegal Program on March 19th. To maintain the Program’s certification, TCC has to receive input from attorneys and paralegals working in the community to help provide feedback regarding the expectations for entry-level paralegal positions in Pierce County law offices.
- Prosecutor’s trial week results: The Legal Department’s trial week in review included several DUI cases, and two Guilty Pleas on DUI cases with a BAC reading over .15 and a refusal. This was followed on Wednesday by a Defendant convicted at trial on two criminal counts (Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer and Resisting Arrest). In this case, Police had initially been called to a local fast food restaurant because a patron was reported to have said he had a bomb in his car. The suspect refused to comply with the officer’s directions several times, and he also actively resisted being arrested. Officers were required to use force to arrest before they could investigate the bomb threat. This case was tried by Asst City Attorney Anita Booker-Hay. On Thursday, a Lakewood Municipal Court jury returned a guilty verdict on a DUI case. In this case, Police stopped a defendant as he proceeded through a local intersection at a high rate of speed, missed his turn, and proceeded to weave down South Tacoma Way. When stopped the defendant presented multiple signs of intoxication and he was arrested and processed for DUI, although he claimed that his driving was OK because he had been drinking at the Port Orchard Golf Course and no one pulled him over as he drove through two counties before arriving in Lakewood. The case was tried by Assoc City Attorney Matt Kaser.
- Superior Court affirms Lakewood convictions: The Superior Court this week affirmed multiple Lakewood municipal court convictions of a repeat drunk driver. In February 2008, this driver was sentenced on multiple counts of Driving While Under the Influence, Driving On a Suspended License, First Degree and Reckless Driving, and received approximately a two and half year sentence. The Superior Court rejected multiple defense arguments and let stand this sentence. Associate City Attorney Matt Kaser handled this appeal.
- April 15th – Lakewood Police Station Grand Opening: The City is planning a grand opening at the new Lakewood Police Station on Lakewood Drive at noon on April 15th. The opening ceremony will be followed by a public open house. More details will be forthcoming.
- Reminder: Bill Harrison Volunteer of Year Nominations: Nominations for the most outstanding volunteer in Lakewood are due on March 31st. Please visit the front page (“latest news and events”) at www.cityoflakewood.us for more information.
- St. Patrick’s Day Gathering a Success at Senior Activity Center: On March 17th, the Lakewood Senior Activity Center was the scene for the St. Patrick’s Day gathering of the leprechauns, with 65 in attendance. They had a good time hobnobbing with each other at the ceilidh that they could be heard far and wide. There were many new people in attendance and it was a great party. The ‘wearing of the Green’ was the color of the day, because it’s well known that we all have a little Irish in us for a Happy St. Paddy’s Day…