Notes from Newcastle — Editor bids fond farewell to all

November 4, 2015

NEW — 5:41 p.m. Nov. 4, 2015

After 10 1/2 years as editor of The Issaquah Press, and managing editor of our other newspapers — Sammamish Review, SnoValley Star and Newcastle News — I have given my resignation. My last day was Oct. 16. The plan is to move away and start a new, different life away from newspapers after decades in the business.

It’s hard to write a goodbye column, because what should you say, or not say? It’s like an Oscar speech, it could go on and on and not really say anything important, and you’re going to forget someone, no matter how hard you wrack your brain for the people you want to thank.

So, I want to thank each and every person who has helped me during my decade-plus here. You know who you are. And for each of you, I wish you much luck and love and joy and peace. Read more

Notes from Newcastle — What’s in a name?

November 4, 2015

NEW — 5:40 p.m. Nov. 4, 2015

I’ve got a name for the new middle school. Tell me what you think.

How does Milt Swanson Middle School sound? In my book, this one has everything the Renton School District is looking for in a name.

“A nominated name will be widely known to, and significant to, the community,” the district stipulates. Who is more significant to the Newcastle community than Swanson?

For those who don’t know, Swanson, who passed away in 2014, was a Newcastle pioneer. He was born and raised in this community, spending all of his 95 years living in the same area, 90 of which were in the same company house that still stands at the edge of town near the Cougar Mountain trailhead. Read more

Editorial — Linda Newing for Newcastle City Council

September 30, 2015

NEW — 3:37 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

It takes courage and stamina for someone to throw his or her hat in the ring and run for public office. You have to be prepared for any question, any issue. You also have to become an expert on many topics.

That’s why we commend Linda Newing and Victoria Sandoval for coming forward to run for Newcastle City Council Position 1 in the Nov. 3 election.

Both women came to our offices for an interview last week so we could ask them questions about various issues, including the possible Energize Eastside route coming through Newcastle, how to involve residents in the city’s growth and what they would do to raise revenue for the city.

Both gave great answers, but we have to choose Newing as our preferred candidate for the position. Read more

To the Editor — Vote for Linda Newing for City Council seat

September 30, 2015

NEW — 2:56 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

Newcastle has the opportunity to elect an excellent candidate to Position 1, City Council: Linda Newing.

I have had the honor of working with Linda for the past two years. She has served as vice chairwoman of the Community Activities Commission and I have been impressed with her conscientious devotion to the CAC’s work and its charter.

The CAC is comprised of seven community members who volunteer time and expertise to serve as a review and advisory body to the City Council on city parks, trails, recreation programs and special community events. Read more

To the Editor — Newing and Dauterman are right for Newcastle

September 30, 2015

NEW — 2:54 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

Every election we, as voters, have a responsibility to select the right people to guide our city. Sometimes the choice is difficult, but not this year.

Linda Newing and Allen Dauterman have earned the right to represent us through their willingness to serve and the actions they have taken to be as informed as possible. Linda led a neighborhood action to build a new a park in her neighborhood, serves as the vice chairwoman of the Community Activities Commission, is the lead on many summer events, such as Newcastle Days, and has pursued meetings with city staff to become knowledgeable about budgets, public safety issues and infrastructure management. Her experience working for the city of Renton will be a valuable asset. Read more

To the Editor — Hazen marching band has more recent history

September 30, 2015

NEW — 2:50 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

In reference to the September article “The Beat is Back,” I am extremely pleased Hazen once again has a marching band. However, someone provided Chris Coy with incorrect information when he states, “The Highlanders have gone without one since 1978.”

As president of Hazen High Band Booster Club, 1990-1992, I wish to correct that statement. From 1980 until the mid-1990s, Hazen had a very vibrant music program under the direction of Steve Burpee. During Burpee’s tenure, Hazen had not only a marching band, there was a pep band that played and marched at all Hazen home football games, a pep band for both boys’ and girls’ basketball games, a jazz band and a concert band.

My son was a member of the marching band and the jazz band for four years, graduating in 1992. During that time, Hazen participated each year in the International Band Festival in Abbotsford British Columbia. The competition included both concert and marching band and culminated with a parade of all the bands throughout downtown Abbotsford. Hazen’s jazz band also took part in several statewide Jazz Band competitions each year. My son, along with a number of other of Burpee’s students, continued as members of university and college marching bands. Read more

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

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