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Letters to the Editor - July 11, 2011

  • Written by Readers

Just say no

It is just about midnight on Independence Day, and the fireworks are finally dying down. How ironic that we are reminded yet again that we are in the midst of a serious "recession" and the entire nation is suffering, yet there seems to have been thousands and thousands of dollars literally going up in smoke for the past five or six hours here in Duvall and across the entire area — mostly spent by folks who undoubtedly should not and cannot afford it to gratify "the kids" or indeed themselves. They cannot or will not get a reality check and a spine, and say "NO, we simply cannot afford it this year!" and fail to involve their kids in learning the facts of growing up and being responsible!

It makes me very sad and amazed at the spineless way we are facing the truth. I lived through the "Great Depression" as a child and learned that we can live happily on VERY limited funds. These folks simply don’t know what individual responsibility IS, let alone how to practice it!

Janice Ochoa, Duvall

 

To the baseball player who tried to scalp me with a Twix bar:

I’m sure that from your place in the parade down main street in Bothell you had an excellent view of all of us who had come to watch. I’m also sure that you have a fine arm and are well positioned to use it on the ball field. Unfortunately, no one seems to have informed you that "tossing" candy to the watchers of the parade was not a chance to show off your target hitting skills. To jog your memory – I’m the mom who was sitting by the brick wall (of the pet store) toward the beginning of the parade that your buddy pointed out and that you promptly took aim at. Your aim was dead on and I can still feel the spot on my head that "caught" your "toss." I am thankful that your throw was accurate. I had two 3 year olds and a 9 month old close at hand (I wasn’t watching you go by so that I could feed her some lunch — my apologies for not paying better attention to you). My 12 year old was the one who saw the whole thing happen and told me about it later. She was confused as to why it would be so amusing to you. As much as my children love the parade and the candy that goes with it, I am more than tempted to ask that only adults be allowed to hand out the candy – it would have been a lot harder to explain if one of my kids had taken the brunt of an ill-tossed piece of candy. To the adults who were with the baseball teams – it’s all about fun. Try to help your players understand that it is only fun (and funny) if everyone is laughing and having a good time.

Carrie Poole, Woodinville

 

Bickering again?

Why am I not surprised that Woodinville Fire & Rescue has internal strife. Just look to the city council for leadership. Maybe fire departments should return to all-volunteer groups. I was one for 27 years. We had some internal problems occassionaly, but we got the job done.

Chuck Kaysner, Bothell

 

To our wonderful animal lovers:

Cats are very smart animals and when given lots of love they can be wonderful companions. They don’t take a lot of care: dry food left in a bowl for them to munch on along with a bowl of water, a treat of wet food (they aren’t fussy), plus a clean litter box — which is a must. They are better kept indoors, are very clean animals, and generally require little if any care other than an occasional grooming. You will never have to worry about mice or bugs in your home as kitties love to bring you presents. Homeward Pet Adoption Center in Woodinville has many wonderful animals to choose from for adoption. My husband and I currently have six cats, the most recent four from Homeward. Both their cats and dogs are very health, are well cared for, and you will not be disappointed with the little bundle of joy that you bring home.

David and Marta Jenkins,

companions of six kitties

Letters to the Editor-July 4, 2011

  • Written by Readers

NEW FIRE DEPARTMENT — SAME MISTAKES

Before becoming Woodinville’s fire chief, I. David Daniels was employed by Renton Fire and Emergency Services where he also served as head of the fire department.

By many accounts, his tenure in Renton was marked by discord, deficit spending and poor relations with employees.

Shortly after he left Renton to become Woodinville’s fire chief, the Renton firefighters began a process to have I. David Daniels censured by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF).

Renton’s firefighter censure resolution cited Daniel’s decision to place two engine companies out of service and noted the increase in response times and a reduction in firefighter safety that resulted.

It also criticized Daniel’s management decisions, safety concerns, communication problems and poor morale.

At the IAFF National Convention, the censure resolution was passed by a unanimous vote of 2,250 delegates.

After more than 18 months as Woodinville’s fire chief, it appears that I. David Daniels is making the same mistakes all over again.

He has closed a fire station and placed an engine company and an aid car out of service. Consequently, response times to the affected areas have increased and firefighter safety has been diminished.

Communication with employees is poor and employee morale is at an all-time low.

This has compelled some excellent Woodinville firefighters to leave Woodinville to take jobs with other fire agencies.

Chief I. David Daniels has reduced the number of firefighters employed by the Woodinville fire district, but he has added five new costly administrative positions.

The department’s reserve fund is being depleted because of deficit spending.

Safety complaints have been made and, in a safety-related arbitration hearing that was brought forward by the Woodinville firefighters, an independent neutral arbitrator just recently ruled that the fire district, with the complete approval of I. David Daniels, required a battalion chief to work 96 hours straight under circumstances that even Daniels later admitted under oath were unsafe under the terms of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.

Woodinville Fire Chief I. David Daniels is fond of saying that he only looks forward and is not willing to look or go backwards.

Without looking back on occasion however, it is impossible to learn from one’s mistakes, and it appears that I. David Daniels is making the same mistakes all over again.

Greg Ahearn

President, Local 2950, Woodinville Firefighters

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPASSION

To the kind unknown Woodinville gentleman:

You were waiting to be seen at Woodinville Urgent Care Clinic on Sunday morning and were called to triage shortly after my daughter and I arrived in the waiting area. She was crying, scared and in pain while awaiting stitches for a gash in her leg.

You, clearly were there to be treated for your own injury, (but when you) were called to be seen, you requested that my daughter be seen before you.

You selflessly gave up your turn in a situation where everyone understandably wants to get in and out and quickly as possible.

Your generosity was so appreciated, and my daughter was thinking of you while getting her stitches, hoping you were okay and not hurt badly.

You reminded her, and everyone else there, of the importance of compassion.

We thank you for your kindness and we wish you well!

M. Cipra, Woodinville

WHERE ARE THE MOWERS?

All the abundant rainfall we’ve had this year has kept our surroundings lush and green.

The problem with this is the jungle-like quantity of grass, berry bushes and even small trees that are flourishing on the sides of our country roads.

Their beauty disguises the fact that they are potential death traps.

Visibility is nil as we try to pull out onto the roads. We have to travel out onto the street before we can see if anyone is coming.

I’ve been patient, content to wait for our road’s turn, but NONE of the roads are being mowed.

Is this one of those nasty tricks where the money used for the things taxpayers really need is taken away so we’ll pass more levies? If so, shame on you (them)!

This is really dangerous. I’ve just avoided being hit a number of times already.

My kids and precious baby granddaughter slid almost into a ditch to avoid a deer as it bounded unseen from the underbrush.

With the number of bikers we get on our curvy roads, I am surprised no one has been killed as they are impossible to see.

I love living in the "country" where things are wild and green, but this is getting ridiculous.

Annie Gurke, Woodinville

 

MORE MEDITATION AND LESS BICKERING

I am enjoying your Health and Wellness section and appreciate the article "Why Every Person Should Meditate" by Kimberly Palm, C.M.I."

I learned to meditate many years ago and it transformed me and my life for the better.

Today much of my meditation practice takes place in nature and in my gardens.

Our culture is driven to go go go and achieve, whereas meditation is a way to slow down and be be be still.

It’s a way to balance our energies and our lives.

Meditation changes our brain waves and gives us access to information that is inspirational.

Imagine that!

A place within our own being that has intelligent information to sustain us. How about more meditation in our personal lives and less bickering in our community and world?

Trish Knox, Heritage Garden manager

Letters to the Editor - June 27, 2011

  • Written by Readers

PAYING IT FORWARD

Educating our local area is my focus and rule in life. When I am faced with the most painful reminders and memories of the death of my beautiful son, I’m compelled to say something. Accidents happen. Each year (around the 4th of July) we hear about fires, injuries, burns, lost pets, noise, garbage, allergies, costs of rebuilding homes and people sent to emergency rooms — not knowing they died weeks or months later from injuries.

Shane Lynch, age 13, died from legal fireworks. My son sustained extensive injuries including a shattered forehead. His skull was cracked in half; Ninety percent of his brain was burned.

If only knowledge had been shared, Shane might still be here.

Dynamite is safer than flash powder. Flash powder can ignite from STATIC ELECTRICITY. Many fireworks are made from flash powder.

I organize school assemblies to save lives with several agencies. Children are important and require guidance and protection.

Encourage public fireworks display shows. Help keep the county safe.

Writing an obituary and deciding on cremation or casket are not decisions you want to face over the 4th of July!

Donate blood at the Puget Sound blood Center in Everett on Oaks Avenue to help others.

Glenda Lynch, Snohomish

Letters to the Editor - June 13, 2011

  • Written by Readers

Long wait for the school calendar could mean strike ahead

Things aren’t looking good for the 2011-2012 school year. We have no school calendar yet — an announcement normally made in April or May.

The district’s last message about the school calendar is dated May 3 and speaks to the special session of the Legislature, but that ended on May 25.

Delays in announcing the school calendar are a symptom of teacher contract negotiations that are not going smoothly.

Word on the education street is that the Northshore district is targeted for a teacher strike this year. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Now we are less than two weeks from the end of the school year.

If teachers leave for the summer without voting on a contract, then parents may have to wait until late August to know when school will begin.

As a working parent (about 70 percent of all moms work outside the home), I hope I have enough vacation time to stay at home with my kids in September, because I fear that we won’t be starting school on time.

I would encourage parents to begin to form cooperatives so that they have childcare plans in place should there be a delay in the start of the school year.

Managing state budget cuts this year will be trickier than ever.

Yet there has been no input gathered from parents about how those cuts should be made.

We will return from summer vacation with services that have decreased and class sizes that have increased. There is no other way to balance the budget.

It is critical that those sitting on both sides of the bargaining table realize that no one wins if school is delayed, and parents deserve a voice in how any reductions are made.

Make your voice heard by calling the superintendent at 408-7701 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Susan Stoltzfus, Woodinville

 

Ed. Note: Following is an excerpt from the Northshore School District web site. It was attached to Stoltzfus’ letter.

"2011-12 District Calendar Has Not Yet Been Determined (revised 5/3/11)

By law in Washington State, the school calendar is a mandatory subject of bargaining between the district and the teacher’s union, Northshore Education Association (NSEA). The district and NSEA are awaiting action by the legislature to determine the 2011-13 state budget before starting negotiations on the 2011-12 school year calendar.

Various proposals in Olympia, if enacted, could result in a shortened school year, which would influence the school calendar.

Until that issue is known, negotiations on the calendar with our teachers’ association are at a standstill, including outlines of a calendar such as start date and major holidays/breaks.

The legislature is in a 30-day special session. The district is hopeful, although not overly optimistic, that an agreement on a budget will be reached within the next couple weeks.

Once the budget is finalized, we will work as quickly as possible to develop a calendar.

As soon as both parties have an agreement on the calendar and we receive approval from the Board of Directors, we will send out an announcement and post the calendar on the Northshore School District Web site. We regret the inconvenience caused by this delay and understand the frustration of parents."

Editor Note: Teachers and the district reached an agreement after the newspaper went to press

 

Reminder about campaign signs

Candidates for political office have begun filing for the upcoming election season.

As the sister of a former school district employee, I would like to remind school district administrators that demanding that their employees go out and put up campaign signs to support an administrator’s favorite candidate for the school board is a violation of the law.

School district administrators cannot "state or imply that their job performance will be judged according to their willingness to use their own time on a campaign." (RCW 42.17.130).

This is something that has happened in the past and it is very upsetting that any school district employee should feel pressured by their supervisor to campaign in this way.

I hope Superintendent Françoise will be clear with everyone on staff that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated.

TM Young, Woodinville

 

Happy running

On June 5, 2011, Riverview Education Foundation (REF)hosted the 6th annual Duvall 5K/10K runs under sunny blue skies.

It was a great morning of competition and camaraderie and REF wants to say thank you to Duvall and the surrounding running communities for your participation.

We also want to say thanks to our amazing volunteers. This event was made possible by a dedicated group of course marshals, medical personnel, water station workers, registration volunteers, post-race food coordinators, sweeps, pacers, photographers, finish chute workers and clean up crew. Without them, there would simply be no race. They do a tremendous job.

Hats off to our wonderful sponsors as well.

Please visit them at http://www.refweb.org/duvallrun_sponsors.htm.

We sure are grateful for their help and support. Their generosity makes fundraising for health and wellness programming in the Riverview School District a reality.

We sincerely appreciate their hands-on community involvement.

So a big thanks to all of you and save the date — we’ll see you at the start line in June 2012.

Happy running!

Paige Denison, race director, and Dean Vergillo, course director

  

Respect on school board is important

Although I can not always attend every meeting of the Northshore School District School Board, I am informed of what transpires during those meeting from my colleagues who are able to attend most meetings.

I am constantly impressed at the leadership shown in recent year and the fact that the present board is willing to ask tough questions and make informed decisions, and not merely agree to everything the school district asks for.

Such a change is truly refreshing.

The current school board has shown its desire to support the needs of the students, as well as represent the community as a whole.

Even when the school board feels the need to vote "no" on an agenda item, they do so in a respectful way, showing that they value the work of district staff.

Their respect for educators, support staff and administrators is evident in everything they do.

Jenny Day, Bothell

 

 

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