Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 5

Tolerance

Vashon’s a great place to live

My wife Christel and I have lived on the Island since Dec. 7, 1991. Virtually every day we tell each other what a wonderful, friendly, supportive community we’re part of, how lucky we are.

True, as Pat Parks stated (“Island less tolerant than some say,” Oct. 29), defacing of the McCain/Palin signs is wrong. Nothing is perfect in our world, even on our beautiful Vashon Island. However, I believe Ms. Parks suggesting that we live in a community of intolerance is a huge exaggeration.

As I have stated, there is no perfect place on earth, but considering the enormous number of supportive, positive, friendly human beings that bring our community together — enough said!

— Hans F.W. Stierle

School buildings

Board has head in the sand

So, Vashon High School is in bad shape due to years of deferred maintenance. Let’s see, voters have passed maintenance and operation levies for years. So there must be quite a sum of money lying around.

We sure don’t need to build new schools for off-Island students or to gold glitter any of them.

This fellow, Bob Hennessey, needs to get his head out of the sand, since his reference to Vashon schools being “Warsaw Pact-quality” is like the sand his head is in is worth $77.7 million.

Dan Chasan is like Bill O’Reilly of Fox News; he’s looking out for us.

— Ed Babcock

Board is doing the right thing

I am writing to commend the Vashon Island School District board for bringing the new high school building one step closer to a reality.

I know that the board has worked long and hard in developing this plan, involving the community in the process to make sure that everyone is heard.

Their current plan, though expensive, is critical to the high school, the school district and the Island as a whole.

As anyone who has toured the high school will tell you, the conditions that those who work and go to school there have to put up with are deplorable, and it’s a testament to the staff and the students that they do so well under those conditions. Imagine what they could do with up-to-date facilities!

An overhaul of the building is long overdue, and even though the current economic situation will make getting the levy passed difficult, I urge all Islanders to stay focused on the big picture and support the levy in February.

— Neal Philip

Safety

Watch out for our kids

Once again, the bus drivers on Vashon have requested me to purchase some sort of blinking lights for our children who ride the bus in the early morning hours, warning drivers that we have kids waiting for buses on the side of the road.

I was unable to purchase the same lights that we had last year — so this year we have smaller, but more visible, blinking lights that can be clipped to either backpacks or coats. They require the students to activate them by turning the base until they start blinking, and they come with batteries that can be replaced. They are visible, I am told, a half-mile away.

Please check these lights out with your students and see that they know how to use them properly. We are counting on these little lights to keep your students more visible in the coming bad weather and consider this a very small effort if it keeps just one child from being hurt while waiting for the bus. The drivers will be handing these out this week.

Thank you all for your help in keeping Vashon a safe place to live and go to school.

— Ann Murray, Contract Manager

First Student

Thanks to careful pedestrians

A big thank you to prepared Vashon pedestrians! With winter bringing longer hours of darkness, it is encouraging to see walkers along Vashon Highway using various methods to be visible.

Gillian Callison is the most prepared pedestrian I have met. Early commuters may recognize her striped reflective vest, red flashing light on her back collar (a gift from a driver) and variable flashlight. Her motives for walking are inspiring: Save on gas, get some physical exercise and utilize the time as mental down time. She noted that as the days get shorter it “will be dark on the way home” — a great point to remember. I salute her efforts to be responsible morning and night!

I have noticed other pedestrians taking precautions when “hoofin’ it.” With leash in one hand and a bobbing flashlight in the other, a man walked his dog. A jogger wore workout pants with reflective leg trim and reflective tennis shoes. I saw a woman, like a glittering princess, with a reflective sash out for a stroll. All had excellent ideas for visibility, and all were proceeding against the traffic on the shoulder of the road.

Young pedestrians may not appreciate the fashion sense of a reflective sash, but often I have seen them choose a crosswalk over attempting to cross without one. Excellent! Even with a crosswalk, pedestrians are often mindful that traffic may not stop as it should; waiting for a clear go-ahead from oncoming drivers is always a safe idea.

The people of Vashon are amazing and their pedestrians are exceptionally prepared!

For additional insight on safety tips, state pedestrian laws, walking and more, visit Washington State Department of Transportation’s “Walking in Washington” Web site at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Walk/default.htm.

— Cathleen Butler

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