Letters to the Editor for April 26, 2011

Confused about EMS problems

I’m totally confused here; Washougal residents are currently paying for emergency medical services through our taxes. Now because of mismanagement they want us to bail them out for the tune of $150,000 up front to help offset their budget deficit. What are we, the end of the rainbow? Can Washougal really afford this?

But wait, that’s not all. They also want us to pay to re-chassis one of their medic units, then they want us to buy them a life-Pack-15 cardiac monitor. Oh yeah, and then hire another firefighter to work on the ambulance out of the Washougal fire station 17-1, more money and at this time we’re also leasing the fire station in east Washougal now called station 17-2 for the Camas paramedics and ambulance, which is costing more money.

Also, how much extra money is the East County Fire and Rescue department going to kick in on all this? The answer is nothing; they are opting to only contribute the amount that was already approved by the voters.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for the Camas paramedics and their ambulance service. Those guys and gals are awesome and their service is top notch.

But now through mismanagement and/or other economic shortcomings, there is now a huge money shortage. It’s not our fault but they want us to come up with a bunch of money to basically bail them out, this being none of the paramedics doing, but Washougal is not a bank! I’m sure that Washougal has enough problems without taking on Camas’s also.

Now they’re talking about merging the two departments. Oh boy, we get to inherit their problems. I think before there’s any consideration of a merger there should be an in-depth study done on the pros and cons, then inform the Washougal citizens on the pro’s and cons of a merger. Then have the citizens of Washougal’s vote on it.

There should also be an in-depth study done before taking any money from Washougal and information about exactly what it’s going to be used for, and also voted by the citizens of Washougal. No back door deals, everything should be done out in the open. Washougal residents have a right to know exactly what their money is going to be spent on.

A well informed public will make wise choices for the city of Washougal and also for who they will vote for in the next election to run our city.

Robert Dawson, Washougal

Stop bullying through open communication

Every seven seconds, a child somewhere in the U.S. is bullied on the playground, on the bus and/or online (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).

About 32 percent of students ages 12-18 reported having been bullied at school during the school year (2007 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey.)

The effects of bullying at any age can last a lifetime; it lowers the self-esteem and security of our youth, and has a deep impact in how people view themselves into adulthood. As President Obama addressed to the nation recently, bullying is not a rite of passage and “no child should feel that alone.”

Bullying goes beyond pushing and shoving. Today’s youth are utilizing technology to expand the reach and harm of bullying without any direct consequences. Bullying is also when a child suddenly finds no one will eat lunch with or play with them at recess. It is relational aggression, not just physical aggression. Both are destructive.

There are programs available to help decrease bullying in our schools, such as Kids on the Block Awareness Program through Impact NW. This program helps educate students with puppetry, an effective form of communication with young children.

All children deserve a secure, healthy setting for personal growth. Recognizing the problem won’t make it worse; ignoring it won’t make it go away.

Please, give children a chance to discuss these issues by talking to them honestly and by supporting the local programs they need. Talk to your children about bullying proactively, and give them a safe place to report it if it happens. Visit http://stopbullying.gov to search for tips on how to talk to your child.

Lynette Jelinek, Program director, Kids on the Block, Impact NW

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