Rapid Response

July 1, 2011

What do you think of the new Lake Boren Park playground?


Lake Boren Park playground is a huge success for Newcastle. The kids love it. The park looks great with it. It was also built under budget and we actually refund the balance back to the state.

— Jesse Tam, Newcastle


Fantastic! My kids love it.

— Trina Sooy, Newcastle

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Letters to the editor

July 1, 2011

Don’t let strip mall development replace pedestrian friendly downtown

In last month’s Newcastle News, City Councilwoman Carol Simpson announced her desire to be re-elected.

In that article, she expressed her concern that Newcastle was becoming too pedestrian oriented. Her solution to the problem is to modify the downtown plan and allow more drive-thru businesses, which, I believe, agrees with the goal of the current City Council.

So, if everything works for Ms. Simpson, we could be blessed with a drive-thru pharmacy on the corner where the fruit stand now sits. If you think this will improve the quality of our city, the city’s economics or your property values, relax, your interests are well represented.

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Life jacket rule could create confusion

July 1, 2011

The King County Council has passed an ordinance to require anyone who swims, floats or boats on major rivers this summer to wear a life jacket. Violators will be fined $86.

The law takes effect July 1 and expires Oct. 31. The short-term requirement is in response to the swift, icy snow melt from mountains filling rivers later than usual this year, creating a heightened risk to public safety.

The ordinance is a bit over the top for citizens who don’t like government telling adults how to be safe. The idea has been quick to garner comments from those opposed to “nanny” laws, and those who believe the county is seeking a new revenue source.

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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 – Musicforkids.com


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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Get ready for start of campaign season

May 6, 2011

If you’ve been thinking about taking on a bigger leadership role in Newcastle, it’s time to take the next step. Filing for candidates is June 6-10.

Newcastle City Council, school districts and the Coal Creek Utility District will hold elections this fall.

Many candidates are already filling out the needed paperwork with the state. Others have announced their intentions.

City Council incumbents Lisa Jensen, Carol Simpson and Steve Buri will seek re-election. Sonny Putter will opt out after serving 17 years; Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton has said he will seek Putter’s seat.

Council candidates must be registered voters at the time of filing and have one year of Newcastle residency. Those qualifications are the law, but candidates should also bring the willingness to devote hours every week to numerous meetings and study of the issues. An elected official’s most important attribute is the ability to listen and communicate.

The issues sure to be hot topics in City Council races this year include future city budgets, future development in the city limits and mitigation of seasonal flooding on Lake Boren. Park development and funding is sure to come up, and the relocation of City Hall will likely get rehashed.

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May 6, 2011

Veteran Newcastle councilman to retire in December

I am writing to announce that after 17 years of community service, I will not be running for re-election to the Newcastle City Council.

I am proud of how far our community has come. When we struggled to incorporate the city of Newcastle, the then-Chair of the King County Council echoed Gertrude Stein’s opinion of Oakland, saying “There is no there there.”

Since incorporation in 1994, we encouraged the location of the prominent Golf Club at Newcastle on the site of an old landfill. We provided incentives for the location of a full-service YMCA — now overflowing with active users — and an 11,000-square-foot King County library, now under construction.

We encouraged the funding and construction of two new elementary schools in the city. We leveraged Newcastle’s small capital resources over this period to construct major street, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, like the $55 million Coal Creek Parkway project and the $4 million Newcastle Transit Center.

All these amenities have attracted a highly diverse population of new residents and the construction of a large number of new, high-valued homes. Since incorporation, our population has grown by almost 50 percent to its current 10,300 residents.

Newcastle is now “on the map.” It has become a highly desirable place to live, all the while maintaining the green canopy of parks and open spaces that characterize our community. Newcastle residents feel a sense of place, a sense of belonging to a real community of neighbors. Now, when we tell people that we live in Newcastle, they often respond “Oh, you live in Newcastle,” with eyebrows raised in admiration.

I hope the future leaders of our community will safeguard this legacy and sustain our community’s vision into the future.

Sonny Putter

Newcastle City Council

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Guest Column

April 21, 2011

How Newcastle celebrates Earth Day on April 23 – and every day

Emily Newcomer

Newcastle has proven its commitment to sustainability year round, including diverting 57 percent of the community’s waste from the landfill through recycling and compost collection in 2010.

Earth Day 2011 offers a unique opportunity to showcase and build on the community’s track record for recycling leadership.

The Newcastle Goes Green event April 23 at Lake Boren Park will bring the community together to celebrate sustainability success to date — and energize residents for the future. It’s a chance to learn from others about easy, economical ways to help the planet and the environment.

The event includes educational mini?seminars, kids’ activities, an on-site restoration project and musical fun. Eco?friendly businesses will showcase things including organic body care products and solar and wind energy solutions.

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Keep your car safe at local trailheads

April 1, 2011

Spring is here, which means — in theory – the rain will not fall as often, giving way to sunshine and warmer weather. If you’re looking for something to do outside to enjoy the weather, hiking is a great option.

However, be careful about what you leave in your car when you park at trailheads — even those near Cougar Mountain. Also, be mindful of your conduct before you hit the trails.

Although it may seem obvious, don’t leave valuables sitting in your car where a potential thief could see them. We get many police reports about people leaving purses or even laptop computers on seats at trailheads, and it’s not surprising when somebody smashes a window and easily snatches these items.

To be on the safe side, don’t leave anything visible in your car at trailheads, regardless of the value; you never know what may be appealing to a thief. Also, don’t leave a coat on your seat, as it may look like you are trying to conceal something valuable underneath. Although it may not lead to anything being stolen, it can leave you with a broken window and a several-hundred-dollar repair bill.

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Letters to the editor

April 1, 2011

UPDATED — 4:45 p.m. April 1, 2011

Hit-and-run driver needs to admit wrong

My name is Vivian Bae and I have been a resident of the Newcastle/Cougar Mountain area since June 2001. I am writing to ask for your help and I will compensate you for your time.

I was involved in a hit-and-run collision on Tuesday, Feb. 22, on my way home from work. It happened during the beginning of a snowstorm and the snow had just started falling. As I was driving toward Bellevue on Newcastle Golf Club Road — past the YMCA — I came to a stop due to a car stopping in front of me.

While I was waiting for this car to start moving, an oncoming vehicle lost control and slid into me. Given the weather conditions, I didn’t think twice as the driver started to drive away.

I wrote down the license plate number, thinking that we would address the matter once the weather and road conditions improved. When I got home, I contacted the police to file a report. The officer advised me he would get in touch with the other party and try to give him/her the opportunity to resolve the issue without filing a report and I agreed.

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