By Dawn Masko, Administrator, City of DuPont
1. JBLM To Open Mounts Road Gate For Morning Commuters. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) issued a press release on September 28th announcing that Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) will open the Mounts Road gate beginning on Monday, October 4th in an effort to ease morning congestion on northbound Interstate 5. The gate will be open on weekday mornings from 5:00 AM – 8:00 AM to drivers with Defense Department identification cards and base decals only. It will be limited to vehicles entering from Nisqually Road, coming northbound from old Pacific Highway SE in Thurston County. Left-turns into the entrance and exiting traffic are prohibited. I
In a cooperative effort, WSDOT has been working with JBLM, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Pierce County Public Works and Utilities on necessary road improvements to facilitate the gate opening, including filling potholes and repaving about 100 feet of road. Funding for the road improvements was provided by JBLM.
Immediate actions already taken to help relieve recent increases in congestion on Northbound Interstate 5 between Lacey and DuPont include improving signal timing at DuPont/Steilacoom and Nisqually interchanges, and adding more WSDOT incident crews to quickly clear disabled vehicles in the area.
Additional information is available on the WSDOT website at www.wsdot.wa.gov or at the following links: WSDOT Press Release 9-23-10 or WSDOT Press Release 9-28-10.
2. Shoreline Master Program Update
The Planning Agency met on September 27th and discussed the community visioning component of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update that is required by the Department of Ecology (DOE) grant. Comment forms were due by September 30th to be included in the Visioning Report due to the DOE by October 15th per the grant requirements. For further information about the SMP process please contact email@example.com.
3. Sequalitchew Creek and Edmond Marsh Committee
Mayor Tamara Jenkins has established a seven member committee to explore the City’s current policies and regulatory roles relative to the protection of the environmental condition and ecosystems of Sequalitchew Creek and Edmond Marsh. This committee will be composed of two Planning Agency representatives, two Sequalitchew Creek Council and/or affilitate groups representatives, two City Councilmembers, and one Citizen-at-Large. The Mayor will be accepting letters of interest for the Citizen-at-Large position until October 21st. Interested citizens should send their letters to City Hall at 1700 Civic Drive, DuPont, WA 98327 or email them to the City Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. JBLM Growth Coordination Plan
After several months of working with various local jurisdictions and other stakeholders (school districts, utility providers, etc.), study consultants have released the draft JBLM Growth Coordination Plan (GCP). The plan was funded by the Office of Economic Adjustment through a grant administered by the City of Lakewood. The plan’s primary purpose is to identify the impacts and opportunities of military-related growth over the next five years, provide recommendations on how to address gaps in services related to JBLM-induced change, and assist state and local officials and service providers with anticipated growth impacts and capitalizing on opportunities. The goals of the plan include regional coordination, closing public gaps, enhancing economic development, improving educational opportunities, providing affordable housing opportunities, enhancing regional mobility, and sustaining a healthy and high quality of life for all residents. The draft plan and additional information is available at www.jblm-growth.com/draft-plan. The public is encouraged to review the draft plan and provide comments by October 29th.
5. Upcoming Meetings – Week of October 4th – 8th
* Parks Agency Meeting Monday, October 4th at 7:00 PM
* Tree Board Meeting Tuesday, October 5th at 9:30 AM
* Tourism Board Meeting Tuesday, October 5th at 2:00 PM
* Civil Service Meeting Wednesday, October 6th at 6:00 PM
6. Emergency Management Preparedness Day
Pierce County Emergency Management is holding their second annual Preparedness Day on Saturday, October 9th from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Roy H. Murphy Community Center at 555 Contra Costa Avenue in Fircrest. This free event is open to the public. Emergency response apparatus will be on display, kids activities will be occurring, and there will be three training sessions throughout the day. The sessions will teach attendees about earthquake awareness, sandbagging, winter weather outlook, volcano awareness, and information on lahar sirens and evacuation. Please contact PC Emergency Management at 253-798-3311 for more information.
7. Pierce County Boundary Review Board
Public testimony regarding the formation of a Countywide Flood Control District by Pierce County will be received by the Pierce County Boundary Review Board on Tuesday, October 12th beginning at 9:00 AM in the Public Meeting Room of the Pierce County Annex located in Tacoma at 2401 So. 35th Street. Procedural questions may be referred to the Chief Clerk at 253-798-7156.
8. U.S. Amateur Golf Tournament
Pierce County officials have declared the U.S. Amateur an overwhelming success with community support and ticket/merchandise sales exceeding expectations. Approximately 33,700 people attended the weeklong event resulting in ticket sales of $130,000 (not including corporate sponsorships). More than $250,000 in merchandise was sold with vendors having to restock and reorder every day. Corporate sponsorships provided $850,000 while 700 community volunteers provided assistance with the event as well as housing for golfers. The City of DuPont is still working with Pierce County to determine our fair share of admissions tax resulting from ticket sales for admittance to the rounds which were held at the Home Course.
The Home Course presented a beautiful wall hanging to City officials at the September 28th Council meeting to thank them for their support and help in making the event such as success. We will find a permanent home in City Hall to display this for all of our citizens to enjoy.
9. Joint Base Lewis-McChord Transition
October 1st is a significant date on Joint Base Lewis-McChord because as of today it has reached full operational capacity and is officially a joint base. In 2005 the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended that Fort Lewis and McChord be combined into one of only twelve joint bases worldwide. Since February 1st a complex phased consolidation plan combining Fort Lewis and McChord has taken place which has affected nearly every organization that runs day-to-day base operations, such as gate security, public works, emergency services, virtually all support functions, and many other activities. Although JBLM is now officially a joint base, the military is still looking at opportunities to combine services and improve infrastructure.
10. Police Department News
* The Police Department has received specially marked shotguns for less than lethal projectiles. Training was held this past week and all officers are now equipped with this new tool. This gives the officers another option to lethal force in critical situations and will allow officers to deal with these situations from a greater distance.
* The Police Department has been notified by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) that our most recent grant request for an additional police officer was not selected for funding. The criterion for the funding was a combination of financial need and crime statistics. There were no police agencies in Pierce County which received funding.
11. Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program Grants
The City added their support to a Letter to the Governor from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition asking that the funds for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grants be preserved as part of the Washington State 2011 Capital Budget. This letter was signed by many counties, cities, agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations and recreation associations. As part of the letter the group answered the eight questions which are part of the Transforming Washington’s Budget process as requested by Governor Gregoire. The City’s skatepark grant application is ranked 11th out of 63 total projects which means if these grant funds are preserved in the State’s budget we stand a very high chance of having our skatepark grant project funded.
12. Student Vision and Hearing Testing
Members of the DuPont Lions Club partnered with members of Lakewood First Lions this past Tuesday to conduct vision and hearing testing for students at Beechwood Elementary School on JBLM. This testing attempts to identify children with previously undiagnosed sight and hearing deficiencies. The two Lions clubs will be working together throughout the fall to test all first, second and third graders in the Steilacoom and Clover Park School Districts. The City was represented by our Fire Chief Greg Hull and Fire Operations Chief Greg Cooper. If you would like to participate in this valuable program please call Fire Chief Greg Hull at 253-964-8414.
13. Gymnastics Program
DuPont Parks and Recreation is proud to announce the arrival of gymnastics in DuPont! We are in the process of solidifying a partnership with Cartwheels & Smiles to offer this program. Registration opens on October 6th with classes starting in November at the Community Center. Registration forms will be available at www.ci.dupont.wa.us. Call 253-912-5245 with any questions.
14. Memorial Service for John Arum
A memorial service for John Arum, the attorney representing various environmental groups involved with the MOU settlement process, will be held on Saturday, October 2nd at 11:00 AM. The service is being held at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center located in Discovery Park in Seattle. The City’s condolences go out to his many family and friends whose lives he has touched.
15. Annual Pierce County Pre-Winter Meeting
Several key City staff attended the Annual Pierce County Pre-Winter meeting this past week. Representatives from Puget Sound Energy, the National Weather Service, U.S. Corp of Engineers, Pierce County Surface Water Management, and Pierce County Emergency Management discussed annual preparations for the upcoming winter months and the associated storms which typically come with winter weather. It is predicted to be a rough weather season due to La Nina and could be in line with what our region experienced several years ago with colder temperatures, more snow, windstorms, and flooding.
16. Pierce County Library Annual Card Drive
Pierce County Library System’s fourth annual card drive runs from October 1st – 31st. The library’s goal is to add 8,500 card holders in October. Free cards are available at any of 17 library locations, including the DuPont Library located at 1540 Wilmington Drive. People who live in or own property in unincorporated Pierce County, Bonney Lake, Buckley, DuPont, Eatonville, Edgewood, Fife, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Milton, Orting, South Prairie, Steilacoom, Sumner, University Place, or Wilkeson, as well as people who live on a military base in the county, can get a free library card. Through a borrowing agreement with Puyallup, Roy, and Tacoma Public Libraries, residents in those cities may also get free cards. During the Library’s card drive in fall 2009 over 8,000 people got cards. To apply for a library card online use the following link: Pierce County Library Card Online
17. National Solar Tour
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Tour is the world’s largest grassroots solar event. This event offers people the opportunity to tour innovative green homes and buildings to see how they can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies to reduce monthly utility bills and help tackle climate change. More than 160,000 participants will visit some 5,500 buildings in 3,200 communities across the United States.
Now in its 15th year, this event is coordinated nationally by the nonprofit ASES in collaboration with dozens of outstanding partner organizations. It takes place annually during the first Saturday in October in conjunction with National Energy Awareness Month. For more information visit: www.solarwashington.org/tour/index.htm.
18. HarvestFest Farm Tour
The 12th Annual HarvestFest Farm Tour is happening on Saturday, October 2nd from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Eighteen Pierce County farms are offering a day of free tours, fresh produce, kids’ activities, pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and more. HarvestFest will showcase five farms in Puyallup, four farms in Orting, one farm/winery in Eatonville, one farm in Roy, and seven farms and a winery on Key Peninsula. This tour is presented by WSU Extension along with many other sponsors. For more information, visit the HarvestFest website at www.pierce.wsu.edu.
19. Hospice Workshop
Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center is offering a free workshop called “Hospice: Making Life Meaningful for Patients and Families” on October 9th from 9:30 AM to noon at the Soundview Building, 2633 South “D” Street in Tacoma. Hospice and palliative care are the primary vehicles for people with terminal conditions and their families to receive the best care during the final months of life. This workshop will help participants understand the basics of hospice and palliative care; advanced care planning and legal considerations; hospice benefits provided through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance; and the process for care planning that the family and hospice team creates. Space is limited. RSVP by calling 253-798-8787.
20. Candidate and Ballot Issue Forums
The following candidate and ballot issue forums are being sponsored by the League of Women Voters. For more information contact Terri Baker, President, at 253-272-1495.
* 28th District Legislative Forum Wednesday, October 6th 6:30 – 8:30 PM
University Place City Hall 3715 Bridgeport Way West
* Initiative 1098 Forum Monday, October 11th 6:00 – 7:30 PM
UW-Tacoma, Phillip Hall 1918 Pacific Avenue
* 6th & 9th Congressional District and 27th Legislative District Forum
Tuesday, October 12th 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Evergreen College, Tacoma Campus 1210 – 6th Avenue
* Ballot Issues Forum Thursday, October 21st 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Downtown Tacoma Public Library 1102 Tacoma Avenue South
The Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a Candidates Forum at Steilacoom Town Hall on Thursday, October 28th at 7:00 PM. Featured will be the candidates from the 9th Congressional District Adam Smith and Dick Muri, and 28th District Legislative candidates Tami Green, Paul Wagemen, Troy Kelley and Steve O’Ban. Questions for the candidates may be submitted to email@example.com or at the event by writing your question on 3”x5” cards that will be made available. The Suburban Times reporter Dave Sclair will moderate the program for the chamber.