King County to take testimony regarding bus route eliminations

December 1, 2011

The King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee will hold a special committee meeting to take public testimony on the possible elimination of lower-productivity King County Metro Transit, including routes 925 and 219 that serve Newcastle.

The meeting will include an initial presentation on the proposed ordinance implementing Metro Transit’s recommended service changes that would go into effect in June.

The meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 7 at the King County Council Chamber on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse.

Residents may also email comments to Janice Mansfield to or written comments can be mailed to Janice Mansfield, King County Council Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee, 516 Third Avenue, Room 1200, Seattle, WA 98104.

The Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee is expected to act on the recommended June 2012 bus service changes in early January, with action by the full council expected in mid-January.

The committee will take comments through Jan. 6.

Giving tree set up at HomeStreet Bank

December 1, 2011

The Newcastle branch of HomeStreet Bank, 6949 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., will have a giving tree to benefit Vision House, a local nonprofit that supports families facing homelessness.

This is the branch’s third year hosting a tree to benefit Vision House clients.

The tree will be available through Dec. 20.

The branch hours for the bank are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Call Linda Stemler, branch manager, at 401-8778 for more information.


Newcastle dancers shine in Nutcracker performance

December 1, 2011

Cornerstone Studio offers fresh take on an old classic

As Amie Tabiando dances around the room, she clutches a plush Eeyore stuffed animal lovingly to her chest.

Her smile widens as she reveals him to a cluster of smaller children surrounding her lithe frame. Tabiando lifts Eeyore up and down, twirling and sashaying with him wherever she goes.

Emma Mason, of Newcastle, strikes a pose as the part of Fritz during the 2010 Cornerstone Studio production of ‘The Nutcracker’ at Bellevue College. Contributed

But soon she’ll trade that Eeyore in for a more well-known prop for one of the holiday season’s most beloved ballets — a Nutcracker.

She, along with more than 60 of the Cornerstone Studio’s 200 students, can be found at the Newport Hills studio every Saturday and Sunday gearing up for their annual holiday performance, putting in long hours on top of their regularly scheduled dance classes.

Lea Lo, studio owner and artistic director, said the studio’s performance of the ballet is an affordable, family-friendly activity with something for every audience.

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Polar Express adaptation features local residents

December 1, 2011

With a cast featuring performers from 3 to well over 60 years old, including residents of Newcastle, the third annual Blue Dog Dance production of “The Polar Express” will be Dec. 16 and 17 at Renton’s Carco Theater.

Performances are at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 3 and 6 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets are $10 and are available online at

After choreographing a “Nutcracker” performance, Blue Dog Dance Director Barbara Walshe was looking for something new to try — something to showcase many different aspects of performance art as well as ballet. Inspiration came while listening to the soundtrack of “The Polar Express” with her family.

She envisioned tapping elves, flipping wolves, dancing reindeer and breakdancing chefs with singers and actors to help tell the story of a child who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and ends up on a train to the North Pole along with other doubters.

The production’s sets have become more elaborate each year.

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Bellevue resident Anne Moore readies to join school board

December 1, 2011

Long before the first ballot was mailed back to King County, Issaquah School District residents were guaranteed of seeing at least one new face on their school board of directors next year.

Bellevue resident Anne Moore ran unopposed for the District One seat being vacated by current board president Jan Colbrese.

“I will always be deeply invested in the Issaquah School District,” Colbrese said.

Anne Moore

But after what will be 12 years on the board, Colbrese said that following discussions with her husband, she decided it was time to move on. She further noted that all of her children have now graduated from district schools.

Colbrese announced her decision not to run in June, prior to the election filing deadline. Issaquah School District 1 covers an area of the district to the west of Issaquah and south to Coalfield and north to Lake Sammamish.

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December 1, 2011


The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce presents the free teleseminar “How Not to Gain Weight Over the Holidays” from 5:30-6:45 p.m. Dec. 7. Sign up at classes/free-teleseminar-5-tips-on-how-not-to-gain-holiday-weight. Contact Jackie Foskett at or 227-8120 to learn more.

Festival of the Nativities, featuring a display of more than 500 nativity sets from around the word, including contributions from Newcastle residents, is from noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 and 12:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 15205 S.E. 28th St., Bellevue.

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Dec. 14 at Tapatio Mexican Grill, 6920 Coal Creek Parkway S.E. Guest speaker is business coach Chad Rudolph. Cost is $20. RSVP by emailing

The Newcastle Weed Warriors next project is maintenance and restoration work from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 14 at Lake Boren, 13058 S.E. 84th Way.

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Liberty High School grad loves the title role in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’

December 1, 2011

The title star in “Annie Get Your Gun” — sharpshooter Annie Oakley, a folk heroine — is a coveted role for actresses. So, too, is Elphaba, the green-tinted protagonist in “Wicked” and a witch infamous for menacing Oz.

Vicki Noon claims both roles — Elphaba in “Wicked” as the mega-musical embarked on a national tour and Oakley in the recently opened production at Issaquah’s Village Theatre.

The actress, a Liberty High School graduate, said the ties between the characters, outcast Elphaba and country bumpkin Oakley, extend beyond the person in the role.

Liberty High School alumna Vicki Noon stars in the title role of 'Annie Get Your Gun' at Village Theatre. By Jay Koh/Village Theatre

“Both of them have kind of been on their own,” she said. “Both of them have kind of had to fend for themselves and pull up their bootstraps and get on with their life. They’re both very independent people.”

“Annie Get Your Gun” opened at Village Theatre on Nov. 9 and runs through the holiday season.

“For me, it’s one of those ultimate female empowerment stories,” said Kristin Culp, a co-choreographer on the show. “The song at the end, ‘Anything You Can Do,’ it’s a story about if you put your mind to doing anything, you can really become a star or the best, no matter who you are or what your upbringing is.”

The proto-feminist Oakley is a challenge for actresses in the role.

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Hazen orchestra students share their passion for music

December 1, 2011

Everywhere they go, they hear music. Whether it is the ring of the school bell or the wail of a police siren, they can recognize the subtle notes.

The world of three Hazen High School orchestra students revolves around music and it all began at Hazelwood Elementary School.

For Hazen seniors Kent Coburn, Ena Kim and Stephanie Lee, orchestra has been an important part of their lives, ever since they first picked up their instruments at Hazelwood.

Warming up before East Hill String Lessons program starts are Hazen High School senior Ena Kim. Photo by Christina Corrales-Toy

For Coburn, it was the string bass; for Kim it was the viola; and for Lee it was the cello.

Initially, though, they all wanted to play different instruments.

“We all wanted to play band instruments,” Kim said. “That’s kind of funny.”

The three have been very successful with their music. They’ve won numerous awards at the local, regional and state levels, and will perform with the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra in an upcoming concert.

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Gift-A-Book campaign collects 114 books for school library

December 1, 2011

Newcastle Elementary School student Claire Frederick, 10, and her brother Andrew Frederick, 7, hold books they’ve chosen to donate through the school’s 2011 Gift-A-Book campaign. By Christina Lords

Although Newcastle Elementary School librarian Laura Berry has come in contact with thousands of books over her lifetime, she distinctly remembers sitting down and reading “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” as a small child.

Thanks to the school’s annual Gift-A-Book campaign, which allows children and parents to select books to donate to the school’s library, Newcastle will be able to add the 60-year-old story to its growing collection.

“It’s still a great story, and it’s nice to have a library-bound edition of it,” Berry said. “One of our first-graders chose that. He and his family donated three wonderful books.”

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Officials encourage council to support $219 million school bond

December 1, 2011

Issaquah School Board President Jan Colbrese knows the district must maintain equitable resources, infrastructure and quality education throughout its 15 elementary, five middle and four high schools.

That’s one reason the district will ask voters to support its April 17 $219 million capital improvement bond, which includes money for upgrades to nearly every school in the district — even during a time during such economic uncertainty, she said.

“Our problem is that we have children in school right now,” Colbrese said. “You can’t tell those kids, ‘I’m sorry, you’re in this economic time. It’s a really hard time.”

Members of the school board met with the Newcastle City Council on Nov. 7 to discuss the bond and other issues facing the district, including possible improvements to traffic flow in the drop-off area at Newcastle Elementary School.

“We’ll be coming to you with reports for support on this measure because if the district is soundly managed, and if the district is a place where people know a quality education is being provided, then it helps your city as well,” Colbrese said.

Because the new bond package is expected to be about half as much as the district’s bond debt that is retiring in 2012, residents in the district should see a decrease in school-related taxes, even if the bond is approved, according to the district.

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