Letters to the Editor - May 13, 2013

  • Written by Readers

Two common household items that seem easy enough to empty or fill. Easy enough for people who don’t need long-term services and supports.
As a home care aide, I provide vital services for seniors and people with disabilities – people whose laundry requires special treatments and whose dietary needs can’t rely on whim, but require careful planning.
The current State Senate budget proposal for the 2013 to 2015 biennium would cut funding for home care services including laundry and shopping.  

Some lawmakers believe – wrongly – that volunteers will come fill in to help my clients do their laundry and will drive them more than 45 minutes to pick up groceries or medications.  Home care clients have already lost an average of 15 percent of their home care hours through arbitrary budget cuts. More cuts to hours are penny wise and pound foolish because they will cause vulnerable seniors to go to more expensive settings like nursing homes.

If caregivers don’t caregivers don’t do laundry, shopping, or provide vital home care services, thousands of vulnerable Washington residents will have rubbish pile up, laundry overflow and cupboards go bare.
Under the Senate plan, big corporations and special interests get priority over vulnerable adults though costly tax breaks.

There’s a better approach. Eliminate tax loopholes and use the money instead to help seniors and people with disabilities.

Richard Ross, Kirkland


Waste Management North Sound has over 250 employees who are committed to creating sustainable communities.

Our mission is to maximize resource value, while minimizing environmental impact so that both our economy and our environment can thrive. Our goal is to be part of the solution to the problems that sparked the original idea for Earth Day, and while that is a 365-day-per-year job, Earth Day is a good reminder of our commitment.  
In honor of Earth Day which was April 22, Waste Management (WM) of North Sound would like to share a few helpful recycling tips for residents and businesses in Woodinville.

 These few simple changes can go a long way in helping to do our part in preserving the planet all year long:   
• Recycle paper and packaging: It’s an easy way to do your part.
• Compost food scraps and kitchen waste: Set-up your own backyard compost or utilize your food/yard waste services.  
• Don’t forget about e-waste: Computers, electronics, batteries and light bulbs are all recyclable today. To find out where and how, check out online resources including King County website and Waste Management’s Lamptracker.
• Donate, reuse and recycle items before throwing them into the garbage
• Harmful materials like chemicals, batteries, electronics should be taken to local hazardous waste depots or recyclers.

Jeff McMahon, District ManagerWaste Management-North Sound, Woodinville

Guest Editorial - Light a Fire for Learning

  • Written by Larry Francois, Northshore School District superintendent
On March 28, over 300 supporters of public education gathered at the Northshore Schools Foundation’s “Light A Fire For Learning” luncheon and raised over $120,000 to support students and teachers across our district. As an all-time high fundraising total for the luncheon—one of two major annual fundraising events for the foundation—these funds will go a long way towards fulfilling the foundation’s mission of “Making An Impact, Everyday.”

Since 1995, the Northshore Schools Foundation has partnered with the district to support, enhance and extend learning opportunities for our students and staff. Through investments in innovative classroom grants, teacher excellence, new curriculum, extended learning opportunities and, most recently, strategic investments in S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, the foundation positively impacts tens of thousands of Northshore students multiple times throughout their school career.

The foundation has built relationships with over 65 regional companies and partners that contribute generously to their mission and initiatives. But the backbone of the foundation is the hundreds of community members, parents, staff and kids who give of their passion, energy and resources. From the volunteer board of directors, to the students who inspire and entertain at events like the luncheon, to the parents and community members who answer the call to give, the foundation’s strength comes from the collective and shared commitment of those personally invested in a world-class education for the young people of our community. Northshore is rightly recognized as one of the top school districts in Washington state and across the nation. Organizations like the Northshore Schools Foundation play a key role working with the district to make that happen.

If you are not already a part of the foundation’s network of supporters, I encourage you to learn more and get involved. A good place to start would be visiting the foundation’s website: www.Northshore

Letters to the Editor - April 29, 2013

  • Written by Readers

On April 19, Neighbors to Save Wellington Park filed a complaint in Superior Court challenging the proposed development of the Wellington Hills Park and citing the Land Use Protection Act (LUPA). The City of Woodinville filed a similar appeal in Superior Court.

In a recent Herald article about the appeals, the parks director claims that “the public has been actively involved in the process throughout” and says that the Parks Department “will continue to work with the neighbors on shaping plans.”  Don’t believe him. The public has been ignored and shut out of the planning process for Wellington Hills Park from the beginning, even though the Brightwater agreement, that provided funds to build a new park, required input from the community.

Decisions about the new park design were made well before the first public meeting; the only parties who had real input in the design process were special interest groups.

Once the design was presented to the public in May 2012, numerous objections have been voiced by community members, but  no substantive changes to the design were made to reflect their concerns.

We have asked the Parks Department at every opportunity to scale back the design: fewer fields, no lights for night games, and concentrate on the type of amenities people will use and enjoy.

The current park site doesn’t provide enough amenities to keep people enjoying the open space in the ways that our favorite parks do. If the Parks Department had bothered to actually change their design to fit the site and our community, we wouldn’t have to wage such a battle. It’s unfortunate that our message to please build us a community park has gotten lost.

We had to file an appeal to be heard, and to stop a design that violates Washington land use law. The Parks Department needs to scrap its master plan for a commercial sports complex and start working with us to design a park that fits its surroundings

Tina Stewart,  Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - April 29, 2013

  • Written by Readers

I was very surprised when I read the April 8th Letters to the Editor. All us 5th graders were very upset to hear that someone thought we had been forced on our positions because of the very advanced vocabulary we had in our letters. My father even disagreed with my position! I hope you know that we are very active in our writing and take it as a compliment that you think we couldn’t have written it.  I’d like to thank you for voicing your opinion and telling us what you thought of our letters.

Sarah Hickey, 5th grader at Wellington

In response to Dennis Dearing’s letter to the Editor published April 8, 2013:

To my students’ credit, they came to their own conclusions without coercion by their parents or teacher.

Educators seek opportunities to connect their classroom lessons to their students’ world so learning is authentic and personally applicable. In a unit about persuasive letter writing, what could be better than a chance for students to research a local topic that affects them and provides a real way for their young voices to be heard by their community?

The students took personal interest in the issue of the Wellington Hills County Park, near which many of them live. Over a period of several months, each student thoroughly researched the park’s design features. They read articles written by those for and against the park. As a result of that work, they formed their own strong opinions.

By researching a topic thoroughly and using well-documented facts, logic, reasoning and powerful words to persuade others, they learned lessons that will serve them as they progress in their classroom education and beyond. They also gained the experience of allowing their individual voices to be heard in a public forum. These young community members boldly risked putting their voices out into a public (mostly adult) audience —many for the first time. Some of their parents disagreed with their child’s opinion, but felt it worthwhile to give their child permission to publicly voice their own opinion. I hope these students will remember these lessons well.

They will also remember the unintentional lesson of being misunderstood and misrepresented. I’m encouraging my students to take what was not intended as a compliment and think of it as a tribute to their efforts. When children write so persuasively, using their own dynamic vocabulary and passionate voices, that they are perceived as having been coerced into their views, that is very high praise indeed. I hope they will continue to learn to use their voices, vocabulary and passion in ways that will shape their world and ours.

Well done, students, well done!

Karen Zehm, 5th grade teacher, Wellington Elementary

What’s so wrong about a Value Village? Surely it’s not the storefront; it looks like any other store in that strip mall. It’s not ugly; it’s better than an empty storefront and it’s not even in the Woodinville downtown. It seems to come down to the store’s offerings: low-price items.

Apparently, affordable stores and the people who shop at them just aren’t part of our vision for Woodinville. Instead, our vision is about exclusion. It’s clear that not all residents live in expensive houses, especially since 16.7 percent of district students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Still, we ignore the economic needs of low-income individuals. Still, we insist on making our city more expensive under the guise of “beautification.” Why do we act like our rich residents are the only people who matter?

Taking issue with Value Village and concerning ourselves with “sprucing up our city” sends the message that low-income residents don’t belong and, in fact, are making the city uglier.

If we really want to spruce up our city, I would start by adopting a more inclusive attitude. Until then, I will not be proud of Woodinville.

Celina Gunnarsson, Woodinville


... As many remember,  the old Northshore School District administration center was located in the Ricketts building in downtown Bothell.  The Ricketts facility was originally an elementary school constructed in 1948.  As the district grew, this building no longer met our needs and was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain.

In 2002 the school board asked voters to approve a $12.5 million bond for a new administration facility.  Once approved, the Board received reports on possible locations, vacant land and building design. Construction and land costs came in at $18 million, above what voters approved. Then the Monte Villa property became available: large facility, ample parking, centrally located.  This 6-year-old property had originally been built for $17.5 million.  The district was able to purchase it for $6.4 million, well below its original value and well below what voters had originally approved.

It is a beautiful building, which includes many “extras” we would not have approved on a new construction. This deal was definitely a win for our schools and community.

As co-chair of the 2014 levy/bond committee, I hope this purchase serves as an example of how our district and Boards are excellent stewards of our tax dollars.

B-Z Davis, co-chair Citizens for Northshore Schools

This month the Northshore Community Kitchen — a joint Northshore Council PTSA/Northshore YMCA program — will celebrate its first anniversary, made possible by generous and on-going support from several local businesses, community organizations, PTA units, individual donors, Northshore School District and a wonderful group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers.  Over the summer, Farms for Life will be providing weekly deliveries of fresh produce, and we’ll be harvesting the benefits of two YMCA-spearheaded mini gardening projects.

Since it began in April 2012, the Kitchen has prepared and distributed almost 3,000 once-a-week ready-to-eat meals to 37 families (141 people), and since October 2012 over 600 once-a-week sack snacks to 25-30 students attending the after-school Hang Time program at Kenmore Junior High. Since February, the Kitchen has also provided some of the items for the 595 sack snacks going to the 85 students who attend Hang Time at Northshore and Skyview junior highs.

In addition to the weekly meals, the families who’ve enrolled with the Kitchen have the opportunity to pick up a bi-weekly “extra” bag of non-perishable food items courtesy of the Y’s participation in the Totes To Go program.

The Northshore Community Kitchen is part of the Northshore Nourishing Network, a collaboration of local groups working to alleviate hunger insecurity in our community. On  Monday May 20 members of the public are invited to attend a presentation by registered dietitian Susie Fox about the links between hunger and obesity and how hunger can hurt children, families, and communities. Following the presentation there will be an opportunity for everyone to connect with Northshore Nourishing Network groups, learn more about what they are doing, and find out how to help.

The presentation will be held at the Bothell United Methodist Church, 18515 92nd Avenue NE, Bothell, 98011, May 20  from 6- 8 p.m.

For info: (425) 844 8923 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Julie Jacobson, senior director, Northshore YMCA, (425) 286-6122 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sue Freeman, Social Services Chair, Northshore Council PTSA

Letters to the Editor - April 8, 2013

  • Written by Readers


Minutes matter.

It made the difference between the continued use of  my son’s arm or not after his snowboarding accident.

Without Valley General Hospital’s emergency department my son would have been forced to travel another half hour before getting  the help he needed to remain the active teen he is.

His physician was very clear that timely medical treatment was what made the difference.

Tears come to my eyes thinking what his life would be life now without Valley General Hospital’s ER. Please vote YES to save our local hospital.

When someone you love needs help minutes do matter.

Kathy Bernhardt, Snohomish


My comments are in response to the letters written by the fifth graders at Wellington.

Allow me to start out by clarifying my position: I don’t really have a dog in this hunt since our kids are grown and our grandkids live in other communities although we do have a couple of 5th grade grandchildren.

I’m agnostic to the building of the park as long as it isn’t going to take unfunded tax dollars, (that we can’t afford for anything).

I’m also in favor of letting our kids voice their opinions respectfully.

I would agree the letters reflected that.

What I find hard to believe is these kids actually sat down and wrote these letters from their own observations and from within their hearts and souls articulated their concerns.

I find words and phrases like downsize, pandemonium, property values will drop, there will be no water runoff because the park designers have moved the parking lot, the Brightwater agreement only called for 40 acres, and think of the chemicals that the 700 cars in your parking lot will spew out are not words or phrases commonly heard from 5th graders.

I could go on and on because the letters are full of these types of comments. I’m sure these kids have some thoughts about the park, I’ve never met a child yet that didn’t love parks no matter what kind.

Adults, (parents or teachers) who use kids to further their own goals whether realistic or misguided should be ashamed.

Our goal as adults is to teach logical reasoning and how to assess pros and cons of any subject manner, not try to program our kids into a single minded thinking.

Build it [or] don’t build it but let the adult kids fight it out like they usually do.

Give your kids a pass on this one.

Take them to a park and play a game of catch.

Dennis Dearing, via email


Hollywood Hill residents who happen to live on major roadways have been plagued in recent years by big black plastic garbage bags of refuse deposited on their property in the dead of night.

We’ve been targeted several  times, finally reporting to King County Sheriff.

These “deposits” are sporadic and we’ve seen them up and down 148th Ave. NE and other sites on the west side of the hill, including Hollywood Hill School.

I guess we all eventually, and meekly, put the bags in our own paid-for refuse carts and hope someone will watch for and catch the Hollywood Hill Bag Man.

Bag contents would indicate he’s in he landscaping business.

Jon and June Hahn, Woodinville


I have never been one to write in, but after thinking for sure someone would comment on this, here it is.

Why is there a Value Village going in in Woodinville?

After the QFC, which I loved, could not re-new their lease, I was expecting something great.

We need to spruce up our city, make it something to be proud of.

Value Village should not fit into our vision, of this.

Leslee Vranich, Woodinville



In 1957, my husband and I moved to a lovely rental home in Woodinville, which was where the city hall is now. There was no “downtown” Woodinville then.

Everything was across the railroad tracks on the other side of the Sammamish Slough: the post office, a grocery store and an all purpose hardware and feed mill operated by the DeYoung family.

One night we awoke to bright flames reflecting on our bedroom wall, and it was the feedmill burning down.

We walked over in our bathrobes and very sadly watched it disappear into ashes.

My neighbors were the Molbaks who moved there a year before and established an innovative wholesale greenhouse which involved new plant technology from Denmark.

We became friends for the year or so that we lived there, and it was exciting to watch their business evolve into a nationally recognized nursery, which we are so fortunate to have in our community.

The only big excitement which happened in Woodinville were the annual slough races.

We all put together picnic baskets and blankets and walked over to the slough to watch the boats racing by. It was a time to visit with neighbors and enjoy a really fun event.

In those days, another annual event was the flooding of the Valley during winter storms.

The Corps of Engineers was called in by some “powers that be” and decided to remove the natural meanders of the Sammamish Slough and create a straight line for water to flow more rapidly into Lake Washington.

Engineers like straight lines, but no one consulted the biologists or the fish, which need meanders for resting during their migrations.

The valley had the most wonderful soil for growing just about anything, and my first veggie garden was very productive.

The Slough Races ended after the river was straightened.  Life just wasn’t the same, and something which we all enjoyed disappeared.

The Old Woodinville moved from across the river to what is now downtown, and gradually, the homes which were on that beautiful fertile soil, converted to businesses.

Fortunately, the comprehensive plan saved the valley for farming between Woodinville and Redmond, so we still have an agricultural focus in our community.

None of us ever predicted that we would become the Wine Country, but what a great way to live.

In the 56 years that I have lived in Woodinville, it is still a wonderful place to raise a family and enjoy the Best of the Northwest.

Wendy Walsh, Woodinville


Over the past two years, the businesses located on 144th Ave NE in the industrial area of Woodinville have been plagued by a brazen thief. He has entered into many of our businesses acting as a parent of a child participating in activities (batting cages or gymnastics), looking for employment or looking for information as a customer.  It usually isn’t until he has left that the business realizes money has been taken from their cash register, a cash box has been taken or even alcohol is missing.

Businesses have become accustomed to keeping doors locked, not having money on the premises and watching out for him.

My cash register was broken into three times in a month.

By the third time I had installed a security camera and decided to call 911 to report the incident.

I was able to give the security tape to Detective Park.

She increased police presence dramatically in the area.

Businesses were given pictures and asked to call 911 when they saw him.

Thanks to Detective Park’s attention to the situation, he was arrested in the area on February 2.

It is comforting to know that the criminal is behind bars and that there is someone who cares about the security of the businesses and safety of their customers.

Dotty Heberling, Northshore Sports Complex


[I was] so proud and thankful to be a part of the Woodinville community as we gathered to remember [a Woodinville teen] and support her family in their grief.

The words spoken by her friends and family are a reminder to us all that we are not alone in this world.

Let us all take this tragedy and make something good of it. May we all take a little more time to  listen,  love, be patient, show kindness, acknowledge, compliment,  hug, smile and most importantly pray, for each other and especially our teens!

Deanne Martin, Hollywood Hill