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City, Volunteers Begin Cleanup on 119th Street Home

On Aug. 7, a group of volunteers organized by the City of Lakewood took the first steps in cleaning up a heavily vegetated property owned by an elderly woman who didn't have the means to address what had become a neighborhood eyesore.

It all started out as a code compalaint for a house on 119th Street Southwest - a home overgrown with vegeatation. The owner - an elderly woman - lives on limited means and is unable to tackle the work. That's when Lakewood Police Officer Peter Johnson stepped in.

Johnson organized a team of volunteers who helped clean up the property, simply getting to which was a heavy lift in itself .

"We were able to get rid of the entire laurel issue in the front yard and carved our way to the back yard," Johnson said. "We made several clearings into the back yard bramble patch, reaching her back fence in two spots, but there were several large, downed trees hidden in the brambles that slowed us down from clearing the entire yard."

There's more work to do, but the owner and neighbors were "thrilled," according to Johnson, and came out during the work party to praise the City.

Kudos to Officer Johnson, the volunteers and others who helped make this happen.

#IamLakewood

Rep. Denny Heck Speaks on Potential JBLM Cuts

On Aug. 7, 2014, Denny Heck, 10th Congressional District Representative for the State of Washington, addressed about 40 people at the South Sound Communities & Military Partnership Economic Development Working Group meeting at Lakewood City Hall.

Specifically, Heck discussed the Army's proposal to cut 16,000 defense and civilian job at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which is located next door to Lakewood. Rep. Heck encourages people to voice their opinions to the Army via its Public Comment Process.

(Click here to watch the City's video coverage of the event)

Specifically, Heck referred to the Army's finding that the loss of 16,000 military and civilian personnel would have no significant impact on the communities surrounding Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Let  me be clear: They are wrong, and we disagree," he said. "It's our job to make sure they understand why."

To find out how you can comment, visit www.jblm-growth.com .

Watch our video coverage of the event here: http://youtu.be/o8eqgtL6R1w.

Lakewood Celebrates National Night Out

On Tuesday, Aug. 5, the community celebrated National Night Out with neighborhood parties throughout the City of Lakewood.

Lakewood City Councilmembers, Congressman Denny Heck, members of the Lakewood Police Department and other representatives stopped by the 40 or so neighborhood celebrations that took place throughout community, from parks to neighbors' back yards.

All of them showed how fun and important it is for neighbors to meet their neighbors and take ownership in their community.

To view pictures of the event, visit the City of Lakewood's Facebook page .

Denny Heck To Discuss Potential JBLM Reduction

On Thursday, Aug. 7, Rep. Denny Heck will give a presentation on the potential loss of some 16,000 jobs at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as well as what locals can do to ensure the Army hears how the reductions would affect them.

The 10th District Congressman will be the featured speaker at the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP) Economic Development Working Group meeting, which begins at 2:30 p.m., at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW.

In June, the Army proposed reducing the number of military and civilian jobs at JBLM by up to 16,000 before 2020 as part of a national drawdown. It produced a Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) that estimates how the jobs reduction would impact the region, including the economies of Pierce and Thurston Counties.

SSMCP and the City of Lakewood are encouraging businesses and residents to tell the Army how these proposed reductions would impact them by submitting a public comment via the Army’s official public comment process, the deadline for which is Aug. 25, 2014.

(Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield's wrote an opinion piece on the potential drawdown that was published Aug. 3, 2014 in The News Tribune )

Why is it important that you voice your opinion? Public input matters. Last year, when the initial assessment on potential base reductions was released, the South Sound region submitted only one comment, and JBLM lost 4,200 soldiers. In other military communities where the public spoke up, more often than not, much smaller cuts were made.

The City has provided instructions and tips on how to submit a public comment here .

Deputy Mayor Whalen's Statement on Health and Human Services' Decision

Lakewood Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen released the following statement today regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to suspend the use of military facilities to temporarily house unaccompanied minors from Central America who are crossing the border:

Today, the City of Lakewood received confirmation from the Office of Congressman Denny Heck that the Department of Health and Human Services has suspended the use of military facilities to temporarily house unaccompanied youth from Central America who are entering the U.S. We have also confirmed that our local military installation – Joint Base Lewis-McChord – is no longer being considered as one of these potential sites.

We thank Congressman Heck for working on behalf of the City regarding this issue. As we have stated before, this is a complicated humanitarian effort that requires critical thinking. With Lakewood being the host community to JBLM, it is the job of myself, Mayor Don Anderson and the rest of the Lakewood City Council to keep the well-being of the community and its neighboring base in mind.

I also want to thank Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement and others who took the time and allowed us and other local governments to voice concerns and questions over this proposal. They took our concerns and made, what in our opinion, was the right decision regarding the use of JBLM’s facilities for this issue.

Congressman Denny Heck's statement

Also, Congressman Denny Heck, who represents the 10th District that includes Lakewood, issued the following statement:

I received word today that the Department of Health and Human Services is no longer seeking facilities for temporary shelters for refugee children from Central America at this time, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the 10th Congressional District.

I trust HHS to make the right decisions about what facilities are best for the refugee children, but this situation will not go simply go away because the children are not staying in our district. As we continue to experience this humanitarian crisis, I support providing emergency funding to provide adequate assistance to care for the children, as well as resources for proper immigration proceedings.

We are a proud nation of immigrants, and I will continue to push for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform.