Parks upkeep to be funded next year

December 2, 2010

The City Council amended the 2011 preliminary budget to include $62,000 for parks maintenance, as the budget had previously called for maintenance of the city neighborhood parks to be discontinued.

The amendment was one in a string of more than a dozen approved by the council.

The council also approved a 1 percent property tax hike, although it also voted to reduce storm water fees by about $36 per household. Through the combination, those with homes worth less than about $1.5 million will see a reduction in taxes.

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November snow brings early test for city maintenance crew

December 2, 2010

As snow and ice blanketed Newcastle just before Thanksgiving, city maintenance workers took to the streets in the city’s three trucks fitted with snowplows, clearing roads around the clock in accordance with the city’s snow priorities map.

However, before snow began falling, maintenance workers had already laid de-icer on the city’s major roadways.

“We were very prepared for what happened,” said Steve Roberge, interim public works director. “The way the event occurred caught everybody off guard.”

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Letters to the editor

December 2, 2010

Thanks to everyone who made Newcastle Days a success

Hats off to the Newcastle City Council and myriad other volunteers who made this year’s Newcastle Days such a great event and resounding success!

The music on Saturday night was world-class, and brought  back such memories. It was wonderful to see so many neighbors and friends enjoying the music and socialization. A special thanks to John and Lisa Jensen, David Harris, Sandra Wixon, and Alan White and his band members for making this truly memorable evening.

Jean Butler


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Stay home for the holidays in Newcastle

December 2, 2010

With snow falling on Newcastle even before Thanksgiving, it feels as though the holiday season started early. If you took the prematurely wintry weather as a cue to begin shopping and preparing for the season, remember to take advantage of the festive activities in town this month as well as supporting local businesses.

Although the Newcastle Rotary Club discontinued the Rotary Santa Parade last year as the club disbanded, the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce is bringing Santa Claus back, to Newcastle Fruit and Produce for free pictures from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4.

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Sign-up for Cub Scouts in time for the Pinewood Derby

December 2, 2010

Cub Scout Pack 738 is still accepting children from first to fourth grade for the pack’s annual Pinewood Derby in January.

The Pinewood Derby, which is held each January, gives Cub Scouts the opportunity to work with an adult to design and build a small racecar.

In the Pinewood Derby — the pack’s largest event of the year — the Scouts design and build small race cars with an adult. On race day, the Scouts race their cars against three other Scouts’ cars on a track.

The 2011 Pinewood Derby will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at Newcastle Elementary School.

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Students study strawberries, pipettes at Hutch High

December 2, 2010

The strawberry, with eight sets of each chromosome, is an ideal fruit for DNA extraction. Humans only have two sets of each chromosome, one from their mother and the other from their father.

Hundreds of strawberries underwent DNA extraction Nov. 4, as 230 sophomores from across the state visited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle for a half-day lab paid for by the Michael Miyauchi Foundation. The lab is competitive — 60 schools applied and 27 were accepted, including Hazen High School.

The students toured the Hutch campus, doing labs and listening to lectures — streaking bacteria on agar plates, learning about sickle cell anemia and hearing about a researcher’s quest to identify the role of a protein carried by white blood cells.

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New storm water management projects approved

December 2, 2010

The City Council approved 10 new capital projects aimed at alleviating major storm water problems in the city, such as erosion and roots in pipes.

The projects, which together cost $700,000, will be completed throughout the coming years. The city will pay for the projects as it goes.

The 2011 preliminary budget calls for four of the projects to be completed next year. The first is a $50,000 project aimed at controlling water levels on Lake Boren, as the lake floods homes on the northern side of the lake during the fall and winter.

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And the Diamond Award winners are …

December 2, 2010

This year’s Diamond Awards were presented to outstanding members of the community Nov. 10 at The Golf Club at Newcastle.

In the youth category, awards were presented to Jeff Hansen and John Stiller for their work with Newcastle Weed Warriors, and Neil Chakravarty for his Eagle Scout project, which involved replacing 62 trails sign plates across the city.

The community service award was presented to Parks Commission Vice Chair Koleen Morris, who took the leading role in organizing this year’s Newcastle Days celebration.

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Rotary Club honors student of the month

December 2, 2010

Virginia Wanjiku, a senior at Hazen High School, was recently honored by the Rotary Club of Renton as its student of the month for November.

Virginia Wanjiku

Wanjiku has a 3.7 GPA. She’s been involved in Link Drew, Ignite, Earth Corps, Key Club, ASB drama, volleyball and tennis. She has received an academic achievement, varsity volleyball letter, a most inspirational award in tennis, a scholar athlete honor, a Hazen Pride Award, a Diversity Award, Outstanding Junior and Spirit Highlander awards.

Wanjiku volunteers with Birthday Dreams for homeless children.

She plans to attend medical school to become a nurse or doctor. She hopes to work with Doctors Without Borders and the United Nations.

Cost of Newcastle Days: $11

December 2, 2010

This year’s Newcastle Days cost the city $11, as vendor fees and donations from citizens and local businesses paid for $18,203 of the $18,214 in expenses.

Vendor fees and donations also funded $5,675 of the $9,970 bill for Concerts in the Park and $7,750 of the $15,002 bill for the Fourth of July celebration.

The city entirely funded Arbor Day and Earth Day, and the events cost the city $148 and $165, respectively.

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