From the Web

June 3, 2011

Caspar Babypants

Presidential performer brings toddler rock to the masses:

Great article! It’s nice to have musicians doing interesting children’s music.

I’m in a band and we go into my son’s school a few times per year to play music for his class. Very fun!! The kids love it!

Gary –


Theater helps performer connect to audience, and also to life

I would like to thank (you) for allowing our daughter to share her highs and lows with depression and Asperger’s. Our family is very thankful for the LHS Patriot Players for being a large part of our families support network over the past four years!

Cynthia Freese, Issaquah



Ethics ordinance a positive step forward

June 3, 2011

The City Council’s recent ethics ordinance — which most notably aims to keep employees from signing off on contracts in return for jobs — is a fantastic step forward. However, this ordinance should also apply to members of the Newcastle City Council.

The existing code of ethics was too broad and did not hold employees accountable, whereas the new ordinance does — through fines. This new degree of accountability should give residents a higher level of confidence in their government.

The ordinance — which applies to employees for one year after they leave the city — should also discourage suspicious situations from originating, such as the departure of former Public Works Director Maiya Andrews. After resigning in February 2010, Andrews took a job with contractor CH2M Hill, which she worked with on the Coal Creek Parkway and Newcastle Transit Improvement projects.

There is no evidence that Andrews used her power at the city to obtain a job with the company. In fact, City Manager Rob Wyman said it would be reasonable to assume she would not have been subject to the new regulations had they been in place when she left the city and joined CH2M Hill.

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Police Blotter

June 3, 2011

Home burglaries

  • A woman reported that her home in the 7500 block of 138th Place Southeast was broken into between 5 p.m. April 23 and 10 a.m. April 24. The garage was entered, as was her unlocked vehicle inside. She reported that a cello worth $1,500 and two pairs of shoes together worth $90 were stolen.
  • A woman reported that her home in the 12700 block of Southeast 80th Way was broken into between 10 p.m. April 23 and 8 a.m. April 24. The garage was entered, as was her 2002 Toyota Corolla, which was parked in the inside. She reported that a golf bag and golf clubs were taken from the trunk. Police were unable to recover fingerprints from the scene.
  • A man reported that his home in the 13800 block of Issaquah-Hobart Road was broken into between 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. May 4. A rear window was shattered — causing $250 in damage — and $1,000 worth of jewelry was stolen.
  • A man reported his home in the 12000 block of Southeast 92nd Street was broken into between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. May 4. A rear window was broken and most of the rooms in the house were ransacked. He reported the stolen items to be an iPod Touch worth $250, a Kindle case worth $250, a suitcase worth $100, a passport card worth $150, a speaker worth $150, a Swiss army knife worth $50, miscellaneous jewelry worth $1,500, two restaurant gift cards together worth $100 and a bottle of prescription pain pills. Police recovered 13 fingerprints from the home.

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City drive-thru ban is likely to be overturned

June 3, 2011

Drive-thrus will likely be welcome again in the city’s downtown, as the City Council has begun reviewing several sections of code relating to the area.

Drive-thrus were banned from the downtown area in 2007 after the city conducted a study and found that drive-thrus were contradictory to the city’s vision of having a pedestrian-friendly downtown. Drive-thrus already in use were exempt from the ban.

The council has not yet finalized overturning the ban — which was recommended by the Planning Commission — as it will review several other sections of city code and make its alterations in one motion.

The other sections of code the council will review concern floor-area-ratio requirements, distances between storefronts and right of ways, and maximum building heights. The Planning Commission will review each section of code first and then recommend changes to the council.

If the council approves the draft of the new drive-thru code, a drive-thru can be built if it is not on the side of a building facing the right of way, if it has a landscaping screen to conceal it and if its car queue area is not adjacent to pedestrian walkways.

Also, drive- thrus must meet several criteria regarding safety, traffic impacts, public service impacts and impacts to future development.

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Issaquah School District puts laid off teachers on recall list

June 3, 2011

With the approval of the state biennial budget, the Renton and Issaquah school districts are in a budget crunch.

Class sizes will not increase in the Issaquah district next year, and although the Renton district has not yet determined whether it will need to increase class sizes, officials said they hope not to.

Laying off teachers is also an option, but Renton district spokesman Randy Matheson said it is one district officials hope to avoid.

“Our intent is not to do either of those things,” Matheson said.

He said district officials will need to discuss the situation with its unionized employees. Alternatives to cutting pay could include reducing the money the district stows away in its emergency savings or leaving open positions unfilled.

“We’ve got some things to come to the table with, but we’ve got to have those discussions,” Matheson said.

The state Legislature approved the budget May 24.

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American Heart Association honors Valley Medical Center

June 3, 2011

For the second year in a row, the American Heart Association awarded Valley Medical Center, which has a clinic in Newcastle, with the Get With The Guidelines — Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement.

The award recognizes the medical center’s success in treating heart failure patients.

About 85 percent of heart failure patients treated at Valley Medical Center are compliant with their treatment to American Heart Association core standards for two years, according to a news release.

“The full implementation of national heart failure guideline recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of heart failure patients,” said Dr. Lee Schwamm, chairman of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee.

“The goal of the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program is to help hospitals like Valley Medical implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients,” he said.

Patriots’ drama program earns award nominations

June 3, 2011

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” — a stage production based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished murder mystery — garnered Liberty High School performers a half dozen nominations in the annual 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater.

The high school’s company, called the Patriot Players, earned nods for Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Program Design and Outstanding Performance by a Chorus. Tucker Goodman and Paige Fabre also received acting nominations in the statewide competition.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” also earned the Patriot Players honorable mentions in the Outstanding Overall Musical Production and Outstanding Direction categories. Overall, Liberty earned nominations in most major categories.

The theater announced the nominees Tuesday. The honor is considered as a kind of high school Tony Award and is meant to celebrate exceptional musical theater productions presented during the 2010-2011 school year. The ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 6 at Benaroya Hall.

Nominated students and schools perform excerpts from nominated shows at the ceremony before a packed audience expected to reach 2,400 people. Local elected officials, and arts and media personalities, present the awards.

Liberty, a perennial performance powerhouse, last year earned 10 nominations and received awards for Outstanding Lighting Design and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast for ”Into the Woods.”

Washington is the most bicycle-friendly state

June 3, 2011

Washington is the Most Bicycle Friendly State again.

The ranking from the League of American Bicyclists honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. The honor marks the fourth consecutive year the Evergreen State has clinched the No. 1 spot.

“Public support is strong for making biking safer and more convenient for children, commuters and recreational users,” state Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in a statement. “WSDOT works closely with regional and local agencies to increase the number of walkers and bikers, while also improving safety to reduce the number of bicycle- and pedestrian- related collisions.”

The league rates states based on bike-friendly legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

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Former Seahawks’ head coach brings celebrities to Newcastle

June 3, 2011

Who would’ve ever thought Newcastle would be a place to catch of glimpse of professional sports’ biggest stars? Come June 27, it will be.

Former Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora, founder of the Jim Mora Count on Me Foundation, will bring the Jim Mora Celebrity Golf Classic to The Golf Club at Newcastle this month.

Shannon Mora, NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin and Jim Mora (From left) enjoy the festivities surrounding the 2010 tournament. By Chris Clark

This year marks the second time Newcastle has hosted the tournament, which will boast 30 celebrities, such as local greats Bill Russell, Lenny Wilkens and Warren Moon, and out-of-towners Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk and Warren Sapp. Newcastle resident and former Seattle Seahawk Mack Strong will also be on hand.

The tournament’s proceeds will benefit numerous charities, including the Special Olympics and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Jim and his wife Shannon Mora — both Washington natives — started the foundation in Georgia in 2005 while Jim was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team. Jim Mora said his wife is a driving force behind the foundation.

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City finalizes its deal with Teamsters Union

June 3, 2011

The City Council unanimously approved in May its agreement with the Teamsters Union, which now represents the city’s maintenance crew and the parks program manager.

Negotiations took 14 months.

City Manager Rob Wyman said the city’s priority was to maintain internal equity among the maintenance crew and the city’s other, nonunion employees.

The negotiations did not result in changes to the employees’ scopes of work or their salaries. Minor changes were made to how overtime is calculated, and changes were made to working conditions when employees are called in for emergencies. For example, when an employee is called back in to work, he or she must work a minimum of three hours.

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