At its meeting Jan. 16, the Federal Way City Council shared a proclamation designating Jan. 13, 2024, as “Korean American Day.” Councilmember Hoang Tran presented the proclamation encouraging all residents to celebrate the contributions of the city’s Korean American community.
Members of the Korean American Celebration Foundation received the proclamation and shared a few words: “Our Korean Americans are vital part of the community,” and their culture and heritage “further make our communities and the Washington state vibrant.”
They added: “We appreciate your time and effort for making the Korean American Day to celebrate differences.”
The Federal Way Police Department has added four new faces to the force, as announced at the council meeting. This brings their total need up to 11 officers after a few retirements at the end of 2024. Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang shared in the council meeting that there are people in the works, and they hope to have all of these positions filled soon.
The new officers:
• Kyra Webber: Former supervisor for Starbucks, Webber started with the city on June 20, 2023, and graduated from the police academy on Nov. 29. Webber was born in Toppenish, Washington, and grew up in Yakima.
• Noah Franquez: Former corrections deputy for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office who also served in the U.S. Army. He is now an infantryman in the Army National Guard Reserve.
• Jacob Stark: Most recently a corrections deputy with the Thurston County Sheriff’s office. In his spare time he also plays and coaches lacrosse.
• Noah Miller: Earned a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from the University of Washington before attending the police academy.
In other police department news, Lt. Bryan Klingele was promoted to commander and sworn in as such at the council meeting. Klingele has 29 years of law enforcement experience and was a founding member of the Federal Way Police Department. He was also in the United States Army and was award the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
Caring for community
Mayor Jim Ferrell thanked FUSION for sheltering community members during the cold: “I want to let you know that FUSION has been a great partner and they’re literally in our in our community saving lives.”
Melissa Hamilton spoke during public comment about safety. She encouraged neighbors to get to know their neighbors. She also celebrated the MLK Day event Monday at the Performing Arts and Event Center and said “I felt the love and the community spirit in that building.”
Hamilton was also thanked by the mayor for opening up her home for the Steel Lake block watch group meeting on Jan. 11.
She continued this neighborly community spirit in her public comment saying: “We live in a really great community. I grew up in a really tiny little town called Yelm. At times it feels like I’m back in a tiny town even though we’re a city over of over 100,000 people, so if we can continue to grow smaller as we grow bigger and not lose that connectivity with our neighbors and with our city leaders, I think we’ll be okay Federal Way!”
City Council members also commented on the MLK Day event and how much they appreciated and enjoyed it.
As part of those celebrations, Diversity Commissioner Ron Walker presented an award to student Gabriel Cruz as the winner of an essay contest for MLK Jr. Day.
Another award was presented to Councilmember Susan Honda by Mayor Jim Ferrell for her work while serving as Council President (2020-2021) and Deputy Mayor (2018-2019 and 2022-2023).
Ferrell said “this community, our council and the city government owe Susan Honda a debt of gratitude for all of the extra work and dedication and partnership.”
In her acceptance speech, Honda celebrated some things she is proud of during her time in these roles. She added the agenda item at each council meeting for council members to share what they are working on. Honda has also become the new Regional Affairs Coordinator for the council.
Despite some extended discussion at the last council meeting, Ordinance 873, passed without much comment on Tuesday. The ordinance pertains to Licensing Permanent Supportive Housing and Transitional Housing, and Emergency Housing and Shelter. Community member Anna Patrick did share some public comments raising questions around licensing for senior care facilities. The council responded with interest in understanding more of what she is referring to, but at a later date.
The expansion of the Steel Lake operations and maintenance facility is moving forward and council approved the demolition of buildings that are in the planned construction area. The facility in question is to the north of the current building that is located on 28th Avenue South on the east side between South 312th Street and 308th Lane.