Valenzuela stands for sensible growth
District 3 residents may not realize yet how fortunate they are to have Karen Valenzuela representing them on the Thurston County Commission.
As a friend and former co-worker, I know firsthand how smart, dedicated, hard-working and courageous Valenzuela is.
After she was appointed to the commission in February, she was faced with staggering budget cuts. It was a grim task, but she made difficult choices that streamlined county government without totally sacrificing essential services.
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Most important to me is Valenzuela’s vision for Thurston County. Like me, she is dismayed at the rampant development that has mowed down forests and farmland, overwhelmed rural roads, and degraded streams and wetlands. Already she is working to put rules in place to encourage sensible growth that will preserve our county’s natural resources for the generations that follow us.
I wholeheartedly endorse Karen Valenzuela, and I urge District 3 voters to retain her in the Aug. 18 primary.
Time to abandon the supersized excess
I watched the New York City fireworks on TV. The music was inspiring, and the sights dazzled.
But then, as with so many Fourth of July celebrations of the past, the dazzle diminished, and though I tried to be a little excited, the truth is I would have been thankful for some quiet, and a chance to view the dark night sky.
Did you notice the opaque cloud hovering in the background. It was composed of tons of particulates, lead and other heavy metals, which will restrict the ability to breathe in a great many people and eventually settle into the water to be taken up by life forms like ourselves.
Consider the price tag.
In this day of rolling trillions and billions, a few million dollars may seem hardly worth noting; until you consider that every puff of smoke represents one Social Security check, one hospital bill, one employee health insurance.
It’s time to abandon the supersized excess.
Virtual colonoscopy is effective tool
Adam Wilson’s article inaccurately portrays the costs associated with and value of virtual colonoscopy. Virtual colonoscopy often costs half the price of standard colonoscopy.
While some patients must undergo a standard colonoscopy to remove polyps discovered through the virtual test, that number is relatively small — and a cost-effectiveness analysis published in the American Journal of Roentgenology demonstrated that virtual colonoscopy is a “highly cost-effective” means of colon cancer screening.
When considering the cost of virtual colonoscopy, one should also keep in mind the potential virtual colonoscopy has to increase screening rates for populations at the highest risk of colon cancer, those over 50.
Colon cancer is the second largest cancer killer in the United States, yet given currently available options over half of those over 50 choose no screening at all.
When the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., began offering virtual colonoscopy as an option, colon screening rates increased by 70 percent. Broader implementation of virtual colonoscopy might greatly increase the rate at which patients, particularly older patients, adhere to screening guidelines and many lives could be saved.
Furthermore, virtual colonoscopy does not require the heavy sedation to which patients undergoing standard colonoscopy must submit. This makes virtual colonoscopy an important alternative for those at risk of complications from sedation.
Virtual colonoscopy has been recognized and recommended as an effective screening tool by many organizations including the American Cancer Society. Patients in Washington should have the option to choose this cost-effective and reliable means of colon cancer screening.
DR. MARK YUHASZ
President, Washington Radiological Society
It’s back to the drawing board
The story on Ecology’s pending refusal to review Olympia’s change to its Shoreline Master Program to allow Triway’s condos on the isthmus says the problem is how it’s “worded.”
It’s not. The proposal violates Ecology’s legal guidelines.
Those guidelines say you can’t change your master plan through a limited amendment if:
1. The changes represent “a significant modification to shoreline management practices ... or significantly add, change, or delete use regulations;”
2. There are “substantive issues that must be addressed on a comprehensive basis ... such as ... major use conflicts, or public access;” or
3. “The current master program and the comprehensive plan are not mutually consistent.”
In fact, according to public records, Ecology repeatedly told the city that “it was most appropriate to address the type of changes they were proposing through a comprehensive SMP amendment.” Ecology offered to discuss this with the Planning Commission, but the city wouldn’t invite them.
Ecology says the city should handle this as part of the comprehensive review of the SMP, which is already underway with state funding and is legally due by 2011.
We’ve probably wasted hundreds of hours of staff and citizen time in a process Ecology repeatedly told the city wasn’t the appropriate one. We’ll probably have to start over and do it right (maybe with a new council) — discussing the isthmus as part of what to do about the whole waterfront, including Triway’s West Bay condo project, the port’s new waterfront development, and the future of Capitol Lake.