Editor’s Corner: Odds, ends from the editor’s desk (June 22)

Alana Linderoth, our “cub” reporter since her start date back in April of 2014, has — much to our chagrin — left our fair newspaper.

She will always be family.

Alana Linderoth, our “cub” reporter since her start date back in April of 2014, has — much to our chagrin — left our fair newspaper. She hasn’t gone far, though, and what we know is our loss is a boon to the North Olympic Land Trust, where she will work to help that organization in its goal — “to conserve lands that sustain the communities of the North Olympic Peninsula.”

It’s always hard to lose an employee, but particularly so here at Sequim’s hometown paper. We’re a small staff, we work hard and (as far as I can tell) we like each other’s company, so when one of us departs for one reason or another it has a big impact.

That means we’re working on finding someone to try to fill Alana’s shoes — no small feat, considering the connections Alana made in her two-plus years here and her considerable skill set (she was named Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s Newswriter of the Year in 2015), along with all the intangibles she brought to our office.

Stay tuned.

Highway problems

It’s never a bad time to say/write it, but let’s try to stay a bit safer on the highways, please. It’s early in the summer driving season (unofficially right after high school graduation) but we’ve already seen a number of frightful crashes on our highways.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that there are about 87 percent of drivers who engage in at least one unsafe behavior: speeding, driving while distracted, driving when impaired, being drowsy, running red lights and not wearing a seat belt.

The problem, as local drivers know, is it seems magnified here on the peninsula, Though state officials have made much of US Highway 101 four lanes between here and Port Angeles, nearly all of 101 east is two unprotected lanes.

Further, the breadth of Clallam County is so extensive it’s unfeasible to patrol every county roadway; that fact doesn’t encourage bad driving behavior per se, but there do seem to be fewer deterrents for reckless drivers than in more densely populated (and patrolled) areas.

In any event, consider this a friendly reminder to drive friendly.

Kudos go to …

The Greywolf Parent-Teacher Association, students and everyone who helped out to get a new set of playground equipment in place for the coming school year.

On Monday, the Sequim School Board accepted about $32,000 in donations that the PTA will turn around and in the next week or two buy equipment from Cascade Recreation to replace three of six playground pieces the school removed in August, just prior to the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

The playground pieces, geared for students in grades K-2, were found to be not up to code and were removed, and so started a year-long fundraising drive.

Money came in from numerous sources, from the $7,500 donation from the Sequim Lions Club to $2,500 from Sequim Family Advocates, from the students themselves via the “Pennies for the Playground Drive” and $10,000 in backing from the school district.

While the funds weren’t quite up to the $35,000 goal, PTA member Rebecca Bratsman said they hope to have enough bark donated and do a one-day installation via volunteers (with a certified inspector on hand to sign off) that will help defray any extra costs.

New area code, more work

Yes, Western Washington is getting a new area code by fall 2017, according to a plan approved by the state Utilities and Transportation Commission in May. “564” joins the four other Western Washington area codes — 206, 253, 360 and 425 — and means that 10-digit dialing will be required for all local calls. Good thing no one uses rotary phones anymore … right?

Sign of apocalypse, No. 1

The Ocosta School District, headquartered near Westport about a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean, has built the nation’s first tsunami refuge.

The new school and gym that officials say can pack about 2,000 people shoulder to shoulder are anchored by 169 pilings sunk as deep as 50 feet. Each corner of the flat-roofed gym has a staircase constructed of 14-inch-thick concrete with 50,000 pounds of rebar, while steel beams 3 feet wide crisscross the gym’s ceiling.

Why do I get the feeling they know something we don’t?

Sign of apocalypse, No. 2

In early June, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn offered up five “dramatic” (his word) options to force Legislature to meet its constitutional requirement to fund basic education. Among them: “Close our public schools until the Legislature makes real progress in fully funding our schools.”


While I have been a critic at times of Dorn, I do give him points for two things: one, for deciding to not run for a third term as state superintendent, and two, for not running for governor (which he hinted at for about five months).

Sign of apocalypse, No. 3

Scientists who measure and forecast the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere said June 13 that we may have passed a key turning point. Humans walking the Earth today will likely never live to see carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere once again fall below a level of 400 parts per million.

The threat, researchers note, as that carbon emissions continuing unabated would lead to expanding oceans and massive ice melt that would threaten global coastal communities.

Want to give yourself a panic attack? Check out “Newsroom’s” Season 3 episode (“Main Justice”) with Paul Lieberstein as an Environmental Protection Agency official basically calling out an end to Earth as we know it. (Mother Jones did an interesting fact-checking bit on the episode itself, which is also rather alarming. Consider yourself warned.)

The big ‘4-0’

It had to happen eventually, barring a bad piece of fish or something.

Your Gazette editor turned 40 this week. It’s a humbling experience to be sure. People left and right telling me, “Hey, you’re not old yet!” “There’s still time left!” “Don’t give up hope!” What is this, some sort of sick joke?

The great thing about living in Sequim is, turning 40 isn’t a big deal. In fact, I’m still a kid around here. Most people, when they find out about the minor milestone, roll their eyes and mumble something about when they were 40, and how long ago that seems.

I have to admit, as a kid I figured that when I turned 40 I would be finishing off my Hall of Fame career as shortstop of the Seattle Mariners. But this is good, too. Better, in fact.


Reach editor Michael Dashiell, who is not yet ready to say he is middle-aged, at editor@sequimgazette.com.