Saturday, October 19, 2013

Letters-to-the-Editor ~~ Front Porch Review

The October 2013 issue of Front Porch Review is now available. Click on this link to view an intriguing collection of prose, poetry and visual arts. Please take a moment to click on the author’s name to read his or her biography; each is worth knowing.

An important note: if your e-mail address changes or you wish to opt out of receiving these notifications (one less e-mail to ponder), please let me know.

The submission date for the next issue is no later than January 4, 2014. Whether you are new or old to this magazine, please consider submitting material.

Thanks, and I welcome your comments.


Glen Phillips

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Goodbye to Washington State Senator Mike Carrell - from Senator Mark Schoesler.

So long to a fellow senator and true statesman

Statesmanship can be in short supply at the Capitol, so I thought you ought to know that the state Senate, and our state, have lost someone who exemplified the word "statesman": Senator Mike Carrell, who passed away yesterday morning over at a hospital in Seattle. He’d been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood-cell disorder, in mid-February and had to stay away from the Capitol from mid-March on, because the aggressive treatment made him more vulnerable to other health issues. Even so, and not surprisingly, he remained engaged by phone from his home in Lakewood (about a half-hour’s drive north of the Capitol) all the way through the April 28 end of the regular session.

Only one person served side-by-side with Mike during each of his 19 years as a legislator: me. I had two sessions under my belt when Mike came to the House of Representatives following the 1994 election, and we both moved to the Senate starting in 2005. Mike had spent time as a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, and this year he was chairman of the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee.
with Sen. Carrell
Sen. Mike Carrell, at left, was a skilled legislator and leader. This photo was taken in early March in the Senate chamber; within a couple of weeks Mike had to stop coming to the Capitol while he was treated for the blood-cell disorder that contributed to his death yesterday.

Although Mike served a largely suburban, western Washington district, his accomplishments would ring a bell with the people of the 9th Legislative District. As a career educator he was well-suited to become a leader on the issue of education reform; considering his constituents once included the inmates of a now-closed state prison, it probably came naturally to Mike to write the state’s “Becca” laws, which help identify at-risk youth who skip school so they can be given the assistance they need to avoid becoming residents of the state’s correctional facilities.

He was a crusader for welfare reform, a recent example being a successful effort to combat the misuse of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. Mike's district includes the state-run mental hospital in Steilacoom – the counterpart to Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake – and this year he successfully led the move to create a law that takes the first step toward creating a comprehensive, statewide mental-health database. Law enforcement will now have access a complete list of individuals who should be prevented from owning firearms due to a mental illness.

Mike’s legislative district is home to the state’s largest military base, and he also was a vocal advocate for our men and women in uniform. His work on behalf of active-duty military and veterans – such as the Interstate 5 overpass in Pierce County now known as the Freedom Bridge due to his efforts – will not be forgotten.

Mike was a vibrant 69-year-old who, as a retired science teacher, would have known he had a tough fight on his hands once his illness was identified. While he passed away peacefully with family and friends at his side, the news of his death still came as a shock. I am sorry for his family’s loss, of course, but it’s also a loss for our state and the people he represented. As I said to the reporter from the Tacoma newspaper, Mike was a proud, conservative Republican who worked well with Democrats, especially when it came to issues related to human services and corrections. It’s a trait we need more of here, and we’ve lost someone with it. 

 Sen. Mark Schoesler

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Letters-to-the-Editor -- Assistant Attorney General for Government Accountability

Mona Leeson Vanek,

I received your email dated March 8, 2013 which reads:

I regularly publish Palouse Town Council Meeting Minutes, and minutes of Public Hearings held by regional city and town councils, here: The North Palouse Washington e-Newscast,

Because of Mayor Harnois' statement at a recent Rockford Town Council meeting, I'd appreciate it if you can clarify (or direct me to) Washington State laws covering this issue where Town or City Council public meetings are concerned. Is it necessary to inform the public that their name will be public record when they attend, and therefore open to the public and could be published in any venue?
Excerpt, February 20, 2013 Rockford Town Council Meeting minutes (published here,

Thomas Smith made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 6, 2013 meeting. Clint Stevenson seconded the motion, motion carried.

Phil Evans asked why the minutes are not on the Town’s web site and why did people not want their names on the web site. The minutes are all public record.

Micki Harnois answered that people don’t want their names published in the public record. The Town will have to ask their permission to put their names in the minutes if they are made public on a web site.
----------------------------------------------- end excerpt

A number of town and city councils on the Palouse publish public meetings and Public Hearings minutes regularly on their official town websites. Not all clerks record the names of people in attendance in their minutes, however they may or may not have a 'sign-in' sheet in town files.

Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to your reply.

Mona Leeson Vanek
Editor, The North Palouse Washington e-Newscast,

Meeting minutes are a public record and I don’t understand why the Mayor would conclude that people don’t want their names published in the minutes.  I don’t agree that a person who publicly testifies at a council meetings using their name would then object to their name appearing in the minutes.  The council doesn’t need to ask their permission.  Posting meeting minutes on the town’s website serves the public and also reduces the workload of city staff in responding to public records requests.

I hope this helps.


Tim Ford

Open Government Ombudsman

Assistant Attorney General for Government Accountability

Attorney General of Washington

1125 Washington St, SE

Olympia, WA  98504

(360) 586-4802

DISCLAIMER:  This email is subject to public disclosure pursuant to Ch 42.56 RCW.  This email is not intended or offered to provide legal advice or legal representation by the Office of the Attorney General to any recipient.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Letters-to-the-Editor, Darlene LaShaw, Clerk, Rockford, Wash.


This note is to let you know that towards the end of March I will be leaving my job with the Town.   I started working here in March of 1995 so I thought I would leave in March, a few years later.  I have had a number of good years working here but I feel it is time for me to go.  I hope to spend more time at home with my family and get to work on some of the many things I’ve wanted to do for years.

There seemed to be always something new happening while working for the Town.  There was never a dull day.   The things I have learned and observed over the years!  I’ve always thought how funny that it was never their dog.  I’ve been told by many how many times they flush their toilets per day.  I have found out there are more ways to argue a point when there really wasn’t anything to argue about in the first place. I’ve come to the conclusion that some people should never plan to play poker.  Change is hard for many.

More importantly, I have found that there are many truly wonderful people in our town and the surrounding area.  I have seen many open their hearts, cupboards, clean out their basements and etc to help those in need.  Over the years there have been several fund raisers for the injured and ones that were ill.  Food, clothing, appliances, fuel and other living expenses were supplied by ones who could and for those who couldn’t found other ways to help.   I hope that this is one thing that does not change.

During this time I have worked with five Mayors, numerous Council members, two clerks, seven Public Works operators, several part time help and volunteers.  I thank all who have dedicated their time away from their homes and families to be involved in some way with the Town.

I have so many good memories!  I enjoyed the past Friday trivia questions, trying to chase away the long winter blues.  The practical jokes, (making that big wind up key for Clint’s old beat up Subaru took some time and thought).  Suzi’s jokes, Friday cookies at the banks, Debbie’s brownies; and then there were the few who supplied the ….maple bars!!

I have gained a whole lot of friends along the way and lost a few as well.  Many of the frequent visits with some of the citizens have been so endearing.  Thank you all who have given me the various pigs that have grown into quite a herd.  I’ve enjoyed supplying coins to the kids who like to feed the piggy bank that oinks.  Their smiles have been well worth it. Chasing a few kids with the pig clamper has been fun too.

I want to give a big THANK YOU to John and Brenda for all of their help and support.  They never lacked on sense of humor either.

I appreciate John putting work challenges in perspective with his analogies. Some were rather interesting yet they made the picture clearer.  I felt that he bridged gaps and helped shed a different light and atmosphere in places where it was needed.  He did that without even knowing.

And then there’s Brenda!  There are so many memories!  Too many to mention!   The laughs!  The smiles!  Her smile could light up a room.  I think back over the years and remember the fun we’ve had.  The practical jokes we played on people. Some were priceless!  We baby sat kids, dogs, and cats.  For some reason I will never forget chasing the two goats in the street, out in front of the office and then leading them into the dog pen.  We were helping the Sheriff Deputy that I’m not sure if he had ever seen a goat before.

Her pumpkin bars and cookies were the best!  I’ve always enjoyed the show & tell times when we brought something in to show that we worked so hard on.

The yard sale finds, the little gifts, pictures of families - have all been treasured.

Thinking back at the mountains and hills we have climbed; the waves we rode together.  Through it all I believe we became stronger in many ways.

Why were we picked to have health issues?  We will never know the answer, yet we were and we might as well keep making the best of it!  As I had read recently – Life isn’t how you weather the storm.  It’s how you learn to dance in the rain.    There is a lot of truth to that.

It’s not like I’m going far away.  You’ll see me now and then; whether you like it or not!!  When you don’t see me, I’ll be at home – learning a few more dance steps!!

Enjoy life!!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Editor's note ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Celebrate Darlene LaShaw's retirement as Clerk of the Town of Rockford. Town Hall, March 22, 2013, 2:00-4:00 p.m. Darlene served the town for eighteen years. Her knowledge about town business will be missed as much as her cheerfulness, and willingness to be helpful to everone she encounters. The office will also change immeasureably without her marvelous collection of "Piggies" that has delighted visitors, customers and children alike.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Letters-to-The Editor - Rockford Area Museum and Historical Society

Rockford Area Museum and Historical Society
P. O. Box 107
Rockford, WA 99030
January, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We want to update you on what we accomplished in 2012 and what we plan to accomplish in 2013.

The Pioneer Museum was open on Fridays and Sundays during this past summer. All three museums were open during the Fair and we had a wonderful number of visitors at both the Pioneer and Farm locations.

We were awarded a $2500 grant from the Spokane Preservation Advocates Heritage Fund to help with the cost of the roof replacement.

In June, thanks to your generous donations and support and the grant money, we were able to hire a contractor to remove the roof on the Pioneer Museum, make repairs and apply a new roof. The drainage around the building was improved by installing a dry well in the back of the building and drain pipe to pull the water from the north side of the building and the down spouts to a central area. It looks great and we don’t have any more leaking in the upstairs. It has also helped decrease the humidity level in the building.

Just before the Fair, we discovered that the plumbing under the building was in need of replacement and were able to get it replaced. This will also help decrease the humidity problem that we have been having the past three years.

The projects that we will target for 2013 are to (1) install vents that allow air to circulate beneath the Pioneer building, (2) repair or replace the damaged siding on the lower front of the Pioneer Museum, and (3) add exterior signage to the Pioneer Museum along the side walk to help people identify the building easier. We will continue to work on rearranging the office at the Military Museum and discuss signage changes to highlight that it is a Military Museum.

There were 21 people and/or organizations that donated item/s to the Society during 2012.

In October, several of our members took a trip to Pomeroy and visited their Farm Museum, the Flour Mill and the downtown museum. Everyone enjoyed the day. We are hoping to visit another site in 2013.

If you haven’t sent in your dues for this next year, they are still the same $10 each, $15 per couple. We are also selling the 2013 calendars for $10.00 with an extra $3.00 if you have it mailed to you. Contact Donna Davey at P.O. Box 107, Rockford, WA 99030. All contributions are tax deductible.

We thank everyone for your support of the Historical Society and the three museums. Our membership dues contribute tremendously toward keeping our doors open. Only through your generosity can we continue to provide information and the opportunity for people to learn about and enjoy the history of Rockford and the surrounding area.


Betty Meyer, President

Lost footsteps of friends, neighbors and members

Danny Sullivan
Hughena House
James Ramsey
Doug Pratt
Marjorie Pettibone
Alvin Wayne Fricke
Glen Rudolph
Conrad Burner
Marvin McNeilly
Brad Marlow
Dorothy Headman
Frances E. Hurd
Kevin Wren O’Connell


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Letters-to-the-Editor - Motorcyles and Military Veterans, Mike Lovas

Helping Military Veterans
Question:  What do you get when you add motorcycles and military veterans?

Answer:  You get to see a large population of people who are passionate about helping veterans from all branches and all campaigns.

Many Americans show their support for veterans by displaying a yellow ribbon on their car.  That’s OK, but it doesn’t really help any veterans.  Most people understand that their own freedom is being paid for by someone else’s life.  Translate that as “someone else’s child’s life.”  A few of those people get involved in organizations and other events.

It seems the smallest number of people are the most proactive. They take the initiative to create events that support veterans here at the local level.  They willingly give their time, effort and personal resources – all in the name of helping vets and without any compensation.

One such person is Peter Pirrello.  Mr. Pirrello is a jovial man with a big smile and even bigger heart.  He created an annual benefit for veterans that’s held in Old Town, ID (adjacent to Newport, WA).  This will be the third year for the event, which continues to grow in popularity as people come from as far away as Montana to attend.  Interestingly, while Pirrello directs this event every year, he is not a veteran.  He says, “I didn’t serve IN the military, so this is how I serve those who did serve.”

The recipients of the benefit are two organizations based here in northeast Washington - Second Shot and the American Legion Riders.  Second Shot is a small Spokane-based organization that funds “spontaneous acts of kindness,” exclusively for veterans.  Second Shot is unique because all of its help is given anonymously. The American Legion Riders are highly proactive in helping veteran causes.  One of their major efforts helps veterans from World War II travel to Washington DC to visit the WWII Memorial.  They’re also active in locating and interring unclaimed remains of veterans. You will often see them at the Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, standing silently in honor of those men and women who died in the name of freedom.

The 2012 veterans benefit in Old Town will be on July 20-21 at 311 No. Idaho in Old Town, ID.  It’s called “Run Watcha Brung!”  The focal point is unique - motorcycle drag races held right on Main Street.  Pirrello says, “Any and all bikes are welcome!”  There will also be food, drink, bike show, camping and vendors of all sorts.  The Flyer.

Mike Lovas, Founder of Second Shot

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Letters-to-the-Editor: MarineMoms-Bethesda December 2011 Update


Busy, busy time of year for everyone! I hope this finds all well with you as winter sets in.

A quick (?!) update from Marine Moms-Bethesda:

Many of you know Gladys and Bob Rodriquez, two of our volunteers who also support the troops in many other ways. Bob was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer and is recuperating in the hospital from a successful surgery early last week. Gladys has asked for prayers for Bob. Her last update to me said the cancer is localized, and Bob is now up and walking, but in some pain. They have appreciated all of the emails, notes, phone calls and support. She sends “love to all”.
The Marine Moms-Bethesda Crew wishes Bob a speedy and complete recovery. We miss you both and are looking forward to having you back with us!
Our Holiday Cheer pages are up.

WR/Bethesda “Holiday Cheer 2011” Luncheon:

Our Holiday Cheer luncheon on 4 East was our first venture there on a week day. What is written about it does not even begin to describe the depth of the emotions and the day’s events. Thank you, Katie, Jess, Connie, Cathy, Kelly, Jack and Jim, and all of our “behind the scenes” Elves for your help with the luncheon.

Cyd and Kym from T.A.M.P.A. were in the area and joined us, too. It was great meeting someone in person that I have “known” online for several years. If you are looking for a Marine Family support group and are anywhere near the Tampa area, check them out. Great group, they welcome all service branches, and very active supporting the troops in Florida!

Richmond VAMC “Holiday Cheer 2011” Luncheon:

While we were at Richmond, a recovering Soldier was very, very appreciative of the outpouring of support at our luncheon. He gathered us around him as a group to say “Thank you” to us, and much of that “Thank You” belongs to you, our Elves. Thank you, Janet, Lew, Katie, Mary Allen, and the “behind the scenes” Elves who helped with the Richmond luncheon.

Our next luncheon date at Walter Reed is January 29th on 4 East. Our volunteers are lined up and we’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates.
It is the same weekend as last year, and last year, if I remember correctly, it snowed the weekend before and the weekend after.

Notes4Bethesda: As always, we are collecting emailed notes of encouragement and support for the wounded, injured, and ill combat patients. They may be sent to
 no later than the evening of Thursday, January 26th, 2012. One short note is all we ask for to let them know they are being thought of. The notes are formatted into a word document, printed, packaged, and given to the combat patients and their families during our luncheon. The notes do make a difference.

Three of our volunteers attended the Wounded Warrior Support Network conference earlier this month sponsored by SemperMax.
 Attendees learned about state-of-the-art research being done on Traumatic Brain Injuries, and help and support provided by many different organizations for our wounded Warriors and Veterans. I hope to have my notes from the conference online before the first of the year.

To our “Elfs”, this is an article about a 3/5 Marine you have helped to support in early 2011 while he was at Bethesda, both with your donations toward the luncheons and with the notes of encouragement and support you sent during his time there. We thank Tomy for his service and wish him well as he continues on his road to recovery.

“One year after injuries, Marine Tomy Parker still in the fight.”

You can also read a little perspective about the support the families and troops receive at the hospital here:

This may be of interest to some of you. The Marines' call center IS anonymous and is for everyone -- Marine Veterans who are not "wounded", active duty Marines, and their family members who care about them, not just "wounded-wounded". (If I am wrong about that, let me know. I have friends who have used this number and it helped.) Sergeant Merlin German

Wounded Warrior Call Center
24 hours a day - 7 days a week*

365 days a year contact:

1-877-4USMCWW or 1-877-487-6299*

This is new.
National Guard – 24/7 Hotline
Our toll free peer support line *1-855-838-8255 (1-855-VET-TALK)* is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for National Guard and Reserve service members.
Vets 4 Warriors


The war in Iraq has formally ended and the combat troops are now in Kuwait.
Job Well Done! WELCOME HOME!
San Diego Marines look back on Iraq War. (Some 3/1 Marines were interviewed for this article.)

Still in Afghanistan…
Kandahar the Song

The Commandant and First Lady of the Marine Corps’ Christmas Message

Holidays can be a difficult time for many.
Handling the Holidays from TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for

Passing on from one of my favorite “Old Corps Devil Dogs”, Jim.
“Remembering the Brave” (Moms…you know the routine… tissues)

During this very special time of year, please remember our Fallen and our Gold Star Families.

Ending our year spreading cheer at the hospitals as the holiday season began was very humbling to me. So many of you have made a difference in the lives of our wounded and their families with the cards and notes you have sent throughout the year, the donations you have made in support of our mission, the food you have helped serve, and the time you have given. The thoughtfulness of our supporters and our outstanding volunteers throughout the past five years is what has made Marine Moms-Bethesda so very special. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

To our Armed Forces, thank you for your service.

One wish I have for the New Year is that America continues to support our military and Veterans. Although the war in Iraq is "over", the need for support will continue.

Wishing all of you a relaxing and peaceful holiday season.

Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.

Love and Hugs,