Newcastle eye surgeon pleads not guilty in murder plot

November 18, 2009

UPDATED — 5:19 p.m. Nov. 18, 2009

Michael Mockovak, 51, of Newcastle, was charged Monday with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder. Today, he pleaded not guilty to both counts.

King County prosecutors said in charging papers that Mockovak, a surgeon for Clearly Lasik, sought to have his business partner, Joseph King, and former Clearly Lasik President Brad Klock killed.

Mockovak is being held on $2 million bail, and he is prohibited from contacting King and his family, as well as Klock and his family. Mockovak was also forced to surrender his passport.

If Mockovak is convicted as charged, he will face 30 to 40 years in prison. He will return to court Dec. 16 for a case setting hearing to schedule a trial date.

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And the Diamond Award winners are…

November 18, 2009

NEW — 4:53 p.m. Nov. 18, 2009

This year’s Diamond Awards were presented to outstanding members of the community today during the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon.

Five awards are given each year, typically one in each of the following categories: business, youth, senior, education and community.

The chamber of commerce awarded Sandra Wixon, owner of chocolate shop Sweet Decadence, with the business award.

The chamber awarded the youth award to both Clay Strom and Jay Chakravarty. Strom helped co-organize the first Newcastle 5K Run, and Chakravarty with the Boy Scouts.

The chamber presented the senior award to Giles Velte — board member of Newcastle Trails — and it presented the education award to Jane Keskimaki — chair of the Hazelwood Elementary School PTSA.

Finally, the chamber of commerce presented the community award to Grace Stiller, for her extensive volunteer work.

Local eye-surgeon charged with criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder

November 16, 2009

NEW — 5:52 p.m. Nov. 16, 2009

Michael Mockovak, 51, of Newcastle, was charged today with criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

King County prosecutors said in charging papers that Mockovak, a surgeon for Clearly Lasik, sought to have his business partner, Joseph King, and former Clearly Lasik President Brad Klock killed.

Mockovak and King had fired Klock in early 2007, and Klock subsequently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Clearly Lasik.

Mockovak approached Daniel Kultin — a Russian emigrant and the company’s director of information technologies — and asked if Kultin had any mafia connections who could “take care of” Klock, according to the charging papers.

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City Council candidates Rich Crispo, Bill Erxleben and John Dulcich lead

November 6, 2009

NEW — 5:19 p.m. Nov. 12, 2009

City Council candidates Rich Crispo, Bill Erxleben and John Dulcich led in unofficial election results released Thursday evening.

In Position 5, Karin Blakley ran against Crispo. In Position 6, Erxleben ran against Kandy Schendel. In Position 7, Dulcich ran against incumbent Jean Garber.

Crispo led Blakley 65 percent to 35 percent, Erxleben led Schendel 62 to 38 percent and Dulcich led Garber 52 percent to 48 percent in a close race.

Blakley, Schendel and Garber have advertised together, and they place priority developing downtown Newcastle with mixed-use buildings. They said although the city faces financial challenges, they can move the city forward, prioritize and make do with less.

Crispo said he is opposed to developing Newcastle’s downtown with mixed-use, multistory buildings, as he said he found community members were not in favor of the idea.

Erxlben and Dulcich are opposed to the city’s floor-area ratio requirements that promote the use of multistory, mixed-use buildings, as they said they feel the decision to develop mixed-use, multistory buildings should be the developer’s, not the city’s.

Record breakers

November 6, 2009

Scott Perkins (left) and Casey Dunn warm up by tossing a Frisbee back in forth Oct. 29 in their Newcastle backyard before attempting to set a new world record for behind-the-back Frisbee throws in one minute. The previous record was two; the Newcastle duo recorded 29. For more, see story, Page 20. For a video of the event, see www.newcastle-news.com. By Tim Pfarr

Scott Perkins (left) and Casey Dunn warm up by tossing a Frisbee back in forth Oct. 29 in their Newcastle backyard before attempting to set a new world record for behind-the-back Frisbee throws in one minute. The previous record was two; the Newcastle duo recorded 29. For a video of the event, see www.newcastle-news.com. By Tim Pfarr

Three leaders emerge on election night

November 6, 2009

City Council candidates Rich Crispo, Bill Erxleben and John Dulcich led in the first unofficial election results released Nov. 3. Read more

City blog removed from Internet

November 6, 2009

The city’s award-winning blog — Newcastle 411 — has been removed from the Internet. However, Newcastle officials will own exclusive rights to the blog’s domain name until October 2010.

The blog’s removal comes in the wake of Communications Manager Doug Alder’s resignation announcement Oct. 5. Read more

Budget cuts in community events, city jobs eyed

November 6, 2009

In the 2010 city manager’s recommended budget, Finance Director Christine Olson forecasted the city will collect slightly more than $6.01 million next year. This marks a 7 percent decrease from the 2009 budget and a 13.7 percent decrease from the 2008 budget. Read more

New, hard to see street signs draw complaints

November 6, 2009

During the summer, the city installed new street signs along Coal Creek Parkway at the 89th Street, May Valley Road and 91st Street intersections. The signs are light green, a color some would consider chartreuse.

Numerous individuals have said the signs are difficult to read because of the lack of contrast, and Public Works Director Maiya Andrews said because of this, she will not purchase any more such signs until the issue is resolved. Read more

Pitting the pocketbook: The cost of political signs

November 6, 2009

It was recently election season again, and as always, paper and plastic political signs were out in full force.

Sign distributor Art Boruck, who sold signs to each of this year’s six Newcastle City Council candidates, said signs usually range between $1 and $4.50 each, with plastic signs and those with more than one color being more expensive. Read more

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