Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for April 13

Modified plants are killing honeybees

Are you not outraged and afraid that our honeybees are dying in record numbers? I am, because we need the honeybees to pollinate the plants that become our food.

I truly believe the deaths of honeybees have to do with the companies who have created and open-field tested genetically engineered/modified (GE/M) plants. These plants still produce pollen, pollen that has had its DNA mutated; pollen that is picked up by people, birds, insects, tornadoes and wind currents all over the world.

Few knew what the ecological affect these GE/M pollens would have on the environment, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that we can no longer ignore it. First, it was the increase in food allergies, then it was killing the Monarch butterflies and now it's wiping out honeybees.

Do you want to know who is killing the honeybees? Everyone is - everyone who eats food that contains GE/M ingredients (almost all food, other than organic, contains GE/M ingredients), everyone who purchases garden seeds that are GE/M, everyone who buys into the lies and deceit of these companies and our government telling us that GE/M food is not dangerous.

Under the guise of helping feed the world, these companies will be given the authority take over where the insects (the insects that they killed) left off.

Therefore, it's not so bad that we have let these companies irrevocably damage the entire food chain, now is it? We have them to save us.

Save a bee, buy organic!

Dodie Needham, Olympia

Passing the WASL should not be a mandate

I write in response to Suzanne Malakoff's letter on the WASL testing being a failure. I really must agree.

As a student myself, I can get perfect grades and still struggle with the WASL. I myself adapt differently to math than others, so it is wrong to force students to pass a test that was originally designed for teacher comprehension? That's just silly.

Last year, I took the WASL and missed it by eight points. If I continue to miss by small points, will I be denied the ability to graduate? Due to the system of me having to pass the math WASL to graduate, the answer is "Yes."

Taking a test is not the same for everyone. No matter how many times you drill it, some students will forget - A students, B, C, D or even failing students, it doesn't matter. The statewide comprehension test is ridiculous and students should not have to worry about a test more than gaining the life skills to survive in the real world.

Kara Walker, Olympia

Citizens well served by utilities commission

Ever since the pipeline tragedy in Bellingham, The Olympian has been a strong voice for pipeline safety. For that reason, I found your recent editorial that broadly criticized the Utilities and Transportation Commission confusing. Has The Olympian's own opinions clouded your vision of the real pipeline safety facts?

The UTC is the only agency nationwide that provides information about pipeline inspections and their numerous pipeline enforcement cases on their Web site for review. They are one of only two state pipeline agencies nationwide that provides maps of pipeline locations on their Web site. Washington is the only state in the nation that has formed a citizen-led pipeline safety advisory committee, which the UTC works with in a very cooperative manner. All of these activities serve as national models, and have been held up as examples to Congress in hopes that the federal government will follow Washington's progressive lead.

The UTC also is the only agency in the country that has worked with local government to try to come up with a solution to the growing problem of housing developments springing up near hazardous pipelines. This too is a model that other states are now looking to replicate.

As the director of the only national nonprofit pipeline safety watchdog organization, I felt compelled to set the record straight on the excellent activities of the UTC. Our view is that the citizens of Washington state are well served by the UTC. Citizens in other states are envious, and not as safe!

Carl Weimer, executive director, Pipeline Safety Trust, Bellingham

Thirteen hours after ER visit, doctors operated

The article that appeared on Providence St. Peter Hospital triage was comical. Mainly because I read it while helplessly watching my son recover from an acute appendicitis, on the seventh floor of St. Peter Hospital.

He arrived at the ER at 10:25 p.m. and while waiting voiced two times his severe abdominal pain was a level 10! Unlike the article, there were only five people before him, there was no nurse to take his history or vitals. At 1 a.m. he briefly saw a nurse who ushered him back to the waiting room. When we, his parents, arrived at 3:30 a.m. he was just being seen by a doctor for the first time and finally given some pain medication. At 6 a.m. he went for a CT scan and by 7 a.m. was taken to pre-op to be worked in. The 45 minute Laparoscopic procedure turned into a 1 hour open appendectomy operation due to the severity.

Did the ER profile a college kid whose "belly has been hurting for a couple days?" Did his appendix rupture before he got to ER or while waiting five hours to see an ER doctor or the four hour wait to be worked in for surgery? 13 hours from check-in to surgery is excessive, and we don't feel that triage rose to his challenge.

The nurses were very attentive, caring and professional. Also we can't speak highly enough about the Sunshine House, what a great amenity.

Tim and Nancy Bronowski, Lebanon, Ore.

Commissioners must protect rural character

The Court of Appeals decision, following in the wake of the massive defeat of Initiative 933 in Thurston County (by nearly two-thirds of the voters), and the comparable defeat of the county commissioner candidate of the development interests, is yet another wake-up call and message to the county government: STOP WASTING THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY ON APPEALS AND MACHINATIONS TO SUBVERT THE WILL OF THE VOTERS AND START UPHOLDING THE LAW.

The county commissioners need to drop these costly, wrongheaded appeals which the residents of the county clearly do not support, and start acting to protect water, habitat, agricultural land and rural character. Enough is enough. The county's actions are a statewide disgrace and the worst kind of bad government. The courts, the voters, and the Growth Management Hearings Board have all spoken, loud and clear. Is anyone on Lakeridge Drive listening?

Vince Cottone, Olympia

Soldiers likely want out of Iraq, too

Letter writer William Brooks suggests that "If folks want to protest, why not protest those insurgents killing our troops." He ignores the fact that the overwhelming majority of those who are fighting U.S. and coalition forces are Iraqi citizens who are themselves protesting the illegal presence of the U.S. military in their country.

He thinks the best way to aid the troops is to support them, strongly implying that any type of dissent should not be allowed to occur.

I do wish that superpatriots like Brooks could point out where in the U.S. Constitution it states that protesting the policies of the government is not allowed during war time, as I have been unable to find that particular passage in my copy of the Constitution.

Finally, Brooks, as a Vietnam veteran, bemoans the behavior of those who dare to criticize the government during a time of war.

When I was stationed in Vietnam, my main hope was that the United States would remove myself and the other military personnel as quickly as possible from that combat zone that I and others were stationed in. I strongly suspect that the soldiers fighting in Iraq for a less than noble cause feel the same way that I did those many years ago.

Cliff Hutchins, Rochester

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