Letters to the editor | Oct. 21 edition

Islanders write about upcoming election, health care offered on-island and more.


Meet school board candidate Allison Krutsinger

Thank you for getting to know me, your candidate for the school board. I am a mom of a Chautauqua Orca, an invested Vashon community member, and a fierce advocate for children and youth. I bring over a decade of experience working directly with children, the adults who educate them, and advocating for systems-level improvements to the education system.

I am seeking this position on the school board because I feel a great responsibility to serve my community. The position on the school board provides an opportunity for me to merge this responsibility with my experiences that can ultimately benefit our island community. I believe school districts should have the resources necessary to provide high-quality and individualized education for all students. As a board member, I will use my expertise in state government to work with our elected officials to increase resources for our school district to use in ways that will meet our unique community needs.

I was homeless in elementary and middle school, surviving the realities of poverty, domestic violence and substance abuse. School was my safe place that was predictable and warm. I recall the adults in those years who went out of their way to ensure I was safe and had what I needed to focus on my education. These adults created lasting impressions that allowed me to prioritize success in my education. When elected I will support families in the Vashon school district, and the adults who work in the district, through collaborative listening and decision-making.

As we grapple with the ongoing pandemic and begin implementation of the district’s strategic plan, now more than ever, our schools have the opportunity to think about how to respond to student and family needs in creative and new ways. I am excited to lean into this opportunity and challenge. Thank you for your support. I look forward to our work together.

— Allison Krutsinger

Meet health care district candidate Alan Aman

The Nov. 2 general election includes the Health Care District Commission seat being vacated by LeeAnn Brown.

I am a candidate for this position and while running unopposed, I would like to outline my priorities for the work of the district. Following the enormous community support shown in the 2019 election for the creation of a district and a modest taxing authority to stabilize island healthcare services, the commissioners moved quickly to establish a new primary care service partnership with Sea Mar, an arrangement that appears to have the promise of long-term success. Primary care is the most essential platform for the maintenance of personal and community health. Going forward, my interest will be to address the following:

• Stabilize the primary care service, financially as well as the partnership with Sea Mar

• Development of a primary care model that has the capacity to serve a maximal number of adult and pediatric residents, addressing affordability, disparities in access and health status, and service complexity

• Creation of a collaborative planning mechanism for island residents to determine community highest need, to create and execute new services

• Support the work of the community planning underway to address gaps in behavioral health and substance use disorder services, to include the creation of an island-wide system of care

• Maintain a levy rate that honors the high value voters have placed on health improvement, ensuring an excellent return on tax dollars invested

I ask for your vote and ongoing community support for the work of the Vashon Health Care District.

— Alan Aman


Sea Mar let us down

My family moved to Vashon in 1960. I grew up here, I love the place, and this is the first time it’s ever felt necessary for me to write a note to The Beachcomber. Also, the first time in my life that I’ve seriously considered leaving.

At about 3 p.m. two Fridays ago, the first day of the great slowdown of the ferry system, my husband cut his hand very badly and needed stitches. He called Sea Mar, and was only told this; “we don’t have any openings today.” Asking the obvious follow-up question “What do I do then? This is a bad cut, I need stitches,” the answer was “Go to the fire station.”

They don’t do stitches at the fire station. They said we should go to Sea Mar.

The firefighters called Sea Mar themselves, but nobody picked up, so they called the ferry dock and gave us clearance to get to the front of the line. Even so, we waited about an hour and a half for a boat. There was a lot of pain and bleeding in the meantime.

We’re very grateful for the help we got from the fire station, for the ferry workers who showed up to work that day, and the very good care that he got when we finally made it to the St. Anne’s hospital E.R. in Burien. Without them, this could have been much worse.

But islanders need to know this: when you need help due to unforeseen circumstances, don’t count on Sea Mar to help you.

— Kat Eggleston

A Tale of Two Clinics

As an aging islander and longtime cancer patient, it is critical that I have established care that not only accepts Medicare/Medicaid but also works in a strong relationship with my chosen healthcare team.

I have been a patient of Vashon Natural Medicine (VNM) for more than 20 years and consider the island lucky to have a great team with Dr. Kelly Wright and her team, but as I age out of private healthcare, I must also have a relationship with docs who are covered under government insurance. I have a team of healthcare providers that I consider critical in my overall health and well-being.

My recent visit to Sea Mar Vashon went above and beyond what one might expect from a busy clinic. While waiting for my appointment I watched as their front desk team did not miss a step in making sure all the patients (in person and via the phone) were acknowledged. My appointment was on time, and I was pleased to see my records from other clinics I work with were available and part of the conversation.

Dr. Thomas Erdmann and the stellar staff at Sea Mar went above and beyond customer service. Vashon is very fortunate to have two medical clinics that offer stellar service and familiar faces. I have been on Vashon for nearly 30 years and have witnessed island growth in many areas – one of the most needed areas is medical services. I am fortunate to have options in both Vashon Natural Medicine and Sea Mar Community Health Center, which has changed hands many times over the years. Both clinics offer great service and an educated and caring staff of doctors, clinicians, and support staff.

— Mary Sage


Thank you to lifesavers

Deepest thanks to the EMTs, fire department and airlift team for their assistance on Wednesday, Oct. 13. They saved a man’s life in my garden. He was stung multiple times when he stepped into a ground wasp nest.

Luckily, the first responders’ quick arrival and expertise gave this individual a second chance at life on our wonderful island.

Be aware. These wasps create nests under piles of leaves, in the mud and around rural properties in general. Their sting is incredibly potent and can be life-threatening. Thanks again to this great team.

— Priscilla O’Banion