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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 http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

• 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 http://theparenttoolkit.org.

• 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: http://adaiclearinghouse.org

• 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 http://www.warecoveryhelpline.org.


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

WELLINGTON HILLS PARK


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

Guest Editorial - Wellington Hills County Park Master Plan

  • Written by Ted Pankowski, Woodinville

Thank you for your coverage of the Snohomish County Parks Advisory Board action on the Wellington Hills County Park Master Plan. I attended their November 12 meeting in support of Neighbors to Save Wellington Park, (NSWP) our newly-formed association of local citizens in both King and Snohomish counties who support Wellington Park and are utterly opposed to the massive regional sports complex that Snohomish County Parks Department has advocated for this site.

As the minutes of the November 12 meeting show,  statements from the audience reaffirmed points that NSWP have been trying to bring to the public discussion ever since we were first informed of the draft plan in May 2012.

Mike O Grady, Woodinville excerpted comments - stated neighbors were not contacted in advance of May 2012 public meeting.

“This is a government run industrial sports complex. A private company would never be allowed to drop a commercial sports complex in a residential neighborhood

Larry Nelson, Woodinville, excerpted comments - steep road, rarely plowed. We don’t want to be located across from the new fields. A shame that this money is being spent on this project and should be used instead by the county sheriff’s office, etc.

Todd Bailey, Woodinville, representing Neighbors to Save Wellington Park,  excerpted comments - zoned rural. Concerns - commercial development located in a rural neighborhood.

This was not part of the county park comp plan in 2007. We were not contacted regarding input as to amenities and features of the property. We are asking you to downsize. Concerns regarding traffic and safety. Property value is projected to decline by experts. Suggested operating hours of the park will leave only eight hours for sleeping.

Ed Stevenson, Woodinville,  excerpted comments - largest private property owner adjacent to park. Concerns regarding cycling/bmx complex (public-private partnership).

Major  business taking up a lot of square footage. Please get assistance to assess risk vs. benefits of this enterprise that is not zoned as such.” Loss of green area.

Katrina Stewart, Woodinville, excerpted comments - this park is for the purpose of generating revenue. It does not benefit the neighborhood. It doesn’t make sense. What is the plan for traffic? Only a 2 -lane road. Not passable during snow.

No one at the meeting spoke in favor of the plan. Nonetheless, Parks Director Tom Teigen pressed forward with arguments he has been making since May 2013 at the start of the so-called public involvement plan:

Parks Advisory Board potential action on the Wellington Hills County Park Master Plan - Tom thanked audience for coming, and made other comments related to what the Brightwater Mitigation Agreement called for ( 40 + acre park for active recreation) with discussions and meetings held as far back as 2005 detailing the need for multipurpose, synthetic, lit athletic fields.

Tom stated: If approved by Board today, plan still needs to be approved and reviewed through the  SEPA process (approx. mid Feb 2013), etc., before moving forward. Important: there will still be opportunity to make comments and appeals before plan is finalized and sent to Council for final approval. Motion to approve. Seconded. One opposed. Nine affirmative.  Motion passed. • More comments from the audience.”

The intensity of the “more comments” referenced but not included in the minutes would show just how divisive this issue has become. The Parks Department is claiming it is just meeting contractual obligations imposed by the Brightwater Mitigation Agreement and that there is a local public demand for a sports-complex at Wellington, a claim that is as yet undocumented.

Moreover, Parks continues to ignore minimize or defer to the future the following substantive  points:

1) That its interpretation of the Brightwater Mitigation Agreement may be flawed. The agreement certainly wouldn’t require Snohomish County to ignore the needs of its own Comprehensive Plan  or the requirements of the Growth Management Act;

2) That there has been no public needs assessment for a regional sports facility in south Snohomish County. In fact, some of the proposed uses may be illegal outside of  an urban growth boundary. Wellington is a zoned rural area;

3) That Wellington may not be suitable for such a facility. Consider 700 parking spaces to service  two major recreational draws to its traffic “chokepoints”  —  Route 9 on the west and 156th (Bostian Road) to the east of 240th,  the only access road into and out of the park;

4) That alternative uses of the park, such as continuation of an active 82-year-old golf course, had not been seriously  considered.

5) That the changes made to the draft plan because of interactions with the neighboring communities have been little more than a  tweaking of  some features, appreciated but minimal at best.

Meanwhile, NSWP has seen the purchase of additional acreage to the park, the placement of fences (albeit attractive) along  both sides of 240th  and a stream of surveyors who represent a harbinger of the massive clearing and grading to come.

To learn more, and to see an outstanding photographic record, check out the following sites:

• http://iv92588.typepad.com/blog/

•http: // neighborsto savewellingtonpark.blogspot.com.

Thank you for your attention and support. We think the future well-being of our Wellington Hills communities are at stake!

Guest Editorial - Thanksgiving: So Much to be Thankful For

  • Written by Bryan Golden
Thanksgiving is much more than a big meal with family and friends.

It’s a time to reflect on, and be thankful for, all of the good things you have.

Even with all of the uncertainty and turmoil in the world, you have so much to be thankful for. It’s important to be grateful, not just on Thanksgiving, but each and every day.

Rather than lamenting what you feel is lacking in your life, begin each new day by developing an attitude of gratitude. Take inventory of your blessings and you will be surprised at just how much you have to be thankful for.

If you have enough to eat, a place to live, a way to get around, people who care about you, or people you care about, then you are wealthy.

If you lack any of these elements, you must still be grateful for what you do have, while striving to obtain whatever is absent.

Focus on all positive aspects of your life. Take nothing for granted. Every morning, recharge your appreciation. Be happy for everything there is, not upset over what you feel is missing.

Dreams of the future shouldn’t diminish appreciation for the present. If all you do is concentrate on what you want, you won’t enjoy today.

Don’t be jealous of others; what they do or have has no bearing on you.You can feel bitter or resentful for a variety of reasons.

Perhaps you feel something is missing from your life, things aren’t going your way or you have been treated unfairly. You may wonder: “Why do these things always happen to me?”

Life’s problems tend to dominate your thoughts, turning your focus to what you feel is wrong.

You may start to resent those who appear to be better off. You’re apt to dwell on things you think would make your life better if you had them.

If only you had more money, more time, a bigger house, a different car, a different job, a different boss, had picked a different career, etc.

Once your attitude becomes one of deficiency instead of abundance and appreciation, you can become overwhelmed by feelings of frustration and feel like a victim.

As this happens, a consuming vicious cycle starts.

Being bitter or resentful blows situations out of proportion. People who are bitter frequently find that their situations deteriorate and their mental and physical health decays.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve your goals while you are bitter or resentful.

Regardless of what challenges might befall you, bitterness makes finding solutions much more elusive.

There is no point to feeling bitter since it accomplishes nothing, harms you and makes things worse.

Filling yourself with gratitude on a daily basis makes you feel good, while driving out negative feelings.

Begin your practice of gratitude each morning as soon as you wake.

Every day is a great day.  If you have any doubts, try missing one. Take inventory of everything, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that is good in your life.

If it helps, make a written list of all things you are grateful for.

Read your list every day.  As you do this, you will build and reinforce your attitude of gratitude.

Don’t waste any time with what you feel you don’t have.

Keep things in perspective.  Consider all the people who have overcome difficulties far worse than yours.

Don’t be consumed by your problems, there is always a solution.  Maintaining an attitude of gratitude allows your mind to devise a resolution for your circumstances.

Make every day a day of Thanksgiving and you will be amazed how much better your life will become.

Bryan is the author of “Dare to Live Without Limits.” Visit www.DareToLiveWithoutLimits.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a self-development expert, syndicated columnist and professor. E-mail Bryan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 2011 Bryan Golden

Letters to the Editor - November 12, 2012

  • Written by Readers

KING CONSERVATION DISTRICT

Please do all that you can to keep the KCD program and services up and going!

I live on a spawning creek and KCD has provided me with reasonably priced inventory that my neighbors and I have purchased to help enhance our Sensitive Area Setbacks.

Many Washingtonians are naïve about the importance of native planting and that is another thing that the KCD program and services provides: education and making all of us better aware of what we do affects our environment!

Jeanne Hannah, Woodinville


THANKS TO THE CITY

Thank you City of Woodinville for the welcoming gateway signage that is being designed (I vote for option C).

Also, thank you for the sweet smelling lavender that laces our Tourist District, tree-lined streets downtown, district banners that give us a sense of place and ongoing habitat restoration along our Sammamish River Trail.

All this beautification contributes to my happiness and well-being.

Trish Knox, Woodinville

Happiness Initiative


WELLINGTON HILLS PARK

I believe the way the Wellington Hills Park is headed is in a bad direction. I used to run cross country and have friends that still do and they use the park as it is, but would be unable to use it if the park was changed to what is planned.

The way the park is right now is aesthetically pleasing. Building a park for things that already exist at most 10 minutes away, it seems like a waste of money. Places that already have multi-use fields, in case any were unaware, are located in downtown Woodinville and in North Creek next to the YMCA.

There is also a great mountain biking location at Paradise Valley Conservation Area. I currently walk to school every day and the road is dangerous enough. With even more people coming up and down, the risk factors of people being hit is greatly increased.

Garret Penny, Woodinville

WEB PROGRAM AT LEOTA

This past summer Leota’s new WEB Program had a funding crisis and the coordinators were granted the guest editorial in the Woodinville Weekly asking for assistance from our community.

We would like to thank the Woodinville Weekly, Leota PTSA and the families of Woodinville who stepped up to help us out.

The contributions from local families and businesses helped make our first days of school successful and launched this program in the right direction.

The reality is our program will always need the support of our community, and if you would like to contribute to ensure the program’s continued success, please send checks to Leota PTSA with WEB in the memo.

With Much Appreciation,

The WEB Coordinators