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Lakewood One of the Nation's 100 Best Communities for Young People

Lakewood Named One of the Nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance and ING

Competition Recognizes Community’s Efforts to Reduce High School Dropout Rates

October 19, 2011, Lakewood, WA — Lakewood achieved national recognition as one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING for its initiatives to help young people. The competition recognizes communities across the country that focus on reducing high school dropout rates and providing service and support to their youth.

Lakewood is a five-time 100 Best winner, an honor shared by only 22 other cities in the nation. Lakewood has shown a commitment to work across all community sectors to provide a great place for young people to live. The Lakewood Community Collaboration group, comprising more than 200 members from more than 120 organizations, has created mobile food services, a collaborative housing strategy and a community-wide plan for cross-agency work that focuses on the needs of its youth. Together, the Pierce County Mentoring Partnership and the Caring Adult Task Force host a county-wide event that recognizes mentors, mentees and the various mentor programs available through different community organizations.

Beyond community involvement, Lakewood also allows its young leaders to have a voice in community decisions. The Lakewood Youth Council for example, which began as a single student initiative and has grown to as many as 20 members, conducts research and compiles reports that address youth issues and programs. In addition, this organization often represents the city at various events and recruits new student members for community service.

“We are proud of Lakewood for being named one of the America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best,” said Mayor Doug Richardson. “This award recognizes the hard work of many community members that have dedicated their time to making a difference in the lives of our young people.”

“In a nation where 7,000 students drop out of high school every day, we hope Lakewood’s initiatives inspire other communities across the nation to take action to solve the challenges facing their young people,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO. “Lakewood is especially deserving of this recognition due to their efforts to ensure that their young people graduate high school and go on to lead healthy, productive lives. Lakewood refuses to let the challenges they face determine the future for their young people. Instead, they are helping their youth prosper and become contributing members of society.”

At noon EST on Oct. 12, 2011, Kondracke joined America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and ING Foundation President Rhonda Mims at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to officially announce the 100 winning communities in a live webcast ( ).

“The issues surrounding youth education and success are of vital importance to ING,” said Mims. “Our ongoing support for 100 Best underscores our commitment to the cause and the value we place on recognizing communities that produce measurable results for youth.”

Lakewood will receive a $2,500 grant, signage identifying the community as one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People, and access to America’s Promise Alliance’s community development resources.

First held in 2005, the 100 Best competition is one of the Alliance’s signature initiatives and is part of its Grad Nation campaign, which is a 10-year initiative to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. The 100 Best honors communities large and small, rural and urban, that are making progress to help young people achieve their potential, which includes earning a high school diploma, securing a good job, and playing an active, productive role in America’s economic vitality.

All communities entering the 100 Best competition completed a rigorous application where they provided details on how their existing programs and initiatives help deliver the Five Promises—resources identified by the Alliance as being critical to the development of healthy, successful children: caring adults; safe places; healthy start; effective education; and opportunities to help others. Applicants were also asked to describe how different sectors of their community work together to help children and families overcome challenges. Most importantly, communities were judged on the strength and innovation of their efforts and programs to help young people graduate from high school prepared for college and the 21st century workforce.

This year, more than 300 communities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were nominated for the 100 Best distinction. Winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of 20 judges that included: Marc Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League, Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Michelle Shearer, Chemistry Teacher, Urbana High School, 2011 National Teacher of the Year.

The winners are a diverse group, ranging from small communities to large cities. A list of all 2011 winners can be found at .

Being a 100 Best community not only demonstrates commitment to local young people; the award fosters local pride, bolsters economic development and shines the spotlight on the people and programs that are building better communities. The competition also facilitates the sharing of best practices among communities nationwide regarding education, access to health care, reading score improvement, youth service and pre-school enrollment, among many other areas.

About America’s Promise Alliance

America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth by raising awareness, supporting communities, and engaging in nonpartisan advocacy. Through our Grad Nation campaign, we harness the collective power of our partner network to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises—caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. For more information about America’s Promise Alliance, visit .

About ING

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 115,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.

In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves nearly 30 million customers across the nation.

ING’s diversity management philosophy and commitment to workplace diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer. For more information, visit .

About the ING Foundation

The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity, and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit .

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/14/2011

October 14, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

Community Garden volunteers needed: The City, in partnership with the Clover Park School District and the First Baptist Church of Lakewood, is considering developing a community garden near the old police precinct off Arrowhead Road near 112th. An informational meeting will be held Tuesday, October 25th at 5:30 pm in Room 1E at Lakewood City Hall to learn more about how the garden could be operated and how it might affect neighborhoods. A leadership team is looking for more volunteers to make this happen. Citizens who are interested in gardening and are willing to help develop this program should contact the City at or (253) 983-7887.

Tillicum Sewer Availability Notices: With the final completion and acceptance by the County of the sanitary sewer main into Tillicum, notices are being sent out to adjacent properties about the requirement to connect within 90 days. Property owners who choose not to connect will be required to pay the City an “availability charge” until such time as connection is completed. These funds will provide support to the sewer system in Lakewood.

2-day Safety Fair involves Community Safety & Resources Team (CSRT): CSRT staff participated in a two-day safety fair at Kmart in honor of the National Safety Weekend held on October 8th and 9th. CSRT provided brochures on various safety topics and spoke to parents regarding Child Passenger Safety.

CSRT and Neighborhood Patrol provide robbery training at banks: CSRT and neighborhood patrol provided robbery training to two branches of America’s Credit Union (ACU). This training has been provided to ACU’s staff throughout the year. The final two branches were completed this week. This training provides employees the opportunity to practice what to do in the event of a robbery, through role playing and analysis of the event. ACU management also provided information on their policies regarding robbery.

Fire and CSRT provides Disaster Training Class: CSRT Staff assisted West Pierce Fire and Rescue by teaching a CERT class on Disaster Organization and Disaster Psychology. This is the last class prior to a simulated earthquake, in which attendees learn to mobilize and practice their skills in a controlled environment. CERT training also includes Fire Safety, Light Search and Rescue, Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Medical classes.

Parks and Recreation supports parents at Lakeview: the Clover Park School District hosted a Parent Institute on October 8th at Lakeview Hope Academy which was designed to help parents help their kids make their way from kindergarten to college. Topics included homework help and tips on creating healthy, active families. The City’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services department assisted with the planning and provided free childcare and activities onsite for parents participating in the sessions.

Crime prevention information at condominium meeting: CSRT Staff attended a meeting of a local condominium on October 11th to provide information on vehicle prowl prevention, burglary prevention, identity theft, emergency/non-emergency numbers, and the new ordinance on aggressive begging ordinance. There were approximately 24 residents in attendance.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/23/2011

September 23, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • 12th Annual Lakewood International Festival: Lakewood Sister Cities Association is proud to present its 12th Annual Lakewood International Festival on Saturday, September 24th, in the Sharon McGavick Student Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, Washington. This year’s festival begins at 11:30 a.m. and will feature international musical performances representing all parts of the globe. There will also be a kids’ art and play area, food and market vendors, and prizes. The festival is free to the public and celebrates Lakewood’s cultural diversity and its Sister City relationships with Okinawa, Japan, and Bauang, Philippines; and Friendship City relationships with Gimhae, South Korea, and Danzhou, PR of China. This year’s highlighted city is Danzhou, PR of China. We are happy to welcome the Danzhou Municipal Song & Dance Ensemble from Danzhou!
  • City Attorney elected to Executive Board of Administrative Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association: At the annual section meeting of the Administrative Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association, City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter was elected to the Executive Board. After serving as the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) committee chair for the past year, she will serve as Chair-elect for 2011-2012 and Section Chair the following year.
  • Steilacoom Blvd Water Quality Project: Work on this project which includes installing two (2) storm water treatment units in Steilacoom Blvd between Phillips Rd and Edgewater Dr. will begin on Monday, September 26th. This work is anticipated to be completed by October 7th. Work will be performed at night between 7:30 PM to 5:30 AM. During work hours, traffic on Steilacoom Blvd will be reduced to one travel lane in each direction and Edgewater Dr. between Steilacoom Blvd and 87th St will be temporarily closed.
  • Economic Development and Economic Development Board staff meeting with businesses: Economic Development and Economic Development Board (EDB) staff Derek Kilmer met with representatives from TaChen, a business in the 112th Street business park, and Cascade Sonoco which is a business located in the Lakewood Industrial Park. The meetings are part of our ongoing business outreach calls with Lakewood businesses to thank them for being in Lakewood and talk with them about their business growth and plans.
  • Freedom Furniture Store Grand Opening: Freedom Furniture Store in the Lakewood Towne Center held its Grand Opening on Thursday morning. The Chief Operating Officer of Freedom Furniture is very pleased with the location and the new store, and commented that it has been one of their longer site location searches. City staff initial contact with Freedom Furniture was in April of 2008 and continued ongoing contact over the last several years. Congratulations and welcome to Freedom Furniture!
  • 2011 United Way Day of Caring: 14 employees from several departments volunteered their time in revitalizing a transitional house for LASA (Lakewood Area Shelter Association). The group trimmed an approximately 200 foot hedge, raked and pulled weeds, power washed the entire house, and cleaned the gutters to name a few things.
  • Code Officers Attend Annual Washington Association of Code Enforcement (WACE) Conference: Code Enforcement Officers attended the annual WACE code enforcement conference in Leavenworth last week. One of the highlights was a one-day class “Spanish in a Pinch.” The class was a lesson in common Spanish terms that can be used on the job while conversing with Spanish-speaking tenants and property owners. In addition, there were lectures on mediation, improving health by reducing exposure to hazards, mortgage field service and property preservation providers, and human trafficking crimes in Washington State.
  • Community Clean-up in Tillicum: On Saturday, September 17th Habitat for Humanity sponsored a community clean-up in Tillicum. This was an effort by Habitat to get Tillicum excited about the upcoming additions to housing in the area. Habitat will be building 30+ homes over the next few years, with several already in progress. 40 volunteers, including Lt. Steve Mauer arrived at 8:30 AM to assist in the clean-up. Habitat worked with residents and scheduled pick-ups of large items to be discarded. The items were stacked up on the curb and volunteer teams loaded the items into trucks provided by Habitat. The trucks then took the items to a designated lot in Tillicum, where LeMay, Inc. had placed four large garbage containers. Over twenty households had large items for disposal, and volunteers filled up over eight, 40-yard containers with trash from the clean-up. It was a very successful event with visible results. A big “Thank You!” to all the volunteers who assisted.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/07/2011

October 7, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

100th Street Improvement Project: The 100th Street Improvement (59th Street to Gravelly Lake Drive) project will be advertised for construction bid on October 11th. The project includes widening 100th Street to accommodate bicycle use, installing concrete curb and gutter on both sides, installing cement concrete sidewalks on both sides, upgrading the drainage system, installing a new street lighting system, installing a new traffic signal system at Gravelly Lake Drive, and asphalt overlaying the entire roadway.

Tillicum Sewer Project approved by Pierce County: The final approval of the Tillicum sewer extension project by the Pierce County Sewer Utility Division was accomplished on October 6th, which will result in the City moving forward to system activation and the issuance of letters of sewer availability.

City’s Garbage and Recycling Schedule Changes: The City’s refuse service provider will be implementing service changes beginning in November. The changes essentially relate to rescheduling the pick-up day so that yard waste pick-up or recycling pick-up coincides with the garbage service pick-up day. As an example, a customer who has their garbage picked up on Monday would then also have their yard waste or recycling picked up on alternating Mondays. The City’s refuse provider will be notifying each customer of their new pickup day; the first notice will be a mailing followed by at least two phone calls with a message advising of the route changes. The result will be many customers having changes to their service schedule but hopefully an improvement with having just one pick-up day.

Lakewood is the City that Reads: The Lakewood Library and the Lakewood Arts Commission celebrated National Literacy Month by creating the 3 Favorite Books event from September 6th – 30th. Readers were encouraged to visit the Lakewood Library to fill-out a form and list their 3 favorite books. All forms were entered into a drawing with prizes donated by Designated Escrow, the Ram, Barnes & Noble, and Taco Del Mar. The drawing for prizes was held on October 2nd at the Lakewood Library; 10 year-old Brenden Futch was the top prize winner.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/16/2011

September 16, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Arts Commission presentation to Council: The Arts Commission gave their annual presentation to City Council at their study session on Monday, September 12th. The presentation covering the events of the previous year was followed with a discussion of current goals and objectives to be achieved in the coming year which included: promoting the visual, performing and literary arts, encouraging the creative contribution of local artists and creating a public art policy. The Commission was encouraged to create a work plan that would reflect the vision they have for art and the arts community in Lakewood.
  • Interim Communications Director: Communications Director Jeff Brewster, an Army Reserve officer, received mobilization orders earlier this week and will deploy to the Middle East in early October to serve as a logistics advisor to one of our military allies in that region. Assistant City Attorney Mike Savage will serve as the City’s Interim Communications Director for about eleven months until Mr. Brewster’s return.
  • Community Development and Human Services Hold Joint Public Hearing: Community Development and Human Services held a joint public hearing on September 8th to identify strategies on the use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Act grant funds. The public hearing offered an opportunity for the City to gain insight from citizens and local non-profits regarding what services they identify as essential for low- and moderate- income citizens in Lakewood. Recommendations included continued support of programs providing food, housing and other basic human needs including support of youth.
  • CSRT attends Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board Meeting on JBLM: Lt. Steve Mauer recently attended the quarterly meeting of the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) on JBLM. This panel, which includes representatives from all the military services in the area, discusses issues of mutual concern related to military members. Military representatives are joined by staff from the State Liquor Control Board, Tacoma Police Department, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and others. The discussion included issues facing the courtesy patrol. The group also discussed “Spice” (a synthetic drug), which is illegal under federal law. Lakewood Police are communicating with the AFDCB to report businesses selling Spice; those businesses will be made off limits to servicemembers unless they drop that item from their inventories.
  • Staff completes Washington Cities Insurance Authority Land Use Training Series: Legal staff completed a land-use training series this month conducted by Washington Cities Insurance Authority. The training was part of a three-part program that included information on the legal basis for land use development, regulations and permits.
  • The Discovery Trail continues: The City of Lakewood installed a 1940’s era Ford tractor near the blue barn at Fort Steilacoom Park last week. The tractor is a replica of one shown in an original photo on the Discovery Trail Farming Legacy sign located nearby. The tractor is an interactive part of the Discovery Trail system and people are welcome to climb on it as they imagine what life was like when the area was an active farm.