July 31, 2014
Be responsible with your marijuana
No matter how you feel about it, it’s now legal to purchase and smoke it in the state of Washington. (Leave it to officials to sort out the federal vs. state issue, though at this point, no one has announced plans to crack down on people who take a toke.)
And although there is not a local place to make a purchase, and there won’t be one in Newcastle anytime soon as a result of the City Council’s recent moratorium, 24 retailers in the Puget Sound area were granted licenses in early July by the state Liquor Control Board.
A majority of voters wanted marijuana, and now we all have it. In order to turn that initiative and vote into a real win, people must be responsible with their pot. Read more
July 31, 2014
I often like to end my interviews with a question about a subject’s hometown.
How long have you lived in Newcastle? Why did you choose to move to Newcastle? What do you like about living in Newcastle?
The answers aren’t necessarily important for the story, but I always enjoy hearing residents talk about the place they live.
Some mention the city’s trails, others the small-neighborhood feel, but all extol the convenience of Newcastle’s location and display a certain pride in the city they call home. Read more
July 11, 2014
NEW — 11:30 a.m. July 11, 2014
My favorite childhood memories from summer are ones where I got to experience something out of the ordinary. This usually meant my parents packing my sister and me into our car, enduring an hour drive in traffic (are we there yet?), trying to find parking (are we there yet!) and finally making our way to the museum, exhibit or center we planned on visiting. This summer you can save yourself a trip downtown and still visit a museum, center or aquarium, just by coming to the Newcastle Library! Read more
July 2, 2014
As the pleasant summer months approach, there is no better time to explore the city’s vast trail network under blue skies and warm temperatures.
You can find longtime Newcastle residents Jim and Peggy Price on the trails in rain or shine, though.
The husband-and-wife team is very active when it comes to preserving and expanding Newcastle’s walking trails. They were among the founders of the Newcastle Trails organization and continue to remain deeply involved in the nonprofit.
Peggy had a direct hand in designing, routing and building the Terrace Trail and the eastern portion of the May Creek Trail. She now spends a large portion of her weeks working on the CrossTown Trail, which will span from Coal Creek Parkway to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Read more
July 2, 2014
History tells us the weather this time of the year is a trick. Soon enough, the June gloom will give way to sunny skies and warm temperatures.
But if this lovely weather holds (and even if it doesn’t) many Western Washingtonians will head outside, braving the cold waters and muddy hiking trails.
Please, don’t let the sun lull you into contentment. As we learned recently from incidents on Mount Rainier, even experienced outdoor people, and even those with professional guides, can get into trouble.
July 2, 2014
Mark Rigos and his positive impact will truly be missed
Thanks for your first-rate coverage of the departure of Mark Rigos, Newcastle’s Public Works director. Mark is an extraordinary individual who made a huge positive impact on the city and its residents, especially in expanding and improving Newcastle’s trail system, as members of Newcastle Trails can attest.
Projects that had been deferred for years were completed during Mark’s three-year tenure, often on his initiative (without prodding from Newcastle Trails). These included easements for the Horse Trail, drainage on the Highlands Trail, and surveys that helped prevent encroachment on our parks and trails.
June 5, 2014
The community will lose an important asset this month, when Public Works Director Mark Rigos leaves for the same position at North Bend.
North Bend’s population is smaller than Newcastle’s, by about 4,000 residents, but it offers greater responsibilities, including managing the city’s water and sewer district.
Rigos was only with Newcastle for three years, but it has certainly felt like much longer than that, given the way he has fully ingratiated himself within the community.
In his time with Newcastle, Rigos redefined what it meant to be a public works director, when he equally prioritized public safety and customer service. Read more
June 5, 2014
After having lived in Newcastle for the past 10 years next to the Puget Sound Energy power lines and the Olympic gas pipelines, my wife and I first gave little thought to PSE’s proposed “Energize Eastside” project that contemplates Olympus as part of one of two pre-selected routes an upgrade in PSE’s equipment might take. After all, these “H” poles date back to the 1960s and need to be replaced or removed at some point, we figured.
But then we learned things. The proposed new poles would be twice the height of the current ones, as high as 12-story buildings, and the increase in voltage from 115,000 volts to 230,000 volts would quadruple the power flowing through the lines and add to dangerous EMFs (electromagnetic fields). In addition, the new poles would require much bigger cement foundations that would require heavy equipment and massive vibrations to settle them into the soil, all within narrow 100-foot easements and over and near gas pipelines that are 50-plus years old. Read more
June 5, 2014
PSE power lines will lower property values
Puget Sound Energy plans to more than double the power lines in height and in voltage will not only increase the potential ills effects on our health in Olympus, but will destroy the natural beauty of our area.
Our skyline will be blocked by these ugly structures, and the property values will impact not only the homes by the power lines, but for the entire area. Keep in mind that property values are not isolated, but reflect the demand for housing and the prices that future homeowners will be willing to pay. Read more
May 1, 2014
For once, I’m not the only one at meeting
I’m used to being the only one at Newcastle City Council meetings.
I sit there, alone, as the council conducts its business in front of an audience of one.
It can get lonely, I’ll admit, watching council members deliberate as I sit surrounded by a sea of empty chairs.