To The Editor

July 7, 2009

By Contributor

Polystyrene ban

Ban would help clear up Styrofoam containers cluttering up Issaquah CreekI support a citywide ban on polystyrene food containers as described in the June 17 Press.

There have been news stories over the past few years about the island of discarded plastic floating in the mid-Pacific. However, we have one such monstrosity here in Issaquah. One only has to paddle a canoe up Issaquah Creek from Lake Sammamish to find the creek’s surface covered from bank to bank with floating plastic.

As bad as all of the other floating plastic (pop bottles, etc), the worst is the Styrofoam food and drink containers that have been jettisoned somewhere upstream on the streets of Issaquah. The Styrofoam is breaking up into smaller beads that fish and birds eat, and choke on.

A raft of plastic can be found along the creek whenever a log falls across the creek and traps the plastic floating on the surface. The last time I saw such a raft, it was about 100 feet south of the footbridge over Issaquah Creek, near the beaches and picnic area.

Bob Whitbeck

Issaquah


Issaquah Highlands

Majority of residents want a gas station closer to where they live and work

Contrary to Jerry Burns’ assertions, a gas station in the Issaquah Highlands would be perfectly consistent with the urban village design concept. The goal is to live close to work, stores and, yes, services, such as a gas station. The whole point is to reduce travel and thus reduce gas consumption, pollution and wasted time.

Currently, highlands residents must drive out of their way (consuming more gas and creating more pollution) to Front Street, East Lake Sammamish Parkway, Gilman Boulevard and other locations to get gas. That makes traffic worse on all of those streets, which in turn forces people stuck in that traffic to consume more gas and create more pollution.

Burns’ concerns about gas station leaks, while well-intentioned, are out of date.  Experts from the state Department of Ecology have noted that regulations have been much more strict for years. All new gas stations are double-walled. Besides, engineers learned that the geology of the area in question would prevent any seepage from reaching the aquifer.

Finally, according to a recent survey, 70 percent of highlands residents want a gas station. Those seeking election or re-election should keep that in mind.

Matthew J. Barry

Issaquah


Schools

With a declining emphasis on learning, classrooms are just daycare centers

Our schools are becoming daycares for adolescents. They are becoming less and less an education facility and more a place for our youth to scrap and make our society a place of stupidity.

Students are graduating with inadequate knowledge about the world and their surroundings. Just when colleges are becoming more competitive, we are cutting education short.

In theory, the No Child Left Behind Act holds everyone accountable — teachers and students — for education.

In reality, schools are funding in the wrong places, making moving on a nightmare for the graduates of years to come.

I was lucky enough to get out of the system just in time and entered a university of higher standards. Still, I am left with skills that lack what is necessary and have to work that much harder to achieve my goals in college. Not every student will go to college; many graduates will immediately join the work force. Many of those who do want to attend college lack the skills needed to succeed.

I wish I could say one school system was the problem, but these skills are acquired from day one of schooling. In my district, it is said that students won’t graduate if they don’t pass the WASL in their sophomore year.

In addition to assessing a student’s progress, now tested in third, fourth, fifth, seventh and 10th grades, it also assesses how well teachers are doing. Many students did not pass, yet they still graduated. Funding was moved from needed programs to make up for the learning the students did not obtain prior to the test.

Where did we go wrong? Placing a harsh consequence on the failure of teachers and direction of funding are where students all too often slip through cracks in the system. From kindergarten, resources and programs need to be in place so that we do not have to take away from the preparation of the students to enter the real world. Teaching middle school-level education in high school should be a thing of the past.

We should prepare our students to head out into the world and to become productive members of society, not scramble to see where we went wrong. Schools are too focused on looking good than the actual education of the student. Let’s refocus on lower education, so we are not sending our students into the world unprepared.

Katie Abercombie

Bellingham

Polystyrene ban
Ban would help clear up Styrofoam  containers cluttering up Issaquah Creek
I support a citywide ban on polystyrene food containers as described in the June 17 Press.
There have been news stories over the past few years about the island of discarded plastic floating in the mid-Pacific. However, we have one such monstrosity here in Issaquah. One only has to paddle a canoe up Issaquah Creek from Lake Sammamish to find the creek’s surface covered from bank to bank with floating plastic.
As bad as all of the other floating plastic (pop bottles, etc), the worst is the Styrofoam food and drink containers that have been jettisoned somewhere upstream on the streets of Issaquah. The Styrofoam is breaking up into smaller beads that fish and birds eat, and choke on.
A raft of plastic can be found along the creek whenever a log falls across the creek and traps the plastic floating on the surface. The last time I saw such a raft, it was about 100 feet south of the footbridge over Issaquah Creek, near the beaches and picnic area.
Bob Whitbeck
Issaquah
Issaquah Highlands
Majority of residents want a gas station closer to where they live and work
Contrary to Jerry Burns’ assertions, a gas station in the Issaquah Highlands would be perfectly consistent with the urban village design concept. The goal is to live close to work, stores and, yes, services, such as a gas station. The whole point is to reduce travel and thus reduce gas consumption, pollution and wasted time.
Currently, highlands residents must drive out of their way (consuming more gas and creating more pollution) to Front Street, East Lake Sammamish Parkway, Gilman Boulevard and other locations to get gas. That makes traffic worse on all of those streets, which in turn forces people stuck in that traffic to consume more gas and create more pollution.
Burns’ concerns about gas station leaks, while well-intentioned, are out of date.  Experts from the state Department of Ecology have noted that regulations have been much more strict for years. All new gas stations are double-walled. Besides, engineers learned that the geology of the area in question would prevent any seepage from reaching the aquifer.
Finally, according to a recent survey, 70 percent of highlands residents want a gas station. Those seeking election or re-election should keep that in mind.
Matthew J. Barry
Issaquah
Schools
With a declining emphasis on learning, classrooms are just daycare centers
Our schools are becoming daycares for adolescents. They are becoming less and less an education facility and more a place for our youth to scrap and make our society a place of stupidity.
Students are graduating with inadequate knowledge about the world and their surroundings. Just when colleges are becoming more competitive, we are cutting education short.
In theory, the No Child Left Behind Act holds everyone accountable — teachers and students — for education.
In reality, schools are funding in the wrong places, making moving on a nightmare for the graduates of years to come.
I was lucky enough to get out of the system just in time and entered a university of higher standards. Still, I am left with skills that lack what is necessary and have to work that much harder to achieve my goals in college. Not every student will go to college; many graduates will immediately join the work force. Many of those who do want to attend college lack the skills needed to succeed.
I wish I could say one school system was the problem, but these skills are acquired from day one of schooling. In my district, it is said that students won’t graduate if they don’t pass the WASL in their sophomore year.
In addition to assessing a student’s progress, now tested in third, fourth, fifth, seventh and 10th grades, it also assesses how well teachers are doing. Many students did not pass, yet they still graduated. Funding was moved from needed programs to make up for the learning the students did not obtain prior to the test.
Where did we go wrong? Placing a harsh consequence on the failure of teachers and direction of funding are where students all too often slip through cracks in the system. From kindergarten, resources and programs need to be in place so that we do not have to take away from the preparation of the students to enter the real world. Teaching middle school-level education in high school should be a thing of the past.
We should prepare our students to head out into the world and to become productive members of society, not scramble to see where we went wrong. Schools are too focused on looking good than the actual education of the student. Let’s refocus on lower education, so we are not sending our students into the world unprepared.
Katie Abercombie
Bellingham
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