Lost faith in United Way

I have been so disappointed and distressed watching the agonizing struggle of our local United Way agency.

As an Apple Cup donor, I’m appalled at the way you (United Way CEO Charity Bergman) have treated your member agencies and donors.

In an article from The Wenatchee World, June 2, 2018, Bergman was asked “What happens if a community member makes a designated pledge — for a specific program or agency?”

Your response was “The donor-designated funds go to where ever they are designated to go, Bergman said, though the United Way takes a 12 percent administrative fee off the top.”

I wanted to give you (Bergman) the benefit of the doubt and decided to make another 4-figure pledge for 2019. I now know this was a mistake. Obviously defunding all but four agencies, there were many donors who had designed pledges that were ignored.

I am one of them. If there was a change in the designated pledge policy, it needed to be shared with your donors and posted on your website similar to other United Way agencies. Sorry Ms. Bergman — my donation dollars will be going somewhere else.

I do not donate dollars for high overhead, regrouping or for “United Way 2.0.” Frankly, that offended me. You have lost my confidence.

Tracey Kasnic


History in a name

I enjoyed Greg Asimakoupoulos’ great story “One summer to remember.”

I could relate to it since when my paternal grandfather came to the U. S., he was told he should change the spelling of his last name (Niedens) to Nedens or it would be mispronounced as “Nye-dens” (instead of the correct pronunciation, which is exactly like the word “need” (with e-n-s on the end).

So my grandfather’s surname, in his new country, now had a new spelling: “Nedens.” He soon sponsored one of his brothers coming to the U. S. who also adopted the new spelling. With their families, the two brothers lived in Montana for a number of years.

When my grandfather moved his family from Hardin, Montana, to Sheridan, Wyoming, he was told he should spell his last name “Needens” (with TWO e’s at the beginning). He complied, resulting in the families of two brothers having their surnames differing by one letter, and no one in their immediate family spelling their name with the original spelling.

My mother’s Norwegian-born father listed his last name as “Melby” on his citizenship papers. Mom told me she vaguely remembered “Pop” saying his last name wasn’t really “Melby” which was actually a street name or locality.

Once DNA came into play, though his children and grandchildren never knew his real surname, with DNA matches in Norway contacted, in just a matter of days we were emailed digital copies of Pop’s baptismal and confirmation records, from multiple individuals. His original surname was “Olsen” (because his father’s first name was “Ole”).

Going back to Mr. Asimakoupoulos’ article — I disagree with the sentence “America is at its best when immigrants are welcomed and the cultures they bring with them are accepted.”

Wouldn’t a more accurate statement be “America has always accepted immigrants and cultural variety, easily living in harmony with those who chose to accept and adapt to our culture, rather than wanting to change it.” Variety (not “diversity”—which is from the same word group as “division” and “divorce”), mingled with harmony, is—and always has been—our greatest strength.

Dwight Needens


Immigrant detention a black mark on U.S. history

The immigrant detention disaster at the border is a black mark on U.S.history.

We should all, as U.S. citizens, be embarrassed and ashamed and outraged. We are getting a flood of climate refugees and political refugees from Central America seeking asylum in the U.S.

These are not young Mexican men looking for work like 10 years ago. These people are looking for legal asylum. This is different.

And in response, the Trump Administration has cut off aid to Guatemala , El Salvador and Nicaragua, only making the problem worse.

The Trump Administration has chosen a policy of separating children from parents in an attempt to scare and intimidate other refugees from coming to the U.S. No country should ever do this to families.

We are paying private contractors $700 per person per day to house these children and adults in substandard facilities — crowding them into cells where they can’t lay down, no showers or running water in some cases, and no diapers, soap, toothbrushes or change of clothes for the kids. There is a big whiff of the Japanese interment camps, and a smaller whiff of German concentration camps.

I was treated better in Cook County Jail in Chicago in 1970. It would be cheaper to put them all in Trump’s hotels.

One beginning solution is to recognize this as a humanitarian crisis like we’ve seen in the Middle East, Syria, Turkey, Iraq. Bring in the U.N., Doctors without Borders, FEMA, start building humanitarian facilities and reunite the children with their parents. There is no reason to separate them except to create fear. Provide adequate shelter, food, showers, sleeping facilities. Provide enough judges at the border to process claims for asylum. Provide legal aid to refugees claiming asylum. Migration can be managed.

This crisis does not represent what I think the U.S. stands for.

Joe Kelly