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Letters to the Editor, Week of Feb. 10, 2022

Community, Medicare, softball, and journalism


Thank you Ron Judd for reinventing your long-gone and much-missed humor column that once injected levity into the otherwise austere pages of the Sunday Seattle Times. “The Hammer” hits the nail on the head (though a ball-peen hammer is an improper tool for driving nails).

The photo you mention of the futuristic battery-powered ferry does indeed call to mind the Kalakala on stilts. By the time I did a stint as an engine-room oiler for the Washington State Ferries in the 1970s, the Kalakala (aka, the “Pregnant Bomber”) was gone and, at the time, not much missed. As far as experiencing ferry riding in the classic manner, nothing could compare to the wooden-hulled Vashon, with its inviting cabin and decks and, down below, the clanking rhythm of vintage 1930s machinery.

But I take issue with your reference to traveling over the water at six knots. Even the Vashon was faster than that! I also worked on the “modern” Super-class ferries, including the Hyak and the Kaleetan, which as I recall cruised at something close to 20 knots. They were speedy and reliable, but totally lacking in charm. And now they’re over 50 years old! You know you’re getting on when things so well remembered as “modern” have reached the age of being antique or historical. Even if they don’t look the part.

The Vashon, by the way, was retired in 1980 at 50 years old. And it looked and felt historical. 

And to switch from one favorite subject to another, boats to beer, thank you for casting aspersions on IPA. Should ever an anti-IPA movement come about, I’d be among the first to sign up.

Paul Kenna



CDN Executive Editor Ron Judd informed readers about McDonald’s rollout of its Land, Air & Sea sandwich, weighing in at a hefty 1,330 calories, 69 grams of fat and 123 grams of carbs, but Judd doesn’t mention the sodium load. Sodium content is 2,150 mg, which is 93% of the recommended daily value. In one sandwich!

Juxtaposed with the urgent need to increase awareness about the epidemic of prediabetes and diabetes in our country, McDonald’s decision to market this sandwich is at cross-purposes with efforts to encourage better nutrition, such as the fresh produce promoted in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The CDC recently increased its estimate to 96 million American adults who are prediabetic. To slow down — and even reverse — these shocking numbers, primary care physicians (PCPs) need to be more proactive in addressing prediabetes education with their patients.

PCPs must be on the frontlines in diabetes prevention, otherwise, we’re going to end up with massive numbers of diagnoses among young people. How many of our kids and grandkids know that diabetes causes vision loss, kidney failure, heart disease, amputations, and a host of other disabilities?  Also, think about what this does to the future workforce and associated financial costs.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes and early awareness. PeaceHealth, Family Care Network, UnityCare, Sea Mar, and other health providers, please help wipe out the scourge of preventable diabetes. And, yes, Whatcom County Health Department, local governments, and school superintendents, please do your part to help the PCPs to educate about prediabetes. There’s more going on than COVID-19.

Also, I encourage our new Cascadia Daily News to publish regular, locally sourced articles on health and well-being in our county.

Delores Davies



The Whatcom Umpires Association is recruiting new softball umpires. Umpires officiate co-ed, women, and men’s slow pitch leagues as well as fast-pitch leagues of all levels, including youth, high school, middle school and summer club leagues.

The association trains umpires in just a few weeks and individuals will learn the rules and positioning and attitude it takes to become a registered softball umpire.

Officials are paid and they get to set their own schedule after they receive free training. There are also opportunities to advance within the position.

For more details contact Steve Hoffman at or call/text 360-303-0265.

Steve Hoffman



Thank you for the opportunity to follow up on the story by Ralph Schwartz on Jan. 25 about the effort to build a Whatcom County Jail and the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. I am a member of that committee. 

Ralph covered the presentations by the County, Sheriff and Prosecutor. What I believe should also be shared with the public is the extensive discussion by members of the SAC after the presentations were complete. There is a noticeable difference in perspective.

Questions that were raised related to:

  • The impacts of occupancy in the jail population from 7,281 down to 3,393 bookings.
  • GARE, GRACE or LEAD program and their potential to reduce bookings. 
  • Delay in the convening of the SAC.
  • Educational services in and out of the jail.
  • A community needs assessment asked for by the public on multiple occasions.
  • Efficacy of compulsory treatment (post-arrest).
  • Service gaps in pre-treatment and pre-arrest.

These questions and comments suggest that several members of the SAC emphasized a preference for pre-treatment over punishment. The importance of treatment pre-arrest was also emphasized. I worry that SAC effort is a jail-planning exercise rather than harm reduction and public safety.

Both City and County Council members seemed to want to discuss a focus on prevention. One elected official suggested that a large portion of a potential tax levy be allocated to pre-treatment. Why is it that after repeated failed attempts to build new facilities, we still fail to focus on prevention?

Additional details on the meeting can be found at

Atul Deshmane



I would like to politely respond to Ginger Decker’s letter from the week of Jan. 27 about her concern for the Bellingham Police.

She lists the services lost. The only one that truly needs to be the duty of a police officer is Anti-crime. 

We have asked too much of our police officers in the past. The other services mentioned (Traffic, Drug Outreach, School Resources and Behavioral Health) could be done by unarmed, well-trained professional groups of men and women.

The real problem is that we as Americans don’t want to pay for the needed services we truly need for a well-functioning society. It is cheaper to dump all of society’s ills on one group of men and women. 

Let’s smile and wave to our officers, limit them by law to an eight-hour day and set up systems outside the police force that handle Traffic, Drug Outreach, School Resources, and Behavioral Health.

John O’Neill



You might, like me, have Traditional Medicare. You might, like me, have chosen that option (rather than Medicare Advantage) because you wanted at least 98% of the Medicare dollars spent on you to go to patient care, rather than to private profit.

Silly me! I did not know until today that this past fall, all Traditional Medicare patients within the Peace Health monopoly were without any prior notice transferred into a for-profit entity called “Cascadia Community Care Alliance.” This is a for-profit operation under the Direct Contracting model put in place, administratively and with zero congressional say-so, by the Trump Administration.

I wrote to Larsen, Murray, and Cantwell about this. See below.

If you want more information about this appalling development, see the following:

Senator Warren in a hearing a few days ago

Doctors against the Direct Contract model

As well as at the website,, or the Physicians for A National Health Program.

Abram R. (“Abe”) Jacobson




It was inspiring to see the kindness and compassion found at the heart of our community in quickly responding to the recent flood victims with generous aid.

An all-encompassing word — community!

Contributing to this effort, Assistance League of Bellingham’s member volunteers responded by donating 132 new books to Whatcom Strong and clothing, children’s toys and goods to Sumas Community Clothesline.

As a philanthropic organization, the Assistance League of Bellingham is honored to be a partner with government agencies and non-governmental agencies within Whatcom County. Our member volunteers have welcomed many of you in our Thrift & Gift Shop located at 2817 Meridian St., Bellingham.

Control of the virus remains a national and global disruption to our lives. Our funding was severely reduced due to the COVID temporary closure of the Thrift & Gift Shop. Assistance League made every effort to ease this uncertainty and give strength to our communities in Whatcom County through the following programs:

  • Operation School Bell® (OSB) provided new school clothes for students in need. OSB includes a literacy program, Books and Beyond for school-aged children. Teen Team provided clothes/school supplies for homeless teenagers in high school.
  • Eating Healthy provided scholarships for kids to participate in camps and activities at Common Threads Farm.
  •  Enrichment Scholarship Program awarded merit-based scholarships to students in middle school and high school for summer programs.
  • Hospital Patient Support provided emergency clothing for ER patients.
  • Care Center Support provided Christmas gifts to residents of care centers without family or friends.

Funding for our local programs is primarily supported by the revenue from our Thrift & Gift Shop and fundraising events as well as local donations.

For more information, visit

Helen Moran


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