Support options for elder orphans

  • Written by Brooke Knight


Brooke Knight

As we age and our needs for care become greater, many of us envision turning to family members for support. 

Whether it helps with household chores, help to get from place to place, or even making major medical and housing decisions, we often rely on those closest to us for support.  

However, what about those older adults who don’t have a family to care for them? Elder Orphans, or people who are aging alone without family to care for them, are a growing demographic in our community.

AARP estimates that 1-in-5 people over the age of 65 are or will be without family caregivers and that 23 percent of Baby Boomers will fall into this same category. So what is an older person to do when they don’t have a family to provide care?

When the family isn’t available, having a strong network of friends and neighbors can be just as helpful. One emerging model gaining some traction in our region is the “Virtual Village” model, connecting seniors together to coordinate services like transportation, yard work, or even physical fitness.

Seniors who are active in Senior Centers often find that they can access many needed resources through the center (transportation, for example) and also develop friendships with people who will provide help if and when needed.

With isolation being one of the leading health risks amongst seniors, both approaches provide positive health and quality of life benefits.

If you are an elder orphan looking for support or just want to get a jump start on planning for your older years, contact our Social Work team at the Northshore Senior Center at 425-487-2441.

They’ll be happy to help you start making plans and connections to make your aging process as easy as possible.

Brooke Knight
CEO Northshore Senior Center

How dare you give people hope

  • Written by Jan Deininger

This is in response to Mr. Brunell's letter detailing a lot of the ideas for sequestering carbon and using CO2 and suggesting that we fund America's innovators to work on such ideas.

I have no problem with that except that you should let loose only scientists who aren't profit-motivated (i.e., not corporations). What I have a problem with is that that's just the smallest part of what needs doing.

In the '80s James Hanson provided the science to show that global warning past 350 ppm would be very, very bad. Now we have species extinctions; ecosystems disappearing (and with them the last of the wild seed diversity for our common plant food varieties); rising oceans, melting ice, extreme weather.

Due to 50-year delays in natural systems, we are experiencing right now the results of what we did in the '70s. What we are doing to the environment right now determines the state of things in 2070.

Greta Thunberg said, "How dare you...come to us young people for hope" and urged immediate action instead. (Read her UN address: It does a better job of describing the state of things than I do).

Mr. Brunell, how dare you give people hope by listing things that might help a little while allowing them to leave in place the systems their comfort depends on? (You state that "CO2 is demonized" and that we should not (simply force) the government to ban products, processes, and stifle creativity").

I'm all for fine-tuned decision making. But Mr. Brunell's letter reeks of incrementalism when this is an existential emergency that calls for a New Deal. A Green New Deal, in fact.

Don't let fine-sounding ideas give you hope. Act.

Jan Deininger

City Council should play by its own rules

  • Written by Susan Boundy-Sanders

At the City Council’s September 17 meeting, the Council majority voted to remove one of our city commissioners over attendance concerns.

I’m writing to offer some details behind that vote and to put it into a larger context.

Woodinville has two city commissions, each made up of seven unpaid volunteers who meet once a month to advise the City Council on issues ranging from parks to roads to how we distribute population growth around the city.

The Woodinville Municipal Code – Woodinville’s law – lays out clear expectations for attendance. Commissioners may be removed “for unexcused absence for more than three consecutive regular meetings.” In more general standards of conduct, it also allows removal for “just cause.” To rationalize their actions, the City Council majority ignored the clear “unexcused absence” standard and seized upon the vague “just cause” loophole.

The information provided to the City Council before this vote did not indicate whether absences were excused or not (in fact, all absences by current commissioners were excused). It reported only absolute attendance numbers, only for the previous nine months, and contained other shortcomings and errors.

Attendance was published with commissioners’ names, raising concerns about public shaming. The information was published without any clear intent to take action and without a published motion. No alternatives were presented, such as establishing clear new rules and implementing them in the future, or declining to reappoint commissioners when their terms expire. The item was introduced and a motion was made up on the spot, with a sense of urgency that simply doesn’t match reality.

This is the latest in a series of hasty, haphazard actions by the current City Council majority that destabilize our staff, our budgets, our capital priorities, and now our volunteers.

Unfortunately, this event also hearkens back to dark days in Woodinville’s past, in which misleading attendance numbers were used in campaign mailings. This action by the City Council majority has strong political overtones and may predict an attack on a talented commissioner who is also a City Council candidate.

I hope that if such a campaign mailing materializes, voters will see it for what it is and make better choices for our future.

Susan Boundy-Sanders


Lower taxes on the rich, not the majority

  • Written by Jan Deininger

This letter is in response to Duane Davidson's article on income tax. An income tax does not necessarily burden our "already heavily burdened taxpayers,” as Davidson puts it.

That's because when taxes are fair, they burden the people who can afford them rather than the majority, who nowadays are in debt and just one medical crisis away from disaster. 

Mr. Davidson is a Republican and typically complaining about how much the government is spending and in debt.

When Republicans complain about spending, debt, and taxes, what they mean is, make government small and give private interests the money rather than the people and people's projects.

Make sure people are in debt to private interests rather than getting reasonable rights from their government (Like the right not to have to pay tolls just to get to work, otherwise known as the right to, like, go places on their own planet, and the right to health care).

Lower taxes on the rich, not the majority.

Jan Deininger

Help save our Valley’s farmland from irreparable damage

  • Written by Serena Glover

On Oct. 7 the King County Council will vote on the Adult Beverage Ordinance.

If passed it will open the Sammamish Valley Rural Area (RA), neighborhoods, and important farmland buffer areas to permanent commercial development and irrevocably damage our farms.

We must act now to save our Valley!

The Sammamish Valley farmland, open spaces, and rural neighborhoods exist due to numerous legislative efforts dating back six decades, including the Farmland Protection Program and the Growth Management Act (GMA).

The GMA set aside specific areas for farmland, watersheds, and rural neighborhoods to be protected from commercial development. The Urban Growth Areas (cities) were designed for commercial development.

Over the last decade, the Woodinville adult beverage tourism industry has grown dramatically, to approximately 130 businesses today. The vast majority are operating legally.

Unfortunately, a handful decided to locate their adult beverage commercial retail outlets in the RA, where they are not allowed. The Ordinance not only rewards these violators but opens further RA land to development.

Numerous negative side effects are already present. Land speculation puts farmland purchase and lease prices out of reach for farmers who supply our region with fresh produce and plants. Allowing commercial development in the RA, as the Ordinance would do, only spurs further speculation.

Environmental degradation from upslope toxic runoff already threatens farms. Public health and safety issues exist because the violators operate in the RA where commercial infrastructure – such as sewer hookup, parking lots, left-turn lanes, sidewalks, and lighting – does not exist. Nor will it. All of these negative impacts will only increase with the passage of the Ordinance.

Ironically, there is plenty of space inside the Urban Growth Area for additional beverage retail outlets, rendering the need for damaging expansion into the RA completely unnecessary. In fact, beverage tourism relies on our verdant open spaces and will be harmed by commercial development of the Valley.

The Ordinance skirts well established GMA processes that allow citizens to plan for responsible development and undermines the years of work and taxpayer dollars spent to save our prime farmland.

It rewards a handful of violators and speculators at the expense of law-abiding beverage businesses as well as all the people who live, work and play in the Valley and rely on the Valley’s farm goods.

It will cause irreparable damage to the Valley’s farmland, watershed, and wildlife at a time when climate change is driving the need for better stewardship of our natural environment.

You can learn more and make your voice heard by the King County Council at

Serena Glover
Executive Director
Friends of Sammamish Valley