Letters to the Editor - January 7, 2013

  • Written by Readers


Many thanks to the local businesses, organizations, PTAs and community members who have supported the Northshore Community Kitchen since it started in April 2012.

With this amazing help, this joint Northshore Council PTSA/Northshore YMCA program has prepared and distributed over 1570 once-a-week meals to more than 30 families in need, plus (since October) a total of 290 once-a-week snack sacks for the students who go to the Hang Time afterschool program at Kenmore Junior High.  

As our program continues into the new year, we look forward not only to maintaining but also expanding our support base, so please contact either of us for information on how your financial support, your pantry item donations, or your volunteer time can make a real difference in the lives of many Northshore families.

Sue Freeman, Social Services Chair, Northshore CouncilPTSA

(425) 844-8923  | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Julie Jacobson, Senior Director, Northshore YMCA

(425) 286-6122   | jjacobson@seattleymca org


The NRA`s solution to the recent tragic school shootings is, incredibly, armed guards at the schools. This is pure genius, why didn`t anyone think of it sooner.

More guns is the obvious solution, it`s so simple. Armed guards at all schools, and of course shopping malls.

Don`t forget theaters, fast food restaurants and coffee shops. Also the local post office and all liquor stores and bars. Every IRS office, Social Security and unemployment office is an obvious target. Doctors’ and especially lawyers’ offices should be watched around the clock for disgruntled clients.

Protect every place of employment where more than three employees congregate at one time.

More guns will save us? Tell that to the four dead police officers from Lakewood!

Jim Willett, Woodinville

Guest Editorial - Office of the Education Ombudsman

  • Written by Office of the Education Ombudsman
The Office of the Education Ombudsman staff wishes to express our heartfelt condolences to the families, educators and community members of Newtown, Conn., for the devastating loss they have experienced.

Many parents and students have contacted our office to share their feelings, concerns and grief. We are heartbroken but believe that this tragedy can lead to a renewed commitment to work together and find ways to ensure the safety and well-being of all children.

A frequent question we have been asked is “What can we do so that this tragedy doesn’t happen again?”  While no one can ensure anyone’s safety anywhere, we do believe that as educators, families and communities we should take all possible steps to prevent and be ready to respond if a violent incident were to happen during school time.

The most important step is to move from denial: “This will never happen here/to us” to preparation and a plan of action.

What Families Can Do

• Talk to your children about recent events of school violence and discuss their fears and grief.

• Monitor your student’s access and use of violent video games and Internet sites.

• Discuss differences between video games and reality.

• Find out which safety and emergency response procedures exist in your school and discuss them with your student. Explain what role you will play in the event of an emergency at school, what is your family’s emergency plan and who are your contacts in case you are unable to come to the school.

• Ensure that your school has your latest contact and emergency contact information.

• Help other parents and students understand and follow your school’s safety procedures.

• If you suspect that your student is struggling with mental/emotional health issues communicate with your school and find professional assistance to have your student appropriately evaluated and treated as needed.

• Help your school partner with health and social service providers to assist students and families who may need support.

What School Districts & Schools Can Do

• Review, and if necessary, improve safety procedures and emergency response systems for all school buildings and school district central offices.

• Train all school building and district personnel, including administrative staff, bus drivers, custodians, etc. on safety and response procedures.

• Communicate with all parents to ensure they have given their schools updated contact and emergency contact information.

•  Create a manual explaining safety and emergency response procedures for staff and a manual for students and parents.

• Communicate safety procedures to parents and students through student meetings, websites, parent meetings, flyers, posters, e-newsletters, texts, etc. in a language they can understand.

• Conduct frequent emergency response drills with staff, parents and students working together as a team.

• Identify community-based health and social services and supports that schools can partner with to assist students and families.

Office of the Education Ombudsman - Governor’s Office, 155 NE 100th Street, Suite 210 • Seattle, WA 98125-8012

206-729-3232 or toll-free 1-866-297-2597 • Fax 206-729-3251 •

Letters to the Editor - December 10, 2012

  • Written by Readers

Thanksgiving has always been a celebration of family, friends and food where you do not eat until everyone has a place at the table.

If a friend or coworker did not have a place to celebrate Thanksgiving they were invited and another place was set at the table.

Our family has made an effort to anonymously adopt a family and provide them with a holiday meal whenever we had the means to help out.

We recently contacted one of Woodinville’s newest restaurants, Gobble, to see if we could purchase a full Thanksgiving meal for a family in need.

We were both pleased and surprised that the owner of Gobble not only would sell us a meal for a family in need, but they also requested the opportunity to share the cost with us by providing a full holiday meal for half price.

In addition to the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and side dishes listed on the menu, the employees at Gobble also baked pies for the family, going well above and beyond our expectations.

It is said that character is defined by what you do when no one is watching.

The owner and employees of Gobble have helped to make Thanksgiving more meaningful for a local family because they were inspired to help out purely in an effort to assist a community member in need.

Our community benefits and celebrations are more meaningful when local businesses make an effort to reach out and assist our residents in need.

Many thanks to the owner and employees at Gobble!

T. Landau, Woodinville

It has been a month since the historic, inaugural election for mayor in the township of Grace, your northerly neighbor.

As campaign manager for both candidates, it is my duty to report that the results remain in question.

The Grace Election Commission is having difficulty reconciling a Grace population of 12 (see  the “welcome” sign on Highway 9) and the fact that it collected or received 434 marked ballots. The commission appears to be in a bit of a quandary.

Neither candidate has instructed me to concede on his behalf.

In the interim, please suggest to your readers that they disregard any candidate’s claim to have prevailed in an electoral landslide.

Hugo B. Jonsen, Grace

Guest Editorial - Marijuana legalization: What parents can say to their children

  • Written by Leslie R. Walker, MD

With the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and marijuana-infused foods and beverages last week, and the development of a commercial marijuana market over the next year, parents are asking what they should say to their children.

Since parents are the primary influence on adolescent behavior, even if it may not seem that way, it is important to discuss the new law and what is expected in your family.

High school students who smoke marijuana report that they started between the ages of 13-14 so conversations need to start early.

First, ask children what they know about marijuana.

This is a good time to correct the many myths about marijuana.

For example, many teenagers tell us that marijuana cures cancer.This is not true.

Then move on to the facts.

• Most Seattle high school students do not use marijuana.

Seventy percent of Seattle high school seniors report that they do not use marijuana, according to the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey.  What this means is that everyone is not doing it.

• Among high school students, the perception of risk associated with marijuana use has decreased and use rates have increased over the past several years.

In fact, marijuana is risky for adolescents to use.

In our Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, I regularly see teenagers who use marijuana several times per week and find that they cannot cut down their use despite the problems it causes at home and at school.

These are teenagers who are giving up things that have been important to them and spending a great deal of time obtaining marijuana and recovering from its effects.

Adolescents enter substance abuse treatment for marijuana problems more than any other drug problem, including alcohol.

• The still-developing adolescent brain is harmed by regular marijuana use.

Regular marijuana use among teens is associated with school failure.

Avoiding marijuana is a good idea if students want to do well in school.

More science-based facts about marijuana use are available at

• Engage in a family discussion about all drugs, including marijuana.

.• Set family rules about drug and alcohol use.

• Agree on appropriate consequences if youth use drugs and write them down.

Examples include losing driving or cell phone privileges.

The most difficult part may be enforcing those consequences, so make sure that you are willing and able to carry them out if needed.It’s essential for parents to keep lines of communication open with their children throughout the teen years.  Know where they are going to be and with whom.

More tips for parents are available at

• Finally, remember that you are the most important role model for your children.

If you use marijuana or plan to start once marijuana shops open, think about how your use affects your children.

You may not realize it, but your children watch you closely.

Have a discussion among your adult friends and family about the acceptability of using marijuana during gatherings at your homes.

If adults eat marijuana brownies at parties where children are present, make sure they are only accessible to adults.

Just like parents are encouraged to lock up alcohol and medications, parents should lock up their pot.

Needless to say, parents should never drive while  under the influence of marijuana or any other substance.

Parents and teens are not alone when it comes to preventing youth marijuana use.

New laws that are meant to keep marijuana out of the hands of youth should be enforced.

Schools have zero-tolerance policies.

Healthcare providers talk to teenage patients about avoiding drugs.

Everyone has a role to play in keeping our children drug-free.

Additional local information is available at the ADAI Clearinghouse:

• If you think that your teenager may be using marijuana or other drugs, information about local resources is available at the Washington Recovery Help Line, a 24-hour service,at 866-789-1511 or

From Leslie R. Walker, MD, Chief of Adolescent Medicine, Co-director of Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Inga Manskopf, Prevention WINS Coordinator, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Letters to the Editor - December 3, 2012

  • Written by Readers


With reference to the Woodinville Weekly’s article about the Snohomish County’s Parks Advisory Board approval of the Wellington Hills Park plan,  I want to comment on Tom Tiegen’s remarks about those who oppose his park plan.

The first public meeting on the proposed Wellington Hills Park was held on May 8, 2012.

At that meeting, Tom Tiegen told the audience, the park, in the form of a regional sports complex, was a “done deal.”

He then went on to say many of the same things that are in The Woodinville Weekly article concerning other people’s initial resistance and their eventual surrender to a park’s construction.

The Snohomish County Dept. of Parks & Recreation meetings at Brightwater were primarily slide-show and poster board presentations showing the various iterations of proposed master plans.

Audiences were encouraged to write questions on cards and to pass them to someone from the county.

At one meeting, someone had an opportunity to ask about the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) check list, but Tiegen quickly took the microphone away and re-directed the audience to come forward and look at the various drawings that were placed around the room.

As for the mentioned public process — I guess it depends on what “public process” means.

At the first meeting, Tiegen stated he wanted to start construction on the park/sports complex in October 2012.

On that schedule, the tree cutters and bulldozers were to begin their work less than five months after the first public meeting.

The Wellington Hills Park plan is probably the largest sports complex project ever initiated within Snohomish County.

With that in mind, why hasn’t the proposed plan been throughly evaluated in the same manner any other major project is proposed, studied and reviewed?

For example, the Brightwater sewage plant site was rigorously studied, rigorously scrutinized and publicly reviewed by citizen groups, experts and numerous panels.

This is Washington state.  There are established and very specific ways of doing things and we typically don’t rush into expensive projects.

Yes, decisions can take time. And yes, studies and reviews are potentially expensive, but, isn’t that the essence of due process and long-term fiscal responsibility?

Shouldn’t we have a thorough review, rather than fast-tracking a major, but non-essential, project into construction?

The consequences of sorting out problems afterwards are not only frustrating and messy, but typically they’re more expensive, and quite possibly no one will be happy.

Bill Stankus, Woodinville

In the November 19th Woodinville Weekly, Snohomish County Park and Recreation Director Tom Tiegen is quoted as saying “… we have thousands of folks very supportive of this park …” to replace the golf course.

At the Snohomish County Parks Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday, November 13,  he stated that there were a lot of supporters who didn’t want to get into battles with their neighbors but were very supportive.

Does Tom really think that those of us who gave up our time to attend the meeting really want to get into battles with anyone?

Does he not think we have more important things to do on a Tuesday afternoon?

Let me draw an analogy. Suppose we decide to build a county aquatic center in Tom’s back yard.

I guarantee you there would be numerous supporters in a 3, 4 or 5 mile radius but it would not make or break their current living situation.

If it goes through they’d be pleased, however if it did not, no big deal.

However, Tom himself would be very opinionated. If it goes through, his whole life changes forever as there will now be thousands of people tromping through his backyard to the aquatic center.

The constant noise, particularly on weekends, and the night lights would permanently alter his lifestyle.

He would have skin in the game and would cut out of work to fight the proposal.

Such is the case for the neighbors adjacent to the current golf course location.

Our lives will change forever if Snohomish County government runs us over.

The whole idea to mitigate the construction of Brightwater was to put in parks to offset wiping out such a large green space.

A commercial sports complex is NOT a park. If you want to see a park, visit Volunteer Park or the Washington Park Arboretum.

It seems as if Brightwater has given Snohomish County government carte blanche to run over local residential neighborhoods.

No private business would be allowed to build such a complex as it violates local zoning laws. Does the county not have to abide by the law?

Thank You,

Mike O’Grady, Woodinville