Notes from Newcastle: A bittersweet decadence farewell

December 5, 2013

I woke up Nov. 9, startled by a frightening nightmare.

It involved Sandra Wixon and the Sweet Decadence team. I dreamed that the “living room” of Newcastle was set to close.

“Oh, good,” I thought to myself as I awoke, “it was all a dream.”

Then, a moment later, I realized it wasn’t a dream; and the nightmare was no coincidence, given that I had heard just a day earlier the iconic business was relocating to The Landing in Renton.

As reality began to set in, a knot formed in my stomach. Read more


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.

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December 4, 2013

Sorry, CCUD, for the incorrect statement at meeting

This is an apology to Robert Russell, general manager of the Coal Creek Utility District.

The Coal Creek Utility District cares about the quality service they provide to Newcastle and the surrounding area. At the recent Town Hall meeting, I misspoke when I said it didn’t care about how it bills for streetlights. I apologize.

The district does care. It has been working diligently this past year, checking all 90 streetlighting districts to make sure that every customer is billed correctly. It found 51 customers had been left off the lists, out of the more than 1,700 customers who pay for streetlights.

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October 31, 2013

Lisa Callan has the best interests of district

When Lisa Callan told me she planned to run for a position on the Issaquah School Board, I was excited both for the Issaquah School District and for Lisa. Lisa has realistic, implementable, and compelling ideas; she is a collaborative team player; and she is dedicated to having a positive influence on this district and the education it provides. Lisa brings skill, thought, intelligence and integrity to every table; her glass is always half full.

Lisa Callan has a knack for putting new ideas into action. As vice president of programs for the

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Grand Ridge PTSA, Lisa implemented two new programs: Grizzly Guys, a group of fathers and men who encourage male participation in school activities; and the Cultural Diversity Council, a group of multicultural parents who create and implement a weekly cultural curriculum for Grand Ridge students. Lisa also brought the Bellevue Art Museum’s Art of Discovery Project to Grand Ridge. This traveling exhibit showcases art pieces created by Northwest artists and provides a corresponding curriculum for elementary-aged students.

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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.

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Notes from Newcastle

October 4, 2013

Hazen/Liberty rivalry is special

Christina Corrales-Toy

Christina Corrales-Toy

Prior to the high school football season, players from both Hazen and Liberty weren’t shy in saying that Sept. 13 was most definitely circled on their calendars.

The contest pitting the two East Renton Highlands schools against each other is more than a regular game; it’s a battle among childhood friends for pride and bragging rights.

“We love to play those boys. Cross-town rivalries are always fun,” Liberty running back Russell Boston said at the beginning of the season.

The Highlanders definitely agree, with senior Joe Glaefke calling the Patriots a greater rival than most of Hazen’s Seamount League opponents. Read more


October 4, 2013

Vote for John Drescher for City Council

I am writing this letter asking for the citizens of Newcastle to support my friend and your Planning Commission chairman, John Drescher, for Position 6 on our City Council.

Serving as a fellow commissioner with John, I have had the pleasure of watching his leadership skills, commitment to our community’s welfare and future, along with getting to know him personally. I would like to share some of what I know about John Drescher and why I believe that makes him the best candidate running for City Council.

John and his wife Sally moved to Newcastle in 2005, to the Wynfield Ridge Neighborhood, where he then served as HOA president (2006-2008). With the arrival of their three children since moving to our city, John has become involved in coaching youth soccer

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enjoys the wonderful trails, parks and playgrounds within our city, and can often be seen visiting Lake Boren Park as well as the events held there.

To quote something John has stated and I have found best represents the fundamental aspect, purpose and character of the man as a public servant, “I particularly think the ability to respectfully work for what you think is best, while being open to new ideas from people of good faith seeking the same, and ultimately coming to a majority consensus that best serves all, is the essence of good government.”

And finally, John has a long history of service, whether as a board member of the USO Puget Sound Area, Friends of the Newcastle Library, Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and his current position as Newcastle Planning Commission chairman, John gives his time, energy and commitment to his community. Becoming our next City Council member is a natural progression for someone with John’s level of interest and commitment.

You can find out more about John Drescher and his candidacy for City Council Position 6 at his web site, I urge your support for my/our friend.

Jon Simpson


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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

Why don’t schools use universal plans to build?

I read the headline, “Renton unveils new middle school designs,” in the Aug. 2 newspaper and thought, “What a waste of money.”

The state of Washington, if it did nothing else, should have well-designed plans already available for school districts to use; this could represent a huge reduction in the cost of new schools. These “universal plans” would be modified for a site and could also include any improvements learned from the previous construction and use of the same plan.

When so little of the school revenues actually make it into the classroom to benefit students, it seems a terrible waste of money to pay architectural fees to build new AND different schools each AND every time one is built. This is such a no brainer, but so much of government waste is.

Inez Petersen, J.D.


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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.

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