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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/30/07

November 30, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Pac Highway $3M grant funding awarded: The City received notice this week that the Secretary of Transportation has approved for grant funding the list of projects recommended to her by the State’s Enhancement committee. The Pacific Highway Improvement project from Bridgeport to Gravelly Lake was one of the projects on that list, and the $3,000,000 grant we sought is now official ours. Along with other funds budgeted and anticipated, including Surface Water Management (SWM), this major project’s funding is now place.
  • HR Director elected to WAPELA Board: HR Director Debra Young was elected this week to the board of the WA Public Employers Labor Relations Association (WAPELRA) to board position #2 representing the western part of the state.
  • Street sweeping contractor bows out: The City’s street sweeping contractor has given notice that he will not renew the City’s street sweeping contract for 2008. The last day of the existing contract is November 30th but the contractor will continue sweep at the contract rate through the end of December. We will seek an extension until the end of January which will give us time to once again bid out the work and award a new contract. The reason the contractor gave for not wanting to extend the contract another year was that he lost money on the contract.
  • Sound Transit’s connection to Lakewood: Our mayor and city manager, along with Sound Transit’s CEO and board chairman, attended a Tacoma City Council workshop on November 27th to discuss the need for moving forward on the alternative Pacific Avenue railway routes through Tacoma to enable service to both South Tacoma and Lakewood. The scheduling of train service to Lakewood depends on the successful completion of the upgrade of the tracks. There will be express bus service to the Tacoma Dome station during the interim period between completion of the Lakewood station and final upgrade of the railroad connection. The Sound Transit Board is scheduled to decide on the alignment issue on December 13th.
  • Tillicum Plan briefing to Lakewood United: Ass’t city manager David Bugher was the speaker at the November 29th meeting of Lakewood United, and presented an update of the community planning effort underway in Tillicum. He reviewed demographic data, provided general insights regarding draft interim development regulations, and provided an update on the sewer project.
  • Lakefront Street Ends Community Meeting: The City hosted its second Street Ends meeting on November 27th to identify “opportunities and constraints” for each of the fourteen street ends on Lakewood’s four largest lakes. Nearly 50 citizens were in attendance. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 11th at 6pm in the Council Chambers and will focus on evaluating street ends at the three smaller lakes (American Lake, Gravelly Lake and Lake Louise) based on criteria identified at the November 27th meeting. This same process will be repeated for Lake Steilacoom’s street ends on Wednesday, January 23rd at 6pm (please note this is a schedule change due to the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend).
  • CD and PW staff adopt families: Staff from both Community Development and Public Works departments have pooled their resources to provide Christmas toys and gifts for two Lakewood families in need. They also delivered boxes of food for Thanksgiving last week. The families were identified through Communities in School of Lakewood and also the Tillicum American Lake Garden Community Services. The staff is not only collecting money and donations, but also working with Lakewood businesses and community agencies for assistance.
  • “…freezing for a good cause”: The Lakewood Youth Council volunteered along with their peers last Saturday to help “Pack the Bus” with gifts for needy children. At least two dozen high school students spent the chilly day in front of Clover Park High School encouraging drivers to drop off money or toys for this Caring for Kids project. This year the organization will help about 600 families – 2,300 children – with Christmas gifts. In early December, parents will “shop” for toys for their children at Hudtloff Middle School. One notable quotes from the a participant included: “I’m freezing, said 16-year-old Jordan Dacres, a CPHS junior who has been involved with the Youth Council this school year. “I’m freezing for a good cause.”
  • LPD Accreditation update: After months of hard work, the Police Department just completed the newest edition of the Manual of Standards. The MOS goes into effect on January 1, 2008 and will replace the original Manual that the department has been operating under since its inception in 2004. Implementation of the MOS is the last internal step towards accreditation.
  • Burglary resolved and suspect arrested: On November 26th, at 11:11 Hrs, Patrol responded to a suspicious person/prowler call on Lake City Blvd SW, which was a burglary in progress where the two suspects split up with one running northbound and one running southbound on Lake City Blvd. One suspect was chased down and apprehended by a neighbor. The suspect assaulted the neighbor and bit him in a struggle before officers arrived to take him into custody. Canine tracked for the second suspect but he was never located. Patrol did recover almost all of the property that had been taken in the burglary. Patrol was assisted by Traffic, NPO’s, SRO’s and investigators. The suspect was booked for Residential Burglary, Assault 2nd Degree, Resisting Arrest and UPCS-marijuana.
  • Towne Center Robbery suspect apprehended: An LPD officer working off duty at the Lakewood Towne Center notified that a man had pulled a knife on a security officer who attempted to intervene in a shoplift of several items from Marshall’s. The suspect fled in his vehicle and left the Towne Center as the officer gave chase. The suspect was soon met by other LPD vehicles from the east and south; he then drove up onto the sidewalk and launched his truck several feet into the air when he struck a pile of dirt in a front yard. The vehicle landed on a mailbox and pieces of truck littered the roadway. In an attempt to avoid other officers, the suspect turned into an apartment complex. After he attempted to turn around in the cul-de-sac he was introduced to a successful PIT maneuver. He then fled on foot and was Tased and taken into custody.
  • Domestic violence felony arrest: Patrol responded to an address on 47th Ave. SW for a domestic violence with a gun call. After a few moments, we were able to call out the suspect and detain him without incident. The victim and suspect had gotten into an argument over custody of their daughter, and the suspect pulled a gun from his waistband and threatened the victim and said that the next time she sees her daughter it will be in a “body bag.” The suspect did not have the gun on him when he was detained but after an extensive search patrol located the fully loaded gun behind the apartment complex and an extra magazine in the dumpster. The suspect was booked for Felony Violation of a No Contact Order, Intimidation with a weapon, DV Felony Harassment and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
  • Special Ops Drug Bust: After a 2-month investigation, the Special Operations section authored a Search warrant on a suspected Marijuana Grow OP. LPD served the warrant and recovered 355 live plants, over an ounce of Methamphetamine, over 300 OxyContin pills, three handguns (one stolen), an SKS rifle, approximately $6,000 and seized and a 2006 Ford Focus. This was a very elaborate set up, with power being diverted prior to reaching the two unhappy individuals who went to jail.
  • Tillicum Robbery suspect arrested: A resident in Tillicum awoke to find his car being broken into. When he confronted the suspect, the suspect pulled a screwdriver and tried to stab the victim. The two got into a scuffle that went to the ground but the suspect was able to flee on foot. LPD located the suspect nearby and the victim identified the suspect who also had cocaine on him.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/23/07

November 23, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Public Works adopts two families for Thanksgiving: The City’s Public Works staffmembers collected food and delivered several boxes on Thanksgiving to two families in Lakewood who have undergone difficulties and are in need of help. The staff have already started preparation for Christmas by collecting toys for the young children in both households.
  • Mobile Home inspection activity in Tillicum: Community Development, with the support of Police Department’s neighborhood patrol team and other public agencies, performed a health and safety inspection on November 20th at a mobile home park located in Tillicum. A variety of safety violations were identified. Reports are being prepared and we will soon be in contact with the property owner. In addition, one person was arrested for heroin possession and the police department recovered a stolen vehicle.
  • AG’s Domestic Violence Advisory Group: Victim Advocate Ann-Marie Dvorak, in the City’s Legal Department, was invited to be part of a Domestic Violence Advisory Group through the Attorney General’s Office. Ann-Marie represented the City of Lakewood when the advisory group met previously at a meeting which addressed various issues including potential legislation proposals, review of batterer’s programs and the address confidentiality program.
  • Sound Transit’s connection to Lakewood: Joni Earl, Sound Transit’s CEO, briefed the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board (EDB), which includes Lakewood’s city manager, on November 16th regarding the imminent decision point on the alternative Pacific Avenue routes through Tacoma for the completion of the commuter rail connection from Tacoma to Lakewood. The Tacoma City Council will hold a workshop on November 28th, and a decision by the Sound Transit Board is due in early December. The scheduling of train service to Lakewood depends on the successful completion of the upgrade of the tracks. There will be express bus service to the Tacoma Dome station during the interim period between completion of the Lakewood station and final upgrade of the railroad connection.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/26/07

October 26, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Sylvan Park neighborhood code emphasis: 337 letters are being sent out this week to property owners in the Sylvan Park neighborhood to advise them of upcoming activities of the City’s code enforcement team to identify problem situations such as deteriorating buildings, junk vehicles, property maintenance issues, right-of-way encroachments, and other such matters.
  • Lakewood Police Sponsor 4-2 SBCT Spouses: Mayor Claudia Thomas and Councilmember Doug Richardson welcomed a number of spouses of Lakewood’s Community Connection – the deployed 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team on October 26th at City Hall. These Lakewood residents were teamed up with Lakewood Police officers and police staff to provide a direct link for public safety concerns and other City services. The spouses also received briefings on services provided by the Lakewood Fire Department, the Clover Park School District, and City staff (Police, Parks and Recreation, and Communications). The 4-2 SBCT deployed last May to Iraq and is projected to return to Fort Lewis next summer.
  • 2007 Healthy Worksite Summit: On October 16th, Nancy Packard of the Community Development Department and Cheryl Thompson of the Legal Department represented the City‘s Wellness Committee at the 2007 Healthy Worksite Summit sponsored in part by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). Each year, AWC provides the City with two pre-paid registrations to this event. There was the opportunity to network with Wellness Committee members from all over the state and share ideas on successful events and campaigns.
  • Second annual Truck & Tractor Day: The Parks and Recreation Department hosted Truck & Tractor Day on Saturday, October 20th at Fort Steilacoom Park. Nearly 80 children and their parents braved the pouring rain and cold conditions to enjoy a morning in the park. Attendees climbed through trucks and tractors, made a craft project, explored the park through a scavenger hunt and took a hayride around Waughop Lake. Event sponsors included Lakewood Fire, Old Country Buffet, Lakeview Light and Power, AgriShop and Lakewood Refuse.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/16/07

November 16, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • $1.6M TIB Grant for Bridgeport: The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) awarded the City of Lakewood a $1.6 million grant this week for completion of roadway improvements on Bridgeport Way from 75th to the north city limits, including street lights, curb, gutters, and sidewalks. The City’s project was one of 14 selected from 100 applications.
  • Sylvan Park Property Maintenance Inspections: With assistance from one of the neighborhood patrol teams, Community Development this week began making property maintenance inspections in the Sylvan Park neighborhood which is comprised of over 300 properties. Of those, 35 properties have been identified as having significant property maintenance violations. Nineteen properties were inspected with more to follow. Correction notices will be delivered to property owners beginning next week. During the inspection of one property, a code officer noticed unusual behavior of one individual residing in a trailer. He was interviewed by code and police officers. The police officer performed a background check. The individual possessed two outstanding warrants, was taken into custody, and transported to Pierce County jail.
  • APA Presentation on Abatement: Asst City Manager Dave Bugher and Asst City Attorney Mike McKenzie were invited to an American Planners Association (APA) brown bag luncheon at Renton City Hall this week to discuss the City’s code enforcement, property maintenance and abatement programs. Representatives from numerous Puget Sound cities were present, and appear to be interested in Lakewood’s approach to public nuisance control.
  • Pac Highway Signal Outage: The signal outage at Pacific Highway and Bridgeport Way that was scheduled for November 14th has been delayed until after Thanksgiving. This work is part of the construction of the new signal bridge at that location.
  • City Prosecutors Prevail: The City’s Legal Department had a successful trial week this month with two jury trials resulting in two guilty verdicts. The trials were handled by associate city attorneys Sean Parrent and Matt Kaser.
  • Roadway Gas Main Replacement Project Continues: Pilchuck Contractors will be running several crews in town to complete several miles of gas main replacement by the end of the year. Some work will also spill into the first part of next year as well. They will be beginning work on Bridgeport Way (southbound outside lane from Steilacoom Blvd to 84th), Steilacoom Blvd (eastbound outside lane from Custer to Bridgeport Way), and Gravelly Lake Drive (northbound outside lane from 112th to Bridgeport Way). Most of the work in these areas needs to occur during the day due to the adjacent residences. The exception will be work on Gravelly Lake Drive between Main Street and Bridgeport which will occur at night. This gas main replacement project is ordered by the Washington Utilities Commission (WUTC) to address aging and leaking Puget Sound Energy gas infrastructure and ultimately will provide better service and safety to everyone. Contact Public Works if there are any questions.
  • Abatement Notice and Order at Washington & Interlaaken: Community Development has initiated abatement actions for the property at the northwest corner of Washington Blvd. & Interlaaken Blvd. SW (the former Shortstop Market) for the house, old store, and associated property. The owners reportedly intend to demolish the buildings and build a strip-mall, but the City has received no permit applications and the demolitions are already several months behind the owners’ projected timeline. This action will ensure the dangerous conditions are corrected even if the owner does not proceed with the redevelopment project in a timely manner.
  • Domestic Violence Resource Fair: Victim advocate Rebecca Hendricks of the Legal Department attended a Domestic Violence Resource Fair at Pierce College on November 14th. She provided information about the City’s domestic violence kiosk, the criminal case process and domestic violence statistics. Students and others attended to learn more about domestic violence and our community’s response. Hendricks also attended the National College of District Attorneys Annual Conference on Domestic Violence in late October, where the focus was on criminal justice response to domestic violence, as well as stalking, victim/witness interviewing, and use of technology.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/19/07

October 19, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Truck & Tractor Day: The Parks and Recreation Department will host the second annual Truck & Tractor Day on Saturday October 20th at Fort Steilacoom Park from 9am-noon. Children will receive a hard hat, climb up in trucks and tractors, make crafts and take a tour of the park with their families on our hayride. Many local organizations are supporting this event by providing a truck or tractor and staff person for the day. Event co-sponsors include Lakewood Fire, LeMay Enterprises, Lakeview Light and Power, AgriShop, and McChord AFB.
  • Driving Behaviors are Changing on 108th: A public survey taken in the St. Frances Cabrini neighborhood indicated a preference for an L.E.D. speed sign. Before the sign was installed, tube study results showed on a typical Tuesday between 7AM and 5PM (school zone speed limit 20mph) there were 359 drivers going 25mph and over on 108th in the West-bound direction. After the sign was installed, and doing a study on the same day of the week, same direction and during the same times, that number dropped to 160 drivers going 25 and over. This is a considerable improvement although this direction still needs enforcement. The East-bound direction was unchanged even though Public Works installed 2 more school zone signs to better inform the drivers of the upcoming school zone. The Photo-enforcement vans are able to enforce both directions on 108th without using the school’s frontal property.
  • Halloween at the Lakewood Police Station: The Police Station will be open on Halloween night providing treats, glow stick necklaces, and safety information. Police staff will be there from 5 pm until 8 pm. Invitational flyers have already been distributed to all 2,617 Kindergarten through Third grade students of the Clover Park School District within the City limits.
  • Bill Cosby Coming to Lakewood: At the invitation of Mayor Claudia Thomas, Bill Cosby has agreed to host two free events in Lakewood on November 13th aimed at disadvantaged youth and their families. The first will be at the new Hope Center (Boys and Girls Club) and the second will be at the new Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College. A detailed press release will be forthcoming, and tickets will be distributed within Mr. Cosby’s guidelines.
  • Steilacoom Blvd. Storm Drainage Project: Work begins this Sunday, October 21st, at 7:00 pm, on a project to replace a storm drain line located in Steilacoom Blvd. from Lakeview Avenue to South Tacoma Way. The eastbound lanes of Steilacoom Blvd. will be closed in this area from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am. A detour route will be provided. Most of the work will be completed in 6 weeks, weather dependent.
  • October 18th wind storm: The only Public Works issue from the storm event was the obstruction by a fallen tree of Avondale Rd SW at Horizon Bank. Other than that, the roadways were clear for this morning traffic. There were also no flooded streets as the Public Works Department with the help of Parks Department personnel spent Thursday afternoon clearing catch basins of leaves and debris.
  • American Lake Park Boat Launch: Construction at the American Lake Park boat launch facility began on October 2nd. The boat launch portion of the park is closed at this time and will remain closed until the project is completed. The boat ramp is currently being rebuilt and should be completed within the next few weeks. Other elements of the project include new docks, removal of the house, hangars and old office structure as well as adding a new entrance, stacking lanes and ADA accessible parking. It is anticipated construction will continue into early 2008. Only the launch facility is closed - the remainder of American Park is open for use. Check the city’s website for updates on this project.
  • State Representative Bill Fromhold Visit: Rep. Fromhold, who is the chairman of the House Capital Projects Committee which reviews all major State capital improvement projects met with Mayor Thomas, City staff, and the City’s legislative consultants on October 18th to review progress on the Hill Ward (Fort Steilacoom Park) clean up and restoration project (a $543,000 State allocation). City officials also discussed with him the Tillicum neighborhood planning process and the need for State financial support to improve infrastructure at key locations in Tillicum and I-5.
  • Woodbrook Late Nite: This popular school-based program originated during the Weed & Seed grant era and has been sustained by volunteers and city staff with minimal funding and is held on the first and third Friday nights from 6:00-9:00pm. Approximately 35 students attended the first Late Nite of the year on October 5th. The snack portion of the program is being provided through the GREAT grant through the end of the year. Open to Woodbrook students only, this program provides a fun, safe environment where they feel welcome and can enjoy recreational activities. Registration is required through the school office. Potential volunteers are welcome to contact Dennis Higashiyama at 589-2489.
  • Make a Difference Day: The Youth Council will be coordinating events and projects for Make a Difference Day which will be celebrated on Saturday, October 27th. The Kick-Off event will be held at the Clover Park High School Performing Arts Center with refreshments at 8:00am, the program will begin at 8:30am with a welcoming speech by Mayor Thomas, and the projects will begin at 9:00am. The projects this year include: removing invasive plants, beautifying the entrance area and replacing markers in the cemetery at Fort Steilacoom Park, sorting and organizing donated clothing for Caring for Kids at Custer Elementary, rehabilitation of the abandoned Flett Creek blueberry farm, and a Salute to our Soldiers in Iraq with a card/letter writing project which will be done in the Gathering Hall at Clover Park High School. Join us in celebrating this national day of community service.
  • Chambers Clover Watershed Conference: Greg Vigoren, Surface Water Division Manager, was a presenter at the Chambers-Clover Watershed Conference held at Pacific Lutheran University on October 5th and 6th. The focus of the conference was to learn more about the functioning and management of the Chambers-Clover Creek watershed. Greg presented to an audience of 100 a summary of Lakewood’s storm water management program.
  • Police Officer Angel Figueroa: Lakewood Officer Angel Figueroa was featured in an October issue of the area’s only Spanish newspaper “Fronteras”.