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Lane Closures on I-5 Between Lakewood, Lacey

(From the Washington State Department of Transportation)

The project to build “smart highway” devices from Lakewood to Lacey will require crews to reduce Interstate 5 to one lane over two nights.

Drivers also will encounter ramp closures as crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation continue work for the I-5 - SR 510 to SR 512 Congestion Management and I-5, SR 510 to SR 512 ITS & Ramp Revisions projects.

The work is weather dependent and could be rescheduled in the event of rain.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 30
    • At 10 p.m., northbound and southbound I-5 near Mounts Road in DuPont will be reduced to one lane in each direction. All lanes will reopen at 4 a.m. the following day.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 1
    • The Center Drive on-ramp to southbound I-5 and the southbound I-5 exit to Mounts Road will close at 10 p.m. Both will reopen at 4 a.m. the following day.
  • Thursday, Oct. 2
    • At 11 p.m., southbound I-5 in Lakewood will be reduced to one lane, and that one lane will be redirected through the I-5/Thorne Lane interchange. All lanes will reopen at 4 a.m., Friday, Oct. 3.
  • Friday, Oct. 3
    • At 11 p.m., northbound I-5 in Lakewood will be reduced to one lane, and that one lane will be redirected through the I-5/Thorne Lane interchange. All lanes will reopen at 6 a.m. Saturday.
    • Beginning at 8 p.m. each weeknight next week, drivers will also encounter single-lane closures in both directions between Lacey and Lakewood. All lanes will reopen at 5 a.m. each following day.

Volunteers Needed For Bike, Pedestrian Count

Fall is here, and it's time once again for the Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project .

From Tuesday, Sept. 30 to Thursday, Oct. 2, volunteers will stand at key intersections in cities around the state - including Lakewood - to count bicyclists and pedestrians as they ride and walk by. Last year, the state counted more than 66,000 bikes and pedestrians.

This important project helps the state collect valuable bicycle and pedestrian data that informs state policy. Community participation is vital to the success of this project. Sign up to be a volunteer and encourage your friends to do the same.

Organizers are looking for volunteers, who can sign up here . Volunteers count either during the A.M. slot (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.), or the P.M. slot (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), and you can choose whether you'd like to do so Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Currently, volunteers are needed to fill the A.M. spot in Lakewood. Click in the above link to sign up.

Governor: State Gets $4.3 Million DoD Grant To Brace For Military Downsizing

(Note: This is from the Office of Governor Jay Inslee)

Washington state has received a $4.3 million Department of Defense (DOD) grant to support local efforts to address the impact of potential downsizing of the state’s defense industry, Gov. Jay Inslee announced today.

The funding, from the DOD Office of Economic Adjustment’s Defense Industry Adjustment program, is matched by more than $500,000 in state and local dollars through the newly-formed Washington Military Alliance . The alliance was convened by the governor to prepare for military downsizing and includes a diverse group of military and defense stakeholders that represent industry, veteran, workforce and economic development interests across the state.

In 2012, Washington’s military industry accounted for 136,000 jobs and $15.7 billion in economic activity. There are more than 1,500 companies doing defense work in 35 of 39 Washington counties. Washington has the sixth largest military presence in the nation with personnel at bases and assets throughout the state. The industry supports military personnel as well as civilian jobs in cybersecurity, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, clean technology, and information and communications technology.

“The military and defense sector is an economic backbone for many Washington communities and a driver of economic development statewide,” Inslee said. “As the DOD reduces military assets around the country, we want to make sure we are prepared and ready. By planning ahead, we will ensure Washington remains in a strong position to support our military and defense infrastructure, its diverse industry supply chain and the tens of thousands of jobs associated with this industry.”

Congressman Denny Heck said the region is fortunate to include pioneering companies and organizations that are providing state-of-the-art resources to the military.

"To sustain these inventors and entrepreneurs – many of whom are veterans – we need to be adequately prepared for anticipated needs down the road," Heck said in a statement. "These jobs are important for both our communities and production supporting our nation’s national security.”

The DOD grant will help implement a plan to minimize the impacts of military downsizing on regional businesses and communities. The plan, called the Washington State Military and Defense Sector Industry Adjustment Analysis and Strategy, was developed in collaboration with the Washington Military Alliance and the Department of Commerce. It will:

  • Assess the extent of the military and defense contracting footprint in the state,
  • Create a strategy and support system to reduce the exposure of regional businesses that are overly reliant on military and defense spending,
  • Support capability for technology transfers and advanced commercial spin-off of DOD programs to the private sector,
  • Generate a seamless transition to retrain and place dislocated defense contract employees in new jobs,
  • Study future opportunities for industry growth in both the public and private sector in order to meet defense needs, and
  • Focus on retaining and strengthening Washington state’s defense sector businesses and workforce.

Jorgensen Forge, a Tukwila company doing U.S. Navy contract work, is a prime example of the type of company that can benefit from the grant, said Kristiné Reeves, the state Department of Commerce’s military and defense sector lead. The company, like several others in the state, has reduced its workforce as defense contracts have declined.

“This plan was fostered by the state’s Department of Commerce in response to community need and involves a partnership with eight local private organizations and several state agencies,’’ said Rich Hadley, president emeritus of Greater Spokane Inc. “This will touch all corners of Washington and demonstrates great public/private collaboration and a coordinated effort to keep this important industry an economic driver.”

“One core tenet of our statewide economic development and competitiveness strategy focuses on developing opportunities in key industry sectors,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “This is the same approach we take with the aerospace, life sciences and other key industries and provides the focus we need to ensure that Washington remains highly competitive for jobs today and well into the future.”

“As we work to represent four of the five largest defense communities in our state, the Puget Sound Regional Council is proud to partner with the Governor’s office, the state Department of Commerce and others to marshal our resources and strategically focus our efforts on understanding the defense supply chain in our state and then working to ensure that supply chain is prosperous and can grow for years to come,” said Pat McCarthy, president of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Community Visioning Workshop on YouTube

The City of Lakewood has posted a video from its Community Visioning Workshop on its YouTube page.

The event took place Sept. 23, 2014 at the Sharon McGavick Student Center at Clover Park Technical College.

The City is undergoing its Community Vision Plan process, which will help shape what the community looks like in the future. As part of the process, the City held the workshop to hear directly from residents. At the workshop, almost 100 attendees gathered in groups and, using pieces on a map, pieced together how Lakewood should grow and develop.

The Lakewood City Council is scheduled to get an update on the Community Vision Plan in October.

Police Looking For Fort Steilacoom Park Assault Suspect

The Lakewood Police Department continues to look for a suspect who assaulted a woman Friday at Fort Steilacoom Park.

Detectives continue to investigate and have released this sketch of the suspect.

Shortly before 2 p.m., Friday, a woman was grabbed from behind by an unknown man armed with a gun while in the park. The man grabbed the 52-year-old victim’s shirt from behind. When she turned around, she noticed he was armed with a gun. The woman screamed, and the man pushed her down and ran off.

A witness who was nearby heard the screams and ran over to the victim. A Police K9 unit and the WSP Airplane searched the area but could not find the suspect. Authorities placed some area schools into lockdown  duringthe search as a safety precaution, and vehicles were checked as they left the park.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s; 5 feet, 7 inches tall, thin muscular build, blue and brown knit cap; shirt and blue jeans. The suspect had a distinctive tattoo on his chest of a blue or purple sun.

The victim and the witness both said the suspect appeared to be very fit with noticeably defined abdominal muscles. The aforementioned tattoo may be located on the upper part of the suspect’s chest.

Detectives are asking the public for help in this case and to report any information they may have on this incident or if they recognize the suspect from the sketch or the description of the tattoo.

If anyone in the public knows anything about this case, they are urged to call the Lakewood Police Department at (253) 830-5000 or the Lakewood Police Tip Line at (253) 830-5064. Tips can also be submitted through the Lakewood Police website at: /government/departments/police/crime/tips .