Newcastle’s Mikie Coffman is hen to Seattle’s Ride the Ducks brood

August 5, 2011

Mikie Coffman, of Newcastle, general manager of Ride the Ducks, stands near one of the business’ 17 duck tour vehicles. Contributed

As general manager of Seattle’s Ride the Ducks, Newcastle resident Mikie Coffman gets a hefty dose of quacking on a daily basis.

“It’s nonstop fun. You have to be half crazy to work here,” Coffman said.

Originally from Redmond, Coffman moved to Newcastle five years ago. In college she studied political science at the University of Washington.

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Remaining candidates gear up for primary election

August 5, 2011

Although Andrew Shelton has dropped from the race for City Council Position 4, there will still be a primary election this month. Shelton, Gordon Bisset and Frank Irigon will be on the ballot.

The top two finishers will advance to the general election in November. Ballots for the primary election must be postmarked by Aug. 16.

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Newcastle Days 2011 lineup is taking shape

August 5, 2011

The Newcastle Days Committee announced more details in July about the 2011 celebration, including the stage lineup.

This year’s celebration will be Sept. 9 and 10, with a downtown sidewalk sale the first day and a celebration in Lake Boren Park the second day.

The 17th annual Newcastle Days, which celebrates the formation of the city of Newcastle, will have Lance Lambert, of the “Vintage Vehicle Show,” as emcee. The car show, which returns this year after a one-year absence, will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the north end of the park.

For the second consecutive year Valley Medical Center will be the event’s major sponsor, Lewis said.

Another returning attraction is the 5K race. Registration forms can be found at, or register in person until 8 a.m. the day of the race, Sept. 10. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by Sept. 3.

Family entertainment on the main stage begins at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 10 with the Rainier Ballet Academy and continues with performances by young magician Matt Wells, children’s musician Tim Noah and Blue Dog Dance.

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City to pursue more aggressive investments

August 5, 2011

The City Council voted at its July 5 meeting to invest its extra money more aggressively than it has in the past, switching from Bank of America to KeyBank for the task.

The council will likely decide this month what it will invest in, but City Manager Rob Wyman said it would likely invest in government-backed treasury bonds.

The choice to depart from Bank of America came down to poor service, Wyman said.

By banking and investing with KeyBank, the city will get a discount on its investment broker fees.

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Mark Greene to run for county elections director

August 5, 2011

Newcastle resident Mark Greene has filed to run for King County elections director in this November’s election.

“If elected to the director position, I will closely monitor the Secretary of State election rules and follow them closely, as would be my obligation according to the law,” Greene wrote in an email.

Greene said he would give as much leeway as possibly to petitions and bring about reforms in matching hand recounts of optical scanning machine results. Specifically, he said he would call for 2 percent to 5 percent of ballots to be recounted in randomly selected precincts in all elections, regardless of how close the vote is.

He said he would also call for more checks and balances with the postal voting system, open source inspection of vote tabulating machines, and systematic and renewed training for election workers, especially regarding the county’s 2012 redistricting.

Greene said he has been an election reform activist since 2000 and active in politics for decades. He is the founder of an election practices committee called Democracy in Election Process.

Letters to the editor

August 5, 2011

Gordon Bisset is the right choice

I returned from California to the good news that Gordon Bisset is running for the Newcastle City Council. I had urged him to do so, and I support his election.

Gordon is a long-time neighbor, a capable and active member (currently president) of our Hazelwood Community Association, who has served with distinction on Newcastle’s Planning Commission and City Council.

He’s been deeply involved in Newcastle since its founding, and is one of those rare civic-minded folks who attend council meetings year after year, maintain a deep knowledge of city issues and frequently speak out — about a wider range of issues than most of us can manage.

Gordon gets things done: he helped the Hazelwood Community Association make Donegal Park a reality, and he’s led the successful effort to raise funds for a memorial barbecue in the park. And he’s a realist who understands budgets; who wants a lean, efficient government that sticks to basics.

Given Newcastle’s dire financial situation, his voice is needed on the council.

Garry Kampen


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Laughing all the way – 10 things I learned about house remodeling (and lived to share)

August 5, 2011

1 If you are not actually changing the footprint of your kitchen, then according to my status-conscious friends, it’s not really a “remodel.” But you know what? No matter what you call it, it’s still a big, giant pain in the butt.

2 If you can’t find your favorite 15-year-old cutting board a month after moving all of your stuff from the kitchen cabinets to the garage and back, then just face it, honey — it’s gone.

3 If the brand new refrigerator has an irritating whine when it runs, your significant other will claim that he can’t hear it at all, which I find very hard to believe.

4 If you’ve had knobs on your drawers for years, consider adding them to your new cabinetry or risk fingernail loss from trying to pry the cabinets open.

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Editorial: Newcastle Days needs you

August 5, 2011

Newcastle Days is fast approaching, but more volunteers are needed to help before and during the Sept. 9-10 festival.

What a fun way to get involved in your community! If you have a head full of ideas, or are just willing to help booths and bands get set up during the event, let the committee know now. They’ll accept all offers of help. No reason not to get the kids signed up for a little community service along with you!

Call Grace Stiller at 228-7927 to volunteer

Editorial: Gordon Bisset unmatched in City Council race

August 5, 2011

Between the two candidates still seeking election to Position 4 on the City Council — now that Andrew Shelton has withdrawn — Newcastle News can only endorse Gordon Bisset for the job.

Bisset’s unrelenting involvement in Newcastle and his vast knowledge of city issues and municipal government makes him an ideal choice and a fantastic addition to the council.

As a former councilman, former member of the city’s Finance Committee, current president of the Hazelwood Community Association and an involved citizen who attends nearly every city meeting, he is up to speed and prepared to get to work immediately.

Given his decadelong involvement in the city, Bisset knows what issues are recurring and the history behind them. He knows what the council can realistically accomplish, and conveys his ideas honestly and directly.

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Teen injured in golf cart rollover accident

August 5, 2011

A teenager rolled a golf cart down an eight-foot embankment at The Golf Club at Newcastle at about 6:20 a.m. July 14.

The 17-year-old golf course employee became trapped under the cart after a rear wheel rolled onto a stair and caused the vehicle to lose balance. It is unknown whether the teen was backing up or the cart moved backward on its own.

Five firemen and an unknown number of other golf course employees lifted the cart off of the teen, said Lt. Troy Donlin, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

While an average golf cart weighs between 600 and 700 pounds, Donlin said the firefighters and course employees were able to remove the cart without the help of tools.

The teen employee was injured and transported to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition. According to David Valdyka, director of marketing at Oki Golf, he left the hospital later that day with minor injuries.

Valdyka said the golf course has “numerous safety initiatives related to equipment and how employees work” in place.

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