Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: June 24

Bus service

Reducing bus service helps the environment

Bravo to the Vashon Island School District for coming to their senses and taking a great first step toward reducing waste by decreasing school bus stops.

Sitting behind a bus that stops every hundred feet or so at consecutive driveways is not only irritating but extremely wasteful. It might even help our kids keep fit by making them walk more. If parents do their part watching and shepherding, if children are taught early on about how to walk on roads safely and if drivers stay alert, safety issues can be minimized. At least one bus I know of stops in a very unsafe place right now, so safety is more than just how far children have to walk.

Only a few years ago my son had to walk about a quarter-mile to catch the bus on a very busy road. Let’s not even go to how things were way back when.

Keep up the good work.

— Michelle Harvey

Saving teaching jobs is a trade-off that makes sense

I applaud Vashon School District for its plan to eliminate one bus for the coming school year.

On weekday mornings I witness (and I know I’m not alone) a long backup at Cemetery Road and Vashon Highway. This is because of parents driving their students to school. I imagine that the number of children driven to school on any given morning would equal a bus load of students. At the same time, there are buses arriving at Chautauqua with just a handful of students inside.

The safety issue is a real concern, I’m sure. A simple solution seems to be for parents to walk with their children to the bus stop, and if so inclined, drive them there and wait until the bus arrives.

Saving $100,000 and being able to afford teacher salaries versus one bus seems to be a no brainer.

— Lornie Walker

Fourth of July

Take care with fireworks this Independence Day

It’s that time of year again where America celebrates its independence with parades, picnics, baseball and, of course, fireworks. While fireworks can be a spectacular expression of independence and beauty, they must be used with care. Here are some tips to help keep you and your Island neighbors safe this season.

Be careful where you buy. Illegal fireworks are illegal for a really good reason. In Washington, 90 percent of all fireworks injuries are caused by them. Illegal fireworks include firecrackers, rockets and 1.3g (professional display) fireworks. Transporting illegal fireworks on a ferry is prohibited in the state. If your dealer is licensed by the state, you can be sure you are getting safe, legal fireworks.

Be careful how you use them. Don’t modify fireworks. Last year on Vashon a kid was severely injured by a sparkler bomb. Careful supervision and bamboo sparklers (that can’t explode) can help prevent these kinds of accidents. Injuries are bad enough, but be warned: In this age of terrorism, sparkler bombs and the like are considered “improvised explosive devices” and can be a felony.

Follow the instructions. Fireworks come with instructions. It is important to read, understand and follow them. The necessity for a hard flat surface to discharge fireworks on cannot be overstated.

Supervise. An adult should always be supervising children when using fireworks to ensure they are used safely and according to the label.

All that being said, Vashon is a model for the safe use of fireworks. In the past four years there has only been one fireworks related incident per year. Statistically Vashon is pretty normal; in general, communities that allow safe fireworks have much lower injury and incident rates than places where fireworks are totally banned.

Be safe, and have a happy, beautiful Fourth of July.

— Gabriel Felix, Vashon Fireworks Co., and

Brett Kranjcevich, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue

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