Editorial: Newcastle Days needs you

August 5, 2011

Newcastle Days is fast approaching, but more volunteers are needed to help before and during the Sept. 9-10 festival.

What a fun way to get involved in your community! If you have a head full of ideas, or are just willing to help booths and bands get set up during the event, let the committee know now. They’ll accept all offers of help. No reason not to get the kids signed up for a little community service along with you!

Call Grace Stiller at 228-7927 to volunteer

Editorial: Gordon Bisset unmatched in City Council race

August 5, 2011

Between the two candidates still seeking election to Position 4 on the City Council — now that Andrew Shelton has withdrawn — Newcastle News can only endorse Gordon Bisset for the job.

Bisset’s unrelenting involvement in Newcastle and his vast knowledge of city issues and municipal government makes him an ideal choice and a fantastic addition to the council.

As a former councilman, former member of the city’s Finance Committee, current president of the Hazelwood Community Association and an involved citizen who attends nearly every city meeting, he is up to speed and prepared to get to work immediately.

Given his decadelong involvement in the city, Bisset knows what issues are recurring and the history behind them. He knows what the council can realistically accomplish, and conveys his ideas honestly and directly.

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Teen injured in golf cart rollover accident

August 5, 2011

A teenager rolled a golf cart down an eight-foot embankment at The Golf Club at Newcastle at about 6:20 a.m. July 14.

The 17-year-old golf course employee became trapped under the cart after a rear wheel rolled onto a stair and caused the vehicle to lose balance. It is unknown whether the teen was backing up or the cart moved backward on its own.

Five firemen and an unknown number of other golf course employees lifted the cart off of the teen, said Lt. Troy Donlin, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

While an average golf cart weighs between 600 and 700 pounds, Donlin said the firefighters and course employees were able to remove the cart without the help of tools.

The teen employee was injured and transported to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition. According to David Valdyka, director of marketing at Oki Golf, he left the hospital later that day with minor injuries.

Valdyka said the golf course has “numerous safety initiatives related to equipment and how employees work” in place.

Hazen High School pool to be open next year

August 5, 2011

The Hazen High School pool will be open for the 2011-2012 school year.

Community donations poured in this spring, surpassing the $60,000 needed to keep the Hazen and Lindbergh high school pools open next year.

“I am really pleased that the community effort has been a success,” said Chris Carlson, Renton Pools Community organizer.

As of Newcastle News’ June 28 deadline, the total amount raised was $69,000. With employee matching funds from The Boeing Co. and Microsoft, organizers expect the total to reach $72,000.

The largest contributor was the Bellevue Club Swim Team Boosters, which donated $10,000. The organization Hazen Beyond the Basics, the Issaquah Swim Team and Wiegardt Brothers Inc. also donated several thousand dollars each toward the cause.

Carlson said members of the Renton Pools Community will meet this fall to determine the fundraising target for the 2012-2013 school year. He said he expects the target to be much lower next year, as increased usage and fees have brought in more revenue.

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King County veterans levy appears on Aug. 16 ballot

August 5, 2011

King County leaders and advocates for veterans called on voters last month to approve a county veterans-and-human-services levy, Proposition 1, in the August primary election.

The electorate approved the initial levy — 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to fund programs for veterans and social service efforts — on the 2005 ballot, and the measure is up for renewal Aug. 16.

County Councilman Bob Ferguson sponsored the original legislation in 2005 and the current proposal.

“Across the political spectrum, my colleagues on the County Council unanimously support continuing the vital work of the Veterans and Human Services Levy,” Ferguson said in a statement issued July 27. “We are asking voters, not to increase taxes, but rather to renew their commitment through the existing levy to provide critical services for veterans, their families, and those in need.”

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Andrew Shelton out of council race, still on primary ballot

August 5, 2011

Moot primary election to cost city about $8,000

City Council candidate Andrew Shelton announced July 13 that he was aborting his campaign to run for Position 4, held by Sonny Putter.

With Shelton out of the race, a primary election is no longer necessary. However, his late withdrawal leaves the city with an $8,000 tab for the election that is now moot, according to King County Elections spokeswoman Kim Van Eckstrom.

Andrew Shelton

Shelton said he made the decision after taking a new job with greater time commitments.

“I don’t think it’s fair to ask people for their votes or ask people for their donations when I have this pretty massive time conflict,” said Shelton, the city Parks Commission chairman.

Shelton said he was unaware the city was responsible for paying for the primary election.

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Renegades win recycling battle with the Warriors

August 5, 2011

The results are in and the Recycling Renegades have taken the title from the Waste Less Warriors in Waste Management’s Newcastle Neighborhood Recycling Rewards competition.

On average, Renegade households recycled about a half-pound more each month than Warrior homes, Waste Management communications representative Robin Freedman said.


The competition — which arose out of discussions between city officials and Northwest members of Waste Management — was meant to increase recycling rates among Newcastle residents.

According to the city’s page on the Waste Management website, Newcastle produces approximately 1,600 tons of garbage each year, 78 percent of which is recyclable or compostable.

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Neighbors extinguish fireworks blaze that destroyed 12 evergreen trees

August 5, 2011

By the time firefighters arrived at Ted Heng’s house in Park Hill the night of July 4, six neighbors had already extinguished the blaze that destroyed 12 hedgelike trees in Heng’s backyard. The culprit: fireworks, according to Heng.

But what could have resulted in the destruction of a home became an opportunity for an otherwise reserved neighborhood.

Ken Coles, Charles Hu, Ted Heng and Paul Laush (from left) stand in front of trees that were destroyed by fireworks in the fire they helped put out in Heng's yard. Contributed

On his way home from the Lakemont fireworks show, Heng spotted colorful flashes of light coming from the Newcastle area. Upon pulling into his driveway, he realized the display was from three boys with their own fireworks in the street.

Heng said he went upstairs to his room and was about to take a shower when he noticed a bright light coming from the direction of his window. He looked outside to see fire consuming the trees lining the side of his yard near his deck.

Fearing the blaze would jump to a nearby maple and then to his house, Heng said he grabbed his driver’s license, passport, wallet, camera and iPad and quickly backed his car out of the garage. He honked his car horn to alert his neighbors to the fire and called the fire department.

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City signs housing grant agreement with county

August 5, 2011

The City Council unanimously voted June 7 to enter into an interlocal agreement with King County that allows for the city and residents to apply for housing grants.

There is no cost to the city to participate. Grant funds — known as Community Development Block Grant funds — would come from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The city and residents would need to meet specific guidelines to apply for grants.

Residents eligible to apply for grants include low- and moderate-income residents whose homes need fixing or repair, and those who are at risk of being homeless. Nonprofit organizations that serve the city can also apply for funds to construct or rehabilitate human service facilities or support programs that serve low- and moderate-income residents.

Furthermore, the city can apply for funds for public infrastructure and park projects that serve low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

City plans for electric car-charging stations

August 5, 2011

The Newcastle Planning Commission met July 21 in Council Chambers to discuss a state mandate requiring cities to allow electric vehicle charging stations in commercial, industrial and institutional areas.

The state is asking cities to prepare for the dawn of a new era in which electric vehicles are the norm. The Bellevue City Council installed electric vehicle charging stations in its parking garage a couple of weeks ago.

Charging stations are typically similar in height to gas pumps, but only about a foot in diameter. They are noninvasive, according to Community Development Director Steve Roberge, and are often placed in home garages and next to public parking spaces.

The state Legislature found “the development of electric vehicles infrastructure to be a critical step in creating jobs, fostering economic growth, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing our reliance on foreign fuels and reducing the pollution of Puget Sound attributable to the operation of petroleum based vehicles,” according to the state mandate.

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