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Letters to the Editor, Week of Feb. 21, 2024

Late-in-life love, Skagit gravel mine and an (ahem) ode to Donald Trump


Reading this piece this morning, I was struck by a few things missing from the background of “For Handel” sculptor Mark di Suvero (CDN, Feb. 18, 2024).

He was born to two Sephardic Jews and was indeed Jewish — worth noting given Western Washington University’s issues with Jews [incidents of antisemitism on campus] and Bellingham’s “unfriendly” history regarding minorities.

Continuing to defy the binaries, he was also Italian (born Marco Polo, not Mark), born in China, yet quintessentially American.

He was deeply concerned about the Vietnam debacle and even left the United States for years to live in France. In 1966, di Suvero built the Artists’ Tower of Protest in Los Angeles to oppose U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Almost 60 feet high, the Peace Tower stood for three months as a symbol of antiwar sentiment.

Storm King Arts Center, in the Hudson Valley of New York, worked with di Suvero over many decades and currently holds about a dozen of his works, including some of the largest. It is well worth a visit — you can check out a group of site-specific Serra’s at Storm King and another set at Dia Beacon, nearby.

In 1986, di Suvero converted a dump in Queens, New York, into the  Socrates Sculpture Park — this is a favorite of many New Yorkers I know.

In 2011 di Suvero was awarded the National Medal of Arts for how he changed Abstract Expressionism.

I felt compelled to share this concise biography to help put “For Handel” in the context of an astonishing life.

Nathan Tableman

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program is in full swing again this year providing free federal tax preparation services in Whatcom County. The service is open to all ages and income levels with some restrictions for overly complex returns. All of our volunteer tax preparers have completed a rigorous training program and are certified by the Internal Revenue Service. Historically, our site has been the single largest site in the state of Washington preparing as many as 1,400 returns per year.

We are open Monday through Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church at 2401 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham. Service is on a first-come first-served basis, and we do not take appointments. Our doors open 15 minutes before our start time, and we have a Spanish interpreter on-site on Saturdays. Our program is especially valuable to low-income families and senior citizens who have told us that their simple returns can cost over $200 to prepare at commercial sites.

Clients need to bring their tax documents as well as a Social Security card or other documents from the Social Security administration showing the number for everyone on the return, and a government-issued ID for the taxpayer and spouse if applicable.

Carlton Nathon
District Coordinator AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

I was disappointed to read the very subtle misinterpretation if not misinformation in the guest commentary by Simon Sefzik (CDN, Feb. 6, 2024). Mr. Sefzik stated early in the commentary that the certified initiatives being discussed will be present on the November ballot. The commentary then moves on, stating that putting the initiatives on the ballot is one option for constitutional obligation and then immediately claims that the House is not fulfilling its constitutional obligation.

I gave myself a headache just parsing out the logical fallacy in the commentary because I found myself confused by what was actually disgruntling Mr. Sefzik. In the end, the House is simply not fulfilling its constitutional obligation in a manner that pleases Mr. Sefzik or perhaps the organization/political party Sefzik seems to be representing. Could it be that the people who would benefit from these initiatives know that the initiatives are unpopular, do not benefit our communities, and will not pass if simply placed on a ballot as required by the state constitution?

Mr. Sefzik, I do not wish our elected lawmakers and elected officials to waste taxpayer money and resources by forcing them to have more meetings and conversations about initiatives that if truly popular and beneficial, should have no issues being passed by the voting population. It is your party’s and organization’s obligation to prove to the public that these initiatives are worthwhile and beneficial. 

Grayson Moody

How delightful to read the story of late-in-life love at the Bellingham Senior Center (CDN, Feb. 10, 2024). These days most entertainment stories involve young folk. Us older folk are talked about as being slow, forgetful, even feeble. And yes, I remember griping about how old folks ruled the world when I was in my 20s. And then:

Fast forward to 2022 and at the age of 82 I met a gentleman, age 87 online. We dated for a year enjoying every minute of our time together and decided we wanted everyone to know just how wonderful our lives had become, so we got married on Dec. 17, 2023.

Now, I admit, we are those “old folk.” But we don’t think of ourselves as being old. Together we are enjoying our opportunity for fun, adventures and love. Who would have thought, two old fogies, one getting married for the third time, the other for the fourth time, could find love at this stage of our lives.

Hooray for being a senior and taking advantage of it!!!

Sarah Younglove and Bill Fly

[Cue Big Band Intro]

Start spreadin’ the news
It broke yesterday.
The judge had none of it
(in) New York, New York

In Court he did lose
Now he’s gotta pay
Three Hundred Fifty Five million
(to) New York, New York

Soon he’ll wake up
In a barnyard, with the sheep!
And find he’s banned from The Hill,
Oh, What a creep …

He’s singin’ the blues
Fraud (ain’t) goin’ away
He made an art of it
In old New York

Thought he’d fake it there
Now can’t make it Anywhere
(Oh Boo-Ho-Ho)
New York, New York

New York, New York
Soon he’ll wake up
In a barnyard with the sheep …

They say he’s Ass Number One
He won’t be missed
Circling the drain
Jerk number one

[Link arms for kick-line finale]

His lawyers and friends
Are melting away
Better make a good head start of it
And flee New York

And if they catch you there
Your clothes will match your hair
So here’s to you,
New York, New York

Omar G. Firestone

Thank you for the recent coverage given to Miles Sand and Gravel/Concrete Nor’west’s (CNW) proposed Grip Road gravel mine north of Sedro-Woolley. We feel that the Cascadia articles have been well-written, well-researched, accurate and fair.

However, regarding the most recent article (Feb. 12), we need to correct the record in terms of the characterization of Central Samish Valley Neighbors (CSVN) as “grassroots activists.”

The concerned local residents who make up CSVN represent diverse political and social views. Most would certainly not be considered “activists” and would prefer not to be labeled as such. What we have in common is that we live in this neighborhood, we love its rural nature, and we share the conviction that Skagit County needs to follow its own rules and regulations to ensure that the proposed mine doesn’t unduly impact our personal safety and the health of our environment. For most of the members of CSVN, challenging this land use permit is a “first.”

We did not seek conflict with the county or CNW, this conflict came to us in the form of incomplete application materials and careless handling of the permit review process at the county level. And, as your articles clearly portray, the hearing examiner’s “final decision” issued by the county on Feb. 2 ignored even the most basic permit conditions typically required of an industrial-scale mine, even after almost eight years of our trying to hold CNW and the county accountable for their basic responsibilities. 

John Day (for Central Samish Valley Neighbors)

On Valentine’s Day, The Seattle Times ran Michelle Goldberg’s article on the editorial page explaining the importance of Biden’s governing ability over his age and lack of a fierce, loud and often offensive campaigning style. I thought of President Eisenhower, who campaigned with speeches from the back of trains, but knew leadership and integrity and chose a functional cabinet from leaders in important industries. He understood that running a government is a team effort and that all cabinet members spot each other with suggestions and ideas that support the nation. Presidents have historically had a support group that help make governing operation decisions for the benefit of our people and industrial growth.

On the same editorial page, Marilyn Brody wrote about the “horrific” attack on our democracy should we elect the wrong person. What continued degradation of our world leadership would happen should we elect a person with dictatorial designs who would install a cabinet of “yes” men and women with no checks and balances from other cabinet members? Diversity makes strength, particularly under good leadership.

So much for “we need a fine businessman instead of a politician.” We need a Democracy-loving leader who cares about ALL people in America and America’s future to the seventh generation.  

Donna Starr

This post was updated at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2024, to correct an assertion in a letter that sculptor Mark di Suvero was deceased.

Letters to the Editor are published online Wednesdays; a selection is published in print Fridays. Send to 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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