Page 1

Park concert attracts good weather, great crowds Page 19

Liberty grad fulfills family legacy Page 22

City Council eyes options for unsafe intersection

August 5, 2011 VOL. 10, NO. 8

Election season Remaining candidates gear up for primary vote. Page 2

Election shuffle Andrew Shelton pulls out of race, remains on ballot. Page 3

By Emily Baer

Pat Detmer Page 6

Police blotter Page 8

Mayor is confident City budget is on track, despite flat revenues. Page 16 Contributed

One of Ride the Ducks’ World War II surplus DUKWs cruises Lake Union for the water portion of the tour.

Newcastle’s Mikie Coffman is hen to Seattle’s Ride the Ducks brood By Quinn Eddy

Leader of the pack Newcastle runner conquers difficult trails. Page 21

You should know Get information about earthquake safety on the city’s website,, by clicking the “Earthquake Safety” link under the “Quick Links” section.

Contact us: 392-6434, ext. 239


As general manager of Seattle’s Ride the Ducks, Newcastle resident Mikie Coffman gets a hefty dose of quacking on a daily basis. “It’s nonstop fun. You have to be half crazy to work here,” Coffman said. Originally from Redmond, Coffman moved to Newcastle five years ago. In college she studied political science at the University of Washington. “At Ride the Ducks, I wear a lot of hats,” Coffman said. “Wherever they need me I’ll be there.” The only things you won’t see Coffman doing is driving a duck or helping mechanically. All captains must be United States Coast Guard certified and have a current commercial driver’s license. When it comes to captains, Ride the Ducks prefers them as wild as possible. “We like our captains one step away from being committed,” Coffman said. Ride the Ducks captains go through an intensive two-

The Newcastle City Council will vote this month on the construction of a median near the intersection of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway to prevent cars from passing buses as passengers are loading. City Council members proposed building a median because they were concerned that the current double line, signifying that drivers may not use the oncoming traffic lane to pass, was not enough to deter people from trying anyway. The issue was given to the city’s Public Works Department to review. “It was their perception that it was unsafe,” Public Works Development Engineer Kerry Sullivan said. “We looked at it under engineer analysis and See INTERSECTION, Page 12

Newcastle Days 2011 lineup is taking shape By Sebastian Moraga and Tim Pfarr

of the city in an amphibious vehicle called a duck, which is capable of traveling on both land and water. Each duck can hold up to 36 riders.

The Newcastle Days Committee announced more details in July about the 2011 celebration, including the stage lineup. This year’s celebration will be Sept. 9 and 10, with a downtown sidewalk sale the first day and a celebration in Lake Boren Park the second day. The 17th annual Newcastle Days, which celebrates the formation of the city of Newcastle, will have Lance Lambert, of the “Vintage Vehicle Show,” as emcee. The car show, which returns this year after a one-year absence, will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the north end of the park. For the second consecutive

See DUCK, Page 5

See FESTIVAL, Page 9


Mikie Coffman, of Newcastle, general manager of Ride the Ducks, stands near one of the business’ 17 duck tour vehicles. month training program. “We overdo our training so they know everything about the vehicles,” Coffman said. Located across the street from the Space Needle on Broad Street, Ride the Ducks offers scenic tours

Newcastle News


AUGUST 5, 2011

Remaining candidates gear up for primary election By Tim Pfarr Although Andrew Shelton has dropped from the race for City Council Position 4, there will still be a primary election this month. Shelton, Gordon Bisset and Frank Irigon will be on the ballot. The top two finishers will advance to the general election in November. Ballots for the primary election must be postmarked by Aug. 16. Gordon Bisset Gordon Bisset — former councilman and planning commissioner, and current president of the Hazelwood Community Gordon Bisset Association — said he wants to ensure the city maintains its infrastructure and financial viability. As a 41-year resident of the city and frequent City Council meeting attendee, he said he could hit the ground running if elected. “Not only do I know the issues, I know the history of a lot of the issues,” he said. Bisset was a member of the council from 2002-2005, and prior to his time on the council, he spent three years as chairman of the Planning Commission. As a retired mathematician and former member of the city’s Finance Committee, he said he would also bring budgeting skills crucial to the city in the fragile economy. He said maintaining infrastructure is important, as delaying maintenance can cost the city two or three times as much money in the long run. Bisset said the best decision the council made in the past two years was switching to a balanced budget. One decision he would change, he said, would be the decision to move City Hall

Candidate Q&A Gordon Bisset What is the No. 1 issue facing the city of Newcastle right now? Sustaining the long-term financial viability of our city. Current and future budgetary spending must be careful and within realistic financial assumptions. How will your leadership impact that issue? I have eight years of city public service. While on our Finance Committee, we balanced budgets. I have firsthand knowledge of our financial issues. How would you, as a councilman, help Newcastle get on solid financial ground for the future? I will support the current council’s balanced budget. I will support future balanced budgets. All future spending analysis must be with realistic sound financial data.

to the Newcastle Professional Center. He said the move was unnecessary, given that staying in the current location, 13020 Newcastle Way, would have saved money and given the city space for its maintenance equipment. He also said the deal was not negotiated extensively enough, and that some of the reasons city staff members gave for moving — such as increasing staff efficiency — were not legitimate. “It’s kind of a false idea that it’s going to increase staff efficiency,” he said, adding that the implication is that staff is not efficient as is. He said his most significant volunteer efforts in the city have been serving on the Planning Commission, serving as president of the Hazelwood

How will you increase communication between the City Council and the community? Councilors should attend local community meetings. I will hold regular meetings with citizens who wish to attend. In your opinion, what are Newcastle residents most concerned about this year? How the decaying economy is affecting them. Household budgets are tightened and they expect their city to do the same. New taxes are not favored!

Frank Irigon What is the No. 1 issue facing the city of Newcastle right now? Those revenues, from property and sales taxes, are not increasing at the same rate as expenditures. How will your leadership impact that issue? I will hit the ground running if elected with my proven work and volunteer experiences hav-

Community Association and volunteering with trails projects. Bisset has been endorsed by six of the seven members of the City Council: Mayor John Dulcich, Deputy Mayor Steve Buri, councilmen Bill Erxleben and Rich Crispo, and councilwomen Carol Simpson and Lisa Jensen. Frank Irigon Frank Irigon, a former member of the Renton Technical College board of trustees, said he wants the city to live within its means, have more accountabili-

Frank Irigon

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ing faced similar budgetary challenges. How would you, as a councilman, help Newcastle get on solid financial ground for the future? I will work collaboratively and tirelessly with the council to tackle today’s financial problems in order to lay the foundation for the future. How will you increase communication between the City Council and the community? The city is doing a good job with communicating through various venues such as their website, community outreach and will continue to support those efforts. In your opinion, what are Newcastle residents most concerned about this year? Like many of my neighbors, we’re concerned about the economy and its impact on our quality of life and frame of mind.

ty to residents and take a look at how it fits in the region. He is a 25-year resident of the city. Gov. Gary Locke appointed Irigon to the Renton Technical College board, and Irigon served for five years, helping manage a $34 million budget. “This is where I feel I have more experience,” Irigon said regarding his opponents. In 2009, Irigon led a vote to fire the college’s president, Don Bressler, because Bressler was not promoting diversity on his leadership team, Irigon said then. Afterward, information surfaced that Irigon did not live within the college’s service area, and Irigon — who said he was unaware he lived outside the boundaries — resigned from the board. Irigon said he wants city residents to have more of a voice in

Newcastle. “It’s not just the City Council’s city. It’s everybody’s city,” he said, adding that citizens need to make themselves heard when it comes to how they want the downtown area developed. “This is where I believe citizen input is critical.” He said a pedestrian-friendly and transit-friendly downtown would work in the city, and he said the city would benefit by having more restaurant choices and possibly a theater. “People need to think of Newcastle as more than a bedroom community for Seattle,” he said. At the same time, he said the city must live within its means, funding only what it can afford. Irigon said the best decisions the council made in the past two years have been those pertaining to allowing more density in the downtown area, although he did not cite specific actions. One decision he would change, he said, would be the decision to move City Hall to the Newcastle Professional Center. “Does this translate to living within our means?” he said about the City Hall move. Irigon is endorsed by the King County Democrats, the 41st Legislative District Democrats, King County Councilman Larry Gossett and state Reps. Bob Hasegawa, Sharon Tomiko Santos and Luis Moscoso.

Correction In the June 3 edition of Newcastle News, the destination of Shel Neufeld’s $1,000 donation to the city for community events was incorrectly stated. Neufeld contributed $1,000 to the city’s Fourth of July celebration.

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Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011

Andrew Shelton out of council race, still on primary ballot Moot primary election to cost city about $8,000 By Tim Pfarr City Council candidate Andrew Shelton announced July 13 that he was aborting his campaign to run for Position 4, Andrew Shelton held by Sonny Putter. With Shelton out of the race, a primary election is no longer necessary. However, his late withdrawal leaves the city with an $8,000 tab for the election that is now moot, according to King County Elections spokeswoman Kim Van Eckstrom. Shelton said he made the decision after taking a new job with greater time commitments. “I don’t think it’s fair to ask people for their votes or ask people for their donations when I have this pretty massive time conflict,” said Shelton, the city Parks Commission chairman. Shelton said he was unaware the city was responsible for paying for the primary election. He said he has not accepted any campaign contributions, and that he took his new job after the June 16 deadline to withdraw from the race. Shelton also did not submit a statement

Mark Greene to run for county elections director Newcastle resident Mark Greene has filed to run for King County elections director in this November’s election. “If elected to the director position, I will closely monitor the Secretary of State election rules and follow them closely, as would be my obligation according to the law,” Greene wrote in an email. Greene said he would give as much leeway as possibly to petitions and bring about reforms in matching hand recounts of optical scanning machine results. Specifically, he said he would call for 2 per-

to the voter’s guide, which he would have needed to do by June 17, Van Eckstrom said. Cities are required to pay for a portion of elections costs if local issues are on the ballot, Van Eckstrom said. The amount the city pays is calculated based on the ratio of city items on the ballot to the total number of items coming forward across the county. The city paid $15,000 for its primary election in 2009, which contained one City Council race. Shelton is running against Gordon Bisset and Frank Irigon for Position 4, and there would have been no primary election had Shelton withdrawn from the race before the deadline. The race for City Council Position 4 will be the only city issue on the ballot this month, and if Shelton were to finish in the top two in the primary, he would still advance to the general election, Van Eckstrom said. Nonetheless, Shelton said he would refrain from campaigning if he were to advance to the general election. “This is not a roundabout way to not campaign and see what happens,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair to anybody.” Shelton announced in April that he planned to run for City Council, and he filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission on May 26. He was the first to publicly announce his candidacy. Van Eckstrom said it is important for candidates and voters to remember to take elections seriously. “Elections are a serious matter,” she said. “Elections do cost us money.”

cent to 5 percent of ballots to be recounted in randomly selected precincts in all elections, regardless of how close the vote is. He said he would also call for more checks and balances with the postal voting system, open source inspection of vote tabulating machines, and systematic and renewed training for election workers, especially regarding the county’s 2012 redistricting. Greene said he has been an election reform activist since 2000 and active in politics for decades. He is the founder of an election practices committee called Democracy in Election Process.


City to pursue more aggressive investments By Tim Pfarr The City Council voted at its July 5 meeting to invest its extra money more aggressively than it has in the past, switching from Bank of America to KeyBank for the task. The council will likely decide this month what it will invest in, but City Manager Rob Wyman said it would likely invest in government-backed treasury bonds. The choice to depart from

Bank of America came down to poor service, Wyman said. By banking and investing with KeyBank, the city will get a discount on its investment broker fees. As is, the city earns about $18,000 in interest each year by keeping its money in the state’s Local Government Investment Pool, which Wyman said is very low for the amount of money invested, about $7.5 million. “You could be making hundreds of thousands of dollars a

year just on that,” he said, comparing the city’s conservative investment practices to more aggressive, private investment practices. There is a slight increase in risk by making the change, as the city would lose money if the federal government defaulted on its bond indebtedness. It’s much more likely the new investments will yield interest of about three times what the city is collecting through the investment pool, Wyman said.



Letters to the editor


Gordon Bisset is the right choice

Gordon Bisset unmatched in City Council race Between the two candidates still seeking election to Position 4 on the City Council — now that Andrew Shelton has withdrawn — Newcastle News can only endorse Gordon Bisset for the job. Bisset’s unrelenting involvement in Newcastle and his vast knowledge of city issues and municipal government makes him an ideal choice and a fantastic addition to the council. As a former councilman, former member of the city’s Finance Committee, current president of the Hazelwood Community Association and an involved citizen who attends nearly every city meeting, he is up to speed and prepared to get to work immediately. Given his decadelong involvement in the city, Bisset knows what issues are recurring and the history behind them. He knows what the council can realistically accomplish, and conveys his ideas honestly and directly. At a time when the council’s efficiency is sliding and the city is feeling its way out of an economic recession, Newcastle needs Bisset’s expertise once again. Bisset — sharp, driven and well-prepared — is unparalleled, and his qualifications have not gone unnoticed, given his early endorsement from six of the seven presiding members of the City Council. His exclusively local endorsements carry much more weight than those from regional politicians. This is a local position representing local residents, and it’s clear Bisset is seeking election to make Newcastle a better place to live, not to climb the political ladder for his own reward. This one’s easy. Vote for Gordon Bisset on the August primary ballot.

Newcastle Days needs you Newcastle Days is fast approaching, but more volunteers are needed to help before and during the Sept. 9-10 festival. What a fun way to get involved in your community! If you have a head full of ideas, or are just willing to help booths and bands get set up during the event, let the committee know now. They’ll accept all offers of help. No reason not to get the kids signed up for a little community service along with you! Call Grace Stiller at 228-7927 to volunteer.

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AUGUST 5, 2011

I returned from California to the good news that Gordon Bisset is running for the Newcastle City Council. I had urged him to do so, and I support his election. Gordon is a long-time neighbor, a capable and active member (currently president) of our Hazelwood Community Association, who has served with distinction on Newcastle’s Planning Commission and City Council. He’s been deeply involved in Newcastle since its founding, and is one of those rare civic-minded folks who attend council meetings year after year, maintain a deep knowledge of city issues and frequently speak out — about a wider range of issues than most of us can manage. Gordon gets things done: he helped the Hazelwood Community Association make Donegal Park a reality, and he’s led the successful effort to raise funds for a memorial barbecue in the park. And he’s a realist who understands budgets; who wants a lean, efficient government that sticks to basics. Given Newcastle’s dire financial situation, his voice is needed on the council. Garry Kampen Newcastle

Vote for Dr. Mary Heuschel for hospital commissioner Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel’s leadership is a perfect fit for Valley Medical Commission For Newcastle residents who are within Public Hospital District No. 1, I urge you to vote for Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel for hospital commissioner in the Aug. 16 primary election. This election is important to the community, because the commission oversees Valley Medical Center and its clinics throughout South King County. Heuschel currently serves as superintendent of the Renton School District, and will continue to serve as superintendent if elected to the hospital commission. Renton schools have greatly

improved under Dr. Heuschel’s watch. For her outstanding leadership, in 2011 she was selected as the Washington State Superintendent of the Year and ranked in the top four school superintendents in the nation. I believe Dr. Heuschel will bring this same award-winning leadership to the role of hospital commissioner. In addition to her love for education, Dr. Heuschel is passionate about health care and understands that a strong community begins with quality education and healthy families. The Valley Medical Commission needs a leader who will work tirelessly to provide quality healthcare to every member of our community. I believe that Dr. Heuschel is a gifted leader who will shine in her role as hospital commissioner. Simply put, she is the best candidate for the job. Jean Garber Newcastle

Career dictates campaign changes I have long enjoyed my involvement with the city of Newcastle. It has been my wish to run for a seat on the City Council and I was poised to do so until recently. In June, I had the great fortune of receiving an employment offer, which represented a tremendous opportunity for me and my family. Upon starting the job, I’ve come to realize the demands of the position, particularly during this early period, make it very difficult to also lead an effective primary campaign. Because of this, I have decided to end my campaign before it truly begins. It does not seem appropriate for me to solicit and receive any campaign contributions when I’m not able to give my maximum effort in this race. For those of you who offered support, thank you very much. My withdrawal from the campaign leaves voters with two candidates fully worthy of consideration. I wish Frank Irigon and Gordon Bisset well in their efforts. Andrew Shelton Newcastle

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Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011

Duck From Page 1 On a Ride the Ducks tour riders will experience 60 minutes on land and 30 minutes in the water. Sights seen include all of the major downtown landmarks, including the Seattle waterfront, Safeco and CenturyLink fields, Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, the downtown shopping district and the Fremont neighborhood. For the water portion of the tour, the duck splashes into Lake Union. Riders get the chance to check out Gas Works Park and the “Sleepless in Seattle” houseboat. During the tour, captains play music and tell stories about the city. “It’s really an entertainment venue,” Coffman said. “There’s never a dull moment. We call it a party on wheels.” The ducks themselves are World War II surplus DUKWs built between 1942 and 1945. The 2 1/2-ton amphibious vehicles were used in crucial battles, such as D-Day, and were used during the Korean War for shipto-shore deliveries. Twenty thou-

Teen injured in golf cart rollover accident A teenager rolled a golf cart down an eight-foot embankment at The Golf Club at Newcastle at about 6:20 a.m. July 14. The 17-year-old golf course employee became trapped under the cart after a rear wheel rolled onto a stair and caused the vehicle to lose balance. It is unknown whether the teen was backing up or the cart moved backward on its own. Five firemen and an unknown number of other golf course employees lifted the cart off of the teen, said Lt. Troy

“It’s nonstop fun. You have to be half crazy to work here.” — Mikie Coffman Ride the Ducks general manager

sand were built during World War II, with much of the labor done by women. Without the ducks, ships would have been forced to unload cargo into smaller boats that would then need to be unloaded once they reached the shore. With the DUKW, ships could load cargo at sea and drop it off at its exact destination on land. “We’ve had people that worked with these during wartimes on our tours,” Coffman said. Ride the Ducks started out in 1997 as a joint venture between her father Brian Tracy and his business partner. They originally started with just one vehicle, but today Ride the Ducks has 17 ducks running 85 tours a day between two departure locations. Coffman started out at Ride the Ducks as the business’ first ticket-booth employee. Recently, Ride the Ducks was paid a visit by late night talk

Donlin, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman. While an average golf cart weighs between 600 and 700 pounds, Donlin said the firefighters and course employees were able to remove the cart without the help of tools. The teen employee was injured and transported to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition. According to David Valdyka, director of marketing at Oki Golf, he left the hospital later that day with minor injuries. Valdyka said the golf course has “numerous safety initiatives related to equipment and how employees work” in place.

show host Jimmy Kimmel. Other famous faces seen on a duck include Keith Urban, J.J. Abrams, Cindy Lauper and Ray Allen. “Any new Mariners recruit gets a ride on a duck,” Coffman said. “It’s a great way for new players to experience the city.” According to Coffman, Ride the Ducks employees get all sorts of outrageous questions from riders. “One time, someone asked if the duck goes up the Space Needle,” Coffman said. “Someone asked if we get wet. When told they won’t, they replied, ‘How do we not get wet if it goes underwater?’” When asked about her

PAGE 5 favorite group of riders, Coffman immediately thought of the Red Hat ladies. The group is a women’s club for active senior citizens. “They really know how to have a good time,” Coffman said. “Captains are always having to remind them to keep their arms inside the duck.” The idea for Ride the Ducks came from the use of the vehicles for tours in other cities across the country. “The original duck tour was in the Wisconsin Dells,” Coffman said. “Branson, Mo., and Boston also have these tours.” If a duck experiences mechan-

ical problems or a flat tire, Ride the Ducks has a full maintenance team on standby. “They’re really like a pit crew. They do a fabulous job,” Coffman said. As a means to give back to the community, Ride the Ducks gives to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Twice a year, they hold Starlight Charity Days where all proceeds go to the children. There is also a free tour where a duck picks up passengers at Swedish Medical Center for a tour just for ill children. “It’s unbelievably rewarding. We look forward to raising money for such a worthy cause.” Coffman said.

Newcastle News


AUGUST 5, 2011

Laughing all the way

10 things I learned about house remodeling (and lived to share) By Pat Detmer


If you are not actually changing the footprint of your kitchen, then according to my statusconscious friends, it’s not really a Pat Detmer “remodel.” But you know what? No matter what you call it, it’s still a big, giant pain in the butt.


If you can’t find your favorite 15-year-old cutting board a month after moving all of your stuff from the kitchen cabinets to the garage and back, then just face it, honey — it’s gone.


If the brand new refrigerator has an irritating whine when it runs, your significant other will claim that he can’t hear it at all, which I find very hard to believe.

Hazen High School pool to be open next year The Hazen High School pool will be open for the 2011-2012 school year.


If you’ve had knobs on your drawers for years, consider adding them to your new cabinetry or risk fingernail loss from trying to pry the cabinets open.


If you are on good enough terms with your ex-son-inlaw to have him act as your contractor, then be prepared to have your hair curled by tales about your young adult and single grandsons, things that you never ever hear from your daughter and never see on Facebook because you long ago adopted the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” grandson philosophy, which includes never visiting their Facebook pages unless someone is dying or being hospitalized and they’re not answering their mobile phones.


Any change after 20 years can be difficult, even if the change is a good one (says the woman who is still secondguessing her choice of cabinets.)

for several decades and then replace them with substantial capital D “Doors,” and if you and your partner both work out of home offices, then be prepared when opening and closing them during the course of a normal day to hear your partner yell out things like, “What the are you doing down there, anyway?” whereas previously, you could operate in complete silence and anonymity. Which means no more sneaking chocolate from the pantry.


In any quote on interior remodeling, there should be a line item for EBCD, or Excessive Butt-Crack Display, with a sliding scale of cost adjustments based on viewings. Either that or a promissory note.


If you’ve lived with construction-grade hollow-core doors

If you have not started to make changes in a house that’s a couple of decades old, consider not doing it at all, because here’s what will happen: the new kitchen reminds you that the carpet is showing its age, the new doors make the

Community donations poured in this spring, surpassing the $60,000 needed to keep the Hazen and Lindbergh high school pools open next year.

“I am really pleased that the community effort has been a success,” said Chris Carlson, Renton Pools Community organizer. As of Newcastle News’ June 28


original windows look like crap, the improved pantry makes you say “Hmmm” when you look at your upstairs closets, the fresh kitchen furniture makes you wonder about those living room chairs that you bought just after you got married ... and on and on and on. You get my drift. It’s deadline, the total amount raised was $69,000. With employee matching funds from The Boeing Co. and Microsoft, organizers expect the total to reach $72,000. The largest contributor was the Bellevue Club Swim Team Boosters, which donated $10,000. The organization Hazen Beyond the Basics, the Issaquah Swim Team and Wiegardt Brothers Inc. also donated several thousand dollars each toward the cause. Carlson said members of the Renton Pools Community will meet this fall to determine the fundraising target for the 2012-

like dominoes.


It might just be easier to move.

You can reach Pat Detmer or The Sainted One — who honestly believes that the cutting board will show up one day — at

2013 school year. He said he expects the target to be much lower next year, as increased usage and fees have brought in more revenue.

Local mover receives recognition Mayflower Transit named Brian Gooch, of Newcastle-based Rainier Moving Systems Inc., as a salesman of the month for February 2011. Rainier Moving Systems is an affiliate of Mayflower Transit. Two other salesmen from across the country also received the award.

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Newcastle News


Newcastle News


King County veterans levy appears on Aug. 16 ballot By Warren Kagarise King County leaders and advocates for veterans called on voters last month to approve a county veterans-and-humanservices levy, Proposition 1, in the August primary election. The electorate approved the initial levy — 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to fund programs for veterans and social service efforts — on the 2005 ballot, and the measure is up for renewal Aug. 16. County Councilman Bob Ferguson sponsored the original legislation in 2005 and the current proposal. “Across the political spectrum, my colleagues on the County Council unanimously support continuing the vital work of the Veterans and Human Services Levy,” Ferguson said in a statement issued July 27. “We are asking voters, not to increase taxes, but rather to renew their commitment through the existing levy to provide critical services for veterans, their families, and those in need.” Newcastle’s representative, Councilman Reagan Dunn, served as a cosponsor of the legislation. The council agreed in a unanimous decision May 2 to

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place the levy renewal on the August ballot. The proposal matches the existing levy and does not include additional taxes. The ballot measure specifies for levy growth to be tied to inflation. So, the owner of a home assessed at $340,000 should pay $17 in 2012 under the levy, county estimates show. The measure enjoys broad support among county leaders and nonprofit organizations in the human services field. Several city councils and the Suburban Cities Association — a nonprofit group representing 37 King County municipalities, including Newcastle — endorsed Proposition 1. Nobody submitted a statement opposing the levy in the primary Voters’ Guide. The existing levy provides funding for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, job training and employment assistance for veterans, and emergency financial assistance for veterans and military personnel to pay for rent, food, utilities, medical needs and burial costs. “It is important that we send a message to our citizen-soldiers everywhere that we are honoring and supporting them as

Register to vote Aug. 8 is the deadline to register to vote for the Aug. 16 primary election. Voters can register in person at King County Elections from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at 919 S.W. Grady Way, Renton. If a voter misses the deadline to register for the Aug. 16 election, he or she can register for the November general election. The deadline for registration online and by mail is Oct. 10. The deadline to register in person is Oct. 31. “Every election brings interest-

they have honored and supported us,” Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, a veteran and a levy supporter, said in a statement. The social services portion funds expanded mental health services at 22 primary care clinics and improved safety for children in the dependency system through the Family Treatment Court — a gateway to drug and alcohol treatment for parents. Linda Rasmussen, landlord liaison program director for YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish, said the initial levy proved successful. “The veterans-and-humanservices levy has made it possible to open the local housing market to over 700 formerly homeless households with

AUGUST 5, 2011

ing and important choices, but you need to be registered to vote,” Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a statement. “Voters who are already registered can help us make sure their ballots reach them and help lower election costs just by keeping their addresses up to date.” Residents can also head to the elections office for a self-guided tour to observe the election process in action. The office recommends 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Aug. 19 as the best times for viewing, or 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Aug. 16.

unique tools and services,” she said. Like the existing levy, the renewal legislation proposes allocating half of the money for veterans programs and the other half for general human services programs. The current levy expires Dec. 31. Supporters said the initial levy in 2005 proved successful. The measure received support from 58 percent of voters then. “Our veterans should not have to come home to homelessness,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “This levy has a proven record of changing life for the better for thousands of local veterans, their families, and others in need, and I urge voters to renew it.”

Police blotter Home burglary A man reported that his home, in the 8600 block of 137th Avenue Southeast, was burglarized between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. June 20. The burglar used a BB gun to shoot out a back window. The man said the stolen items were a coin collection worth $150, a pair of gold earrings worth $200, an iPod Nano worth $125, two laptop computers together worth $1,700 and an Xbox worth $370. Police recovered 11 sets of fingerprints from the house.

Power cord theft Police responded to a construction site in the 7600 block of 129th Avenue Southeast where eight 25-foot power cords were stolen between 6 p.m. June 20 and 6:30 a.m. June 21. The cords were worth $800.

Smacked Police responded to the 8900 block of 121st Avenue Southeast where a woman had punched another woman in the face at 9:30 p.m. June 22. The women had been drinking, and when one attempted to leave, the other said she confronted her about drinking too much to leave. The situation turned to a struggle over a set of keys, and one woman ended up punching the other.

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A man reported that two teenagers at the Coal Creek YMCA, 13720 Newcastle Golf Club Road, stole his iPhone at 5 p.m. June 24. The man had GPS tracking on his phone, and he was able to retrieve his phone without trouble.


A woman reported that the driver’s side window of her 2000 Honda Civic was broken between 1 and 8:50 a.m. June 25, causing $300 in damage. Nothing was taken from the car.

Car break-in


A man reported his 2003 Toyota Highlander was broken into at the Wilderness Creek Trailhead, 10400 RentonIssaquah Road, between 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. June 26. The front, driver’s side window was smashed, causing $500 in damage. The stolen items were a laptop computer worth $2,000, $200 in cash and two book bags together worth $50. The Newcastle News publishes names of those arrested for DUI and those charged with felony crimes. Information comes directly from local police reports.

Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011

Renegades win recycling battle with the Warriors



To volunteer Call Grace Stiller at 228-7927 or

By Emily Baer From Page 1 The results are in and the Recycling Renegades have taken the title from the Waste Less Warriors in Waste Management’s Newcastle Neighborhood Recycling Rewards competition. On average, Renegade households recycled about a halfpound more each month than Warrior homes, Waste Management communications representative Robin Freedman said. The competition — which arose out of discussions between city officials and Northwest members of Waste Management — was meant to increase recycling rates among Newcastle residents. According to the city’s page on the Waste Management website, Newcastle produces approximately 1,600 tons of garbage each year, 78 percent of which is recyclable or compostable. “Those landfills are filling up and the earth’s not making any more land,” Public Works Director Mark Rigos said. “It’s expensive to treat and store waste away. We all encourage recycling, so any way the community can come together to recycle is great.” In January, Waste Management split the city into two teams along Coal Creek Parkway. Those to the west competed for the Recycling Renegades and those to the east for the Waste Less Warriors. Teams had from Jan. 24 to June 24 to out-recycle each other. Rules stated that the region with the greatest increase in recycling per average household would receive $5,000 from Waste Management “for an improvement project of their choice.” Such projects include park benches, bike racks, public art, playground equipment and

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public place recycling equipment. Though only one winner was officially named, Freedman said the program was beneficial for all. “This program has been a win-win, because both neighborhoods showed significant increases in recycling, resulting in a citywide increase of 22 percent year over year,” she said. During the five-month competition, the city recycled nearly 550 tons of materials—an increase of more than 100 tons of materials compared to the same five-month period in 2010. Residents also increased food composting and yard waste participation by 50 tons. By the end of the recycling challenge, Newcastle had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 99 tons. “Recycling helps to reduce the amount of natural resources used to manufacture new products and also reduces air emissions associated with manufacturing,” Freedman said. Though the $5,000 incentive seemed to spur on the Renegades and Warriors in their quest to raise recycling rates, Freedman said she believes that

the increased waste consciousness of Newcastle residents is a permanent trend — with or without a monetary incentive. “We rarely, if ever, see communities go backwards in regards to recycling and composting rates,” she said. “Clearly, this challenge encouraged Newcastle residents to change some of their most basic everyday consumption behaviors.” Waste Management has implemented recycling incentive programs that rewarded residents for good recycling efforts before, but this was the first neighborhood-versus-neighborhood challenge that it has sponsored in the Puget Sound area. Freedman said the company decided to pilot the program in Newcastle because of the critical support it received from City Manager Rob Wyman and City Council members. Waste Management does not have any additional recycling competitions planned for the area in the near future, but will host educational recycling, yard waste, composting and community events soon, Freedman said. Find Waste Management’s education recycling booth at Newcastle Days in September.

year Valley Medical Center will be the event’s major sponsor, Lewis said. Another returning attraction is the 5K race. Registration forms can be found at, or register in person until 8 a.m. the day of the race, Sept. 10. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by Sept. 3. Family entertainment on the main stage begins at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 10 with the Rainier Ballet Academy and continues with performances by young magician Matt Wells, children’s musician Tim Noah and Blue Dog Dance. Music on the main stage begins at 3 p.m. with performances by classic rock cover band The Rain Kings, reggae and funk band Spirit of Ojah, and White, featuring Newcastle resident Alan White, drummer from the band Yes.

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Children will have free pony rides, inflatable toys, magicians, and face-painting, said Diane Lewis, the public relations liaison for Newcastle Days. Vendors wanting to have a booth had until Aug. 1 to sign up. The city will have a booth in the festival where residents can apply for passports. Lewis said that volunteers are still welcome to offer their help. “We’re doing fine in volunteers,” she said. “But if they want to volunteer, our coordinator Grace Stiller will be happy to place them in appropriate jobs.” These jobs include help with parking, bringing water to the bands, and “various odds and ends,” Lewis said.


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Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011

Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011


Neighbors extinguish fireworks blaze that destroyed 12 evergreen trees By Emily Baer By the time firefighters arrived at Ted Heng’s house in Park Hill the night of July 4, six neighbors had already extinguished the blaze that destroyed 12 hedgelike trees in Heng’s backyard. The culprit: fireworks, according to Heng. But what could have resulted in the destruction of a home became an opportunity for an otherwise reserved neighborhood. On his way home from the Lakemont fireworks show, Heng spotted colorful flashes of light coming from the Newcastle area. Upon pulling into his driveway, he realized the display was from three boys with their own fireworks in the street. Heng said he went upstairs to his room and was about to take a shower when he noticed a bright light coming from the direction of his window. He looked outside to see fire consuming the trees lining the side of his yard near his deck. Fearing the blaze would jump to a nearby maple and then to his house, Heng said he grabbed

his driver’s license, passport, wallet, camera and iPad and quickly backed his car out of the garage. He honked his car horn to alert his neighbors to the fire and called the fire department. “I had to go back inside and call 911, but I couldn’t get ahold of them the first time,” he said. “I called back and couldn’t get connected several times. When I finally talked to the fire department, they had already received several calls about it.” Responding to Heng’s honks, six neighbors armed with hoses and tubs of water teamed up with him to extinguish the flames. The parents of the boys who accidentally started the fire acknowledged their sons’ mistake and were part of the effort, Heng said. Soon, the spectacle had garnered a crowd of 30. Paul Laush said he and his wife, who was celebrating her birthday at their home with friends, heard someone yell, “Fire!” and immediately rushed outside to bang on neighbors’ doors and grab garden hoses. “We got it under control in what felt like an instant, but it was probably more like 10 min-

utes,” Laush said. Heng said firefighters arrived at the scene 10 to 15 minutes after he made his initial call to the station. By that time, the neighborhood had already put out the flames that left 12 of Heng’s hedge trees dead. Laush said the firemen checked the neighbors’ work and identified hotspots, which they then flushed with water. The fire department’s report did not detail what firemen did when they found the fire already extinguished. Lt. Troy Donlin, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman, said firemen typically dig up the soil beneath until they reach dirt that has not been charred. “If the fire got into the ground at all, then fuel is still in the ground and has to be heavily wet down and dug up,” Donlin said. “A bark fire can burn a foot underground.” Heng called the effort of his neighbors “heroic” and said that if it weren’t for them, “the fire could have spread and it would have been a different outcome.” Since then, Heng said the teens responsible for the fire


Ken Coles, Charles Hu, Ted Heng and Paul Laush (from left) stand in front of trees that were destroyed by fireworks in the fire they helped put out in Heng's yard. have apologized to him and have started replanting new hedge trees to replace those destroyed by the blaze. “I’m flexible about it,” Heng said. “The dads want their kids to learn from this incident — that they made a mistake. The parents are getting involved and want to teach their kids about responsibility. I’m happy with the young kids.” Despite the trauma of the fire, Heng said he felt the experience was unifying. “This fire is the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of community or neighbors getting together, but my neighbors did a really

great job. This was really awesome and I am so thankful.” Laush agreed that the event sparked not only a fire, but also a refreshed sense of community. “Everyone sort of knows each other and waves hi when walking their dogs, but we’ve never really had a get-together,” he said, “This brought a sense of community. Now, people are seeing each other and talking about the story.” The Bellevue Fire Department did not oversee an investigation of the brushfire because the property damage did not meet a necessary threshold of value in order to do so. They accepted Heng’s explanation that fireworks started the blaze, Donlin said.

Firefighters encounter outdated hydrant fitting at house fire By Tim Pfarr Firefighters responding to a house fire in the 8800 block of 116th Avenue Southeast the night of June 26 encountered unexpected fittings on a nearby fire hydrant, which delayed firefighters for 15 seconds, said Lt. Troy Donlin, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman. The hydrant, which contained two 2 1/2 inch ports, is

known as a village hydrant, he said. Firefighters can access such a hydrant through the ports, but it takes slightly longer. “We’re trained to deal with that situation,” Donlin said. He said village hydrants are located at various places throughout the city. Donlin said the village hydrants are old and no longer made, but the department still trains firefighters on accessing the hydrants.

Bellevue fire officials contacted the Coal Creek Utility District about the hydrants following the fire, according to Coal Creek Operations Manager Robert Russell. Russell said hydrant nozzles are a different size than those on the majority of hydrants in the immediate area. But he also said there are not many of the so-called village hydrants and that area firefighters have

equipment to deal with the odd-sized nozzles. There actually are several types of hydrant nozzles in the area, Russell added. “It’s common for firefighters to have to adapt,” he said. Bellevue’s Donlin described the 15-second delay as insignificant. The blaze almost completely torched one house and badly burned another, causing a quar-

ter-million dollars in damage. The Bellevue Fire Department ruled the cause of the fire as “undetermined,” as damage to the point of origin was too extensive to indicate how the fire began. The fire began in a resident’s garage, where the resident had left a pile of oily rags that may have contributed to the fire, said Lt. Eric Keenan, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.


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Intersection From Page 1 determined several options that will be presented at the City Council meeting.” Sullivan described the first option as a C-curb median beginning at the intersection of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway. The 6-by-12 yellow curb would not obstruct any driveways. “We don’t want to impact McDonald’s or Chase,” Director of Public Works Mark Rigos

said. “The curb may only run a short distance.” This option would also include a sign reminding drivers that they are prohibited from crossing double yellow lines to pass. The second option consists only of the aforementioned sign and the final option is to do nothing. Rigos said increased enforcement of the law is also being considered in combination with the three options Sullivan described. Installing a C-curb and sign would take only an afternoon

and the cost would be negligible, according to Sullivan. The project’s timeline is uncertain for now. Rigos said he and City Manager Rob Wyman would discuss their options with a traffic consultant before making a recommendation to the City Council. He said a decision is likely to be made in mid to late August. As for the new traffic light going up at the intersection of Newcastle Way and 129th Avenue Southeast, Rigos said installation would be finished in late September.

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Planning commission seeks to fill a vacancy The city of Newcastle is seeking to fill a vacancy on the city’s planning commission. Interested persons have until Aug. 12 to apply. Applicants must be Newcastle residents and at least 18 years of age. Planning commission members are appointed by the mayor with confirmation from city council. The planning commission is a volunteer, policy advisory group that works in support of Newcastle City Council, primarily in the areas of the city’s comprehensive plan and zon-

ing and development codes. Comprised of seven members, the commission meets the third Wednesday of each month. The new member’s term will run through Sept. 1, 2015. Those interested should pick up an application at Newcastle City Hall or visit the city website at Submit applications to: City of Newcastle, City Clerk Bob Baker,13020 Newcastle Way, Newcastle, WA 98059. To learn more, call Baker at 649-4444.

City signs housing grant agreement with county

to apply for grants. Residents eligible to apply for grants include low- and moderate-income residents whose homes need fixing or repair, and those who are at risk of being homeless. Nonprofit organizations that serve the city can also apply for funds to construct or rehabilitate human service facilities or support programs that serve low- and moderate-income residents. Furthermore, the city can apply for funds for public infrastructure and park projects that serve low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

The City Council unanimously voted June 7 to enter into an interlocal agreement with King County that allows for the city and residents to apply for housing grants. There is no cost to the city to participate. Grant funds — known as Community Development Block Grant funds — would come from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city and residents would need to meet specific guidelines

AUGUST 5, 2011

Newcastle News


Newcastle News


City plans for electric car-charging stations By Emily Baer The Newcastle Planning Commission met July 21 in Council Chambers to discuss a state mandate requiring cities to allow electric vehicle charging stations in commercial, industrial and institutional areas. The state is asking cities to prepare for the dawn of a new era in which electric vehicles are the norm. The Bellevue City Council installed electric vehicle charging stations in its parking garage a couple of weeks ago. Charging stations are typically similar in height to gas pumps, but only about a foot in diameter. They are noninvasive, according to Community Development Director Steve Roberge, and are often placed in home garages and next to public parking spaces. The state Legislature found “the development of electric vehicles infrastructure to be a critical step in creating jobs, fostering economic growth, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing our reliance on foreign fuels and reducing the pollution of Puget Sound attributable to the operation of petroleum based vehicles,” according to the state mandate. The Nissan Leaf — a 100 percent electric, family-sized car that costs about $35,000 — hit dealerships in December. The car was so popular that Nissan stopped taking reservations and only reopened them again in May. The Japanese automaker

will begin Leaf assembly in the United States in 2012 and plans to sell 500,000 of the electric vehicles worldwide by 2013. Newcastle City Manager Rob Wyman said he has already sent in his order. At the Newcastle meeting, Planning Commissioners Karin Blakley, Thomas Magers, Elizabeth Thomas, Larry Betsch and Allen Dauterman discussed how they would format and add to the charging station state mandate presented to them by Roberge before presenting their recommendations to the Newcastle City Council. In the U.S., charging stations are split into three levels depending on their voltage. According to the Urban Grid website, a renewable energy company specializing in electric vehicle charging stations, a level one station uses 110 to 120 volts and takes between eight and 16 hours to fully charge an electric vehicle. A level two station uses 220 to 240 volts and fully charges a car in four to six hours. Level three chargers use 440 volts and can charge a car battery up to 80 percent capacity in less than 30 minutes. The state mandate requires that cities permit level one, two and three charging stations and battery exchange stations in commercial, industrial and institutional areas. It does not demand that such stations be constructed in the aforementioned areas; it simply asks that cities allow and regulate them according to state law. Cities are not required to per-

mit charging stations in lowdensity residential, high-density residential, mixed-use and resource zones. The state bans battery exchange stations outright from such areas, but gives cities the power to allow and disallow charging stations in residential, mixed used and resource zones. Roberge will put the state mandate into Newcastle’s code format before handing it to the Planning Commission for review. The Commission will hold a public hearing at its next meeting and then present its charging station code recommendations to the City Council. Rich Crispo, a City Council member present at the Commission meeting, expressed concern about how the city will ensure charging stations are used only for electric vehicles. “On this particular issue the only thing I would really be concerned about—this is interesting—is the safety of this and how you control who uses it other than for charging cars,” he said. “Could someone go in there and try and charge up a battery that’s used for their boat? Or could somebody try to go in there and do something else with that source of energy?” In order to install an electric vehicle charging station, Newcastle residents must apply for an electrical permit and comply with the city’s charging station regulations. Though the city has not yet received any charging station inquiries, Magers said he “bet[s] there are a few in town.”

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Mayor-appointed group to scrutinize council rules Councilmembers get heated regarding efficiency By Tim Pfarr A mayor-appointed subcommittee will examine the City Council’s rules of procedure and recommend changes at the beginning of next year. Councilman Rich Crispo and Councilwoman Carol Simpson brought the issue forward, and after voting 6-1 — with Crispo dissenting — to wait until January to look at the council’s rules, Mayor John Dulcich decided to create a subcommittee to begin work immediately. The subcommittee will consist of Crispo, Simpson and Deputy Mayor Steve Buri The creation of the subcommittee came in the wake of a heated exchange between Dulcich and Crispo about the end of the council’s four-hour meeting July 5. “I think it’s in our best interest if we do something to enable us to be more effective than we are,” Crispo said as the time approached 11 p.m. “I have concerns about how efficient we’re being and how effective we’re being.” The back and forth continued until Dulcich, who admitted he was getting cranky, retorted. “Rich, just because people don’t agree with you all the time doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the rules,” he said. “I, quite frankly, think we’re getting stuff done.” Crispo retorted as well.

“Let’s stop flapping our gums when we don’t need to.” — Rich Crispo Newcastle councilman

“I, quite frankly, think we’re getting stuff done.” — John Dulcich Newcastle mayor

“You’re one of seven votes,” he told Dulcich. “You don’t control everything by yourself, and I don’t know why you feel if somebody’s got a problem with the council it’s the same as saying, ‘I’ve got a problem with John Dulcich.’” In an interview after the meeting, Crispo said it is in the best interest of residents to be more efficient. “The way it is right now, we do way too much discussion, way too much deferring until another meeting,” he said. “Look at what we’ve accomplished this year: almost nothing. Let’s stop flapping our gums when we don’t need to.” Simpson said the council needs a provision defining how the council comes to a consensus, and that ordinances should come before the council twice before the council takes action.

Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011

City councilwoman will chair medical groups alliance board City Councilwoman Lisa Jensen will chair the new UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center alliance board, UW Medicine CEO Paul Ramsey announced at the end of June. The new board held its first meeting July 18 at Valley Medical Center, 400 S. 43rd St. in Renton. Ramsey chose Jensen Lisa Jensen as one of his two appointments to the 13-member board, and her duties as chairwoman will last for one year. The board also

includes five appointed members from UW Medicine, the five Valley Medical Center commissioners and Ramsey’s designee. The board will oversee strategic decisions, business operations, and hiring and firing of the Valley Medical Center CEO. It will not replace the Valley Medical Center Board of Commissioners. Jensen serves on the Harborview Medical Center board of directors. “It’s an honor, first of all,” Jensen said. “I wasn’t surprised to be asked to be on the board. I was a little surprised to be asked to be the chair of the board.” She said her knowledge of health care and public policy prepared her well for the task.

Renton school board member Pam Teal is volunteer of the year The Renton Chamber of Commerce named Renton School Board member Pam Teal, who represents Newcastle, volunteer of the year. Teal is the volunteer chairwoman of the chamber’s education committee, and volunteers as a board member for the Friends of Renton Schools Foundation and the Citizens for Renton Schools committees. Teal also volunteers with local PTSA organizations.

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Newcastle News


Mayor: City budget is on track despite flat revenues By Tom Corrigan Newcastle city officials got together for their annual budget retreat July 19 and while the news was not exactly great, Mayor John Dulcich said it wasn’t all gloom and doom either. “We’re not in trouble,” Dulcich said, adding that the city’s budgets seem to get a little bit better every year. He compared steering Newcastle’s current finances to guiding a large boat through a small channel. “We need to be at the helm and we need to manage through it,” Dulcich said. He also said there have been no service or employee cuts to date and he sees none coming at this point. For the most part, in her 2012 projections, Chief Financial Officer Christine Olson sees Newcastle’s municipal revenues remaining largely flat. “We’re not predicting any major projects or growth in the sales tax,” Olson said. Olson partly was referring to a dearth of new commercial projects in the city and no related increases in tax dollars. At the same time, Olson’s predictions show increases of 19 percent and 32 percent in police and fire costs, respectively. Olson did note that Newcastle is renegotiating its fire service contract with Bellevue. Back on the revenue side, Olson said the city’s biggest hit has arrived in the form of stalled development. Even in the city’s downtown area, no major projects are foreseen. Overall, Olson’s figures show development plummeting. At one time development supplied 13 per-

“We’re not unlike any other city,” Dulcich said. “They all have their issues.” — John Dulcich Newcastle mayor

cent of the city’s general fund budget, down to a mere 3 percent in 2012. As in most cities, the general fund pays for the day-to-day operations of the city, including police and fire. Development dollars feeding that fund have dropped so noticeably that Olson stated Newcastle no longer can consider new development a major source of revenue. Instead of development dollars, property taxes now are, by far, the largest source of Newcastle’s general fund income. While the money collected is remaining largely static, Olson projects property revenues will make up 70 percent of the city’s general fund dollars next year. That same figure was 56 percent in 2007. What are some the potential long-term effects of flat revenues? For 2013, Olson puts the city’s general fund income at about $5.9 million. In 2017, she predicts it will only increase to $6.5 million. On the other hand, over the same five-year time frame, expenses are expected to jump from just over $6 million to $6.8 million. As predicted, Newcastle could end 2017 with $99,000 in its bank account. By contrast, the city hopes to begin 2012 with a general fund balance of $1.6 million.

Dulcich said Newcastle can continue to supply the municipal basics such as police and fire services. Any capital projects or major investments probably will be on hold, he said, with the city moving into maintenance mode regarding buildings, property and equipment it has now. What can the city do to stem off some of the projected money woes? Olson gave council and City Manager Rob Wyman a number of options, running from a utility tax to creation of a transportation benefit district to pay for road projects. The latter would add to the cost of local car tab fees. While he noted he only can speak for himself, Dulcich doesn’t see any increased fees on the horizon, saying that given the current economic climate no one has the appetite for new taxes. Still, Dulcich didn’t rule out Newcastle taking the 1 percent property tax increase Washington cities are allowed to impose annually without a vote of the public. He said local leaders will be able to better evaluate whether or not the 1 percent is needed when they have firmer 2012 budget numbers later this year. For the current year, Newcastle took the 1 percent hike but thanks to a cut in storm water fees, Dulcich said most residents actually paid the city less. On the expenditure side, Olson’s budgetary suggestions include again studying city employee medical benefits and looking at eliminating city maintenance of small parks. “We’re not unlike any other city,” Dulcich said. “They all have their issues.”

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Council could change density, building rules for downtown By Tim Pfarr The City Council is reviewing elements of the city’s downtown code, and it could make changes to density requirements, minimum required distances from storefronts to city right of ways and maximum building heights. Only new or reconstructed buildings would be subject to the changes. Council members already reviewed sections of code relating to drive-thrus and remodeling requirements in the downtown area, and they will continue their work on the downtown code likely through September, Mayor John Dulcich said. The Planning Commission reviewed each issue and made a recommendation to the council regarding what changes to make. Planning Commission Chair Rob Lemmon said the commission’s recommendations — which ease density requirements, eliminate distance requirements and lower maximum building heights — largely center around giving developers flexibility in their design options. He said they also aim to make Newcastle more developer friendly and create more incentives for developers to include public amenities on their properties. The council will hold public hearings on the matter before approving any changes, although the Planning Commission already held public hearings of its own. “It’s always a good idea to make sure it’s fully vetted,” Dulcich said. The City Council directed the Planning Commission in November to review and evaluate the five specific topics within the downtown code, and the council will take action on all five items together. The commission recommended the city reduce maximum building heights from 75 feet to 65 feet. The tallest building in the city is Regency Newcastle, 7454 Newcastle Golf Club Road, which stands at about 57 feet, Director of Community Development Steve Roberge said. Lemmon said the commission felt 75 feet was simply too tall. “The height limit at 75 feet seemed too massive to the downtown corridor,” he said. “It just seemed out of scale to the scope and scale of the downtown.” The commission recommended the city scrap its code requiring 80 percent of a building’s ground floor to abut right of ways. The code was intended to create a pedestrian atmosphere

The five topics The City Council is reviewing five topics within the city’s downtown code: ❑ Allowance of drive-thrus ❑ Remodeling requirements ❑ Density requirements ❑ Distances from storefronts to right of ways ❑ Maximum building heights and a traditional main street. Lemmon said that was a matter of allowing for more creative design options and not forcing developments that bear resemblance to The Reserve in Renton, with high rises up against city sidewalks. With respect to density, the commission recommended that the city do away with minimum floor-area-ratio requirements (typically referred to as FAR requirements), and reduce the maximum density allowed. FAR signifies the amount of developed floor space on a lot with respect to the lot’s total land. For example, a single-story building would have a .5:1 ratio if it occupied half of its lot. Additional stories increase the ratio, allowing some buildings to reach FARs of greater than 1:1. As is, city code requires buildings to achieve a FAR of exactly .75:1, and hitting that ratio is difficult for one-story buildings, Roberge said. To build lots denser than .75:1, developers must provide certain amenities, such as plazas. With each amenity, a developer is allowed greater density on his or her lot. If the council adopts the recommended code, developers would be free to attain a FAR of anything less than 1:1. Public amenities would be required for denser development. Lemmon said the commission recommended eliminating the minimum FAR requirements to allow for more design flexibility for developers. “Without it, we maintain design flexibility and encourage development,” he said about the minimum FAR requirements. “The lack of it doesn’t discourage good design.” The commission also recommended the council lower the maximum allowable FAR from 4:1 to 3:1. In lowering the maximum density requirements, Lemmon said the city ensures it won’t have any massive, ultra-dense developments that are out of place. When the council discussed drive-thrus and remodeling requirements, it spoke in favor of overturning the city’s drivethru ban and easing remodeling requirements.

Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011

Executive picks county law enforcement oversight chief King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed a manager of internal investigations and performance audits for the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners as the inaugural county law enforcement oversight chief. Charles Gaither is the newly designated leader for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, a county agency established to monitor the King County Sheriff’s Office’s complaint and investigation process. Constantine announced the appointment July 11, after a nationwide search. “The people of King County will benefit from the experience, professionalism and leadership that Charles Gaither brings to the table,” he said in a statement. “With his track record, we expect him to bring transparency and accountability to civilian oversight of county policing.” The appointment heads to the County Council for confirmation. “I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the director of OLEO and look forward to working closely with Sheriff Rahr, members of the sheriff’s office, and community leaders and stakeholders alike,” Gaither said in a statement. “I also wish to thank those who labored tirelessly to establish this office and will work diligently to assure accountability and transparency of county policing.” Gaither, a former Seattle resident and Seattle University School of Law alumnus, served as a special investigator for the Los Angeles Police Commission. In the role, he reviewed investigations involving officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and lawenforcement-related injuries. The selection committee included representatives from Constantine’s office and the council, as well as the Puget

Sound Police Managers’ Association and the King County Police Officers Guild. “We were fortunate to have so many quality candidates seek the position of King County’s first director of law enforcement oversight, and I am very pleased with the executive’s choice of Charles Gaither,” committee member and police guild President Steve Eggert said in a statement. “I believe his breadth of experience, in both law enforcement and law enforcement oversight, make him uniquely qualified for this position.”

Read city contracts online Students win awards for appliance repair City contracts are now available on the city’s website, City staff members have created electronic copies of contracts that were signed in 2011, and they are available under the “City Records” tab on the site’s homepage. City Manager Rob Wyman said the idea came after the city received several inquiries about its contracts. He said posting copies of contracts online was a simple task that made sense. In addition to being helpful to residents, he said city employees have found the electronic copies helpful. Residents can expect to see new contracts posted on the city’s website, although contracts from before 2011 will not be uploaded, because many old contracts have expired.

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Obituary Terry Gerald Hubbard Terry G. Hubbard, of Newcastle, loving husband to Kelly and abiding father to Jason and Cade, passed away Thursday, July 28, 2011, at home. He was 56. A vigil service was Aug. 3 at Flintoft’s Funeral Home, Issaquah, 392-6444. A funeral Mass was Aug. 4 at St. Madeleine Sophie Catholic Church, 4400 130th Place S.E., Bellevue. Burial followed at Upper Hillside Cemetery in Issaquah. Friends are invited to view photos and share memories in the family’s guest book at

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Renton Technical College students Sergiu Midrigan and Sean Johnson won gold medals at the National Skills USA Competition and Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Mo., in June. Midrigan, a student in major appliance repair and technology, competed against eight other students from across the country, diagnosing problems of seven appliances, completing tests on technical skills and customer relations, and completing an employability interview. Johnson, a student in preci-

sion machining, competed against 27 other students in a test of manual lathe and mill skills. He was also tested on blueprint reading, inspections, and quality control and general machining knowledge.

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Events Newcastle Chamber of Commerce luncheon, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Aug. 10 at Tapatio’s. Cost is $20. Speaker to be determined. Concerts in the Park presents the following performances from 7-8:30 p.m. at Lake Boren Park, 13058 S.E. 84th Way: ❑ Aug. 10 — Ventura Highway Revisited, classic rock ❑ Aug. 17 — Black Velvet 4, progressive and classic rock The fourth annual Rusty Putter Golfing Event is at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 17 at the Golf Club at Newcastle’s 18-hole putting course. Cost is $15 per person and everyone, especially families and kids, are invited. For more information, contact Jim Price at 425-271-2256, ext. 110. The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce presents “Bargain Bash,” a garage sale to benefit Vision House, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 19 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 20 at 450 Bremerton Ave. N.E., Renton. Call 228-6356. The Chiropractic Wellness Center hosts a trail walk from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 20. Community members will be treated to a free breakfast at the Wellness Center, 6965 Coal Creek Parkway S.E., followed by a walk on a local trail. Call 641-7470. The Newcastle Weed Warriors’ next volunteer weed removal project, “Get Your Earth On!” is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 22-26, at the Coal Creek YMCA, 13750 Newcastle Golf Club Road. Learn more at

Public meetings All city public meetings are at City Hall, 13020 Newcastle Way. Call 649-4363. ❑ Parks Commission — 7-8 p.m. Aug. 11 ❑ City Council — 7-8 p.m. Aug. 16 ❑ Planning Commission — 7-8 p.m. Aug. 18 The Newcastle Trails board meets the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Regency Newcastle, 7454 Newcastle Golf Club Road.

YMCA The Coal Creek Family YMCA, 13750 Newcastle Golf Club Road, has regular family programs for all ages throughout the summer. For a complete schedule, call 282-1500 or go to alCreek/Pages/Home.aspx.

AUGUST 5, 2011


Ventura Highway Revisited headlines Concert in the Park The city of Newcastle’s Concert in the Park series presents a free performance of Ventura Highway Revisited, playing music of a generation, from 7-8:30 p.m. Aug. 10 in Lake Boren Park, 13058 S.E. 84th Way.


Library events The Newport Way Library is at 14250 S.E. Newport Way, Bellevue. The following programs are offered the rest of the month: ❑ Game On! for Teens, 2 p.m. Aug. 4 and 20 ❑ “The Very Silly Tourist,” for children and their families, 7 p.m. Aug. 3 ❑ Ikebana demonstration, the Japanese art of flower arranging for adults, 2 p.m. Aug. 28 ❑ Around the World with Mother Goose Story Times, for ages 24 months to 3 years with an adult, 10:30 a.m. Aug. 4 and 11 ❑ Volunteer information meeting, 4 p.m. Aug. 31 ❑ “Where in the World?” for the entire family, 7 p.m. Thursdays ❑ Lunch Bunch Story Time, for ages 3 and older with an adult, noon Tuesdays

Clubs East Shore Singles, a social group for single adults older than 45, sponsors monthly activities and special events on the Eastside. New members are welcome. Call Lynlee at 4330558 for a monthly bulletin or go to or The Society of Artists for Newcastle, an art organization, is seeking new members. Call 271-5822. MOMS Club of Renton meets for play dates at parks

and other locations. New activities are planned daily. This nonprofit, nonreligious organization provides daytime support for moms and their families. Call 260-3079. Bridge players are wanted, evening or daytime. Games take place at various homes in the Hazelwood area. Call 2550895. Newcastle Historical Society meets at 4 p.m. the first Thursday at City Hall, 13020 S.E. 72nd Place. Call 226-4238. An international dinner, sponsored by Baha’i Faith of Newcastle, is at 6:30 p.m. the third Friday. Call 430-8047. Drinking Liberally, an informal progressive social group that discusses politics, meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Thursday at Angelo’s Restaurant, 1830 130th Ave. N.E., Bellevue. Go to Eastside Mothers & More, a social network for mothers, meets from 7-9 p.m. the second Tuesday in the North Room at East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 S.E. 32nd St., Bellevue. Go to Hill’N Dale Garden Club, meets at 6 p.m. the first Monday September through June at the Newport Way Library, 14250 S.E. Newport Way. Call 255-9705.

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Volunteers The Coal Creek Family YMCA Seniors Program needs volunteers for intergenerational opportunities, including rocking and comforting infants, teaching children to play bridge and reading to kindergartners. Call 282-1506. Newcastle Weed Warriors: Volunteers assist city workers in removing noxious and invasive weeds from Newcastle parks, trails and open spaces. Youth groups, community groups and individuals are invited to participate in monthly environmental stewardship projects. Learn more at Newcastle Trails - Trail Advocates and Builders for Newcastle: The group has built and maintained miles of trails for the public throughout the city, and has regular meetings and work parties. Call 453-9292, ext. 110. Learn more at King County Library System’s Words on Wheels


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program needs volunteers to select and deliver library materials to homebound patrons. Training is provided. A one-year commitment is required. Volunteers must be at least 18, have their own transportation and be able to pass a Washington State Patrol background check. Call 369-3235. Dependency CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate): Community volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in King County. Call 269-3201. DAWN (Domestic Abused Women’s Network): Provides services to survivors of domestic violence in King County. Call 795-1441. Grace Children’s Charity: Provides essential school supplies for impoverished children. Call 430-0300.

Places to go Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, on Lakemont Boulevard Southeast, is a 3,000acre park with more than 30 miles of trails and the site of the 1880s coalmines. Go to

Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011


Sunshine Day Camp returns for summer

Borrowed Time drummer Reek Havok sets a beat in Lake Boren Park. The band covers Styx songs.

More than 100 people showed up for the first concert in the park July 13. The series continues each Wednesday through Aug. 13.

Gedeon Lagasse, 8, scaled a tree during the concert, climbing higher than most of the other children who took to the limbs.

Party in the park Community heads to Lake Boren Park to enjoy weather, summer concert series Photos by Tim Pfarr

Sunshine Day Camp, run entirely by local teenagers, will be back again this year, from Aug. 8-12 at the Lake McDonald Club House. For $20, children who are potty-trained and up to age 8 can enjoy a week of snacks, games, water activities and lunch. “We are having special guests throughout the week, including a hip-hop teacher and possibly a clown or magician,” said founder Sada Adams, 14. Adams started the camp in 2008 at age 11. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, and all profits will be donated to the American Diabetes Association. Camp organizers ask parents to pay more than $20 if they can to help support the cause. Scholarships will be available to those who cannot afford the $20 fee. The camp raised $300 in 2010. “It’s just amazing,” said Heather Berry, whose 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son attended the camp in 2010. She said the price was unbeatable for a weeklong camp, and that it was one of the few camps 3-year-olds could attend. She said her kids had as much or more fun than those at more expensive camps. Register your child online at

Liberty graduate takes command of Navy ship

Above, Julie Hart gets a jumped body slam by Alex Altiere, 4, while her son, Aiden Hart, 4, pounces into a cartwheel. Below, Emmy De Leon (in white) and Ramona Cimpan (in pink) duke it out for supreme dominance over a bouncy ball.

Borrowed Time bassist Bryan Woolley sings a tune for residents at the band’s performance in Lake Boren Park July 13.

Cmdr. Matthew Roberts, son of Beverley and Paul Roberts, formerly of Issaquah, has assumed command of the Everett-based destroyer, USS Matthew Momsen Roberts DDG-92. A 1988 graduate of Liberty High School, Roberts was a commanding officer in Liberty’s NJROTC program. Roberts attended the University of Arizona with a Navy ROTC scholarship and was commissioned in 1993 after receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He has since received his Master of Arts degree in organizational management from George Washington University and graduated from the War College at Newport, R.I., as the Halsey Scholar with a Master of Arts in national security and strategic studies. Roberts has served as a military assistant in the Bureau of African Affairs with the U.S. State Department and as a Special Assistant in the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Actions Group.

Newcastle News


AUGUST 5, 2011

Seventh-grader Erica Eaton gets award for her citizenship, service to others By Christopher Huber Erica Eaton, of Newcastle, wouldn’t go out of her way to tell you she won an award. But her teachers at Seattle Country Day School might. Erica finished her seventhgrade year on a high note when she received the school’s Doug Glenn Memorial Award for her standout citizenship and sportsmanship, according to the school and her family. The special recognition is considered one of the highest honors for students there and is usually given to an eighth grader. She received a plaque to commemorate her achievement and her name will be engraved on the Doug Glenn Memorial trophy. “I really wasn’t expecting it at all,” Erica said. “It felt really good.” Erica received the recognition after teacher Susan Ellis noticed her jumping at every opportunity to help out, particularly during the school’s six-weeks of community-service Fridays. While the point of the service projects was to get the students out in the city helping people and learning about various causes, Ellis said Erica helped out without anyone ever asking. She was the oldest student in the group each Friday and would lead the younger students by example. During their Winterim program, Erica


Erica Eaton holds her Doug Glenn Memorial Award for outstanding citizenship and sportsmanship. intently helped the younger students as they learned to ice skate. “You could always count on her,” Ellis said. “She is a student who was always sitting in class ready to go.” She quietly considered how she felt in the moment her name was called in front of the whole school at an end-of-year ceremony. “It makes me feel special because mostly eighth-graders get the award,” Erica said. In addition to going above and beyond at school, Erica can be found around the Meadowview Park neighborhood selling cookies, trick-ortreating for UNICEF, and selling

lemonade to raise money for charities like UNICEF, Mary’s Place, Heifer International and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti, said her father, Rodney Eaton. “I thought it was great that someone else besides ourselves recognized her,” said her mother, Lillian Eaton. “She’s a very caring individual.” While Erica was humble about being recognized for serving others, she said she will probably keep doing a lot of the things she did. “It taught me that you really have to be grateful for what you have,” Erica said. While she likes school in general, Erica noted that technology is her favorite subject. She thrives in the creative aspects of using technology. “I just love learning all the different programs and getting to be really creative in you what do.” Ellis reasoned that she nominated Erica for the award because at an age when most youth make it known they’re serving or doing something good, she didn’t. “She does it in such a quiet way. She has a good sense of what’s going on around her, whether she expresses it or not. She’s not self-absorbed,” Ellis said. “I just really admire that, when a student can do that and not make a show out of it.”

By Art Weatherford

Liberty High School air rifle team members Sean Denson (left), Jacky Cheung, John Lorenz, Murphy Ransier and Tyler Snook are the scholastic military champions after placing first at the NRA Air Gun competition.

Patriot sharpshooters hit No. 1 spot in nation By Laura Geggel After an incredible show of teamwork, Liberty High School’s National Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps placed first nationwide as scholastic military champions at the National Rifle Association Air Gun Competition June 23-25. “As a team, they scored better than any other team in the nation,” Liberty naval science instructor Al Torstenson said. Five Liberty air rifle team students — including graduating seniors Tyler Snook, Jackie Chueng and Murphy Ransier, incoming senior John Lorenz and incoming junior Sean Denson — flew to Camp Perry, Ohio, for the championship. The coaches, Art Weatherford and senior naval science instructor Cmdr. Dan Joslin, accompa-

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nied the team. Though the students won first place, “probably everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” such as equipment malfunctions, Weatherford said. But, “It wasn’t anything the kids weren’t able to rise to.” The NRA competition is similar to the championships at the Olympics. Each student has a time limit and uses an air rifle to shoot a total of 60 pellets from three different positions — standing, kneeling and prone (students lying on their stomachs to shoot). The target is 33 feet away from the firing line and has a bull’s eye that is a half-millimeter big. “That’s like shooting across the classroom at a pencil dot,” Weatherford said. “This sport is probably about 90 percent mental and being able to concentrate. As long as they’re able to stay in that zone and focus, our kids do really well.” The Liberty team was inspected the first day of the competition and participated during the second two days. They earned first place as scholastic military champions for having the highest level of accuracy. Liberty’s air rifle team practices three times per week during the school year. Lorenz, who joined the team as a freshman, said he and his classmates enjoyed competing in Ohio. “It was a lot of fun,” Lorenz said. “When we go as a team, we just try to have fun and do our best.” More than 200 students — about 45 teams — participated in the NRA competition, including youths from Junior ROTC groups, gun clubs or individual competitors. Several groups helped pay for the Liberty team’s trip to Ohio, including the Renton Gun Club and the Veterans of Foreign War posts in Issaquah and Renton. Students also collected brass and received money for recycling it.

Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011


Newcastle runner conquers difficult trails By Quinn Eddy When Newcastle resident Joseph Gray, 27, goes out for a run he doesn’t just jog around the block. Being a professional mountain trail runner, Gray runs 80 to 90 miles per week depending on the time of year. Recently, Gray returned from Ajijic, Mexico, in the state of Jalisco, south of Guadalajara. Here, he won his third North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association event. With this win Gray is now the first athlete to have broken every record in every event for North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association in all three countries — Canada, the United States and Mexico. Ricardo Mejia, who the Mexicans refer to as, “the best Mexican mountain runner of all time,” had held the previous record since 2001. Gray had smashed his record by three minutes. “He was very humble, very nice and full of jokes,” Gray said, referring to Mejia. The second-place runner, Ranulfo Sanchez, also beat the record by about 39 seconds. “I thought I was going to have to settle for silver because he kept distancing himself further and was able to make moves in certain areas that I didn’t expect,” Gray said. “He was really strong. According to Gray, it was keeping up with Sanchez that pushed him into a faster pace, allowing him to break the record. Gray describes the Ajijic course as crazy. “You could die on it,” Gray said. “There were parts where right next to the trail was a cliff.” Originally from Lakewood, Gray graduated from Lakes High

School. From there he went on to Oklahoma State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degree in criminology. In high school, Gray ran both cross-country and track. Pushing him into the sport was his coach, Mark Brinkhaus. “I was always getting into trouble and my coach could relate, he saw me in PE and had me come out to track,” Gray said. “He took me on trail runs and ever since then I’ve been a good cross-country runner.” According to Gray, losing his first middle school race was a major turning point. “When someone beats you one-on-one it does something to you mentally,” Gray said. “It set a fire inside of me, which caused me to not only focus more on running, but also school. I became a better person.” Gray credits his father as his biggest fan and biggest supporter for supporting him throughout his career,. “Whenever I’d lose a race it was always him reminding me to stay focused,” Gray said. Gray made his first national team during his freshman year at Oklahoma State. There, he represented the United States at the Pan American Games in the 3K steeplechase. The steeplechase features 35 barriers, seven of which are water pits. Throughout the race, the racer must jump over these barriers. “This was different from what I was used to, suddenly you’re not the best guy on the team,” Gray said. Throughout college, Gray found it difficult to focus on school and running. Deciding to focus on school, Gray didn’t make another national team till 2008. Of his many accomplishments, Gray is most proud of his race last year in Slovenia. There,

he led the Americans to their first-ever silver medal at the World Mountain Running Championship. His 10th-place finish was the highest finish of any American since mountain running has become an International Association of Athletics Federation worldchampionship event. “The Africans were supposed to take all the medals,” Gray said. “A lot of guys stepped up so we held our own.” Being about 12 kilometers uphill, the course gained about 1,000 meters, or 3,000 feet, in elevation. Gray’s biggest challenge during the race was having to get out of his comfort zone and push himself early on in the race. “You have to be mentally tough,” he said. “I love the high stress and thrive off the big races. That’s when the best of me comes out.” Sometimes running twice a day, Gray trains by running around Newcastle, and Cougar and Tiger mountains. “I try to avoid the treadmill. It’s hard to enjoy running on a treadmill, because it loses its element of adventure,” he said. When it comes to diet, Gray tends to take a very loose approach. He eats a lot of green “superfoods,” fruits and vegetables, but admits a weakness for Key lime pie and pizza. During the off-season, he takes between three and four weeks off.


Joseph Gray crosses the finish line July 17 for his third North American Central American and Caribbean win in Ajijic, Mexico, in a record 1 hour, 16 minutes, 44 seconds for the 13.8K, or 8.6 mile, course. “My biggest advice for someone starting out is to stay consistent and start slow. There’s no reason to rush into it,” he said. “Stay balanced mentally, physically and spiritually.” Luckily, throughout his career, Gray hasn’t faced too many major injuries. His biggest injury came leading up to the world snowshoe championship in Japan. Originally starting out as a groin injury, this soon developed into a damaged sacroiliac joint in his lower back. “It hurt leading up to the race and I had to take a lot of time off,” he said. “It was a very serious injury, I probably shouldn’t have gone.” Despite his injury, Gray won first place in the sprint and sec-

ond in the distance race. Gray’s next event will be the 8K Seafair Torchlight Run. After that will come the Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race in Switzerland. “This race will be very similar to the one I just ran in Mexico,” Gray said. “The major difference is that the Switzerland race will be less technical.” For his accomplishments, Gray has earned sponsorships from several prominent businesses. Furnishing his apparel needs is the Japanese company CW-X. His footwear needs are met by Inov-8, a shoe company originally from the United Kingdom. Other notable sponsors include BeHive Massage Therapy, Bellevue’s Sports Reaction Center and Mio Watches.

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SPORTS A family legacy fullfilled PAGE 22

AUGUST 5, 2011

Liberty graduate Devin Bennett follows family tradition to attend Cal Poly, play college athletics By Tim Pfarr In the quiet farmland of Pasco, where the scorching summer sun routinely drives temperatures into the triple digits, Devin Bennett wakes up before 5 a.m. to get to work. From mid-June to mid-July, he spends between 10 and 12 hours per day on his family’s cherry orchard, loading bins of fruit onto a tractor. Although Bennett — a 2011 Liberty High School graduate — has come to the farm each summer for the past six years, this is the first year he has taken to grueling manual labor. The hard work fits perfectly in line with his tremendous work ethic. It’s a work ethic that led him to success as an athlete. It’s a work ethic that led him to success as a student. And it’s a work ethic he will build upon when he joins the track-and-field team at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., as a walk-on next year. Driven by his will to put in

By Greg Farrar

Devin Bennett (right) hauls in a pass for 34 yards Sept. 3 against Skyline High School, helping to secure a Patriots’ 39-34 victory over the Spartans. the effort, Bennett hopes to become a college decathlete, competing in 10 different events.

By Greg Farrar

Devin Bennett outraces Mason Bragg, of Mount Si High School, in the final turn to win the 3A KingCo 400-meter championship May 13 in a time of 51.05 seconds.

It’s a family thing Devin Bennett is quiet and polite, and when asked whether athleticism runs in his family, he can only chuckle and say “yes.” His father Wally Bennett was a three-sport athlete in high school and a quarterback at Washington State University, where he started numerous games. His mother Audra was a basketball and field hockey athlete at WSU. As for Bennett’s three older siblings — Alena, 27, Kara, 23, and Keegan, 20 — all were athletes at Liberty. Alena went on to play college volleyball at the University of Puget Sound; Kara went on to be a track-and-field star at Stanford University. Keegan played baseball and football as a Patriot, but injuries forced him to take a step back from sports at the college level. “None of us are world leaders, but we all enjoy it,” Wally Bennett said with a laugh about sports. However, he said Devin is perhaps even more interested and active in sports than his brother and sisters. Devin Bennett said he remembers taking up every sport he could as a youngster, playing soccer, baseball and basketball. While at Maywood Middle School, he began his track-andfield career, and when he got to Liberty, he joined the football team as well. He spent all four years on the football team — playing corner-

By Greg Farrar

Devin Bennett flies through the air for his 44 feet, 8 1/2 inch triple jump, to take fifth place at the 4A state track championships May 28 in Tacoma. back and wide receiver — and three years on the basketball team, playing small forward and wing. He spent his first spring at Liberty on the baseball team, but he joined the track-and-field team his sophomore, junior and senior years instead; he said the year away reminded him how much he enjoyed the individual challenges of running and jumping. Meanwhile, Bennett filled every gap in his schedule with games with his club soccer team — the Greater Renton Football Club — and maintained stellar grades. At graduation, his grade point average was 3.95. “I stayed busy, that’s for sure,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just the way it’s always been: Get good grades and have fun doing sports.” His siblings also set the bar high academically — his two older sisters graduated as valedictorians with 4.0 grade point averages. Track and field, and a side of football? From his first day in a Liberty uniform on the track-and-field team, Devin Bennett was a force to be reckoned with, earning a ticket to state with the school’s

“He’s obviously an exceptional athlete, and it was really fun to see him have success.” — Steve Valach Liberty football head coach

4x400 meter relay team his first season. The team finished eighth in the 3A state championship finals with a time of 3 minutes, 35.77 seconds. In 2010, he advanced to the finals with the 4x400 team again, this time taking second place with a time of 3:21.47, setting a new school record. He also qualified for the finals in the triple jump and long jump during his junior season, taking eighth and ninth in state with jumps of 44 feet, 8 inches and 20-10 3/4, respectively. When Bennett came back for his senior season, track-and-field coach Mike Smith said it was up to Bennett what events he chose to do. “Do you want to be an 800 guy? You’re top three in state,” Smith said. “You want to be a See BENNETT, Page 23

Newcastle News

AUGUST 5, 2011

Bennett From Page 22 triple jump guy? You’re going to do great in state. You’re going to be a 400 guy? You’re going to do well in state.” Bennett also took a leading role on the team. “We call him coach Bennett. We’re like, ‘Coach, take your kids and go do your workout,’” Smith said. In his final state championship meet, Bennett was back for the 4x400, the triple jump, the long jump and 400-meter run. This time, he was looking for a first-place finish. He took fourth in the 400 with a time of 51.01, fifth in the triple jump with a leap of 44-8 1/2 and 11th in the long jump, soaring 20-2. When it came time for the team to line up on the track for the last time in the 4x400, Bennett — the final runner on the relay team — reassured his teammates. “I said if you give me the lead, I will win the race,” he said. “I was definitely yearning for the school record.” His teammates Hamilton Noel, Hiron Redmon and Josh Gordon started the race strong, building the lead Bennett had hoped for. When Bennett took the baton, he ran as hard as he could for the finish line. Although the team was about a half-second short of the record — clocking in with a time of 3:22.08 — they took first place, crossing the finish line two seconds ahead of the second-place team. “I was really happy when I got it,” he said about taking the

baton with the lead. “They’re a great group of guys. They stuck with it.” Just days after the state championship track-and-field meet, Bennett traveled south to Portland, Ore., for the BorderDuel Track Classic to do the triple jump one last time. He was the only athlete from Liberty to attend. “I went down there to have one more meet to see if I could pull out a triple jump record,” he said. With a jump of 44-10, he broke the school record by an inch and a quarter. On the football field, Bennett worked his way up from the C team, becoming a varsity starter by his junior year, when he proved himself as one of the team’s top defensive players, racking up 38.5 tackles. He also snagged two critical interceptions against Lindbergh High School in the playoffs, robbing Lindbergh of scores and helping the Patriots win in three overtimes. That, Bennett recalled, was his favorite moment on the football field. When he came back for his senior season, he was starting on both sides of the ball, racking up 40 receiving yards, 30.5 tackles and two more interceptions. “He’s obviously an exceptional athlete, and it was really fun to see him have success,” said Steve Valach, Liberty football head coach. “He was really primed to have a great senior year in football, both offensively and defensively.” Battling through injuries Bennett’s final year at Liberty was stifled with injuries that made competing an uphill bat-

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tle. Immediately following his junior season on the track team, Bennett attended a football camp, breaking his foot in a scrimmage. He spent the summer recovering, and doctors cleared him just in time to play football. In his first game of the season against the defending 4A state champion Skyline Spartans, Bennett took a blow that caused a slight separation in his hip. “I was dragging down Kasen Williams,” he said. “He landed right on top of me, right in the pelvic area.” The hip injury caused him to miss several games, but when doctors told him he couldn’t make the injury any worse, he returned to the field to help Liberty on its quest into the playoffs. “I took that to heart, and kind of played through the aches and pains,” Bennett said. Although Bennett made countless trips to the physical therapist, healing took time. It wasn’t until April that he returned to full strength. Heading south As Bennett returns from Pasco this summer, he will return to running and lifting weights to prepare for his transition to college. He is working with a decathlete coach, learning new workouts and preparing for new events, such as the shot put, javelin and pole vault. Bennett does not have a track scholarship from the university, but he has already been approved for the team as a walkon. He will move to California in September, and will pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. For Wally and Audra, seeing

PAGE 23 “None of us are world leaders, but we all enjoy it.” — Wally Bennett Devin’s father, about the family’s love of sports

Devin go away to college marks the end of an era. “That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years, either coaching or watching,” Wally Bennett said. “We’ve been to athletic events since our oldest one was in fourth grade. I can remember when all four were playing soccer where we’d have anywhere from four to six soccer games in a weekend.” Wally Bennett said he is proud of Devin, his third child to become a college athlete without a scholarship. “I’m real pleased that my kids are interested in doing athletics without the enticement of a scholarship,” he said. “I see way too many people chasing athletic scholarships only to find out it’s not what they thought it would be.” For Bennett’s coaches, it’s also an occasion of mixed feelings. “We’ll miss him. He was a big part of what we did the last two years,” Valach said. “It’s good to see him have success. He deserves it.” As for Smith, he jokingly said he wished the Bennett household would adopt a child so he wouldn’t have to say goodbye to the family. Still, he said Devin Bennett was a rare athlete. “Can I get another one? Can I get another Devin? I don’t know,” Smith said. “You can’t just snap your fingers. You don’t get ones like that very often.”

Hazen baseball players named to all-state team Hazen baseball players Zac Kolterman and Jeff Beckham were in June named as selections on the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association Class 3A all-state team. Kolterman, a senior pitcher, was named first-team, and Beckham, a senior catcher, was named secondteam.

CenturyLink Field to host Hazen football Hazen High School’s football team will play the Blaine High School Borderites at CenturyLink Field Sept. 3 as part of the Emerald City Kickoff Classic. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students. Purchase tickets online at or at the Associated Student Body office at Hazen in August.

Free fly casting clinic at Beaver Lake The Trout Unlimited Bellevue-Issaquah chapter is holding a fly casting clinic from 5:30-8 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Beaver Lake Park pavilion. The clinic is free. At the clinic, beginning anglers may learn basic casting techniques while seasoned anglers can fine-tune their skills or learn new techniques from professional fly casters. Anglers can bring their own gear or test new casting gear and systems.

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