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

EDITORIAL: Shop Newcastle — it’s home

November 6, 2009

There are so many good reasons to make a true commitment to shopping right here in Newcastle. Let us count the ways.

Boost the local economy. Spend $100 at a local store and $45-$68 of it stays here in Newcastle. Local businesses hire your neighbors. More of your tax dollars are reinvested in your community parks, roads and public safety. And you’ll save on gas, leaving a little extra to spend on you.

The environment wins. Buying local means less packaging than an online purchase requires, and fewer gas emissions from transporting goods or from your own driving.

It’s about community. Local retailers are your friends and neighbors, and more likely to give you the best service. Local businesses donate to local nonprofit organizations in support of their community. And local businesses are often the best social-networking sites, where people connect to make things happen. Newcastle businesses give our community its one-of-a-kind personality!

At a time when the city of Newcastle is contemplating every possible budget cut, every dollar you spend locally does matter. At a time when local businesses are barely hanging on to their employees, it makes a big impact when you spend your dollars here.

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses are asking local families to think twice when they buy a tank of gas or pick up a gallon of milk outside the Newcastle city limits. Choosing professionals — from health care providers to the dog groomer — in a nearby city is only taking away from Newcastle business owners.

Consumers are beginning to spend again, although still conservatively. Make every dollar count. Newcastle is home.

Work to be done

There is nothing like a local election to divide friends and a community as candidates get heated in their quest for votes. It can also be a time of renewal.

This year’s city elections are now over and it’s time to put aside personal feelings. The voters and the city are the real winners — if the energy and passion of the candidates and their supporters can be channeled into the work that lies ahead in making important decisions about the city’s future.

Pay attention, speak up, volunteer. There’s work to be done.

Letters to the editor

November 6, 2009

Calling for Kids was a success

Thank you all who donated to Calling for Kids last month, making it our most successful ever with $235,000 pledged from 1,986 donors! These funds will be used to raise academic achievement, support struggling students and provide professional development opportunities for staff. They come during a critical time of declining resources for our district.

We are grateful to the entire community for their support — the high school students who made the calls, and in doing so, raised money for their clubs and teams; the teachers and other school district staff members including Superintendent Steve Rasmussen, who addressed envelopes and made phone calls; the Issaquah Schools Foundation Board and Advisory Council for their critical support; the event committee led by Deborah Parsons and Leigh Stokes; and most importantly, the community, who gave so generously.

Thank you, everyone, for your support.

Robin Callahan, executive director

Issaquah Schools Foundation

Where’s the south end candidate forum?

A new school year is upon us – but with an old problem.

In my e-mail inbox recently was a note from the Issaquah School District. It told of an election preview meeting for school board candidates sponsored by the Issaquah PTSA Council to be held at Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus. The Issaquah Press hosted a candidate’s night for Issaquah City Council and school board positions in Issaquah.

The PTSA president told me that because no one on the plateau knows the candidates, they decided to have the meeting up there. One of these candidates will represent this area on the school board. So far, none of the area schools have volunteered to have a candidate’s night. How many south-end residents know who the candidates are?

The PTSA and district are two separate entities. But once again, south-end residents are left out. I attended the boundary review meeting at Liberty High School a couple of years ago. Parents attending the meeting were concerned about Liberty students not having as many classes as Skyline and Issaquah high students have to choose from.

The same goes for the number of classes at Maywood Middle School versus plateau or valley middle schools. District staff blew the parents’ concerns away.

“We are going to meet to discuss this problem and will be seeking a solution,” the audience was told. The principals met last year. I was told that the district will use what it “learned” last year to help decide on a new math curriculum and how to smoothly integrate the Pacific Cascade freshmen back to Skyline and Issaquah high schools – among other things. So much for equality among the various district schools when it comes to classes offered at the various schools.

In the coming months, there will be districtwide discussions — with and without the PTSA Council and district staff — regarding the upcoming February levy vote. Maybe the south-end residents should reject the levy to let the PTSA, other parts of the district and district administration know that we exist out here.

Claudia Donnelly

Renton

5K races are milestones in weight-loss marathon

November 6, 2009

Amy Herrmann climbed the ridge above Newcastle and stared down at the finish line Aug. 29 at the Newcastle 5K race.

“I saw the finish and I just stood there and started freaking out,” she said. “I started feeling like what if people didn’t think I finished fast enough.” Read more

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