Problems plague library construction

July 3, 2012

New opening date set tentatively for October

Contributed by King County Library System
This artist’s rendering depicts what the Newcastle Library will look like upon completion. The $11.9 million facility will feature a green roof, a waterfall window and a glass façade.

After setbacks have plagued the long-anticipated Newcastle Library, the King County Library System has set a new tentative opening date of October for the new facility — two years after the groundbreaking in 2010.

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Bank robbery suspect arrested

July 3, 2012

The man suspected of robbing the Newcastle branch of KeyBank on June 14 was arrested June 22, according to a statement from Newcastle Police Chief Melinda Irvine.

Gorricho Desue is believed to be responsible for two other bank robberies in Mount Vernon and in Moses Lake.

The FBI Safe Streets Task Force worked immediately after the Newcastle robbery to identify the suspect, locate him and take him into custody.

“Our praise to the FBI for their great work,” Irvine said. “We appreciate their efforts.”

Gorricho Desue, pictured here, suspected of robbing the Newcastle branch of Key Bank was arrested June 22. He is suspected of robbing banks in Mount Vernon and Moses Lake.
Contributed by Crime Stoppers

The suspect, wearing a bandage on the left side of his face during the incident, robbed the KeyBank, 6917 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., at about 10:30 a.m. June 14.

He was described as a 6-foot, 240-pound black male in his 30s.

He is believed to be the same suspect who robbed the Bank of America, 320 W. Kincaid St. in Mount Vernon, on June 12 due to similarities in appearance and method, FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said.

Dietrich said the details of how the Newcastle robbery took place cannot be released at this time, but the robber was not armed. She was not able to release how much money was taken from the bank, she said.

Residents who see suspicious activity can call 911 or the Newcastle Police Department’s nonemergency dispatch number, 206-296-3311, for an officer to respond.

City Council OKs traffic calming process

July 3, 2012

The Newcastle Public Works Department now has a new step-by-step process to uniformly address resident concerns when it comes to cars speeding down neighborhood streets or blowing past stop signs.

The Newcastle City Council adopted a “traffic-calming” resolution at its June 19 meeting outlining seven steps the department can take when faced with requests for improvements like speed humps, signage, sidewalks and other options.

In the resolution, residents can begin the process by completing a request for action form, which will be reviewed by the department.

Public Works Director Mark Rigos said that while many residents request large-scale changes like speed humps, other traffic-calming options might be more appropriate and cost effective.

“It’s important to know that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution’ to address traffic calming,” Rigos said.

The City Council has been faced in the past few weeks with several residents asking for speed humps in Newcastle neighborhoods, and Rigos said it isn’t uncommon for residents to contact his department about perceived issues, either.

By having a resolution in place, residents have a specified place to start their inquiries and city staff has a designated approach to dealing with requests for action, Deputy Mayor Lisa Jensen said.

The resolution also offers some flexibility to handle unique situations and varying road and neighborhood conditions, Rigos said. Not all steps need to be taken if they’re not applicable to a neighborhood, street or situation.

After a site investigation takes place (if deemed necessary) by staff, the city’s public works director will implement a response based on one or more of nine possible solutions.

The solutions are taking no action, limb or tree removal, neighborhood education via a community meeting or letter, additional police presence, speed studies, street sign installation or revisions, painting street markings, hiring a traffic engineer specialist or constructing physical improvements.

Councilwoman Carol Simpson encouraged residents talking to fellow residents to curb traffic issues in neighborhoods.

“I especially like the idea of meeting with the neighbors and working together so we all slow down,” she said. “We’re all guilty of going too fast through the neighborhoods.”

Physical improvements could mean sidewalks, speed humps, bike lanes, ADA ramps or traffic chicanes.

The resolution states large projects more than $3,000 would be considered on a project-by-project basis, depend on budgetary factors, and require approval of the city manager.

“Cost is a big factor, especially when we’re looking at putting sidewalks in neighborhoods where the topography is steep on one side and steep on the other side,” Rigos said. “It’s going to cost a lot more to do traffic calming and sidewalks in that neighborhood … so that’s something we have to consider at the Public Works Department for each potential project.”

On the Web

A request for action form is available online at the city’s website at


Dentist’s license suspended for inappropriate conduct

July 3, 2012

Gil Furman also charged with overprescibing drugs

State health officials have suspended the license of Newcastle dentist Gil Furman, according to a June 20 Washington State Department of Health release.

The Dental Quality Assurance Commission and the Department of Health said Furman cannot practice safely because of inappropriate conduct with a female patient and overprescribing controlled drugs.

Furman cannot practice in Washington until the charges are resolved. He has 20 days to respond to the charges and to ask for a hearing.

The Dental Commission licenses and uses practice standards to discipline dentists in Washington as needed.

Between 2009 and 2010, Furman allegedly prescribed narcotic and non-narcotic medications to three people who weren’t his patients, and didn’t keep records for treating them.

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Olympus stormwater pond improved

July 3, 2012

A project to update the Olympus stormwater detention pond at Southeast 84th Way will retrofit the existing facility to the 2009 King County Surface Water Design Manual standards to improve the pond’s ability in providing runoff treatment and detention prior to discharge into Boren Creek.

The project is adjacent to Lake Boren Park.

The detention pond will be excavated and divided into two cells and two catch basins. A 24-inch stormwater inlet pipe will be installed.

The existing outlet pipe will be improved. The project was awarded funding through the Washington State Department of Ecology’s competitive grant process.

The contractor of the project, AGR Contracting Inc., was selected through the small works roster competitive bidding process.

The project start date was June 7; the estimated completion date is July 23.

Residents who have questions, comments or would like to learn more about the capital improvement project can contact Newcastle Surface Water Engineer Laura Frolich at 649-4444, ext. 111, or

Volunteers to help ready local classrooms

July 3, 2012

For the third year in a row, a local service group is building teams of volunteers who will give up a Sunday afternoon in August to help Newcastle elementary school teachers prepare their classrooms.

Volunteers are needed to organize, decorate, clean and build supplies like bulletin boards. Outside work is needed, too, with power washers and landscaping.

The Jubilee Day of Service will be from 1:30-5 p.m. Aug. 12 followed by a barbecue at Lake Boren Park.

Volunteers are needed to serve Hazelwood Elementary School and Newcastle Elementary School.

The goal is to assign teams of volunteers to each teacher who wants help getting his or her classroom ready for the new school year.

Last year, members of the Seattle Revival Center, Beit Tikvah and Emmaus Road Church helped 11 teachers at Hazelwood and Newcastle elementary schools ready their rooms for the school year.

Volunteers may sign up for this year’s event at

Newcastle Days set for Sept. 8

July 3, 2012

Families can save the date for this year’s Newcastle Days, set for Sept. 8 at Lake Boren Park.

The Newcastle 5K run, which raised $4,200 for college scholarships for local youths last year, will be held Sept. 9 beginning at 9 a.m. Residents can register for the run at Newcastle Days.

Newcastle Days is a celebration of the city and will feature a “Return to Newcastle” theme and celebrate the city’s 18th birthday.

New events for Newcastle Days include a lacrosse demonstration and a Newcastle historical trivia contest.

Historical pictures, items and stories will be featured to tell Newcastle’s rich mining history.

The festival will begin at 11 a.m. Emcee Lance Lambert, of “The Vintage Vehicle Show,” will begin the live program followed by a Boy Scout opening ceremony.

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Motorcyclist is suspected of Newcastle, Bellevue burglaries

July 3, 2012

A man riding a motorcycle is suspected of recent burglaries in Newcastle and Bellevue, Newcastle Police Chief Melinda Irvine said in a release June 1.

The motorcycle is described as a black-and-cream cruiser-style bike with a lot of chrome on it, according to the release. It reportedly does not have a loud exhaust.

The male driver was seen dressed all in dark clothing.

The driver, who was reportedly wearing a yellow helmet, is suspected of burglarizing a home at 2 p.m. June 1 in the Lake Washington Ridge neighborhood.

A similar burglary occurred at 11:45 a.m. May 29 in the 8600 block of 138th Place Southeast.

A neighbor’s security camera caught the image of a man on a motorcycle pulling into the driveway of the house just before the first burglary occurred. The man paused, got off the bike and walked toward the house that was burglarized.

Three hours later, a burglary occurred in the Eastgate area of Bellevue with the same motorcycle and suspect description. Residents who may have been contacted by the motorcyclist are asked to call Newcastle Police at 649-4444.

Police are asking residents to be aware of suspicious activity in Newcastle neighborhoods and call the nonemergency dispatch number, 206-296-3311, if anything seems out of place.

Police urge members of the public to call 911 if they see a crime in progress and to write down license plates of suspicious vehicles or take a photo if they can do so safely.

Public meetings

July 3, 2012

From sidewalk installation projects to snow removal to property tax collection, decisions made by officials at a local level have the potential to impact your daily life. Get involved. Provide feedback. Make a difference.

Let leaders know what’s on your mind to shape a better Newcastle at these July meetings:

The City Council will have a regularly-scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. July 17 at Newcastle’s City Hall. An executive session precedes the meeting from 6-7 p.m.

The Parks Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. July 11 at City Hall.

The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. July 18 at City Hall.

The Economic & Community Development Commission meets from 8-9 a.m. July 10 at City Hall.

The Finance Committee meets from noon to 1 p.m. July 19 at City Hall.

Rapid Response

July 3, 2012

What public transportation improvements would you like to see come to Newcastle?

I’d like to see a bus come close to Windtree (currently a mile away), a park & ride near the 44th Avenue Northeast interchange of Interstate 405 and light rail on the railroad corridor parallel to I-405 into Bellevue and Renton.

— Peggy Price

It would be nice to have better cover for our rain and winter wind at the bus stops and waiting areas.

— Jesse Tam

At this moment, I can’t think of one. I think our traffic is doing fine.

— Paula Spence

A shuttle bus to the golf club for happy hour!

— Jackie Foskett

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