Editorial — Consider volunteering in the classroom

September 2, 2015

NEW — 4:50 p.m. Sept. 2, 2015

Newcastle parents whisked their children off to school this week, symbolically bringing an end to the long summer nights.

After dropping the kids off at school, you might feel the urge to kick back, relax and enjoy some “me” time. You deserve it after a long summer keeping the young ones entertained.

But wait! The schools need you. The volunteer jobs are endless. The playgrounds need monitors, the libraries can use assistance, the front offices might need your organizational skills, teachers almost never have enough helpers and the nurse’s offices are often in need of a mother’s touch to watch over a sick child.

But the best volunteer jobs may be working directly with students. Parents, grandparents and other citizens are always welcome to just listen to children read. Read more

Coal Miner’s Cemetery — Part 2

July 2, 2015

Last month, I introduced the miner’s cemetery on 129th Avenue Southeast with a promise to remember some of those interred there.

John McKnight is a well-known name in the area, and the Renton School District even named a middle school after him. His father, also John McKnight, was an important man in the Newcastle coal mining era and is buried in our cemetery.

BackTrackingJohn McKnight, the father, had served in the Civil War and came west after the conflict looking for opportunity. He was very interested in the birth of our nation and wrote and delivered a speech commemorating Independence Day in 1875.

Read more

Hazen and Liberty High School Graduations

June 25, 2015

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

Renton School District’s superintendent resigns

June 4, 2015

The Renton School District is back on the market for a new district leader.

Less than two years after she took office, Superintendent Merri Rieger announced her resignation, and the Renton School Board accepted it at its May 13 meeting.

Merri Rieger

Merri Rieger

Rieger’s resignation is effective June 30. In order to ensure a smooth transition for the interim superintendent, Rieger will step aside from the daily superintendent duties immediately, according to a statement from the district. Read more

Renton teachers to hold after-school walkout Thursday

May 26, 2015

NEW — 1:30 p.m. May 26, 2015

Renton School District teachers will join colleagues across the state in protesting lawmakers’ failure to fully fund public education, but they’ll do it outside of regular school hours.

The district announced today that teachers voted to hold an after-school one-day walkout May 28.

“Teachers in the Renton School District are dedicated to the success of every student. They display that dedication every day in every classroom, and they did so again when union leaders from every school voted to hold one-day walkouts at a time that doesn’t affect classroom learning,” the district said in a statement.

Teachers and supporters will gather at the intersection of Rainier Avenue and Airport Way and the intersection of Rainier Avenue and Grady Way to wave signs at about 3 p.m. Thursday. Read more

Renton superintendent resigns

May 21, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. May 21, 2015

RiegerSupe

Merri Rieger

The Renton School District is back on the market for a new district leader.

Less than two years after she took office, Superintendent Merri Rieger announced her resignation, and the Renton School Board accepted it at its May 13 meeting.

Rieger’s resignation is effective June 30. In order to ensure a smooth transition for the interim superintendent, Rieger will step aside from the daily superintendent duties immediately, according to a statement from the district.  Read more

April blotter

April 30, 2015

Presidential detail

Police responded to a report of a suspicious person at the Newcastle Chase Bank, 6911 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., March 26. The Bellevue man, who appeared to be a transient with mental issues, police said, went into the bank and asked for coffee before going on a rant about how the bank had “raped” him in the past. Later, when police approached him at a Newcastle bus stop, he said he used to be the Bellevue Fire chief and that he knew former President George H.W. Bush.

Newcastle Police encountered the man again April 2, after a Metro bus driver called about an agitated passenger. The man claimed police gave him drugs, and added that he owned the FBI and worked for the CIA. Based on his statements and some made to the bus driver, police requested an ambulance for involuntary commitment. Read more

Chief justice, Hazen grad to headline fundraiser breakfast

April 2, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: Barbara Madsen is no longer headlining the annual breakfast. Instead, Seahawks digital media host, and Newcastle resident, Tony Ventrella will headline the April 27 breakfast.

The Friends of Renton Schools will host its sixth annual benefit breakfast, headlined by speaker Barbara Madsen, the chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court, on April 27.

Madsen, a 1970 graduate of Hazen High School, earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington before going on to Gonzaga University School of Law.

After earning her law degree, Madsen worked as a public defender in King and Snohomish counties. She was first appointed to a bench in 1988, when then-Seattle Mayor Charles Royer added her to the Seattle Municipal Court, where she served as presiding judge.

Voters elected her the third woman to serve on the Washington Supreme Court in 1992, and re-elected her in 1998, 2004 and 2010. She began her second term as the 55th chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court after colleagues unanimously elected her Oct. 31, 2012. Read more

Editorial — Give an hour a week to help a local child

April 2, 2015

Children of all ages are one of our most valuable resources. They’re the ones who will grow up and inherit this planet. They will also be the ones to try to repair problems that people before them have created or not been able to fix.

So it’s crucial that they have good teachers. And good teaching doesn’t always happen in the classroom. In the Issaquah and Renton school districts, hundreds of people are giving valuable time.

Don’t have time, you say? It takes an hour a week. One hour.

Thanks to volunteer mentors, the future is brighter for more than 300 elementary, middle and high school students who are finding joy, confidence and opportunity through the VOICE Mentor Program, according to the Robin Callahan, executive director of the Issaquah Schools Foundation. Read more

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