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Sister Cities International Festival, April 25-27

The Lakewood Sister Cities Association (LSCA ) is hosting its annual Sister Cities International Festival from April 25 – 27.

The festival highlights one of its sister/friendship cities each year. This year, Okinawa City will be highlighted through the festival’s main performances. In past years, Lakewood’s additional sister cities of Bauang, Danzhou and Gimhae were highlighted.

The event will take place at the Pierce College Fort Steilacoom campus at 9401 Farwest Drive SW in Lakewood.

The free, family-friendly event will honor the rich cultures of the Philippines, China, Korea, Japan and more. Activities will include cultural entertainment, art exhibits, and international cuisines and arts and crafts vendors touting jewelry, art and other goods.

“We’re so proud to once again host the Sister Cities International Festival,” says Ellie Chambers-Grady, economic development manager for the City of Lakewood. “This event is a fantastic way to showcase and celebrate Lakewood’s diversity with our community members.”

The feature act is a special performance by members of the renowned Miyagi-Ryu Minoruno Kai-Megumi Matsuda Dance Institute from Okinawa City, Japan. Other entertainment includes performers and troupes from Korea, Guam, India, Thailand, Samoa, Afghanistan, Philippines and Ireland.

Additional highlights include:

  • A public market featuring arts and crafts and ethnic food vendors.
  • A Kids Corner with face painting, calligraphy lessons, origami and more.

A full schedule of activities and performances, as well as a list of vendors, can be found at www.lsca.us.

“The Lakewood Sister Cities Association works year-round to promote international harmony,” says Connie Coleman-Lacadie, LSCA president. “This festival gives us the opportunity to share our important work with the rest of our community, and we’re very excited to do so. Moreover, we are very excited that this year's Sister Cities event allows us to partner with the ArtsFest Celebration on April 25th and 27th.”

The Lakewood Sister Cities Festival - ArtsFest Celebration is proudly sponsored by Clover Park and Lakewood Rotary Clubs, Pierce County Crime Stoppers, Lakewood Family YMCA, Asian Pacific Cultural Center, The Ranger, KLAY Radio, City of Lakewood and Pierce College.

Mary Dodsworth Receives Top WRPA Award

Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director Mary Dodsworth was recognized with the Honor Fellow Award at the Washington Recreation & Parks Association (WRPA) annual conference in Seattle this week.

This award is the highest recognition bestowed by the state professional organization to an individual. It recognizes her dedication and achievement in her field over a minimum of 10 years. Mary has been recognized in the past with the Young Professional award in 1991, the Citation of Merit award in 2008 and served as the president of WRPA in 2008-09.

Here is what WRPA said about Mary during the awards ceremony:

This year’s Honor Fellow is the definition of “walking the talk,” she inspires people simply by who she is. Her enthusiasm for life, passion for this profession, generous warm heart, and joy for  her work put her in a class of her own.

As the Town of Steilacoom’s Director of Parks and Recreation, she helped the recreation programs flourish and provided needed direction to turn neglected areas into park jewels.  In her current position as the first Director of the City of Lakewood Parks and Recreation, she built a new organization from scratch while earning the respect and appreciation of the community. Inheriting overgrown parcels surrounded by locked fences, she entered a low income, high crime community and despite great adversity, built an amazing parks and recreation system.

Mary Dodsworth is always looking for ways to improve the field of parks and recreation. She is optimistic, innovative and creative in promoting our profession. She is not afraid to leap into the unknown and tackle new initiatives. She is definitely a leader in our field.

Mary has received many acknowledgements in her career including the Young Professional award in1991 and the Professional Citation of Merit Award in 2008.

Last month, Mary was also recently recognized by the US Army with the Commander’s Award for Public Service. This award was given by the 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team. She received a military medal and ribbon, similar to an award they would have given an enlisted person.

Outside of her real job, Mary has been a tireless supporter of WRPA and our profession. She helped re-establish the Risk Management School and served as the chair for several years. She has also volunteers with the Recreation and Conservation Office, judging grant projects. She chaired the WRPA 60th Anniversary Committee, she has served as a speaker at state and national conferences and has served in many WRPA board positions over the past years and is also one of our esteemed Past-Presidents.

Mary’s endless energy and enthusiastic personality has left an indelible mark on our organization and our profession. Please join me in recognizing Mary Dodsworth as our 2014 Honor Fellow Award winner.

City Honored at AUSA Regional Meeting

On Saturday, the City of Lakewood received a big honor that recognized its support of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

At the AUSA Sixth Region Annual Meeting and Symposium in Portland, the City of Lakewood got the Sixth Region Exceptionsal Contributions Award for its service to soldiers, veterans and family members of 4-2, the City's former Community Connector to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The City was recognized for its massive parade welcoming Raider Brigade soldiers home in 2013 and other efforts to support the brigade, which officially inactivated in March. The City of Lakewood's new Community Connector is 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

In addition to the City of Lakewood being recognized, the Lakewood Subchapter of AUSA recived the Major General (CA) Ronald H. Markarian Award for Outstanding Cooperative Success for its superior service to the City of Lakewood and the Raider Brigade.

The 4-2 also was recognized with the Sixth Region Distinguished Unit Commendation for exceptional performance of combat and civic duty. including multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, from June 2006 through March 2014.

(Photo courtesy of Task Force Raider)

City of Lakewood Receives WellCity Award

This month, the City of Lakewood was one of 96 cities and government agencies in Washington that earned a 2014 WellCity Award from the Association of Washington Cities Benefit Trust. The award is given to AWC members that meet nine best practice standards for employee health.

The distinction means the City of Lakewood will receive a 2-percent premium discount on all medical premiums for employees. The discount will be applied to 2014 premiums for active employees, spouses and dependents.

A 2-percent premium discount is significant in today’s economy, and the reward is even bigger. WellCity award winners enjoy reduced costs and a culture of health at City Hall.

Lakewood Celebrates Jermaine Kearse Day

By Jordin Ereth

The City of Lakewood and Clover Park School District honored Super Bowl champion and Seattle Seahawk Jermaine Kearse with a hero's homecoming Saturday at Harry E. Lang Stadium.

There was a slight breeze as the sun shined down on the field - the same field that Jermaine played during his tenure at Lakes High School. Yet even with clear skies, the sun couldn't compete with the gleaming smile Kearse displayed as he approached the podium.

Hundreds of fans filled the stadium seats to see the Seahawks wideout, but none were as excited to see Kearse as his former high school coach Dave Miller. Miller gave some words regarding Jermaine's achievements during his high school career, in which he praised his "integrity and work ethic." Miller also touched on the Lakewood product's multiple awards, such as Tacoma News Tribune 2008 Player of the Year, his All-League, All-State and All-American honors, and even the receiving records he currently holds at the University of Washington.

Miller wasn't the only one to praise Jermaine's achievements. Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson spoke of Jermaine with a passionate and honorable tone. With a nod to the stands, he commented on the gathering of the celebration.

"It's nice to see our community united in sport, and so many other ways. You know, it's only four months until the NFL pre-season begins." He followed this statement by conjuring a "SEA-HAWKS" chant from both sides of the stadium. He continued with a colorful description of Jermaine's heroic Super Bowl touchdown, describing him as a "pinball spinning off of defenders," and that "a spectacular catch such as that is the kind of dream that inspires millions." He closed his speech by handing Jermaine the Key to the City - only the second time that's ever happened in Lakewood - and officially declaring April 12 "Jermaine Kearse Day" in the City of Lakewood.

When Jermaine finally approached the podium, he did so with a humble "thank you" to his biggest inspirations. "I want to thank God and the City of Lakewood for the opportunity to play the sport I love."

He followed that by thanking the fans, "I also want to thank you all for coming and showing up. I didn't think I was that big of a deal." Kearse jokingly added the last part, but he also offered words of inspiration to the youths in his fan base during an impromptu Q&A session.

When asked what advice he would give the students regarding their dreams and aspirations, he responded "Don't believe the lie. Don't ever say 'I can't.' Continue to work hard, and shoot for the stars."

After the ceremony Kearse sat under a shaded media tent to answer questions and sign autographs for the Seahawk faithful. Jermaine immedately hit it off with the young fans showing poise and heart-felt charisma - a surprising feat for such a young professional. When asked how he felt about receiving the Key to the City he grew up in, he responded "It's mindblowing. I might try and be mayor of this city."

A simple joke, sure. But with the support he receives from this community, his legitimacy as a candidate may not be much of a laughing matter after all.