Best (Unseen) Photos of 2014

January 2, 2015

2014 was a year of change for Newcastle

January 2, 2015

In 2014, the city of Newcastle celebrated a birthday, lost an icon and set the stage for the future. Here are some of the top stories of the year, in no particular order:

Newcastle pioneer Milt Swanson passes away

Family, neighbors and community leaders gathered Jan. 25 to honor the life of Milt Swanson, a titan of Newcastle history and a man with an unceasing, warming smile.

The Newcastle pioneer, born and raised in this community, spent all of his 95 years in the same area, 90 of which were in the same company house that still stands at the edge of town near the Cougar Mountain trailhead. Read more

CCUD building purchase questioned

January 2, 2015

A Newcastle City Council-approved agreement to purchase a building for equipment and vehicle storage is raising questions, after the city offered up more than money to acquire it.

In September, the council authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to enter into a purchase-sale agreement for the Coal Creek Utility District-owned property on 129th Avenue Southeast.

In exchange for the property appraised at $750,000, the city would agree to pay $250,000 and forfeit its legal right to assume the utility district for 10 years.

It’s the non-assumption clause, in particular, that has some current, and one former, council members questioning the logic of the agreement. Read more

Advisory group endorses Energize Eastside route

January 2, 2015

Suggested routes go through Newcastle

The Community Advisory Group working on Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside transmission line upgrade project has made its final route recommendations and both include Segment M, which goes through Newcastle.

The panel — comprised of neighborhood, business and civic leaders — selected routes Oak and Willow at its final meeting Dec. 10. The advisory group’s final recommendation is based on its work over the past year, including discussion of community feedback collected throughout 2014.

Of the 20 advisory group members and residential alternates present at the meeting, 17 supported the final recommendation. Of those 17, eight expressed preference for the Oak route and five expressed preference for the Willow route, while four supported either route. Read more

Newcastle’s history shaped King County as we know it

January 2, 2015

In 1853, the area around current-day Newcastle was heavily forested with 10-foot diameter trees, a multitude of streams, and many gorges and valleys. It was also home to wildlife including cougars, bears, raccoons, bobcats and deer.

In that year, a couple of explorers found something that would change that landscape forever — chunks of coal along a creek (later to be named Coal Creek).

The first coal wasn’t mined until 10 years later, but when it began, it was in earnest. In the 100 years between 1863 and 1963, the Newcastle coal mines produced 10.5 million tons of coal.

The coal was of good quality, and the proximity to Seattle made it an important commodity. In 1870, Seattle had only 1,107 residents, but because coal was being shipped to San Francisco and the growth of the port, that number grew to 42,837 by 1890, only 20 years later. Read more

Our 2015 goals for a better Newcastle

January 2, 2015

As the city heads into the coming year, Newcastle continues to grow and flourish. Here are a few of our goals for the city in 2015.

Look to the future — The city has enjoyed a few years of financial stability, but looking at future forecasts, challenges are ahead as development revenues begin to disappear. Begin the discussion now, not later, to make decisions that will ensure the city’s financial future isn’t seeing red.

Keep an eye on Energize Eastside — Puget Sound Energy’s Community Advisory Group just selected its recommended routes, and both include proposed electric transmission lines through Newcastle. The company’s Energize Eastside process, aimed at upgrading power lines to fulfill the growing demand, is far from over, though. Make your voice heard and participate in the coming Environmental Impact Statement process and any other avenues offered to share your concerns. Read more

2014 Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Diamond Awards

December 5, 2014

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

City still seeking to fill commission vacancy

October 14, 2014

NEW — 1:45 p.m. Oct. 14, 2014

The city of Newcastle is still looking for a volunteer to serve on the Community Activities Commission.

Seven Newcastle residents serve on the commission, facilitating events and programs in the city. The city is looking for enthusiastic candidates, ready to enhance the quality of life in Newcastle.

“Commissioners are an important part of making Newcastle unique due to their involvement in projects that improve the city’s extensive trail system, create awareness of Newcastle’s historical and cultural heritage and provide opportunities for people to volunteer,” city staff wrote in a press release. “The work of this Commission directly contributes to the distinguishing characteristics of this city that lead Money magazine to name Newcastle one of the best small towns in America.”

Applicants must be Newcastle residents, at least 18 years of age and have an interest in community events, city parks and recreational programs. Read more

Newcastle receives $255,000 Lake Boren grant

October 3, 2014

The city of Newcastle received a $255,000 King County Flood Control District grant that will help ease flooding at Lake Boren.

The district’s executive committee recommended Aug. 18 that Newcastle receive a portion of $2.6 million in grants available from a newly created program aimed at reducing the impact of local flooding. That recommendation was approved Sept. 29.

“This grant funding will allow the city of Newcastle to address longstanding flooding issues dating back prior to the city’s incorporation,” Reagan Dunn, King County Councilman representing Newcastle and chairman of the King County Flood Control District, said in a news release.

The city of Newcastle’s Lake Boren flooding mitigation project will receive $255,000 to improve the outlet channel by clearing and removing any overflow blockages at Boren Creek. Read more

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