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Letters to the Editor - April 30, 2012

  • Written by Readers

WHERE’S THE RESPECT?

Gold Creek Park trees are not objects to zip through for a momentary adrenalin rush. All trees are sacred beings, have rights and deserve our respect.

I invite you to hike through our Woodinville park and observe edible stinging nettle and fern fiddleheads, medicinal bleeding heart and trillium, purifying fir and cedar trees and the largest huckleberry bush I’ve ever seen.

Trees hold space in earth and sky to sustain vital ecosystems locally and globally.

And yet humans ignore the signs and warnings — for what purpose?

In honor of Earth Day we offered a ceremony at the Heritage Garden in Sammamish Valley.

I invite those of you who value trees and nature as much as I do to go to Gold Creek Park and offer thanks to our trees for their life supporting substance and system.

It is the nature of trees to give.

And what is our nature as humans — to destroy that which supports us?

Where’s the respect?  Where’s the intelligence that includes both mind and heart?

Trish Knox,                                                                                                                                             Sammamish Valley, Woodinville


‘PROGRESS HAPPENS’

When I heard about the zip line proposal in Gold Creek Park, one of my first reactions was how exciting it would be to have a zip line park in the neighborhood.

I have two teen/pre-teen boys who would love it!

However, I do have some concerns about such a major undertaking.

I would like to see more discussion and perhaps some modifications to the scale of the plan.

First, I just want to say that I would much rather have an outdoorsy, active use of Gold Creek Park than a new housing development.

I love the beautiful mature forest, but I know it is naïve to think it can stay unspoiled forever.

“Progress” happens, and open spaces are closing up. I can think of a lot worse uses for this land than a healthy recreational activity.

As a neighbor of this park, I am saddened to think of the loss of use for hikers and equestrians.

Although the developers claim that use can be maintained, obviously horses will no longer be able to use any trails under the zip lines, only those at the far borders.

I can’t imagine that liability regulations would allow hikers who are non-employees and non-users near or under their equipment, so their trail use will also be limited.

I hope bypass trails can be maintained so equestrians and hikers can still use some portion of this park and connect to other local trails.

I also hope that some areas of old growth will be maintained and preserved.

My biggest concern regarding this project is its viability.

It is going to require a huge financial investment and running expenses. If people are going to be 40 feet up in the trees and in the air, liability insurance will also be sky-high.

Numerous employees will be required to ensure the safety of the guests.

Income is sure to be seasonally sporadic.

Do the income projections adequately account for weather-induced slowing and closures that could occur even in peak summer months?

And what about equipment? I see there is a chairlift in the design.

Seriously?

What demographic are we looking at?

I can’t imagine that anyone who is going to be zipping through the forest canopy is going to be unable or unwilling to walk a few hundred yards through the (previously) beautiful forest and climbing a ladder to begin their adventure.

Just removing the chairlift and shortening the runs to create a buffer zone could make this project much more acceptable to the neighboring residents.

If this project does begin, I want it to succeed.

I feel the worst possible outcome would be to have the construction and undergrowth deforestation proceed, and then have the neighborhood and King County stuck with a bankrupt project to clean up in the ruined forest.

Carolyn Houser, Woodinville resident and park neighbor



ZIP LINES IN GOLD CREEK PARK?

If King County Parks is willing to hand over the entire 35 acres of Gold Creek Park to a private company, it does not bode well for all the other parks that are under their stewardship.

Is there a natural area that you enjoy within the county system?

How about if King County Parks replaced the dog park at Marymoor with a miniature golf course? Or they decided to let a helicopter tour company install some landing pads on the acreage they own on Tiger Mountain? Would that be a problem for anyone?

The citizens of Woodinville are the first to get the full force of the “business development” side of King County Parks.

If this proposal goes through, it will set a precedent that puts every one of our county parks in danger of takeover by businesses eager to exploit public land.

Patty Martin, Redmond



PRESERVE GOLD CREEK PARK

For the last 40 years Gold Creek Park has been enjoyed by families and equestrians.

It is also home to many animals.

If a zip line is put in, do you really think it will still be operating 40 years from now?

Gold Creek Park is our ONLY community park.  Please leave it intact.

It is absolutely reprehensible to me that King County Parks would even consider a proposal like the one Gravity Works is suggesting.

This is a residential area where families live and in no way conducive to zip lines!

The trail system and wooded area in Gold Creek Park are the only untouched and unspoiled places of natural beauty in the area.

The environmental impact that this would have should be enough of a reason not to do it.

It completely sickens me that someone wants to destroy what has been a beautiful trail system and forestry along with the animals and natural habitats that reside there.

It is also beloved by the equestrian community and used daily year round.

It is obvious that in no way could that continue with screaming zip liners racing through overhead.

It doesn’t matter how “quiet” the zip line equipment is when the people on it are screaming.

I would also point out that anyone living in close proximity to this will also be subject to the noise this will create.

To say it will bring property values down is an understatement.

There is also an elementary school down the road to consider when bringing tourists into the area.

I also sincerely question the revenue that this would supposedly be bringing into the city and/or county.

The weather the majority of the year here is not something that I can imagine most people would flock in droves to zip line in.

I find it hard to believe that this is a sound business proposal to begin with.

In any case Gold Creek Park is not meant to be turned into an amusement park with screaming tourists.

The costs in dealing with the traffic increase and other variables would surely offset any potential revenue for the city anyway.

I travel that road daily and it is already an issue (in rush hour it’s a mess).

This is a small residential area that is not meant to deal with this kind of increase in traffic.

I feel sorry for any of the families who live in the vicinity if this allowed to proceed.

I feel sorry for ALL of us if we lose what we should protect the most.

Angela Cox

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not man the less, but Nature more.”- Lord Byron

Letters to the Editor - April 23, 2012

  • Written by Readers

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THIS ANIMAL?

I have worked on our acre-plus parcel of land for over 30 years making it a safe haven for wildlife. Recently I spotted what I thought might be a nutria.

The thing is about 20 pounds and has a rat-like tail that looks to be about the length of its long slender body.  The hair/fur is darkish brown or possibly black.

On two occasions it dove into the water as if coming off a spring board and it moves so fast that I have yet to capture it on film.

It looks somewhat like a river otter only bigger and it swims rather snake-like.

My concern is for the health of our creek and environment.  Over the years I have involved many neighbors up and downstream from me to plant native vegetation and I am concerned for that, too.

I would appreciate hearing from someone regarding this concern and what I can do to keep it from becoming a problem.

Jeanne Hannah, Woodinville


SHE WANTS TO DIG A WELL

[This is my] first letter to the Woodinville Weekly  regarding a public service in the 16 years I have lived here.

We have waited a very long time for Woodinville Water to enable electronic payment.

While the staff who have accepted the occasional phone payment have been most gracious, dealing with the district has remained a very sub-par experience.

Have the commissioners tried to locate a secure mail drop recently?

And what do we get after this wait? A user experience that will burden customers with a $3.75 charge per payment, and which does not bear the imprimatur on the integrated site of any of the major security firms, to wit, VeriSign and/or Truste.

And this is a utility which has the benefit of being located in one of the greatest concentrations of competent developers and system integrators in the world.

There is no excuse for such a poor experience.

The second sentence at the Woodinville Water District’s home page is: “This site was created for you, the ratepayers of the District and the public at-large.”

I beg to differ.

The job of commissioners and staff includes an obligation to rate payers to provide a reasonable payment process and experience on a timely basis, in my opinion.

Even for a captive customer population, this solution provides none of the above.

And we have waited until the second decade of this century for this — totally unreasonable.

Despite years of drama at the fire district (never dull!), this is the first time ever  that I have commented publicly or privately on the provision of public goods or the public sector.  Blows me away.

Makes me want to dig a well.

Jennifer N. Curtis, Woodinville



CHOICES ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE

As my neighbors ponder the Gravity Works zip line proposal to King County Park’s officials, it appears that the decision of the park system will represent a choice between continuing to support the community’s 40-year use of Gold Creek Park as a place of nature, horse trails, hikers and bird watchers or approve the effective annexation of the park by a commercial profit making venture.

The choices are mutually exclusive as birds, horses and hikers will not coexist within the constant noise level of the thrill ride of zip line riders who will be generally shrieking like passengers on a roller-coaster as they hurl down the hill.

We must ask the decision makers if turning Gold Creek Park over to a profit-seeking commercial venture provides the King County Park system with sufficient return to warrant the destruction of this very rare habitat for the current population of nature’s creatures, as well as the elimination of its current use for the community as a place for public horse trails, hikers and most of all: solitude.

It will also be worth evaluating the cost of claims that will likely accrue to both the county and Gravity Works for the property value destruction of the homes such as ours who unfortunately have property that adjoins the park’s boundary.

Ask yourself if the placement of a chair lift in your backyard feels like an appealing opportunity.

Preliminary estimates from real estate experts advise us to expect value declines of $100,000 for each property impacted by the noise, traffic and commotion of being located near an adventure theme park.

We also wonder if the decision makers appreciate the risks related to a zip line operation where operating/engineering standards have not been established.

Staff associated with a Maui zip line operation resulted in the 2011 fatality of a Washington state man when the tower supporting a 2,300-foot span collapsed.

So, do we, the community choose preservation or the ultimate disruption of our quiet lives on Hollywood Hill?

Dennis and Alyse DeKraker

David and Kari Drobesh

Mark and Valentina Giovannetti

Eric and Dottie Greenwood


ONLY SIGNS SEIZED WERE ILLEGAL

Illegal portable signs, banners and A-boards left out overnight were confiscated by the City of Woodinville late on Friday, April 13. The “theft” was not the work of burglars, vandals or neighborhood kids.

This time, it was city officials.

It was bad luck for many local businesses that depend on drive-by and walk-in customers, but the city has a sign code and permit system to assure that all merchants have fair and equal access to such signage.

It pays to know the rules of the road inside the city limits.

Every business is entitled to one portable sign, displayed during business hours, that is no more than 36 inches in height and six square feet per side.

Companies in the industrial zones may use two A-boards. Banners are limited to 32 square feet and can be displayed for a limited time only.

Handmade signs of any kind are prohibited.

All portable signs require a “temporary” sign permit from the city with fees ranging from a $27 annual renewal to an initial $183.

The only signs seized by the city were illegal in number, location and/or size, or those left out overnight.

Merchants impacted may retrieve their signs from city hall after application and issuance of a temporary sign permit.

Most local sign professionals keep the local code, zone map, forms and fee schedule on-hand for guests.

A complete explanation and Woodinville municipal code is online: http://www.ci.woodinville.wa.us/Work/SignCodeRegulations.asp.

Jeff Thomas, Crossroad Sign, Woodinville


APPRECIATES THE INFORMATIVE ARTICLES

Many thanks for the articles by Deborah Stone. She is an excellent writer.

I especially appreciated her article about Nepal and the recent article about the “Environmental Class Focuses on Sustainable Design.”

Her articles are informative, educational and very interesting.

She often inspires the reader to think beyond the routine daily news.

Wendy Walsh, Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - April 16, 2012

  • Written by Readers

ZIP LINE IN GOLD CREEK PARK

Our family has lived on Hollywood Hill in Woodinville for 32 years.  We recently became aware of a huge zip line project that a private development company called Gravity Works is proposing for the west side of Hollywood Hill in Gold Creek Park. This is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood and very close to Hollywood Hill Elementary School. Its official name is Zipline Adventure Park at Gold Creek.

The project features 12 canopy/ziplines with “Xtreme thrilling rides” down the hill.  A chairlift will take visitors to the top of the hill so they can zip down.  Gravity Works anticipates there will be 40,000 visitors to the park in 2013.

The developer plans to coordinate this commercial activity with the wineries, breweries and hotels in the Sammamish Valley.

King County Parks will get a large sum of money annually from the developer for the rights to use the park plus 10 percent of the revenue.

We have some grave concerns about this project that include: loss of privacy, huge environmental impacts on the habitat, increased traffic, noise and nuisance in a school/residential zone.  Many residents in this community are opposed to this zip line project because it will negatively impact their property values and quality of life.

Many of us moved to Hollywood Hill to enjoy nature’s beauty along with the peace and tranquility here.

Zip lines in the pristine Gold Creek Park are incompatible with equestrian and hiking trail activities currentlygoing on.

There has been very little public discussion of this project. But that appears to be changing.

There have been information meetings with concerned residents who oppose the project. More meetings are plannedfor the future. The group wants to preserve Gold Creek Park and is opposed to the Gravity Works project.

We want to add to our numbers. To learn more, visit the “Preserve Gold Creek Park” site on Facebook.

Bob and Melissa Holmes, Woodinville


Dear Ms. Holmes,

Thank you for your email on April 8, 2012, regarding a zip line proposal at Gold Creek Park. We appreciate you sharing your comments. We strive to make sure that King County parks can be enjoyed by a wide variety of users and activities. Gravity Works has approached King County Parks with a preliminary concept proposal for zip lines at Gold Creek Park. Parks Division staff have been reviewing their proposal carefully. We have requested more information from Gravity Works to better understand the proposal and the potential impacts. Based on updated information, we are planning to hold a public meeting in June to provide preliminary information about the Gravity Works proposal and to hear comments from the community.

King County Parks contacted the Hollywood Hill Saddle Club soon after receiving GravityWorks’ proposal in December 2011. We then met in person with representatives from the Hollywood Hill Community Association and the Hollywood Hill Saddle Club in early February to review and discuss the proposal. On April 3rd, Gravity Works held a meeting in Woodinville with additional members from both groups, some immediate neighbors, as well as staff from the parks division.

King County Parks and Recreation Division is committed to provide numerous opportunities for community input. It is important for the parks division to know and understand the potential impacts and how to limit those impacts before determining whether to proceed.

Gravity Works has expressed a commitment to work to mitigate issues such as traffic and parking (potentially using shuttles). The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review process would also be completed before the Parks Division entered into any contract.

The parks division is exploring this concept because it has been successfully implemented in other areas of the country. It also provides significant non-tax revenue to ensure King County Parks are open and maintained. We are at the early stages and need to understand the proposal and hear from all voices so that we can make an informed decision.

Thank you again for writing. We appreciate your taking the time to share your comments.

Kathy Nygard, Assistant to the Director

Parks and Recreation Division


Zip lines are fun! And I’m the first one to admit that the Woodinville region desperately needs more teenage-friendly fun activities. With all the focus on wine, beer and distilled spirits, it’s true wine country could use a little fun diversification for all ages to enjoy —  like a zip line course.

But there’s good news and bad news here.

The good news is we already have two extreme sports opportunities in the area, one at Redhook (a zip line) and one at Cottage Lake Park (a high ropes course operated by the YMCA).

The bad news is King County Parks is in cahoots with Gravity Works to convert our precious Gold Creek Park into a major tourist attraction amusement park. Fact is, there is only one ecologically friendly park offering dog and horse-friendly hiking trails left in wine country, and that park is Gold Creek Park. My understanding is they plan to install a chairlift from the “lodge” which is now operated by the Boys and Girls Club at the base of the park to the top of the hill.  Then they plan to install 12 to 14 canopy zip lines into existing trees and expect at least 40,000 visitors annually to whoop and holler their way down through what used to be a quiet, bird- and wildlife-friendly respite.  It’s unclear where they will provide customer parking, how loud they will be, what the effect will be on salmon in Gold Creek, the bald eagles and deer we routinely see, so I guess the environmental impact to the Earth and wildlife is one thing, but how about the environmental impact of public health to the people who live here? We need our quiet spaces and trails, and we welcome people from across King County to enjoy the natural habitat in Gold Creek with us.

In fact, we maintain the park as best we can, hosting volunteer work parties to clear trails after windstorms and provide annual trail enhancement.

King County hasn’t helped with that in any way, and Gold Creek Park doesn’t cost King County a dime, especially since the Boys and Girls Clubs took over managing the building there.

On one hand, I’m not here to complain about increasing business in Woodinville.  Over 40,000 passing through could generate a lot of business for Gravity Works.

But, at the expense of the LAST PUBLIC PLACE we have to hike with our kids? So why shouldn’t Gravity Works buy their own property to build their business.

As it turns out, right next to Gold Creek Park is a lovely almost-13-acre parcel of land that they could buy from King County for a mere $661,000.

Imagine what it would cost Gravity Works to buy Gold Creek Park?

And I don’t trust King County Parks. They are so busy giving away public land to private entrepreneurs that can generate revenue off the backs of public parks to keep parks employees employed, that I feel the King County Parks department forgot about providing park opportunities for unincorporated residents.

I mean, the same staff that is inviting private business into our public lands so parks can have a small piece of the pie are also told to find ways to generate more revenues to keep their jobs.

In my opinion there’s some convoluted conflict of interest in there somewhere.  And when you ask a parks’ staff member to give you numbers, they tell you they need clearance from the powers-that-be to pass out public information to the public.

And King County Parks must have strategized on the timing of announcing this major tourist attraction.  There is a lot of focus now on annexing, so turning Gold Creek Park into a high impact amusement park somehow fell under the radar. Plus remember the Upper Bear Creek Community Council?  Well folks, the UBCCC is no more, so unincorporated residents no longer have a community voice.

Don’t tell me one King County staffer meeting with residents once a year in the region is going to provide an adequate voice for the unincorporated citizens who pay their taxes to King County so that they may have public parks and utilities.

Who cares about the 100,000 unincorporated King County residents, many of whom live on Hollywood Hill and call Gold Creek Park the last best place to hike, walk the dog (remember we don’t have sidewalks up here so the trails at Gold Creek offer a safe solution), or to ride our horses. This is the only park we have as an unincorporated public body and it’s the park we use daily.

Remember we are a rural community, not one that can endure 40,000 tourists who come for one day, destroy our park and then zip away.

Kris Rose, Woodinville


ANNEXATION

After reading a copy of the email sent from Mr. Knapinski to the City of Woodinville and King County Council members and printed in the Woodinville Weekly last week, I feel I must again respond to the misinformation being spread about me.

Once again, I have no current or future financial interest in any of the properties in the proposed annexation area.  I don’t know how to make that statement clearer. I have no financial interest.

In addition, Evergreen Hospital does not, nor has ever had, any plans to build any building in Woodinville other than the new urgent/primary facility on 140th that was opened last year. There is no conspiracy between the DeYoungs and Evergreen Hospital to build medical office buildings in the valley or in Woodinville. There is no conspiracy between the DeYoungs and anyone else to build medical office buildings in the valley or in Woodinville. I personally think it would be terrible to put medical office buildings down the valley.

I am involved and vocal about annexing these already developed properties (the Woodinville Alliance Church or the Woodinville Animal Hospital for example) because it is my right as a citizen to have an opinion.  I am involved and vocal because I care strongly about the Sammamish Valley and Woodinville. And, I feel strongly that to have a healthy Valley we need to protect the agriculture lands from aging and failing septic systems on these properties. We also need to develop and promote agri- and wine-tourism to help the small farmers who struggle to make a living from agriculture alone.

I feel strongly that this does not have to be a win/lose proposition as it is being portrayed.  If we work together we can protect the valley while creating jobs and promoting economic vitality in our community.

I find it very sad that some people cannot believe that someone would care enough about our community to promote a cause unless there is financial gain in it for them. What does that say about them?

Lucy DeYoung, Woodinville


I’d like to respond to Lucy’s DeYoung’s commentary at the 4/10/2012 Woodinville council meeting. I am sorry that Lucy misinterpreted my reference to her very vocal support of Woodinville annexation and her continuing support of Evergreen Hospital. I did not suggest that she had a financial interest in the annexation areas. I only mentioned her past support of annexation and Evergreen Hospital. The Woodinville 2010 docket request made by Hal Hart, Woodinville development services manager, specifically states that Woodinville is planning an institutional gateway (office buildings) for the northern annexation area near NE 171st Street at 140th Ave NE. I took the liberty of associating Lucy’s support of annexation as support for the proposed medical building gateway. If this is not the case, I certainly apologize.

It might be noted that nobody really knows who has a financial interest in the annexation properties. It seems that some or all of the properties are under contract for sale to parties that have not come forward. So we do not know who they are, or what their plans are for the annexation areas. If it turns out that a local hospital is the mystery buyer, maybe we will see medical buildings. Or maybe not.

Nobody knows.

Dale Knapinski, Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - April 9, 2012

  • Written by Readers

RESOLUTION 414 — ANNEXATION

Hello, Councilmember Les Rubstello:

At a recent council meeting, you indicated your willingness to review the factual content of Resolution #414.

Please comment.

Resolution #414 indicates the proposed annexation areas will be used to promote “Agritourism” while the 2010 docket states the northern area will be used for medical buildings.

Can you tell me what best describes the city’s intent with respect to zoning and permitted uses in the annexation area?

If the northern portion of the annexation area will be used for medical buildings, and the northern portion represents 14 out of the 17 properties, doesn’t the resolution present a false sense of what the real intent of the city is?

I might note that I was originally baffled about Lucy DeYoung’s very vocal interest in annexation.

But a review of the 2010 docket request indicating the northern 14 properties would be used [for] medical buildings and reviewing Lucy’s history of significant support of Evergreen Hospital, offered the connection.

During a recent public records inspection at Woodinville City Hall, I noted that there is virtually no public input with respect to Resolution #414.

I located some very limited support by the affected property owners and some curious documents from a local real estate agent who represents some of the property owners but essentially no public input of any kind.

Do you think the public has been properly informed about the annexation issue?

In an article in The Woodinville Patch, Councilmember Paulette Bauman stated “…My support for resolution #414 was simply to encourage King County Council to look at the proposed annexation.

“Ultimately they will decide the Urban Growth Boundary.”

Is Resolution #414 just a request for KC [to] look at the proposed areas, or does the resolution serve as notice that Woodinville intends to annex the area in the event that King County adjusts the UGB to include those properties?

Isn’t it KC that will decide on the UGB, and Woodinville that decides on annexation? Can we make sure that Paulette understands what the resolution means?

Although accepting campaign contributions is not illegal, many people feel very uncomfortable knowing that a significant portion of your campaign funding came from a person now described in Woodinville public records as a representative of property owners seeking annexation. Resolution #414 will be a financial windfall for your principal contributor.

When you prevented Mayor Talmas from openly questioning the factual content of Resolution #414 with your “Out of order” interruptions, you caused people to question whether you were more interested in providing the public with truthful information or furthering the financial gain of your contributors.

I don’t want to ignore the fact that you apologized.

But I do want to tell you that many people lost faith in your ability to vote without bias on this particular annexation issue.

In conclusion, I call you to task, Mr. Rubstello. Address the issue of the factual content of Resolution #414.

Describe the city’s actual intent. Correct Resolution #414 to accurately reflect the purpose of the resolution so that council members know what they signed. Make a personal determination if your campaign contributions, together with your attempt at silencing another council member’s request for presenting a resolution based on facts and decide if there is the APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest with respect to your vote on annexation.

Thank you,

Dale Knapinski, Woodinville


STOP DEYOUNG FROM WHAT?

Over the April 1st weekend as I was driving off Hollywood Hill, I saw some very disturbing signs that stated: “Stop Valley Construction” and “Stop DeYoung.”

Stop DeYoung from what:

1. Giving better than a quarter of a million dollars to the Evergreen Hospital Foundation

2.  Buying the Old DeYoung house for $500,000 and then donating it to the Woodinville Heritage Society

3. Donating thousands of dollars to see that Wilmot Park became a reality

4. Setting up an endowment for the Woodinville Cemetery that takes care of its maintenance.

5. Donating thousands to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

6. Donating thousands of hours in service to this community

7. So many others I can’t remember them all

So whoever was responsible for the signs must be a “Newbee” (someone who has only been here 20 years or less!) And whoever you are, quit polluting the landscape with plastic signs!

If you see a DeYoung around town why don’t you tell them thank you for all they’ve done for this community.

Roger Rettig, Hollywood Hill

Letters to the Editor - April 2, 2012

  • Written by Readers

HAT’S OFF TO ‘GLENO’


We would like to thank you for the complimentary and extensive article on Woodinville High School DECA.

However, the story is incomplete.

Our teacher, Paul Glenovich, was honored at the recent state DECA conference as the Washington DECA chapter advisor of the year.

He works countless hours as a member of the board of executives for Washington DECA, the Area Three Advisor, a marketing teacher at WHS, as well as being a husband and a father to a three-year-old.

The 230-member-strong WHS DECA chapter that he is the driving force behind, was named the state’s largest chapter.

We would like to recognize and thank Mr. Glenovich for all that he has done for Woodinville High School and Washington DECA.

We would not be a nationally ranked chapter if it weren’t for “Gleno.”

Best Regards,

Alex Lazear and the WHS DECA chapter


STOP THE INSANITY


I am a regular bike rider but rarely ride the local, Sammamish trail bike paths.

[On a recent]  beautiful day,  I decided to give it a whirl and ride a few miles alongside the river.

From that experience I wish to apologize profusely to the families and pensioners who were also out strolling the path.

On a 10-mile ride, I was constantly passed by “teams” or  individual lycra-clad cyclists who were riding along at much more than the posted 15 mph speed limit.

It was ridiculous and dangerous. I witnessed numerous close-calls as middle-aged, pot-bellied Lance Armstrong wannabes screamed passed toddlers feeding the ducks or pensioners out for a stroll by the river.

Pace-lines of cyclists whizzed by me as if I was standing still and weaved in and out of pedestrians as if on some kind of crazed cycling proficiency test.

To the “pro” cyclists that use the path:

Guys, ENOUGH! Somebody is going to get seriously hurt. I know its cool to tell everyone in the bar that you can ride at 20+mph and you really have a knack for riding but you are on a flat path with children and pensioners.

If you really want to ride fast, head into the hills and mountains and knock yourself out.

To the pedestrians that use the path:

I’ve been riding the local roads for a couple of years now and have heard negative remarks about cyclists. I always assumed people were just mad that we were tree-hugging, nature types and perhaps they were a little envious of our healthier lifestyle.

Not anymore — I agree. We are a bunch of self-centered, egotistical jerks and I apologize.

To the community:

Let’s ask that the speed limit be dropped to 10mph MAX.

I for one would not want my daughter hit by some 200-lb. buffoon riding at 15 mph who thinks he’s on the Tour De France.

Stop the insanity – more regulation on these paths!

Mr. Hughes, Woodinville


YOU HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE


Driving home from work on Tuesday I happened to notice a bumper sticker on the back of a truck ahead of me.

It said, “I jump out of planes and shoot Muslims in the face for a living.”

I hope one day the person who put that sticker there realizes that provoking hate is exactly what terrorists want to accomplish.

Congratulations, you just scored a point for the team that wants to destroy the very country that grants you the freedom to express yourself with such a horrible sticker.

You have the freedom to choose — keep spreading hate and terror with that sticker or take the courageous and patriotic choice to reject hate and voluntarily remove that sticker from your truck.

Most Muslims, just like most non-Muslims, would prefer peaceful coexistence with all people, rather than acts of war, terror, or hate.

The vast majority of religious leaders of all faiths promote love, charity, understanding, forgiveness and peace, while they condemn acts of violence.

Frustratingly, a few Muslims, and also a few non-Muslims, attack people and then claim to be doing so for religious reasons.

These few bad actors are essentially criminals (which sadly exist in every culture) who abuse religion in order to try to convince themselves and others that their acts of violence are somehow better than those of other criminals.

Please express your frustration without lashing out violently (or claiming to do so), and do not seek to escalate irrational hatreds.

Tom Moore Duvall

ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS ARE A HEAVY BURDEN


What a pleasure to read the Seattle Times’ March 22nd article about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that an Idaho couple have the right to sue immediately to challenge the Federal Environmental Agency (EPA) order designating their Priest Lake, Idaho, lot as a wetland and forbidding them from building a home there – with a threat of a $75,000-a-day fine for noncompliance.

The EPA argued that an immediate judicial review of that agency’s administrative actions would undermine its enforcement of the Clean Water Act and that the Idaho couple’s lot was “part of the ‘navigable waters’ of the United States.”

Supreme Court Justices, after mocking the EPA’s view that the couple’s lot was a part of the “navigable waters,” called on Congress to provide a reasonably clear rule regarding the reach of the Clean Water Act.

Amen to that.

In unincorporated King County landowners are not only burdened by wetlands requirements, but also by buffer requirements.

A 100-foot buffer around a circular-acre wetland 236-inch diameter would grow that use-restricted acre to 3.4 restricted acres.

A not-uncommon 200-foot buffer would grow that circular acre to seven restricted acres.

Environmentally influenced regulations are a heavy burden on the use of property owners of what they like to think of as their own land.

Maxine Keesling

DON’T VOTE? DON’T COMPLAIN


Recently, I had a conversation with an individual who was complaining about politicians and the state of politics in general in this great country.

I am all for it, if you vote.  I have a problem when people complain about that, then inform me that they have never voted and never intend to.

I was raised with the ideal that if you have the opportunity to vote and simply choose not to utilize that, then you forfeit your right to complain.

I remain confident and quite optimistic that many people feel the same way.

Jeff Swanson, Everett


APRIL IS NATIONAL GRANGE MONTH


April is National Grange Month. In our state there are 254 grange halls in the 38 counties. There are eight granges in King County.

Grange was formed after the Civil War as farming increased and shipping of tobacco, cotton and other farm-grown products became so expensive that through the grange, the Anti-Sherman Trust Act was passed.

Grange efforts resulted in getting free mail delivered. Granges in Eastern Washington are mainly responsible for the Columbia River dams, enabling irrigation of the wheat, rye, alfalfa and fruit tree farms to be able to exist, for the good of all farmers, both animal and raising of crops.

Our local Sammamish Grange has joined with farmers in the Valley to form the Sammamish Valley Alliance to preserve what is left of farming in the valley.

Helen McMahon, Woodinville


STUDENT NEEDS MAP, SOUVENIRS OF WASHINGTON


Dear readers,

Hi! My name is William M. I am a fifth grade student at Harlan Intermediate School in Harlan, Iowa.

My class is studying the history and geography of the United States.

I chose Washington because I love trees and nature.

I would appreciate it if you sent me a souvenir and a state map — also some information if possible.

My teacher, Mrs. Newlin, would love a car license plate for a school project, but only if possible. Thank you.

Sincerely,

William M.

Mrs. Newlin’s S.S. class

Harlan Intermediate School

1401 19th St

Harlan, IA 51537


PS

Because of wonderful editors like you, 124 intermediate fifth graders are able to learn many things about your state.

Nothing can equal the encouraging letters, beautiful picture postcards, and exciting historical information your subscribers send to them.

All is very much appreciated, and I thank you very much for printing their letters.

Mrs. Newlin, social studies teacher