Connect with Renton Technical College

April 8, 2014

Nearly every week, I meet someone whose sibling, parent, neighbor or co-worker attended Renton Technical College. Many locals are, or have been, students at RTC. Many are program graduates, working in vital Washington sectors like aerospace, information technology or health care. Many people have taken a cooking class, upgraded their credentials and improved their English skills at RTC.

The key word here is “many.” Many people have a connection to this college. And if you are one of these many people, we want to invite you back. There are many ways, as an alumni or general supporter of the college, you can share your expertise or continue your relationship with us.

Heather Winfrey

Heather Winfrey

First and foremost, come to our events. If you don’t know about the profound work we accomplish at Renton Technical College, here are just a few upcoming activities you can attend:

  • Weekly tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning at 11 a.m., Building I, Room 216;
  • Free Speakers Series lectures with Dr. Rita Schenck/Institute for Environmental Research & Education (April 17 at 4 p.m.);
  • The annual RTC Dinner & Silent Auction, featuring Pat Cashman and Events on the Edge, on Friday, June 6 (tickets available at

If you are a graduate, then you know RTC produces top-notch candidates for in-demand careers in the Puget Sound area. In fact, RTC has the highest completion and placement rates of all two-year post-secondary options in Washington state. We’re working now on the introduction of Applied Baccalaureates in Computer Applications and Applied Management by 2015. We offer more than 65 workforce programs as unique as Band Instrument Repair Technology, as creative as Culinary Arts and as exclusive as Anesthesia Technician, which is one of only five such programs nationally. Our industry connections are superlative, and graduates who pursue work in their chosen professions are getting great jobs.

So, please, share your success with RTC and encourage students of all ages to take a look at our college.  We are a viable, affordable and competitive option. I’m proud to say that when my teenager graduates from Hazen High School in 2015, he will attend college at RTC.

Finally, you can stay connected to RTC by joining our mailing list or becoming a member of the RTC Circle of Friends by contacting us at or 235-7867. The RTC Circle of Friends offers tailored benefits and activities and donor recognition.

Heather Winfrey is the director of the Renton Technical College Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the needs of RTC’s students and programs. She lives in Newcastle.

Interested in writing a Newcastle-specific column for the paper? Email


April 3, 2014

Shop local and

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support the businesses that serve your community

As a new small business owner, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of “shopping locally.” As a member of local chambers of commerce, I’ve met numerous business people who feel privileged to serve those in their community.

Why not turn around and support those businesses that are so eager to serve you? There are many reasons to shop locally. A few of them are:

1. It’s the “green” thing to do. (Less driving means less pollution.)

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April 3, 2014

Vote yes on roads and transit funds

The state failed, once again, to find a way to fund transportation. So, once again, the county is on the hook to do so. It’s unfortunate that it has come to this, but it has. Voters should approve King County’s Proposition 1, to fund roads and transit.

It’s not cheap, ($60 on car tabs per year and a 0.1 percent sales tax increase for the next 10 years) but neither is the transportation network needed to keep one of the fastest growing counties in the nation moving.

It’s important to note a bus fare increase is part of the package, so riders, even those without cars, are paying directly for the system as well.

Read more

Notes from Newcastle

March 5, 2014

Get a start on fitness at your local library

Not long ago, I found myself walking up a moderate incline of a driveway, realizing my heart was beating a little faster and my breath was a little harder to catch than the situation warranted. My first thought — “Hmm, maybe an iron deficiency?” It didn’t take but another step or two for me to recognize that, nope, I’m simply out of shape.

Vicki Heck

Vicki Heck

I’ve always considered myself a fit person. I eat right, do

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yoga and walk. But, on closer inspection of my days, I see my life has changed. I sit at work, my senior dogs don’t go as fast or as far on our walks and my gym membership has lapsed. Busy days make it tough to squeeze in one more thing, so how am I going to get motivated?

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March 5, 2014

Be the 12th man while doing some good

Congratulations, Seahawks and Seahawks fans. The 43-8 Super Bowl win against Denver makes us proud to be Northwest residents. And kudos to the Seahawks organization for the way it has embraced the 12th man concept — saying we fans are part of the team.

Online sports columnist Art Thiel ( said the number 12 seems to have significance for the Seahawks.

“If you’re into sports numerology, Seattle scored 12 seconds into the first half, and 12 seconds into the second half,” he wrote. “For the long-suffering 12s, the symbolism goes beyond coincidence.”

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Notes from Newcastle: Newcastle Jewelers treats you like family

February 6, 2014

Newcastle Jewelers employee Sylvia Mauerman has one heck of a job.

“How much fun is it to lift diamonds all day?” she asked, when I visited the store for a story last month.

That sounds pretty fun, if you ask me, but not as much fun as getting to do it under the tutelage of Wayne and Joan Underwood, the store’s owners.

I had never been to the store before I visited to write a story about its 20th anniversary, but for the first time since Sweet Decadence left the city, I had the soothing feeling that I was sitting in a cozy living room.

Newcastle Jewelers doesn’t have chairs and seats set up for its patrons, and it’s not meant to be a place where people gather and lounge, but after meeting the welcoming, kind staff, all I want to do is hang out there.

The shelves and display cases filled with beautiful jewelry may or may not have had a hand in my longing sense to linger at the store, too.

At any rate, Wayne, Joan and Sylvia made me feel at home. Whether it was the kind welcome I received from Sylvia as I walked in the door, Wayne’s quiet, self-deprecating humor or Joan’s pride in the community, they were just so comforting.

It seems that their breed is a dying kind, you know, the type of business owners that treat their customers like family.

They’re the kind of owners who will shake their heads at you when you try to pay after a quick repair of your watch, refusing to let you pay for something that took two minutes but was a world of help.

They’re the kind of jewelers who when you say you’re looking for a specific token to add to your charm bracelet, they’ll say, “No, problem,” and will hand craft it in their store. If you don’t see it on their shelves, they’ll find it, or make it for you.

They’re the kind of people who saw a city come into existence 20 years ago, and did everything in their power to support it, even changing their business’ name to do so.

Newcastle is lucky to have the Newcastle Jewelers team in its community, but if you ask their owners, they’ll quickly say, “No, we’re lucky to be in Newcastle.”


February 6, 2014

To continue excellent education, please vote yes for school levies

On behalf of the Issaquah School Board, I want to extend our great appreciation for the community’s ongoing support for our schools. Our goal is to prepare students for a global, dynamic world.

In today’s economy, a basic education isn’t sufficient for the every-increasing complexity our students will find in the workforce. They will need to be able to communicate and exhibit higher-level thinking, utilizing ever-advancing technologies. The board understands the success of our students requires a commitment from the entire community. So, when you find your ballot in the mail, we ask that you vote “yes” to renew the three levies approved by the board.

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Vote yes for all three school levies

February 6, 2014

There is no doubt that voters should approve the three Issaquah School District levy requests on the Feb. 11 ballot.

There are questions every voter should ask:

1) Is it essential?

The most important funding request is for the four-year M&O levy, paying 21 percent of classroom costs, including 485 teacher salaries. It replaces the current M&O levy. A transportation levy would only be collected for one year, to buy 71 more fuel-efficient school buses with higher safety standards. And the four-year capital levy seeks technology funds and building repairs. Computer replacement and upgrades are a way of life in today’s world, and maintenance of our school buildings is not an option.

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Our 2014 goals for a better Newcastle

January 2, 2014

As the city heads into the coming year, Newcastle continues to grow and flourish. Here are our goals for 2014 as the city embarks on its 20th year of incorporation.

Middle school construction — As early as this summer, the Renton Academy on 116th Avenue Southeast will become a construction zone when the Renton School District begins to build its fourth middle school, set to open in 2016. Community open houses about the project have been sparsely attended, but sooner than later, shovels will be in the ground and the chance to comment on the plans will have passed. Get involved in the details of Newcastle’s newest educational institution in the New Year.

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January 2, 2014

Vote yes for the school district levies

As we enter a new year, the voters within the Issaquah School District have a unique investment opportunity.

On Feb. 11, the entire community will have the opportunity to vote yes on a three-part Issaquah district school-funding ballot, comprised of the following items:

  • Four-year Maintenance and Operations Levy in the following amounts: $44.5 million in 2015, $48 million in 2016, $51.5 million in 2017, and $54 million in 2018.
  • One-year Transportation Levy in the amount of $1.7 million in 2015

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