Commission narrows locations for dog park

September 2, 2010

The Parks Commission tours a location it is considering for an off-leash dog park — the future sports park, north off Southeast 95th Way. By Tim Pfarr

The Parks Commission has narrowed the number of potential locations for a Newcastle dog park to four.

The locations are two spots near Lake Boren, the sports park to be north off Southeast 95th Way and piece of city property in the Madison Lane neighborhood, at the corner of Southeast 71st Place and 114th Avenue Southeast.

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Council names Rob Wyman as city manager

September 2, 2010

The City Council hired interim City Manager Rob Wyman as its permanent city manager Aug. 31 by a 6-1 vote with Councilman Sonny Putter dissenting. The decision came after a one-hour executive session discussing the final four candidates for the position with recruiter Greg Prothman.

Rob Wyman

Wyman’s salary will be $110,000 per year with benefits, and he will not be entitled to severance pay if he is fired from the job. However, he would be entitled to four months severance pay if he relocates to Newcastle, as he lives in Seattle. He also will not receive compensation for his commute, as former City Manager John Starbard had.

Wyman’s final contract will be approved at a council meeting in September.

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Library goes out to bid

September 2, 2010

New facility to break ground at end of month

The King County Library System put the construction of the Newcastle Library out to bid Aug. 17.

KCLS Director Bill Ptacek said the bidding process would take four weeks, and groundbreaking would be near the end of September.

The Newcastle Library, which went out to bid last month, is finishing the permitting process and will soon break ground. Contributed

Ptacek and KCLS Director of Facilities Development Kay Johnson announced the news at the Aug. 17 City Council meeting, and the audience responded with applause. Construction is still slated to take about a year, yielding a fall 2011 opening.

KCLS is now finishing the permitting process with the city and working with Puget Sound Energy to move utilities underground on 129th Avenue Southeast.

The final design of the library calls for 11,500 square feet of floor space and 7,500 square feet of plants on the green roof. The building will use radiant floor heating, which channels hot water under the floor to heat the building. The size of the workroom has also been reduced, adding 400-500 more feet of study space.

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Sidewalks to be built on east side of 116th

September 2, 2010

The city will build sidewalks on the east side of 116th Avenue Southeast from Southeast 84th Street to Southeast 88th Street.

Director of Community Development Steve Roberge said the construction would likely take less than two months and be done next spring.

. The city will build sidewalks along the eastside of 116th Avenue Southeast from Southeast 84th Street to Southeast 88th Street. By Gray & Osborne Inc

There are no sidewalks between Southeast 80th Street and Southeast 88th Street along 116th Avenue Southeast, which raised safety concerns, as children frequently walk along the street to Hazelwood Elementary School.

“It is a dangerous street,” Councilman Bill Erxleben said. “It’s a safety issue and we need to do something.”

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Representative honored by construction group

September 2, 2010

The statewide trade association for the commercial construction industry has named state Rep. Judy Clibborn as Legislator of the Year.

Clibborn, a four-term Democrat and former Mercer Island mayor, represents Talus, southwest Issaquah and Cougar Mountain communities as part of the 41st Legislative District.

Gene Colin, government affairs council chairman for Associated General Contractors, said Clibborn “gets it.”

“She understands that an efficient and adequate transportation system is good for the economy and the environment,” Colin said in a news release.

Clibborn is the chairwoman of the powerful House Transportation Committee. The trade association lauded Clibborn for helping to block legislation for added requirements to use subcontractors. The association described the measure as ill conceived and costly.

“Her contribution and support of our goals goes way beyond transportation,” Rick Slunaker, government affairs director for the group, said in the release. “Rep. Clibborn understands the importance of and has helped lead efforts to reform workers’ compensation laws and to save taxpayer dollars by opposing unworkable public contracting requirements.”

Clibborn, elected unopposed in 2008, is set to face Stephen Strader, a Bellevue Republican, or independent candidate Orion S. Webster in the Nov. 2 election. Voters will pick the top two candidates in the Tuesday primary.

Council adopts communications plan for city

September 2, 2010

The City Council adopted a Communications Strategic Plan by a unanimous vote at its Aug. 3 meeting.

The Community, Communications and Outreach Committee — Councilman Rich Crispo and councilwomen Lisa Jensen and Carol Simpson — brought the plan forward.

Mayor John Dulcich created the Community, Communications and Outreach Committee earlier this year, and he spoke in favor of the plan at the Aug. 3 meeting.

“I think by having better communications, we’re able to enlist more volunteers,” he said. “And there is more openness between the community and the city.”

The plan outlines communications strategies and policies for the city to follow. It also lists many goals, including increasing awareness, interest and participation in city government affairs; building community pride among citizens; and providing residents with the information they want in the manner they desire it.

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Council gears up for annual budget retreat

September 2, 2010

The City Council’s annual budget retreat is from 1-8 p.m. Sept. 7 in the Muirfield Room at The Golf Course at Newcastle and is open to the public.

Topics include the city’s financial state, budgeting strategies, staff reorganization, changes to city staff salary and benefits, possibly transferring city-owned parks to private ownership, levels of service and revenue sources. It will also examine the city’s tax base relative to other cities.

Director of Finance Christine Olson gave the council a five-year revenue forecast at its Aug. 17 meeting to review prior to the budget retreat. She presented optimistic, pessimistic and most likely scenarios.

The most likely scenario calls for a 1-percent to 2-percent increase in revenue each year until 2013, when she forecasts a 4-percent increase as part of an economic upswing.

However, Olson noted that the city has little space left for development, which is problematic, as the city has historically sustained itself on development revenue. Thus, her forecast calls for meager development revenue.

On the web

Read Director of Finance Christine Olson’s five-year financial forecast at www.ci.newcastle.wa.us, in the Aug. 17 City Council agenda packet, under the “City Records” tab.

Letters to the editor

September 2, 2010

Bo knows dog parks

My name is Bo,

I’m a Jack Russell terrier and 5 years old.

We go to Lake Boren Park every day

whether rain or snow or sunny day.

We’ve made lots of friends, both 2 and 4 feet;

The dogs are my friends

and some people have treats.

My buddies run, play or chase balls —

Things we can’t do inside house walls.

A play space of our own is what we seek,

so my friends have asked me to speak.

We love this park, it’s lots of fun;

Trees and grass and room to run.

This park is for everyone to use,

an off-leash area would be great news.

Craig Protor, Bellevue (on behalf of his dog, Bo)

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Dog park only works at Lake Boren, sports park

September 2, 2010

The Parks Commission recently narrowed down potential locations for a Newcastle dog park to Lake Boren Park, the Lake Boren Esplanade, a piece of city property near Madison Lane and the sports park to be built north off of Southeast 95th Way.

However, only Lake Boren Park or the sports park is fit to host a dog park.

The Lake Boren Esplanade is a long, narrow 2.2-acre patch of land west off of Coal Creek Parkway, near the intersection with Southeast 79th Street. The location almost directly abuts Lake Boren and Coal Creek Parkway. Some of the site is considered a critical area by the county, and the north end of the site can fill with water in the winter.

Building

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the park would be a massive hassle with the features of the land. Being near the water and the road may increase the risk of dogs swimming in the lake or running across the parkway.

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County Council praises elections watchdog group

September 2, 2010

King County Council members offered praise last week for the citizen committee responsible for restoring confidence in the county elections office after the disputed 2004 race for governor.

The ceremonial support for the Citizens’ Elections Oversight Committee came as King County Elections continues to tally ballots from the Aug. 17 primary.

The contest between former state Sen. Dino Rossi, a Republican, and then-Attorney General Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, dragged on through recounts and a court challenge. In the end, Gregoire edged out Rossi by 133 votes.

County Council members created the watchdog group in 2003 to oversee elections and improve performance and accountability at the then-King County Elections Division.

The council made the oversight group permanent in 2006. The committee has offered more than 180 recommendations to improve King County elections.

The county has implemented many of the recommendations, and changes to state and federal elections laws covered several others. Former Issaquah Mayor A.J. Culver serves on the committee as the Municipal League of King County representative. The council appoints the members to represent voters, the major political parties, civic groups and government agencies.

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