Carving out a new community

September 2, 2011

Pomegranate Center assists church to build a local public space

Janet Farness (left) and Kimberly Kibby, Bellevue Holy Cross Lutheran Church volunteers, seal stained carvings on a tarp outside Pomegranate Center July 16. By Emily Baer

Members of Bellevue Holy Cross Lutheran Church and the Issaquah-based Pomegranate Center cut, carved, sanded and stained wood planks for 12 hours July 16 to raise money for the construction of a communal area open to the South Bellevue/Newcastle/Newport Hills community.

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Gordon Bisset leads primary for City Council race

September 2, 2011

Gordon Bisset has a commanding lead in Newcastle’s primary race for the fourth position on the City Council.

With about 70 percent — or 1,136 votes — Bisset is well ahead of candidate Frank Irigon, who has gathered 373 votes, or about 23 percent to total votes cast, according to updated information provided on the King County elections website.

Bisset has been a resident of the Hazelwood neighborhood of Newcastle for 41 years and served on the council for a four-year term from 2002-2005*.

Irigon has been a resident of the Rainier Crest neighborhood of Newcastle for 25 years. This is his first time running for the council.

Bisset or Irigon will replace longtime Councilman Sonny Putter, who was elected to the council in 1994*.

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Newcastle chosen among top places to live in the U.S.

September 2, 2011

CNN’s Money Magazine announced Aug. 15 it has selected Newcastle among its top 25 best places to live in the nation.

The town, which earned a No. 18 spot on the magazine’s annual survey of the top places to live in the U.S., was praised for its volunteerism and recreational opportunities.

The survey looks at financial, housing, education and other quality-of-life factors when compiling the list.

The city was also honored as the No. 17 best place to live by Newsweek in 2009.

Mukilteo, selected for the magazine’s No. 9 spot, and Sammamish, ranked No. 15, were the other two cities in Washington selected in the 2011 Money Magazine survey.

Louisville, Colo., was selected as the No. 1 best place to live in the nation.

Check out the full list of selected communities at

Voters overwhelmingly renew Veterans and Human Services Levy

September 2, 2011

The popular Veterans and Human Services Levy garnered overwhelming support from King County voters Aug. 16, as the electorate renewed the measure through 2017.

The levy is expected to generate about $100 million for programs to aid veterans and needy residents. The funding is split 50-50 between veterans programs and human services efforts.

“The citizens of King County have demonstrated their respect for our veterans and compassion for our neighbors most in need by voting to renew the Veterans and Human Services Levy,” County Executive Dow Constantine, a levy supporter, said in a statement Aug. 16.

“I thank the voters for approving the levy and showing, once again, that King County is an extraordinary community in which to live.”

The measure, Proposition 1, garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in the initial results King County Elections. The final votes won’t be official until the elections office certifies them.

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City Council approves $217,000 for City Hall construction

September 2, 2011

With construction in full swing, the future home of Newcastle’s City Hall is starting to take shape.

Improvements to the second floor of the Newcastle Professional Center are on schedule, and city staff should be able to move into the new location by mid-October, City Manager Rob Wyman said.

“It’s framed out, so you can really start to get a feel for what it’s going to look like in there,” he said.

Express Construction Inc. was awarded the City Hall tenant improvements contract to install new walls and other framing, City Council chambers, electrical wiring, a fire suppression system, conference rooms and office space for city staff.

Express Construction is the same company that completed construction on the building in 2007, which will help streamline the new improvements, Wyman said.

The city has been at its 13020 Newcastle Way location for 15 years. Its new location at 12835 Newcastle Way is just two-tenths of a mile away.

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Larcenies, burglaries are most common crimes in Newcastle

September 2, 2011

While incidents of crime have been relatively minimal in town for the first six months of 2011, the police department is stepping up its efforts to combat the more prevalent crimes of larceny and burglaries.

There were 28 residential burglaries reported in the city in the first six months of 2011, according to Newcastle Police Chief Melinda Irvine.

Larceny includes various crimes, such as when items are taken from cars or buildings and bicycle thefts.

“Larceny has continued to be our highest problem in the city,” she said.

Such reports are still comparatively lower than other adjacent communities, Irvine said.

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Newcastle man enters Alford plea in child molestation case

September 2, 2011

Newcastle resident Gil Furman entered an Alford plea in King County Superior Court Aug. 9 to two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

The maximum sentence Furman, 39, could face for each misdemeanor count is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

One count of third-degree child molestation will be dismissed at Furman’s sentencing before Judge Mariane C. Spearman at 1 p.m. Sept. 16 in King County Superior Court.

Furman denied the allegations against him, but pleaded guilty “to the two gross misdemeanor counts in order to avoid going to trial on the charges and risk conviction of one or more felony counts,” according to a statement attached to his plea.

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Letters to the editor

September 2, 2011

Safety audit proves it’s safe to walk to school

Hazelwood Elementary School has been part of the Safe Routes to Schools grant to encourage and support “active commuting” on the part of school children and families.

The goals are to identify safe and unsafe areas for biking and walking, design safety improvements, educate students about safe walking and biking practices, and launch events to encourage children to walk and bike. Through new and improved systems that encourage more students to walk and bike, we can also help combat childhood obesity.

To date, we have completed a walking audit with the support of Feet First and more than 30 student and community volunteers, and taught all fourth- and fifth-graders bicycle safety with the support of Bicycle Alliance of Washington.

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Newcastle Days will celebrate best of city!

September 2, 2011

Imagine that! Newcastle is the 18th best place to live in the nation, according to CNN’s Money Magazine.

Distinction for Newcastle is nothing new. Two years ago, Newsweek ranked the city No. 17.

Someone at City Hall or the chamber of commerce did a good job supplying the information that helped Money Magazine determine Newcastle’s ranking.

“The volunteer spirit is alive and well in this former coal-mining town…,” writes the magazine. “Despite serious budget cuts that threatened the city’s summer 2011 events, local businesses and citizens offered time and cash to keep the community’s concerts and fireworks afloat.

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Police blotter

September 2, 2011

Car break-in

A woman reported her front passenger window was damaged and Camel Pak backpack stolen from her vehicle at the Cougar Mountain Country Park trailhead lot Aug. 2. About $250 worth of damage was done to the car, and about $150 worth of items were taken. The backpack held several articles of identification and a bankcard.

 Vandalism at Liberty

Between 2:30 p.m. Aug. 4 and 6 a.m. Aug 5, the stadium manager for Liberty High School reported about $500 worth of damage to one of the school’s field goal posts. Vandalism is the presumed cause of the damage.

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