Newcastle garbage service returns to normal after strike ends

August 2, 2012

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2, 2012

Newcastle garbage service is returning to normal after Teamsters Local 117 struck against Waste Management, the hauler for Newcastle and many other communities in King and Snohomish counties.

Newcastle residents could still experience delay in recycling and yard waste pick-up. Any missed accounts receive double load pickups at no additional cost. City officials directed customers to the Waste Mangement website,, for additional information about service.

Waste Management recycling and yard waste truck drivers went on strike over wage and benefits issues July 25.

King County leaders applauded the action to end the strike.

“I’m pleased to see that both sides have worked towards a tentative agreement and that Waste Management has responded to the call of the County and cities to reach resolution quickly for the benefit of its customers and our residents,” County Executive Dow Constantine said. “I’ve always felt that when two sides bargain in good faith they can reach a fair and equitable resolution.”

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A coal-mining life

August 2, 2012

Milt Swanson, 94, maintains local history through memorabilia, historical society

By Greg Farrar
Milt Swanson, history buff and artifact keeper, sits at the grade-school desk his mother Esilda Swanson used when she went to school in Newcastle.

Not many people can say they’ve lived in the same house for 90 years.

But then again, most people can’t say they’ve lived 90 years period.

Milt Swanson has. And then some.

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Renton School District proposes property sale

August 2, 2012

The Renton School District will begin the process for a possible sale of two pieces of undeveloped property near Newcastle’s Hazelwood Elementary School and Renton’s Tiffany Park Elementary School, according to a press release from the district.

The district has owned the property for 40 years and considered selling the land in 2008 just as the U.S. recession began and the housing market started its rapid decline, according to the release. A decision was made at that time to put off the sale.

Both pieces of property are zoned for single-family residences.

The 10-acre property at the north end of the district, near Hazelwood Elementary and Lake Boren, was purchased in 1970.

Contributed by the Renton School District
This map shows the approximate 10-acres of undeveloped property (outlined in the bottom right hand corner) the Renton School District will sell. The Hazelwood Elementary School property, not for sale, is also highlighted to show perspective.

The 21-acre property near Tiffany Park Elementary was purchased in 1973 for a possible site to construct a middle school.

Both sites present challenging issues that preclude the district from building a school on either site, including size, location, accessibility and environmental issues, the release said.

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Neighbors celebrate National Night Out

August 2, 2012

Newcastle will celebrate the 29th annual National Night Out Against Crime on Aug. 7.

The event, which will be celebrated in neighborhoods throughout Newcastle, aims to heighten crime prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anticrime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Last year’s National Night Out campaign involved residents, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials from more than 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide.

In all, NNO estimated that more than 37 million people participated in National Night Out 2011. Along with the traditional outside lights and front porch vigils, Newcastle celebrates with a variety of neighborhood events, such as small informal gatherings, block parties, cookouts, wine tastings, and visits from local officials and law enforcement.

Neighborhoods can generate support for family emergency preparedness as well as strengthen neighborhood spirit and community partnerships.

Members of the Olympus neighborhood, in conjunction with celebrating the neighborhood’s 25th anniversary, will have a large picnic at 5 p.m. on 128th Avenue Southeast, which will be barricaded at Southeast 80th Way. The large picnic will take the place of the three or four usual smaller gatherings this year.

Police will visit the party, and kid-friendly activities, such as sidewalk chalk drawing, will be provided.

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Waste Management strike affects Newcastle services

August 2, 2012

Newcastle residents were asked to place their garbage and recycling materials at the curb according to their regular Waste Management collection schedule after a workers strike by the Teamsters Local 117 union was announced July 25.

As of press time, the strike was ongoing. Substitute drivers were called in to transport materials from some commercial and high-priority users in King County, including some commercial locations, hospitals and day-care facilities.

If materials are not collected by the end of a regular collection day, residents are asked to bring them back inside and Waste Management will collect a double load on the next collection day. Newcastle residents can check the Waste Management website for daily collection information at  

Waste Management provides the city of Newcastle with curbside collection of garbage, recycling and yard/food waste for residents and local businesses. Teamsters Local 117 represents about 16,500 workers at more than 200 employers throughout the Puget Sound area.

The union and Waste Management have spent more than six months in unsuccessful contract negotiations through 16 proposals.

“We are perplexed that the union chose to go out on strike and negatively impact the public in this way,” Robin Freedman, of Waste Management, said in a statement. “This was simply unnecessary, especially considering the fair and generous last, best and final package offered to Teamsters Local 117 over four weeks ago. Once again, the union leadership has chosen political gamesmanship rather than allowing their members to vote on the offer.”

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Voters could decide $118.9 million levy for fingerprint services

August 2, 2012

King County voters could decide on a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies.

The proposal is to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county.

The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

Voters approved the initial AFIS levy in 1986, and overwhelmingly renewed the levy since then, most recently in 2006. The current levy expires in December.

“As a regional crime-fighting tool, AFIS is our ‘CSI: King County,’ bringing new technology to the job of cracking cases and catching criminals,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

Constantine sent renewal levy legislation to the King County Council on May 24. The council is left to decide whether to place the measure on the November ballot.

“AFIS is our No. 1 crime-fighting tool in King County, solving more crimes than all other forensic sciences combined,” King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said in a statement.

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Rapid Response

August 2, 2012

Are you satisfied with the process made on the Newcastle Library this summer? Why/Why not?

It’s starting to move, but still rather slow. Too bad for all the contractor issues. We’re all waiting … maybe a bit impatiently now … smiles!

— Jackie Foskett


Definitely not … I think Synergy should vet their subcontractors more thoroughly. They got what they paid for.

— Dave Martinez

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August 2, 2012

Library’s progress is taking too long

I find it mindboggling that skyscrapers can be erected in less time than it is taking for the Newcastle Library. The contractor should have been fired long ago, and the fact that the contractor has not been replaced shows the library system’s management is at best ill-suited or at worst, incompetent.

Replace both and the library would probably be completed in a few weeks, not months.

How much tax money has been wasted on this project?

Steve Fisher


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Newcastle’s history deserves protection

August 2, 2012

As the city of Newcastle looks to celebrate its 18th anniversary of incorporation at this year’s Newcastle Days with the historically fueled theme “Return to Newcastle,” there’s never been a more apt time to really dig in and explore what it means to live here.

There is arguably no better example of the home-grown Newcastle experience than 94-year-old resident Milt Swanson.

Many people may not know that much of Newcastle’s invaluable history, including photos, materials and maps, has been collected and stored by Swanson in his home.

The collection includes coal-mining equipment and tools, 100-year-old maps of the area, photos of Newcastle’s people, a moonshine still used during Prohibition, desks from the former Newcastle school, and even Newcastle coal itself, the very foundation of the town when the fuel was discovered in the area in 1863.

Other historically significant artifacts and photos are scattered throughout the basements of members of the Newcastle Historical Society.

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Sex offender registers in Newcastle neighborhood

August 2, 2012

Aaron Patrick Pittman, 33, registered as a Level III sex offender after being convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a child for attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl that he met online for sexual purposes. Police said Level III sex offenders have a high risk of re-offending.

Aaron Pittman

Police said Pittman stands 6 feet tall, weighs 220 pounds, and has brown hair and green eyes. His address is in the 11600 block of Southeast 88th Street.

Residents can search for Pittman and other registered sex offenders at

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