Rapid Response

January 7, 2011

What is your New Year’s resolution?

Reduce the amount of clutter in our home.

Trina Sooy, Newcastle

More of the same.

Lee Strom, Newcastle

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Correction

January 7, 2011

In the Dec. 3 issue of Newcastle News, the headline for a story regarding a new American flag being given to Hazelwood Elementary School was incorrect. The headline should read “Pack 497 Cub Scouts give flag to Hazelwood Elementary.”

Letter to the editor

January 7, 2011

City should worry about something other than parks

I have lived in this community for 15 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me that the most frequent chat is about city parks and now dog parks.

You would think there is nothing else ever going on around here by reading these similar letters every month. How about the city worries a bit more about the out-of-control development, and every tree and animal in this area being displaced in the rush for money to put in the city coffers?

This once-sleepy community is way overdeveloped and not so sleepy and country as it once was.

Wes Tipton

Newcastle

Chamber of commerce names officers for 2011

January 7, 2011

Angela Wingate, municipal liaison manager for Puget Sound Energy, will take over as chairwoman of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

Angelica Buri — owner of Angelica Buri Designs — will take the role of vice chair once again, while Larry Betsch takes over as treasurer and Coal Creek Utility District Commissioner Doug Kunkel takes over as secretary.

Wingate will replace Nick Sooy, who served as chairman for the past two years.

“I am very excited and honored to represent the chamber as chairman for 2011 and plan on continuing Nick’s efforts in bringing the community, city and businesses together in order to support economic development in Newcastle,” Wingate said. “It is critical, now more than ever, to support our local businesses so we can sustain the Newcastle community.

“Please join me this year in finding ways to strengthen businesses by supporting chamber-sponsored events — such as the Newcastle Days sidewalk sale — in order to keep Newcastle thriving.”

Sooy will still serve as a chamber of commerce board member.

“It’s been very rewarding and a lot of work and a lot of fun,” Sooy said about serving as chairman. “I think Angela is the perfect person to pass on the baton to. I think very, very highly of her, and I think she’ll do exceptionally well in this position.”

Current park locations cannot host dog park

January 7, 2011

The Parks Commission should either find a suitable location for an off-leash dog park in the city or recommend to the City Council that no park be built in Newcastle at all.

The two locations still being considered — the southwest corner of Lake Boren Park and the future sports park to be off Southeast 95th Way — present issues significant enough to warrant disqualification as potential sites.

Olympus residents have expressed concern about the Lake Boren Park location. Some live a matter of yards away from the proposed dog park site, and have objected to side effects of what a dog park could bring, including noise and sanitation issues. These residents are concerned a park could aversely affect the value of their homes, and they might be right.

Many dog owners who would use an off-leash park — including those from the Newcastle organization Friends Embracing the Canine Heart — have rejected placing a dog park at the site of the future sports park, citing concerns with the site’s remoteness and its location near the city’s south limits. Thus, the city is likely to get little or no private financial assistance in constructing or maintaining a park here.

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There goes the neighborhood

January 7, 2011

My niece and her fiancé are moving into a home in Lake Washington Ridge.

According to Google Maps, it’s .63 miles away as the crow flies, although via road, it’s a mile. The house is newer than ours, and I will admit to a mild case of kitchen envy, but that envy is offset by the fact that they have 4-wheel-drive vehicles (we don’t) and a generator (we don’t), both good things to have nearby in a La Niña year. They also have air conditioning, so I know where we’ll be sleeping on the three nights a year when the temperature soars over 78 degrees.

While they were contemplating an offer, I put together a portfolio with a cover letter explaining that we’d conducted a survey with some anonymous area residents, and we hoped that it would help them make their decision. In the interest of impartiality, I included the bad along with the good:

Good: You might see these in your yard: deer, raccoons, bobcat, opossum, Pacific tree frogs, the other kind of frogs that aren’t as cute, snakes, chipmunks, native Douglas squirrels, bear scat and more than 30 species of bird, including the bald eagle.

Bad: Well, there’s that bear scat thing. And crows can be loud and territorial.

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Issaquah schools could lose $3 million in state budget cuts

January 7, 2011

The Issaquah School District is slated to lose $3.17 million in the proposed budget Gov. Chris Gregoire released Dec. 15.

The Renton School District has not yet calculated how the proposed state budget would affect its budget, spokesman Randy Matheson said.

The 2011-13 proposed state budget aims to address a $4.6 billion shortfall.

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Library is cleared for construction

January 7, 2011

The Newcastle Library is cleared for construction.

Library officials submitted its final payment and paperwork to the city during the first week of January, City Manager Rob Wyman said. King County Library System Director of Facilities Development Kay Johnson said she is waiting to receive a schedule from contractor Synergy Construction for details as to when construction will begin.

Go to Newcastle News’ website, www.newcastle-news.com, for updates about the library construction schedule.

Cynthia Youngblood

January 7, 2011

Cynthia Youngblood, of Newcastle, died at home, surrounded by her family, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010. She was 53.

Cynthia Youngblood

There was a viewing Dec. 22 at Flintoft’s Issaquah Funeral Home. Committal was at Upper Hillside Cemetery. There was also a memorial at Calvary Fellowship Chapel in Montlake Terrace.

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City Council passes developer stimulus ordinance

January 7, 2011

The City Council unanimously passed an extension to a developer stimulus ordinance at its Dec. 7 meeting that will continue helping certain development projects in the city withstand the economic recession.

The ordinance — originally adopted in February — defers fee collection and allows more time for developers to obtain permits and city approvals.

With the extension, preliminary plat approvals granted between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2014, may be valid for two additional years; engineering review permits set to expire in 2011 may be valid for one additional year; and traffic as well as parks and open space impact fees — paid to the city — may be deferred for all developments for four to six months.

Through preliminary plat approval, the city approves the design and layout of a given development, and the approval is typically valid for five years. Nine developments are eligible for the extension.

Engineering review permits give developers clearance to begin constructing utilities, typically the first step in construction, City Manager Rob Wyman said. The permits are typically valid for two years, and several developments are eligible for this extension as well.

Impact fees are required to offset a development’s impact on public infrastructure and adjust for the provision of public services. The city typically collects these fees when it issues building permits and/or gives final approval to a development.

Redmond, Sammamish, Kenmore, Kirkland, Federal Way and King County have taken similar actions in the past two years.

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