Boy Scout Sam Simpson-Gordon earns Eagle rank

May 2, 2013

Sam Simpson-Gordon

Sam Simpson-Gordon

Newcastle resident Sam Simpson-Gordon, of Troop 638, recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Simpson-Gordon’s Eagle Scout project was completed on the May Creek Trail in Newcastle, with the help of Newcastle Trails’ Peggy Price.

He led a team of volunteers that improved a 100-foot portion of the May Creek Trail. The group widened and leveled the trail, built stone retaining walls and dug out roots to make the trail meet Newcastle’s standards.

In recognition of his accomplishment, he received a care package and letter from Cmdr. Chris Follin, of the USS Simpson. The guided missile frigate is named after Simpson-Gordon’s great-grandfather, Rear Adm. Rodger W. Simpson.

“I can see that you continue your great-grandfather’s legacy of steadfast devotion and relentless dexterity in the attainment of meaningful goals that benefit others,” Follin said.

Simpson-Gordon, a senior at Hazen High School, received his Eagle badge April 21 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, in front of friends and family.

He plans to attend Bellevue College once he graduates and study computer graphic design.

Sweet Decadence hosts Mack Strong TEAM-WORKS meet and greet

May 2, 2013

File Former Seattle Seahawk Mack Strong (right), with wife Zoe, are hosting a fundraiser April 28 for TEAM-WORKS Academy.

File Former Seattle Seahawk Mack Strong (right), with wife Zoe, are hosting a fundraiser April 28 for TEAM-WORKS Academy.

Newcastle residents will have the opportunity to partake in a night of football, chocolate, wine and charity at a special TEAM-WORKS event May 9.

Locals are invited to visit Sweet Decadence from 5-7 p.m. to meet former Seahawk Mack Strong, who will be available to talk football and sign autographs.

Sweet Decadence will donate a portion of the night’s proceeds to TEAM-WORKS, an organization founded by Mack and Zoe Strong to empower at-risk youths toward a better future. Read more

USO Happy Hour honors veterans

May 2, 2013

Five years ago, Newcastle resident John Jensen set out to create an event that would let local veterans know that they are appreciated.

It seemed like a no brainer, he said, to simply buy a drink for a person who put his or her life on the line to protect this country’s freedom.

Years later, the Regency Newcastle USO Happy Hour is still going strong, bringing nearly 100 veterans and supportive community members together to celebrate the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed services.

“We started it as a local way to say thank you,” Jensen said. “What we didn’t realize was how appreciative the veterans would be of this very simple recognition.” Read more

Community spotlight

May 1, 2013

Contributed A volunteer helps spruce up the Newcastle Cemetery during a spring cleaning in 2010.

A volunteer helps spruce up the Newcastle Cemetery during a spring cleaning in 2010.

Newcastle residents are invited to join the effort to remove downed trees and groom the walking trail inside the Newcastle Cemetery as volunteers spruce up the historic site with a good, thorough spring cleaning.

There will be two community work parties from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 and 25. The cleanup is a cooperative effort between the Newcastle Weed Warriors and the city of Newcastle.

Volunteers can munch on hot dogs, courtesy of the Weed Warriors. The city will provide gloves and tools. All ages are welcome to participate and students can earn community service hours.

The Newcastle Cemetery is at 7810 129th Ave. S.E. Learn more at

Weeds & Trails

May 1, 2013

It’s now legal if you only have an ounce of it, but if you ask Grace Stiller, there’s weed everywhere: noxious and invasive English ivy and Himalayan blackberries and Japanese knotweed, to name just a few that you might recognize. Grace and her group — The Newcastle Weed Warriors — have been taking a stand against these nuisances in the local woods for years. If you’ve visited the Newcastle Cemetery when they’ve had the gates open, you can thank them for clearing it of ivy and restoring the natural habitat.

DetmerColumn 20130500I noticed a knotweed patch in our backyard greenbelt last year and contacted Grace for help. She pointed me in the right direction, and King County personnel came out and killed it. It’s hardy stuff, though, and she’s urged me to keep my eyes peeled for shoots. If you think you have a knotweed infestation but aren’t sure, go to, where you can view pictures of patches and see what her group is up to. It’s not the ugliest plant that you’ll ever see, but it’s one of the most insidious. Don’t let its heart-shaped leaves, sprays of white flowers and bobbing habit seduce you. This plant is not our friend.

I didn’t spot any stands of weeds on a recent hike that The Sainted One and I took, trying out the soon-to-be-completed May Creek Trail extension. We’d hiked the western part of the trail before (or “run” it, if you want to include the amble that we did at the back of the Newcastle 5K pack last year.) The new segments were charming, with bubbling streams, a footbridge and supporting rockwork. Going East to West, the first part is all downhill, but the uphill was made manageable by gentle switchbacks and well-placed viewpoints.

Through the Newcastle Trails organization, Peggy Price and the members and volunteers have carved out this trail and many others that we all enjoy. Or should enjoy. If you’ve not muddied up your tennis shoes lately, I suggest that you go to, print out a map and put some local miles on.

After Dennis Yarnell passed away, I wrote an article about what makes a place. Peggy and Grace and their members and volunteers make this place as well. When you pass a weed-free open space or walk to downtown Newcastle on a trail, think of Grace and Peggy and the people who work with them.

And please note that I once spent a morning with Peggy working on the northern terminus of the Olympus Trail, so you can think of me as well when you walk on that, but only for a nanosecond.


You can reach Pat Detmer — who hates a bad weed and loves a good trail — at


Katie Nicole Tinnea

April 11, 2013

Katie Tinnea Obit

Katie Tinnea

Katie Nicole Tinnea, 30, of Snoqualmie, passed away peacefully April 4, 2013, after courageously fighting cancer for two years.

She is survived and will be missed by her husband Ryan, daughter Kennedy, parents Tony and Jocelyn Aldridge, and many extended family members and friends. Read more

Can you hear me now?

April 4, 2013

Most women who write humor columns provide stereotypical and mildly negative monikers for their husbands — like Beer Boy or Garage Man or He Who Eats and Burps — but when I started writing columns it was hard for me to come up with a nickname for my husband Fred because there’s so little to complain about. I finally settled on The Sainted One because that’s what he is: a patient, forgiving man who has learned to live with someone who is not always as patient and forgiving as he is.

The name stuck, so much so that once when I introduced Fred at a book-signing on Whidbey Island, a man shook his hand and said, “Fred? And here I always thought your first name was The.” Just a few weeks ago, a reader recognized me in the Palm Springs Airport and asked if that was The Sainted One at my side.

Read more

Commission targets comp plan update

April 4, 2013

The Planning Commission will spend most of 2013 updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan, after the City Council approved the group’s work plan at its March 5 meeting.

The Comprehensive Plan is a document that outlines the city’s vision and goals for the future. A statute requires cities to update their plans by June 2015. Newcastle last completed its Growth Management Act-mandated update in 2003.

Read more

Local recruits finish Army bootcamp

April 4, 2013

David C. Taylor

Army Pvt. David Taylor has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During nine weeks of training, he studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches and field training exercises.

Taylor, the son of Brian Taylor of Renton, is a 2012 graduate of Hazen High School.

Read more

Student to take part in aerospace scholars program

April 4, 2013

Jeremy Stroming, of Liberty High School, has been accepted into Phase One of this year’s Washington Aerospace Scholars Program at the Museum of Flight.

Affiliated with NASA and the University of Washington, the program is a free, competitive, science, technology, engineering and mathematics program for high school juniors from the state.

Read more

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