Homelessness topped the Mirror’s headlines this year as the city tackled the issue by creating a task force and looking at other measures to help address the crisis. Here is a look back at those headlines and more from 2018:
New Hope announced it would open its doors to house families in need of a warm place to stay overnight through March. Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell allocated $15,000 from his discretionary budget to reimburse New Hope for utility costs, food and supplies, such as cots.
Later in January, the Federal Way Day Center marked its first year of serving the homeless with a community celebration at the St. Vincent De Paul church on Jan. 18.
In early February, Mayor Ferrell created a homelessness task force to help answer the city’s question of how to combat the issue. This was done after the Homeless Mothers and Children Initiative reached its first goal of finding temporary shelter for families in Federal Way at New Hope.
After Industrial Realty Group bought the former Weyerhaeuser Campus, they started clearing trees and underbrush from some areas of the property in March, which concerned residents and city officials alike. Save Weyerhaeuser Campus continues to protest construction on the property by IRG.
Emerging from the tragic murder of 16-year-old Wesley Gennings, Federal Way’s Violence Prevention Coalition Steering Committee made recommendations for a safer city in 2017 and those efforts were still underway in April. One of the successful areas of improvement for the city included a job training program for youth, the Youth Employment Support Network.
In early May, the city was faced with a possible deficit for its 2019-20 biennium budget, which would have meant the city would need to borrow around $2 million from its general fund for 2019 and 2020, according to Finance Director Ade Ariwoola. In the most recent budget, however, the city was able to avoid a deficit.
Later in May, the Federal Way Police Department bought two electric bicycles for its officers in the Special Operations Unit.
In early June the city was considering imposing a storage facility registration fee as an additional revenue source, which was met with much controversy among residents and storage facility owners.
In mid-June, David Brambila, a student at Federal Way High School, credited his mentor Brett Hulse for his high school graduation. “Pretty much all that I have accomplished … is because of Brett,” Brambila said.
In July the city repurchased a former Target property adjacent from the Performing Arts and Events Center after the construction company that originally purchased the land in a bid did not start on the hotel construction by the date listed in their contract, June 30. The city has not yet moved forward with another bid for the property.
In August, Carl Anderson was recognized as helping found Dash Point State Park in 1962 thanks to the efforts of his children. Anderson now has a dedication bench in the park.
In early September, South King Fire & Rescue hosted a 9/11 remembrance for those service men and women who lost their lives during the terror attacks.
Later in the month, a mother spoke out during a school board meeting about safety and emergency protocols the school district had in place after her daughter felt so threatened during school she called the police.
In October a former Federal Way High School student was involved in a tort claim that alleged her another former student had filmed and distributed a video of two people involved in a sex act without their knowledge. Federal Way High School’s head basketball coach Jerome Collins was also involved in the case, and is currently being investigated by the school district.
In November, an excessive force lawsuit against Federal Way the city lost prompted community members to ponder the idea of having a police accountability review board, which received mixed reviews from residents and city officials alike.
A violent incident at Cafe Arizona, a nightclub in Federal Way, left a 26-year-old-man paralyzed on Thanksgiving morning. This resulted in some residents calling for the closure of the nightclub, given its past violent history.