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.
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
May 1, 2014
The impacts of the state losing its No Child Left Behind waiver are unlikely to be profound locally, but they are still an embarrassment — an embarrassment that could easily have been avoided.
Washington, along with 42 other states, was operating under a waiver that allows the state to essentially ignore some portions of the federal law. But that waiver was revoked last week.
We are in this mess because the state teacher’s union and Democrat members of the Legislature were unwilling to allow test scores to be a factor in teacher evaluations.
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.
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 (www.sportspressnw.com) 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.”
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.
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.
December 4, 2013
Shop Small, Shop Local in Newcastle
A sticker at the entrance of Sweet Decadence Chocolates reads, “I shop Newcastle. It’s home.”
Even though the popular chocolate shop is set to relocate to Renton shortly, the phrase never rang truer as the nation celebrated Small Business Saturday Nov. 30.
The annual promotion, initiated by American Express in 2010, encourages holiday shoppers to patronize the storefronts right in their own hometown.
October 31, 2013
Lisa Callan for school board seat
Issaquah School District voters are fortunate to have two excellent choices for school board director seat 4. Both Alison Meryweather and Lisa Callan applied for the vacancy last spring when Chad Magendanz resigned to serve in the state Legislature.
The school board members struggled with the appointment, first split evenly between the two women. Eventually, Meryweather got the appointment.
Meryweather does have more lobbying experience and her confidence and knowledge makes her a leader in that arena. But community comes first.
October 4, 2013
John Drescher for Newcastle City Council
John Drescher is our preferred candidate for the City Council position.
Drescher has shown strong leadership skills in his year as the chairman of the Planning Commission, guiding the volunteer board as the city works to update its Comprehensive Plan.
It’s a daunting process — updating a document that will play a crucial role in the development of the city through the next 20 years — but under Drescher’s leadership, the process has been organized and productive.
It is a natural step for Drescher to continue this work, with the ability to have a more tangible effect on the city’s future via the City Council.
An active member of the community who has served as president of his homeowners’ association and coached local youth sports teams, Drescher understands what’s important to Newcastle residents. Public safety, maintaining and improving infrastructure, and nurturing the parks, trails and bike paths that make Newcastle a livable city are all facets he plans to champion. Drescher articulates a realistic vision for the future, one that focuses on what the city can do to better itself.
Greene dwells too often on the issue of Newcastle’s annexation by a larger city, a topic that is not immediately relevant given the city’s current financial stability. Greene’s dedication to local government is admirable — he attends nearly every City Council meeting — but Drescher is the best choice.
City manages parkway delays well
The first day of the Coal Creek Parkway overlay project was not pretty. Residents’ complaints flooded City Hall, and locals shared their pain on Newcastle News social media platforms.
The headaches were short-lived, though, as better signage and communication made for an easier commute. City staff mobilized admirably to provide detailed detour maps and hand-deliver notices to some neighborhoods affected by the closures.
Public Works Director Mark Rigos and Newcastle City Councilmember Carol Simpson should be commended for their diligent work to answer resident questions and provide maps to a frustrated public.