Suspicious women reported in China Creek

May 31, 2012

Photos contributed. A Newcastle woman took this picture of two women suspected in a home burglary in the China Creek neighborhood around 12 p.m. May 8.

An alert neighbor spotted a suspicious truck and two women she did not recognize at her neighbor’s house at about noon May 8 in the China Falls neighborhood, according to a press release from Newcastle Police Chief Melinda Irvine.

The neighbor reported that she saw the women leave the house carrying items, called 911 and took photographs.

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City takes on water issues with action plan

May 31, 2012

Maintenance of stormwater facilities desperately lacking, report finds

After the Newcastle City Council charged Public Works Director Mark Rigos with the task of creating a comprehensive action plan for the city’s stormwater facilities and maintenance last fall, he discovered three things to report this spring — the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

The city has fallen behind on myriad aspects of stormwater-related facilities and upkeep, and an aggressive, but adequate, action plan must be put into place to increase maintenance and coordinate inspection records, Rigos told the council at a May 1 study session.

The proposed surface water action plan was based on five studies financed by the city in 2001, 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2010.

“There’s quite a bit of information there, but not all if it is getting done in the field,” Rigos said.

Before the work, the city was unsure of who owned which facilities, including storm drainage detention ponds, and as of this year, there are now four to five times more flow control and water treatment systems to maintain than when Newcastle became incorporated in 1994.

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Newcastle Shell owners aim to give back with fundraiser

May 31, 2012

The Newcastle Shell station only has two stalls.

But owner Dennis Yarnell doesn’t view that as a limitation.

To him, it’s an opportunity to provide more one-on-one interaction with his customers.

By Christina Lords Dennis Yarnell and Beth Wideseth, the owners of the Newcastle Shell, recently organized the station’s first golf tournament to raise money for U.S. military veterans and the Fisher House Foundation.

In March, Yarnell celebrated the fifth anniversary of him and his wife Beth purchasing the station from its previous owner. Since then, he’s instituted several practices to bring back the feel of a service station of old.

He makes it a point to learn the names of his customers and even offers Free Full Service Fridays, where customers can honk their horn and someone from the station will pump their gas, and check their oil and tire pressure.

After the Newcastle community has given so much to him, Yarnell said he feels it’s time to give something back.

That’s one of the reasons why he and Newcastle Shell employee Joe Woo began organizing the first Newcastle Shell Charity Golf Event to benefit the Fisher House Foundation Veterans of America charity organization.

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Teen racks up 777 volunteer hours for local Weed Warriors group

May 31, 2012

Connor Reichenbach is no stranger to backbreaking work.

In the past year, the graduating senior racked up a staggering 777 volunteer hours — more than 32 full days worth — for Newcastle’s own nonprofit organization combating invasive species, the Weed Warriors.

Reichenbach’s internship, a graduation requirement for the International School in Bellevue, focused on nine projects and two educational events, including Earth Day.

Newcastle parks commissioners, friends and family attended the student’s internship presentation May 9 at City Hall at the commission’s monthly meeting.

Connor Reichenbach

Each graduating senior must complete a yearlong project on a topic or subject in which they have a particular interest. He said he hopes to study the environment as he looks forward to college next year.

“It is something that I’m passionate about,” Reichenbach said. “I feel strongly that we need to conserve the resources that we have and try to go greener to make it easier for future generations that we’ll have.”

Reichenbach’s internship included elements of site assessment, project planning, use of GPS technology and King County’s iMap, and creating a report on his findings.

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Public meetings

May 31, 2012

From sidewalk installation projects to snow removal to property tax collection, decisions made by officials at a local level have the potential to impact your daily life.

Let leaders know what’s on your mind to shape a better Newcastle at these June meetings:

  •  The City Council will have regularly scheduled meetings at 7 p.m. June 5 and June 19 at Newcastle’s City Hall.
  • The Parks Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. June 13 at City Hall.
  • The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. June 20 at City Hall.

1940 Census shines light on city’s industrial history

May 31, 2012

For historians around the world, including members of the Issaquah History Museums, April 2 was a big day.

Executive Director Erica Maniez had her own personal countdown going for that particular Monday, because after finally fulfilling the mandatory 72-year waiting period, records from Newcastle and surrounding towns recorded in the 1940 U.S. Census were released by the U.S. National Archives.

Contributed by Issaquah History Museums This handwritten U.S. Census sheet from the Newcastle precinct enumerated by Emma L. Taylor recorded the ages, birthplaces, employment information, education status and other information for the federal government in 1940.

“It was interesting to see some of the old familiar families, and how the next generations down were living in their own households,” she said. “I’ve noticed quite a few people that I’ve known since I worked here who have since passed away, but I did know some people here that are still living.”

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Rapid Response

May 31, 2012

Do you think the City Council should  consider creating a speed hump policy to standardize which areas get traffic-calming measures or take each instance case by case? 

I don’t think it would make a difference to have the policy. We have bulb outs to slow down our traffic, but some people get used to them and still bomb down our hill. They are a deterrent and the flowerbeds look good, but I don’t think they work as well as they should. I have used my hand to wave up and down to slow down cars.

— Paula Spence

Given the uniqueness of each of the neighborhoods it would seem case by case would be best.

— Peter Zevenbergen

A combination might be good. If established criteria for speed bumps are met, the residents could be asked whether they want them. If residents request speed bumps, the City Council could consider the case even if it doesn’t meet the criteria.

— Peggy Price

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May 31, 2012

Veterans make an impressive showing at USO event

No worries if you heard low-flying planes and rifle fire May 22. It was the opening of the USO Golf Tournament at The Golf Club at Newcastle. Many Newcastle residents are involved; KIRO’s Bill Swartz (China Creek) is the emcee, TEAM-WORKS’ Mack Strong (Highlands) is a volunteer and celebrity golfer, and Bill and Shari Griffiths (Meadowview Park) are organizers for the event.

The night before the tournament, the Regency Newcastle Senior Living Center sponsored the USO Happy Hour at The Golf Club at Newcastle. Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and peace times in between were met by Newcastle residents, businesses and elected officials who acknowledged and thanked them for their service.

King Parker (Renton) talked about his time in the Navy on a submarine. Lloyd Bailey’s (Newcastle) WWII D-Day story was told by Regency Manager John Kotalik. Mark Martinez (Renton) talked about his transition coming home to an accounting job at The Boeing Co. after serving two tours in Iraq and commanding an M1A1 Abrams tank. Lorinda Eklund (Hazelwood), an Air Force veteran herself, shared that her husband Scott is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Paula Spence (Milepost) provided the gift of an emergency provision pack for the speakers.

It was an impressive showing on all counts for Newcastle and the USO Puget Sound is very appreciative of the support. Special thanks to King County Councilman Reagan Dunn, Rep. Marcie Maxwell, Mayor Rich Crispo, Deputy Mayor Lisa Jensen, Council members John Dulcich, Carol Simpson and Gordon Bisset, and Coal Creek Utility District Commissioner Doug Kunkel for attending. The local support for this meaningful event makes me proud to be a resident of Newcastle.

You can watch a video of the event at this link —

John Jensen,


Take a hard look at arena deal

May 31, 2012

This area has a long history of skepticism when it comes to building sports facilities. Let’s put that attitude to good use when reviewing the proposal for a new basketball — and possibly hockey — arena in Seattle.

Though it may seem like a Seattle problem, the arena will have an impact here on the Eastside. In direct terms, the county is on the hook for up to $80 million, if certain conditions are met.

Where is this big chunk of money supposed to come from? Aren’t they about to ask us for a bond to build a juvenile justice center? Why is there money for a glorified basketball court, but not a justice center?

A possibly large, indirect impact on the Eastside could be the effect of the arena on freight mobility.

The Port of Seattle, of course, generates billions of dollars of commerce and provides tens of thousands of good, blue-collar jobs. Any arena must not disrupt port operations.

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Police Blotter

May 31, 2012

Civic swiped

A 1994 black Honda Civic with Washington license plates was reported stolen April 25 in the 6800 block of Coal Creek Parkway.

Overdrawn account

A Newcastle woman reported April 25 that someone had been using checks to draw money out of her checking account. She became aware of the problem when she went into the Newcastle branch of Bank of America and told she was overdrawn.


A woman who lives at the Newport Crossing apartments, 7311 Coal Creek Parkway, reported her Pioneer car stereo was stolen from her vehicle, and $230 in cash was taken from her and her roommate from the apartment April 26.

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