Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Aug. 22, 2007

A recipe for change

I read with great interest Dave McKenzie’s article concerning the need for a popular elected mayor in Federal Way (Aug. 18).

Indeed, I had written a Pirkle Report on this the week before. But McKenzie’s article turned from a logical argument for a popular elected mayor into an endorsement for Jim Ferrell.

I have met Mr. Ferrell on several occasions and he seems like a fine man, but the elevation of a councilman to mayor is not what I had in mind. I am looking for change, for fresh ideas and not just more on the status quo in thinking.

I am afraid that merely electing a city councilman to mayor, regardless of who it is, would not result in any real change. Incumbents are often beholding to special interests either through previous financial support or friendship. Favors are often owed. Alliances have been formed. This is not the recipe for change. This is a recipe for more of the same.

I would like to see barbecues held in Steel Lake Park, and others, where voters could meet the candidates who will speak so that the election is just not based on name recognition as elections are now. I want to see the candidates run on their ideas and not their previous experience in the good old boy network.

Any members of the city council could have already taken a leadership role and proposed changes, but sadly they have not. It seems like the developers propose things and the city council approves their money-making proposals while Federal Way grows out of control with urban sprawl. This is not leadership.

Bill Pirkle, Federal Way

Relay for Life was a success

As a 14-year cancer survivor and team development chair for Federal Way’s Relay For Life, I would like to thank everyone that participated in this year’s event on July 14-15 at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.

The American Cancer Society funds cancer researchers, education, advocacy, and patient treatment programs. The money raised in our community comes back to us through those channels and is ours to make use of.

Each year there are more people diagnosed with cancer and more people are able to receive treatment and to be declared cancer-free. A person becomes a survivor the moment they are diagnosed with cancer.

At the Relay for Life, the community is able to come together and take up the fight against cancer. Relay for Life is much more than a walk around the track. Relay is a time to celebrate life and to remember those who lost their battle against cancer. Relay also gets us inspired to fight this disease, as well as bringing those together who share the same experience and find common ground, hope and healing at Relay for Life.

Relay for Life committee

members and teams come together to coordinate fundraising for the American Cancer Society and to raise awareness of the need for such funding throughout the entire year. The event is the culmination of a year of planning and working together as a community to promote team participation, and celebrate the lives of survivors and the lives of those that did not win the battle, but have left others to carry on to find the cure.

This year we had 37 teams of approximately 8 to 15 members per team and raised $75,000. Teams gather with tents and sleeping bags with the goal of keeping one person on the track at all times. Relay for Life brings together friends, families, hospitals, businesses, schools and churches as well as

people from all walks of life. Teams have until the end of August to turn in donations that they are still receiving.

The American Cancer Society reports one in three people are affected by cancer, either by suffering from it, being a survivor, or having lost someone to it.

Relay for Life opens with a very moving and emotional lap, and that is where survivors walk the first lap, which is called the “victory lap.” They are the reason we continue the fight because each year more and more people are living wonderful and productive lives following a diagnosis of cancer. During the course of Relay, there is a festive atmosphere, teams do onsite fundraising, and there are games, music and food.

This year the following groups or individuals participated in keeping the event going: Crescendo, Harmony Kings, Jamie Leigh Harris, and Carol Stanley performed; disc jockey was Chris Lehfeldt; and Pastor Mike Ballinger was the Sunday morning service speaker.

Cascade Regional Blood Services, Federal Way’s community blood center and sole provider of blood products to St. Francis Hospital, held a blood drive. For those who do not know, blood products are used for cancer treatments. When you donate, you can save up to three lives. Thank you to all those who donated and supported not only our community hospital, but our own blood center.

New to Relay for Life this year was the prayer and mediation tent, survivor fair and a climbing rock sponsored by Prudential NW Realty. (for a list of sponsors and participating businesses, read at the end of this letter).

More than 300 luminary bags lined the track either in memory of or in honor of those who battled cancer. The bleachers spelled out the words hope and cure. The luminary ceremony not only involved the lighting of the luminaries, which stayed light all night, but a pictorial tribute to those who lost their battle to cancer or in honor of those who are survivors.

Relay for Life is about “a community that takes up the fight against cancer.” And we did it, Federal Way! It is my hope that you will all become more aware of this powerful event and plan on finding a way to join in next year, as cancer never sleeps.

Robin Lulich, Auburn

(Lulich would like to thank the following sponsors: I sincerely would like to thank the following business who supported or participated in relay this year: Gold Sponsors- Franciscan Health Systems, Metropolitan Market. Silver Sponsors- Wal-Mart, Key Bank, Federal Way News, Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, Federal Way School District, Prudential NW Realty, H Mart. Bronze Sponsors- Christine Alexander, Wells Fargo, Emerald RV, City of Federal Way. Business who participated in the Survivor Fair: American Cancer Society, American Lung Assoc., Adebayo Aliu, DDS, Bastyr Center For Natural Health, Bridges, Cancer For College, Cancer Lifeline, Franciscan Health System, Harmony Hill Retreat Center, Livestrong/Fred Hutchinson, Merle Norman, Master Hair, MV, Nordstroms, Northwest Lymphedema Center, Oral Cancer Foundation, Preferred Orthotics, Savi Day Spa, Shoes & Feet, Team Survivor, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, United Ostomy Assoc., Us Dept Of Health & Human Services. A big thank you to Fred Coggeshell (Club Car Manager) & Russ Bowdidge (President, Thermo King) they provided 4 golf carts. Vilma's Signs for signage, Pizza Hut (on Military Road), Dominos (Twin Lakes) for pizza, Carol at Great Harvest Bread, Kiwanis for cooking dinner, the Lion's for breakfast, and South King County Fire and Rescue for providing an aide car and first aid station during the entire event. New to relay this year was the prayer and mediation tent, survivor fair, and a climbing rock sponsored by Prudential NW Realty. Thank you to the following dignitaries for your continued support: City Council members Linda Kochmar and Jeanne Burbidge, State Representatives Mark Miloscia and Skip Priest, Metropolitan King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, and Federal Way School Board member Dave Larson.)

Library service problem

I would like you to be aware of a library service problem in South King County.

I recently spoke with one of the librarians who opened the Woodmont Library. She said that when they opened, they were issuing library cards like hotcakes to the neighbors, and that a lot of people from the trailer park came to Woodmont Library.

Currently the Woodmont Library is closed. It will be closed for about one year. The King County Library System (KCLS) officials said they had intended to have a trailer parked at the Woodmont Library site to serve the community there during library expansion when the building would be closed to the public. Right now, they have nothing there.

At the last KCLS Board meeting, I suggested during public comment time that they have the (KCLS) proposed library trailer in the parking lot or rent a local storefront for a temporary library, and if not that, put a bookmobile parked in the Safeway lot to the south, so that the community would not have to travel to Des Moines Library to pick up holds (all of them were transferred there when KCLS found it could not get a trailer permit from Des Moines) or look at books.

Then KCLS Director Bill Ptacek said that they were not able to get the permits from Des Moines, so could not have their proposed trailer. He also said they had looked at storefronts, but the bathrooms were not large enough. Perhaps they should have worked more with Des Moines? He made it sound as if the municipality were at fault.

Since KCLS had planned the expansion for a long time, I suggest that KCLS did not do their homework beforehand as to whether they could get a permit and has let the community down. Ptacek also said that while KCLS was holding story times at the Woodmont Elementary School, he did not think they could do so after Sept. 4 when school began again, so there will be even less service to this community for the next 12 months.

After the KCLS Board meeting, I addressed Ptacek and told him that it was not reasonable to have the Woodmont area kids go to the Des Moines Library for books. There are no buses between the Woodmont and Des Moines libraries, and that they certainly should not be riding their bikes along Pacific Highway or the street west of Woodmont Elementary School to go to the Des Moines library.

I asked him whether they had thought of a bookmobile in the Safeway lot, perhaps even one day a week? He dodged the question and said he was not sure of the schedule and availability. Well, having looked at the 2007 KCLS budget, KCLS could “not” spend money on some of their “glamorous” projects like Wayfinding ($500,000 this year alone) and use it instead to get bookmobiles.

I asked him if he did not see a trend here — they know they are expanding/remodeling libraries, they know they need to work on getting permits for a “parking lot trailer.” Most importantly, they know the people will not have a community library. Why not plan ahead for the other libraries? Get the bookmobiles, find better options and work ahead of time with the municipalities.

I suggest that KCLS should be supporting service to the community libraries like Woodmont better than they are, considering the taxes they collect from us.

As KCLS continues its building/expansion program of the $172 million 2004 construction bond, I hope our elected representatives will speak up for the people who will not be served as they should be during the building. There will be many more KCLS libraries closed for building in the next 10 years because of the bond. Covington Library, for example, will be closed to the public from Sept. 10 through mid-December. No holds, pickups or returns, no staff in the building.

It seems like just a few little tweaks would go a long way to providing library service in Woodmont’s case, but I anticipate that every other case will have a similar “lack of proper planning.” 

We need more accountability, and a real “heart of the community focus” from the KCLS administration.

Margaret Nelson, Federal Way

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