Today, the people of Gaza are being attacked and their homes destroyed using weapons we paid for and sent. It is time for someone to stop this wanton killing and maiming, which …
Today, the people of Gaza are being attacked and their homes destroyed using weapons we paid for and sent. It is time for someone to stop this wanton killing and maiming, which has led to more than 21,000 dead in Gaza and more than 60,000 wounded, in a population of more than 2 million, nearly all of whom are now displaced internally from their homes.
Our local leadership, including the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners and Board of Health, have issued resolutions condemning the genocide. Most pedestrians and drivers who see us holding “Ceasefire Now!” and “Let Gaza Live” signs share their support with us.
Some have expressed concerns for Gaza’s Israeli neighbors, which we share. We have friends and relatives on both sides of this war, and we have experienced painful losses on both sides. We believe – with international law on our side – that no loss justifies a genocide.
The only way forward starts with a ceasefire, and with an urgent tending to the vital needs of the people who no longer have homes, running water, electricity, food, or medications. Hopefully, a ceasefire will also mean a mutual exchange of prisoners. “All for all” is the call we hear from Israeli and Palestinian families alike.
It is now our turn to stand up and be accountable to history, as a city and as a county, as a nation and as individuals. Calling for this genocide to end is on each of us. A nationwide movement is forming, and we need your support, so we can sweep up the state and federal representatives in this, and stop the killing now.
– Dena and Daniel Shunra
I knew John Hazen lived on a boat, and took many journeys on his boat and bike, but I was amazed at what all he did in his life. He was a house and dog sitter for us several times, and I know he did house sitting and pet care for others in this area. He was also a devoted volunteer at the Maritime Center, and we knew he would be gone some of the time for that activity.
He was highly recommended as an honest person and good with dogs. When he came for the job, he asked if he could cook and wash clothes. We were happy to oblige as his rates were very reasonable. He also wanted to watch Netflix on TV and that was OK too. When we interviewed him for the job, I found him a very quiet and gentle soul, but did not learn much about him, his family, or friends, as he wasn’t one to share.
He would arrive with big boxes of food and cooking utensils. When he left, it was as if he was never here, everything clean and back in order. I was pleased that the dog appeared well cared for. I am sure it was quite a treat for him to live in houses temporally with so much more room.
I feel very sad it was apparent he died alone, either Dec. 16 or 17. It may have been the way he wanted it, but perhaps unfortunate that he may have had some issues where others could have helped him. I had no contact with him for the last two years as our dog died. I did not know if he had recent health problems.
Everyone that crosses your path in life leaves a lasting memory and we were pleased he crossed ours.
– Shirley Williams
SCHOOL BOARD THANKS
By proclamation of the governor, January is School Board Recognition Month. It’s a great time to recognize our elected community members who selflessly give their time and energy in support of high-quality public schooling for our youth. School board members in Port Townsend School District are entrusted by this community with responsibility for 1,200 students, 180 employees, and 4 schools.
School boards are charged with making decisions that can sometimes be quite difficult, or require sifting through a great deal of information. They also bear responsibility for developing a vision that will guide the school district for years to come. Through collaboration as a team, and with school district staff, their governance and advocacy are building the future of education in Washington state.
This January, we’re encouraging all members of the community to thank a board member. Please thank them for volunteering their time and playing a critical civic role that helps form the bedrock of our democracy—public education. As a crucial bridge between the local community and the school district, their efforts are instrumental in helping all of us realize the hopes and dreams we have for the children of our community.
The men and women serving Port Townsend School District and their years of service are: Jennifer James-Wilson (15 years – elected 2009), Nathanael O’Hara (10 years – elected 2014), John Nowak (appointed June 2022 & elected November 2023), Simon Little (appointed June 2023 & elected November 2023), and Matt Klontz (elected November 2023). For more information about the Port Townsend School Board, visit www.ptschools.org.
– LaTrecia Arthur
Port Townsend School District
I wanted to write a short story about how the kindness of strangers can turn a disaster into a fairy tale ending.
On Thursday night, my teacher at the Northwind art class in Fort Worden decided, due to the inclement weather, we’d leave early at 6 p.m., as opposed to the scheduled 7 p.m. I hopped into my four-wheel drive car and carefully proceeded towards Route 20, to my home on Marrowstone Island. I turned left from Blaine onto Kearney and in slow motion, slid into the curb by the Recovery Cafe. I heard a sickening thump, and tried to turn my wheel. There was no movement. A car pulled up in front of me, parked, and a young woman named Jubilee hopped out, looked at the tires of my car, which were now facing opposite directions, and declared, “You’ve broken your axle and probably your differential. It’s not dangerous, but you won’t be able to drive your car. Would you like some hand warmers? I am going to check on some other folks and I’ll be back.”
After sitting stunned for a few minutes, I collected my wits, called my insurance company and started the process of trying to get a tow and figure out how to get home. About every other car drove up to the corner, rolled down their window and asked if I was OK. An SUV stopped and an off-duty policeman, Officer Brian, checked in on me and said he would let Officer Chase know about the situation, but Officer Chase was busy with a car fire at the moment.
As I waited, Jubilee circled back and offered me a granola bar and checked to see if I needed anything. Two hours later, the insurance company called and said they were unable to get any tow companies to even pick up the phone, nevertheless come and get the car. I realized then that I needed to get someplace for the night because neither the car, nor I, were going anywhere soon. A small car pulled up, rolled down a window and asked if I needed help. I needed a ride to a hotel. After introducing himself as Jake Beattie from The Northwest Maritime Center, the driver proceeded to call the Swan Hotel, rustle up the night manager, and get me a room for the night.
I noticed then that the entire time, an SUV was parked by the golf course with its hazards on. It was Officer Brian, patiently sitting in his car, watching to make sure I was OK. When he saw I was getting out of the car, he came over and made sure I was set for the night. I spent the night in the Swan Hotel. Officer Brian made sure my car was towed to a safe place, and the next day the insurance company found a local tow company to come get the car and take it to be repaired.
The moral of this story is:
1) Always carry a pair of boots, a blanket, a few snacks, a clean pair of underwear, and a toothbrush in your car.
2) Never underestimate the generosity and kindness of the folks in Port Townsend, particularly Jubilee, Officer Brian, and Jake Beattie and the Swan Hotel. We live in a magical place and I am incredibly grateful.
– Susan Isaacson
As a resident of the Lynnesfield Community, a neighborhood behind the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, and as a homeowner in touch with owners and renters who live on all sides of the fairgrounds, I am extremely disappointed in the fairground manager’s handling of the Tuff Truck mud trenches. A few months ago, when the trenches had been dug, filled with water and monster truck events had roared into the soundscape, we were assured by fairgrounds manager Brian Curry that, when the Tuff Truck group went quiet for the winter, the unsightly trenches would be filled in. They have not been filled in. The photo below, taken by Lynnesfield resident Bob Drolet, is from this early January week in 2024.
The trenches are not only an eyesore – a blight on the communally-owned fairgrounds – they are also a danger to animals and humans, as the stagnant water is an invitation to water-borne disease.
Residents surrounding the fairgrounds weathered many years, before and after Covid, the loud, drug-dealing and fire-starting presence of untold illegal campers. We breathed a sigh of much-delayed relief when the county obtained acreage on Mill Road to move the unhoused crowd to a monitored shelter. And then came a plan, put in place with no input from the surrounding neighborhoods, to construct and operate a new, horribly loud feature of fairground usage: the Tuff Truck group with their growling vehicles that howled late into the summertime, and evenings last fall.
Homeowners right across from the fairgrounds suffer the worst of it. And, in point of fact, the “worst of it” is not just the noise rending the air but the rudeness of the Tuff Truck members who have insulted stressed-out residents, meanly dismissing any concerns for the many who are feeling desperate because of the way this event shatters the tranquility of the space they live in.
I myself am disappointed in everything about the unwanted insertion of monster trucks in quiet residential neighborhoods. We weren’t asked whether we would support such a scheme. When it forged ahead anyway, and when the horrendous noise and the discourteous drivers destroyed residential peace, we were told falsehoods about the ongoing management of the mud trenches. We were told they would be filled in during the off-season. You can see from the photo taken just days ago that we have not only been disrespected, but lied to.
– Linda Egan
I recently noticed the PUD’s memo for us to dial down our electricity use in lieu of brownouts. I imagine with the present grid and electricity allotment to our system, eventually more expensive electricity will need to be shipped in, if available. Heat pumps, electric vehicles, entertainment gadgets, etc., more of all by affluent new home arrivals, raising the cost and also requiring additional infrastructure. This seems similar to the city and county allowing a virtually unlimited amount of new development and building to occur here even though our road infrastructure, water supply and sewer systems are close to or at their capacity and maintenance limits. My question is why is this unlimited growth being allowed? Until our governments and maintenance systems catch up to where we are, there should be some sort of utilities permit or building permit moratorium. In other words a serious brake on this unlimited growth that is obviously more than this area can handle. This has very successfully been done in other areas, in USA and Europe, with good results.
I recognize we have a housing problem here in PT and Jefferson County. It is unrealistic to see unlimited growth as the cure for that. New development growth only increases traffic and the housing needs even more for those servicing these new places. It does not solve the housing problem, it exacerbates it. Other methods can be much more effective. There are many non-used or under-used homes in this county. Laws need to be modified and changed to allow for denser use of those existing structures. Dividing a home into a duplex, renting out rooms, plugging in THOWs, etc. All better than constantly downing trees, bulldozing ferns, and putting in new roads that will slowly degrade and cause more traffic.
In addition to growth limits there should be aesthetic overview, especially for large developers. The atrocious blight of tract homes at the top of the hill on Cook Avenue being the most recent and obvious statement confirming that need. The sign at the entrance to town says Victorian Seaport and Arts Community. The way things are going these days, that seems to be a lost cause.
Adding a surtax to homes that are left vacant or not used as primary residences would also be a benefit to our local very deficient maintenance and upkeep responsibilities. A development newcomer fee would also help. Where we live the neighborhood roads have been severely damaged and destroyed by the huge heavy equipment trucks, lumber trucks, gravel trucks, concrete trucks, delivery vehicles and giant worker trucks, all rapidly tearing up the forests to stuff in as many houses as these new outside investors desire. The city likes the money but definitely does not spend it on fixing what these new projects destroy. If this continues unabated much longer, the spirit of Port Townsend will be forever lost.
– William Dentzel
Have you heard of the crush at our animal shelters, Humane Societies, private animal adoption facilities, and foster care homes across the United States? Thousands of adopted companion animals were returned to shelters by people who adopted during Covid in 2020 to 2023. Two to three years later, their excuses for returning them run the gamut: “Wages are stagnant / We can’t afford them / We might have to move” … Blah, blah, blah! Covid was an opportunity for all of us to rethink our priorities, values and habits. All of us have greater demands on our resources now.
You signed a contract with the shelters to care for and love your new family member. Did you give any thought to the ramifications of your actions? Did you research the many levels of pricing available in pet foods and try to adjust your budget accordingly? Did you for one second look beyond your selfish needs for Seahawks tickets, to the cost to your community in resolving the needs of these pets?
Some of you undoubtedly just opened the back door and pushed them out to the streets. Did you pay any attention to the tears of your children as their new best friends were led away? They will remember this event.
Animals have been human companions for thousands of years. These creatures know us well and still protect us, alert us, heal our broken spirits, guide our blind, and adapt to our house rules. I hope those people involved in the loss of their pets will always carry a soft spot in their hearts for a relationship cut short. Undoubtedly many will be euthanized. The animal welfare movement worked hard to arrive at no-kill shelters, spay/neuter, vaccines. New drugs and procedures preserve and extend the life-energy of our pals.
Dedicated pet owners would give their last dollars to have a few more days with their companions. Every community across the U.S. has animal advocates who have been selfless and giving. Our shelter workers are exhausted, stressed, concerned about disease entering crowded facilities. These are non-profit agencies, the food and medication are soon depleted.
To those of you who created this nightmare: You have squandered an opportunity to heal the wounds inflicted by previous owners, you have missed an opportunity to witness the powerful intelligence of these creatures. And you will never experience their extraordinary love.
– Suzanne Schmidt