Liberty class schedules won’t be changing soon, superintendent says

January 31, 2012

NEW — 3:55 p.m. Jan. 31, 2012

No major changes, at least not immediately.

That was essentially the recommendation of Issaquah School Superintendent Steve Rasmussen regarding possible adjustments to the schedules at the district’s four high schools.

But at the same time he made that recommendation to what proved to be a somewhat dissatisfied school board, Rasmussen did lay down several action steps he expects high school principals to take in the coming months.

District officials have been studying common schedules at the high schools in part in order to make better use of resources, including teachers. A schedule committee failed to come up with any final recommendation for a unified schedule, though they shared numerous findings on the overall issue.

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Motorists to receive refunds after state Route 520 tolling glitch

January 31, 2012

NEW — 11:10 a.m. Jan. 31, 2012

The state Department of Transportation plans to refund motorists 25 cents for recent state Route 520 bridge tolls, as officials investigated a glitch responsible for motorists paying incorrect amounts to cross the span.

The refund applies if a motorist made the trip between Seattle and Medina from Jan. 17 to 25. Drivers should receive a refund, even if the state billed them correctly. The state charges a 25-cent transaction fee for motorists traveling the bridge infrequently and pay by license plate, rather than a tolling pass.

Toll system engineers corrected the problem Jan. 26. The issue did not affect drivers billed through a pay-by-mail system.

Engineers the equipment’s internal clock intermittently lost time and re-synched to the correct time.

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Hazelwood Elementary pancake fundraiser rescheduled for Feb. 11

January 30, 2012

NEW — 10:50 a.m. Jan. 30, 2012

The Hazelwood Elementary School PTSA pancake breakfast and book fair is back on after inclement weather forced organizers to reschedule the Jan. 21 event. The largest fundraiser of the year for the PTSA is rescheduled for 8 to 11 a.m. Feb. 11 at the school.

Pre-sale tickets are still valid for the new date and time. Residents can still purchase tickets at the door. The event is open to any member of the community, and children 2 and younger are free, while tickets for other children and adults are $4 or $5.

The breakfast features sausage, fruit, Starbucks coffee, hot chocolate and all-you-can-eat pancakes.

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Newcastle crews kept busy during storm

January 26, 2012

Coal Creek Utility District, Newcastle Public Works Department worked to maintain vital services despite snow, ice and power outages

NEW — 3:10 p.m., Jan. 26, 2012

While most Newcastle residents endured the brunt of January’s snow, wind, ice and consequential debris from the comfort of their own homes, five members of the Newcastle Public Works maintenance crew weren’t so lucky.

Despite 16-hour shifts, equipment malfunctions and no covered space to put chains on vehicles, Public Works Director Mark Rigos said the city staff “did an exceptional job under the circumstances.”

“We have a very small staff here,” he said. “They put in so many hours during this storm. Some had to sleep in City Hall … one of our guys didn’t go home for five or six days.”

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CCUD water, sewer rates to increase in February

January 25, 2012

NEW — 9:50 a.m. Jan. 25, 2012

Newcastle residents can anticipate increases as they open their water and sewer bills this month after the Coal Creek Utility District Board of Commissioners adopted new water and sewer rates for 2012 at its Jan. 11 meeting.

The new rates take effect this month.

The average single-family household will see their monthly water bill increase $4.48 and their monthly sewer bill increase approximately 80 cents in 2012, according to the district.

Water rates are scheduled to increase 12 percent in 2012 — with more than half of that increase due to the higher cost of water purchased from Seattle Public Utilities.

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Suspicious activity reported in Newport Woods, East Donegal neighborhoods

January 24, 2012

NEW — 4:10 p.m. Jan. 25, 2012

Multiple neighbors saw two males today in the backyards of houses along 127th Avenue Southeast between Southeast 73rd Street and Southeast 74th Street near the Newport Woods and East Donegal neighborhoods, according to a release from Newcastle Police Chief Melinda Irvine.

When confronted, the males ran away through other yards, the release stated.

The Newcastle Police Department checked houses in the area and did not find any homes broken into near that location.

Residents in the neighborhood are encouraged to report break-ins or suspicious activity by calling the non-emergency dispatch number206-296-3311 or reporting it online at www.reporttosheriff.org.

Earth Day 2012 vendor, sponsor applications now available

January 24, 2012

NEW — 11:40 a.m. Jan. 25, 2012

While Newcastle’s annual Earth Day celebration isn’t until April, event chairwoman Grace Stiller said the application period for sponsors and for vendors to host booths during the event is now open.

The earlier businesses and non-profit organizations get their applications in, the more exposure they’ll receive on the Earth Day website and other promotional material, she said.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 21 at Lake Boren Park.

The fourth annual Newcastle Earth Day will feature informational mini seminars, a master gardener clinic, the opportunity to recycle appliances and cell phones, the Pacific Science Center’s Science in the Environment interactive display and geocatching.

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Newcastle crews to begin debris cleanup Tuesday

January 23, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. Jan. 24, 2012

The ice storm that swept across much of the Pacific Northwest has left an aftermath of debris on city streets throughout Newcastle. The city’s maintenance crew will be transitioning equipment from snow and ice removal to debris cleanup on Tuesday.

Due to the magnitude of debris the storm has caused, it may take one or two weeks for the cleanup to be complete, according to the city.

Debris cleanup is one of the most time consuming and costly segments of recovering from a storm like this, the city stated in a release. Any debris that has fallen in the city rights-of-way will be removed. Debris that has fallen on private property will need to be disposed of by the property owner.

City Council meeting rescheduled for Jan. 24

January 23, 2012

NEW — 2:45 p.m. Jan. 24, 2011

After the Newcastle City Council’s Jan. 17 regular meeting was cancelled due to inclement weather, the meeting has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Newcastle City Hall.

The council will discuss the Issaquah School District’s request for a surface water management fee waiver, Comprehensive Plan amendment, and resolutions for updating council rules and the city’s Legislative agenda for 2012, among other business.

The council’s Jan. 20 annual retreat at The Golf Club of Newcastle and the city’s Jan. 18 Planning Commission meeting will also be rescheduled to a future time and date.

Issaquah, Renton school districts cancel class for Jan. 20

January 19, 2012

NEW — 4:05 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Issaquah School District students receive a bonus — if unexpected winter break — as officials canceled classes for Friday, giving students a complete week off from school.

The district announced the closure just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Renton School District also concluded road conditions were still too hazardous to open school for Friday. The district’s administrative offices will remain closed.

Officials also canceled classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, due to icy road conditions in the early morning hours and a subsequent snowstorm. (Students did not attend classes Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.)

School closures impact all district-related meetings and activities, including Headstart, school-age care and preschool.

The cancellation also means the finals schedule for high school students is delayed further.

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