Letters to the Editor

Vashon Beachcomber Letters to the Editor | Sept. 3

Remember to clean thoroughly

Thank you, Beachcomber, for highlighting the unusual number of lice cases on the Island. I am aware of a 10-fold increase in the last two years compared to the previous 30. Extremely troubling! But while your article touched on communication and treatment, it left out another critical step: environment. The state requires me to close and sterilize as soon as I realize that lice have been in my workspace.

Treating the home is a long, arduous process and the difficulty of doing so is one reason folks are experiencing multiple outbreaks. Smothering, vacuuming and heat are the most effective ways to treat, but you must clean several times during an infestation. Wise Islanders have continued to clean for a month after the last bug and nit are found and have also limited contact with sterilized areas of the home during the process.

Wash items in the hottest water and tumble in the dryer for at least 30 minutes. Headpieces and their like can be placed in a black garbage bag, sealed tightly and left for 12 or more hours in the sunshine or a hot car with the windows rolled up, weather permitting; you need at least a week if there’s no sun to smother the varmints. Wipe down all smooth surfaces with hot water and disinfectant.

Steam clean and/or vacuum furniture and mattresses. Be sure to put vacuum contents into a garbage bag, seal it and remove it from the house. Bagless vacuum collectors should be disinfected in hot water and dried outside afterwards. Cover furniture with sheets that are washed daily.

Treating the head is important, but so is informing your community and sterilizing. Though the critters have been with us for 10,000 years, it’s my opinion that the humiliation factor is why Vashon is experiencing such a frustrating outbreak. Please, folks, speak up when necessary. We sympathize.

The reward, after all the hard work, will be a sparkling house free from allergens and smooth, silky hair. A nod to the school nurses and community members for sharing their valuable advice, and I shall now climb off my soapbox.

Thank you for your indulgence and remember: Smother, nit-pick, vacuum and heat to treat the person and keep the place neat!

Karen Pruett, owner, Karen for Hair

Church did opt to press charges

I offer a friendly amendment to a statement made a few weeks ago by my friend Emma Amiad regarding the vandalisms at Havurat Ee Shalom and Vashon Presbyterian Church: Yes, we at Vashon Presbyterian Church do indeed forgive the individual who claimed responsibility for destroying our Good Shepherd window last year, but we did not drop charges.

Neither choice was made without pain. We chose the first because we are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. We chose the second because we know (and like) the perpetrator, believe that he’s not well and felt prosecution could get him the care he needs. We’ve been reminded through this experience that forgiving real pain is itself painful. For us, it meant accepting the enormity of our violation and grieving the truth that no vengeance, no insurance settlement, would erase the hurt. Casual forgiveness is for casual hurts, and shrugging off hurt is no forgiveness. Nor is it justice.

Jewish neighbors, you are fondly in our thoughts and prayers as you wrestle with your own unique hurt before God. Our damage exceeded yours in dollar cost only. The malice behind your injury, and its history, go far deeper than anything we have had to suffer. We can’t imagine your pain, but we can stand with you. Our mutual hope is in the God who makes beauty from ashes, and joy from pain.

Meanwhile, I offer up three questions for a community pondering its response to vandalisms, something for your Café Luna chat sessions:

Just what is, and what isn’t, forgiveness?

Is forgiveness truly possible without a commitment to justice?

Is justice truly possible without a commitment to forgiveness?


Rev. Dan Houston, Vashon Presbyterian Church

Problems extend far beyond youth

There is a vandalism problem on Vashon. There is a methamphetamine problem on Vashon. And so we say that there is a problem with our young. But have we the moral right to say that? We, who have remained silent these many years of United States atrocity here and abroad? We, who sanitize our community council deliberations of any taint of social activism? We? We have a problem that dwarfs whatever ails our young.

We remained silent as Iraqi children died under U.S. sanctions. We remained silent as the administration invaded, then destroyed, Iraq, and remain silent as the administration wants to do the same to Iran. We remain silent as Israel destroys the Palestinians. We remained silent through passage of a series of Congressional laws that have made George Orwell’s “1984” come true. We maintain silence in the disfiguration of the United States by Guantanamo. Need I continue?

Is Vashon a community of thinking Americans, or is it a chance collection of refugees from the mainland who delude themselves that they reside in an Island paradise the main problem of which is the ferry fares?

The proper response to Vashon social problems is long overdue: Disband all political parties and dissolve the present council in favor of a new council which will act as our government. This “government” will hold referendums on matters of grave importance and convey the results up the chain of office. This “government” will open discussion of single payer healthcare for the Island. This “government” will address the coming food problem by increasing farm acreage and by countering the attempts of food corporations to profit by our ignorance. And so on; you can fill in the rest. The young will be more than happy to help.

Tom Herring

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