I appreciated the recent article highlighting the current working conditions of Northshore’s paraeducators. These conditions limit our ability to help our students be successful. This is my sixth year as a paraeducator in the Special Education Learning Center at Woodinville High School. Prior to this, I worked nine years as a paraeducator with Northshore’s Elementary Advanced Program. In my four-hour job I assist special ed students in their general education classes and Academic Lab classes. However, the needs of special education students do not end after four hours.
The Supreme Court’s ruling supporting the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) is a good decision. It will help thousands of Washingtonians and millions more across the nation; tax credits that now make health insurance affordable have been protected.
My brother, if he were still alive, would have qualified under the ACA for much needed medical attention and pain management. He dealt with failed back surgery pain for 20 years because he could not always afford to see a doctor and buy medicine.
The King v Burwell lawsuit should be considered a message to transform our healthcare system and create a system that would provide help to those like my brother who are faced with financial hardship in order to improve their health. I’m part of the Health Care is a Human Right campaign (healthcareisarightwa.org), a multi-year, grassroots effort to bring a truly universal health care system to Washington, and I encourage others to get involved in their communities. We’ve worked hard to move our health care system into the future, but we must push harder to realize the full promise of the ACA. Tamara Crane Woodinville
Thank you for your coverage and article about the concerns of Northshore Educational Service Professionals! Northshore’s paraeducators, school assistants and nurses have been unfairly underpaid for too long. It is time for the school district to more adequately compensate the dedicated and important work that we do for our students. We deserve better! Kathy Halleran Special Education Paraeducator at Hollywood Hill Elementary, Woodinville
Having lived in the Woodinville area for more than 20 years I have often wondered why nearby cities like Bothell, Redmond and Kirkland grow their business communities, yet Woodinville seems to stagnate. Now I understand. The Woodinville City Council is trying to limit the growth of business.
Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders made this apparent with her comments in rejecting a proposed ordinance to increase the size of allowable speciality food stores. Ms. Boundy-Sanders stated, “Trader Joe’s is a place where people come from some distance to buy large quantities of foods and wines and so on that they carry away in their cars.” Wow, what disaster might befall Woodinville if more people in cars came here to buy things! After stopping at a Trader Joe’s they might swing by Molbak’s and buy a plant or two. Or maybe have lunch at a local restaurant. Clearly in the view of Ms. Boundy-Sanders this would be the beginning of the end for downtown Woodinville.
So I will continue to drive to Totem Lake to shop at Trader Joe’s, and give my tax money to Kirkland. I will continue drive to both Kirkland and Redmond to frequent the many restaurants located there. And soon I will be driving to Bothell to support the many exciting new stores and restaurants opening there.
One a related note, whatever happened to the proposed development near the roundabouts at the base of Hollywood Hill? Is the City Council trying to delay or eliminate this project too? Because you never know, if that project were completed, people actually might come there in their cars to shop and spend money. According to Ms. Boundy-Sanders that would be a disaster. Reed West Woodinville
HOLLYWOOD HILL GRAVEL PIT
As a Hollywood Hill residents since ‘69, I have seen the “gravel pit “across from the Hollywood Elementary and its changes.
It was an empty gravel pit (mostly level), the school ground and horse arena came in and on the other side it became a dump site for a variety of stumps, and builders’ lumber. One could see steam rising from the surface in the winter.
All was not good, however, as there was sinking going on near the top of this hill. For two years now I have witnessed a constant stream of large dump trucks dropping in more soil. Some runs out at the bottom in rainy times, but my concern is that a strong earthquake could send the whole “mountain” down across the road. Dare I say more? I am not a geologist, but this is loose fill without a bedrock. D. Nelson Woodinville
SCHOOL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS
It is time for the Northshore School District to begin to truly value the members of NESPA. Without these vital support professionals working in our schools, the Northshore School District would function far less effectively than it does now. Members of NESPA provide critical support for, and often work with, our most vulnerable students. NESPA members are the ones that use the Hoyer lifts, they are the ones who change the diapers and they are the ones who are asked to work one-on-one with students with severe cognitive and physical disabilities.
As our local economy improves, higher paying jobs are opening in our community. The NSD must remain competitive in pay and benefits if they wish to retain a qualified and vibrant workforce. NESPA members take their jobs and responsibilities very seriously and they deserve to be treated with dignity and compensated accordingly. John Harley Hammond Kenmore
I was looking out of my back window last night, and smiling because the baby robins in the nest by the deck have hatched. I saw the parents working tirelessly to feed their little upturned beaks. I then found my mind drifting to the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. In most past years our neighborhood becomes like a war zone, with non-stop explosions for hours and hours. Some have been so loud that I felt shock waves through my body while inside the house! I wondered if the robins would abandon the nest out of fear and confusion. I thought about how the little bunny that has taken up residence in the yard would fare with all of the deafening noise, and how last year the neighbor’s cat came running up to the house completely terrified.
Please, people, have a heart this year and take it easy on the fireworks. And remember that true freedom begins on the inside. Grace Baird Woodinville
This past Tuesday evening, my children and I were turning right at the intersection of 156th Street and Woodinville-Duvall Road a little after 5 p.m. As we were passing the Arco station, we noticed a plume of gray smoke coming from some of the new landscaping on the far end of the building. After turning around, and parking, we found the mulch in the bed closest to the street was smoldering in two places and discovered live coals underneath, which had spread under the surface of the mulch down a couple inches. After several minutes, we managed to get the smoldering mulch stamped out on the nearby sidewalk. The cause of the combustion was easily apparent. At least 12 cigarette butts were scattered in the area just along the curb. Fortunately, none of the tossed cigarettes managed to ignite the dry weeds and grass on the other side of the sidewalk which lead up to trees, and the gas station, but with this hot, dry summer weather, it may only be a matter of time. Please, if you smoke, consider what might happen if you toss your smoldering cigarette butt out your car window. We don’t want to see all that new landscaping disappear in flames.
Laura Brokaw Woodinville
I live at Brittany Park. I am speaking for the majority of the residents.
We do not like what has evolved across the street. The only thing which was making it tolerable was the expectation of a Trader Joe’s. Now the City Council has dashed those hopes. We will not be frequenting the wine shops and restaurants. They unfortunately are not with in our budgets.
Clineene Smith Woodinville
There really are some really good people in Woodinville. This letter is intended to thank the “daughter” who anonymously gave me a $100 Home Depot gift card while I was dining at the Woodinville Purple on Father’s Day. Your kind gesture certainly caught me by surprise and your heartfelt letter which described your father touched me deeply. It made me think again about the special relationship I had with my own father who passed away 16 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could share stories and laughs with him. Thank you so much.
I believe your gift was intended for a father, which I am not. I was dining that evening with a long-time friend and her niece, who were both visiting from California. However, I would like to honor your intentions by contributing $100 to the Wounded Warrior Project. I am pretty sure that both of our fathers would be proud of us and are smiling from above.
An Appreciative Son Woodinville
‘NOW GO HOME’
Here we go, the Woodinville City Council sticking its foot in its mouth again. And this time, it’s one of our favorites, Ms. Susan Boundy-Sanders.
This past week, she was quoted in the Weekly stating: “In the pedestrian core district, you want it to be pedestrian-friendly, which means that you don’t want to be setting up uses that are going to attract a lot of customers from all over the place.”
What does this mean? We need to wall-off the various Woodinville Wine district neighborhoods from any access to downtown. People come from all over to enjoy our wineries, breweries and distilleries. But Ms. Boundy-Sanders doesn’t want people from “all over the place” to come and patronize downtown.
When is the City Council going to realize that those of us who live outside of the city limits are also the life-blood that keeps downtown Woodinville popular? ALL of the businesses in downtown Woodinville rely on those of us who live outside of the city limits of Woodinville for their livelihood. Plain and simple.
It’s as if Ms. Susan Boundy-Sanders is saying, “Welcome to Woodinville, now go home!” Brian Marantz Woodinville
We have developed a website inviting Woodinville area residents to post photos or blog about recent bear sightings. Over the past three days we have personally seen bears in our pasture within 50 feet of our house, and thought others must also be seeing bears in their vicinity.
We have chosen to live in this community surrounded by nature, appreciating the diversity of wildlife in our yard. Even in our fenced pasture just below the house, deer, coyotes and bobcats are common sights. But the past couple of years, bears have been increasingly daring in daylight hours and were raiding garbage cans and destroying fruit trees at night. While we enjoy seeing them at a safe distance, we are concerned that they are so brazen, even before the first signs of fruit on our property.
It seems prudent to share as much information as possible to heighten awareness, as kids are out of school and we are all outdoors more. Besides warning our immediate neighbors we thought a community-wide blog might help parents plan their outings. For example our sightings occurred at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and a hundred different sightings could show a pattern.
Please check out our website at bearsightingin woodinville98077.wordpress.com.
Max Sahafi and Cris Darlington Woodinville
FIRE DISTRICT 7
Snohomish County Fire District 7 received some great news that we want to share. Our cardiac survival rates are twice that of the national average and 21 points higher than the state. We want to thank taxpayers in Fire District 7 and the City of Mill Creek for helping us build the most advanced emergency response system in Snohomish County. Fire District 7 and the City of Mill Creek formed a regional partnership 32 years ago to save taxpayers money and improve our emergency response for fire and EMS. These recent statistics on our cardiac save rates are just one example of how this partnership continues to benefit everyone we serve.
The contract we have with Mill Creek funds the city fire station, 20 firefighters, an engine and a paramedic unit. Mill Creek voters approved funding for these improvements, and Fire District 7 is committed to maintaining them because it improves our district-wide emergency response.
On behalf of all of us at Fire District 7, we would like to say thank you for your continued support of this partnership. We are stronger together.
Roy Waugh, Chair Board of Fire Commissioners Snohomish County Fire District 7
I read with interest K-Y Su’s letter about the State budget. Much of what K-Y said is correct and much is not correct! Under the McCleary decision education in the state needs to be funded in a sustainable fashion. The senate budget does not do that; it relies on recent unexpected tax revenues that are not sustainable in the future. By the next biennium we will again be four billion dollars behind. Senator Hill’s plan to sell cannabis to fund education is also not sustainable. I have been an educator in Washington for 40 years so I know the system, and I am not a Republican or a Democrat. We are 47th in class size among the states and our beginning teachers are some of the lowest paid. If you want excellent teachers you need to give them a good salary!
Representatives Goodman and Springer are doing their job by trying to provide a sustainable tax revenue for education now and in the future with no gimmicks. Senator Hill and the Republican-controlled Senate need to be realistic and work to provide sustainability in our education system and not hold our children hostage so they can give big tax breaks to large corporations.
Mike Reid Duvall
After having met with the candidates for Northshore School Board and determining their position on the issue of later start times, the endorsement committee representing Parent Advocates for a Late Start (PALS) is endorsing Berta Phillips, candidate for Northshore School Board - Position 3.
Berta Phillips has long been an outspoken advocate for the students of Northshore School District, and has been a supporter of PALS since its inception many years ago. Berta has been involved with the Northshore Community for over 50 years, much of that time working with staff and students of the Northshore School District. Berta believes in doing what is best for all students. We believe Berta Phillips is the best choice for Northshore School Board.
Paraeducators are trained professionals who meet Washington state’s recommended core competencies in accordance with RCW 28A.415.310. They assist certified staff in providing instructional and other services to students and their families. Paraeducators are a valuable asset to our students, and our school community. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Northshore’s paraeducators are on the lowest tier of the Northshore Education Support Professionals Association (NESPA) pay scale. According to a study conducted by the Compensation Technical Working Group, the average Northshore paraeducator’s salary is approximately $6 an hour below the recommended wage.
In addition to being underpaid, many of our paraeducators are kept to a part-time status, and do not receive benefits. Our paraeducators work hard, but often struggle to feed their own families. It is not uncommon to hear of paraeducators who are on food stamps, and whose children receive free and reduced lunches.
I believe that we can do better. Celebrating “classified employee week” each year, with its parties and lunches, is a nice gesture, but it doesn’t address the problem. Our paraeducators deserve to be properly compensated for the important work they perform. They deserve to be afforded the work hours necessary to qualify for the same benefits other Northshore employees receive.
It is time the school district treats our paraeducators with dignity and respect. For too long they have been viewed as “just moms who want to keep busy while their kids are in school.” These men and women are dedicated professionals working to make a difference in the lives of our children. All they ask is the right to earn enough to provide for their own families in the process. I don’t think that is too much to ask.
Berta Phillips Candidate for Northshore School Board Bothell
DIRT ON HOLLYWOOD HILL
I am in complete agreement with Mr. Phillips’ assessment of the dirt on the hill. It has been an eyesore for over two years.
Not just the dirt, but the trucks kicking up rocks that hit windshields, roughing up the road and clogging traffic! When will this end?!
Julie Miller Woodinville
As we prepare for graduation with our seniors, one message we continually share with them is the Commencement Ceremony is really a chance for them as graduates to honor all of those who helped them reach this milestone in their lives. So many of you in this great Woodinville community, whether realizing it or not, made a positive impact on the 461 Class of 2015 graduates who now call Woodinville High School their alma mater. On behalf of each of them, and all of us here at WHS who are so proud of these graduates, thank you for partnering with us throughout their journey to graduation.
Special thanks are also owed to our business partners, staff, and volunteers for their contributions to the successful celebration of the Class of 2015: Flower World, Plants Northwest, Inc. and Hoffman’s Landscape for their help with stage décor; Flowers By George for student flowers and for donating the podium arrangement; Jostens for caps, gowns, and graduation materials; Ray Grice for the hours spent preparing our 2015 Stage Prop; Xfinity Arena for their hospitality; the Woodinville Police Department for their extra watchfulness over our community to ensure that everyone was safe; and our dedicated faculty, staff, and volunteers for the numerous contributions of time and energy whenever and wherever efforts were needed.
Our motto at Woodinville High School is “One Falcon, One Family” and we truly believe that our family extends into the Woodinville community. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be working with you to help shape our future generations. Congratulations again, graduates, parents, guardians and supporters of the Class of 2015!
Kurt S. Criscione Principal, Woodinville High School
When will the postal carriers in Woodinville get the mail deliveries correct? Recently I had received my neighbor’s mail. I have no idea what happened to my mail that day. This has happened quite frequently since I have lived in Woodinville. Both my mailbox and my neighbor’s mailbox clearly had the house numbers displayed quite visibly on the mailboxes. There is no reason that the carrier could not have matched the mail to the mailboxes he or she was delivering to.