Editorial — Give an hour a week to help a local child

April 2, 2015

Children of all ages are one of our most valuable resources. They’re the ones who will grow up and inherit this planet. They will also be the ones to try to repair problems that people before them have created or not been able to fix.

So it’s crucial that they have good teachers. And good teaching doesn’t always happen in the classroom. In the Issaquah and Renton school districts, hundreds of people are giving valuable time.

Don’t have time, you say? It takes an hour a week. One hour.

Thanks to volunteer mentors, the future is brighter for more than 300 elementary, middle and high school students who are finding joy, confidence and opportunity through the VOICE Mentor Program, according to the Robin Callahan, executive director of the Issaquah Schools Foundation. Read more

Notes from Newcastle

April 2, 2015

A plea to #hashtag it

Newcastle is suffering from an identity crisis.

No, I’m not talking about anything that the city is or isn’t doing. This crisis, it so happens, is simply out of City Hall’s control.

The problem would best be described as a “social media identity crisis.” Go ahead; search ‘Newcastle’ on Twitter. What do you see?

You’ll likely see a lot of tweets about Newcastle United FC, a soccer team in the English Premier League. Though the majority of Newcastle tweets are about the Magpies, they, incidentally, have nothing to do with our Newcastle. Read more

April cartoon

April 2, 2015

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Editorial — Chamber director has big shoes to fill

March 5, 2015

We’re saddened to hear that Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Imelda Dulcich will step down from her post.

Dulcich has single-handedly raised the profile of the local chamber, providing valuable social media promotion for its businesses and serving as a friendly community connector.

Her position was only part-time, but it was clear that Dulcich dedicated more effort and energy than her duties required.

Dulcich’s ability to recruit top-notch speakers made the chamber luncheons must-attend events. Because of her, the Newcastle business community got to hear from the likes of U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, King County Sheriff John Urquhart and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Read more

Editorial — It’s your city; get involved in decisions

March 5, 2015

Sue Stronk. Larry Johnson. Jessaca Jacobson. Sonny Putter.

With the exception of the last name, you’ve likely never heard of these people. But make no mistake, the Newcastle City Council knows who they are, at least they should.

They are examples of just a few Newcastle residents who have come to at least one council meeting in the past year to voice their opinions.

They are, essentially, examples of democracy in action, a far too rare scene witnessed in the perpetually empty Newcastle council chambers. Read more

Notes from Newcastle

March 5, 2015

A ‘shout out’ to local volunteers

The city of Newcastle honored a group Feb. 26 that far too often goes unnoticed — volunteers.

Each year, volunteers devote countless hours to city events. It is volunteers that help plan summer activities, care and advocate for the city’s vast trail network and protect Newcastle’s history.

About 50 volunteers and summer event sponsor representatives gathered at The Golf Club at Newcastle Feb. 26, where they were treated to snacks, an orchestra and a personal thank you from Newcastle Mayor Steve Buri and City Manager Rob Wyman.

Volunteerism is a big part of what makes Newcastle one of the best small cities in the country. So, here’s a special shout out to some of the groups and people that willingly offer their time to better the city: Read more

Letter

March 5, 2015

Building purchase shouldn’t be an issue

The Newcastle City Council recently voted to purchase a maintenance and storage building from the Coal Creek Utility District. In exchange for receiving a discounted price, the city agreed to a 10-year moratorium on the potential assumption of direct responsibility for water and sewer services.

Several current and former members of the City Council have registered vocal objections. They argue that the agreement is (a) illegal because it encumbers future councils, (b) unwise because it takes a reasonable option off the table and (c) it’s an unnecessary expense.

Limitations on future council action are neither illegal nor unusual. The city occupies office space under a long-term lease. Commitments to purchase and maintain our parks and to upgrade Coal Creek Parkway affected budgets over several years. Any issuance of municipal bonds requires repayment over an extended period. And the city attorney (an actual lawyer) approved the purchase. Read more

Editorial — Building agreement doesn’t pass the test

February 6, 2015

The Newcastle City Council agreed to spend $250,000 on a building it could get for free.

Let us repeat that — $250,000 of taxpayer funds spent on a maintenance operations building that could be had for nothing, well, mostly nothing.

It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

But that’s what the council narrowly agreed to with the recent 4-3 approval of the purchase-sale agreement to acquire a Coal Creek Utility District-owned building.

Sure, on the surface, it looks like a good deal — “I only have to pay $250,000 for a $750,000 building? What a steal!” — but more and more, this agreement is starting to feel like an iceberg. It’s what’s underneath the water that you should be worried about. Read more

Notes from Newcastle

February 6, 2015

City Hall wants to come to you

In an effort to better communicate with its residents, the city of Newcastle is reaching out to you. Community activities liaison Wendy Kirchner wants to bring City Hall to its residents, through presentations and meet-and-greets.

Here’s Kirchner’s pitch on how the city can help you get better acquainted with the staff that run the place you call home:

Newcastle city staff would like to come to your neighborhood! Are you interested in meeting your neighbors, making your area safer and learning about city services?

We all want to live in a safe, connected community, and we are looking for opportunities to share information about city services, neighborhood safety and discuss issues of concern. Read more

Our 2015 goals for a better Newcastle

January 2, 2015

As the city heads into the coming year, Newcastle continues to grow and flourish. Here are a few of our goals for the city in 2015.

Look to the future — The city has enjoyed a few years of financial stability, but looking at future forecasts, challenges are ahead as development revenues begin to disappear. Begin the discussion now, not later, to make decisions that will ensure the city’s financial future isn’t seeing red.

Keep an eye on Energize Eastside — Puget Sound Energy’s Community Advisory Group just selected its recommended routes, and both include proposed electric transmission lines through Newcastle. The company’s Energize Eastside process, aimed at upgrading power lines to fulfill the growing demand, is far from over, though. Make your voice heard and participate in the coming Environmental Impact Statement process and any other avenues offered to share your concerns. Read more

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