Patriot Players venture off Broadway to update ‘Godspell’

May 7, 2008

A parking lot of a thrift shop is where this year’s Patriot Players’ spring musical story unfolds.

The newly re-envisioned and modernized “Godspell,” originally created by Read more

Local woman makes Tanzania her mission

May 7, 2008

Tanzania may be a world away, but it is close to Diane Lewis’ heart.

The former newspaper reporter and 35-year resident of Newcastle has visited the African nation three times since 2005 and hopes to return to Tanzania in the next couple of years.
“Africa has changed the way I look at the world. It makes me ponder what is really important,” she said. “The Tanzanians – and especially the Maasai, with whom I have visited – value visitors as friends and family. I visit Tanzania and will continue to do so, because I want to make a difference in the lives of people I have come to love.”
Africa is a land of exotic birds, animals, breathtaking sunsets and many different people (121 tribes in Tanzania alone).
Lewis’ last visit was in November, a church mission trip representing Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Renton and Trinity Lutheran College in Issaquah. The retired manager of the college’s bookstore made the trip with Linda Graber, a former nurse at the college.
While at Trinity, Lewis befriended Jacob Mameo, a student from Tanzania. Last fall, she attended the consecration of Mameo as bishop of the Morogoro diocese of the Lutheran Church of Tanzania.
“Mameo calls us his mamas, a sign of respect among his people, the Maasai, and among his fellow Africans,” Lewis said. “When he was a student at Trinity, we became family, and he spent holidays and weekends at our homes.”
Mameo was elected to an eight-year term. The Lutheran Church in Tanzania is divided into 20 dioceses; the Morogoro diocese is one of the newest and largest. About 3,000 people attended the consecration, including then-Prime Minister Edward Lowassa.

Lewis said Mameo has a National Geographic look about him.

“He is a strikingly tall Maasai elder with elongated ear lobes, missing a lower tooth to signify he had killed a lion as a teenager while guarding his father’s herd,” she said.

Mameo and other African students at Trinity visited Lewis’ church several times in the three years he was in the United States. Lord of Life Church established a partnership with Mameo’s home village of Kambala, building a kindergarten and parsonage there, as well as buying textbooks for the secondary schools and needed medical supplies. The church also paid for a well in a nearby Maasai community, Lewis said.

“All people throughout our world deserve clean water, education and health care,” she said. “Our mission teams worked side by side with the Tanzanians in these three fields.

“We also share our Christian faith with them, and them with us. We work side by side and in teams with our African brothers and sisters, and we equip them to change their own lives by using the skills we teach.”
During the remainder of her visit, Lewis spent four days in the bush with a Lutheran missionary who has spent 42 years working mostly with Maasai groups. Lewis said she was greeted with love and curiosity.

“Because I’m from Seattle, they think I know Bill Gates,” she said. “The most respected man in Tanzania is Bill Gates.”

She also learned about Belgian researchers who use African giant pouched rats, trained to detect landmines and tuberculosis. They detect the disease by sniffing people’s saliva in lab settings.

“What’s amazing is that I hate rats,” Lewis said. “But in this case, I can see them as good guys.”


May 7, 2008


Power Within Pilates studio hosts an open house from noon – 4 p.m. May 3 in Read more

Letters to the editor

May 7, 2008

Nonmotorized plan shortchanges Hazelwood neighborhood
As the nonmotorized transportation plan nears City Council approval, there’s a problem: The relatively modest sidewalk projects requested by citizens do not appear in the project list. Instead, there’s a list of costly mega-projects.

Top rank goes to segment S9A: Newcastle Golf Club Road from Coal Creek Parkway to just east of 136th Avenue. For an estimated $2.6 million, the project puts sidewalks on both sides of S9A – which already has sidewalks on both sides.

I’d give priority to Southeast 73rd Place where it joins 129th Avenue just south of the library site. Southeast 73rd lacks sidewalks, and it’s the neck of a funnel; autos and pedestrians from much of Hazelwood use it to get downtown. It curves and dips, visibility is poor and parked cars force pedestrians from the gutter into traffic. And the new library/apartment complex will likely increase the traffic (and risk). But Southeast 73rd is part of segment S30, ranked sixth – which pushes construction well past 2014.

S30 is estimated at $1.5 million. The Hazelwood community requested a smaller project. Using the $256-per-foot cost estimate for S30, a sidewalk on one side of the street from 129th to Donegal Park would cost about $513,000; Southeast 73rd Place alone would cost about $145,000. Southeast 73rd wins on a cost-benefit basis – more bang for the buck.

Aside from the ranking tables (spreadsheets) produced by a consultant, the bulk of the nonmotorized plan is of high quality: attractive in appearance, well organized, and full of good ideas contributed by a capable and hard-working staff and committee. But the tables – and the method used for ranking – need review and correction. Trails, too: For example, the Hazelwood Trail, which the council voted to complete in 2005, is delayed past 2014. And short connectors (e.g. paths between cul-de-sacs) aren’t ranked at all.

I’d list and rank the handful of citizen proposals (including short paths, and years-old sidewalk requests from Hazelwood and Windtree). I’d try the methods used by other cities. And I’d give priority to the small, cheap, high-benefit projects.

Garry Kampen

Public hospital district outdated, unfair
A leader of a support group for Valley Medical Center has written that it is somehow inappropriate to keep up the pressure to eliminate Public Hospital District No. 1′s taxing authority. I disagree. I only wish that our own 41st District legislators would join with Sen. Pam Roach in trying to do away with an outdated and unfair tax.

I’m no Tim Eyman, pretending that we can have government services without paying for them. I voted yes on the library bond and yes on paying for light rail and road improvements, and I always support school levies, even though my children are long out of the K-12 system. This is different. Let me explain why.

I am a lifetime member of Group Health and intend to stay with it for the superior service and coverage it offers. But because I live in the older part of Newcastle, this year I will pay $222.74 in property tax to support a medical establishment I will never use. Does that seem fair to you? It doesn’t to me.

Public hospital districts were formed in 1945 to ensure that medical care was available in rural areas – which this then was. But the era of horse pastures and barns is long gone from King County and so should the hospital district concept be. My civic leaders keep telling me that we live in an “urban village.” If so, isn’t it time to rid ourselves of this rural artifact? If hospital districts are such a good idea, let’s tax everyone statewide – or at least everyone in Newcastle.

The vast majority of hospitals in our county get by just fine without a taxpayer contribution and so should Valley Medical. If they are as good an outfit as their advertising (paid for with my money) says, they shouldn’t have any trouble attracting enough patients to meet expenses. The folks from the tax-free part of Newcastle who use the Valley Medical clinic in Newcastle can start paying the actual, unsubsidized cost of their care and I’ll spend my limited resources where they work for me.
Sue Beverly

Editorial: One more time, vote yes on school bond

May 7, 2008

New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra is famous for twisting the English language. He Read more

City councilman eyes rail preservation

May 7, 2008

An artist’s depiction shows a train station on the Burlington Northern Sante Fe rail line that runs parallel to Interstate 405.

Steve Buri is leading the charge to preserve a 42-mile stretch of Burlington Northern Read more

Teens ‘pharm’ for drugs

May 7, 2008

Pill-popping teenagers, ever on the lookout for a quality, undetectable high, are abusing prescription painkillers at an alarming rate. Teen abuse of prescription painkillers Read more

Renton School District to retry bond measure

May 7, 2008

Get ready for another round of doorbelling.

Later this month, volunteers for the Renton School District bond measure will be ringing Read more

City’s crime rate is down in 2007

May 7, 2008

The crime rate in Newcastle went down in 2007, according to preliminary numbers Read more

Newcastle is first-time Tree City USA honoree

May 7, 2008

The Arbor Day Foundation named Newcastle a Tree City USA community. Newcastle and Read more

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