Newcastle City Council roundup — July 1

July 2, 2014

NEW — 3 p.m. July 2, 2014

The Newcastle City Council held its first meeting of the month July 1. Here is the Cliffs Notes version of what happened at City Hall. View the full meeting agenda online here and listen to the full meeting audio here.

Energize Eastside

Energize Eastside was back on the agenda for the first time since Puget Sound Energy’s April 1 presentation to the City Council.

This time, a citizen group had the chance to offer their own presentation about the project, in response the region’s growing power demands, which will bring new, higher capacity electric transmission lines to the Eastside. Read more

Citizen groups to present about Energize Eastside

July 2, 2014

Andy Wappler, Puget Sound Energy’s vice president of corporate affairs, spoke about the company’s Energize Eastside project at the April 1 Newcastle City Council meeting.

Now, it’s the citizens’ turn to give their own presentations about the project. Newcastle resident Keith Hargis and the Olympus Homeowners Association offered their thoughts at the July 1 meeting.

Read more

Public works director leaving for North Bend

June 5, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy Mark Rigos, outgoing Newcastle Public Works director, with his son Alexander, speaks at the May Creek Trail ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 15.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Mark Rigos, outgoing Newcastle Public Works director, with his son Alexander, speaks at the May Creek Trail ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 15.

Newcastle Public Works Director Mark Rigos has only worked with the city for three years, but his impact on the community is so great that when he announced his resignation, at least one resident became emotional at the thought of losing him. Read more

Summer events lined up

June 5, 2014

Fireworks will again grace the Newcastle skies this Fourth of July, and this time for more than a few minutes.

Attendees at last year’s Independence Day celebration at Lake Boren Park will remember that technical difficulties shortened what was supposed to be a 12-minute fireworks display.

The Olympia-based company Entertainment Fireworks Inc. took full responsibility for the problems, City Manager Rob Wyman said last year. Newcastle will contract with the company again for its 2014 fireworks show, with assurances the issues won’t occur again.

“I have spoken with the owner multiple times on the phone and he has assured me 200 percent that we will not have the problem again,” said Wendy Kirchner, Newcastle’s community activities liaison. “They’ve got a very, very experienced pyrotechnician that’s going to be working with us.” Read more

Candidates file for public office, August primary

June 5, 2014

Local voters will have to choose candidates in an August primary.

King County candidate filing week ended May 16 with more than two applicants in a race for the local Congressional representative.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-9th) seeks re-election against three challengers, one of which should be very familiar to Newcastle voters.

Former Newcastle resident Mark Greene, who last year unsuccessfully ran for Newcastle City Council, is one of the candidates who hope to unseat Smith. Greene now lives in Federal Way. Democrat Don Rivers and Republican Doug Basler also filed for the 9th Congressional seat. Read more

Council to consider marijuana freeze

June 5, 2014

The Newcastle City Council directed city staff to prepare an ordinance placing a moratorium on marijuana-related business in the city at its May 6 meeting.

It mirrors the actions of neighboring cities Issaquah and Renton, both of which have moratoriums on marijuana business practices. Councilman Gordon Bisset made the motion, which passed 4-3.

The direction came after a failed attempt to pursue a ban on marijuana businesses in the city, but that motion, made by Deputy Mayor John Drescher, was shot down 5-2.

City staff considers the potential for any marijuana-related business activity in Newcastle very low due to state Liquor Control Board rules on where marijuana facilities can set up shop. Also, the state’s marijuana retail license lottery came and went without any impacts on Newcastle.

The City Council was set to review the ordinance May 20, but decided to table it for a to-be-determined date. The council last considered a moratorium at its Dec. 17 meeting, but that motion failed.

City has big shoes to fill in public works

June 5, 2014

The community will lose an important asset this month, when Public Works Director Mark Rigos leaves for the same position at North Bend.

North Bend’s population is smaller than Newcastle’s, by about 4,000 residents, but it offers greater responsibilities, including managing the city’s water and sewer district.

Rigos was only with Newcastle for three years, but it has certainly felt like much longer than that, given the way he has fully ingratiated himself within the community.

In his time with Newcastle, Rigos redefined what it meant to be a public works director, when he equally prioritized public safety and customer service. Read more

Marijuana, disc golf and more on May 20 City Council agenda

May 19, 2014

NEW — 2 p.m. May 19, 2014

The Newcastle City Council will have its hand full with a loaded agenda featuring everything from marijuana legislation to a grant application for a disc golf course at its May 20 regular meeting.

The evening will begin with a presentation by a representative from A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH). Arthur Sullivan will talk about emergency shelter and daytime services for homeless.

In one of the more noteworthy agenda items, the council will review an ordinance imposing a six-month moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses and medical marijuana collective gardens within the city.

Before that, they’ll consider a applying for a grant for the construction of a disc golf course on a property located north of Southeast 95th. Also known as Frisbee golf, it involves throwing flying discs at a target. Read more

Newcastle City Council roundup — May 6

May 7, 2014

NEW — 4:05 p.m. May 7, 2014

The Newcastle City Council held its first meeting of the month May 6. Here is the Cliffs Notes version of what happened at City Hall. View the full meeting agenda online here.

Marijuana moratorium coming?

The Newcastle City Council directed city staff to prepare an ordinance placing a moratorium on marijuana-related business in the city. It represents one of the body’s first significant actions on the subject since the drug’s legalization.

Councilman Gordon Bisset made the motion, which passed 4-3. Read more

Neighbors voice concerns about Energize Eastside

May 1, 2014

UPDATED — 9:45 p.m. May 1, 2014

*This story has been updated to reflect the following change: The initial version, and the one seen in the May 2 print edition, stated that Larry Johnson and the Olympus Homeowners Association would get a chance to give their own presentation about Energize Eastside at the May 6 Newcastle City Council. That has now been rescheduled for a later date to be determined*

Upgrades to infrastructure needed

When Newcastle neighbors Larry Johnson and Dave Edmonds peer into the backyards of their Olympus homes, transmission lines and power poles greet them.

It’s not the best view, but residents have learned to live with the 60-foot beams that carry 115 kilovolt power lines. The infrastructure has been there since long before the city was incorporated 20 years ago.

Those poles could get a lot taller, with lines that carry even more power, if Puget Sound Energy upgrades that corridor as part of its Energize Eastside project.

Courtesy Puget Sound Energy At left, a growing Eastside, especially the area west of Lake Sammamish, is putting a strain on the region’s electric system, as seen in this future growth map. Above, PSE’s solution to the region’s growing power demand is to build about 18 miles of 230 kilovolt transmission lines from Redmond to Renton.

Courtesy Puget Sound Energy
At left, a growing Eastside, especially the area west of Lake Sammamish, is putting a strain on the region’s electric system, as seen in this future growth map. Above, PSE’s solution to the region’s growing power demand is to build about 18 miles of 230 kilovolt transmission lines from Redmond to Renton.

Read more

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