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Winter’s Here. Are You Ready For It?

Winter’s Here. Are You Ready For It?

The City of Lakewood offers tips for residents on the road and at home

Temperatures are dropping, roads are icy and snow is a real possibility.

The City of Lakewood wants to remind residents to be prepared during extreme wintery conditions this year. Whether it’s at home or on the road, ice and snow can catch anyone off guard.

​In case of a major snowstorm or snow-related emergency, Public Works Director Don Wickstrom says the City has 180 tons of stockpiled salt for de-icing, and that can disintegrate quickly during an emergency. Consider that during the snowy and icy conditions of January 2012, the City used 90 tons of salt in less than a week.

Download High Resolution Snow and Ice Response Map

Conditions could get even more treacherous this year if a major snow or ice storm hits Lakewood. The City will prioritize the most-traveled roads first in terms of its de-icing efforts, including Bridgeport Way, Steilacoom Boulevard and Gravelly Lake Drive. For a map of the City’s Snow and Ice Response Priorities, visit: http://goo.gl/6F3orN .

Residents can prepare for a snow emergency themselves by stocking up on:

  • Food
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • Flares
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries

It’s also a great idea to keep a cell phone handy.

During extreme conditions, the best tip, according to the Lakewood Police Department, is to stay off the roads if you don’t have to drive. However, if residents are going to get behind the wheel, here are a few tips:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination
  • Give yourself plenty of driving distance between your car and the one in front of you
  • Make sure your tires, wiper blades and brakes are working properly, and fill up on windshield washer fluid
  • Consider using studded tires or carry tire chains
  • Keep a full tank of gas in case you’re stranded and need to run the heater in your car, as well as have a good car battery
  • Carry a folding shovel and bag of kitty litter for traction if you get stuck. Have snacks, water, blanket and cell phone available.
  • Do not abandon your vehicle unless directed by law enforcement, or if the vehicle is legally parked off the roadway and the driver/passengers have a ride from someone else.

Lakewood Police Arrest 2012 Murder Suspect After Stolen-Car Chase

Outstanding suspect in homicide arrested.

Suspect from November 2012 homicide arrested after stolen car pursuit.

At 1:21 a.m., Nov. 24, 2013, a Lakewood patrol officer spotted an occupied stolen vehicle travelling northbound at the 11100 block of Pacific Highway Southwest in Lakewood. When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver took off at a high rate of speed. The vehicle fled at speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour, and an attempt was made to stop the vehicle using stop sticks. The on-duty sergeant eventually terminated the pursuit for safety reasons.

After terminating the pursuit, the officers could see that the vehicle was smoking badly and appeared to not be running anymore. When the officers got up to the vehicle, it was in the middle of the road at the 5000 block of South Tacoma Way. The driver was seen bailing on foot and officers gave chase. The suspect was taken into custody after resisting and fighting with officers.

The vehicle was indeed a confirmed-stolen car, and the driver was identified as 29-year-old Jiffary Mendez. Mendez had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for murder in connection with a November 2012 Lakewood Homicide Investigation. Mendez was interviewed by Lakewood Detectives and eventually booked into the Pierce County Jail on his Murder warrant and Felony Eluding, Resisting Arrest and Possession of Stolen Property.

The warrant was connected to a homicide that occurred on November 12, 2012 at an apartment located at the 5300 block of San Francisco Ave. Southwest in Lakewood. Homicide Detectives arrested three suspects for the murder of Jaime Solis-Diaz in June 2013 after receiving information on the case in February 2013.

Lakewood Mayor Thanks St. Clare Hospital For Support

Lakewood Mayor Thanks St. Clare Hospital For Support

Mayor Don Anderson read a special proclamation at the Franciscan Foundation Board of Trustees meeting Nov. 21

Without the contributions of Lakewood’s own St. Clare Hospital, none of these events would be as successful , and they might not even be possible. That’s why on Thursday night, Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson recognized the local hospital with a special proclamation during the Franciscan Foundation Board of Trustees meeting at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.

Standing next to St. Clare Hospital President Kathy Bressler in front of the Board’s 20 or so members, Mayor Anderson talked about the hospital’s vital role as both a medical care provider and a community cornerstone.

For example, St. Clare sponsored the Lakewood Farmers Market, which enjoyed its second season outside of Lakewood City Hall this past summer. In just two years, the market has blossomed into a favorite for locals and visitors alike.

If you want to see another example, plan to attend the City of Lakewood’s annual Jingle Bell Rock 5K on Dec. 7, which again is sponsored by St. Clare. The walk/jog/run has become a holiday tradition in the community. This year, St. Clare actually sponsored a pair of youth teams from the Clover Park School District – one from Lake Louise Elementary and the other from Tyee Park Elementary.

Get more information on the Jingle Bell Rock 5K .

New I-5 auxiliary lane in Lakewood to open in time for turkey

Weather permitting, drivers will have a new auxiliary lane on southbound Interstate 5 between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Avenue in Lakewood starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27.

The new auxiliary lane increases the number of southbound I-5 lanes from three to four between the two ramps, giving drivers more room to merge on and off I-5 along that busy stretch of highway.

“The southbound exit to Berkeley Avenue has a history of traffic backups that block the right southbound lane of I-5, especially during morning commutes,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator Kevin Dayton. “This new auxiliary lane gives drivers an area off mainline I-5 to wait for their turn at the signal.”

It is the first step in a larger improvement to alleviate the southbound backups at the exit altogether. Eventually, the City of Lakewood will add a second left-turn lane at the ramp and widen the Freedom Bridge overpass to improve access to Madigan Hospital.

“We recognize how important I-5 is to the area’s economic vitality and this is one example of improving our existing highway operations,” said state Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson. “WSDOT and its regional partners are working on many projects to help reduce traffic congestion along I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.”

Increases in traffic congestion prompted WSDOT and local city, county, and JBLM officials to refocus on highway improvements along the I-5 corridor. Over the past decade, populations in Thurston and Pierce counties have grown exponentially and numerous big employers have moved into the area. While populations increased, the interstate steadily approached capacity.

In addition to the new auxiliary lane, WSDOT is in the process of installing new ramp meters, travel time signs and data stations, closed-circuit traffic cameras and variable-message signs along I-5 between State Routes 510 and 512 in Thurston and Pierce counties. These communication devices not only help WSDOT manage traffic, but they provide real-time traffic information to the public. Other efforts to improve highway operations are also underway.

WSDOT was awarded TIGER Grant funding to complete the project.

Grant Allows Lakewood To Add 4.4 Acres To Wards Lake Park

Grant Allows Lakewood To Add 4.4 Acres To Wards Lake Park

Lakewood City Council votes to match the Pierce County grant money to buy land

Visitors will soon find more open space at Wards Lake Park – 4.4 acres, to be exact.

On Monday night, the Lakewood City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a purchase-and-sale agreement on property next to the park in Lakewood’s northeast corner.

The deal will involve buying the land from a private property owner for $475,000. A Pierce County Conservation Futures grant will pay for $275,000 of the cost, while the other $200,000 will be paid for out of the City’s storm water management fund.

The additional land will add open space that the City can manage and maintain, as well as give visitors secure access to the park from the south.

But the deal that will bring Wards Lake Park to more than 26 acres in size seemed unlikely three years, when the City’s bid to obtain grant money from the Conservation Futures program fell short. However, once Pierce County processed the costs for the projects it approved, it realized it had money left that could fund those that didn’t make the cut.

“We’re extremely lucky to have an opportunity like this,” said Mary Dodsworth, the City’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director. “This allows us to maintain some of Lakewood’s open space and gives visitors more options when they visit Wards Lake Park.”

There is a house and a duplex on the property, as well as open space and wooded areas. The City will likely rent out the houses to generate income for maintenance and operations until money is raised to improve the site.