Brynn Grimley (253) 983-7761 • Fax (253) 589-3774 •
Communications Manager

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department issued a toxic algae advisory for Lake Steilacoom Aug. 29, 2017. That means there are areas of the lake with algae that are unsafe for people and pets.

The advisory means people and pets should avoid areas of the lake where algae is present.

  • Keep children and pets away from areas with algae
  • Do not swim, wade, water ski, or fish in areas with algae

You can easily identify a toxic algae bloom because of its unusual color or appearance in the water. Usually a bloom makes the lake surface look like pea soup or green paint, but sometimes the bloom may be a different color (bluish or brownish). Wind and rain can greatly change the amount and location of algae in the lake.

Swallowing lake water containing algae or prolonged skin contact with the algae may result in illness, such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or nausea. Anyone who swallows water containing large amounts of algae should seek immediate medical attention.

The risk to pets is much greater than the risk to people. Pets have smaller body sizes and are more likely to drink water containing a heavy concentration of algae. If a pet ingests a large amount of algae and is showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, disorientation, or seizures, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Runoff from fertilizers, animal and human waste reach our lakes and contribute to algae growth. Reducing the use of fertilizers, properly maintaining septic systems, and properly disposing of pet waste helps improve water quality in lakes, streams, groundwater, and Puget Sound.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department lifted is sewage spill advisory from Waughop Lake Friday, following water quality tests that show the water quality has improved.

The health department posted the advisory earlier this year after storm lines from Pierce College drained into Waughop Lake. The College addressed the problem and worked to clean up the site.

Recent water quality samples from the lake showed the average E.coli levels below the health department’s threshold for requiring public notification of a sewage spill. The location near the outfall where the sewage drained from the college had one of the lowest results for E.coli.

The water quality results, in combination with the efforts by Pierce College led to the removal of the Sewage Spill Advisory.

An additional E.coli sampling will be taken following the next rain event to make sure residual sewage doesn’t impact the lake.

The toxic algae advisory remains in effect and areas with visible algae should be avoided.

Our park is a wonderful place. Volunteers are working each month to make it even better!  Can you join us?

As you walk through the park, you may notice that destructive plants are taking over many areas. Scotch Broom, English Ivy, and Himalayan Blackberry are the main culprits, but other invasive plants are also gaining a foothold. Left unchecked, these plants will steadily crowd out or smother our wonderful native plants. They will destroy the habitat that our local birds, butterflies, bees and other beneficial pollinators, and small woodland animals rely on.

You can change this! Join us to help eradicate these invasive plants and replace them with native plants. We meet monthly on the fourth Saturday of every month, and would welcome your help whenever you are available. 

Volunteer Dates in 2017

Join us from 9 am to noon:

  • August 26
  • September 23
  • October 28
  • November 25
  • December 23

What you need…

  • Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. 
  • Dress in layers for our changeable weather.
  • Bring sturdy shoes.
  • Leather work gloves are helpful.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Bring water.

Why do we volunteer?

  • Connect with your community.
  • Have fun!
  • Learn which native plants are best for a specific site.
  • See how to attract birds, butterflies, and pollinators.
  • Learn about invasive plants and how to eradicate them.
  • Make the park better for future generations.  Help make a lasting change!
  • Support improved water quality.
  • Gain community service hours and enhance your resume.  Great for students!

Everyone is welcome!  Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The 2017 Asian Film Fest kicks off today (Aug. 11). Here's all you need to know about what's playing:

The event begins with box office blockbuster “Bridge on the River Kwai”, winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Musical Score.

The film airs at 7 p.m. Friday (Aug. 11) at Pierce College’s Fort Steilacoom campus, Cascade Building on the fourth floor. Admission and parking are free.

The films continue Saturday (Aug. 12) with the gripping Australian film “Rabbit Proof Fence” at 2 p.m., then Indian high voltage thriller “Airlift” shows at 7 p.m.

Sunday (Aug. 13) award-winning Japanese film “Like Father, Like Sun” airs at 2 p.m. The three-day event concludes at 7 p.m. and with the film “Neerja”, a breathtaking, true story of a young Indian flight attendant who risks her life to save passengers from terrorists on a hijacked airliner.

Along with these powerful films the event will include a juried art and photo exhibit, Bonsai display and live entertainment by flutist Jeannie Hill. 

Paula Wheeler can thank her grandfather for her success as a jewelry maker.

He didn’t make jewelry, but the special moments they shared walking the beach searching for agates when she was a young child planted the seed for the eventual launch of her business Aspirations by Paula.

Now more than two decades after starting her business and selling her intricate pieces at art festivals and farmers markets, Wheeler reflects on the impact those walks and visits with her grandparents had on her life.

"My grandmother taught me a lot about glass from her world travels and glass collection,” the Gig Harbor resident said.

At age 6 Wheeler taught herself to make jewelry using a miniature jewelry tool kit ordered from the back of a comic book.

“I started making jewelry again in my late 20's, early 30's,” she said. “People liked what I was doing and started offering me money for it."

Making jewelry as a hobby is one thing, turning it into a small business is another.

Add to the complexity being laid off from her corporate job, and Wheeler was left without a lot of extra financing needed to get the business off the ground.

It took shrewd business skills to jump start Aspirations. But Wheeler thought if she could succeed in the corporate world, why not with her own business? She went to work and it soon paid off.

"I used my customers to grow my company," Wheeler said. "I gave them discounts when they brought me people."

Wheeler offers her customers more than just jewelry. She crafts pieces with individual history.

She doesn’t go to the hobby store for materials. Instead she seeks pieces that are not replicated today like glass beads with large quantities of manganese or 24k gold dust made before World War II that were found in 1995 in an old German factory.

"The glass was made so much more superior than anything made after the war," Wheeler said. "The ingredients in old glass reflect light whether you have long hair or short hair, or are in a dark room or standing in sunshine.

“The old glass makes fantastic earrings if you like your earrings to show.”

From the materials she uses to her customer service, every aspect of Wheeler’s business is personalized.

When customers order online, Wheeler makes the selection simpler by asking a series of questions about the buyer or the person that they're buying for. Then she sends suggestions along with a photo of each piece.

"I'm trying to feel a person out, what they're heading towards and where their personality is going," she said.

Wheeler enjoys the vendor lifestyle and loves the people she meets, but admits it is hard work. Still, to anyone who wishes to try, she offers this advice:

"Patience. Listen to customer's feedback. Listen to other vendor's advice. Trial and Error."      

Meet Paula and see her one-of-a-kind pieces every Tuesday in Towne Center at the Lakewood Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.        

August 17, 2017

The City of Lakewood and West Pierce Fire & Rescue officials closed the B&I Public Marketplace at end of business Wednesday, August 16 out of concern for public safety. The building will remain closed until its owners can show they have addressed the public safety hazards identified by the city and West Pierce Fire & Rescue officials.

The decision to close the business was not done quickly or lightly.

City and fire officials conducted two joint inspections of the property – one in April and another in June. At both visits significant hazards were identified, including, but not limited to:

  • Commercial cooking operations without annual confidence testing of the hood suppression systems, making it unclear if the system would work.
  • Deficiencies in the fire protection system during a previous inspection.
  • Multiple changes to walls affecting sprinkler head spray patterns resulting in inadequate sprinkler coverage to sections of the building.
  • A structurally unsound lean-to area at the back of the building.
  • Numerous sprinkler heads painted over or blocked by items in the suspended ceiling areas, preventing them from working properly.
  • Numerous code violations in the electrical wiring and extension cords between vendor spaces. This electrical work was completed without permits and electrical inspections.
  • Walls were added and/or removed without permits and inspections.

Over the course of three months the city made numerous attempts to contact the owners of the building, including repeated phone calls and certified letters. Those attempts were unsuccessful. That city’s intent was, and still is, to work with the owners to make the building safe.

Finally the city made contact the building owner’s agent. The agent was given an August 1 deadline to produce reports on the status of the fire protection devices, electrical system and a structural engineer review. That deadline was extended to August 15 in an attempt to work with the owners.

The electrical report was provided August 16. The fire and structural engineering reports have not been submitted. The electrical report was sent to the state Department of Labor and Industries and Tacoma Power for expedited review. 

The city will work closely and quickly with the building owner to get the building open.

Additional documents:

August 17 letter to B&I tenants.

West Pierce Fire & Rescue inspection report and findings .

Clarity Consulting Engineers June 30, 2017 site visit report. 

Timeline of city's attempts to contact building owner.

Spend your Sunday afternoon at Fort Steilacoom Park for the city of Lakewood’s free Concert in the Park featuring two fantastic regional concert bands: the Washington American Legion Band and the Tacoma Concert Band.

The event kicks off Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. with the American Legion Band , which will perform its repertoire of marches, medleys, wind band originals, solos, patriotic music and “old warhorse” transcriptions.

The American Legion Band performs 20 to 30 times a year across the region at indoor and outdoor venues, ceremonies and parades.

Following an intermission the Tacoma Concert Band will take the stage at 6 p.m.

This is your chance to see the concert band’s founder, conductor and music director Maestro Robert Musser in his last season as leader of this premiere symphonic band – for FREE! Musser is set to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

The Tacoma Concert Band has entertained Pacific Northwest audiences since 1981 with its award-winning performances from classical to modern. The band has performed in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, the French Rivera and now in Lakewood’s crown jewel – Fort Steilacoom Park.

Sit back, relax and enjoy this dynamic performance in the park. Food trucks will offer food for purchase throughout the event. And remember to bring your own chair or blankets.



The City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin is a roundup of news items, happenings and other items of note for the City of Lakewood.

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