John Drescher wins City Council race

December 4, 2013

John Drescher celebrated Election Day with friends and family who were packed to the rim in The Wooly Toad at The Golf Club at Newcastle.

At about 8:15 p.m., he was sitting alone in a corner, glued to his computer. When he clicked refresh, he saw the results, and called his wife Sally over to show her the outcome.

The screen showed Drescher with an insurmountable lead that night, and it only grew as he defeated challenger Mark Greene in the Newcastle City Council’s only contested race.

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Library celebrates first anniversary

December 4, 2013

Newcastle residents waited years for their own library, enduring setback after setback, so when it finally opened its doors Dec. 8, 2012, the community turned out in droves.

As soon as doors opened that December morning, patrons flooded the entrance, and even more stood in a long line, snaked around the building, waiting for their turn to immerse themselves in that brand new book smell.

Flash forward a year later and the library has become an integral part of the community, standing as an architectural marvel with its glass-lined façade, in downtown Newcastle.

“It is well used,” said Kirsten Corning, librarian services manager. “I have a feeling, though, give it two or three more years and it will be really well used.”

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Public safety, additional staff highlight 2014 budget

December 4, 2013

The Newcastle City Council wrapped up its 2014 budget deliberations in early December, finishing a process that began with a July retreat, and ends with a sizable projected surplus.

Boosted mainly by incoming development revenue, and improving sales tax funds, city finances appear relatively sound for the short-term future, with an anticipated surplus of more than $100,000 in 2014.

The budget does not add any new taxes, with the council deciding against taking an allowable 1 percent increase in property tax for the second straight year.

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And the Diamond Award goes to…

December 4, 2013

As Newcastle City Councilman John Dulcich approached the podium to present the first Diamond Award of the evening Nov. 13, the audience was quiet.

Moments later, the first sniffle emanated through the Prestwick Terrace, followed by another and another.

By Christina Corrales-Toy The 2013 Diamond Award recipients (above, from left) Steve Fortescue, on behalf of son Jon, Madeline Dalton, Elizabeth Widseth and son Trevor Yarnell, Jim Price, Lea Lo and Akina Moscinski and Paul Reynolds (at right) show of their new hardware at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s annual ceremony Nov. 13.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
The 2013 Diamond Award recipients (above, from left) Steve Fortescue, on behalf of son Jon, Madeline Dalton, Elizabeth Widseth and son Trevor Yarnell, Jim Price, Lea Lo and Akina Moscinski and Paul Reynolds (at right) show of their new hardware at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s annual ceremony Nov. 13.

The tears were flowing by the time Dulcich finished his dedication, and not a seat was occupied as the audience stood to honor a man that meant so much to the Newcastle community.

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Test your Newcastle history knowledge — Part 4

December 4, 2013

The city of Newcastle is home to a rich coal-mining history that is celebrated at every Newcastle Days.

In 2012, Mayor Rich Crispo compiled a list of 120 questions that highlighted the history of Newcastle. Each vendor booth had a question, and prizes were awarded for correct answers at the end of the day.

Below, we’ve printed a few of the questions, which highlight interesting facts about the history of the Newcastle community.

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City Council changes street name

December 4, 2013

A 1 1/2-mile stretch of road in the south end of the city is about to get one mouthful of a new name.

Effective Jan. 1, drivers traversing the Southeast 88th Street corridor will officially be traveling along Southeast May Creek Park Drive.

The City Council approved the name change at its Nov. 5 meeting, setting one continuous name for the street that begins off Coal Creek Parkway as Southeast 89th Place and actually changes names six times along its route.

“This goes back to 2002, when the council then first decided that for its major directional roads that rather than have multiple street numbers, that we have a name for the entire section to provide clear directions to people,” Councilman Bill Erxleben said in August when he suggested the change.

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Donate to toy drives

December 4, 2013

Bartell Drugs is collecting holiday gifts for children in need during the 10th annual Salvation Army Toy ‘N’ Joy drive.

Toys will be distributed to low-income children and youths the week before Christmas through the Salvation Army’s “toy warehouses.”

Donations of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted at local stores through Dec. 14. The Newcastle store is at 6939 Coal Creek Parkway S.E.

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December 4, 2013

Shop Small, Shop Local in Newcastle

A sticker at the entrance of Sweet Decadence Chocolates reads, “I shop Newcastle. It’s home.”

Even though the popular chocolate shop is set to relocate to Renton shortly, the phrase never rang truer as the nation celebrated Small Business Saturday Nov. 30.

The annual promotion, initiated by American Express in 2010, encourages holiday shoppers to patronize the storefronts right in their own hometown.

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December 4, 2013

Sorry, CCUD, for the incorrect statement at meeting

This is an apology to Robert Russell, general manager of the Coal Creek Utility District.

The Coal Creek Utility District cares about the quality service they provide to Newcastle and the surrounding area. At the recent Town Hall meeting, I misspoke when I said it didn’t care about how it bills for streetlights. I apologize.

The district does care. It has been working diligently this past year, checking all 90 streetlighting districts to make sure that every customer is billed correctly. It found 51 customers had been left off the lists, out of the more than 1,700 customers who pay for streetlights.

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Little Rhody Park gets second life

December 4, 2013

A public land parcel in the west end of the city will get some kid-friendly park improvements in 2014.

The City Council allocated $60,000 in its 2014 budget for the development of Little Rhody Park, at Southeast 80th Street and 113th Avenue Southeast intersection.

“It means a lot to the residents on that side of the city,” said Newcastle Public Works Director Mark Rigos, who worked closely with neighbors to craft a vision for the park.

The land is currently little more than dirt and shrubs. Improvements will come in the form of a playground geared toward children ages 5-12.

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