June 6, 2013
Boy Scouts of America makes right decision
Boy Scouts have played a big role in Newcastle, as well as shaped numerous boys and young men to be better citizens.
Local Scouts provide numerous community service hours of good deeds, from food drives to litter cleanup, to the many Eagle Scout projects that provide new amenities around town today.
However, the Boy Scouts of America have not led by example, choosing to discriminate against gays. Last week, BSA’s National Council voted by secret ballot to change the rules to open their ranks to openly-gay members. It’s a good step, but a tiny one.
May 2, 2013
Get ready for elections
While flowers begin to bloom around the city and customers file into the Newcastle Fruit and Produce Stand, it can only mean one thing: Spring is officially here.
That also means that election season is right around the corner, and the terms for three Newcastle City Council positions are set to expire at the end of the year.
If you’ve been thinking about taking on an important leadership role within the city of Newcastle, the time has come to take the next step. Candidates must file for election by May 17.
City Council incumbents Rich Crispo and John Dulcich announced that they will seek re-election. Bill Erxleben, on the other hand, has decided against filing for re-election; so far, Parks Commission Chairman John Drescher and Newcastle citizen Mark Greene have said they will seek Erxleben’s seat. Read more
April 4, 2013
Parks Commission changes are good for the city, council
There is no denying that the Newcastle Parks Commission has gone through a whirlwind of change in the past year.
In August 2012, the number of parks commissioners was reduced from nine to seven, making it easier for the group to reach the necessary quorum for meeting attendance.
At the beginning of the year, Andrew Shelton, a longtime parks commissioner, resigned after he received a job opportunity in another state. Shelton had served on the Parks Commission since its inception.
February 28, 2013
Interstate 90 toll targets Eastside drivers
When tolling on the Evergreen Floating Bridge was first considered, this newspaper believed it should extend to the Interstate 90 bridge as well, to generate funds for the bridge at a quicker pace and to keep the cost down for any one group of commuters.
However, two years have passed and the notion of extending tolling on I-90 feels more like the Eastside is being picked on.
If Seattle commuters and visitors are asked to help pay for a new bridge, shouldn’t it extend to all, including those coming and going along the Interstate 5 corridor and state Highway 99?
One reason cited for having tolling on only the Evergreen/520 bridge was that it was at maximum capacity and the toll would help drivers find another less-traveled path. Slapping tolls on I-90 would undercut that rationale.
January 31, 2013
Public input critical in superintendent searches
Selecting a new superintendent is easily one of the most important decisions a school board can make. The superintendent sets the tone and direction for staff members and students across the district.
In a strange turn of events, both school districts that serve Newcastle students are in search of new district leaders, after Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen announced plans to retire at the end of the school year.
The Renton School District is already deep into its own search for a new superintendent after Mary Alice Heuschel left to take a position in Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.
January 3, 2013
New year brings new city goals
Each year, we offer you our list of 2013 goals for Newcastle. Let’s get the agenda started!
Infrastructure projects. An extensive pavement management program, two sidewalk projects and a multitude of storm water projects are in line for 2013. It’s ambitious, but nothing city staff can’t manage to ensure they are done well and on time.
School construction. It’s an exciting time as the new middle school prepares for construction to begin in 2015. The Renton School District will hold community presentations to showcase the design and invite the community to help name the school. Get ready to help shape an important educational and community space.
December 6, 2012
Council, staff should be applauded for budget
City Manager Rob Wyman, Finance Director Chris Olson and the entire Newcastle City Council should be applauded for their work on the city’s 2013 budget.
In a landscape where citizens are often being asked to shoulder taxes upon taxes to help cities stay afloat during difficult economic times, the City Council approved a 2013 budget that includes no new taxes.
On top of that, the 2013 budget increases public safety, adequately funds pavement management and works quickly to fix the Coal Creek Parkway issues.
November 1, 2012
Newcastle voters face some clear choices in the legislative races on the Nov. 6 ballot. If you haven’t yet voted, here is more food for thought.
State Senate — Steve Litzow
Republican Steve Litzow was elected to represent the 41st District just 22 months ago. Already, Litzow has shown leadership on diverse issues — education reform and same-sex marriage among them — and the capacity to ably represent his constituents. Most notably, Litzow played a key role in bringing together both political parties to agree on a state budget. He has demonstrated his ability to work across the aisle for the good of his district. He deserves the opportunity to return for a full term.
Opponent Maureen Judge is an articulate, intelligent candidate, and we encourage her to seek public office again in the future.
State House of Representatives,
Position 1 — Marcie Maxwell
Democrat Marcie Maxwell serves her district well by acting as a genuine community representative. Residents in Issaquah, Sammamish, Newcastle and other cities throughout the district are as apt to meet her at community functions as residents in her hometown, Renton. Every district should be so lucky as to have an elected official that has the time to devote to community outreach and understanding.
Challenger Tim Eaves wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to his commitment to serve, but Maxwell is the better choice.
October 4, 2012
As Newcastle gathered to celebrate the city’s 18th year of existence at Newcastle Days on Sept. 8, we were reminded of the exceptional qualities that make the city one of the best in the nation.
The city’s spirit of volunteerism and its unique coal-mining history were on full, glorious display, making us question how anyone could entertain disbanding the city and joining Bellevue.
CNN Money Magazine selected Newcastle among the top 25 best places to live in the nation in 2009 and 2011.
In the magazine’s 2011 article, which ranked the city 18th, the author highlighted the culture of volunteerism.
“Despite serious budget cuts that threatened the city’s summer 2011 events, local businesses and citizens offered time and cash to keep the community’s concerts and fireworks afloat,” the magazine said.
September 6, 2012
This week, Newcastle parents across the Issaquah and Renton school districts walked their kids to the school bus or to their school for the start of a new school year.
Ahhhh, finally, a bit of free time for a second cup of coffee!
But wait, your school needs you! The volunteer jobs at school are endless. The playground needs monitors, the library can use assistance, the front office might need your organizational skills, teachers almost never have enough helpers and the nurse’s office is often in need of a mother’s touch to watch over a sick child.
But the best of the volunteer jobs may be working directly with students. Parents, grandparents and other citizens are always welcome to just listen to children read. For a bigger role, ask about becoming a mentor to a student, helping guide him or her in his or her social development and studies — or sometimes just to be there to listen.