Hazen earns first state playoff berth since 1993

December 1, 2011

Highlanders beat Franklin, 36-15, before falling to Capital, 47-0

Eric Jacobs, Hazen High School senior running back, shakes off Trevon Harris, of Franklin, during the fourth quarter on a 30-yard touchdown run, his third of the game. By Greg Farrar

1993. That was the last time the Hazen High School Highlanders earned a spot in the state football playoff run.

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Council votes for 1 percent increase in property tax

December 1, 2011

Typical homeowner faces $11 increase next year

Members of the City Council have agreed to cover the city’s $61,000 shortfall between revenue and expenditures for its 2012 budget in part by taking an allowable 1 percent increase in property tax.

The move will provide the city with about $40,400 in revenue — closing that shortfall to about $21,000.

Other reductions are still on the table to balance the 2012 budget — including the elimination of the city’s parks manager position, reductions to the city’s communication funding and cuts to the city manager’s contingency money that acts as a cushion for unexpected expenses.

An ordinance to set the city’s property tax collection must come before the City Council at its Dec. 6 meeting before the action will be finalized. Final adoption of the city’s 2012 budget is also expected at that time.

“This is responsible on our part,” Councilman Sonny Putter said. “It enables us to move forward, and it seems reasonable.”

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Gordon Bisset wins only contested City Council seat

December 1, 2011

Former councilman nets 72 percent of votes cast to beat Frank Irigon

Gordon Bisset

Frank Irigon

Gordon Bisset won the 2012 general election over challenger Frank Irigon for the Newcastle City Council’s only contested race this year.

With about 72 percent or 1,965 votes, Bisset will take on the council’s fourth position. Irigon earned about 28 percent of the vote, or 752 ballots cast.

“I’m very pleased with the results,” Bisset said. “I’d like to thank the voters of Newcastle and will be getting ready to carry out my campaign themes.”

About 51 percent of Newcastle’s registered voters cast a ballot in the election.

Bisset served a four-year term on the council from 2002-05 and has lived in the Hazelwood neighborhood for 41 years.

Irigon has lived in the Rainier Crest neighborhood for 25 years. This is the first time he has run for the City Council position.

Bisset said he would continue to attend meetings to stay current on issues, especially when it comes to the city’s 2012 budget discussions.

He will replace longtime Councilman Sonny Putter, who has continuously served on the council since 1994.

Incumbent councilwomen Lisa Jensen and Carol Simpson and incumbent Deputy Mayor Steve Buri were re-elected for their respective positions after they ran unopposed in the election.

Diamond Awards honor community

December 1, 2011

Members of the Newcastle community who contribute time, energy and service to make the city a better place to live were recognized at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s Diamond Awards on Nov. 10.

Karin Blakley, Diamond Award emcee and chamber board member, said recipients in the event’s youth, education, business, community service and mayor’s choice categories exemplify service and community pride that make Newcastle a great place to call home and do business.

Kent Coburn and Roland Deex were honored with a Diamond Award in the youth category.

Valley Medical Center representatives accept the Diamond Award for the business category. Photos by Christina Lords

Coburn has volunteered at Newcastle Days, and for Arbor Day and various Weed Warrior events since 2008. He plays in Hazen High School’s jazz band and played at Newcastle’s Earth Day event in 2011.

Deex, a Liberty High School student, is a member of the honor society and tutors students before school, and he mentors a Newcastle boy with autism each week through the Athletes for Kids buddy program. During Deex’s Eagle Scout project, he organized service projects to benefit the East May Creek Trail.

Cathy Dean, a first-grade teacher at Hazelwood Elementary School, was awarded the education award for her ability to build good relationships with students that enable them to achieve a strong educational foundation.

Valley Medical Center was honored in the business category. The medical center was recognized for stepping up during tough economic times to become the main sponsor of Newcastle Days.

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Issaquah School Board incumbents return

December 1, 2011

Brian Deagle, Suzanne Weaver retain seats

In the races for the two contested seats on the Issaquah School Board, the two incumbents outdistanced their general election opponents by similar margins.

“I’m glad to see the results the way they are,” board member Brian Deagle said shortly after initial vote totals were available.

Suzanne Weaver

Brian Deagle

As of Nov. 30, final numbers show Deagle defeated challenger Patrick Sansing 14,230 to 7,520 or 65 percent to 34.4 percent.

The other incumbent, Suzanne Weaver, outpaced challenger Brian Neville 14,005 to 8,091, or 63 percent to 36.5 percent.

Anne Moore will join the board in January; she ran unopposed for the seat to be vacated by board President Jan Colbrese.

Like Deagle, Weaver also expressed gratitude over the results.

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$97 million bond calls for middle school

December 1, 2011

Boundaries for Renton School District wouldn’t be redrawn until after election

The Renton School District will put three measures before voters Feb. 14 — including a $97 million building improvement bond that might have big implications for where students from Newcastle attend middle school.

The bond would fund a new middle school in Newcastle at the former Hazelwood Elementary School site, now home to the Renton Academy. The academy provides alternative education services for students in the district. It will be moved to a new location if the bond passes, according to district spokesman Randy Matheson.

“We can do something with that property, and roughly an 800-student middle school is what we’re thinking right now,” he said. “Right now, McKnight Middle School has over 1,200 kids. Nelsen Middle School has over 1,100 kids. Dimmitt Middle School has over 1,000 kids. There’s a lot of teen spirit going on in those buildings.”

Matheson said middle schools in the district should ideally support between 800 and 900 students. Adding a middle school would benefit student ratios in each of the four schools if the bond measure passes, he said.

The Renton Academy facility would be torn down and a new building would be built in its place. The facility could be a traditional middle school or a magnet school to focus on a specialized curriculum, such a math or science.

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Letter to the editor

December 1, 2011

Consider vets when hiring

Dear Washington state business owners and employers:

What is the one thing that makes your business the best?

I’m guessing it’s your employees.

How would you describe a great employee?

Motivated, dedicated, high integrity, solution finder, team player.

What if I told you that I can find you employees with those traits, and they can make your business even better?

It’s true.

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Volunteers needed for trail work

December 1, 2011

Work parties continue from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 10 and Dec. 18 on the May Creek Trail extension east to Coal Creek Parkway.

Scouts from several troops will work on both ends of the new trail, but more volunteers are needed. Newcastle Trails is a nonprofit organization that can provide certificates of community service.

Supervisors are also welcome. Adults who can move along the trail, keep people on task and answer questions are also needed.

Contact Peggy Price at 829-2196 or info@newcastletrails.org for more information.

Shorter school year wouldn’t be all bad

December 1, 2011

Gov. Christine Gregoire has floated a couple of ideas to deal with the state’s budget crisis. One of those is a half-penny-per-dollar increase to the sales tax, to go before voters in March. First, legislators would have to approve the ballot measure. The new revenue would be targeted for education.

Another idea to help local school districts deal with looming budget cuts would be for the state to reduce the required number of school days per year. We like the idea, although we acknowledge that it could be a burden for working parents who have to pay for more childcare.

State law currently requires students to have no less than 180 separate school days.

But take a closer look. Another state law requires districts to provide at least 1,000 hours of instruction time for students in grades one through 12 and at least 450 hours for kindergarteners.

Gregoire’s proposal to drop the 180 days per year down to 176 days would not reduce the average total hour requirement.

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Resident input wanted for online survey

December 1, 2011

The first in a series of surveys conducted by the city’s Parks Commission is available online for public input on parks and recreational opportunities in Newcastle at www.surveymonkey.com/ s/KJ329WT.

The city aims to update its 20-year, city-wide Comprehensive Plan with resident input gathered from the surveys.

One major element of the Comprehensive Plan is the Park, Trail, Recreation and Open Space Plan, which serves as the city’s guide to develop its parks, recreation and open space facilities and programs. Information provided in this and future surveys will be used to help update the Newcastle PRO Plan.

Learn more by calling Michael Holly, parks program manager, at 649-4444, ext. 142, or email michaelh@ci.newcastle.wa.us.

 

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