Boy Scout Sam Simpson-Gordon earns Eagle rank

May 2, 2013

Sam Simpson-Gordon

Sam Simpson-Gordon

Newcastle resident Sam Simpson-Gordon, of Troop 638, recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Simpson-Gordon’s Eagle Scout project was completed on the May Creek Trail in Newcastle, with the help of Newcastle Trails’ Peggy Price.

He led a team of volunteers that improved a 100-foot portion of the May Creek Trail. The group widened and leveled the trail, built stone retaining walls and dug out roots to make the trail meet Newcastle’s standards.

In recognition of his accomplishment, he received a care package and letter from Cmdr. Chris Follin, of the USS Simpson. The guided missile frigate is named after Simpson-Gordon’s great-grandfather, Rear Adm. Rodger W. Simpson.

“I can see that you continue your great-grandfather’s legacy of steadfast devotion and relentless dexterity in the attainment of meaningful goals that benefit others,” Follin said.

Simpson-Gordon, a senior at Hazen High School, received his Eagle badge April 21 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, in front of friends and family.

He plans to attend Bellevue College once he graduates and study computer graphic design.

Notes from Newcastle: A tribute to Katie

May 2, 2013

Katie Tinnea

Katie Tinnea

Wearing the color purple will never mean the same to me again.

When I throw on a purple sweater or a lavender scarf, I will know from this day forward that this color is special.

Purple is the color of royalty. It is the color of courage. It is the color of a fighter. Purple is Katie Tinnea’s color. Read more


May 2, 2013

Get ready for elections

While flowers begin to bloom around the city and customers file into the Newcastle Fruit and Produce Stand, it can only mean one thing: Spring is officially here.

That also means that election season is right around the corner, and the terms for three Newcastle City Council positions are set to expire at the end of the year.

If you’ve been thinking about taking on an important leadership role within the city of Newcastle, the time has come to take the next step. Candidates must file for election by May 17.

City Council incumbents Rich Crispo and John Dulcich announced that they will seek re-election. Bill Erxleben, on the other hand, has decided against filing for re-election; so far, Parks Commission Chairman John Drescher and Newcastle citizen Mark Greene have said they will seek Erxleben’s seat. Read more


May 2, 2013

Save Lake Boren

Or not — it’s up to you, the Newcastle city residents.

Lake Boren is filling up and is in jeopardy of no longer being a lake. Just before the turn of the century, the depth of Lake Boren was 90 feet. In the late ‘70s, it was measured at 43 feet. A couple of years ago, it was 34 feet.

The lake bottom consists of nearly a 100 percent silt and mud. The debris enters the lake during high water runoff periods. Storm waters result in the lakes surface water level to fluctuate up to, and at times, over 4 feet. This is also very damaging to the health of the lake. It allows banks to erode, trees and other debris to fall in, and drain field affluent, fertilizers and animal feces to migrate into the lake. Read more

Election will bring change to City Council makeup

May 2, 2013

The Newcastle City Council will have at least one new face in 2014.

Councilman Bill Erxleben announced that he will not file for re-election this spring, guaranteeing that there will be one open seat during November’s election. Two other sitting council members could be challenged as well.

“I believe that two terms is enough for any council member,” Erxleben wrote in a letter to the editor.

Erxleben was first appointed to the Newcastle City Council in 2002. He was elected to the council in 2003. After a few years away from local government, he was elected to the council again in 2009.

In addition to Erxleben, Mayor Rich Crispo and Councilman John Dulcich will see their current terms expire at the end of 2013. Both Crispo and Dulcich have announced plans to file for re-election. Read more

Mayor delivers state of the city address

May 2, 2013

Newcastle Mayor Rich Crispo assured residents that the city is in relatively good shape, with people clamoring to live in the quaint community, during his 2013 State of the City address.

“We are the most popular place on the Eastside right now to live,” he said. “You look around and you find houses for sale, there aren’t many.”

The speech, given before residents and the business community at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s April 10 luncheon, addressed the city’s financial health, community events and the council’s new Community Activities Commission.

The city is in good financial shape, with a balanced operating fund and a healthy reserve fund, Crispo said. Newcastle will also spend about $3 million this year on capital projects, including sidewalks and road maintenance. Read more

City Council agrees gas tax should fund 520 bridge shortfall

May 2, 2013

The Newcastle City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging the state Legislature to increase the gas tax in order to cover the $1.4 billion shortfall for the project to replace the state Route 520 floating bridge.

The resolution, passed at the April 2 council meeting, offered an alternative to the proposed tolling of Interstate 90 as a means to finance the rest of the 520 bridge replacement.

“My mind is, we tell Judy Clibborn and the state Legislature to get on the stick and do what they should do, and pass a 10-cent gas tax and pay off the $1.4 billion that way and forget the tolling on I-90,” Councilman Bill Erxleben said.

The City Council passed the resolution, 6-0, with Deputy Mayor Lisa Jensen excused. Read more

Friends group hosts first book sale at Newcastle Library

May 2, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy Friends of the Newcastle Library President Julia Hunter arranges materials on the shelf of the library’s ongoing book sale. The Friends group will host its first large book sale in May.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Friends of the Newcastle Library President Julia Hunter arranges materials on the shelf of the library’s ongoing book sale. The Friends group will host its first large book sale in May.

The reading habits of people across the world have changed dramatically in the past decade.

More people are staring at the screen of an ebook reader, rather than a page from a book as they read their favorite novel. Read more

Newcastle Historical Society patriarch turns 95

May 2, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy Newcastle historian Milt Swanson cuts into a piece of carrot cake at a celebration of his 95th birthday during the Newcastle Historical Society's April 4 meeting at City Hall.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Newcastle historian Milt Swanson cuts into a piece of carrot cake at a celebration of his 95th birthday during the Newcastle Historical Society’s April 4 meeting at City Hall.

No one knows more about the history of Newcastle than Milt Swanson.

That’s because he lived it. He watched as the trains weaved in and out through the city; he worked in the mines as his father and grandfather did before him; and he understands how the coal mining industry shaped the city into what it is today. Read more

Council approves purchase of maintenance equipment, before state grant expires

May 2, 2013

With just a few months before a state Department of Ecology grant expires, the Newcastle City Council authorized the Public Works Department to use the funds to purchase a $100,000 piece of equipment that will benefit the city’s storm water management.

The trailer-mounted hydro-excavator will be used for quick response to spills and storm pipe cleaning, though Public Works Director Mark Rigos admitted he was not sure how often the city would use it.

“Honestly, I look at this as kind of a nice-to-have, not a requirement,” he said. “I do have some concerns on how much, honestly, we’re going to use this equipment. If this was solely coming out of Newcastle coffers, I would not bring this to you.” Read more

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