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


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

Sweet Decadence wins award for best chocolate in Western Washington

November 6, 2009

Newcastle chocolate shop Sweet Decadence won first place in the chocolate category of King 5 TV’s annual Best of Western Washington awards. Read more

Eagle Scouts create new trail

November 6, 2009

Boy Scouts Nathan Malmberg and Aaron Escamilla, both 17, led work parties in October to create a 300-foot extension to the Hazelwood Trail. The boys completed the project to become Eagle Scouts. Read more

Teen chases a Hollywood dream

November 6, 2009

Taking a trip down the red carpet is something most children only dream of. But for Maywood Middle School eighth-grader Chase Vanek, it was a reality.

“It was so awesome,” Chase, of Newcastle, said of his walk down the red carpet at the Los Angeles premier of “Halloween II” at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Aug. 28. Read more

Students take a shot at digital photography

November 6, 2009

Students at Maywood Middle School are looking at life through a different lens.

Jeremy Schnell (right) and Erick Fesler, Maywood seventh-graders, photograph the baseball diamond. By Greg Farrar

Jeremy Schnell (right) and Erick Fesler, Maywood seventh-graders, photograph the baseball diamond. By Greg Farrar

Allowed to roam the school property every other day, the students in Hilary Nadell’s class are using their creative license to create pieces of art and expand their knowledge of digital photography. Read more

Liberty debuts new play, ‘Zap’

November 6, 2009

Audiences are in for a spectacle at Liberty High School’s premiere of “Zap” Nov. 13.

“It’s really fun and different, a new play that pokes good-natured fun at cherished theatrical forms,” Katherine Klekas, theater director for Liberty, wrote in an e-mail. “We’re always looking for something that is good but not overdone, and ‘Zap’ is quite clever and new. Read more

21 Hazen High School students earn AP Scholar awards

November 6, 2009

After performing well on their Advanced Placement exams, 21 current and former Hazen High School students earned Advanced Placement Scholar awards.

Three of the students — Jack Li, Brian Goddard and Newcastle resident Colin Jones — are seniors this year. The other 18 students graduated in June.

Renton adopts new emergency message system

November 6, 2009

The Renton School District has begun using SchoolMessenger, an automatic notification system to alert students and staff members when school has been canceled or delayed due to inclement weather. The district also uses the system to alert parents if their student is absent. Messages can be sent as personalized voice messages, text messages or e-mails. Read more

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