Best (Unseen) Photos of 2014

January 2, 2015

2014 was a year of change for Newcastle

January 2, 2015

In 2014, the city of Newcastle celebrated a birthday, lost an icon and set the stage for the future. Here are some of the top stories of the year, in no particular order:

Newcastle pioneer Milt Swanson passes away

Family, neighbors and community leaders gathered Jan. 25 to honor the life of Milt Swanson, a titan of Newcastle history and a man with an unceasing, warming smile.

The Newcastle pioneer, born and raised in this community, spent all of his 95 years in the same area, 90 of which were in the same company house that still stands at the edge of town near the Cougar Mountain trailhead. Read more

CCUD building purchase questioned

January 2, 2015

A Newcastle City Council-approved agreement to purchase a building for equipment and vehicle storage is raising questions, after the city offered up more than money to acquire it.

In September, the council authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to enter into a purchase-sale agreement for the Coal Creek Utility District-owned property on 129th Avenue Southeast.

In exchange for the property appraised at $750,000, the city would agree to pay $250,000 and forfeit its legal right to assume the utility district for 10 years.

It’s the non-assumption clause, in particular, that has some current, and one former, council members questioning the logic of the agreement. Read more

Advisory group endorses Energize Eastside route

January 2, 2015

Suggested routes go through Newcastle

The Community Advisory Group working on Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside transmission line upgrade project has made its final route recommendations and both include Segment M, which goes through Newcastle.

The panel — comprised of neighborhood, business and civic leaders — selected routes Oak and Willow at its final meeting Dec. 10. The advisory group’s final recommendation is based on its work over the past year, including discussion of community feedback collected throughout 2014.

Of the 20 advisory group members and residential alternates present at the meeting, 17 supported the final recommendation. Of those 17, eight expressed preference for the Oak route and five expressed preference for the Willow route, while four supported either route. Read more

New principal named at Hazelwood Elementary School

January 2, 2015

Hazelwood Elementary School has a new principal.

Tracey Naylor will take over the position currently held by interim-Principal Judy Busch.

Naylor, a graduate of Columbia University and American University, comes to Hazelwood from Campbell Hill Elementary School, where she served as the assistant principal.

Tracey Naylor

Tracey Naylor

Prior to serving in the Renton School District, she taught in Arizona and Louisiana as well as served as an instructional coach, principal in residence and director of instruction in Louisiana, New York and Washington, D.C., respectively. Read more

Newcastle Police arrest mail, package thief

January 2, 2015

Newcastle Police arrested a woman Dec. 18 for stealing packages off of a front porch in the 15500 block of Southeast 79th Street.

The department suspects she is associated with other package and mail thefts in the area, Police Chief Melinda Irvine said in a news release.

Police can identify owners of the mail, but not items removed from packages, so residents who had had packages stolen, but have not reported it, should go to or call 206-296-3311 to claim property.

Officers encourage residents to keep a close eye on their doorsteps when shipping and/or receiving packages. If possible, ship boxes through an authorized mail service location, and plan to be home when your packages are scheduled for delivery. Read more

Newcastle’s history shaped King County as we know it

January 2, 2015

In 1853, the area around current-day Newcastle was heavily forested with 10-foot diameter trees, a multitude of streams, and many gorges and valleys. It was also home to wildlife including cougars, bears, raccoons, bobcats and deer.

In that year, a couple of explorers found something that would change that landscape forever — chunks of coal along a creek (later to be named Coal Creek).

The first coal wasn’t mined until 10 years later, but when it began, it was in earnest. In the 100 years between 1863 and 1963, the Newcastle coal mines produced 10.5 million tons of coal.

The coal was of good quality, and the proximity to Seattle made it an important commodity. In 1870, Seattle had only 1,107 residents, but because coal was being shipped to San Francisco and the growth of the port, that number grew to 42,837 by 1890, only 20 years later. Read more

City hires new public works director

January 2, 2015

Newcastle City Manager Rob Wyman announced that the city has hired Jeffrey Brauns as its new Public Works director.

Brauns comes to Newcastle from the city of Sammamish, where he served as city engineer and the senior transportation program manager.

Prior to that, he worked for various private-sector engineering firms as well as the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Wyman said Brauns is very plugged in with other cities and regional organizations, and currently serves as the American Public Works Association’s Transportation Committee chairman. Read more

State Parks offers 12 ‘free days’ to visitors in 2015

January 2, 2015

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has released its schedule of days in 2015 when visitors are not required to display the Discover Pass to visit a state park.

The “free days” are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass — a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Natural Resources.

The legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 “free days” when the pass would not be required. The free days apply only at state parks, like Lake Sammamish State Park or the Tiger Mountain State Forest; the Discover Pass is still required to access WDFW and DNR lands. Read more

December blotter

January 2, 2015

Lake Boren donuts

An unknown suspect in an unknown vehicle drove onto the grass at Lake Boren Park, 13000 S.E. 84th Way, tearing it up and spraying mud between Nov. 26 and 29. It most likely occurred when the ground was frozen.


Mail theft

An unknown suspect stole mail from a box in the 11800 block of Southeast 79th Court Dec. 3. A homeowner noticed that his and eight of his neighbors’ mailboxes had been emptied.


Samara did it

A Newcastle resident arrived at his home in the 13000 block of Southeast May Creek Park Drive to find that an unknown suspect had ripped open his waiting packages and took a few items, including a copy of the movie “The Ring” Dec. 9.


O Christmas Tree

A package filled with three pre-lit Christmas trees was stolen Dec. 9 from a porch in the 13800 block of Southeast 77th Place.


The real Grinch

An anonymous caller reported that two people were seen taking items from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound donation bin in the AM/PM parking lot, 6966 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., Dec. 10. The caller was able to give police the reported suspects’ license plate number.


Up in smoke

A Coal Creek Utility District employee turned in a Superman backpack filled with glass smoking devices. It was found Dec. 11 behind the Del Mar Apartments, 12828 Newcastle Way.



During regular patrol Dec. 12, a Newcastle officer spotted a white truck with stolen license plates in the Coal Creek Utility District parking lot, 6801 132nd Place S.E. The car’s owner, a CCUD employee, said the plates were reported as stolen, but he since received replacement ones, since the DMV re-issues vanity plates.


Library looting

An unknown suspect stole a $400 computer from the Newcastle Library, 12901 Newcastle Way, between Dec. 13 and 15.


Suspicious vehicle

An officer spotted what appeared to be a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of the Newport Crossing Apartments, 7311 Coal Creek Parkway S.E, Dec. 17. The 2008 Toyota Prius was covered with dirt and pine needles and had a shattered back window. The owner of the vehicle lives in Snoqualmie, and while the vehicle had not yet been reported stolen, the officer had the car impounded.

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