City prepares for winter early, eyes snow equipment purchase

August 13, 2009

By Tim Pfarr
Last winter, the Pacific Northwest was assaulted by ice, wind and heaps of snow that transformed roadways into treacherous, slippery obstacle courses.
At the time, there were three vehicles working to clear the streets of Newcastle: one belonging to the city and two belonging to the Coal Creek Utility District. However, the district has announced that it can no longer help the city clear the streets in future winters, forcing Newcastle to clear its streets on its own. The city plans to solve this problem by purchasing additional snow- and ice-management equipment.
The city owns one truck that has been fitted with a snowplow, but it plans to purchase enough equipment to have three city-owned trucks ready to clear the streets come winter. The district has offered to sell equipment to the city, and the city plans to take advantage of this offer by purchasing a sander and one of the company’s smaller trucks. This would give the city its second vehicle.
For the third vehicle, the city is seeking to add a large truck that could clear the longer, priority roadways, said Doug Alder, communications manager for the city. For this, he said the city is exploring two options: purchasing a large truck that is already fitted with a plow, blade and sander; or fitting the city’s existing dump truck with a plow, blade and sander.
The City Council also recently voted to allow City Manager John Starbard to enter the city into an intergovernmental agreement for cooperative purchasing with the state of Washington, which would allow the city to purchase equipment for a lower price. However, membership with the cooperative costs $2,000 for two years.
The city will use $101,000 from its Equipment Rental and Replacement Fund to fund the additional vehicles and equipment. Any additional vehicles purchased will be used for other purposes during nonwinter months.
Reach Reporter Tim Pfarr at 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcas@isspress.com.

Last winter, the Pacific Northwest was assaulted by ice, wind and heaps of snow that transformed roadways Read more

New curricula approved for Issaquah School District students

August 13, 2009

The Issaquah School Board unanimously approved the purchase of two new curricula for middle and high school students at its July 8 meeting.
The new curriculum for middle schoolers is Literature, by McDougal Littell, and was selected by the Middle School Language Arts Committee and approved by the Instructional Materials Committee.
It meets state guidelines for educational learning in reading, writing and communication and meets state grade-level expectations.
The new curricula for high schoolers are Physics Principles and Problems and Kinetic Books Principals of Physics, by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. It was selected by the Physics Scope and Sequence Committee and approved by the Instructional Materials Committee.
The texts meet state guidelines for educational learning and meet state grade-level expectations.
The public was able to view the curricula from June 22 – July 6.

The Issaquah School Board unanimously approved the purchase of two new curricula for middle and high schoo Read more

Saturday street fairs come to Newcastle

August 13, 2009

Sweet Decadence chocolate shop and Newcastle Dentistry are hosting a street fair in Newcastle.
The weekly fair has about a dozen vendors who offer a variety of items, including dresses, purses, shoes, scrapbooks, smoked salmon and cheeses, and Ethiopian baskets, according to Sandra Wixon, owner of Sweet Decadence.
Wixon said more vendors are always welcome. She is also working to bring music and karaoke to the street fair to provide extra entertainment.
“Customer attendance can range from 50 to 125, but we always welcome more,” Wixon said, adding that it is a great community opportunity that’s fun for all individuals and families.
The fair is from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday until Sept. 5 at the Newcastle Professional Center, 12835 Newcastle Way.

Sweet Decadence chocolate shop and Newcastle Dentistry are hosting a street fair in Newcastle.

The weekly fair has about a dozen vendors who Read more

Transit center to be completed in October; more closures expected

August 13, 2009

After a weeklong closure of the south end of the intersection of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway, the duration of the Newcastle Transit Center project has been shortened by a month.
The project was initially expected to conclude in November, but the closure allowed work crews to accomplish more work at once, shortening the duration of the project.
More individual lane closures can be expected, Newcastle Public Works Director Maiya Andrews said.
From Aug. 10-17, access to Newcastle Way will be restricted in a small zone between Coal Creek Parkway and 132nd Place Southeast. Here’s what to expect:
q Eastbound traffic will remain normal.
q Westbound traffic will be local access only, with no outlet to Coal Creek Parkway.
q No left turns will be allowed from southbound Coal Creek Parkway onto Newcastle Way.
q Through traffic on Coal Creek Parkway will not be impacted.
All businesses in this zone (Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand, animal hospital, City Hall, Newport Manufacturing, Precision Autocraft and Acorn Cabinets) are open and will be accessible from the east and west on Newcastle Way.
There is also a chance that left turns will be allowed from southbound Coal Creek Parkway onto Newcastle Way if there is enough room.
The Transit Center project was allotted $4.6 million, with Sound Transit providing $4 million and the city providing the remaining $600,000. The project’s budget is on target.

After a weeklong closure of the south end of the intersection of Newcastle Way and Read more

Soldier wins $5,000 vacation

August 13, 2009

By Tim Pfarr
It was Aug. 11, 2008, when Newcastle resident Ben McGrann found out he had to return to Iraq.
“It’s not the easiest pill to swallow,” said Genevieve McGrann, Ben’s wife, recalling when she found out her husband would be returning to active duty. She had given birth to their first child, Logan, just three months earlier.
Although Ben McGrann, 30, did not leave until the following February, he ultimately missed watching his son take his first steps, celebrate his first birthday and lose his first tooth.
However, during his second tour in Iraq, Ben McGrann discovered a contest called Save Our Summer Vacation. The program, sponsored by the Web site HomeAway.com, required applicants to submit an essay describing why he or she was in need of a vacation. All told, 1,303 people submitted essays, and the top contestants were selected by a public vote.
Ben McGrann wrote his piece and won second place, winning $5,000 for a vacation at a destination of his choice.
“To be in the top three just blew my mind,” Ben McGrann said.
The top three contestants received money for a vacation; the grand-prize winner received $10,000.
The McGranns plan to take a vacation to Hawaii sometime shortly after Ben returns from Iraq in February.
“We love to be on the water, and we love boating,” Ben McGrann said about why he and his family picked Hawaii.
Ben McGrann received an ROTC scholarship from Pacific Lutheran University, and this scholarship required him to serve his country with eight years of military service. The scholarship also required he be on active duty for at least four of those eight years.
Ben McGrann was on active duty from April 2002 to April 2006, and he was stationed in Iraq from May 2003 to July 2004. When he was not in Iraq, he was stationed in Baumholder, Germany.
After completing four years of active duty, Ben McGrann returned home and joined the Inactive Ready Reserve to complete his final four years of required service. He was one of several hundred inactive soldiers across the country called upon to return to active duty in August 2008. He will complete his eight years of service in April 2010.

It was Aug. 11, 2008, when Newcastle resident Ben McGrann found out he had to return to Iraq.

“It’s not the easiest pill Read more

Seattle runner wins Cougar Trail run

August 13, 2009

By Ryan Piersol
It wasn’t his attire, a certain technique or even his endurance that eventually allowed Chris Charles to best all of his peers July 11.
It was all about staying on his feet.
The Seattle runner crossed the finish line minutes ahead of everyone else in the third leg of the 2009 Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series. Afterward, Charles credited his ability to complete the 10.3-mile course in 1:13.18 to his balance.
“I was just trying not to fall,” he said. “You get going on these switchbacks, and you come barreling around them. You have to grab onto limbs at parts, so you don’t twist an ankle or fall.”
Charles, who didn’t compete in either of the first two legs of the series, finished this one nearly three minutes ahead of runner-up Greg Crowther.
The run began at the Sky Country trailhead on the west side of the mountain. The route for the 10.3-mile run changes every year, bringing a new round of challenges to annual participants.
Last year, winner Uli Steidl finished the 10.3-mile course in 1:15.16.
“You just get lost in the woods and it just goes by so quickly,” Charles said of the run.
Fellow participant Ben Haber had his own troubles with the winding trail. The Seattle runner made a turn a little too fast, hit a tree and took a tumble. He was covered with dirt on one side of his body, but still managed to place third with a time of 1:16.20, just 17 seconds back of runner-up Crowther.
“I got going a little too quickly around one of the corners,” Haber said. “I’m fine. I’m just a little dirty.”
Haber was the winner of each of the first two runs in the series. He finished the 5-mile jaunt in 32:10 to place first, and won the 7.6-mile run with a time of 53:20. He was nearly six minutes ahead of the next runner in the first race, and a full nine minutes in the lead in the second race.
A long-time runner, Haber is just getting back into the swing of it after a November 2007 accident in which he was attacked by a dog during a race and broke bones in his leg and wrist during an ensuing fall.
“These runs are really fun. The trails are beautiful, and are great for running,” he said of the series. “It’s nice to have that progression too, going from the shorter race to the longer races.”
The top four finishers in the 10.3-mile race were all from Seattle. There were participants from as far away as Alaska and Kentucky.
Roque Bamba was the top runner from Issaquah, placing 33rd with a time of 1:40.56. Also from Issaquah, Jenny Copson was 93rd, Christi Olson was 153rd, Bill and Courtney Favier were 160th and 161st, Kris Palmer was 169th and Cindy Yen 177th.
The final leg of the Cougar Mountain Trail Series will be a 13.2-mile trek at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 8. Registration can be made both online and at the starting line at Sky Country trailhead.

By Ryan Piersol

It wasn’t his attire, a certain technique or even his endurance that eventually allowed Chris Charles to best all of his peers July 11.

It was all about staying on his feet.

The Seattle runner Read more

Hazen senior organizes city’s first fun run

August 13, 2009

By Christopher Huber
Hazen High School incoming senior Clay Strom said he never thought putting on the city’s first running event would be so much work. He and his father, Lee Strom, have spent serious time in the past year attending City Council meetings, coordinating with city workers, scouting detailed routes and garnering local sponsor support.
“It’s a lot more than you would think,” Clay Strom said. “Thankfully, we’re coming down the home stretch right now.”
Since July 2008 the Stroms have been working to host the inaugural Newcastle 5K Fun Run/Walk. They even formed a new nonprofit organization, the Newcastle Running Club, to help organize the event.
The noncompetitive run begins at 9 a.m. Aug. 29 at Lake Boren Park. Registration will remain open until the day of the event, Clay Strom said.
The idea to have a locally hosted running event came early in summer 2008, he said. Lee, an avid runner, talked to Clay about organizing a community race. Clay decided to take the idea to the city of Newcastle.
“He came up to me and said, ‘Would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Wow, that’s a great idea,’” Clay Strom said.
He said they wanted to promote a sense of community while having an easygoing, yet physically active event atmosphere.
Those who choose to participate in the 5K run/walk will be able to enjoy free samples and snacks from various vendors and sponsors upon crossing the finish line. Children will also have the opportunity to run in a kids’ dash, Clay Strom said.
“We’ll be there to have a good time and promote a good community event. And it would be fun to have an event for our hometown,” he said. “They’re all accomplishing something together, so they can all relate on that level.”
For the most part, the scenic, 3.1-mile course follows the old Seattle and Walla Walla Line railroad grade, according to the event’s Web site. The run/walk begins and ends at Lake Boren Park and the route travels along paved roads and wide trails.
Clay Strom said residents from Newcastle and all surrounding communities are welcome to sign up for the race. Participation in the run/walk costs $25 per person or $20 per person in a team of four. Those who wait until Aug. 29 (race day) to register will pay $30 each and $25 each in a team of four.
Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.newcastle-news.com.

Hazen High School incoming senior Clay Strom said he never thought putting on the city’s first running event would be so much work. He and his Read more

Mustang tournament teams place first, second and sixth at state championships

August 13, 2009

Newcastle Baseball’s 9U Miners became the Baseball Player Association’s 2009 Washington State Champions with a 9-7 win over Seattle Select at the Central Park ball fields in Issaquah.
The Miners led off the tournament with a win against the Mountlake Terrace Thunder. A tough one-run, extra-innings loss in the second game against the Maple Valley Mud Dogs brought the Miners one loss away from elimination.
But the third game win put the Miners on an improbable journey to the championship round. The team was to start at 8 a.m. Sunday and play in back-to-back games, with a single loss sending the Miners home.
Twelve hours later with a Seattle runner on third and the tying run up to bat in the bottom of the sixth, the Miners rushed the mound as the third and final strike was called.
“This was special. It’s nearly unheard of for a team to battle through the elimination bracket,” said head coach Dave McIntosh. “Our boys had to play a lot of baseball just to get to the first game against Seattle, and we had to beat them twice for the title. I’m so proud of all our boys.”
“This was a great weekend for Newcastle!” Jonathan Maltos, president of Newcastle Baseball, said. “We entered three teams in the BPA State Championships. Not only did our Miners win the championship, the Newcastle 10U team took second place and the Newcastle Bulldogs 9U team placed sixth. A big thank you to the entire Newcastle Baseball community who came out to the games to support all our boys!”
The first- and second-place trophies are now on display at Tapatio restaurant on Coal Creek Parkway.

Newcastle Baseball’s 9U Miners became the Baseball Player Association’s 2009 Washington State Champions with a 9-7 win over Seattle Select at the Central Park ball fields in Issaquah.

The Miners led off the tournament with Read more

Coach cancels summer break, leads team to baseball tourney win

August 13, 2009

By Bob Taylor
Longtime youth baseball coach George Thompson was thinking about taking this summer off. However, his plans changed when a group of neighborhood boys, ages 15-16, were searching for a team to play for this season.
Thompson, who has coached at just about every level of Little League, went to bat for the players. He found some uniforms from the Bash Brothers team he coached last year, entered the team in the Five-Star Youth program and the Colt Division of the national Pony baseball organization, and booked a schedule of games.
The team has played under the name of Five-Star this season.
Thompson also talked Clayton Leady into helping coach the team.
The team, mostly Liberty High School junior-varsity players, did the rest. Team members wanted to prove they could play competitive baseball, and they definitely have this summer.
The Five-Star team enters the Zone Tournament in San Jose, Calif., where it will attempt to capture a berth in the Colt World Series Aug. 5-12 in Lafayette, Indiana. Teams from the western part of the United States, including several top California clubs, are entered in the Zone tournament.
“The kids are all excited,” Thompson said. “We know the Zone will be a tough go-round, but our kids are going down there expecting to win it.”
Five Star takes a 20-9-1 record into the tournament after winning the Washington State and Northwest Regional tournament July 19 in Enumclaw.
“We went into the tournament at Enumclaw with Enumclaw as the team to beat. They beat us three times out of four during the regular season,” Thompson said.
But Five Star showed it was a team to be reckoned with by beating Enumclaw 4-2, the Kirkland All-stars 11-1 and Lake Sammamish Baseball 18-1 en route to the title round. In the first game for the title, Enumclaw won 9-1, but Five Star took the championship by winning the second game 7-1.
“We’re peaking right now. We’re playing pretty sound defense, getting some good hitting and some pretty good pitching,” Thompson said. We plan on giving those California teams a run for their money.”
The team is Jordan Thompson, Ryan Maio, Ahren Stroming, Miles Bruck, Scott Zerda, Braden Bouwman and Harrison Diemert, of Liberty; Kyle Leady, Travis Johnson and Ramon Leon, of Hazen High School; and Kevin Nye and Mike Baba, of Issaquah High School.
“It’s a pretty special group. Most of the players are good friends. We even have a couple of guys who didn’t play high-school ball in the spring. They just wanted to be with their friends this summer,” Thompson said. “I think the kids will remember this summer for a long time, especially if they win the Zone.”
Reach Reporter Bob Taylor at 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.newcastle-news.com.

By Bob Taylor

Longtime youth baseball coach George Thompson was thinking about taking this summer off. However, his plans changed when a group of neighborhood boys, ages 15-16, were Read more

Fred Jarrett is best choice for county exec

August 13, 2009

The King County primary ballots arrived last week in the mailboxes of registered voters, but there is admittedly little of keen interest to Newcastle residents.
But look a little further. The decision for King County executive makes the ballot worth paying attention to. Caution: Don’t just vote for the most recognizable name, unless you’ve done your homework.
We’ve done our due diligence and recommend a vote for Fred Jarrett. Nearby Eastside residents know him as a 41st District senator, but otherwise, he may be lacking in name familiarity.
Jarrett comes with a degree in financial analysis, and a 35-year career as a project manager at the Boeing Co. Those are the credentials needed for the executive’s job, but just as important is his very public, proven track record as a civic leader — as mayor of Mercer Island and as a state representative and senator. That combination of local and state government gives him a unique perspective to take to the county’s top spot.
Given the financial woes of King County, an executive who can oversee a $4.9 billion budget, trim the staff and benefit costs, and focus on measurable end results is what we need. We believe Jarrett is the best one to do just that.
Jarrett has proven himself to be an open book — easily accessible and transparent —during this campaign and as an elected official. He is known for good ideas — hold off on expansion of the county’s ferry system, implement performance standards, decrease the executive office’s budget and staff — and has the know-how to implement them.
No doubt one of King County’s biggest concerns is transportation, an area that Jarrett has mastered as member of the House Transportation Committee and chair of the committee that created Sound Transit. That’s the kind of background that will serve him well, if elected, to oversee the budget woes combined with needed growth of Metro.
There are seven other candidates seeking the King County executive role, but Jarrett stands out from all of the others.

The King County primary ballots arrived last week in the mailboxes of registered voters, but there is admittedly little of keen interest to Newcastle residents.

But look a little further. The decision for King County executive makes the ballot worth paying attention to. Caution: Don’t just vote for the most recognizable name, unless you’ve done your homework.

We’ve done our due diligence and recommend a vote for Fred Jarrett. Nearby Eastside residents know him as a 41st District senator, but otherwise, he may be lacking in name familiarity.

Jarrett comes with a degree in financial analysis, and a 35-year career as a project manager at the Boeing Co. Those are the credentials needed for the executive’s job, but just as important is his very public, proven track record as a civic leader — as mayor of Mercer Island and as a state representative and senator. That combination of local and state government gives him a unique perspective to take to the county’s top spot.

Given the financial woes of King County, an executive who can oversee a $4.9 billion budget, trim the staff and benefit costs, and focus on measurable end results is what we need. We believe Jarrett is the best one to do just that.

Jarrett has proven himself to be an open book — easily accessible and transparent —during this campaign and as an elected official. He is known for good ideas — hold off on expansion of the county’s ferry system, implement performance standards, decrease the executive office’s budget and staff — and has the know-how to implement them.

No doubt one of King County’s biggest concerns is transportation, an area that Jarrett has mastered as member of the House Transportation Committee and chair of the committee that created Sound Transit. That’s the kind of background that will serve him well, if elected, to oversee the budget woes combined with needed growth of Metro.

There are seven other candidates seeking the King County executive role, but Jarrett stands out from all of the others.

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