June 6, 2013

By Contributor

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Push forward to find solutions to fireworks, volunteer problems

In reading the recent article recounting the City Council meeting, which included discussion on future Fourth of July celebrations at Lake Boren, I seriously question Mayor Crispo’s ability to find creative solutions to issues facing our city.

My family attended last year’s event for the first time, and we were pleased to find it a warm and inviting atmosphere. Crispo’s perception that the event was too crowded with inadequate police presence couldn’t have been further from our experience. At no point did I feel my family’s safety was in question. I’m curious to know how many reports were received by the police department regarding concerns about safety at the event.

Addressing the concern with restroom access — there are many companies that provide portable toilets for such events, which easily mitigates that concern. Problem solved.

Lastly, regarding the mayor’s comment on the drop in volunteers — what has the mayor done personally to engage with the community on this? In the 15-plus years I’ve lived in Newcastle, I’ve found my neighbors to be very involved in the community and have personally volunteered for a number of events over the years. Perhaps it is the sort of apathy that the mayor displayed in this conversation that is leading our city’s residents to mirror the same behavior?

Kudos to councilmembers Steve Buri, Carol Simpson and Bill Erxleben for being representatives of our community in suggesting we push forward to find solutions. And, a big thanks to Continental Properties for stepping up as a sponsor to bring this great event back to our community.

Louise Cassell



Thanks for community support of veterans at USO Happy Hour

The Golf Club at Newcastle hosted the fifth annual Regency Newcastle USO Happy Hour on the eve of the USO Northwest “RED, WHITE and BLUE” Golf Tournament. Veterans from the Newcastle area were treated to two “RED, WHITE or BREWs” courtesy of Regency Newcastle Senor Living Center.

Col. Rob Dickerson, commander of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, thanked Newcastle and talked about the value of the USO and community events like the Happy Hour. He followed the evening’s star, Elmer, a World War II B-17 Navigator and current resident of Regency Newcastle. Elmer’s wife, son and daughter-in-law were there to support him as he talked about his experiences during the war. It was living history for most of us, but it was Elmer’s life. Thankfully, he and his five brothers all came home safe.

It is impressive to see Newcastle support this event the way it does. Councilmembers, city staff, chamber board members and many community members attended. Special thanks goes to Regency Newcastle’s John Kotalik, The Golf Club at Newcastle’s David Uchida, Connie and Paul Kapioski for donating four Mariners tickets for the colonel, and event volunteers Debbie Killinger, Christina Mason, Micki Brown, Lisa Jensen and my mother Erlyn Jensen, who lost her older brother in a B-24 bomber when she was only 12 years old. Listening to Elmer tell his story was a trip back in time for everyone, but for some it was more personal.

John Jensen



Commission needs your input about our city

Fellow Citizens of Newcastle,

On behalf of your city’s Planning Commission, I write to tell you of the effort under way to help define, strengthen and steer our great little city well into its future. Newcastle 2035 is our state-mandated obligation to review Newcastle’s long-term plan and amend it to make sure it best fits the vision of its citizens, and sets it up for future success. The Planning Commission takes up the work first, before handing it off to the City Council for its review and final approval by June 30, 2015. Newcastle 2035 refers to the 20-year planning horizon for this project.

This is all to say that your volunteer Planning Commission needs your help. What do you most love about your city — and or what do you want to change and improve? We encourage and welcome your input as we begin to undertake this far-reaching work.

The commission just approved a public participation plan that includes many opportunities for us to gain your feedback. You can look for us at Newcastle Days at Lake Boren Park in September, and we will make our progress known through e-mail lists and social media that we hope you subscribe to throughout this long process. To sign up for email notifications for Newcastle 2035, go to www.ci.newcastle.wa.us/signup_notices.htm and select the “News and Updates” option. The city’s Facebook page will also have information about our work.

Perhaps the best way to be involved is to attend our regular monthly meetings, which take place at City Hall the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. From now through the end of 2014, this will be the main work before us. During each meeting, there are at least two opportunities for public comment. Please join us and lend your voice to this important effort.

John C. Drescher

Chairman, Planning Commission

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