City Hall to move to Newcastle Professional Center by end of year

February 7, 2011

Council turns down offer to use both floors of current building

UPDATED — 5:25 p.m. Feb. 10, 2011

So long, 13020 Newcastle Way.

The City Council has voted to move City Hall to the 7,500-square-foot second floor of the Newcastle Professional Center, 12835 Newcastle Way, by the end of the year. City staff recommended the move, which will cost $250,000.

City Manager Rob Wyman said it is the state of the current facility that prompted the recommendation. The city’s lease with current landlord Jim Denton expires at the end of the year.

The City Council voted 4-3 at its Feb. 1 meeting to allow Wyman to sign a five-year lease with dentist Dr. Geoffrey Strange, who owns the Newcastle Professional Center.

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Council to hold special meeting tonight to consider moving City Hall

February 7, 2011

UPDATED — 4 p.m. Feb. 7, 2011

The City Council will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. today in Council Chambers, 13020 Newcastle Way, to consider moving City Hall to the second floor of the Newcastle Professional Center, 12835 Newcastle Way.

The meeting is open to the public, but there will be no opportunity for public comment.

The City Council voted 4-3 at its Feb. 1 meeting to allow City Manager Rob Wyman to sign a lease with the Newcastle Professional Center. If Wyman signs the lease, the city would need to move to the 7,500-quare-foot space by the end of the year. The move would cost about $250,000.

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Newcastle bus routes to change Saturday

February 4, 2011

NEW — 3:15 p.m. Feb. 4, 2011

Some King County Metro Transit bus routes in Newcastle change Feb. 5.

Riders throughout the Metro Transit service area should check winter schedules for the routes they use most often to see what has changed. Riders can prepare by picking up a blue timetable and the Special Rider Alert brochure. The information is also posted at Metro Online.

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Soprano soars to stardom

February 4, 2011

UPDATED — 5 p.m. Feb. 17, 2011

Local opera singer cast in leading roles internationally

Petra Sovcovova stars as the Widow Corney in ‘Oliver!’ alongside Kevin Benedict, who plays Mr. Bumble. By Nicolase Mallat*

Although she claims she’s never shattered glass using only her disciplined soprano pitches, few other things appear unattainable for local, up-and-coming opera star Petra Sovcovova.

Born in Redmond and now a resident of Newcastle, Sovcovova said she has been in six productions so far in her young career and has travelled to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy to perform in operatic productions.

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City council gives green light to dog park

February 4, 2011

Funding to be discussed this summer during budgeting process

The City Council voted 6-1 at its Feb. 1 meeting to move forward with building a dog park at the future sports park site on Southeast 95th Way.

The city will add the park to its capital projects and discuss funding when it begins work on the 2012 budget this summer.

The Parks Commission recommended to the council at its Jan. 12 meeting that an off-leash dog park be built at the future sports park site. It also noted that the council’s recommended budget of $25,000 would not be enough to build and maintain an off-leash park.

A park constructed at the future sports park site would likely be one or two acres, temporary and atop the grassy mound at the center of the site. It would need to be moved when construction begins on the sports park. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016.

The future sports park’s design calls for a one-third-acre, off-leash dog park on the east end of the property.

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Eye surgeon murder-plot trial begins

February 4, 2011

Read the latest on the case here.

His laser-eye-surgery business and personal life were crumbling, so an angry Dr. Michael Mockovak wasn’t beyond inappropriate outbursts, according to his lawyer.

It was one such outburst, an “immature joke” about hiring the Russian mafia to kill his business partner, that has landed the Newcastle resident and Clearly Lasik co-founder in court, accused of hatching a murder-for-hire plot against his one-time partner, lawyer Colette Tvedt said Jan. 18.

During the first day of testimony in Mockovak’s trial, jurors heard the frustration and anger from Mockovak himself — in taped recordings between him and a former Clearly Lasik employee. But his comments were viewed in entirely different lights by Tvedt and King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa.

Dr. Michael Mockovak (center) appears in the courtroom of Judge Palmer Robinson on Jan. 18. Mockovak is accused of a murder-for-hire plot.

In the scratchy recordings, Mockovak can be heard telling the employee about a life-insurance policy he had on his business partner, Dr. Joseph King. Mockovak can also be heard telling the man about King’s future travel plans to Australia, as well as the times an assassin would likely find King alone during his vacation.

Barbosa, in her opening statement, said that Mockovak and King each had a $4 million life-insurance policy on each other as part of their business.

She also said Mockovak believed the employee could put him in touch with a hit man for the Russian mafia.

But Tvedt insisted the employee, a man who was apparently eager to work with the FBI, entrapped Mockovak, pushing him to move forward with the scheme.

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Newcastle woman sentenced for Preston crash

February 4, 2011

The driver responsible for a devastating crash near Preston in December 2009 has been sentenced to six months in a work-release facility on a vehicular assault charge stemming from the incident.

Meanwhile, the other driver in the Interstate 90 crash continues a long recovery from life-threatening injuries.

Washington State Patrol The remains of a Honda Civic rest alongside Interstate 90 after a December 2009 crash. The driver suffered life-threatening injuries.

Police said the intoxicated driver, 54-year-old Newcastle resident Janet Bumgardner, had a cocktail of drugs — oxycodone, morphine, a prescription sleeping aid and over-the-counter allergy medication — in her system at the time of the crash. Washington State Patrol investigators also discovered red wine in a travel mug inside her silver Acura.

King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie handed down the sentence Jan. 7. Bumgardner, who pleaded guilty to vehicular assault in late November, has a long history of drunken driving convictions, plus convictions for disorderly conduct, malicious mischief and telephone harassment, court documents state.

The state Department of Corrections said she is scheduled to serve the sentence at the Helen B. Ratcliff Work Release house in Seattle. Bumgardner must also pay $2,612 in court costs and fees. The sentence prohibits her from contacting the other driver for 10 years and requires her to be under community custody for a year after the work-release term ends.

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Parks Commission welcomes new member

February 4, 2011

City Clerk Bob Baker swore in new Parks Commissioner Jesse Tam at the Jan. 12 Parks Commission meeting.

Tam will serve until Sept. 1, 2014.

Mayor John Dulcich appointed Tam to the position.

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Chiropractic office will offer community classes

February 4, 2011

Newcastle-based chiropractor Dr. Melinda Maxwell has spent the past 26 years practicing medicine, helping her patients as well as taking a leading role in community education.

She began pro bono work with The Rotary Boys & Girls club in Seattle, and she then began offering a slew of courses and seminars at businesses, community colleges, high schools and her clinic.

This month, that clinic — Chiropractic Wellness Center — will begin free monthly workshops and activities in Newcastle.

Beginning Feb. 19, the clinic will host Super Saturdays, in which members of the community will be treated to a free breakfast at Chiropractic Wellness Center and a walk on a local trail. Super Saturdays will be from 9 a.m. to noon the third Saturday of each month.

Beginning Feb. 23, the clinic will hold Wellness Workshops at Tapatio Mexican Grill, 6920 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., which will include meet and greets, health discussions, and question-and-answer sessions. The workshops will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of every month.

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Rapid Response

February 4, 2011

What do you think of the Parks Commission’s recommendation to build a dog park at the site of the future sports park on Southeast 95th Way?

Can we just build it somewhere — anywhere — and move on to other things, like safe sidewalks on all major roads around Newcastle?

— Trina Sooy, Newcastle

I’m still waiting for the library and athletic fields Sonny Putter and the rest of the City Council promised 10 years ago when I first moved into the community. Nothing against dogs or dog owners, but I am curious how the city of Newcastle manages its priorities. If the Parks Commission has recommended a dog park as a priority over a park kids can use, I’d recommend they become outwardly mobile.

— Troy Anderson, Newcastle

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