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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.

Southbound I-5 Ramp, Lane Closures April 14

(This message comes courtesy of the Washington State Department of Transportation)

Drivers on Interstate 5 in Lakewood will see southbound I-5 ramp and lane closures for restriping work next week.

Weather permitting, at 10 p.m. Monday, April 14, the Thorne Lane on-ramp to southbound I-5 and the southbound I-5 exit to Berkeley Street will close. At that time, the southbound I-5 auxiliary lane between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street will also close. An hour later at 11 p.m., southbound I-5 in the area will be reduced to one lane.

The ramps and lanes will reopen by 4 a.m. Tuesday, April 15. If the contractor is unable to complete all striping work Monday night, the same closures will occur Tuesday night.

Southbound I-5 drivers are advised to expect delays and plan accordingly. During the ramp closures, drivers should plan to use alternate routes.

The work is related to final striping for the new auxiliary lane on southbound I-5 between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street in Lakewood, which opened in December.

Help prevent highway work zone injuries by slowing down. Avoid a costly mistake. Visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/safety/brake to learn how to participate in National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7-11, 2014.

City, CPSD to Hold Jermaine Kearse Celebration

He made one amazing catch after another during the Seattle Seahawks’ historic Super Bowl XLVIII run. Now, Jermaine Kearse will return to his hometown so the community can celebrate his accomplishments.

On Saturday, April 12, Clover Park School District and the City of Lakewood will hold a community celebration for Super Bowl champion Jermaine Kearse - who was raised, attended school and first played sports in Lakewood before shining for the University of Washington and the Seattle Seahawks.

The community celebration for the Lakes High alum – fittingly – will take place at Harry E. Lang Stadium (6615 111th St. SW, Lakewood), the same field where he made countless plays as a Lakes Lancer.

The community celebration begins at 1 p.m., and will highlight Kearse’s K-12 education in Clover Park School District, as well as his high school, college and professional football careers. The Lakewood City Council will also recognize Kearse with a proclamation and a Key to the City.

Members of 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat, 2nd Infantry Division - Lakewood's official Community Connector to Joint Base Lewis-McChord - will also be on hand assisting Lakewood Police, CPSD staff and otehrs with the event. Kearse's father was a soldier at JBLM and he even attended school on base.

The event is free to the public. Those planning to attend are encouraged to carpool as parking and seating will be limited. Gates will open at 11:30 a.m.

City Crews Clean Bridgeport/Pacific Highway

Thanks to a great effort put forth by the City – Public Works Operations & Maintenance, City Work Crew, and Parks Crew -- the overgrown vegetation and unsightly trash has been cleaned up on the southeast corner of the Bridgeport/Pacific Highway intersection.

It started last Friday with the Work Crew cleaning up and filling a trailer full of trash. On Monday, Public Works went in with its mini-excavator with mower head and knocked everything down. On Tuesday, Public Works and Parks loaded and hauled three truckloads of material away. And finally on Wednesday, a final push was made with Parks and the Work Crew to finish the area by hand and haul away one more full truckload of material. The area is now clean and contributes to a much more welcoming entry into the city.

Great job, everyone! #IamLakewood

Raiders Recognition, Lancers Welcome

This week, the Lakewood City Council closed a significant chapter in the City's history with Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as well as turned the pages on a new one.

4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division - the City of Lakewood's Community Connector to JBLM for nearly a decade  - recognized the community for its help and support throughout the years. The Raider Brigade officially inactivated in March.

Col. Jody Miller, Commander of the Raider Brigade, recognized the City for its support. Miller presented Mayor Don Anderson with the Order of Saint Maurice Award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the Infantry in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipient's seniors, subordinates and peers.

Over the years, the Lakewood City Council attended numerous official brigade functions, including Changes of Command, Colors Casing and Uncasing ceremonies and memorial dedications. The Mayor and the Lakewood team personally greeted and thanked the brigades returing soldiers right on the McChord Field tarmac. And of course, the City organized the giant "Welcome Home" parade and community celebration Sept. 15, 2013.

Miller also presented Denise Dhane with the Shield of Sparta Award. which recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the promotion of the Infantry and the families of Infantrymen and women, in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipeint's peers.

Dhane, a Steilacoom resident, spearheaded "Operation Make a Soldier Smile," for the Captain Meriweather Lewis Chapeter of the Association of the United States Army. She sent packages to thousands of Soldiers and Infantrymen overseas until postage became prohibitive. Through her tenacity, she assembled more than 4,300 goody bags of community donated goods, valued at approximately $75,000, to welcome returning Soldiers back to JBLM.

Miller called Lakewood "the best Community Connector around."

Click here to see a photo gallery of the ceremonies.

On the same night, the City of Lakewood officially welcomed its new Community Connector - 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, otherwise known as the Lancer Brigade.

Col. Louis Zeisman, Commander for the 2-2, told the City Council how much he is looking forward to becoming an integral part of Lakewood.