Newcastle Days 2009

September 3, 2009

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  • Fun running with the dogs

    September 3, 2009

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    Mark (left) and Tracy Butler, of Newcastle, make the final sprint to the finish of the Newcastle 5K Fun Run Aug. 29 with their dogs, Leo and Codie, who took honorary honors as winners in the canine division. For more on the run. By Tim Pfarr

    Some crime rates up, others down

    September 3, 2009

    By Tim Pfarr
    Rape, commercial burglary, arson and less-serious larceny rates (less than $250) are lower in the first quarter of 2009 than in the first quarter last year, according to Newcastle Police.
    However, residential burglaries and aggravated assault have increased.
    Comparing the first quarters of 2008 and 2009, respectively, instances of forcible rape (including attempts) decreased from one to zero; commercial burglaries decreased from six to one; low-grade larcenies decreased from 16 to eight; and arsons decreased from three to zero.
    Instances of aggravated assault increased from one to two and residential burglaries increased from 11 to 17. Homicides and robberies stayed the same at zero, while more serious larcenies (more than $250) held steady with 18. Vehicle thefts also held steady at eight.
    The statistics come in the wake of multiple home burglaries in the city, a theft Aug. 21, vandalism Aug. 23 and a car break-in Aug. 24.
    Joseph England, 24, was recently sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for multiple crimes he committed in King County, including a residential burglary Jan. 7 in the 7500 block of 122nd Place Southeast in Lake Washington Ridge.
    England pleaded guilty to 19 felonies, including auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, residential burglary and possession of a stolen firearm for multiple crimes. However, the Jan. 7 crime was the only one he committed in Newcastle.
    In June, the King County Prosecutor Attorney’s office launched the Repeat Burglar Initiative to aggressively prosecute high-impact burglars. As part of the program, Deputy Prosecutor Maurice Classen worked with local law enforcement agencies to identify the 20 most prolific burglars in the area. Within a month after the list was developed, 15 of the 20 prolific burglars were caught.
    “So far, it’s gone really well,” said Deputy Prosecutor Chris Nielson.
    Nielson said the program was developed because while most crimes in the county have declined, residential burglary has increased.
    Classen could not be reached for comment as to whether any of the top 20 burglars have struck in Newcastle.

    Rape, commercial burglary, arson and less-serious larceny rates (less than $250) are lower in the first quarter of 2009 than in the first quarter last year, according to Newcastle Police.

    However, residential burglaries and aggravated assault have increased. Read more

    Postal Service denies city new ZIP code

    September 3, 2009

    By Tim Pfarr
    United States Postal Service Seattle District Manager Katherine Nash recently sent a letter to the city of Newcastle officially declining the city’s request for a new ZIP code.
    City officials said they have not yet decided whether they will appeal at the federal level.
    “There have been no substantial changes to the number of addresses within the city requiring a ZIP Code, there is no postal facility within the city and there are no ZIP codes available to honor this request,” Nash said in the letter. “The U.S. Postal Service does not need an additional ZIP Code to successfully deliver mail to the residents of Newcastle.”
    In the letter, Nash also stated that Renton Postmaster Evelyn Tan-Todd spoke with the letter carriers who serve Newcastle, and she said that delivery issues should be resolved.
    For now, the city will remain split between the ZIP codes 98056 and 98059, which it shares with Renton.
    “We’re disappointed our attempts to get a ZIP code were denied,” said Mayor Ben Varon. “I feel it’s a big disservice to the community.”
    Councilman Sonny Putter said the issue goes beyond the delivery of mail. He said he pays more for car insurance because the city shares ZIP codes with Renton. He said if his three vehicles were licensed in Factoria (ZIP code 98006), where he works, he would pay 25 percent less for car insurance.
    “It’s clear that there’s an economic cost to sharing ZIP codes with Renton,” Putter said.
    The city has 45 days from Aug. 6 — when the letter was sent — to appeal at the federal level, which means appealing to the Washington, D.C., branch of the postal service.

    United States Postal Service Seattle District Manager Katherine Nash recently sent a letter to the city of Newcastle officially declining the city’s request for a new ZIP code.

    City officials said they have not yet decided whether they will appeal at the federal level. Read more

    Newcastle Days marks city’s 15th birthday

    September 3, 2009

    The city will mark its 15th birthday during Newcastle Days at Lake Boren Park on Sept. 12 and 13. The two-day celebration is free to the public and showcases art, service and the community spirit of the city.
    Lance Lambert, of the “Vintage Vehicle Show,” returns to emcee the festival, which includes live bands, dance performances, arts and crafts activities, and plenty of food. Children will be entertained by Cowboy Buck and Elizabeth; Ronald McDonald; pony rides and inflatable toys.
    Lambert will also preside over the annual Custom & Classic Car Show. It will be “first come, first park,” so be sure to get there early.
    Learn more about the festival in the enclosed Newcastle Days guide.

    The city will mark its 15th birthday during Newcastle Days at Lake Boren Park on Sept. 12 and 13. The two-day celebration is free to the public and showcases art, service and the community spirit of the city. Read more

    Rich Crispo offers a fresh perspective

    September 3, 2009

    By Tim Pfarr
    To many Newcastle residents, the name Rich Crispo is a new one. He has never run for City Council, but for the past several years, he has attended meetings and stayed up to date on city issues, voicing his opinion when necessary and standing up for what he believes in.
    Although he is now retired, Crispo worked for years as a Boeing executive, managing budgets as large as $100 million and organizations as large as 750 people. He served on the Bellevue School District Fiscal Committee for three years, and he now looks to officially bring his experience to the city.
    Crispo graduated from Villanova University in 1969 with a degree in mechanical engineering before moving to Bellevue. He returned to school several years later and graduated from City University of Seattle in 1986 with a master’s degree in business administration.
    He moved to Southern California in 1999, but returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2003, moving to Newcastle, where he has lived since.
    Crispo said that if he were elected, he would place priority on listening to the opinions of Newcastle residents.
    “I’ve had my fame,” he said. “My opinion is secondary.”
    Before the primary, he went door to door meeting residents and learning what they consider to be most important.
    He said he found one of the most prominent issues to be that of a Newcastle library, and why one has not been developed yet. He said he also found that residents were against developing a dense downtown with multi-story buildings.
    “I visited over 900 homes, and I did not find one resident who supported a multi-story downtown with hundreds of apartments. Not one,” he said.
    Crispo said the Newport Crossing apartment complex has dropped its rates by 20 percent and still cannot fill its units. He said it might be difficult to fill apartments constructed downtown.
    He also said he is concerned about the city’s relationship with developer Lorig Associates, as the city has worked with the developer on numerous projects, including the library. He said the city and the developer have an unhealthy relationship, and he is concerned with Lorig’s ability to fund its projects.
    Crispo cited an incident that occurred about two years ago in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood to be a reason he’s concerned about Lorig. The developer had begun construction on a large, multipurpose complex that was to include 500 apartments, but the project’s anchor — a supermarket — backed out. Lorig subsequently halted construction on the project, leaving what The Seattle Times called “a blockwide crater” in the ground that is still there today.
    Crispo also said some residents told him that they found City Hall to be intimidating and the City Council arrogant. If elected, he said he would certainly propose measures to change such feelings, specifically by promoting greater interaction between the council and the public, including at council meetings.
    Crispo is endorsed by former City Councilman Gordon Bisset, former City Councilman Bill Erxleben, Newcastle Trails Group President Garry Kampen, Hazelwood Homeowners Association President Stu Allen and Highlands Homeowners Association President Greg Cresta.

    To many Newcastle residents, the name Rich Crispo is a new one. He has never run for City Council, but for the past several years, he has attended meetings and stayed up to date on city issues, voicing his opinion when necessary and standing up for what he believes in. Read more

    Karin Blakley seeks to aid city with methodical problem solving

    September 3, 2009

    By Tim Pfarr
    Karin Blakley has lived in Newcastle for 15 years, volunteering with organizations such as the Hazelwood PTSA, the Lake Washington Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association and Easter Seals Washington.
    She was also a founding member of Eastside Transportation Choices coalition, and she said she now looks to bring her skills to the City Council.
    Blakley graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in communications in 1981, and since then she has worked in advertising, sales and management.
    “I’ve managed, hired and fired people,” she said. “I’m running because I really want to see Newcastle prosper.”
    Blakley also ran for City Council in 1999, but incumbent Pam Lee defeated her by 57 votes.
    Blakley is a former resident of Renton, and she lived near the border between Newcastle and Renton when Newcastle incorporated in 1994. She lived where Southeast 74th Street is now.
    She said her area faced problems with mail delivery and road maintenance, so she spearheaded a campaign to get her neighborhood un-annexed by Renton and annexed by Newcastle. To do this, she said she her neighbors petitioned, and she developed relationships with the Renton and Newcastle city councils. Blakley and her neighbors became Newcastle residents in the late 1990s.
    If elected, Blakley said she would work to increase revenue by promoting local purchasing. She also said she is interested in actively seeking businesses to bring to the city’s downtown district, and that she will continue to fight for a unique Newcastle ZIP code.
    She also said she will work to collaborate constructively with others on the City Council to make progress as a city.
    Blakley said if city officials don’t develop downtown, they would be forced to redevelop its existing neighborhoods or expand to undeveloped areas. She said these alternatives have not been well-received by citizens, and they could fundamentally change the character of Newcastle.
    She said developing downtown might be the best way to accommodate growth.
    “We know the growth will come,” she said, citing a continual increase in Newcastle’s population.
    She also said that Newcastle placing 17th on CNN/Money Magazine’s list of the top 100 small towns in which to live is likely to attract more residents.
    Blakley said she is an advocate of developing good relationships with surrounding communities and such relationships are integral when issues, like transportation, are involved, since such issues can affect the city’s neighbors.
    She is supportive of Newcastle getting its own library, and she said she supports the King County Library System’s decision to build Newcastle’s library the way it sees fit, whether as a multi-use building or not.
    Blakley works as a district manager for Waddell & Reed, which works in financial advising.
    She is endorsed by State Sen. Fred Jarrett, State Rep. Judy Clibborn, Newcastle Planning Commission Chair Kandy Schendel, Councilman Dan Hubbell and the King County Chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington State.

    Karin Blakley has lived in Newcastle for 15 years, volunteering with organizations such as the Hazelwood PTSA, the Lake Washington Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association and Easter Seals Washington.

    She was also a founding member of Eastside Transportation Choices coalition, and she said she now looks to bring her skills to the City Council. Read more

    Three-term incumbent Jean Garber looks to continue guiding Newcastle

    September 3, 2009

    By Tim Pfarr
    Of all six City Council candidates on the ballot this November, Jean Garber is the only incumbent. She has served three consecutive terms on the City Council. She also served as mayor from 2006-2007.
    Garber graduated from Penn State University with a degree in chemistry in 1963. In 1989, she moved to what would become Newcastle. When the city incorporated in 1994, she got involved with city affairs, serving as a member of the city’s interim planning commission. She helped draft Newcastle’s first comprehensive land-use plan.
    She became a member of the city’s first Planning Commission when it developed about a year after the city’s incorporation, and she served with the commission until running for and being elected to City Council in 1997.
    If re-elected, Garber said she would work to control the city’s spending and make needed cuts, so residents will continue to receive services they want.
    Garber supports developing downtown with floor-area-ratio requirements that call for the construction of multi-story buildings, especially on smaller lots.
    “This is all we have, this little postage-stamp downtown, and we need to make wise use of it,” she said. “I think development of our downtown is critical.”
    She said having apartments downtown is appealing because of its proximity to all Newcastle has to offer.
    “To me, it would be an ideal place to live,” she said, adding that building multi-story buildings would give Newcastle a distinctive downtown.
    Garber also said she wishes to engage a broader segment of the community in issues and events. She also said she would work to get a post office and would not stop fighting to get Newcastle its own unique ZIP code.
    “I think we’re on the verge of great things,” she said. “I believe in the city.”
    Garber supports the library being a mixed-use facility that would include apartments, which would be a financial benefit to the library and add “to the vibrancy of our downtown.”
    She has been caucus leader for 35 suburban cities on the King County Growth Management Council for six years; chaired the Metropolitan King County Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee for four years; and been a board member of the Suburban Cities Association for two years. She has also chaired the association’s Education Committee for two years.
    Garber has worked intensively as an impact analyst (analyzing environmental impacts and other impacts of development on surrounding areas), and she started her own business in 1978. She has since worked predominantly as a sole proprietor, on front-end impact strategy for projects.
    She worked as project manager for impact analysis for the construction of Qwest Field as well as for Issaquah’s Pickering Place. She was also project manager for impact analysis on Woodland Park Zoo’s plans for future development.
    Garber is endorsed by State Sen. Fred Jarrett; State Reps. Judy Clibborn, Marcie Maxwell Deb Eddy and Larry Springer; Bellevue Mayor Grant Degginger; City Councilmen Dan Hubbell and Sonny Putter.

    Of all six City Council candidates on the ballot this November, Jean Garber is the only incumbent. She has served three consecutive terms on the City Council. She also served as mayor from 2006-2007. Read more

    Former Mayor John Dulcich eyes a return to City Council

    September 3, 2009

    By Tim Pfarr
    When John Dulcich left the Newcastle City Council in 2007, he felt that it was time to pass the torch. But recent changes in the city have drawn him back.
    “I felt that things were not financially sound,” he said.
    He said there is a smaller margin for error in the current economy, and he can help the city stay on course.
    “Long-term financial progress is what we’re looking to,” he said.
    Dulcich graduated from the University of Oregon in 1983 with a degree in business/accounting. He moved to present-day Newcastle in 1991. He joined the City Council when the city incorporated in 1994, and was mayor from 2002-2005.
    If elected, he said he would bring accountability back to the city’s finances, as well as push hard for a library.
    He said he wants a vibrant downtown with many community-gathering spots, but he feels constructing multi-story, multipurpose buildings is not necessarily the best way to accomplish that.
    In particular, he said he’s opposed to the city’s push toward forcing downtown buildings to be multi-story through floor-area-ratio requirements.
    “I’m more of a free-market kind of guy,” he said.
    Dulcich said he recognizes that multipurpose buildings may help make the most use out of expensive land, but he believes multi-story buildings should be a developer’s choice, not forced by city requirements.
    Forcing buildings to be multi-story is “density for the sake of density,” and the city doesn’t need such buildings to be unique, he said.
    “Newcastle’s cool as it is,” he said. “It’s the people who make it cool.”
    He also said that multi-story, multipurpose buildings downtown could hinder retail, by reducing available parking, and shift focus from retail to housing. Without a retail focus, the city could lose sales tax revenue.
    Dulcich also said that push kept a library from being constructed in Newcastle, and the city was responsible for urging the King County Library System to enter into an agreement with Lorig Associates to construct a mixed-use building that included a library and apartment units.
    Dulcich said city officials told library system officials that entering into such an agreement would get the project completed sooner. However, Lorig has had difficulty financing its portion; city officials said construction would likely not begin until 2010.
    Dulcich said the library would have already been built had it not been for the agreement with Lorig, because public funds are in place.
    While Dulcich was mayor, he obtained federal and county funding for the Coal Creek Parkway project, becoming the first person in the city to receive county and federal match funds for a local project. As a councilman, he championed legislation forcing door-to-door salespeople to obtain permits.
    He’s the only person in city history to serve two consecutive terms as mayor.
    Dulcich worked for seven years as CEO of Ashton Capital before starting his own financial consultant business, Dulcich Capital, in 2007.
    He’s endorsed by Attorney General Rob McKenna, King County Councilman Reagan Dunn and U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert.

    When John Dulcich left the Newcastle City Council in 2007, he felt that it was time to pass the torch. But recent changes in the city have drawn him back. Read more

    Residents are fed up with flooding

    September 3, 2009

    By Tim Pfarr
    Newcastle residents who live on the north shore of Lake Boren have dealt with wintertime flooding for years. In 2007, Robert Patterson said so much water flooded his crawl space that he had to pay $4,000 to repair his heater.
    Patterson, as well as his neighbors David Gillett and Frank Drange have written numerous letters regarding the flooding, asking city officials to take action. In January 2008, Patterson said he no longer had the time or money to fight the city, but his neighbors share his concerns, and they have since taken up addressing them by consulting a lawyer.
    On Aug. 18, attorney Jane Ryan Koler sent a letter to the City Council on behalf of the association of homeowners that live on the north end of the lake, and she urged the city to maintain the outlet of the lake to keep its water level from rising.
    “Allowing flooding, which dumps dirt and debris into Lake Boren, is a violation of the Water Pollution Control Act, which prohibits the discharge of polluting matter into waters of the state,” Koler wrote. “The city either needs to perform its duty to maintain the south outlet to Lake Boren or compensate association members for the damage to their residential properties.”
    However, city officials say they are doing what they can, and that the lake is healthy.
    “I can guarantee that we’re not ignoring the issue,” said Doug Alder, communications manager.
    Maiya Andrews, public works director, said the city has an ongoing permit from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to clear beaver dams on the lake’s outlet. The city has no other permits to clean the outlet, and city officials said it would likely be difficult to obtain such permits, as the outlet naturally flows slowly with a low gradient. With a low gradient, they said dredging the outlet would likely do little good, as the amount of material displaced would not be sufficient to alter the outlet’s flow.
    The lake’s inlet — China Creek — is channeled through concrete as it approaches the lake, and Newcastle Director of Development Steve Roberge said this causes the creek to flow unnaturally fast. Silt and dirt naturally flow down from above the concrete channel, as it is common for bits of the shoreline to be swept away by the current, he said.
    The dirt and silt periodically build up and clog the lake’s inlet, and as a result, the property bordering the inlet can become flooded.
    In 2004, city workers cleared the lake’s inlet with a backhoe, but dirt and silt subsequently clogged the inlet once more. The city has applied for a permit with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to once again clean the lake’s inlet, but it has not yet received word on whether it will receive one.
    Andrews, Roberge and Alder were not city employees in 2004 and were unable to comment on the effectiveness of the 2004 dredging.
    However, Andrews said it is not the city’s obligation to clean the inlet and outlet of the lake. She said individual property owners could contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife to obtain permits and carry out their own projects to protect their property.
    Many homes on the lake were built on what would later be declared wetlands, so those property owners are required to have their actions certified by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    Andrews also said the flooding of the lake is a natural process and therefore not an act of pollution. She said the city has received word from King County that Lake Boren is a stable and healthy lake.
    Andrews said only one resident of the lake’s north end has come to her regarding flooding inside of a home.

    Newcastle residents who live on the north shore of Lake Boren have dealt with wintertime flooding for years. In 2007, Robert Patterson said so much water flooded his crawl space that he had to pay $4,000 to repair his heater. Read more

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