Trails club announces scholarship opportunity

April 25, 2015

NEW — 11:30 a.m. April 25, 2015

The Issaquah Alps Trails Club annually sponsors the Bill Longwell Memorial Scholarship, available to this year’s graduating seniors at Hazen, Issaquah, Skyline and Liberty high schools.

The top prize is a $1,000 scholarship, with second place getting $500 and third place receiving $250. The deadline is May 1.

This year’s topic: Participate in one hike sponsored by the trails club (see schedule at and one trail work party through the Washington Trails Association or the Mountains to Sound Greenway. (Trail work parties are listed on their respective websites; some are also listed on the trails club website.) Read more

Coal Creek Family YMCA hosts Healthy Kids Day

April 22, 2015

NEW — 11:30 a.m. April 22, 2015

On Saturday, April 25, the Coal Creek Family YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active.

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families, features activities such as Rugged Warrior Challenge, rock climbing wall, family boot camp, free helmet sizing and giveaway, free youth fingerprinting and ID for parents, photobooth and much more to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.

Celebrated at nearly 1,300 YMCA’s across the country, Healthy Kids Day aims to get more kids moving and learning, so they can keep up the habit all summer long – a critical out-of-school time for kids’ health. Read more

Candidate workshops set for April 24-25

April 15, 2015

NEW — 10:55 a.m. April 15, 2015

Election season is right around the corner, and the King County Elections Office wants to help citizens get the most out of their candidacies.

King County Elections is hosting two free candidate workshops April 24 and 25. The two-hour sessions cover the ins-and-outs of becoming a candidate for public office, including important filing deadlines, campaign sign regulations and basic public disclosure information.

Both the April 24 (2-4 p.m.) and April 25 (10 a.m. to noon) workshops are held at the King County Elections Office, 919 S.W. Grady Way, Renton. RSVP by email to Workshops will be cancelled if enrollment is low.

The terms for four Newcastle City Council positions are set to expire at the end of the year — council position No. 1 (Lisa Jensen), council position No. 2 (Carol Simpson), council position No. 3 (Steve Buri) and council position No. 4 (Gordon Bisset). Read more

Newcastle Earth Day kickoff is Thursday

April 13, 2015

NEW — 3 p.m. April 13, 2015

All those planning to exhibit, volunteer or attend Newcastle’s Earth Day celebration are invited to a special kick-off event two days before the big festival.

This month’s Newcastle Chamber of Commerce after-hours networking event is dedicated to a social kickoff of the April 18 Earth Day event. Earth Day enthusiasts are encouraged to mingle with those that will be working the event on Saturday.

“Meet others that you normally don’t have time to meet while tending your booth,” Newcastle Earth Day Chairwoman Grace Stiller said in an email. “We’ll reminisce of the first Earth Day celebrations – hippie style!”

Light refreshments and a no-host bar will be available at the April 16 event held at Tapatio Mexican Grill, 6920 Coal Creek Parkway S.E. It goes from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

Learn more about the Newcastle Earth Day festival here.

Bartell Drugs collects ‘bear hugs’ through May 2

April 8, 2015

NEW — 4:40 p.m. April 8, 2015

Bartell Drugs is helping to give “bear hugs” to children in stressful or traumatic situations as the Puget Sound area drugstore chain teams up again with Warm 106.9 FM in the annual Teddy Bear Patrol campaign through May 2.

In addition, Bartell and Warm 106.9 have teamed up for special collection events at Bartell locations with the station’s on-air personalities and fire and police personnel on hand to personally accept donations for the drive.

Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Bartell Drugs’ 60 stores in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties are designated locations for teddy bear donations. Purchase an official “Bartell Bear” for $8 and Bartell will donate a second bear to the campaign.

The Newcastle store is at 6939 Coal Creek Parkway S.E.

Learn more about the program at

Chamber hosts presentation about Shared Work program

April 7, 2015

NEW — 10:35 a.m. April 7, 2015

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce will host Chad Pearson, of the state’s Employment Security Department, at its April 8 luncheon.

Pearson will present information about how the state’s Shared Work Program can prevent layoffs and keep skilled staff when business slows.

The Shared Work Program offers businesses an alternative to laying off workers. Instead, employers may reduce the work hours for permanent employees, and the workers can collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.

This allows businesses to weather downturns without losing skilled employees. It also gives workers an opportunity to keep their jobs part time while collecting unemployment benefits for time they are not working.

The April luncheon begins at 11 a.m. April 8 at Tapatio Mexican Grill. The cost is $20 for chamber members and $25 for non-members.

Learn more here.

Pet license checks begin April 4

April 2, 2015

NEW — 4:30 p.m. April 2, 2015

A trained, professional canvasser working for Regional Animal Services of King County and the city of Newcastle will soon go door-to-door in an effort to ensure pets living in the city are properly licensed.

The canvasser will begin visiting homes April 4. The person can be identified by a county name badge and logo shirt, and will carry business cards and pet licensing documents.

All cats and dogs 8 weeks old and older living in Newcastle are required to be licensed by King County. Canvassers will not give citations for unlicensed pets, but will issue temporary licenses, which allow 30 days for the purchase of permanent tags. They will not carry money or ask for payment.

The canvassers are sensitive to privacy concerns, and will not, for example, peer in windows or over fences looking for pets. They won’t enter homes and will avoid houses clearly labeled with “No Trespassing” or “No Soliciting” signs. Read more

Think globally, act locally at Newcastle Earth Day

April 2, 2015

Newcastle Earth Day Chairwoman Grace Stiller has one simple request for this year’s event — rain, please stay away.

A year after the wet stuff put a damper on the 2014 event, Stiller said she is hoping for sunshine when the festival returns to Lake Boren Park on April 18.

“All we need is a really nice day, no rain,” she said. “Last year, it dumped buckets. It was terrible.”

The city of Newcastle and the Newcastle Weed Warriors, with funding from the King Conservation District, will provide speakers, seminars and activities for Earth Day 2015 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 18. Read more

Randy Ohlendorf is chamber’s new director

April 2, 2015

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce board announced in a news release that Randy Ohlendorf will serve as the organization’s new executive director.

The board received more than 20 applications for the position left vacant by Imelda Dulcich’s resignation, board President Sara Biancofiori said.


Ohlendorf, a longtime Newcastle resident, is an experienced business developer and consultant in healthcare, human capital and employee benefits. Read more

Newcastle woman charged with fraud in immigrant-investor visas

April 2, 2015

Authorities on March 17 arrested a Newcastle woman on charges she and her former husband fraudulently obtained EB-5 immigrant-investor visas to enter the United States and laundered money from China to buy a home on the Eastside.

Shilan Zhao, 51, and her ex-husband Jianjun Qiao, 51, knowingly made false statements to get visas through the federal program, according to a federal indictment unsealed March 17.

When the divorced couple applied for the investor visas, officials allege, they falsely claimed they were married and declared that the $500,000 they invested through EB-5 was obtained lawfully. Officials allege that Qiao embezzled the money from a Chinese grain warehouse he directed in Henan province.

Zhao appeared in federal court in Seattle on March 17 and was held without bond, officials said. Qiao, also known as Feng Li, is being sought by U.S. authorities. If convicted, they could be sentenced to federal prison. Read more

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