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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 5/4/07

May 4, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • City of Lakewood Receives Well City Award: The City of Lakewood received its fourth consecutive Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Well City Award for its worksite wellness program. Lakewood’s wellness coordinator Dawn Avcular and her wellness committee received recognition at the Association’s 22nd annual AWC Employee Health Academy. The Well City Award recognizes cities and towns that achieve a standard of excellence in employee health promotion. The AWC Well City award will be presented to Lakewood’s delegates at the AWC’s annual June conference in Tacoma.
  • 8th Annual International Festival: Lakewood’s Sister Cities 8th Annual International Festival will be this Saturday, May 5th, from 11:00a.m.-6:00 p.m. at Pierce College in Lakewood. This is a free one-day multi-cultural family-oriented community event which provides fun along with educational opportunities to learn about the many cultures and heritages that make up our community
  • Parks Appreciation Day: Over 300 volunteers participated in Parks Appreciation Day on April 28th. We had beautiful weather and accomplished all of the tasks scheduled for the morning. Our statistics for the day include:
    • Fort Steilacoom Park – Four 40 yard dumpsters filled with vegetation and one 40 yard dumpster filled with garbage - 200 volunteers
    • Harry Todd Park – Removed 400 square feet of sod and filled one 30 yard dumpster with garbage - 25 volunteers
    • Wards Lake – spread 15 yards of bark and weeded flowerbeds -14 volunteers
    • Blueberry Fields – One 40 yard dumpster filled with vegetation - 41 volunteers
    • Primley Park – installed play equipment and spread 47 yards of wood chips, planted native plants and trees - 25 volunteers
    • Forty flats of petunias and 15 flats of marigolds were planted throughout the City’s parks system.
  • Legislative Session Wrap-up: The City of Lakewood was successful on several major legislative initiatives this session, including capital funding of $550,000 for the removal of the Hill Ward Building site as well as $250,000 for improvements to the barns and other historic building at Fort Steilacoom Park and around the campus, and also $535,000 for the new community policing team for Western State Hospital.
  • Traffic Signal Control System Upgrade Project: The Request for Information (RFI) is out for our signal controller and central signal control system upgrade project. Proposals will be reviewed by Public Works and Pierce County signal maintenance. The top 3 vendors selected for further evaluation including bench testing of the actual systems with “real” City of Lakewood intersection signal timing and coordination. Once the new system is selected, the City will be procuring a new central signal control system and eventually upgrading all of our traffic signal controllers over the next several years. The City will be able to replace the antiquated signal controllers and provide enhanced and more reliable signal timing and coordination for our traveling public.
  • Tree Debris in Street Right of Way: The City sent out 81 notices in March to property owners affecting 61 properties advising them that they had until April 16th to remove all the stock piled tree debris from their fronting street right of way. The City did offer a site where they could bring the debris and dispose of it. Our subsequent survey of the sites revealed that we were successful in that there now only 13 sites that need additional follow up enforcement action.
  • American Lake Garden/Tillicum Sewer Project: Regarding the ALGs/Tillicum sewer project the Public Works Department recently submitted a loan application to the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) for $1,840,000. About $1,150,000 of the funding is for a no/low interest loan program for qualified property owner to assist with their financing of their sewer connection costs. $500,000 of the balance is to recover the funding we have to give back from our earlier granted $1,000,000 PWTF loan as it can only be used for preconstruction expenses and they were significantly less than originally estimated. The balance of $190,000 brings the total loan amount ($6,190,000) to the level of debt service supportable by the revenue provided from the existing sewer service surcharge.
  • Gimhae, South Korea Annual Festival: A delegation of seven Lakewood Sister Cities Association members is traveling to Gimhae, South Korea to spend two days visiting and attending an annual Gimhae Festival. The Association is continuing to move forward on a Sister City relationship between our two cities, and the delegation to our current Friendship City has paid their own traveling expenses. A delegation from the City of Gimhae hopes to visit Lakewood this July to strengthen the bonds between the cities.
  • Mayor’s Visit to China: Mayor Claudia Thomas was the honored guest of Mayor Guo Quanmao, Danzhou City China for four days last week. Danzhou is located on Hainan Island, People’s Republic of China. Danzhou City paid for all of the mayor’s expenses while in country. She was invited to the Hainan Sister Cities summit which was held with the world-wide Boao Asian Economic Forum. She joined Steilacoom Mayor Ron Lucas and Lakewood businessman, Ron Chow, who was Washington Secretary of State’s official representative. There were official delegates from Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Romania, Austria, Japan, Finland, Germany, and Tanzania, Poland and Australia. The Summit discussed exchanges and cooperation in trade, cultural resources and economic and social development. Mayor Thomas also attended the Asian Economic forum with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Governor Gary Locke.
  • Street Law Mock Trial: City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter, and Ann-Marie Dvorak, Victim Advocate represented the City of Lakewood on April 23rd in a Street Law Mock Trial sponsored by Seattle University School of Law. The Mock Trial was a competition for local high school students. The students are given the opportunity to put their legal skills into practice in a courtroom atmosphere as prosecuting and defense attorneys. The students are given a case to argue and are scored as to how well they represented their role. Heidi was the judge presiding over the trial and Ann-Marie participated, along with students from the participating schools’ media programs, as part of the jury.
  • Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys Conference: City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter and Associate City Attorney Sean Parrent attended the annual Spring Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys (WSAMA) Conference in Vancouver WA. Topics of interest to criminal prosecution included a presentation on effective cross-examination and DUI trial strategy. Heidi serves on the WSAMA Board and was elected 2nd Vice President for 2007-2008.
  • Lakewold Gardens: Lakewold will be featured on Gardening with Ciscoe tomorrow morning on Channel 5 (King TV) at 10am. They are hosting their 18th Anniversary Open House this coming Sunday from 1:30pm until 3pm.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/27/07

April 27, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • 5th Annual Parks Appreciation Day: Over 400 volunteers are expected to participate in the City’s 5th annual Parks Appreciation Day tomorrow, Saturday, April 28th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Five Lakewood park sites, including Fort Steilacoom Park, Harry Todd Park, Wards Lake Park, a small neighborhood park called Primley Park and the Blueberry Fields will benefit from over a thousand hours of volunteer labor. Projects include cleaning out one of the historic FSP barns, clearing the pathway around Waughop Lake, planting flowers at all of the sites, installing a playground toy and clearing years of overgrowth
  • Community Leadership Award: Mayor Thomas received a “Community Leadership Award” on behalf of the Lakewood City Council from the Washington Association of School Administrators in Fife on April 27th. The City was nominated by the Clover Park School District in recognition of its partnership in producing the “Lakewood Summit.”
  • Waughop Lake Treatment: $50,000 was included in the State budget to pursue treating the waters of Waughop Lake with Calcium Hydroxide to demonstrate whether or not it presents a viable treatment option for addressing lake algae bloom problems. In order to avoid a year’s delay, our goal is to get everything in place so that the treatment process can commence July 1st when the funds become available.
  • DOD Conference on Military-Community Partnerships: A conference on “Strengthening Military-Community Partnerships through Sustainability”, sponsored by the US Department of Defense, and co-sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Int’l City Management Association (ICMA), was held in Tacoma on April 26-27. Participants included the city manager and senior planner Deborah Johnson, who also did a presentation on local land use issues. The attendee roster included about 55 people from local, state, and federal government, and the conference included a tour of Fort Lewis and McChord.
  • 8th Annual International Festival: Lakewood’s Sister Cities 8th Annual International Festival will be Saturday, May 5th, from 11:00a.m.-6:00 p.m. at Pierce College in Lakewood. This is a free one-day multi-cultural family-oriented community event which provides fun along with educational opportunities to learn about the many different cultures and heritages that make up our community. The blend of tradition and modern music, infused with Spanish flamenco, Greek rembetiko, Latin salsa and pop along with other assorted melodic flavors will highlight the international festival when Children of the Revolution take the stage at 7:00 pm ($20 entry fee for the evening concert). The popular group combines musical styles from the Middle East, Greece, Spain, South America and the West and includes diverse band members – a Venezuelan folk singer, a Broadway violinist, a flamenco dancer and some of the region’s top percussionists. Stage entertainment during the day includes music from West Africa, Ireland, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Mexico, and the Philippines. Food vendors with international cuisine include the popular lunch provided by the Korean Women’s Association.
  • Port of Tacoma “Focus on the Future”: Economic Development Administrator Joe Hannan and the City Manager attended the annual Port Update in Tacoma on April 25th with presentations on the Port’s projected growth in container tonnage, priorities for transportation improvements, and emphasis on world-wide customer service.
  • Lakewood University: The City hosted Lakewood University on April 18th and 25th. Over 30 participants heard presentations from City Staff, Council Member Doug Richardson, Mayor Claudia Thomas, Lakewood Water and Fire Districts and the Clover Park School District. Reviews from participants were very positive.
  • 2007 Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast: Over 100 attended the annual recognition event on April 26th at the Old Country Buffet with the theme of “You Make a Difference”. Mayor Thomas, Council Members Finnigan and McGovern, and the city manager made comments, and the department directors presented the awards to the groups of volunteers.
  • WSH Escapee Found: Patrol responded to a report of an escapee at Western State Hospital (WSH) Wednesday morning. Apparently, a violent offender was taken to be checked by doctors on site. WSH security did not keep the violent offender in waist restraints, and the suspect managed to sneak out the door and fled the WSH grounds. The suspect was found by WSH security just as LPD was arriving in area. We were assured that precautions would be taken so it would not happen again.
  • John Operation: On April 20th, Lakewood Police conducted a John Operation on April 20th, and there were fifteen men arrested and three female prostitutes arrested during the evening operation at 88th and South Tacoma Way. The “Johns” will be enrolled in our John school which is continuing successfully.
  • Meeting with Tacoma on Offender Reentry: Lakewood Police Department staff is meeting with Tacoma staff to discuss a collaborative approach toward implementing the new legislation sponsored by Senators Carrell and Regala governing offender re-entry. Plans will be presented to Council for review.
  • Funding for the WSH Community Policing Team: The budget, approved by the legislature, contains the funding sponsored by Representative Green for a community policing team to address Western State Hospital violent crime. The funding is fully adequate to support a team consisting of an NPO, CSO and detective for 2007-08.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/13/07

April 13, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Pacific Hwy Phase II Improvement Project: Tucci & Sons will commence construction of the $2,400,000 Pacific Hwy Phase II Improvement project on Monday, April 16th. The project includes installing curb and gutter, sidewalks, street lighting, landscaping, traffic channeling, and a new traffic signal system at the Pacific Hwy and Bridgeport Way intersection as well as installing curb and gutter, sidewalks and traffic channeling along Bridgeport Way from the Pac Hwy intersection northerly to and across the RR tracks. In addition the project includes widening Pac Hwy from 47th Ave to the under crossing of the RR tracks to accommodate access to the abutting properties, including the Sounder Station and the new Ford dealership site. It also includes installing curb and gutter, sidewalks, landscaping, street lighting and 3 traffic signals (one at 47th Ave and at each of the two Sounder station driveways). Construction should be complete by this fall.
  • LPD Honored by the Washington Army National Guard: Chief Saunders was invited to the Welcome Home Ceremony hosted by the Washington Army National Guard on April 7th. LPD has had one or two police officers consistently mobilized and deployed into combat since the Department was formed. This particular ceremony was to recognize the return of elements of the 66th Aviation Command. Officer John Fraser, returning from Afghanistan, was one of the honorees. Saunders was surprised at the ceremony when LPD was recognized along with the Boeing Company with the WAANG’s Outstanding Center of Influence Award, given to employers assessed to be most representative of providing outstanding support to mobilized employees. Chief Saunders was given a coin of excellence by Brigadier General Gordon Toney, Commanding General for the WAANG, and the LPD was given a framed and engraved mural commending their support.
  • Military Base Feasibility Study briefing: Congressman Adam Smith participated in a meeting this week at City Hall with Councilmember Doug Richardson and the city manager and communications director to discuss the City’s feasibility study related to base annexation and strategies to mitigate the encroachment issues associated with McChord Air Force Base.
  • SWAT Training at Western State Hospital: Metro SWAT conducted a training exercise on April 12th on the Western State Hospital campus. Many of the WSH staff participated and it was a good opportunity to coordinate crisis response procedures. Citizens were able to observe and participate as role players. One such citizen’s feedback: “It was informative, exciting and inspirational…I wish more of us were able to appreciate what I have been learning about the Lakewood PD. Your men and women continue to impress me with their spirit and professionalism. My family sleeps better knowing that your team is working so well.”
  • Domestic Violence Training: Associate City Attorney Rocio Guerra and Victim Advocate Rebecca Hendricks attended a conference in Spokane presented by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence entitled “Crossing Borders: Understanding How to Better Work with Immigrant and Refugee Victims of Domestic Violence.” It provided insight into the some of the specific needs of these victims and presented information we can incorporate into our programs, such as specialized safety planning and referral information.
  • 14th Annual WSBA Employment Law Institute Seminar: Asst City Attorney Anita Booker-Hay attended the 14th Annual WSBA Employment Law Institute Seminar on March 30th. The program included a review of Federal and State cases decided during the last year, strategic insights about seeking and defending temporary restraining orders and injunctions in employment cases, new trends and theories for claiming workplace discrimination, representing whistleblowers in the public and private sector, strategies for addressing the civil and criminal implications for employees who are under criminal investigation or indictment as well as a segment on workplace ethics and corporate compliance issues for supervisors and executives.
  • LPD Detective completes training at National Forensic Academy: Bryan Johnson completed the National Forensic Academy (NFA) at the University of Tennessee Forensic Science Institute on March 16th. The intensive 10-week graduate credit program included advanced training in several areas of forensics including work at the “Body Farm”, the world’s leading research facility in death investigation. Bryan was able to work with classmates from many regions of the country and facilitators recognized as the leading experts in their fields. One of the best “lessons learned” was that the procedures and protocols that Bryan has been given the authorization to implement in the LPD Forensic Services Section are in line with the national best practices, and will assure that LPD continues to grow the Forensic Services Section into one of the best in the region. Bryan was one of two officers in the State selected for this training in 2007 and is one of only six in the Northwest region to have graduated from the program. Bryan was honored to have been invited by the NFA program director to become part of the formal curriculum review committee for the NFA core curriculum.
  • Paralegal Internship Program: The Legal Department has developed a Paralegal Internship Program. Paralegal Cynthia Wright, along with the guidance of City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter developed a curriculum that would benefit both the City and a paralegal student in their last quarter of study by providing hands-on practical experience. They now have their second intern, a TCC student, working through the 10 week program. The first intern student successfully completed the program and the Lakewood City Attorney’s office is now being regularly recommended to other students by the Paralegal Program Director at Tacoma Community College.
  • Crime Response Unit helps out Sumner PD: Sumner PD had an apparent murder/suicide on April 9th and requested assistance from the Metro Crime Response Unit, headed by LPD homicide detective Sgt. Chris Lawler. Sgt. Lawler and LPD Detective Bryan Johnson took the lead in organizing and training the CRU. Sumner Chief Colleen Wilson was very pleased with the support provided.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/23/07

April 20, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • American Lake Seaplane Splash-In: Saturday April 21st will be a busy day on American Lake. A seaplane splash-in event will take place at American Lake Park North throughout the day with eight to ten seaplanes participating. Also occurring on Saturday is an event based out of Bill’s Boathouse on the southern side of the Lake featuring between 50-80 human powered watercraft lined up three deep and rowing three laps of a specific route. The LPD marine unit and the Fire Department’s fire boat will provide support to this event.
  • Lakewood Mobile Home Park Tour: The City hosted a tour on April 17th for housing providers of a sampling of mobile home parks within the city. The sites toured highlight the challenges presented by aging and in some cases “unsafe to enter” units, deteriorating conditions, predatory landlords, and poverty. Numerous mobile home parks are reaching or have already reached their life spans, and many could not be developed residentially today. The City has initiated a discussion with housing providers to begin identifying solutions before the situation becomes pressing. As part of the tour, Pierce County Housing Authority (PCHA) also offered a tour of one of its properties. The City appreciates PCHA’s participation and also that of everyone who attended, including representatives from the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC), Habitat for Humanity, Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, Lakewood Area Shelter Association (LASA), and the City of Tacoma.
  • Fort Steilacoom Park Hill Ward Building: A site visit will take place at the Hill Ward building at Fort Steilacoom Park on Tuesday, April 24th, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Interested citizens are encouraged to come directly to the building site to see the ruins of a facility that once housed Western State Hospital patients. The removal of this building will occur in the near future due to its deteriorated condition. The City is seeking ideas for preserving the past and wants people to share memories associated with this structure, and is looking for ways to enhance the area after the building is removed. A Public Meeting is scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. following the site visit on April 24th at the Pierce College Campus in the Cascade building’s Performance Lounge for citizens to share information about this building and their vision for the future of the site.
  • Business Retention/Expansion Visit: Economic Development Administrator Joe Hannan and David Nishamura of the EDB visited the C4 System Division of General Dynamics on Fort Lewis on April 19th, as an annual business retention/expansion visit. The C4 Division employs approximately 15 employees and services Army communications needs throughout the Pacific; it is distinct from the larger General Dynamics Division which is responsible for supporting the Stryker Brigades. The visit reinforces the City’s commitment to actively assist in retaining or expanding local businesses.
  • Pierce County Law Enforcement Memorial: The Pierce County Police Chiefs Association annual Law Enforcement memorial service commemorating police officers killed in the line of duty is scheduled for May 3rd at 6:00 PM at the McChord AFB Main Chapel, BLDG #180 on Colonel Joe Jackson Blvd. The LPD honor guard will participate in the ceremony.
  • Police Department vs. Fire Department Basketball Game: The third annual Helmets vs. Shields Charity Basketball Game is scheduled for May 19th, at 6:00 PM at the Clover park High School Gym. All proceeds go to Life Safety Charity Fund benefiting the citizens of Lakewood. Chief Sharp and Chief Saunders will enter a half-time competition for the most free throws sunk in a 30 minute period. In addition, they have agreed to a side bet that the Chief with fewer Council Members/Commissioners present will have to buy the other lunch.
  • Fort Clarke Motel Closure: Earlier this month, the State Department of Health issued an administrative order closing the Fort Clarke Motel, which listed numerous health violations. An inspection was performed by City personnel; it was found that the owners were performing construction work without a permit. A stop work order was issued. Multiple building and housing code violations were also observed. Given the unsafe conditions found on the property a follow-up, multi-agency inspection took place on April 19th, at which time there were no tenants on-site since Lakewood Area Shelter Association (LASA) had assisted in providing relocation. Following the inspection, the City’s Building Official declared the motel unsafe and posted the property. A special “thank you” goes to LASA for their help, without which this would have been a difficult closure.
  • Transportation Project Funding: The Pierce County Regional Council (PCRC) approved the contingency project list as recommended by the Transportation Coordinating Committee at its meeting this week. It now goes to the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) for approval by the Policy Board. Upon the Board’s approval, the additional $290,000 funding designated for our 100th Street pedestrian and bike facilities improvement from Gravelly Lake Drive to 59th Ave will be official. The total grant received for the project will be $957,000. Councilmembers Richardson and Finnigan assisted with their attendance to assure a quorum and to enable this action to be taken.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/6/07

April 6, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Baseball returns to Tillicum: With LPD support, Lakewood resident Kathy Gano, a member of the Gravelly Lake Improvement Club "block watch", and former volunteer leader of the Lakewood Baseball Club, was able to acquire a $2,000 grant from Wal-Mart to allow the Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association to sponsor a 9-10 year old team. The Tillicum Merchants Association, with support from the Parks Department, is also raising funds to support a 7-8 year old slow pitch co-ed team in the Lakewood Recreation League. This will be the first time Tillicum has had organized baseball in three years. Both leagues rearranged their schedules at the last minute to allow all Tillicum games to be played at Harry Todd Park due to transportation challenges. The kids and their parents have committed to doing street clean up along Union Avenue for the remainder of the season to thank the Tillicum Merchants for their support. Last week-end, over 50 baseball kids and parents were out picking litter up in Tillicum.
  • WSH Security Officers sworn in as LPD Disabled Parking Enforcement: A number of DPE volunteers, Lakewood officers, and many Western State Hospital employees including CEO Andy Phillips, COO Dale Thompson, and Director of Emergency Services Spike Millman attended the swearing in of the 11 WSH Security Officers who successfully completed LPD Disabled Parking Enforcement training. It was a special event to support the DPE program.
  • Lakewood Online Citizen Comment and Request System: The City expects to launch its new “Lakewood Online Citizen Comment and Request System” (LOCCRS is the current acronym) early next week. LOCCRS is an initiative of the City Manager and will provide a standardized system for citizens to submit requests and other input to the City. It provides the staff a standardized means to receive, document, and resolve citizen requests for service (comments, compliments, complaints and public records requests) and materials (such as maps or zoning information). All departments but police will be featured in LOCCRS when it is initially launched. Police will be added once the department works through some implementation issues with the Guild.
  • Lakewood University: Lakewood University is scheduled for April 18th and 25th from 5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. each evening. There are still a number of open seats at this time. Staff will continue to recruit attendees for the program and interested citizens are encouraged to call Melody Perrussel at 589-2489.
  • Interlaaken Bridge Overlay – Bridge Closure: The City’s contractor, Tucci & Sons Inc. has scheduled to do the grind and overlay on the Interlaaken bridge starting on April 23rd. The bridge will be closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic for up to 2 weeks. Staff will be mailing out informational postcards to residents within a 1,000 foot radius of the bridge. In addition, vehicle message signs (VMSs) will be placed starting on April 16th at both bridge approaches notifying users of the pending closure. Staff is also coordinating with affected public safety, bus providers (School District and Pierce Transit), and utilities.
  • Crime Prevention Conference: Last week, Code Enforcement Officer Randy Richards and Associate Planner Alexandra Bilderback attended a two-day training conference on the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), hosted by the City of Olympia and the National Crime Prevention Council. They learned about leading crime prevention methods, how to conduct a security assessment and strategies to encourage community involvement in crime prevention. Participants created an “Action Plan” to implement changes and improve community safety, which sets forth specific objectives that can be applied to target areas within the city. They plan to find ways to incorporate the training into the City’s code enforcement program.
  • Senator Murray Interested in Lakewood: Mary McBride, South Puget Sound representative for Senator Patty Murray’s office, asked LPD for a briefing on their community policing programs. She had heard from several different sources of the success we were having in reducing crime and building community, and commended our holistic approach.
  • Probation “Job Shadow”: A Clover Park High School senior has been job shadowing Jeanette Matthews – Probation Counselor with Lakewood Municipal Court. The student is interested in the probation field and will complete 20 hours of Job Shadowing before the end of April.