Homeowners slammed by 16 percent drop in property values

July 3, 2009

By J.B. Wogan and Warren Kagarise
King County appraisers combed Newcastle neighborhoods earlier this year, checking up on improvements to houses and real estate transactions to determine home values.
Homeowners in Newcastle and throughout King County saw their homes increase in value over the years — but the trend halted this summer, and homeowners are grappling with properties that have dipped in value.
Countywide, properties have dropped in value by about 16 percent. Blame the dive on a cooling real estate market.
County appraisers conduct a physical inspection of a designated area once every six years. Newcastle was up for inspection this year.
Debra Prins specializes in residential property appraisals for the King County Department of Assessments.
Prins said this year’s assessments were more accurate to the housing market of today, in part because the assessor’s office changed the way it calculates home values. In addition to its typical statistical analysis and limited physical inspections, the assessor’s office dropped property values down another 15 percent from its January 2009 value, she said.
“We wanted to make certain that we were taking in consideration all vagaries of this market,” she said. “We believe there were things our (past) evaluation models did not take into consideration.”
The assessments were more than a half-year behind in reflecting the dramatic slowdown in home sales or the dropping in prices, Prins explained.
Interim King County Assessor Rich Medved said the average sales price of a home in the county had dropped from a high of $710,000 to $615,000.
Medved said his office began sending out assessments June 11. The assessments released this summer would affect property taxes for 2010, although the relationship between assessments and property taxes is different in Washington than in most other states, he said.
“Most states in the United States are what we call rate-based systems,” he said.
In rate-based systems, there is a direct correlation between the value of a home and how much a taxing district, like a city, will charge in property taxes.
But Washington has a budget-based system, Medved said. King County has 160 taxing districts, including cities, school boards, the Port of Seattle and King County, and those taxing districts determine how much they will require through taxes. In other words, the taxing district set how much money it would need and then the tax rate is adjusted to collect that amount.
The property assessments affect property taxes in the context of relative worth; if someone’s property value drops more than their neighbor’s, then they could see a drop in property taxes. If a taxing district opted to collect a smaller annual amount, that, too, would lessen someone’s property taxes. The reverse is true, too, according to Medved.
“It’s still very possible that you could see an increase in your tax bill next year,” he said, adding that taxes are directly impacted by voter-approved tax increases. “Voters have the right to impose additional taxes on themselves.”
Medved said people should know that they have 60 days to file an appeal if they believe an assessment isn’t accurate.
King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert said she’s worried about how people might interpret the news that their property values are down. She said she has heard from residents who think lower property values will mean lower property taxes.
“I’m very, very nervous. When I try to explain how property taxes work, people get very upset,” she said. “A lot of people don’t understand that when they vote for a levy of any sort, that is above what the county does.”

King County appraisers combed Newcastle neighborhoods earlier this year, checking up on improvements to houses and real estate transactions to determine home values. Read more

Issaquah school levies to go before voters

July 3, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink
Issaquah School Board members unanimously approved presenting three school funding levies to voters in February 2010.
The Issaquah School District’s proposed package would supplement its strapped budget with more than $212 million by 2014 if voters approve it. It is a slightly amended package from the one presented to school board members May 13.
The three levies are a Maintenance and Operations Levy, a Transportation Levy and a Capital (technology and critical repairs) Levy.
For taxpayers, the total estimated tax for all levies during each year would be:
q $3.88 per assessed $1,000 in 2011
q $3.88 per assessed $1,000 in 2012
q $3.51 per assessed $1,000 in 2013
q $3.51 per assessed $1,000 in 2014
Under the proposal, there would not be a tax increase nor would the district exceed the tax rate promised by district officials in 2006, which was $3.97 per $1,000 of assessed property, said Jake Kuper, chief of finance and operations for the district.
The Maintenance and Operations Levy covers the state’s shortfall for special education, teacher salaries, highly capable learners, English language learners, Advanced Placement and honors courses, and extracurricular activities. On average, the levy would bring in $41.5 million annually.
The Transportation Levy allows district officials to purchase new buses. The one-year 2011 levy will tax each household 7 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property. It will provide the district $1.7 million between 2011 and 2014 to purchase 41 buses.
The Capital Levy enables district officials to make critical repairs on buildings and purchase new computers and software for buildings. The critical repairs piece would give the district $5.6 million over four years. The technology piece was reduced from collecting about $34.8 million to collecting about $32.9 million over four years.
District officials met with board members between the May and June meetings to make reductions in the technology piece of the Capital Levy. The savings is about $1.9 million to tax payers.
The biggest impact to that levy was the elimination of full wireless connections at all elementary school buildings.
Wireless connections are being built into the new elementary school on the plateau as part of its construction costs. However, other schools will only have wireless installed in core areas of the buildings, like the library, office and multipurpose rooms, so community meetings could more easily take place.
There is additional money in the levy, however, to invest in mobile wireless carts, which can roll into specific classrooms for special events.
Full wireless installation will occur at the middle and high schools, since there is ongoing demonstrated need for wireless in every classroom and common room, administrative officials said.

Issaquah School Board members unanimously approved presenting three school funding levies to voters in February 2010. Read more

Newcastle Snooze? Do you have a better name?

July 3, 2009

By Pat Detmer
Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Pat Detmer, and I’ve lived in Newcastle for almost 20 years. In fact, I lived in Newcastle before it was Newcastle, when it was unincorporated King County with a Renton address that many online catalogs continue to use due to ZIP code issues, but that’s another essay entirely.
My husband and I (hereafter known as “The Sainted One”) have a home in the Olympus neighborhood. I’ve written for newspapers and magazines for years, and I’ve previously appeared in Newcastle News. In those essays, I declared my candidacy for City Council on the Thursday Night Chicken on Every Grill platform, and I suggested that we take up our garden tools, march down the hill and grab ourselves some Lake Washington waterfront. I still think that’s a good idea, but I’m not sure that the rules of Manifest Destiny will apply.
To catch you up to the present, here are some things that I’ve learned since I last appeared here:
q In order to win a seat on the Newcastle City Council, you need to do more than simply state your candidacy in Newcastle News.
q You can actually clear deep snow from a driveway with nothing more than a plastic dustpan. But it might be a good idea to get an OK from your family doctor first. And you’ll need to buy a new dustpan afterward.
q You can grow tomatoes in a yard where that magical and necessary six hours of sun only occurs directly in front of your garage doors.
You’ll note that this column name is yet to be determined. I’ll be happy to take your votes. Some possibilities:
Newcastle Snooze — A nice play on Newcastle News and, let’s face it, no matter how attractive and smart we think we are, we’re still just living in a sleepy little bedroom community.
Laughing All The Way — The name of the column I had in a Whidbey Island paper for six years, the name of the book of those columns, and the name of my staff blog on www.boomergirl.com. Given that I have the memory cells of a Mayfly, it certainly would be easier for me to remember it.
I Love Tapatio — I don’t know. Too commercial?
Life on the Hill — Let’s face it. If you live in Newcastle, you likely live on some kind of hill.
Life on the Hills — See above. Hills more accurate than Hill.
The View from the Speed Bump — I’ve previously noted that we seem to have more than our fair share of those.
The DeLeo Wail — Those of you interested in local topography might appreciate that one, since it plays on DeLeo Wall up above the China Creek neighborhood. Although it would work soooo much better if my name was DeLeo and not Detmer…
Newcastle Nut Brown Ale — It is an actual product. I am described as a nut. I am dark brown. I like beer.
Newcastle 411 — Hmm. I have a funny feeling it’s already taken.
Reach Pat Detmer, who is seriously considering the purchase of a real snow shovel, at patdetmer@aol.com. Read her blog at www.boomergirl.com. Her Web site is www.patdetmer.com.

Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Pat Detmer, and I’ve lived in Newcastle for almost 20 years. In fact, I lived in Newcastle before it was Newcastle, when it was unincorporated King County with a Renton address that many online catalogs continue to use due to ZIP code issues, but that’s another essay entirely. Read more

Obituary: Van Amburgh-Whitney

July 3, 2009

Van Amburgh-Whitney
Mary Patricia Van Amburgh-Whitney, of Newcastle, a sparkling light who shared herself with the world and touched others with her courage, faith, compassion and thirst for new experiences, died June 15, 2009, of Parkinson’s disease. She was 69.
A memorial Mass was celebrated June 26 at St Madeline Sophie Church, Bellevue.
Pat will be remembered for her unique ability to help others see the best in themselves and inspire with her selfless nature.
Pat empowered others to accept that they, like her, were unique, important and valued members of God’s family.
Pat was a modern woman — adventurous, independent, open minded and embracing of change. She was known for her bold and dynamic style, showing the world that preternaturally white hair could be oh so chic. She also had an unrivaled sense of humor, even being able to find the lighter side of her illness.
For the past 30 years, Pat shared her journey with her husband Bob Whitney, whom she married in 1979.
They celebrated a life filled with spontaneity, laughter, and travel and enjoyment of family, friends and other cultures.
She was born Feb. 7, 1940, in Colfax, Wash. Pat graduated from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School and Seattle University.
Pat then entered religious life, joining the Maryknoll community. After six years of teaching high school in the Philippines and 16 years as a nun, Pat left the order to begin the next chapter of her life.
She worked at two large medical centers in Chicago, initiating programs for patient advocacy before moving back to Seattle in 1978 to start a similar program at Providence Hospital.
Eleven years later, Pat moved on to graduate school to earn a master’s degree in psychology and certification for school counseling. She worked in the Kent School District for five years, until her illness forced her to retire.
Pat’s mother Marigold Van Amburgh preceded her in death.
Pat is survived by her husband Bob, father John Van Amburgh, sisters Sue Blake and Judy Van Amburgh, uncle the Rev. Vincent Cunniff, a niece and three nephews.
Remembrances can be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association, 135 Parkinson Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305 or Maryknoll Sisters, P.O Box 311, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0311.

Van Amburgh-Whitney

Van-Amburgh-Whitney

Van-Amburgh-Whitney

Mary Patricia Van Amburgh-Whitney, of Newcastle, a sparkling light who shared herself with the world and touched others with her courage, faith, compassion and thirst for new experiences, died June 15, 2009, of Parkinson’s disease. She was 69. Read more

Locals walk to help find cure for cancer

July 3, 2009

By Jim Feehan
Stephanie Nelson doesn’t know of anyone’s life that has not been touched by cancer. The owner of the Newcastle Curves store lost her sister Laura Bradley to cancer four years ago.
About 1,500 people, including Nelson, raised more than $250,000 at the second annual Seattle Brain Cancer Walk May 30 at Mercer Island High School. The event had three times as many participants as the previous year and raised twice as much money, according to organizers.
Some who walked have brain cancer themselves; others walked beside loved ones. And still others walked for the memory of loved ones lost.
The money raised benefits the Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle.
“I want to do anything I can to bring awareness to brain cancer and raise money for this cause,” Nelson said.
For the second year, Nelson spearheaded the Brain Reign Team that included Curves employees and customers. The team was Nelson, Toni Trulson, Edna Hawk, Virginia Jepsen, Pat Marshall, Cheryl Payton Rose, Harriet Houghton and her three grandchildren, Jessie, McKenzsie and Tanner Houghton.
Jessie lost her father, Keith Houghton, a few years ago at age 39. He had battled brain cancer for five years.
“Though he may have lost his battle against this disease, we continue to fight the war,” she said. “He once said that life was not a sprint, but a marathon. There are times when it seems like you’ll never reach the finish line, and there are times when you’re certain it’s just around the corner.”
The event was dedicated to providing hope and creating community for the 1,500 patients in the Pacific Northwest diagnosed with brain cancer.
With most patients given a survival rate of one year to two years, the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk is an important tribute to the fight for time, hope and new treatment options, Nelson said.
Last year, 22,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with brain cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has approved only two treatments for brain cancer in the past 25 years.
Nelson’s team raised about $500.
“All of the money raised stays here, benefiting the good work they’re doing at Swedish,” she said.

Stephanie Nelson doesn’t know of anyone’s life that has not been touched by cancer. The owner of the Newcastle Curves store lost her sister Laura Bradley to cancer four years ago. Read more

Liberty High School grad gets into USC film school

July 3, 2009

By Jim Feehan
Maybe it’s in the genes.
Alex Bell, 18, of Newcastle, a 2009 Liberty High School graduate, is one of only 20 incoming freshman accepted into the film school at the University of Southern California.
About 1,200 high school students applied to study at the same school that produced George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Gene Fowler Jr.
Though not as well known as Lucas and Spielberg, Fowler Jr. was a prolific editor and director of film and television. His efforts won him a Golden Globe, four Emmys and an Oscar. He studied film editing at 20th Century Fox as a student at USC.
He was a prominent film editor whose work included “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” He also directed “I Was a Teenage Werewolf,” as well as numerous television programs, such as the CBS series “Rawhide” and “The Waltons.” Later in life, he was asked to teach film editing at USC in the 1980s.
Fowler Jr., who passed away in 1998 at age 80, was Bell’s great grandfather. Other relatives of Bell’s worked as animators with Walt Disney on the original “Snow White,” “Cinderella” and “Fantasia.”
Bell turned down a full scholarship to attend Seattle Pacific University, a $29,000 scholarship to attend the Chapman University School of Film and Television in Southern California and four other universities to attend USC.
“I chose USC because of the great opportunity it affords to its film students,” he said. “It has the reputation as being the best in the nation. Once you graduate, the contacts that you have through the Trojan family are greater than any other school in the nation.”
Two weeks ago, Bell toured the USC campus and its School of Cinematic Arts. Hall walls are filled with autographed movie posters of famous graduates. Every year since 1973, at least one alumnus of the film school has been nominated for an Academy Award, totaling 256 nominations and 78 wins. The top-17 grossing films of all time have had a USC film graduate in a key creative position.
“For me, I’m looking forward to being part of this great film community,” Bell said.
Bell is the second Liberty student in the past three years accepted into the USC film school. Former Patriot Steve White is entering his senior year at the USC film school.
He caught the filmmaking bug the summer before going into sixth grade at Maywood Middle School.
“I got a hold of a video camera with some friends and thought it would be fun to stay up all night shooting and editing a film,” Bell said. “We were so excited, we had to shoot a sequel the next day. It was then that I realized that film was a great way to tell stories.”
At Liberty, Bell produced a 15-minute video of highlights of Patriots sports teams. He also shot a video for the school administration, titled, “A Day in the Life at Liberty.”
“I’ve always loved movies,” he said. “It takes you to another place, another time and I really want to be involved in the process.”
This year, Bell created a “Day in the Life of Liberty” as part of a Web cam project Liberty students started with a school in Mumbai, India, said Principal Mike Deletis. Each school agreed to create a DVD about their students and school, and then share it with the other school.
“Alex has a unique and creative mind,” Deletis said.
Dana Greenberg, dean of students at Liberty, said Bell’s easygoing demeanor, intelligence, athleticism and can-do attitude will suit him well at USC.
“I couldn’t think of a better candidate for the USC film school,” Greenberg said. “Alex has the video skills, the perseverance and drive to take advantage of all the opportunities that will be afforded him at the film school.”
Maybe it’s in the genes.
Alex Bell, 18, of Newcastle, a 2009 Liberty High School graduate, is one of only 20 incoming freshman accepted into the film school at the University of Southern California. Read more

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Concerts in the Park series kicks off July 8

July 3, 2009

The six-week, free Concerts in the Park series at Lake Boren Park begins July 8 with Seattle rock band HiWatt.
The Tacoma based Cody Rentas Band, which performs July 15, is led by a 16-year-old electric guitar prodigy.
The Senate, which opened for the rock band Everclear in 2007 and placed first at Washington State University’s Battle of the Bands competition in 2007, performs July 22.
Concerts in the Park favorite Timeless Soul returns with Motown favorites July 29.
Kirkland classic rockers Black Velvet 4 performs Aug. 5.
The concert series concludes Aug. 12 with Idol Eyez, a Seattle band that plays cover versions of pop, rock and disco hits from the past 40 years.
Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m.

The six-week, free Concerts in the Park series at Lake Boren Park begins July 8 with Seattle rock band HiWatt. Read more

Calendar

July 3, 2009

Events
A Newcastle Trails board meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. July 6 in the private dining room at Regency Newcastle, 7454 Newcastle Golf Club Road. Go to www.newcastletrails.org.
Drinking Liberally, featuring guest speaker State Sen. Fred Jarrett, is at 7 p.m. July 6 at the meeting of an informal progressive social group that discusses politics the first Monday of the month at the Mustard Seed Grill and Pub, 5608 119th Ave. S.E. Go to www.drinkingliberally.org.
The Newcastle Weed Warriors will be removing tansy from the Highlands Trail at Southeast 91st Street from 9 a.m. – 1p.m. p.m. July 7.  Go to newcastleweedwarriors.org.
The Chamber of Commerce hosts a lunch meeting from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., July 8 at Tapatio Mexican Grill, 6920 Coal Creek Parkway S.E. King County Councilman Reagan Dunn is the featured speaker. Cost is $20. RSVP by calling 206-719-8122.
National Night Out, hosted by the Hazelwood Community Association, is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Donegal Park, 7319 125th Ave. S.E. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own food and beverages. A barbecue will be available to grill food.
The Reserve at Newcastle hosts a block party on National Night Out beginning at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 at the end of the 150th Place Southeast cul-de-sac.
Youth
The following events take place at the Lake Heights Family YMCA, 12635 S.E. 56th St. Call 644-8417 or go to www.lakeheightsymca.org.
q Basketball clinic registration is under way for children ages 6-12 and youths ages 13-17. The clinic includes four sessions from Aug. 2 to Nov. 22. Cost is $90 with current membership for 6- to 12-year-olds, and $110 for ages 13-17.
q Kids Gym, an interactive class for ages 3-5, offers a variety of group games, including an obstacle course and tumbling exercises. Courses are from 11:15 a.m. – noon Mondays and from 4:15-5 p.m. Wednesdays. Cost is $30 with current membership.
q Registration is now open for all summer programs, including day camp, specialty programs, Explorers and sports camps.
Clubs
The Society of Artists for Newcastle, an art organization, is seeking new members. Call 271-5822.
MOMS Club of Renton meets for play dates at parks and other locations. New activities are planned daily. This nonprofit, nonreligious organization provides daytime support for moms and their families. Call 260-3079.
Bridge players are wanted, evening or daytime. Games take place at various homes in the Hazelwood area. Call 255-0895.
Newcastle Rotary Club meets at 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays at The Golf Club at Newcastle, 15550 Six Penny Lane. Call 206-947-5741 or go to www.newcastlerotary.us.
Newcastle Historical Society meets at 4 p.m. the first Thursday at City Hall, 13020 S.E. 72nd Place. Call 226-4238.
An international dinner, sponsored by Bahai Faith of Newcastle, is at 6:30 p.m. the third Friday. Call 430-8047.
Eastside Mothers & More, a social network for mothers, meets from 7-9 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month in the North Room at East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 S.E. 32nd St., Bellevue (not church affiliated).
Hill’N Dale Garden Club, meets at 6 p.m. the first Monday of each month September through June at the Newport Way Library, 14250 S.E. Newport Way. Call 255-9705
Seniors
Lake Heights YMCA Older Active Adult Program meets from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the YMCA, 12635 S.E. 56th St. in Newport Hills.  Activities include community service projects, crafts, pinochle games and field trips. Bridge groups play from 9 a.m. – noon and from noon – 3 p.m. Wednesdays. Sack lunches are available for $3. Reserve one in person early that day. Call 644-8417.
Library events
The following events are at the Newport Way Library, 14250 S.E. Newport Way, Bellevue, unless otherwise noted:
q Newport Way Book Group will present the movie based on the book “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini, at 6:30 p.m. July 20.
q Create your own bookish beast. Learn to draw and paint monsters from books and myths, for ages 8 and older, at 1 p.m., July 25. Registration is required by July 11.
q Los Nietos del Son presents Latin American stories, music, history, shadow puppets and costumes at 7 p.m. July 29.
Health
Angel Care Breast Cancer Foundation-trained survivors offer free emotional support to the newly diagnosed, enhancing emotional recovery while going through treatments. Go to www.angelcarefoundation.org.
Volunteers
Eastside Bluebills, a Boeing retiree volunteer organization that provides opportunities to help others in need and assist charitable and nonprofit organizations, meets from 10 a.m. – noon the third Wednesday at the Bellevue Regional Library. Call 235-3847.
King County Library System’s Words on Wheels program needs volunteers to select and deliver library materials to homebound patrons. Training is provided. A one-year commitment is required. Volunteers must be at least 18, have their own transportation and be able to pass a Washington State Patrol background check. Call 369-3235.
Places to go
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, on Lakemont Boulevard Southeast, is a 3,000-acre park with more than 30 miles of trails and the site of the 1880s coalmines. Go to www.metrokc.gov/parks.

Events

A Newcastle Trails board meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. July 6 in the private dining room at Regency Newcastle, 7454 Newcastle Golf Club Road. Go to www.newcastletrails.org.

Drinking Liberally, featuring guest speaker State Sen. Fred Jarrett, is at 7 p.m. July 6 at the meeting of an informal progressive social group that discusses politics the first Monday of the month at the Mustard Seed Grill and Pub, 5608 119th Ave. S.E. Go to www.drinkingliberally.org. Read more

Liberty athletes lead Castaway Polo team to girls state title

July 3, 2009

Two Newcastle athletes were members of the Castaway Polo Athletic team that won the state water polo title last month with a 10-7 win against Mercer Island High School.
Mackenzie Maynes and Sarah Lowes both scored goals and had assists in the May 15 championship match against Mercer Island.
Castaway Polo Athletic surged to an 8-2 lead before the half and held off a late surge by the Islanders to capture the title.
Maynes, a senior at Liberty High School, will attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on an athletic scholarship to play water polo. Lowes is a junior at Liberty.
The victory capped an undefeated season, which was remarkable considering the squad had only seven members.
Water polo is the oldest continuous Olympic team sport. The playing team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper.  So, any injuries or illnesses would have forced a forfeit, because matches require seven players.
Castaway Polo Athletic trains at the Edgebrook Club, near Tyee Junior High School in Bellevue. The team is made up of players from high schools that do not have water polo. The squad has players from Liberty, Sammamish, Eastside Catholic and Holy Names high schools.
Maynes and Lowes were also members of Liberty’s swim team last season.
The team is scheduled to participate in the U.S. Club Water Polo championships July 10-12 in Santa Barbara, Calif., and the water polo girls Junior Olympics July 30-Aug. 2 at San Jose, Calif.
Sarah Lowes (No. 8), of Newcastle, a water polo player for Castaway Polo Athletic team, in action during the state championship match against Mercer Island High School. contributed

Sarah Lowes (No. 8), of Newcastle, a water polo player for Castaway Polo Athletic team, in action during the state championship match against Mercer Island High School. contributed

Two Newcastle athletes were members of the Castaway Polo Athletic team that won the state water polo title last month with a 10-7 win against Mercer Island High School.   Read more

Racer nets $250,000 for children’s hospital at 24 Hours of Le Mans

July 3, 2009

By Jim Feehan
Don Kitch Jr., of Newcastle, has seen a lot in his 30 years of racing, including a dozen years competing at the 24 Hours of Daytona. But he’s quick to point out that his racing at last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans is the pinnacle of his career.
“In racing, this was certainly my biggest challenge,” he said. “The history of the race and the quality of the drivers you’re sharing the asphalt with was unparalleled.”
Kitch was joined by drivers Joe Foster, of Atlanta, and Patrick Dempsey, of TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” as part of Team Seattle. The team raced a full day and night on an 8.5-mile course near Le Mans, France, June 13-14.
In the past 12 years, Team Seattle has raised more than $3.2 million for the Infant Cardiac Care Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Team Seattle raised $250,000 for Seattle’s Children Hospital at Le Mans, Kitch said.
“That’s a pretty good amount, given the worldwide economic downturn and we still have money pouring in,” he said.
“We’re thrilled by the efforts of Don and Team Seattle in France,” said Aileen Kelly, executive director of Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association. “They have given Children’s Hospital increased exposure and they have shown the international racing community what can be done for charity.”
To raise money, the team sold space on the team’s Ferrari 430 GTs.
In April, Kitch, Dempsey and Foster were able to test their Ferrari on a small section of the course known as the Bugati Circuit.
Team Seattle finished ninth in the GT2 classification, and 30th overall after starting 54th in the field.
“The speeds are absolutely incredible,” Kitch said. “You can have no one around you and all of the sudden, two cars are coming up behind you and they don’t hesitate to overtake you.”
Members of Team Seattle, their families and supporters lodged at two chateaus about 10 minutes from the course.
“To have my wife, Donna, and our 7-year-old daughter, Sienna, there meant the world to me,” Kitch said. “Those are memories I will never forget.”
Less than a month after completing the race, Kitch is looking to return to Le Mans in 2010.
Kitch was also effusive in praise of Dempsey’s driving.
“He was brilliant,” Kitch said. “In my 30 years of racing, I’ve run across a lot of celebrity race car drivers and he’s right up there with Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.
“He doesn’t come to the race and parade around in his driver’s suit,” he added. “He comes to compete, and he’s totally committed to racing and he loves the charitable activity of Children’s Hospital.”

Don Kitch Jr., of Newcastle, has seen a lot in his 30 years of racing, including a dozen years competing at the 24 Hours of Daytona. But he’s quick to point out that his racing at last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans is the pinnacle of his career.

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