Letters to the Editor

Faith Huitt of Chinook would like people to understand the risks and other downsides of fireworks.

Chinook girl: Time to curtail fireworks

I hate fireworks because they scare pets, people can get hurt, wildlife gets scared, tourists and partiers cause trash and dune fire problems.

Cats get scared because private neighbors may be setting off fireworks. Many owners have to tranquilize their dogs or cats when neighbors are setting off fireworks nearby. Pets left outside often get scared and run away. They can easily get lost, run into traffic and get killed, or run into predators and be killed. People are left wondering and worrying about a missing pet which may never return.

Every year somebody gets hurt from private fireworks. A spark could burn someone or we often hear of kids getting fingers blown off from playing with fireworks. Every year someone loses their home because sparks from a neighbor’s fireworks started their house on fire. There are veterans form Iraq and Afghanistan living in the area who have PTSD and they have a psychotic episode triggered by fireworks which sound exactly like gunfire or bomb explosions. All that noise also keeps people awake who may not want to watch a few minutes of colorful sparkles in the sky.

Every year some private citizen sets off their own fireworks which scares wildlife. One year my daddy was out driving. A firecracker went off and scared a deer and it ran out in front of his car. The hood of the car was bent double, the car was totaled and the deer died. It happens to lots of people every year.

Every year, twice a year, on July 4 and New Year’s, partiers and tourists invade Peninsula beaches and set off lots of fireworks. They leave tons of trash, much of which is unsafe. Locals have to clean up the beaches the next day and risk losing fingers and hands due to unfired fireworks. These privately lit fireworks often release sparks which cause dune fires, endangering wildlife, people and firefighters.

Mommy says tourists bring money to the Peninsula, so businessmen want to let them set off fireworks. The businessmen are afraid tourists won’t come if they can’t set off fireworks. Tourists will still come as long as there is a professional show. It is safer and the Peninsula businesses will still get plenty of tourist dollars.

Is income from tourists more important then the pain and problems caused local residents? Where are your priorities?

Faith Huitt

Chinook

Participate in planning future July 4ths

Another Fourth of July has come and gone. The partners in the “Beach Friendly 4th” campaign again showed their commitment by enforcing the existing rules concerning overnight stays on the beach, increasing the public awareness of existing rules and behavior expectations, and putting additional focus on being a good neighbor.

To further The Better Plan, our committee is again running a survey to help the partners develop priorities for the future. Please take a couple minutes to complete — it not matter what your thoughts are — we want and need all opinions and suggestions. The 2015 survey respondents made a difference — you can too! The survey can be accessed through the Not A Ban A Better Plan Facebook page, as well as several other local sites, or by typing this URL in your browser — www.surveymonkey.com/r/YFQQJFF. If you do not have access to a computer, the survey is printed in today’s paper.

The results of the survey will be shared at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m., at the Ocean Park Fire Hall. In additional, the partners will be there to talk about this year’s efforts and future plans. Thank you.

Magen Michaud, Robert Brake, Bette Lu Krause, Mark Perez, Vicki Vanneman

Not a Ban A Better Plan

betterplanfireworks@gmail.com

Time for Herrera to stand up to Trump

Open letter to U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler:

My wife and I are residents of Southwest Washington’s 3rd District. As two of your constituents, we can remain silent no longer about the embarrassing and undignified “antics of the president and so-called member of the Republican party.”

I hope that you are as concerned about the critical level of his wayward and dictatorial direction as we are. Clearly it is time to speak out. The highest ethical principles on which this country was founded, demand that we (my wife, myself and you as our representative) speak out. From your vantage point in Washington, D.C., you have seen the televised episodes of crass, demeaning, violent and mean-spirited rhetoric pour from the White House.

At the same time, a dysfunctional executive branch is undermining our credibility and strength around the world. I understand he is a new Republican presidential model and he represents the celebrity generation, but this in no way forgives his actions and words that are meant to divide this great country of ours.

My expectation is that your voice joins the gathering voices of wisdom from many reasonable people from both parties who have had enough of this tyranny of the bully. You would never allow a person like the President to speak to you or your children in the vicious and impaired manner that is commonplace for him.

You and I know that he is not balanced or well. This imbalance is already gravely affecting the public sphere and your ability to work on the issues important to you and your constituents. Rep. Herrera, you have a responsibility and a duty to warn against the abusive exercise of power demonstrated in the Oval Office. Please, as our representative, speak up.

John and Patricia Ciminello

Naselle

Food needs up, donations are vital

Annual report to the community from the Ocean Park Food Bank:

The Ocean Park Food Bank has just competed its fiscal year. During the past 12 months, we served 5,198 families, comprising 14,423 individuals. This represents an increase of almost 1,000 individuals over a year ago. We distributed 193,381 pounds of food (15,585 lbs/month). Of this, 30,403 pounds of food was donated locally by individuals. This was a decrease of 5,000 pounds locally from a year ago.

Our operating expenses took a big hit due to $5,000 needed to upgrade our walk-in cooler. Food we receive from our main suppliers continues to be much less than what we used to get. To maintain the quantity and quality of our give-outs, we purchased almost $30,000 in food items, 50 percent more than we spent last year (which was 50 percent more than the year before that.) Besides bread, we are now purchasing eggs, margarine, milk, peanut butter and canned meals (like ravioli) every month. We also provide a special holiday meal in December. We can only do this because of the very responsive local community, which continues to favor us with generous cash and food donations.

We received more than 11,000 pounds from “A Simple Gesture,” our donation program where we pick up food every other month at your home. We encourage concerned people to please contact us at 360-244-3969 to enroll.

We would like to thank all those individuals, churches, the Moose, Eagles and Elks, many service organizations, the Peninsula Senior Center, the employees of WorldMark Resort, the Surfside Inn and the Corder Foundation for providing us with the means to help the large number of children and adults who do not have an adequate amount of food. Our board works really hard to operate at the lowest cost possible and at the same time provide the most convenient service. We are open four days a week and serve clients from the entire Peninsula. Our success is due to YOU. Thank you.

Michael Goldberg, President

Ocean Park Food Bank

PUD board right to challenge staff decisions

I’ve been attending PUD meeting in Long Beach the last several months. Along with several other individuals, I support the “new direction” in which Dick Anderson and Mike Swanson are headed.

At the bi-monthly meetings, the 5-minute rule for the public to speak makes it difficult to comment and ask questions before your time is up. That happened to me at my last attendance. I was limited to 5 minutes, even though I was the only non-PUD person in the room!

I support Dick and Mike for delaying decisions on staffing changes until after Miller retires. Miller shouldn’t make decisions that affect the PUD far into the future in his last 75 days before retirement.

Diana Thompson stated “the board is not supposed to micro-manage. It’s our job to set policy.” Perhaps the board should have used “common sense” and questioned the $9.5 million bond issued in the summer of 1999. That was supposed to bring power from Tokeland to Oysterville across the bay. That proved to be an impossibility and the plan was abandoned, but the debt is still there.

Perhaps the board should have questioned taking out the $18 million bond in 2014 to take power to Grayland. Half of the 1,000 meters in Grayland area are cranberry growers.

I farm 100 acres of cranberries on the Peninsula and, after 36 years, know most of the Grayland growers. They are happy with Grays Harbor PUD serving their remote area. They are also happy that the current commission abandoned the questionable project!

Abandoning the Grayland project was a good thing, but we’ve still borrowed $27.5 million in the past 18 years! That money has to be paid back. Should the Commissioners question the major decisions that management is making? YOU BET!

Malcolm McPhail

Ilwaco

Aim to be ‘practical and kind’

I thought Michael Goldberg’s letter of last week was quite sensible. The entire community is better by a more fair justice system. Ours is more punishing than most western countries, no emphasis on rehabilitation, few re-entry programs, no good medical upon release. I have known many through family and through the system as my son was an administrator of a diversion program for delinquent youngsters. These programs can work and return productive men and women to society.

Nancy McAllister’s program, drug courts, other alternatives to incarceration make so much sense. Jailing those that cannot pay fines is ludicrous. We fill our jails with poor people and minorities and create criminals. We confiscate assets of citizens that have not committed any crimes. We are criminalizing immigrants and refugees. My mother was the youngest of 12 and the only one born in the U.S. I lost family in the Holocaust. This was at a time when the U.S. would not let refugees in.

The biggest losers are taxpayers and communities and, of course the individuals and their families. Having privately operated prisons is so wrong. There have been judges that have lost the bench after being convicted of taking kickbacks and sentencing young juveniles to prison sentences to enrich their own pockets. Who are the criminals in these cases? Those caught in that web will never be the same.

Public defenders in some counties, especially in the South, have so many cases that one documentary revealed that one attorney could only give 5 minutes to each case.

The current administration continues to attempt to privatize more and more public service agencies, and I find it very sad. Janet Clark wrote that we should respect the office. Although I understand where she is coming from and also am tiring of the constant barrage of insults, I cannot respect a president who does not respect the citizens of the country he is supposed to represent or be proud of a country that turns its back on many of its citizens and others that live here.

It is time to be both practical and kind.

Charlotte Paliani

Ocean Park

PAPA’s musical a charming hit: See it!

Charming — adjective. Pleasing, delightful. That’s the word that came to mind over and over last Saturday night as I sat in the audience, entertained and engaged, of the Peninsula Association of Performing Artists (PAPA)’s new production of “She Loves Me” at the historic Fort Columbia Theater. Although I hadn’t heard of the show before, I trusted PAPA’s track record of well-produced, family friendly musical comedies – and I was not disappointed! Although it is a community theater production, those involved seem to believe it is a professional one, with great benefit for us in the audience. Music, lyrics, performances, sets, costumes — all are top notch!

Set in the 1930s, “She Loves Me” is a “boy meets girl” story with a twist: our young lovers know each other only through the passionate letters they exchange in a “lonely hearts club” pen-pal relationship. Confusion and comedy ensue when our hero realizes that they not only know each other, but work together in a little perfume shop. Their competitive posture toward each other in their real lives would seem to doom any chance of lasting love. However, the bickering and barbs are simply feeble defenses against the vulnerability of opening one’s heart fully to another human being. Grab someone you care about (sweetheart, family or friends) and go see this wonderful production celebrating universal themes of romantic love. You’ll be glad you did! Playing weekends through Aug. 6. Tickets and info at www.papatheater.com.

Mark Scarborough

Long Beach

PAPA has another hit! If you want to leave your worries at the door, “She Loves Me” allows it! The cast of actors, the music, the direction of Barbara Poulshock and Brooke Flood culminates into a musically light-hearted, funny and enjoyable evening at the theater! Don’t miss it!

Anne Anderson

Ocean Park

My wife and I were fortunate to attend the opening night of the new PAPA (Peninsula Association of Performing Artists www.papatheater.com ) production of She Loves Me last Friday night. What a wonderful performance! The story is delightful, set in a “Parfumerie” in Hungary and includes several sub-plots including mistaken identity and letter writing with two feuding perfume clerks that have no idea that they are in love! This play inspired movies like “Shop Around the Corner” and “You’ve Got Mail”. It also includes a musical score from the composers of “Fiddler on the Roof.” This is another GREAT production by our local group of artists directed by Barbara Poulshock who is a Peninsula treasure! The parts were masterfully executed, and the sets are magnificent. How they manage to pack all of that into the Theater at Fort Columbia, I will never know!

You will laugh, you will cry, you will cheer out loud as this story unfolds! Run, don’t walk to get your tickets which are available at Okie’s Thriftway in Ocean Park as well as online at www.papatheater.com.

Rocky Keel

Long Beach

We are relatively new to the Peninsula and while we have attended a few plays in the area during our time here we hadn’t seen a PAPA production, that is until last Friday night. When we read in the Observer that “She Loves Me” was likely to be Director Barbara Poulshock’s swan song we decided to get tickets in her honor. We had no idea of the treat that awaited us. The setting was lovely, in a restored building at Fort Columbia State Park, overlooking the mouth of the Columbia, but the highlight of course was the performance itself. We were totally charmed by the story, costumes, and sets but most importantly by the acting, singing and dancing of the multi-talented cast. This musical is very entertaining and shouldn’t be missed! Congratulations to Barbara and the entire cast and crew for a job well done.

Vicki Vanneman

Ocean Park

Last Friday, I saw PAPA’s current production of “She Loves Me”, happening on stage at Fort Columbia. Bottom line first = it’s really a fine show, and BTW, I’ve always liked the B&W film version, starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, “Shop Around the Corner.”

I have performed with PAPA myself in the past, so I was eager to see friends and new faces on stage, and celebrate the new opening with them all.

A fine thing happened as I watched. Of course I enjoyed seeing the faces of actors who’ve played Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Tin Man, the wicked Witch of the West, and more. My knowing them offstage, too, got me floating in and out of who they “really” are. Gradually, I was drawn in to who each of the characters were; and this was a wonderful surprise as I saw that each actor was sharing genuine parts of themselves with us, the audience. All of the play’s characters benefitted so; becoming ever more real for me as the story progressed. Not being able to draw a line between the actor I knew, and the character on stage, left me feeling that when we look deeper into ourselves, we may find ever closer connections with other people; even those who may seem very different from our everyday selves.

My experiences that night were so varied, and always cradled in the sound of fine music, a fun story, beautiful stage set, and humor. Perhaps I’ve already indicated that I suggest you go and see for yourself, what it is you like best about this fine play.

Mike Tuell

Long Beach

The best ever! PAPA just keeps getting better! They outdid themselves this year with the delightful musical “She Loves Me” at the Fort Columbia Theater. With only three weekends remaining, rush to get your tickets so as not to be left out from seeing this excellently presented great show!

The music is wonderful, and the singers’ enunciation impeccable. The staging is “spot on,” down to the turn of a head, along with the choreography. There is a most unique set design that allows for a total of 10 scene-changes flawlessly executed.

All of this is under the professional direction of Barbara Poulshock (our own ‘national treasure’).

PAPA, we appreciate your great shows and dedication to the performing arts. Keep up the fine work!

Janet and Mike King

Oysterville

Existing laws support O’ville Sea Farms

The truth should matter and the truth is: There is no reason for Oysterville Sea Farms to challenge or change Pacific County’s Shoreline and zoning laws. Judge Goelz and Judge Faubian have determined that OSF’s seafood market, grocery and oyster bar are lawful commercial uses of the Oysterville cannery buildings under county and state laws.

County Community Development Director Tim Crose knows this. Rather than abide by their rulings, he is appealing Judge Goelz and Judge Faubian’s decisions to the Court of Appeals. You would think rather than appeal Goelz and Faubian’s decision, Crose would embrace them. Goelz’s and Faubian’s decisions were made with careful consideration of Crose’s testimony and court exhibits regarding Crose’s long history with OSF. While he possessed the same planning education and training that currently qualifies him to be Pacific County’s planning director, Crose correctly assessed that OSF had a food establishment in 1996. He required and approved an upgrade of the facilities of OSF’s Food Establishment in 1998. He inspected OSF’s food establishment from 1998 to the early 2000s.

My Uncle Dick Sheldon, who briefly owned the Oysterville cannery structures in the 1960s, came to my house on May 21, 2011 and told me that he considered all commercial activities of OSF to be illegal. I immediately brought this to the attention of Faith Taylor-Eldred and Tim Crose. Crose immediately made the administrative decision that OSF “is in a Urban Shoreline Environment. Commercial use is permitted.” At the time, OSF’s commercial activities included: a licensed food establishment, licensed grocery and licensed seafood market and several Washington state liquor licenses. The Board of Commissioners, sheriff and DCD had repeatedly signed off on applications for these liquor licenses. Judge Goelz and Judge Faubian confirmed that Pacific County’s health, building and planning departments determined that OSF’s oyster bar was allowed under its 2009 licenses, SMP rules, shoreline rules and zoning. My uncle did not agree with Crose’s administrative decision and as his right, filed a complaint. I defend his and the right of all citizens to do so.

Without warning, investigation, hearing, or right to appeal, the DCD immediately responded to the complaint with a nonsensical cease and desist order. All interactions with OSF since demonstrate that Pacific County has a fundamental misunderstanding of its own infraction system and land use regulations — and a complete disregard of DCD knowledge of licenses, shoreline exemption permits, building permits and permissions as they relate to OSF. On Aug. 31, 2011, the Longview Daily News said Crose claimed “the department wasn’t aware OSF was selling anything other than seafood before the complaint was filed.” (Tim Crose specifically approved OSF making cookies and Cereal in 1998.) In June 2014, Crose ticketed OSF for “Commercial activities in a Conservancy Shoreline Environment” and selling “non-grandfathered items.” These charges have been proven to be incorrect in South District Court and in Superior Court. Everything discovered in these expensive, damaging court proceedings would have been easily known if Pacific County had simply followed due process in response to the complaint. Documents responsive to public records requests support allegations from former county employees that Crose ignored known violations at other properties as the DCD dedicated most of its investigative resources trying justify after-the-fact, unlawful enforcement actions against OSF.

On July 5, the Chinook Observer reported: “County Prosecutor Mark McClain said Driscoll has exaggerated the cost of the legal dispute.” He said he’s “paid a salary, so it hasn’t been very expensive.” I don’t believe I have ever commented on the amount of money the prosecutor’s office has spent in its attempts to prove that, in Pacific County, grandfathering applies to items, not property uses, to enforce rules on a business for a district it is not in and to ticket a business for using a valid license. When complaining about the burden of public record costs, the county has said that PRRs associated with the OSF situation cost the county over $100,000 a year. A DCD administrator estimated in the summer of 2016, that the county has spent $300,000 in staff time on the OSF issue. I have no idea if those figures are valid. How much has the prosecutor’s office and DCD spent in their efforts to destroy my heritage, life’s work and livelihood? In the world of spending other people’s money, accountably for actual costs are rarely considered by those who can simply raise our taxes again when they squander our money.

Rather than seek a common understanding of the truth, expensive litigation is the only form of due process Pacific County has offered. In court, Oysterville Sea Farms is victorious on all fronts, yet the harassment continues. How much longer will citizens tolerate policies based on undue influence and cronyism? How many more times are they going to allow their taxes to be raised to pay for it?

Dan Driscoll

Oysterville

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