ALARM IS SOUNDING
I have a garden in the Sammamish Valley. For the past two summers my squash plants blossomed with beautiful orange flowers but produced little fruit. Was it due to the lack of pollination and bees? A group of us with Transition Woodinville hosted the documentary film The Vanishing of the Bees that was both alarming and enlightening. Colony Collapse Disorder is the term being used worldwide to describe this bee crisis. In France beekeepers united, hired a lawyer and the political official banned pesticide use to protect and save their bees. What will we do here in America and in our valley? Much of the research points to the use of pesticides, especially systemic ones, as the culprit. The alarm bell sounds. Are we enlightened enough to change old habits and thus save our bees — and ourselves?
Trish Knox, via e-mail
This is in response to the letter to the 4ditor from Rick Louis LaMarche in the April 18 issue of the Woodinville Weekly. While many, if not all, of the points raised by Mr. LaMarche also raise the hackles on my neck, I would like to offer a different perspective.
Many subdivisions are built by a large faceless land-speculation corporation, with no stake in the neighborhood other than making a profit. In this case, the applicants are the Baumgartners, our friends and neighbors who currently own and reside on the property. They have lived here longer than anyone on the Wedge, dating back to when it was an apple orchard for a working farm, and 136th Ave. NE was unpaved. They have stood with us at various hearings and city council meetings as we attempted to oppose the rampant development that has changed the Wedge much in the way Mr. LaMarche describes in his letter.
Now the Baumgartners want a piece of the action that has been granted to numerous developers. Their application for sub-platting their lot into four single family dwellings is well within the city’s zoning requirements, is consistent with recent construction on the Wedge, and actually preserves much more greenspace than other newly-built subdivisions. It would be grossly unfair to some really nice neighbors to let land developers build their subdivisions, but deny the Baumgartners the ability to do the same.
There are many things the Wedge neighbors can do to mitigate many of the items Mr. LaMarche mentions, such as insisting the city, and any future builder, comply with existing laws and Do The Right Thing. We have been clamoring for the city put in sidewalks on our street for years to protect children walking to school and slow the traffic on the 136th Ave. Drag Strip. Now maybe they will. Woodinville has indeed changed, from a small sleepy town "on the other side of Bothell" to just another section of the I-405 suburban corridor. The time to stop development on the Wedge has long gone. We gave it the old college try, but in the end the developments were built, and the traffic increased. We survived. The Baumgartners’ plans should be allowed to go through.
Richard C. Reed, Woodinville
On Sunday morning I was contacted by my neighbor Colleen Porter that her son Cole’s wallaby was missing. Look up wallaby on your computer. It’s a mini kangaroo and obviously not indigenous to the area. Colleen and her two sons, Cole and Logan live on acreage next to us and have a veritable menagerie, horses, dogs, cats, goats and Marley the Wallaby. Colleen has raised two great boys and all the animals all by herself. Cole has had Marley for two years and has hand raised him since he was a baby. This animal was very well socialized with all their animals and people. He lived inside and was loved by all so when he went missing it was crucial we find him soon.
As mentioned before, Wallabies are not from this climate. They can suffer an autonomic nervous response to stress that can kill them. Needless to say the situation was dire. He was discovered missing early Sunday morning and it was surmised he had been out all night. We started to canvas the adjoining neighborhoods and post signs everywhere. I went with Cole while his mother and brother drove through the neighborhoods. I know the woods and the side streets that connect the woods so I went with Cole. We thrashed our way through a swamp with a sinkhole in it that Cole stepped in and sank to mid thigh, we trudged through the nasty swamp in horrible weather ... crawling over fences, through densely forested areas looking for signs of the wayward wallaby. We did find tracks initially (very distinct little wallaby feet) and were able to follow them in a specific direction for a short distance and ascertain which way he was moving but lost the tracks. We live in a very rural part of southeast Snohomish County where predator sightings are common and pets are frequently lost to them.
At around 11a.m., Colleen called to tell us there had been a sighting not far from where we were (but far from where he had come from). We cut through pastures and tresspassed across many peoples’ properties to get to the location. There we found an older gentlemen living in a place that we probably would have avoided had we just happened on by ... It’s the kind of place you wouldn’t just mosey on up to and ask if they had seen the missing critter without worrying about possibly getting shot or worse with a few "No Trespassing" signs that would have been enough to keep us out. This was the man that had seen Marley hopping through his property that morning. Marley had stopped to play a little with one of his dogs and then was chased out by another one. The man was very smart and called 911 to report a "kangaroo’ in his yard which is how Colleen got the tip. We scoured the property and all adjoining properties going door to door. There was another sighting later in the morning but that never panned out. We couldn’t find any tracks or anything to indicate he was there.
It was a long day of searching and I went home just before 7:00 pm. Colleen and the boys continued to search, making more signs, posting on craigslist, petfinder and contacting other missing animal resources. Cole and Colleen were up late into the night searching around the house.
Today (now he’s been gone over 36 hours in the cold), Colleen had contacted a woman that had a dog that did scent work and they were going to try and have him track Marley. Before the tracker showed up, Colleen received a call from the first guy with the dogs that scared off Marley. He was there, hiding in a tree well and not coming out. Colleen and Cole hopped in the car and with the help of the man they were able to catch him. In fact the man caught him mid air as he was trying to get away again! Colleen said it was a very dramatic ending to the wallaby’s little adventure. That man was a hero. The good will did not stop there. The original breeder of Marley is on his way to her home right now to give him an injection that may save him from the autonomic response that can kill the little guy even after the trauma is over.
The bigger part of the story is how everyone pulled together to save this one little, lonely wallaby. We, collectively, must have knocked on over 100 doors on Easter, during mealtime and not one person was rude or not helpful. EVERY person we spoke to offered to look for him. Every person. We knocked on doors of homes that we were very hesitant to approach due to appearance. We knocked on million dollar homes. There were a lot of people gone but the one’s that were home were incredibly gracious and kind. You cannot judge a person by their appearance, or their home, or the kind of vehicle they drive. Because of one boy’s broken heart, every single person was kind and accomodating. One guy walked us through miles of trails behind his home to find signs of Marley on Easter Sunday, leaving his family behind. WHO DOES THAT? I will tell you who does that, the kind people of rural south eastern Snohomish County. This story has a happy ending but only because of the kindness of strangers.
Marla Lindell, via e-mail
Recently Dan Vaught, the executive director of Support Services for Northshore School District, proposed a change to School Board Policy 8100 which would have expanded the mandatory distance that students are required to walk to school from a one mile radius of the school to a two mile radius. Such a change would have created a safety risk for many of our children. I am grateful to School Board President Dawn McCravey for her unwavering support of our children and their safety.
At the April 12 school board meeting, during the first reading of Board Policy 8100, Ms. McCravey expressed concern over such a change in policy and the dangers in which it placed our children. At that time she stood alone among the board in her opinion that expanding the walking distance from one to two miles was an unsafe choice. Fortunately for our children ... the other school board members did come around and agreed with School Board President McCravey. Mr. Vaught’s proposed change has thus been stricken from the policy.
Jenny Day, Bothell