Property values mailed to area residents

September 23, 2015

NEW — 4:17 p.m. Sept. 23, 2015

The office of King County Assessor Lloyd Hara mailed the 2015 property valuation notices for Area 64 — Newcastle.

Residential properties increased 12 percent in Area 64; however, individual property values may vary.

The Assessor’s Office sets property valuations. It does not set taxes and there is not a dollar-to-dollar correlation between property value increase and future property taxes. King County taxpayers who need advice and assistance with property tax-related matters, including appeals, should call 206-477-1060 or email taxadvisor@kingcounty.govRead more

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

To the Editor — September 2015

September 2, 2015

NEW — 4:48 p.m. Sept. 2, 2015

Reject the proposed School Woods plan

I am writing this to express my opposition to the proposed plan for the School Woods.  Beyond the loss of trails, the increased residential and “cut-through” traffic through two established neighborhoods, and the violation of existing wetlands, it is a shame to have lost a potential open space and park area.

This is especially true in a city having the least park land of any in the area  (4.7 acres of park acreage per 1,000 residents in Newcastle, compared to Renton’s 12.7 acres and Bellevue’s 21.2).

Further, the proposed development shows a complete lack of imagination and respect for the land. The site plan as it stands is in the perfect image of California practice:  Flatten for building pad, drop, flatten for building pad, drop again, flatten for building pad, drop again, etc., extending over the entire site. This is a forced, high-density housing development that shows little or no sympathy and respect for existing neighborhood ambiance. Read more

To the Editor — August 2015

August 6, 2015

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Aug. 6, 2015

Our neighborhoods are Newcastle’s real identity

Almost three decades ago, a small group of local visionaries carved a modern-day vision of Newcastle out of rural King County. Doing so, we placed our bets on the wisdom and ideals of our old-timers. Most of their wisdom and ideals are contained in the original Newport Hills incorporation study. So, what did we learn?

We learned that our current and newer neighborhoods could never be just ZIP codes. Many of our other areas would develop and evolve into beautiful, successful and stable neighborhoods, but they had to be sub-parts of the bigger picture — our city as a whole. There would be very real, future restrictive “location demographics” that could forever affect us, but we could survive, depending on the ongoing concern from our locals.

Additionally, allowing outsiders to redevelop, in our neighborhoods, could change the fundamental dynamics of how and where we live. Our way of life could become somewhat transitory, if those outsiders can readily exploit it. The respect for our future, therefore, must come from inside, because we’re betting that our leaders and staff will honor the wisdom in the founder’s visions. Read more

Newcastle ranked among best suburbs for millennials

June 4, 2015

Newcastle is one of the area’s best suburbs for millennials, according to a study by Niche.com.

The city comes in at No. 19 on the list that ranks suburbs based on the number of millennials, job opportunities and access to bars, restaurants and affordable housing.

A high ranking indicates that a suburb attracts millennials with an affordable, diverse community and lots of things to do.

Newcastle received high-rankings in the “Access to Coffee Shop” category and the “Easiest Commute Grade,” indicating it’s easy to get around the area.

Kirkland earned the No. 1 spot on the list ranking Seattle-area suburbs. In all, there were 53 cities ranked. View the full list at http://bit.ly/1K1iE27.

Notes from Newcastle

April 2, 2015

A plea to #hashtag it

Newcastle is suffering from an identity crisis.

No, I’m not talking about anything that the city is or isn’t doing. This crisis, it so happens, is simply out of City Hall’s control.

The problem would best be described as a “social media identity crisis.” Go ahead; search ‘Newcastle’ on Twitter. What do you see?

You’ll likely see a lot of tweets about Newcastle United FC, a soccer team in the English Premier League. Though the majority of Newcastle tweets are about the Magpies, they, incidentally, have nothing to do with our Newcastle. Read more

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

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

‘Little giant’ makes history come to life

October 3, 2014

By Greg Farrar Rich Crispo, Newcastle councilman, stands next to a display case with Milt Swanson's coal miner helmet and an information poster honoring the late 95-year-old Newcastle native's contributions to preserving the city's history. The Renton History Museum's Newcastle retrospective exhibit is on display until Feb. 7.

By Greg Farrar
Rich Crispo, Newcastle councilman, stands next to a display case with Milt Swanson’s coal miner helmet and an information poster honoring the late 95-year-old Newcastle native’s contributions to preserving the city’s history. The Renton History Museum’s Newcastle retrospective exhibit is on display until Feb. 7.

The first thing visitors see upon walking into the Renton History Museum’s Newcastle exhibit is, appropriately, a tribute to a man that means so much to the city’s history. 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

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