January letters

January 2, 2015

Join the fight to prevent PSE project

Thank you, Olympus residents who came to the Puget Sound Energy Community Advisory Group meeting Dec. 10.

There were more than 400 in attendance — standing room only. A lot of people were wearing orange to support the Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Energy. I was the alternate attending the meeting around the CAG table speaking for Olympus. And I was one of the three that refused to vote on any final route, as any vote would harm our residents since segment M is in both remaining routes. The three of us not voting will sign a minority report and present it to PSE with the reasons why we did not vote.

Please go to cense.org — join the cause — get on the mailing list to follow what comes next, as it will help us continue the fight to keep this project out of our neighborhood, with alternate solutions to large towers and more wires. Read more

Notes from Newcastle: Library has help when you need it

January 2, 2015

My brother has probably always been mentally ill, but it wasn’t until he was in his late 20s that a psychiatrist confirmed his schizophrenia. Adding to his complexity, he is vulnerable with a developmental disability, a wandering soul and a fierce streak of independence.

Before I became his official caregiver in 1999, my family saw him evicted from apartments, thrown in jail and pursued by collection agencies, and he was one bad break away from becoming homeless. Flash forward 15 years and I’m happy to say, with the proper help from a variety of agencies, my brother is stable.

My personal experiences with my brother and my work as a public librarian make me keenly aware of the challenges some of our community members face. The Newcastle Library doesn’t often see the challenging societal issues some of our other King County Library System branches face, but we remain aware the need for assistance exists in every community, regardless of age, ethnicity or income level. Read more

Shop smart, shop local in Newcastle

December 4, 2014

The weekend after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping weekend of the year, and many small businesses rely on the holiday shopping period to ensure a successful year on the books, according to the federal Small Business Administration.

That’s why the day is known as Black Friday, because heavy sales often move a business from out of the red financially into the black.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet sent out a press release at the end of November reminding Americans to not only shop small on Small Business Saturday, but to purchase their Thanksgiving dinner items at local grocers, shop small at their local businesses and dine small at their neighborhood restaurants.

American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help small businesses get more customers. Its slogan is “When you shop small, it can lead to big things.” Read more

December letters

December 4, 2014

Educate yourself about Energize Eastside Program

As a resident and a physician, I am very concerned about Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside Program.

What started as a far-sighted request to upgrade an aging infrastructure and plan for future growth has been hijacked into an oversized project that benefits a foreign-owned private corporation (PSE) as it prepares to divest in 2017.

Local needs have been expanded into a crisis, and we Eastside residents are being asked to pay for a vastly oversized project that seems more suited to transferring power between Canada and California than meeting our expected growth.

The Coalition of Eastside Neighbors for Sensible Energy has enlisted the talents of Eastside residents, including electrical engineers and people who have worked in the power industry, and have unearthed documents, data and have subsequently proposed an alternative solution. This can all be viewed at its website, cense.org. Read more

Notes from Newcastle: Thank you

December 4, 2014

I’m a big fan of elegant televised award shows.

One of my favorite annual events is the Academy Awards. It’s a family tradition of sorts for my mom and I to order takeout from our favorite Italian restaurant and spend the evening watching everything from the red carpet arrivals to the final scrolling credits.

By the time we roll to the Oscars, there’s usually a pretty firm idea of who is going to win thanks to previous outcomes at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

That’s why it always annoys me a bit when actors seem so surprised, or have come unprepared with an acceptance speech, when he or she wins the ultimate golden statuette.

Well, I’m no Jennifer Lawrence or Meryl Streep, but I had a chance, however incomparable, to step in their shoes as I accepted a Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Diamond Award Nov. 20. Read more

Notes from Newcastle: Video killed the radio star

November 7, 2014

Since Newcastle News comes out only once a month, I split my duties between this paper and The Issaquah Press, a weekly.

I work on community features and Liberty High School sports for The Press, but I usually stay away from the more newsy Issaquah items, saving those for the main Issaquah Press reporter.

Well, we bid a sad farewell last month to Peter Clark, our Issaquah city reporter who moved on to greener pastures. In his absence, and while we searched for his replacement, I picked up the slack a bit.

That meant, for much of October, I shuttled back and forth between Issaquah and Newcastle city council meetings. It’s the first time I’ve ever really attended a council meeting other than Newcastle’s, so it was interesting to compare and contrast the two. Read more

Locals urge better solutions than Energize Eastside

November 7, 2014

Eastside residents have concerns about PSE’s Energize Eastside project, which will run 18 miles of high-voltage power lines through five Eastside cities.

The 130-foot towers will be up to three times taller than the current transmission poles, creating panoramic visual blight throughout our beautiful region.

PSE is running an expensive public relations campaign as they pursue an aggressive timeline for EE. A final route is to be selected in December, less than a month away.

Many Eastside residents are concerned that PSE is overstating the need and urgency for EE and has eliminated every other energy solution from public consideration. In response, we created the Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Energy (CENSE.org) to educate elected officials and the public. Read more

Get to know your city

October 3, 2014

The city celebrated its 20th year of incorporation in September, but locals know, at least they should, that Newcastle’s story goes back much farther than that.

Newcastle’s coal-mining history dates back to the mid 1800s, when the city was second only to Seattle in population.

The Newcastle mining site operated for about 100 years, until the mid-1900s. Workers extracted nearly 11 million tons of coal during that period.

Vestiges of that history remain scattered across the city in the form of landmarks such as the Baima House, a century-old company house that used to house miners and their families, and the Newcastle Cemetery, the final resting place for a number of Newcastle pioneers. Read more

Notes from Newcastle: Newcastle Trails at 15

October 3, 2014


Garry Kampen

This year is the 20th anniversary of Newcastle, a small city that ranks high in livability, and the 15th anniversary of Newcastle Trails, a nonprofit citizens group that has worked for parks, trails and open space, in close cooperation with the city, since 1999.

I’m writing to celebrate Newcastle’s amazing and still-growing trail system, and to encourage you to explore it and enjoy it. Check NT’s website, www.newcastletrails.org; download our latest map and trail guide; join NT by emailing info@newcastletrails.org (for trail news, no dues); attend our Oct. 6 board meeting (7 p.m. at Regency Newcastle); and consider volunteering for the board, or lending a hand with trail work, computer work (GIS, web, writing), lobbying, fundraising — whatever you’d like to do. Read more

Notes from Newcastle: Celebrate 20 years of community

August 29, 2014

In honor of Newcastle’s 20th anniversary, we asked Councilman John Dulcich, a member of the city’s original council, to write this month’s Notes from Newcastle column.

It has been an honor and a privilege to be involved as a leader in Newcastle over the past 20 years.


John D. Dulcich

Although our city officially incorporated in 1994, Newcastle was actually founded in 1869 as a coal-mining town. The coal carried from Newcastle helped spur early development in the region and was instrumental in making the Port of Seattle the dominant West Coast seaport that it is today. Read more

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