Council approves CCUD building purchase

January 21, 2015

UPDATED — 1:20 p.m. Jan. 22, 2015

The Newcastle City Council officially authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to go ahead with the controversial purchase of a Coal Creek Utility District-owned building at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay $250,000 for the 129th Avenue Southeast building appraised at about $750,000. In addition, the city will agree not to assume the utility for the next 10 years.

The building would serve as a place to store and work on the city’s public works vehicles, which are currently parked at City Hall. It could also potentially house a future Newcastle history museum, Mayor Steve Buri said.

It again came down to a 4-3 vote, with Deputy Mayor John Drescher, Councilman Gordon Bisset and Councilman Rich Crispo dissenting. Read more

May Valley Road lane closures will last into February

January 21, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 21, 2015

Guardrail work on Southeast May Valley Road will close one of two lanes in an area east of state Route 900 and west of 229th Drive Southeast through mid-February.

The lane closures are scheduled for approximately 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday.

The county’s contractor will adjust the guardrail due to changes in the road height after recent repaving. Flaggers will alternate traffic directions, and travelers should expect delays at the work site in addition to delays from the automated traffic signal at the site of the 2014 ongoing lane closure.

Following the completion of work on Southeast May Valley Road, the contractor will perform similar guardrail work on a recently repaved segment of Southeast Issaquah-Hobart Road from south of the Issaquah city limits to Southeast 132nd Way. Additional information about the second project will be released prior to lane closures there. Read more

CCUD agreement back on the Jan. 20 council agenda

January 16, 2015

NEW — 2:35 p.m. Jan. 16, 2015

A Newcastle City Council-approved deal that continues to cause a lot of controversy headlines the agenda items for the Jan. 20 regular council meeting.

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

Eastsiders sought for animal volunteer corps

January 14, 2015

NEW — 5:15 p.m. Jan. 14, 2015

As the New Year gets underway, many people have resolved to volunteer more and get involved in their community.

Regional Animal Services of King County has many opportunities in 2015 for people who love animals and want to make a difference.

RASKC is especially seeking residents of Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Sammamish and other Eastside cities who would like to volunteer at the Eastside Pet Adoption Center at Kirkland Petco. The store at 12040 N.E. 85th St. opened in June, and has quickly grown into a favorite stop for prospective pet owners. Volunteers are needed at the Eastside center every day for two-hour shifts between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“Volunteering for Regional Animal Services is a wonderful way to help people and pets in our region,” Sarah Luthens, volunteer program manager for RASKC, said in a news release. “Along with individual volunteers, we often have parents and children who volunteer together as a fun family activity.” Read more

Chamber hosts PSE at Jan. 14 luncheon

January 12, 2015

NEW — 5 p.m. Jan. 12, 2015

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce will kick off 2015 with its first luncheon of the year Jan. 14.

Puget Sound Energy representatives will be on hand talking about the company’s myPSE mobile app which gives customers the opportunity to report and track power outages.

Keri Pravitz, Puget Sound Energy community projects manager, and Andy Swayne, municipal liaison manager, will answer questions, as well.

The January luncheon begins at 11 a.m. Jan. 12 at Tapatio Mexican Grill. The cost is $20 for chamber members and $25 for non-members.

Learn more here.

‘Little giant’ makes Newcastle’s history come to life

January 7, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 7, 2015

Time is running out for residents to experience Newcastle’s history up close and personal at the Renton History Museum.

The “Newcastle: Little Giant of the Eastside” exhibit debuted Sept. 9 and is set to run until Feb. 7 at the Renton History Museum. It features pictures, maps and objects, most on loan courtesy of the Newcastle Historical Society, from Newcastle’s coal-mining past.

There are features about the still-standing Baima House and the Newcastle Cemetery, as well as a wall-sized present-day map pinpointing several historical locations.

The artifacts range from mining tools to wine-making devices, because, as collections manager Sarah Samson noted, “there were a lot of Italians” in Newcastle.

Learn more at www.rentonwa.gov/rentonhistorymuseum.

Energize Eastside, Newcastle Days and more on Jan. 6 City Council agenda

January 6, 2015

NEW — 11:55 a.m. Jan. 6, 2015

The Newcastle City Council will hold it’s first meeting of 2015 tonight.

In what appears to be a relatively light agenda, the council will discuss Newcastle Days, Energize Eastside, its 2015 legislative agenda and more.

In its report to the council, the Community Activities Commission is likely to seek direction on changes to Newcastle Days. Commissioners are expected to ask when they should hold the annual festival, and if it should extend to two days in 2015.

The council will also discuss an interagency agreement pertaining to the Energize Eastside project.

The proposed interagency agreement will allow the affected agencies (the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland,
Newcastle, Redmond, Renton and King County) to collectively study siting and development of the project. Read more

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

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