History feature — When strikes and Uniontown came to Newcastle

September 6, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 6, 2015

Early Newcastle was a coal town. That meant that everything — land and buildings — was owned by the coal company and the only jobs were associated with mining, separating, washing and delivering the black diamonds.

Conditions were hard and dangerous. As one account from that time noted, “There was a man killed in the mine last night. Mr. Oakley (a director) sent the coal car, with others in it, whizzing down into the mine. He fell out and it ran over him.”

As a result of these conditions, unions arrived and strikes became fairly frequent.

BackTrackingThe Knights of Labor representing 50 of the 250 workers was on the scene. It operated from 1881 until 1891 and was noted for being anti-black and anti-Chinese.  Read more

Construction to cause lane closures, traffic delays

June 17, 2015

NEW — 11:50 a.m. June 17, 2015

Newcastle drivers should be aware of a few upcoming traffic impacts connected to various construction projects.

First, Lakemont Boulevard Southeast will be closed between Forest Drive Southeast and 155th Avenue Southeast starting at 5 a.m. June 20. It will reopen at 5 a.m. June 22 with alternating one-way traffic.

Drivers will be detoured onto Forest Drive Southeast, Coal Creek Parkway or Newcastle Golf Club Road, depending on where they are coming from. View the full detour map here.

While Lakemont Boulevard is not in Newcastle, many residents use it as an alternate way into the city, especially those coming from Issaquah. The closure is necessary to complete a city of Bellevue roadway improvement project. Read more

The origins of the China Creek name

April 2, 2015

Within Newcastle we have the China Creek and China Falls neighborhoods, China Creek Golf Course, and of course, China Creek itself. Did you ever wonder how those names came to be?

When the original mining town of Old Newcastle was established in 1863, the primary source of drinking water was a little creek to the south that began up on Cougar Mountain and emptied into what is now Lake Boren.

It was normally a gentle flow of water, but during heavy rains the creek would overflow and created a large flood plain to the north of the current lake. The lake was bigger and deeper than it is today, and also was swampy on the Eastside.

Chinese workers came into the area in the early 1870s, primarily to work on the railroads, but some came to Newcastle and worked for the mining company. Read more

Letter

March 5, 2015

Building purchase shouldn’t be an issue

The Newcastle City Council recently voted to purchase a maintenance and storage building from the Coal Creek Utility District. In exchange for receiving a discounted price, the city agreed to a 10-year moratorium on the potential assumption of direct responsibility for water and sewer services.

Several current and former members of the City Council have registered vocal objections. They argue that the agreement is (a) illegal because it encumbers future councils, (b) unwise because it takes a reasonable option off the table and (c) it’s an unnecessary expense.

Limitations on future council action are neither illegal nor unusual. The city occupies office space under a long-term lease. Commitments to purchase and maintain our parks and to upgrade Coal Creek Parkway affected budgets over several years. Any issuance of municipal bonds requires repayment over an extended period. And the city attorney (an actual lawyer) approved the purchase. Read more

Newcastle Police seeking copper wire thieves

February 6, 2015

The Newcastle Police Department is looking for witnesses, after a copper wire theft caused city streetlights to go out.

Between Friday, Jan. 23, and Saturday, Jan. 24, suspects stole a large amount of copper wire along Coal Creek Parkway. Thieves entered the electrical panels in the sidewalk and cement barrier to gain access.

The areas hit were at Southeast 81st and Coal Creek Parkway, and multiple locations between Southeast May Creek Park Drive and May Valley Road.

If you saw any activity, such as a truck or people working in the area in the past week that were not using marked Newcastle vehicles, contact Detective Christy Marsalisi at 649-4444 and refer to case 15-026666. You can also submit an anonymous tip at www.ci.newcastle.wa.us/police/anonymous_tip.htm. Read more

Council passes 2015 budget, taxes to rise

December 4, 2014

Newcastle homeowners can expect to see a rise in their property taxes, after the Newcastle City Council made changes to, and then adopted, the 2015 budget Nov. 18.

In a 4-2 vote, with Deputy Mayor John Drescher absent, the council elected to take an annually allowable 1 percent increase in property tax and a 3 percent banked property tax increase.

The move will bring the city more than $150,000 in revenue, with an eye toward using it to pay for an additional police officer, said Councilman John Dulcich, who made the motion proposing the increase.

“It fixes a lot of problems and it funds a police officer,” Dulcich said. Read more

City Council combs over 2015 budget

November 7, 2014

The Newcastle City Council began reviewing City Manager Rob Wyman’s 2015 preliminary budget at its second October meeting.

The proposed budget places emphasis on public safety, setting the groundwork for an additional police officer in 2016, and outlines a robust capital investment program.

“I truly feel that the budget presented here provides a great value for the residents of Newcastle while reflecting the appropriate priorities, such as public safety,” Wyman wrote in the budget’s introduction.

The city could spend upward of $2.5 million on transportation projects if the budget is approved as is. In addition to the $550,000 the council commits annually to a pavement overlay program, residents could see projects such as pedestrian improvements to Southeast 73rd Place and the installation of flashing left-turn signals along Coal Creek Parkway in 2015. Read more

Notes from Newcastle: Newcastle Trails at 15

October 3, 2014

G

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

Wastewater system repair to close parkway lane Sept. 2

August 29, 2014

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Aug. 29, 2014

Bellevue utilities crews will close the outside, northbound lane on Coal Creek Parkway at Forest Drive, Tuesday, Sept. 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The closure is necessary to make repairs to the sidewalk, manhole and wastewater system. If crews find repairs are going to take longer than one day, the lane closure may last multiple days.

For questions on the road closure, call Bellevue Utilities Operations and Maintenance at 452-7840.

Notes from Newcastle: The Prices of city trail maintenance

July 2, 2014

As the pleasant summer months approach, there is no better time to explore the city’s vast trail network under blue skies and warm temperatures.

You can find longtime Newcastle residents Jim and Peggy Price on the trails in rain or shine, though.

The husband-and-wife team is very active when it comes to preserving and expanding Newcastle’s walking trails. They were among the founders of the Newcastle Trails organization and continue to remain deeply involved in the nonprofit.

Peggy had a direct hand in designing, routing and building the Terrace Trail and the eastern portion of the May Creek Trail. She now spends a large portion of her weeks working on the CrossTown Trail, which will span from Coal Creek Parkway to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Read more

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