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.
August 30, 2013
Activities commission comes a long way
Newcastle Days will look a bit different this year, adding a pay-for-play area and doing away with the car show, but at its heart, it is still the same annual festival that celebrates the best of the city.
While you’re at Lake Boren Park listening to Alan White rock out on the drums, or relaxing in the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s beer and wine garden, take a moment to recognize the people that made this event come together.
Through the tireless work of event co-chairs Mayor Rich Crispo and Diane Lewis, along with the steady help of members of the Community Activities Commission, the 2013 Newcastle Days will likely be the best yet.
August 1, 2013
CNN Money Magazine selected Newcastle as the 18th best place to live in the nation in 2011, highlighting, in particular, the city’s culture of volunteerism.
“The volunteer spirit is alive and well in this former coal-mining town,” wrote the magazine. “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.”
Fast-forward two years and the picture is a bit different. Sure, Concerts in the Park is still going strong, and Newcastle Days will continue as usual, but it is getting harder and harder for organizers to attract volunteers.
“Last year, we did have about 125 volunteers that worked within the city of Newcastle,” Mayor Rich Crispo said at an April council meeting. “But it has been difficult at the beginning of this year to find volunteers for events.”
July 5, 2013
Full-time detective is good for Newcastle
At the June 4 City Council meeting, City Manager Rob Wyman announced that Newcastle’s preliminary 2013 population was up to 10,640.
Just a short time later, the council took a significant step toward improving the public safety of those residents by directing Wyman to bump the city’s half-time detective to full time next year.
Given that Newcastle is the only King County partner city without its own full-time detective, this move was long overdue, and quite welcome.
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.