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Letters to the Editor - Oct. 31, 2011

  • Written by Readers

VETERANS DAY

As Veterans Day approaches, I want to send a RAVE to Jubilee Cleaners, a family-owned cleaners in Woodinville, Wash.

On August 5, I stopped into the cleaners to pick up our son-in-law’s army dress uniform for my daughter and son-in-laws wedding reception.  The elderly gentleman helping me said he replaced the button on the upper right chest of the army jacket.

I asked him where he found the button.  He responded, “I took the button off my army uniform jacket.”

Here is a U.S. veteran helping a young army reservist as he begins his life serving our country.

Maureen Blum, Woodinville

QUESTIONABLE COFFEE SERVICE

Last year I permanently relocated my family to Woodinville (Snohomish County) as we really loved the area.  One of the reasons we selected our home was because it was in the Northshore School District which colleagues of mine had suggested.  Approximately  six months ago at the intersection of Maltby & State Route 9 (I believe this falls in the city of Snohomish) a “coffee stand” opened up staffed by girls in bikinis. One side of the no more than 10’x10’ building is all glass with a sliding glass door which allows these girls to be seen in plain view from the busy intersection.  This intersection is a popular route for Northshore school buses and today my 6-year-old daughter shared that she and her classmates “can see a girl in her underwear on the bus ride to/from school”.. Kids as young as 5 are being exposed to barely dressed women on a daily basis as they go to elementary school and I ask for your assistance in preventing this to continue.  Thank you!

James Campbell, Woodinville

WOODINVILLE WATER DISTRICT

The letter written by Michael Tanksley last week accused me of unspecified “inaccurate accounting” and then goes on to describe his concern with the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

I personally agree with Michael’s alarmist concern over the UGB. Unfortunately, the Woodinville Water Commissioners do not have jurisdiction or control over the boundary. For that reason they are not part of my WWD campaign. I only address the policies of WWD that are allowed by law. Those current WWD policies are a threat to the Woodinville “country living” lifestyle you also embrace.

For those of you concerned about being forced to hook-up to sewer, my position is simple. First, I will NOT force people who are on functioning septic systems to hook up. Second, I will not encourage or lobby for legislation that endangers our motto.

So, Michael, you see we are on the same side. It’s just that WWD and the commissioner job is not one that can control UGB decisions. But we can control the way that laws are crafted to protect the consumer as much as possible from the sewer encroachment that you clearly do no want. I welcome your support to guide our community in positive ways since my opponent clearly does not share our views by passing the laws they have. Those laws make it easier to force sewer connections, not to mention lobbying goals that are contrary to our goals.

I hope you will agree that our concern is real, honest and not false. We are addressing the areas of WWD that I can legally influence as a WWD commissioner.

In conclusion, your letter agrees with my position. Please work with us since it’s a job where we all need to have the same goal.

Jack Vermeulen, Candidate for Woodinville Water Commissioner

NORTHSHORE SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD

I grew up chanting that I bled that Bothell blue. Little did I know that even though I supported my school district, my school district did not support me. In 2006, I was a freshly grown Bothell graduate ready to make my way in the world. I headed first to Seattle Central Community College where I took a placement exam. That was my first realization that although I loved my hometown and my Bothell pride I was not up to snuff with the rest of the world. When my placement exam came back I was shocked to see that my math results placed me in the lowest math bracket that they offered.

Like most kids in elementary I was great at math but as soon as I entered fifth grade it all started to get confusing. Trying my hardest wasn’t enough; I always left school more confused thAn when I started. My pre-college years were spent going home and asking my mother (an art major) to help me with not only understanding the math but also understanding how the problem was written. Every year I became more confused and frustrated, the same thing could have been said for my teachers.

Everyday math or “fuzzy math” as I like to call it, not only left kids in the dark but it also did not prepare them for college.  I am one of the many that came out of that district not even close to college ready. Dawn McCravey heard many stories including mine and it is because of our stories of failure that she ran for the Northshore School Board. She not only hoped to change the math curriculum but to give kids the chance at a better future.

Since Dawn has been on the board we have seen many changes for the better, all focusing on the children of Northshore. The math has been updated ... Literacy curriculum has also gotten a face-lift in the last 3 1/2 years, not to mention the upcoming improvements to the science and many other programs. All of these changes happened in the last few years. While the boards before worried about where the next cut was going to be, the current board, with Board President Dawn McCravey, has done “magic” with what they have been given.

Dawn McCravey brought back learning to our schools; she gave children the chance to achieve.

As we all should know, giving children that chance to achieve their goals is the same as giving ourselves the chance to have goals worth achieving in our future.  Dawn McCravey has known this all along.

Katie Bell, Bothell

It is hard to believe it has been 3½ years since the Northshore School District (NSD) proposed closing Woodin Elementary to save money. Parents across Woodinville loudly opposed the plan, which would have destroyed an award-winning Dual-Language Program, and relocated about 1000 students from their neighborhood schools.  Only one member of the School Board in place at that time was willing to meet with parents to hear their concerns – Dawn McCravey.  I feel confident that if it had come to a vote, Ms. McCravey would have been the only School Board member to vote no on the closure proposal.

Since that time, NSD has undergone significant and positive changes.  We have a new Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents, and 3 new School Board members (2 members lost re-election over their stand on the school closure).  The new school board has approved a new set of goals for the district – measurable goals that will prepare more of our students to be ready for college or their chosen careers.

Teachers are being supported with new curricula and training.  The most recent new curriculum prior to that was everyday math – and we all know what a disaster that math program was!  In some classes, teachers were using materials that were 18 years old.  Now, there is a schedule for updating curricula in every class.

At the school board candidate forum, one of the questions pertained to the fact that some schools in the district are over-enrolled, while some are so small that they have begun to lose staff that serve students —  specialists and possibly even their librarian.  I paid attention to how each of the four candidates answered this question, as several elementaries in Woodinville fall into this category – Cottage Lake, Hollywood Hill, Eastridge and Sunrise are all underenrolled.

All candidates agreed this is a problem, but the differences in the answers offered by Ms. McCravey and her opponent, BZ Davis, stood out. Ms. Davis, who served for 16 years on the Northshore School Board (during the time when the district had weak goals and was not updating curriculum), clearly indicated that she would be willing to close school(s). Ms. McCravey offered a potential solution — magnet schools, which offer parents choices and attract students and their state funding from other districts.

To me, the choice in this election is clear: we can go backward, or continue moving forward with innovative, student-centric ideas.  I choose to move forward with Dawn McCravey.

Nancy Chamberlain, Woodinville

WOODINVILLE FIRE & RESCUE COMMISSIONER

I am a firefighter for Woodinville Fire & Rescue, and have been honored to perform that service to this community for 26 years (2 years as a volunteer, prior to becoming a full time paid employee). I have also resided in the Woodinville community for the past 31 years. I am very concerned about the direction that the district has taken in the last 18 months — not just as a firefighter, but also as a parent and as a resident of Woodinville.

Public Education from our fire department has been slashed.

My children have been recipients of the fire district public education programs through their pre-school, elementary, junior high and high school years, and those education programs no longer exist.

The department no longer offers infant car seat checks to those new parents delivering at local hospitals.

No longer does your fire department provide bicycle safety presentations or offer low cost bicycle helmets, as well as helmet fitting.

The fire department no longer contracts with Northshore School District to host the NEVAC program, a vocational high school program, which introduces students to careers in public safety.

I also now work for, live, shop and recreate in a district that has gutted its fire prevention office. This office is responsible for fire safety inspections, for local businesses and schools, new construction plan reviews and code enforcement. It concerns me that the safety of my family, neighbors and friends in this community, as we go about working and living in this district, has been compromised.

There is an obvious solution: CHANGE. It’s time for a new voice on the board of fire commissioners, and I’m very happy to see Mark Emery running for the position.

I have worked with Mark Emery my whole career with Woodinville Fire and Rescue and can personally vouch for his character. He is very capable, hard working and honest and has impeccable integrity. He, like me, is a long time resident of this fire district, chose to raise his family here and has the community interests at heart.

I will be voting for Mark Emery to change the direction of our fire service, and I ask you to do the same.

Ross Van Vactor, Woodinville

I have over 10 years of experience on the administrative side of Woodinville Fire and Rescue, and I am supporting Mark Emery for fire commissioner. I have looked at his resume, his record of service, and his education.

I want to know that the person who sits behind the desk knows how to run a fire commission.

That means understanding the issues, understanding the service, understanding the people and understanding the budget.

Mark Emery has all the experience and more to do a superb job on our fire commission, and I have a lot of respect for his background and his priorities. He knows what the firefighters need, he knows what the taxpayers want, and he knows the critical importance of providing emergency service efficiently and properly.

I am deeply troubled by the cutting of education and prevention services, and I’m concerned by this fire commission allowing Woodinville Fire and Rescue’s accreditation to lapse.

These are unacceptable reductions in service and they should never have happened. Mark Emery will put WF&R back on the right track. Please vote for Mark Emery.

Pam Crawford, Bothell

FITNESS WALKS

I would like to respond to K. Brady’s letter regarding the Woodinville High School fitness walks.

As a parent, of a student participating in these walks I am insulted and outraged at several of K. Brady’s remarks.

First, it is not the job of one local busybody to tell me what activities and snacks are appropriate for my child.   Students walk 3+ miles on this excursion, so if my daughter chooses to buy a beverage at Jamba Juice or a cup of frozen yogurt at TCBY, it is none of Brady’s business.  I signed the permission slip allowing my child to participate in these walks because I feel that the walks are a creative and fun way to exercise.

However, if I hadn’t signed the permission slip I can think of worse ways to spend a two-hour block period than in the beautiful WHS library reading or working on homework.

Additionally, I have been in the downtown area during these walks quite a few times and I know with absolute certainty that the students are supervised by the PE teachers and other district employees and to suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

I haven’t seen any objectionable behavior and I am offended by the implication that our teachers’ pay should be docked during the fitness walks.

Finally, I have to wonder how many Woodinville merchants would like to thank K. Brady for their immediate loss in business.  As far as I am concerned, K. Brady was totally off the mark!

Rebecca Gerhardt, Woodinville

INFORMATION NEEDED

Does anyone have any information who put what once was a hydraulic dam that stands in Cottage Lake Creek between The Polo Club and the Homestead Division l?

From what I have been told the 40 acres just south of the Tolt Pipeline was owned by the Kindall family and the Tourtelo’s … I’m not sure of the spelling.  I also heard that the property was once a pig farm.

I would like any information available as to who put in the dam, what it was used for. (I presume it generated electricity)  and when it was built.  I also would like copies of any pictures if there are any.

Jeanne Hannah, Woodinville

HIBULB CULTURAL CENTER

The Spirit and History of the Tulalip Tribes at the new Hibulb Cultural Center (9/5 edition) was fascinating and much appreciated.

The Duwamsh Longhouse in Seattle has a similar story.

I also noticed that Brightwater’s grand opening last month ((9/19 edition) featured a Blessing of the Water ceremony by local tribes.

Last spring Transition Woodinville welcomed Puyallup tribe members to offer a blessing of the Woodinville Heritage Garden.  These cultural activities not only enrich all of us but help to heal wounds of the past.

Trish Knox, via email

DANGEROUS BUS STOP

My daughter is a sixth grader at Kokanee Elementary.  She is a member of band and orchestra and therefore rides the Leota bus T33 every morning. She catches the bus at Maltby Road and Little Bear Creek Road. The bus stops as it is traveling East on Maltby Road. The children are required to cross Maltby Road to board the bus.  This is a new stop this year; in prior years the bus came down Little Bear Creek Road to pick up the students.

This is an unsafe bus stop.  We are two months into the school year and there have already been 2 incidents where children were nearly run over by a car. The first incident was on September 12 when a car almost didn’t stop as the children were entering the road to cross to get on the bus.

The second occurrence was just this week when a student who was running late ran into the road after the bus driver had pulled in her sign and cars going in the opposite direction had already started to go. This incident was so disturbing that my daughter told me the bus driver even started crying because the girl came so close to being hit.

I will also add that this is the same location that had a five car pileup in August and I, myself, have almost been hit twice.  This is not a safe location for a bus stop.It is a dark, busy road.  Drivers can be distracted in the morning and are in a hurry to get where they are going.  The mornings are dark now, often foggy and will soon be icy as well.

I have made two requests to the Transportation Department to have the bus stop changed.  In September I asked that the bus stop be moved to Little Bear Creek Road where it had been in previous years and my request was denied.  Simply telling the students that they need to wait until the bus driver gives them the “all clear” (Transportation’s solution) is not good enough as became obviously clear on Monday morning.  I submitted my second request in early October and asked that if it couldn’t be moved to Little Bear Creek Road, that possibly the bus could pick up the students as it is traveling Westbound on Maltby Road instead, so that they wouldn’t have to cross the road.  My request was again denied due to “time constraints.”

I do not know who is responsible for setting up the bus routes, but clearly this person is more concerned with their timetables than with the lives of our children.  My requests for change have been refused out of hand.  To my knowledge, no one from the transportation department has even bothered to come and observe the danger of this situation firsthand, but instead they choose to stand behind what appears to be an arbitrary route change.

We should not be putting our children in danger like this every morning.  What I’m hearing from the transportation department is that our children’s lives are not worth 10 minutes.  This is not a risk we should be taking when there is an alternate solution.

Tammy Malloy, Woodinville

In a later letter: My daughter told me last night that their bus driver advised them that the bus route would be changing.I’d like to say thank you to anyone who may have helped facilitate this change.  I am very appreciative.

Tammy Malloy

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