Refining the leaders of tomorrow

June 3, 2011

Woman’s nonprofit provides mentors for high school girls

Newcastle resident Danna Johnston operates a nonprofit organization that helps teenage girls and a company that addresses skin care issues specific to people with dark skin. By Tim Pfarr

When children reach high school, they often start learning from those outside the home. That was the case for Danna Johnston.

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City staff post-employment restrictions tightened

June 3, 2011

The City Council voted May 3 to create a new section of city code that — in some circumstances — restricts former city employees from working for companies with which they negotiated, supervised or approved contracts during their city employment.

If the employee takes a job at such a company, he or she would face a $10,000 fine for violating any of four restrictions.

According to the new code:

First, for one year after leaving the city, an employee cannot accept a job with a company if he or she approved large contracts for that company and would work on the same project as he or she did at the city. The contracts are considered large if they total more than $100,000 during the employee’s last two years at the city.

Second, an employee cannot have a financial interest in any contract that he or she played a role in negotiating, supervising or awarding while working at the city.

Third, an employee cannot accept a job offer from a company if he or she knows or has reason to believe the offer has been made as compensation for his or her work while working at the city.

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Fourth of July fireworks set at Lake Boren

June 3, 2011

Details emerging for Newcastle Days

UPDATED — 10:50 a.m. June 29, 2011

The city’s annual Fourth of July celebration in Lake Boren Park is a go this year, thanks to a $10,000 sponsorship from Lake Boren Townhomes, which opened in April on the north shore of Lake Boren. Resident Shel Neufeld also offered to match as much as $1,000 of contributions from local businesses for the event.*

This year’s celebration in the park will include music from Seattle cover band Shelley and the Curves, food vendors and — of course — a lot of fireworks to light up the twilight sky.

The celebration starts at 6 p.m. with fireworks starting at 10 p.m. Don’t forget a blanket. The new playground will be open for children in attendance.

“We are extremely excited to be part of the Newcastle community and are happy to do what we can to keep the celebration going,” Lake Boren Townhomes developer Claudio Guincher said in a news release. “Future homeowners will have a front row seat to the fireworks celebration. This is something we want them to be able to enjoy for years to come.”

Mayor John Dulcich said he was very grateful for the contribution from the developer.

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City moves forward with Lake Boren flooding mitigation plan

June 3, 2011

The City Council has directed city staff members to move forward with a plan aimed at mitigating flooding from Lake Boren.

The lake’s water level rises in winter, flooding residents’ basements and yards on the north end of the lake.

China Creek roared into the north end of Lake Boren in December 2010 with heavy rain, flooding residents’ properties and dumping a slew of gravel and sediment on their lawns. By Tim Pfarr

City staff members presented a draft scope of work at the May 13 council meeting, seeking feedback regarding how to proceed with the project. The staff members proposed collecting data from the lake and identifying ways to mitigate the lake level.

In addition to addressing flooding on the north end of the lake, the draft said the project would also include exploring ways to make the north end of the lake more accessible.

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County adopts plan to prevent offenders from returning to jail

June 3, 2011

King County leaders accepted a plan May 9 to prevent offenders from returning to jail, and to help former offenders transition from incarceration to society.

The decision enables the county to access funds through the federal Second Chance Act, a measure meant to provide social services to prevent recidivism among former offenders.

The legislation authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing and other services.

“I was pleased to put together a motion calling for the plan in July, and I am more pleased that we have adopted that plan,” Councilman Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor and Newcastle representative, said in a statement. “During these times of seriously declining resources, we need to do everything we can to position ourselves to compete for resources.”

Congress recently authorized $83 million for Second Chance Act programs. The federal government awards grants to local and state governments for the implementation of re-entry programs for released prison and jail inmates. In order to be eligible for the funds, local governments must put a re-entry program in place.

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Carol Simpson will seek re-election to council seat

June 3, 2011

Councilwoman Carol Simpson announced in May that she will seek re-election this fall. Simpson — who has Position 2 on the council — joins Deputy Mayor Steve Buri, Councilwoman Lisa Jensen and Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton on the November ballot.

None of the candidates who are slated to be on the ballot have yet picked up opponents, although candidates have until June 10 to file for election.

Carol Simpson

Members serve at large and represent the entire city, rather than specific neighborhoods or defined geographic areas.

Simpson has lived in Newcastle since 1998. She is a retired architect — although still a licensed one — and she began her work on the council in 2008. Prior to being elected as a councilwoman, she spent eight years as a member of the planning commission.

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Issaquah School District considers $228 million bond

June 3, 2011

Though far from complete, the 2012 Issaquah School District bond has something for all of the district’s 24 schools, making the work-in-process price $228.6 million.

The bond — which has yet to come before the superintendent and the Issaquah School Board — calls for $44.6 million in improvements and expansions to Liberty High School, $3.8 million in improvements to Maywood Middle School and $17,000 in improvements to Newcastle Elementary School.

At Liberty, the bond calls for a new auxiliary gym, a modernized locker room, a new café in the commons and an acoustic improvement to the main hall.

The bond would also call for Liberty to receive a new video and TV studio, roofing fixes, modernized classrooms, a new ticket booth at the entrance to the school’s fields and new bleachers on the home side of the football field.

For Maywood, the bond would call for improvements to roofing, windows, flooring, carpeting, plumbing, and the heating and ventilation system. The school’s grass field would also be converted to artificial turf, as rainy winters make the grass field muddy and temporarily unusable.

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From the Web

June 3, 2011

Caspar Babypants

Presidential performer brings toddler rock to the masses:

Great article! It’s nice to have musicians doing interesting children’s music.

I’m in a band and we go into my son’s school a few times per year to play music for his class. Very fun!! The kids love it!

Gary –


Theater helps performer connect to audience, and also to life

I would like to thank (you) for allowing our daughter to share her highs and lows with depression and Asperger’s. Our family is very thankful for the LHS Patriot Players for being a large part of our families support network over the past four years!

Cynthia Freese, Issaquah



Ethics ordinance a positive step forward

June 3, 2011

The City Council’s recent ethics ordinance — which most notably aims to keep employees from signing off on contracts in return for jobs — is a fantastic step forward. However, this ordinance should also apply to members of the Newcastle City Council.

The existing code of ethics was too broad and did not hold employees accountable, whereas the new ordinance does — through fines. This new degree of accountability should give residents a higher level of confidence in their government.

The ordinance — which applies to employees for one year after they leave the city — should also discourage suspicious situations from originating, such as the departure of former Public Works Director Maiya Andrews. After resigning in February 2010, Andrews took a job with contractor CH2M Hill, which she worked with on the Coal Creek Parkway and Newcastle Transit Improvement projects.

There is no evidence that Andrews used her power at the city to obtain a job with the company. In fact, City Manager Rob Wyman said it would be reasonable to assume she would not have been subject to the new regulations had they been in place when she left the city and joined CH2M Hill.

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Police Blotter

June 3, 2011

Home burglaries

  • A woman reported that her home in the 7500 block of 138th Place Southeast was broken into between 5 p.m. April 23 and 10 a.m. April 24. The garage was entered, as was her unlocked vehicle inside. She reported that a cello worth $1,500 and two pairs of shoes together worth $90 were stolen.
  • A woman reported that her home in the 12700 block of Southeast 80th Way was broken into between 10 p.m. April 23 and 8 a.m. April 24. The garage was entered, as was her 2002 Toyota Corolla, which was parked in the inside. She reported that a golf bag and golf clubs were taken from the trunk. Police were unable to recover fingerprints from the scene.
  • A man reported that his home in the 13800 block of Issaquah-Hobart Road was broken into between 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. May 4. A rear window was shattered — causing $250 in damage — and $1,000 worth of jewelry was stolen.
  • A man reported his home in the 12000 block of Southeast 92nd Street was broken into between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. May 4. A rear window was broken and most of the rooms in the house were ransacked. He reported the stolen items to be an iPod Touch worth $250, a Kindle case worth $250, a suitcase worth $100, a passport card worth $150, a speaker worth $150, a Swiss army knife worth $50, miscellaneous jewelry worth $1,500, two restaurant gift cards together worth $100 and a bottle of prescription pain pills. Police recovered 13 fingerprints from the home.

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