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

The origins of the China Creek name

April 2, 2015

Within Newcastle we have the China Creek and China Falls neighborhoods, China Creek Golf Course, and of course, China Creek itself. Did you ever wonder how those names came to be?

When the original mining town of Old Newcastle was established in 1863, the primary source of drinking water was a little creek to the south that began up on Cougar Mountain and emptied into what is now Lake Boren.

It was normally a gentle flow of water, but during heavy rains the creek would overflow and created a large flood plain to the north of the current lake. The lake was bigger and deeper than it is today, and also was swampy on the Eastside.

Chinese workers came into the area in the early 1870s, primarily to work on the railroads, but some came to Newcastle and worked for the mining company. Read more

Chief justice, Hazen grad to headline fundraiser breakfast

April 2, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: Barbara Madsen is no longer headlining the annual breakfast. Instead, Seahawks digital media host, and Newcastle resident, Tony Ventrella will headline the April 27 breakfast.

The Friends of Renton Schools will host its sixth annual benefit breakfast, headlined by speaker Barbara Madsen, the chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court, on April 27.

Madsen, a 1970 graduate of Hazen High School, earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington before going on to Gonzaga University School of Law.

After earning her law degree, Madsen worked as a public defender in King and Snohomish counties. She was first appointed to a bench in 1988, when then-Seattle Mayor Charles Royer added her to the Seattle Municipal Court, where she served as presiding judge.

Voters elected her the third woman to serve on the Washington Supreme Court in 1992, and re-elected her in 1998, 2004 and 2010. She began her second term as the 55th chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court after colleagues unanimously elected her Oct. 31, 2012. Read more

Education and roads key topics as state lawmakers visit area

April 2, 2015

State legislators descended on their Eastside jurisdictions March 14, holding an open house in Bellevue.

At Somerset Elementary School, one main topic was education, with dozens of teachers outside, and later inside, carrying signs mostly declaring, “It’s time to fully fund education.”

The state Legislature still is working on meeting the demands of the state supreme court in the now famous McCleary case, said State Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island.

State Reps. Judy Clibborn and Tana Senn, both D-Mercer Island, joined Litzow for about a two-hour question-and-answer session with residents. Read more

LifeWire gala to raise money for domestic violence prevention

April 2, 2015

LifeWire, the state’s largest domestic violence service provider, will host its 2015 benefit gala and auction May 2 at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center.

The funds from the World of Hope Gala and Auction provides services in east and north King County to victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

The money collected also assists the organization in preventing domestic violence through advocacy, education and support.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with a wine reception and silent auction, followed by a 7 p.m. live auction and dinner led by emcee Molly Shen, a news anchor at KOMO-TV. Read more

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