Letters to the Editor - June 6, 2011

  • Written by Readers

Walker felt like a beginning skater doing bunny hops

Thank you to Bill Phillips for his letter regarding trail rules and signs on the Sammamish River Trail.

The only time I tried to walk on the trail, I felt like a beginning figure skater doing bunny hops in the middle of an Olympic pair skaters’ training session.

Speeding bike riders bore down on me like pair skaters in the middle of a complicated lift, unable to reduce their speed or to re-position themselves.

I quickly left and haven’t been back. I now look at the trail with longing, wishing that I could enjoy a walk through such a beautiful area, but I am terrified of being maimed or killed by a speed-crazed biker.

Beginning figure skaters don’t belong in the middle of Olympic training sessions, but I should be able to walk on a public path without fearing for my life.

Anne Frazier, Woodinville


Sad ending

More than 15 years of service at Woodinville Fire & Rescue Fire Station #34 ended for my husband on June 1, 2011, in a way never envisioned — in dress blues, taking down the flag and folding it in the rain, to the sounds of bagpipers mournfully playing "Amazing Grace."

Sadly, his home away from home has now closed.

Luckily, he had enough seniority to just be "displaced" to a new home, as his coworkers, those he grew to know in depth as his "other family" have also either been relocated to other stations, other shifts or even lost their jobs as Woodinville fire professionals and have unceremoniously been moved to the Kirkland fire department.

While many came to stand in unity on closing day, or sent their regards, like Deputy Chief Chubb, who was out of town for a personal family matter, it was glaringly apparent that those who did not stand in unity to save the fire station from closure were absent.

Not one member of the Woodinville Board of Fire Commissioners, or Fire Chief Daniels was in attendance to give assurance to those departing Station #34, that they continue to be valued members of Woodinville Fire and Rescue.

The press was there … citizens and neighbors were there … battalion chiefs were there…present firefighters, former employees, former volunteer firefighters and the chaplains were there.

The Explorer Scouts and NEVAC students were there.

The family of fallen firefighter, Matt Durham, who was also stationed at #34, was there — all to pay honor.

Where was Chief Daniels? Might he have been supervising his now top-heavy administrative fire department?

Could his personal secretary, Chief Administrative Officer Deputy Chief Acosta, or the finance manager have attended the short closure ceremony?

It is interesting to note that while the fire department has now shrunk to a three-station department, along with fewer firefighters, the size of administrative personnel has swelled since the hiring of Chief Daniels.

It was a day to mourn the loss of this fire station due to the annexation of Kirkland.

Those friendly faces of Station 34 who have answered 911 fire and emergency medical calls to parts of Hollywood Hill, the Sammamish Valley, wineries, group homes and broader Woodinville, are now setting up home in either the other three remaining stations, or have moved on to new departments.

And so, on behalf of my family and myself, who have come to know the firefighters on both a personal and on a professional basis, as a former Hollywood Hill School nurse, citizen of Woodinville, and wife, I give my assurances to each of you, that the firefighters of Woodinville are a valued and integral part of this community.

I am well aware that the glory of what you do lies within, and the satisfaction of serving this community is why you do what you do.

And so I am present as the emotional last words of Lt. Scott Riefers echo in my ears: "Dispatch from Station 34 — Aid and Engine 34 are out of service."

Respectfully submitted,

Patty Van Vactor, Woodinville


Firefighting controversy — behind the numbers

There have been a lot of numbers tossed about in the media regarding annexations and staffing in the Woodinville Fire District.

As a firefighter with Woodinville Fire and Rescue for over 18 years, I wanted to share some statistics with you that I think are meaningful.

Number of Woodinville fire stations that are able to deliver fire and EMS personnel within seven minutes into the majority of Station 34’s area that is still the responsibility of Woodinville Fire and Rescue: zero

Number of Woodinville fire district commissioners who live within this now under-protected area of the Woodinville fire district: zero

Percentage of taxpayers in this now under-protected area of the fire district who had their fire and EMS Benefit Service Charge raised by the current fire commission: 100 percent

Number of current full-time administrative personnel at Woodinville Fire and Rescue as of June 1: 16

Number of additional full-time administrators slated to be hired in the very near future: 2

Number of full-time administrative positions that are new and did not exist before Jan. 1, 2010: 5

Number of on-duty firefighters needed daily to staff the three remaining Woodinville fire stations: 13

Number of additional on-duty firefighters needed per day to provide enough personnel to staff an aid car at Station 34 (or other strategic location) to restore emergency medical services to Station 34’s area that is still the responsibility of Woodinville Fire and Rescue: 1

Number of dollars spent on the fire district’s legal expenses from Jan. 1, 2010 through April 30, 2011: $385,000

Number of dollars spent or committed toward an unfunded $74million training facility in Snohomish County: $274,000

Number of current Woodinville Fire and Rescue public educators: 1

Number of Woodinville Fire and Rescue Public Educators after July 1: zero

Number of WF&R community risk reduction personnel providing life safety and fire prevention inspections in the City of Woodinville since Jan. 1, 2011: zero

I hope you find these numbers compelling. I can speak for all of the firefighters of Woodinville Fire and Rescue by telling you, we certainly do.

Ted Klinkenberg, firefighter, E-Board, Local 2950



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