Editorial — Consider volunteering in the classroom

September 2, 2015

NEW — 4:50 p.m. Sept. 2, 2015

Newcastle parents whisked their children off to school this week, symbolically bringing an end to the long summer nights.

After dropping the kids off at school, you might feel the urge to kick back, relax and enjoy some “me” time. You deserve it after a long summer keeping the young ones entertained.

But wait! The schools need you. The volunteer jobs are endless. The playgrounds need monitors, the libraries can use assistance, the front offices might need your organizational skills, teachers almost never have enough helpers and the nurse’s offices are often in need of a mother’s touch to watch over a sick child.

But the best volunteer jobs may be working directly with students. Parents, grandparents and other citizens are always welcome to just listen to children read. Read more

To the Editor — September 2015

September 2, 2015

NEW — 4:48 p.m. Sept. 2, 2015

Reject the proposed School Woods plan

I am writing this to express my opposition to the proposed plan for the School Woods.  Beyond the loss of trails, the increased residential and “cut-through” traffic through two established neighborhoods, and the violation of existing wetlands, it is a shame to have lost a potential open space and park area.

This is especially true in a city having the least park land of any in the area  (4.7 acres of park acreage per 1,000 residents in Newcastle, compared to Renton’s 12.7 acres and Bellevue’s 21.2).

Further, the proposed development shows a complete lack of imagination and respect for the land. The site plan as it stands is in the perfect image of California practice:  Flatten for building pad, drop, flatten for building pad, drop again, flatten for building pad, drop again, etc., extending over the entire site. This is a forced, high-density housing development that shows little or no sympathy and respect for existing neighborhood ambiance. Read more

Editorial — Council does the right thing on speed hump decision

August 6, 2015

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Aug. 6, 2015

Haochen Xu was just 4 years old.

He loved to read, had no trouble making friends and possessed a penchant for learning.

Haochen died June 27 at Harborview Medical Center, the day after a driver struck him as he and his mother tried to cross Newport Way Northwest in Issaquah.

Investigators say the driver was not speeding, but that is little consolation for a community that says the posted 40 mph speed limit along the road is way too high.

Changes are likely coming to the road, with Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler recommending a speed limit decrease. But this is after the worst case scenario became reality. Read more

To the Editor — August 2015

August 6, 2015

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Aug. 6, 2015

Our neighborhoods are Newcastle’s real identity

Almost three decades ago, a small group of local visionaries carved a modern-day vision of Newcastle out of rural King County. Doing so, we placed our bets on the wisdom and ideals of our old-timers. Most of their wisdom and ideals are contained in the original Newport Hills incorporation study. So, what did we learn?

We learned that our current and newer neighborhoods could never be just ZIP codes. Many of our other areas would develop and evolve into beautiful, successful and stable neighborhoods, but they had to be sub-parts of the bigger picture — our city as a whole. There would be very real, future restrictive “location demographics” that could forever affect us, but we could survive, depending on the ongoing concern from our locals.

Additionally, allowing outsiders to redevelop, in our neighborhoods, could change the fundamental dynamics of how and where we live. Our way of life could become somewhat transitory, if those outsiders can readily exploit it. The respect for our future, therefore, must come from inside, because we’re betting that our leaders and staff will honor the wisdom in the founder’s visions. Read more

Cartoon — August 2015

August 6, 2015

NEW — 2:24 p.m. Aug. 6, 2015

cjones20150801Brady

Editorial — Don’t leave kids, dogs to die in hot cars

July 2, 2015

It must be horrible to be trapped in a very hot, small space, yearning for water, gasping for air and begging to be released.

Despite the fact that scenario will horrify most readers, every single summer, police get calls about children and dogs trapped in hot cars.

Temperatures have been in the 80s in recent days and it’s not midsummer yet.

On average, 37 children across the country have died each year since 1998 from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles, according to www.noheatstroke.org. Read more

Cartoon — July 2015

July 2, 2015

cjones20150302Climate

Notes from Newcastle — Summertime blues

July 2, 2015

While most of the region’s residents patiently endure the constant Northwest rain with the knowledge that at the end of the long, grey tunnel sits one prize of a summer, some strange individuals silently voice their displeasure with the sunny months.

“It’s too hot,” they say. “I miss my rain,” they lament. “Where are the clouds?” they ask.

They justify their aversion to summer weather by slowly repeating PEMCO’s “We’re a lot like you, a little different” mantra. “There must be others like me,” they insist, though they’re never quite sure.

They most closely identify with the insurance company’s “First Snowflake Freakout Lady,” only replace snowflake with “90-degree day” and you’ve got yourself a winner. Read more

Editorial — Celebrate safely this graduation season

June 4, 2015

You did it, grads!

You endured the tests, the homework, the projects, the classes, the early start times and the occasional sleepless night to get to this point — right here, right now, the finish line is in sight.

Liberty and Hazen high school seniors will receive their diplomas at separate ceremonies June 12. Hazen’s is at the Kent ShoWare Center, while Liberty’s is at Safeco Field.

Now is the time to reflect. When you stare in the mirror, dressed in full graduation regalia, what will you remember most? Read more

To the Editor — June 2015

June 4, 2015

We need more than ‘reasonable’ with PSE’s Energize Eastside

The independent technical consultant hired by the city of Bellevue to assess the need for PSE’s “Energize Eastside” project, U.S.E., was expected to do its own independent future peak load forecast. Instead, it reviewed PSE’s forecast and found it “reasonable.”

If you want a second opinion from a doctor, would you be satisfied if he/she just looked at the medical records from the first doctor and thought her diagnosis was “reasonable”?

What U.S.E. finds “reasonable” is PSE’s new forecast of electricity demand growing at 2.4 percent per year from 2014-2024. By comparison, Seattle City Light is forecasting demand growth of 1.2 percent for Seattle. Why can’t we get independent verification that the Eastside is now growing twice as fast as booming Seattle? That seems totally implausible. Read more

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