Build trails, clean Hazelwood Park this weekend

June 9, 2011

NEW — 4:55 p.m. June 9, 2011

Newcastle Trails and the Newcastle Weed Warriors are holding work parties June 11.

Newcastle Trails will build a portion of the May Creek Trail, and the Weed Warriors will clean up Hazelwood Park, 121st Place Southeast.

Trail work will be from 9 a.m. to noon between Coal Creek Parkway and the existing May Creek Rail Trail. Volunteers will begin tossing sticks, removing vegetation and roughing out the trail. Wear sturdy shoes, long pants and long sleeves for the work.

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Investigative reporter Susannah Frame to speak at chamber lunch

June 6, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. June 6, 2011

King 5 investigative reporter Susannah Frame will speak at the June 8 Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at The Golf Club at Newcastle. The event is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Lunch costs $25 per person, and it is open to the public. However, an RSVP is required to attend. Click here to RSVP.

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Police blotter for June 6

June 6, 2011

NEW — 2:15 p.m. June 6, 2011

Car break-ins

A man reported that his 2011 Lexus RX 450h had been broken into at the Red Town Trailhead, 15500 Newcastle Golf Club Road, between 4:30 and 5:45 p.m. May 19. The burglar smashed the rear driver’s side window, causing $1,000 in damage. The man reported the stolen items to be a gym bag worth $50, a pair of dress pants worth $50 and a pair of sandals worth $100.

A man reported that his 1988 Subaru GL had been stolen from the Cougar Mountain Trailhead in the 10100 block of Renton-Issaquah Road Southeast between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. May 22.

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Refining the leaders of tomorrow

June 3, 2011

Woman’s nonprofit provides mentors for high school girls

Newcastle resident Danna Johnston operates a nonprofit organization that helps teenage girls and a company that addresses skin care issues specific to people with dark skin. By Tim Pfarr

When children reach high school, they often start learning from those outside the home. That was the case for Danna Johnston.

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City staff post-employment restrictions tightened

June 3, 2011

The City Council voted May 3 to create a new section of city code that — in some circumstances — restricts former city employees from working for companies with which they negotiated, supervised or approved contracts during their city employment.

If the employee takes a job at such a company, he or she would face a $10,000 fine for violating any of four restrictions.

According to the new code:

First, for one year after leaving the city, an employee cannot accept a job with a company if he or she approved large contracts for that company and would work on the same project as he or she did at the city. The contracts are considered large if they total more than $100,000 during the employee’s last two years at the city.

Second, an employee cannot have a financial interest in any contract that he or she played a role in negotiating, supervising or awarding while working at the city.

Third, an employee cannot accept a job offer from a company if he or she knows or has reason to believe the offer has been made as compensation for his or her work while working at the city.

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Fourth of July fireworks set at Lake Boren

June 3, 2011

Details emerging for Newcastle Days

UPDATED — 10:50 a.m. June 29, 2011

The city’s annual Fourth of July celebration in Lake Boren Park is a go this year, thanks to a $10,000 sponsorship from Lake Boren Townhomes, which opened in April on the north shore of Lake Boren. Resident Shel Neufeld also offered to match as much as $1,000 of contributions from local businesses for the event.*

This year’s celebration in the park will include music from Seattle cover band Shelley and the Curves, food vendors and — of course — a lot of fireworks to light up the twilight sky.

The celebration starts at 6 p.m. with fireworks starting at 10 p.m. Don’t forget a blanket. The new playground will be open for children in attendance.

“We are extremely excited to be part of the Newcastle community and are happy to do what we can to keep the celebration going,” Lake Boren Townhomes developer Claudio Guincher said in a news release. “Future homeowners will have a front row seat to the fireworks celebration. This is something we want them to be able to enjoy for years to come.”

Mayor John Dulcich said he was very grateful for the contribution from the developer.

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City moves forward with Lake Boren flooding mitigation plan

June 3, 2011

The City Council has directed city staff members to move forward with a plan aimed at mitigating flooding from Lake Boren.

The lake’s water level rises in winter, flooding residents’ basements and yards on the north end of the lake.

China Creek roared into the north end of Lake Boren in December 2010 with heavy rain, flooding residents’ properties and dumping a slew of gravel and sediment on their lawns. By Tim Pfarr

City staff members presented a draft scope of work at the May 13 council meeting, seeking feedback regarding how to proceed with the project. The staff members proposed collecting data from the lake and identifying ways to mitigate the lake level.

In addition to addressing flooding on the north end of the lake, the draft said the project would also include exploring ways to make the north end of the lake more accessible.

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County adopts plan to prevent offenders from returning to jail

June 3, 2011

King County leaders accepted a plan May 9 to prevent offenders from returning to jail, and to help former offenders transition from incarceration to society.

The decision enables the county to access funds through the federal Second Chance Act, a measure meant to provide social services to prevent recidivism among former offenders.

The legislation authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing and other services.

“I was pleased to put together a motion calling for the plan in July, and I am more pleased that we have adopted that plan,” Councilman Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor and Newcastle representative, said in a statement. “During these times of seriously declining resources, we need to do everything we can to position ourselves to compete for resources.”

Congress recently authorized $83 million for Second Chance Act programs. The federal government awards grants to local and state governments for the implementation of re-entry programs for released prison and jail inmates. In order to be eligible for the funds, local governments must put a re-entry program in place.

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Carol Simpson will seek re-election to council seat

June 3, 2011

Councilwoman Carol Simpson announced in May that she will seek re-election this fall. Simpson — who has Position 2 on the council — joins Deputy Mayor Steve Buri, Councilwoman Lisa Jensen and Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton on the November ballot.

None of the candidates who are slated to be on the ballot have yet picked up opponents, although candidates have until June 10 to file for election.

Carol Simpson

Members serve at large and represent the entire city, rather than specific neighborhoods or defined geographic areas.

Simpson has lived in Newcastle since 1998. She is a retired architect — although still a licensed one — and she began her work on the council in 2008. Prior to being elected as a councilwoman, she spent eight years as a member of the planning commission.

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Issaquah School District considers $228 million bond

June 3, 2011

Though far from complete, the 2012 Issaquah School District bond has something for all of the district’s 24 schools, making the work-in-process price $228.6 million.

The bond — which has yet to come before the superintendent and the Issaquah School Board — calls for $44.6 million in improvements and expansions to Liberty High School, $3.8 million in improvements to Maywood Middle School and $17,000 in improvements to Newcastle Elementary School.

At Liberty, the bond calls for a new auxiliary gym, a modernized locker room, a new café in the commons and an acoustic improvement to the main hall.

The bond would also call for Liberty to receive a new video and TV studio, roofing fixes, modernized classrooms, a new ticket booth at the entrance to the school’s fields and new bleachers on the home side of the football field.

For Maywood, the bond would call for improvements to roofing, windows, flooring, carpeting, plumbing, and the heating and ventilation system. The school’s grass field would also be converted to artificial turf, as rainy winters make the grass field muddy and temporarily unusable.

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