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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July 3, 2012

Thank you to everyone who made it out to Police Day in the Park before the heavy rain sent everyone running for cover.

The Marine Unit members thought they were going to be able to float their boat in the usually dry portion of the park when the downpour continued.

We had a great turnout and truly enjoyed talking with so many different people.

I especially enjoyed watching investigators of all ages solve the Candy Caper and find clues in their search at CSI Newcastle. We have some very smart youngsters in our city.

If you happen to have photos from the event, we’d love to see them.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your day with us.

Melinda Irvine

Newcastle chief of police

Graduates, take time to explore life

July 3, 2012

A collective sigh of relief can be heard across the district from graduates of the Issaquah and Renton school districts.

No longer will they have to endure the most frequent question asked of high school teens: “What are your plans after you graduate?”

By now the graduates know the answer and so do those who asked the question repeatedly for four years. The answer, of course, is most likely what all graduates before them have answered: Go to college or technical school, join the military, get a job, get married or take time off and then decide.

Congratulations to all. But special applause for those who have a next step that ends with “then decide.”

Too often teens are encouraged to have a life plan in place by the time they are handed a high school diploma. Today’s reality is that plans will change as young people go on to discover interests they never knew they had. And once they get it figured out, the road may bend, taking them in a new direction altogether. Throw in changing technology, an unknown economy and myriad other of life’s hiccups.

The best post-high school answer to future plans might be “expand my knowledge and skills.” Learning to appreciate education for education’s sake will create a foundation for life, for understanding of diverse people and interests, and foster better citizenship.

A well-rounded education is a goal in the districts, but too often high school students get caught up in the pursuit of specific classes to gain entrance into a specific college that they don’t make time for the electives. Parents and faculty can help by encouraging students to explore life.

What are your plans after college?

Explore life. Now there’s an answer you’ve got to love.

Police Blotter

July 3, 2012

Ding dong ditch

Residents reported juveniles dumped a cup full of dog poop on their front doormat and rang the doorbell of a home in the 9200 block of 140th Avenue Southeast on May 27.

No, you lock it up

A residential burglary was reported May 29 in the 8600 block of 138th Place Southeast. There were no signs of forced entry in the incident; the rear door of the home was unlocked.

The wrong slip

A forged prescription was reported May 30 at Newcastle’s Bartell Drugs on Coal Creek Parkway.

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Sex offender registers Newcastle address

July 3, 2012

King County Sheriff’s Office investigators said a sex offender changed addresses to a residence in the 7000 block of 122nd Avenue Southeast in Newcastle in May.

Alfred Sims

Alfred Dee Sims, 82, registered as a Level III sex offender after being convicted of third-degree child molestation in 2007 and first-degree child molestation in 1996, both in Clallam County. Police said Level III sex offenders have a high risk of re-offending.

Police said Sims stands 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs 200 pounds, and has white hair and green eyes.

Residents can search for Sims and other registered sex offenders at the sheriff’s office sex offender website,

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ feeds school record for Liberty drama awards

July 3, 2012

Liberty High School performers — and a scene-stealing, man-eating plant — snapped up more awards than any other high school drama program in a statewide competition June 4.

The school received four trophies for a recent production of “Little Shop of Horrors” in The 5th Avenue Theatre’s annual awards to recognize musical theater at high schools across the Evergreen State. The honor is akin to a Tony Award for student performers and productions.

Photo from Issaquah School District
Carnivorous plant Audrey II (Sheady Manning-Bruce, Natalie Gress and Addison Halpin-Higman) convinces Seymour (Tucker Goodman) to feed it.

“Little Shop of Horrors” garnered awards for Outstanding Music Direction for choir director Robin Wood, Outstanding Scenic Design, Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and the top honor, Outstanding Overall Musical Production.

“We have a strong production team and strong talent,” said Katherine Klekas, longtime Liberty drama program director. “I think that was what made this one so special is that it was consistent across the board.”

The campy musical revolved around a carnivorous plant, Audrey II, a puppet comprised of limbs and vines crafted for the performance.

Jeremy Dodd earned the Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role honor for a turn as a floral shop proprietor.

The sophomore donned a bald cap and extensive makeup to transform from a teenager to the curmudgeonly Mr. Mushnik.

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Road near school to get safety improvements

July 3, 2012

The King County Road Services Division will make safety improvements at two key intersections in King County in the coming months.

The county received federal grant funding to complete the projects located east of Renton and near Auburn.

At the intersection of 168th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 128th Avenue Street — located north of Liberty High School — the county will restripe the two westbound lanes to provide a left-turn-only lane and a single through lane.

The existing traffic signal will be changed to provide a left-turn signal, and pedestrian access will be improved.

The changes are anticipated to reduce the number and severity of rear-end collisions involving motorists waiting to turn left from Southeast 128th Avenue Street onto 168th Avenue Southeast.

A curve limits the visibility of vehicles stopped in the inside westbound lane. Advance warning signs and flashers east of the intersection will help alert westbound motorists of the changes and the need to merge to the right.

Construction is expected to begin by September and be completed by year end. No full road closures are anticipated to complete the work.

Project signs will be installed on the approaches to the intersection a few weeks prior to the start of construction.

Olympus: Home of the Gods and Other Folks

July 3, 2012

In 1987, the average American home sold for $125,000 and you could drive to it in your $6,895 Ford Escort filled with gas that cost 89 cents a gallon. Televangelist Jim Bakker, who established the Praise the Lord network (broadcast acronym: PTL, later dubbed “Pass the Loot”) was embroiled in a scandal. News about the Iran-Contra Affair filled the airways. The Dow dropped 508 points on a day that became known as “Black Monday.” It was enough to make you want to take Prozac, and luckily enough, Prozac had just been introduced to a willing Gosh-I-didn’t-even-know-I-needed-that public.

When my little sister Barb was in high school, the hill I live on was in unincorporated King County and was covered with alder, traced with jeep trails and littered with abandoned mattresses. She tells me that this is where local high school kids drank and made out. She knew about it, but never went there herself. Or so she says.

Not long after Barb didn’t go up into the hills, The Sainted One and I did. We were into orienteering at the time, and one Saturday we registered and drew our map at what is now Renton Academy, and then hiked on trails that took us up into the hills. We found one of the control point flags a hundred yards west of where we now live. We noted the fresh bulldozed trails and the tree trunks X’d with paint and wondered what was in the offing.

It was Olympus that was in the offing, and we end up moving here almost 22 years ago.

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