Letters to the Editor — May 17, 2023

Operetta impresses

I have seen a lot of theatre, professional and non-professional, over my 56-plus years of marriage, until my wife, Sharon, died of Parkinson’s in March. Dealing with being a caregiver is tough but the grief one has to manage is a bigger mountain to climb. Part of the answer is to get out and do the things you used to do together … in our case, theatre.

So attending Sequim High School production of “Anastasia” Thursday night (May 11) was in keeping with that goal. It was outstanding! Words can’t really convey the charm and heart offered by this multi-talented cast and crew. The music, singing, and choreography were beautiful. The set was basic with props moved in and out quickly without drawing attention as were the characters in setting up the next scene.

Support art locally. It’s good therapy, even if you’re not grieving.

Roger Briggs


Thanks to the community

From all of us in Peninsula Singers, we offer our heartiest “thank yous” to our wonderful, supportive community. Your generous support for our Spring concert was amazing!

Karla Messerschmidt-Morgan


A powerful message, ignored

As I sat at last week’s school board meeting among dozens of parents and teachers holding signs that read “Delay,” “Slow Down,” “Listen,” and “Keep K-5,” I felt surrounded by love for Sequim’s school students.

Most were there because they’re disappointed with the district’s decision to “reconfigure” our neighborhood elementary schools — a decision pushed through so quickly the community barely had a chance to voice concerns before it was decided.

Did they ask for family feedback before making such a massive change? No. Did they poll or ask for input from staff who work directly with students? Sadly, no.

Taking our turns to address the board and superintendent with concerns and questions, we tried to be heard, understood and be taken seriously.

Thirty minutes for public comments turned into an hour while the board sat silently. One teacher reading a letter, signed by 70 school staff, respectfully requesting the board to delay the reconfiguration.

Repeated requests asked the district to send a survey for proper feedback. Parents pointing out now is not the time to be pushing their kids into a new unfamiliar school, uprooting foundations that they are just now starting to recover following COVID setbacks. Every comment followed by a round of supportive applause.

When we were done, it was clear that our pleas had fallen on deaf ears, our powerful message, ignored. The superintendent, on Zoom, without acknowledgement of the packed room, carried on with her agenda, as if our voices were nothing more than a fly buzzing in her ear.

Alyssum Purkey


Consider impact of reconfiguration plan

At the last Sequim school board meeting, I saw a sea of red shirts worn in support of our teachers at the start of Teacher Appreciation Week. The public comment period was repeatedly extended so parents and teachers could speak against superintendent Regan Nickels’ reconfiguration plan, saying it would set back students and couldn’t be smoothly implemented within the planned time frame.

I have another reason to oppose the reconfiguration, as my job includes recruiting medical professionals, and I’ve already seen a negative impact from the plan. When doctors and other healthcare workers consider an opportunity, they often ask about schools, and we have to explain what our elementary schools will be like in the fall. The non-traditional model raises questions.

Unfortunately, there is not a clear reason for the change and the studies we’re able to find actually advise against this model.

Job candidates can easily learn how much opposition there has been to this plan and how dismissive the board has been to parents and teachers. We already have a number of barriers to overcome in recruiting professionals (rural location, housing and childcare shortages, limited salaries). This is an additional barrier that will ultimately affect everyone who lives here.

Please attend the next board meeting at the SHS library at 6 p.m. on May 22 at 6 p.m. and ask our school board to abandon the plan. This reconfiguration is not supported by parents/guardians, teachers, staff, or peer-reviewed research.

Samantha Jacobson


Show support for reconfiguration delay

At the latest Sequim School Board meeting (May 8), I sat in a room full of parents, teachers, and community members, all but a few there, against the reconfiguration of our elementary schools.

The majority wore red to show we stand together. The majority of us were also holding up signs throughout the meeting urging the board members present and the superintendent who was at the meeting via Zoom to listen to us, and delay this plan.

One at a time we pleaded with them to delay the reconfiguration. During one teachers speech, she asked those in attendance who are there against the reconfiguration to stand with her, and most of us did.

Another teacher specified being in a district previously that tried this reconfiguration model they are trying to rush in just a couple of months, and explained that they had a year and seven months to prepare and it still wasn’t enough.

Many more spoke and raised concerns and asked questions to the board and superintendent. Then, they carried on with their plans, addressing not a single concern or question, completely ignoring us all, yet again.

If you’ve not made it out to a board meeting to show your support, I urge you to come to the next one, at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 22, at the Sequim High School library.

Adrienne Kaestner


Save the planet, help the homeless

As our leaders decide we need electric vehicle (EV) tanks for war, one question, how do we charge it? With a diesel generator? Solar? Maybe we’ll only fight on sunny days.

Now New York begins to ban natural gas stoves. Remember when natural gas was promoted as the clean solution? We have busses here bragging about running on the stuff. Port Townsend apparently can’t stop throwing their straws into the Puget Sound so they had to ban them.

We are mandating timelines to convert to EVs. Even before our power grid is ready. All in the name of climate change. Guess what? The Earth isn’t warming. Hasn’t for years.

But do you know what we won’t do for our planet? Clean up homeless camps. The huge amounts of garbage that the homeless create is staggering. Really they are just camping. Have you been to a campground and seen garbage like that? Would a park ranger tolerate it? No, and we shouldn’t either.

Many homeless camps are near creeks. Would you drink water from a creek downstream from a homeless camp?

Being homeless is not a crime, but the lifestyle of complete disregard for our planet goes against everything our country is trying to accomplish. How did homelessness become antithetical to being a good steward of our planet?

You want to save the planet? Forget driving an EV, start by saving one homeless person.

Mark A. White

Port Angeles

* — Editor’s note: Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.14 Fahrenheit (0.08 Celsius) per decade since 1880, or about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in total, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The rate of warming since 1981 is more than twice as fast: 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit (0.18 C) per decade, and the 10 warmest years in the historical record have all occurred since 2010. — MD