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Letters to the Editor, Week of Dec. 27, 2023

Mall walking, elder medical care, war and asphalt

Editor,

Regarding “Greenways is great, but what about indoor rec?” (CDN, Oct. 20, 2023). Many years ago I was a real estate agent at the Cascade Mall in Skagit County. The company I worked for had a location right in the center of the mall.

And on those occasions when I was scheduled to work the morning shift, I would always show up an hour before the mall opened to get a head start on setting up for my shift. And I was always amazed, especially in the winter rainy season, how many older adults were already there walking the interior of the mall for exercise.

The only complaint I ever heard from these early morning walkers was that the floors were hard on their legs and lower backs. With that in mind would it be possible to put down a carpeted track around the interior of Bellis Fair Mall? This would provide an indoor walking facility with the added benefit of more exposure for the stores just before they open.

Bill Walker

Maple Falls

Editor,

The trusted, treasured relationship between the medical profession and its patients that has existed for years in the Bellingham medical complex is broken. This is due to three primary reasons: a serious shortage of physicians, nurses and medical staff: the medical demands of the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe and never-ending growth of our elderly population. 

 All of this begs the question: what are we, the patients, to do about the consequences? It is my personal opinion that we must learn to live with it, to deal with it daily. We must observe our medical needs and accept the fact that the processes involved in our medical care will never be the same. 

I have come to this conclusion in my own medical care experiences during the past few years. All of my medical appointments have been scheduled for at least one or two months in the future. To help alleviate part of the patient’s needs we now have walk-in-clinics.

You are fortunate if you can be seen in less than a three- or four-hour wait. You will be fortunate if you will even be able to get in — they can close for the day without notice. Earlier this year I was forced to use the services of the hospital’s emergency department on three occasions because I was unable to get in to see my primary physician. 

If you need to be referred by your physician to a specialist, you will have to wait four to six weeks until you hear from the specialist. Just today I tried to telephone my physician’s clinic. I waited in line for well over 20 minutes, being told by various robot voices that they were sorry for the delay and I was next in line. No one ever answered the phone. 

Learn to live with it, Bellingham, it is not going to change. 

John (Jack) Lee

Solstice Senior Living, Bellingham

Editor,

The little town of Bethlehem again lies still this Christmas, though not because peace reigns in the land. Celebrations are unthinkable when an entire people are uprooted, humiliated and disposable.

 A place both holy and home to people of many faiths is suffering unimaginable horrors. The flight of a family toward Egypt 2,000 years ago is once more being replicated by upwards of two million refugees today. Gaza has become a graveyard for children. Tens of thousands slowly starve to death or lie beneath rubble that once were places of laughter and life.

A world away, we can witness the slaughter, if we so choose. But we can also do more. We can call for immediate cessation of warring, as many Bellingham residents and our city council have done, and provide life-giving support through various charitable organizations.

Through opening our eyes and hearts to suffering, as well as to the unconscionable collusion of our own government, we can change the narrative while also championing peace and justice in 2024 and beyond.

James Loucky

Bellingham

Editor,

Perhaps mostly because I have no Jewish heritage thus experience, I never expected the level of anti-semitic attacks in the West, notably the U.S. and Canada, since the Oct.7 Hamas attack on Israel. For one thing, the Jewish people in Israel and especially around the world must not be collectively vilified, let alone physically attacked, for the acts of Israel’s government and military, however one feels about the latter’s current brutality in Gaza.

It’s blatantly immoral for them to be mistreated, if not terrorized, as though they were responsible for what is happening there. And it should be needless to say that diaspora Palestinians and Western Muslims similarly must not be collectively blamed and attacked for the acts of Hamas violence in Israel or Islamic extremist attacks outside the Middle East.

Also concerning: What would young Jewish, or Palestinian, children think and feel if/when they hear such misdirected vile hatred towards their fundamental identity? Scary is the real possibility that such public outpour of blind hatred may lead some young children to feel very misplaced shame in their heritage.

And then there’s the ugly external politics of polarization, perhaps in part for its own sake. Particularly with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one can observe widespread ideological/political partisanship via news and commentary. Within social media, the polarized views are especially amplified.

While the conflict can arouse a spectator-sport effect, many contemptible news trolls residing outside the region actively decide which “side” they hate less and thus “support” via politicized commentary posts. I anticipate many actually keep track of the bloody match by checking the day’s-end death-toll score.

Frank Sterle Jr.

White Rock, British Columbia

Editor,

The ongoing drama of ruts in the terminus of the Oregon Trail at I-5 (CDN, Dec. 23, 2023) is of interest. My take is it’s due to shortage of asphalt. 

I reported a cracked depression in our concrete driveway exit to the City. My thinking was that a small section could be removed and replaced with fresh concrete. Easy-peasy.

A few weeks later the city came out, marked the new scope of work with paint. Oh joy, they’re going to replace the whole driveway cut. Yay!! The big day came, the crew set up the forming and presto! They replaced the driveway cut with a sidewalk finishing about 4 inches above my driveway. What?

The city guy said, “it’s cheaper to replace small sections with a larger section.” Yeah, Mr. City Guy, but this is a driveway, not a full-on sidewalk. What the heck?

“Meh, we’ll build you a ramp to get over the sidewalk” I again protested and got the usual canned gobbledygook about “codes” and “accessibility” and so forth. I went all the way up the Public Works food chain. Probably as far as the same guy responsible for the poop plant debacle.

“Nope, we’re not going to redo it.” 

So, we have a nice black ramp now, the house accessible only by jacked-up Dodge Ram trucks, and old smoke-belching blue Volvos with “Earth First” bumper stickers 

So, if the Hammer is interested in the delay, it’s material shortage. The hot asphalt needed is at the end of my driveway.

Bob Morton

Bellingham

Editor,

When Lummi Nation defeated the coal export developers at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point), Lummi councilman Jeremiah Julius called Cherry Point their Jerusalem, a sacred place where their ancestors resided prior to being displaced by white settlers. Long before it was a toxic waste site occupied by petroleum refineries, Cherry Point was a place of significance in Lhaq’temish (Lummi) culture. As one of several prime reef netting locations, Xwe’chi’eXen was a community of unpolluted abundance.

Recently, the petroleum industry announced its intention to come after Washington state and all the “clean green” programs initiated by the Washington Legislature and Governor Inslee. While Washington develops the latest in electrical conversion of its ferries, the petroleum industry is preparing for war in 2024. 

Meanwhile, toxic discharge by the Cherry Point oil refineries into the Salish Sea continues. They can’t even imagine a future without them. But I can. Imagine a restored Xwe’chi’eXen, exchanging the blight of petrochemical smokestacks for a Salish cultural center powered by renewable energy, overlooking the beach where Lhaq’temish families landed canoes, dried salmon and baked clams. 

Jay Taber

Blaine

Editor,

There are a ton of questions around the proposed ABC metal recycling plant proposed for the Bellingham waterfront. Many of the objections are about sound and dust, but those problems should be solvable.

How does the metal recycling industry work now?  Have you asked Scrap It or Gundie’s Auto Recycling or Z’s Recycler’s where they send what they’ve processed?  Would they like to have a metal processing facility more local?  Under what circumstances would they use a local facility? How do their buyers process those metals? Who do they sell it to?

Hoping you can find more information about this.

Molly Crocker

Bellingham

Letters to the Editor are published online Wednesdays; a selection is published in print Fridays. Send to letters@cascadiadaily.com by 10 a.m. Tuesdays. Rules: Maximum 250 words, be civil, have a point and make it clearly. Preference is given to letters about local subjects. CDN reserves the right to reject letters or edit for length, clarity, grammar and style, or removal of personal attacks or offensive content. Letters must include an address/phone number to verify the writer’s identity (not for publication).

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