To the Editor
August 21, 2012
Gun sales don’t belong in neighborhood
We are writing with concerns regarding the request for a permit for a home-based business called Bigg Dogg Firearms, 280 Fourth Place S.E., Issaquah, (permit number is PLN12-00042) to sell handguns, rifles and ammunition via the Internet with delivery to approved buyers from the home.
The house is in a neighborhood full of families and children. According to MapQuest, this house is 0.3 miles from Clark Elementary and Tiger Mountain Community High schools, a one-minute drive.
The federal government places no limit on the number of firearms or quantity of ammunition a person sells. Thus, a statement of estimates or intent in a permit application does not offer any guarantee.
As 30-year residents in the city of Issaquah, we are very concerned because Internet sales of firearms and ammunition is a fast-growing business. To allow this is to open the door for this kind of home-based business in other Issaquah residential neighborhoods. Not only can this type of business be a life-threatening risk, it also threatens property values.
Issaquah’s municipal code forbids antique shops, painting of boats and small engine repair as home-based businesses and yet there is nothing to prevent the sale of explosives, including ammunition and the sale of firearms. Clearly the city of Issaquah must act quickly to revise its municipal code to forbid this kind of home-based business.
It is important people understand this issue does NOT impinge on the integrity of the person applying for this business license nor does it question the right to gun ownership.
We urge residents to act quickly and respond to the city with their concerns. Issaquah property owners can send their comments to Jerry Lind in the Planning Department, as he is in charge of the project. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura and Bob Foreman
No Child Left inside
Fund training in environmental education
As a fourth-grade teacher in the Issaquah School District, I recently had the opportunity to talk with the offices of my state senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, as well as the office of Congressman Dave Reichert regarding the need to support the “No Child Left Inside” Act, which would help facilitate funding for teacher training in environmental education.
I know our district has been very supportive of teachers developing/using outdoor classrooms for learning. I worked with a committee to develop two outdoor classrooms on the Sunny Hills’ campus.
Kathy Dunn, first-grade teacher, developed butterfly and vegetable gardens with her students. Other teachers in our district have developed similar outdoor learning sites.
Children become more engaged in learning in outdoor classrooms. I have seen it over the many years I have used outdoor classrooms to teach core curriculum, particularly science.
My concern is if teachers are not trained in environmental education, they’re less likely to utilize outdoor classrooms to enhance learning.
I extended an invitation to our senators and congressman to visit Sunny Hills to see the outdoor classrooms and discover firsthand how they are being utilized to support student learning. My hope is a visit would inspire these leaders to return to D.C. and make sure the “No Child Left Inside Act” passes this session to provide the needed teacher training.
One of my parents shared her daughter’s experiences in outdoor classrooms at the end of the school year — “Sophie has learned a new respect and appreciation for nature. She stops to point out the sunsets and flowers along the way, after grabbing a camera to record them. What a blessing to be inspired by the beautiful world we live in.”
Fund teacher training in environmental education so there are more stories for teachers to tell.
Progress on trails plan is satisfying
Seeing Park Pointe progress from the initial meetings five years ago when councilmembers Fred Butler, David Kappler and I started the discussion on how to save Park Pointe from development with local and regional players to a draft trails plan is very satisfying. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Issaquah Parks Department on detailed and thoughtful work on the Park Pointe trails plan.
The inclusion of new multiple-use soft-surface single-track trails is a first for a city with a history of designating all such trails as exclusively for hikers. As a frequent hiker in the Issaquah Alps, I have enjoyed the large mileage of hike-only trials. As a mountain biker, I have been frustrated with being forced to drive 20 minutes or more to find well-built fun-to-ride trails.
As a member of the Issaquah Economic Vitality Commission, I think including mountain bikes on a small percentage of trails connected to our city will fill a gap in the package of outdoor sports opportunities our city offers, and is a positive step toward inclusiveness, one of the keys to economically successful cities.
As to specifics of the draft plan, the designation of the new trails as multiple use is certainly a compromise. While it is sure to disappoint the hike-only crowd, I don’t think these trails will be very satisfying for the mountain bike crowd. The elevation gain from west to east assures that mountain bikes traveling downhill will be moving faster than hikers, thus creating a potential for user conflict.
If one half of the new trail loop was designated as two-way for hikers and one-way uphill for bikers with the other half as downhill mountain bike traffic only, this would greatly reduce speed differentials and improve both the hiking and biking experiences.