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Toxic Algae Bloom at Lake Steilacoom, Wapato Lake

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department wants you to know there are toxic algae blooms in both Wapato Lake and Lake Steilacoom. These lakes are unsafe for people and pets in areas with algae.

  • Keep children and pets away from areas with algae
  • Do not swim, wade, water ski, or fish in areas with algae

You can easily identify a toxic algae bloom because of its unusual color or appearance in the water. Usually a bloom makes the lake surface look like pea soup or green paint, but sometimes the bloom may be a different color (bluish or brownish). Wind and rain can greatly change the amount and location of algae in the lake.

Swallowing lake water containing algae or prolonged skin contact with the algae may result in illness, such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or nausea. Anyone who swallows water containing large amounts of algae should seek immediate medical attention.

The risk to pets is much greater than the risk to people. Pets have smaller body sizes and are more likely to drink water containing a heavy concentration of algae. If a pet ingests a large amount of algae and is showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, disorientation, or seizures, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Runoff from fertilizers, animal and human waste reach our lakes and contribute to algae growth. Reducing the use of fertilizers, properly maintaining septic systems, and properly disposing of pet waste helps improve water quality in lakes, streams, groundwater, and Puget Sound.

For more information, please contact Ray Hanowell at (253) 798-2845 ( ), or Lindsay Tuttle at (253) 798-3530 ( ), or visit our website at www.tpchd.org/toxicalgae .

City Recognizes Pollution Prevention Calendar Artists

On Monday night, Oct. 6, the Lakewood City Council recognized the creators of 17 pieces of art that were included in the 2014-15 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Calendar.

The artists attend Lakeview Hope Academy and Oakbrook Elementary School in the Clover Park School District . Judges chose their pieces out of hundreds of entries.

Some 1,500 calendars were printed and handed out to schools, the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and local businesses as part of the Lakewood Public Works Department's goal of reducing stormwater pollution.

Congratulations, everyone! #IamLakewood

Lake Louise Boat Ramp Closure

(This is from Pierce County)

The Lake Louise boat ramp located off of Melody Lane Southwest in Lakewood will be closed 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays Oct. 6 through Dec. 7 while crews work on the sanitary sewer pump station located next to the ramp. Property owners who store their boats on the lake and those who launch from this ramp should plan accordingly.

The portion of Melody Lane Southwest in front of the pump station will be closed to traffic 24 hours a day Oct. 6 through Dec. 7. Pedestrian access along Melody Lane Southwest will be available during the work

Pierce County's contractor, McClure and Sons, Inc., is replacing the pump station's existing natural gas generator with a new diesel generator. The work also includes replacement of electrical cabinet enclosures and installation of water backflow prevention devices. A temporary generator will be installed and removed upon start-up of the new generator.

This is part of a preservation project that replaces emergency generators at 28 pump stations in Lakewood. The generators are used during power outages to keep the sewage pump station in service and avoid possible wastewater overflows

The existing generators were installed between 1983 and 1986, and have reached the end of their expected useful life. Lack of replacement parts and manufacturer service technicians make these generators difficult to maintain and create a failure risk in the collection system. Installing diesel generators will improve the reliability of the collection system, reduce noise levels and reduce the cost of operating the pump stations

.For more information on the Lakewood Generator Replacement project, visit www.piercecountywa.org/lakewoodgenerator .

City Manager Presents Proposed Biennial Budget

On Monday evening, Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield presented the City’s 2015-16 Proposed Biennial Budget to the Mayor and City Council.

It is a balanced budget that results in residents getting an increase in services. One example: For the first time in a number of years, this budget increases resources to preserve and maintain the City’s road system, which is a key priority identified by the Lakewood City Council. This budget reflects the City’s commitment to providing quality services and amenities to residents while reestablishing Lakewood’s short- and long-term financial viability.

The budget also includes funding for several park improvement projects, including upgrades to the Waughop Lake Trail, expansion of Springbrook Park, replacement of playground equipment and new docks at Harry Todd Park, and trail improvements at the Chambers Creek Properties in partnership with the City of University Place and Pierce County.

An essential component of this budget is the City’s allocation of financial resources to establish a proper level of reserves. The 2015-16 budget gradually returns the City to sound financial footing by replenishing General Fund reserves to meet its 12% policy objective by the end of 2016. The reserves are intended to accommodate unexpected operational changes, legislative impacts and other economic events that affect the City's operations.

This balanced and strategic approach has resulted in a spending plan that adapts to the changing needs of our community without compromising our financial future.

In terms of numbers, the budget totals $81,067,487 in 2015 and $83,219,069 in 2016. General Fund operating revenues are projected to grow 3.0% in 2015 and another 1.2% in 2016, which is slightly better than historical trend between 2009 and 2014, when the average growth was closer to 1.2% per year. General Fund operating expenditures are projected to grow 0.4% in 2015 followed by 2.0% in 2016, reflecting the necessary changes to stop using one-time monies and reserves to balance the budget. Simply put, that practice is not sustainable.

The end result of this budget is that the General Fund will be balanced and operating expenditures will not exceed operating revenues, resulting in a positive operating margin in both 2015 and 2016.

The City is dedicated to meeting service demands and providing them to our citizens, both in the near- and long-term. This requires reevaluating the paradigms that have been governing the City for a number of years.

We will be looking to economic development, focusing primarily in our commercial areas, to generate additional property and sales taxes. Locally, we see nothing but opportunity in our key commercial areas such as the Towne Center, Springbrook, Tillicum, and the Pacific Highway South corridor, which is directly adjacent to I-5 with multiple prime properties ready for redevelopment and revitalization. Areas such as the International District and Woodbrook Industrial Business Park area stand ready and available for new investment to create jobs and opportunity for Lakewood and our region.

Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen stressed how important economic development will be in the City’s financial future Monday night. “We’re going to have to be the spearhead of economic development,” he said.

City Councilmember Marie Barth said she liked Caulfield’s philosophy that the City must “live within it means.”

“I think that is the premise of any business,” she said. “And this (operating the City) is a business.”

Agency of the Year: Lakewood Police Department Wins National Contest

It has been 10 years since the Lakewood Police Department began its mission to keep the community safe, and now it has earned a national honor for its hard work and service.

TASER International and PoliceOne announced today that the Lakewood Police Department won “Agency of the Year” in its RISE Awards competition .

Judges received more than 150 nominations nationwide for three award categories: Protect Life, Leadership and Agency of the Year. The RISE Awards are intended to highlight “the countless positive stories within law enforcement across North America,” according to the company’s website.

In its comments, judges recognized the Lakewood Police Department – which took its first patrols in 2004, eight years after Lakewood became a city – for its “remarkable policing efforts, which has led to a 12-percent drop in person, property and society crimes in the last year.”

“This success is the result of a much larger initiative to make the community a safer place – a goal they (LPD) set out to tackle exactly ten years ago,” the judges wrote.

The awards contest also recognized the tragic loss of four Lakewood Police Officers on Nov. 29, 2009: Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Ronald Owens, Officer Tina Griswold and Officer Greg Richards. The four were gunned down at a coffee shop while filling out paperwork.

“Lakewood managed to not only overcome the tragedy, but push forward with their goal, which has brought them to where they are today,” judges wrote.

With the award, LPD will get a free trip to the IACP 2014 Conference in Orlando, Fla., three AXON flex on-officer camera systems and a year subscription to PoliceOne Academy .

Upon learning of his police department’s prestigious award, Chief Bret Farrar gave all the credit to the men and women of the Lakewood Police Department.

“Winning ‘Agency of the Year;' is a tremendous honor and a reflection of the hard work from everyone in our department,” he said. “That’s everyone – officers, detectives, technicians, assistants - everyone.”

“We started out 10 years ago with the goal of making our community safer,” Farrar added. “We have suffered and endured through the worst of tragedies. Yet, we never lost sight of our goal. We will always be committed to keeping our city safe.”

Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson echoed those comments, adding that the City of Lakewood is a better place because of its police department.

“There are countless tangible and intangible signs that Lakewood is a better place because of its police department,” he said. “Our Police Department will forever be intertwined with our residents and businesses, and this award is something in which the entire community of Lakewood should take pride.”