Playwright offers tales from the heart

July 1, 2011

“I went to a vocational school that was me and like 2,500 guys,” Elena Hartwell remembered with a laugh. It was there the high school dropout from San Diego learned to become an auto mechanic.

Elena Hartwell speaks talks about

By Dave Hastings Elena Hartwell talks about writing her first play as an auto mechanic without a high school diploma.

She was 17, and although working on cars was not her lifelong dream, it was work. The days were filled with grease, oil and motors, but after work — and wiping the grease from her fingers — Hartwell became an artist.


It was during these years that she completed her first full-length script for the stage: “Fast Ducks.” The story followed several people in a diner, exploring their relationships with one another. The play took place in a town in which residents raced ducks.

“Inspiration strikes in strange ways,” Hartwell said with a laugh, adding that she wrote the script not knowing anything about theater.

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Liberty High School graduation / June 10, 2011

July 1, 2011

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Hazen High School graduation / June 14, 2011

July 1, 2011

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Valley Medical Center and UW Medicine finalize alliance

July 1, 2011

Valley Medical Center — which has a clinic at 7203 129th Ave. S.E. in Newcastle — and UW Medicine finalized their planned strategic alliance last month.

The alliance will likely make UW Medicine services more readily available to Valley Medical Center patients.

Specifically, more specialists and specialized procedures will likely be available to Valley Medical Center patients.

Valley Medical Center CEO Rich Roodman said the alliance is the most significant and visionary accomplishment that has been made in his 28 years with the company, because it will help facilitate the most comprehensive clinical care available to people in the community.

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New trails plan distinguishes between horse, non-horse trails

July 1, 2011

The City Council June 7 approved a usage plan for which trails in the city should allow horses. The Parks Commission recommended the plan, and the council only made changes to plans for future trails, changing sections of would-be horse trails to pedestrian-only trails.

The trails the council changed were the Sylvan Creek Trail, the segment of the East Cross Town Trail east of the Terrace Trail, and two sections of the Horse Trail. The portions of the Horse Trail the council changed were the segment north of the West Cross Town Trail and the segment south of the 84th Street Trail.

Also, the segment of the Waterline Trail to be built south of the connection with the Olympus Trail will first be built to pedestrian standards, but it will later be built to equestrian standards. A trail to accommodate horses will also likely be built parallel to the Terrace Trail.

Newcastle Trails asked the council to approve the trails map so it could build trails to the appropriate standards when it holds work parties.

City Council adopts policy for memorials on city property

July 1, 2011

The City Council in June adopted a policy detailing how residents can purchase memorial trees and benches for city parks. Per the policy, residents can also donate larger items — such as statues or fountains — or name parks on a case-by-case basis.

The new policy replaces the city’s prior, informal donation practices, and City Manager Rob Wyman said that donating a tree or bench can be a great way to remember a loved one.

“If you had a family member or loved one who like to hang out at the park, every time you go to the park it kind of evokes the memory of that person,” he said. “I think it’s kind of a neat thing for people to be able to do.”

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Schools conservation programs go greener

July 1, 2011

Newcastle Elementary School, McKnight Middle School and Liberty High School each stepped up a level in the King County Green Schools program in May. Newcastle Elementary obtained level two certification in the program, McKnight obtained level one certification and Liberty obtained level three certification, said Dale Alekel, King County program manager for recycling and environmental services.

Students at McKnight Middle School helped the school obtain level one certification. The school doubled its recycling rate in one year to obtain the certification.

Students at McKnight Middle School helped the school obtain level one certification. The school doubled its recycling rate in one year to obtain the certification. Contributed

Schools focus on recycling, waste reduction and hazardous materials management to reach level one certification. Level two schools are required to also take up energy conservation practices, and level three schools are required to take up water conservation practices, according to Green School’s website.

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Allstate donates $20,000 to Newcastle schools

July 1, 2011

Allstate Insurance Co. donated $10,000 each to Newcastle and Hazelwood elementary schools in June as part of its Cash for Your Class program.

Through the program, Allstate donated $100,000 to 10 public schools in Western Washington, allowing its customers to vote online for what schools should receive the award.

The 10 schools with the most votes received $10,000 each. Newcastle Elementary will donate its award to the Issaquah School District to support its new science curriculum, which the district will adopt in the fall.

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Students place at international DECA

July 1, 2011

Students from Liberty High School traveled to Orlando, Fla., for the International Career Development Conferences for DECA — Distributive Education Clubs of America — from April 30 to May 3.

Liberty had six students attend — Braden Timm, Whitney Cain, Tiffani Candler, Chandler Ryberg, Lorina Crain and Amber Turnidge.

Hazen had four students — Tyler Brown, Tyler Howard, Ashley Turner and Kendall Yamamoto — attend.

Skyhawks camps filling up for the summer

July 1, 2011

Skyhawks summer camps in Newcastle are filling up quickly for the summer.

Most courses have fewer than 10 spots remaining. The first camp begins July 5.

Camps are for children ages 5-12, and they include golf, basketball, tennis, cheerleading and Mini-Hawk, which includes basketball, baseball and soccer.

Camps are five days each and range in price from $69 to $145. They will be held at Lake Boren Park, Renton Academy or Hazelwood Elementary School.

Get the full list of camps by going to, and enter your ZIP code.

Call Newcastle Parks and Recreation at City Hall at 649-4444 or the Skyhawks at 800-804-3509, toll free, with questions.

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