Library undergoing approval process

August 5, 2010

The Newcastle Library is continuing to work its way through the permitting process with the city, and is concurrently undergoing its site plan, site design and building permit approvals.

“It’s going along pretty smoothly so far,” interim City Manager Rob Wyman said, adding that the city has not encountered any barriers in the process to this point that could keep the library from breaking ground this fall.

“There’s nothing we have seen so far that will preclude them from meeting that schedule,” he said.

Wyman said most projects don’t undergo multiple stages of approval at once, but the library and the city have worked heavily together, and are trying to get the project through the permitting process as quickly as possible.

After the permit process is complete, the King County Library System will need to go through the bidding process for the project. Then, the project will be ready to start the yearlong construction process, KCLS Director of Facilities Development

Letters to the Editor

August 5, 2010

Award-winning parkway project still has two problems to overcome

I think Coal Creek Parkway came out really well, and the award is deserved. The design is functional, and it seems like it should hold up reasonably well. The artistic elements (rock-look concrete and bridge arches) seem more aesthetically pleasing than plain concrete.

The primary problem is economic. We spent so much being the lead agency that we’ll be paying it off for a long time, significantly reducing the funds we have available for maintenance and services. If King County had been the lead agency, the road would probably have been designed to be a plainer highway, so there was a tradeoff.

The other problem is related to the first. The planting strips require more maintenance than the city can afford if they are to be kept up in garden fashion.

It might be necessary to plant a thick ground cover or shrubbery (not ivy) along with the street trees, and do weeding only once or twice a year; or mow it. Volunteers probably shouldn’t be working in the middle of Coal Creek Parkway, at least during the day, and there seems to be more work there than we can expect of volunteers on a regular basis, anyway.

If we can get past those two problems, I think we will be enjoying the parkway for a long time.

Peggy Price, Newcastle

Read more

Council OKs six-year Transportation Improvement Plan

August 5, 2010

Coal Creek Parkway improvements, alternate Windtree entrance cut

The City Council approved its Transportation Improvement Plan for 2011-2016 at its July 6 regular meeting. The plan’s adoption was required by the state Department of Transportation.

The plan details the city’s upcoming transportation projects, which includes numerous ongoing projects as well as six new ones. The new projects call for the completion of a pedestrian gap near the Coal Creek YMCA, a study of 118th Avenue Southeast, and pedestrian improvements to 116th Avenue Southeast, Newcastle Way, 112th Avenue Southeast and 125th Avenue Southeast.

The existing projects include those that call for a new traffic signal to be installed at the intersection of Newcastle Way and 129th Avenue Southeast, and expansion of Southeast 84th Street.

The Pavement Management Program — which calls for repair, rehabilitation, reconstruction and maintenance of existing streets — is the city’s top priority.

The Pavement Management Program is also one of the most expensive projects, costing upward of $566,000 per year.

Read more

Rapid Response

August 5, 2010

The City Council passed a resolution at its July 6 meeting opposing a countywide increase in taxes to fund public safety. What do you think of this resolution?

I’m sure they had their reasons.

— Trina Sooy, Newcastle

It is impossible to place a price on public safety services, but I totally support this resolution in view of our current economic downturn. The City Council has a tough job of making sure we don’t overspend while balancing the city’s budget.

— Thomas Tan, Newcastle

I’m all for improving public safety. I would like to know specifically what that means for Newcastle.

— Troy Anderson, Newcastle

The Parks Commission decided to move forward with building a dog park in the city. Next, it will look at possible locations in the city for the park. Where do you think the park should be located?

The north field of Lake Boren Park seems like a good location to me.

— Trina Sooy, Newcastle

What? So, we have funds to build a dog park in the city?

— Thomas Tan, Newcastle

Family’s allergic to dogs and cats. How’s the Newcastle border with Bellevue or Renton?

— Troy Anderson, Newcastle

The city recently adopted its 2011-2016 Transportation Improvement Plan. It originally called for a second entrance to the Windtree neighborhood to be built at Southeast 88th Place, but the City Council cut the project. What do you think of the decision?

I’ve always heard about Windtree, but don’t exactly know where it is after living here for 10 plus years. Instead, I’d like to see funding for a complete sidewalk or at least a widened shoulder along 116th from Newcastle Way to 88th, and along 89th/88th from Coal Creek to the west.

— Trina Sooy, Newcastle

I don’t know… thinking about the “public safety” aspect of a dog park!

— Thomas Tan, Newcastle

I’m still waiting for the park facility Sonny Putter promised when I moved into Newcastle 10 years ago; I remember it being in a plan once.

— Troy Anderson, Newcastle

Music and movies continue in August

August 5, 2010

Although the Concerts in the Park series concluded Aug. 4, the YMCA organized a teen concert to take place at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in Lake Boren Park. Several local teen bands are scheduled to perform.

Also, Movies on the Green continues at The Golf Club at Newcastle with “Night at the Museum” Aug. 13. The film begins at dusk on the green of the ninth hole of the Coal Creek course. Admission and popcorn are free.

Newcastle’s Donna Tucker runs for District Court

August 5, 2010

Newcastle residents may recognize a familiar name on their primary ballots this month. Donna Tucker, a 14-year resident of Olympus, is running for District Court Northeast Electoral District Judge in Position 7.

Tucker, an attorney who co-managed the law office Tucker & Stein P.S. Inc. from 1987 to 2004, began her judicial work in 2000 as a pro tem judge for the Municipal Court of Renton.

Donna Tucker

After taking a step back from her attorney work, she worked as a pro tem judge in King County District Courts as well as with municipal courts for Issaquah, Mercer Island, Kirkland, Kent, Tukwila and Des Moines.

“It’s almost become a full-time job, really,” she said.

Position 7 is one of four new municipal judge positions created by the county earlier this year.

Read more

Laughing all the way: My birthday wish list

August 5, 2010

I turned 60 on July 8. I’d hoped to get down to Massage Envy, because they’re now offering facials and have a special anti-aging treatment, but I didn’t make it in time and ended up turning 60 anyway. Now, I can say funny and obscene things with impunity, leave parties early and flip the lights on and off when family members stay too long after dinner as a reminder that it’s time for them to leave.

Oh wait. I do that already.

Anyhow, there are some things that I’d like to work on or have fixed to suit my new status:

  • People magazine needs to add footnotes, because I don’t know who the hell these people are. I don’t subscribe to People, but have been known to grab it at the hair salon or the gym. I flip through it in the hopes that I might actually recognize someone, but instead I see page after page of long-haired, sullen starlets with their legs crossed as if the bathroom is their next stop, and men so young that I’m betting they still keep their Legos under the bed. Read more

West, north side of Lake Boren to link with sewer system

August 5, 2010

UPDATED — 4:55 p.m. Aug. 11, 2010

Homes on the west and north side on Lake Boren will soon have the option to hook up to the Coal Creek Utility District’s sewer system, thanks to a low-interest Public Works Trust Fund loan administered by the state.

Construction is scheduled to begin in late summer or fall, and it will most likely take four to six months to complete, according to CCUD officials.

Sewer lines will soon be extended on the north and west sides of Lake Boren. Green lines on the map show existing sewer lines, and red lines show what will be the new lines. By PACE Engineers Inc.

“There’s been a lot of talk over the years that the district should do something about this,” CCUD General Manager * Tom Peadon said.

The project will complete sewer lines around the lake, but homeowners will need to pay to hook up to the system. Peadon said he could not specify the cost to households for hooking up with the sewer, as the project is still in its initial phases, but hooking up will cost thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars.

Read more

City Council should reinstate study sessions

August 5, 2010

City Council meetings are supposed to be no longer than three hours, but in recent months, they have routinely blown past their allotted time. It isn’t uncommon for items expected to last 30 minutes to take 90 minutes, or for discussions to segue from one item to a bigger issue.

At its July 20 meeting, the City Council transitioned from a discussion of a budget report to solutions to the city’s police contract with King County. Two items were scheduled for the typically-short summer agenda, expected to take 90 minutes.

After three hours and 45 minutes, the 7 p.m. meeting adjourned at nearly 11 p.m.

That doesn’t work. Council members may not care, but getting into unannounced side topics without public input is not good. This council has promised transparency.

Read more

Couple brews up their happiness at new coffee shop

August 5, 2010

Kelly and Ron Stilwell have dreamed of opening their own coffee shop ever since backpacking through France 15 years ago and visiting European coffee shops.

“We said, ‘This would be really cool to do someday,’” Kelly Stilwell said.

They were in their late 20s at the time, and both were working in banking.

Kelly Stilwell serves customers in her and husband Ron’s (right) coffee shop, Caffe Felice, located in the Renton Landing. By Tim Pfarr

“It kind of went on the dream back burner,” Kelly Stilwell said.

In 1998, they moved to Newcastle’s Windtree neighborhood, and in 2001, Kelly gave birth to their son Tyler. She stayed home to raise and homeschool Tyler, and life continued as usual until Ron lost his job in the Washington Mutual collapse of 2008.

For many, losing a job is a curse, but for the Stilwells, it was somewhat of a blessing.

“We thought, ‘Maybe it’s time to put the dream into play,’” Kelly Stilwell said.

Ron Stilwell agreed.

“It didn’t seem like such a big risk, jumping from uncertainty to uncertainty,” he said.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »