A pandemic time capsule

Our Washington State History class at Valley Academy is creating a time capsule so students of the future will know what it is like to live through a pandemic.

We have written letters and included small items like masks, coins, and pictures, but in this digital age it is difficult to find physical items that tell the story of this year.

Our best source of artifacts has been The Wenatchee World. You have provided us with headlines, photographs, opinion pieces, advertisements, and even comic strips that show what life is like for us right now.

The recent reviews of the year in both photos and graphs have been super. On behalf of all my students, thank you for all the work you do to chronicle the history of North Central Washington.

Julie Banken

Wenatchee

Exercising their right to put others at risk

It’s called a “smartphone,” an oxymoron, indeed. We take them away from our children when we detect abuse. And it might cause a tantrum. But as adult abusers, who will take away ours?

At 72, I never imagined seeing the day that a grown man would have a tantrum in Safeway when asked to wear a mask … while his traumatized young son looked on. I can only hope the boy will grow up resolved to be better.

Although mask compliance has since improved, an estimate 40% of our brethren still insist that mask enforcement violates their “personal rights.” Yes, the personal right to put others at risk knowing that eight of 10 carriers do so unwittingly non-symptomatically.

So, OK, the virus passes invisibly from carrier to carrier until it finds someone it can kill, but it’s my gall dang personal right.

Now, not coincidentally, about 40% of those surveyed declare they refuse to be vaccinated. Which, of course will prolong the virus spread and death count.

That’s a personal right too, of course. Because, haven’t you heard? The vaccine may make you glow in the dark. And, though over 40 million Americans have been vaccinated without a single directly attributable death, a miniscule fraction of 1% have incurred brief complications So, ah-hah! It’s still “unproven.”

Will someone please take away their smartphones.

It will be sad but poetic justice, I suppose, when all have been vaccinated but the defiant 40%, they’ll only have each other to infect.

In the eighth grade we called this Darwinism or Natural Selection. A tragic way for our gene pool to become more intelligent.

William Lindstrom

East Wenatchee

Did city get snookered in garbage service contract?

Did the city get snookered on its new contract for garbage service with Waste Management, or maybe not!

Consider the following:

1) Before the new contract, standard service for all customers (8,000 or so) was the 96 gallon cart at a monthly rate of $21.31. That monthly rate increased by $7.38, or 34.63% to $28.69. Wow. If I really need that big cart, I’m the one that got snookered by their wonderful negotiation skills.

2) But wait. Now I can choose a 64 gallon cart and my rate will only increase $0.24, or 1.1% to $21.55. Looks like I will be stomping on my garbage bags to fit into my new 64 gallon cart, or inventory it in my garage for next week and take my chances.

3) But wait. Rates under the old contract already increased on Jan. 1 of this year by 2.75%. Wow. The Waste Management strategy for contract changes looks really beneficial for them.

4) But wait again. Included in your monthly garbage bill is a city Utility tax of 19.05%. So each time the city negotiates a contract increase “on our behalf,” the higher the amount the city receives in utility taxes for their general fund.

5) But wait again. Also included in your garbage utility bill is a 3.6% state refuse tax for capital projects. The Wenatchee City Utility Tax (per my call to the City) is just “schmoozed” over multiple spending categories so we can’t see any specific benefit.

But wait again. The new rate structure in the city of Wenatchee contract appears much higher in each category in comparison to the city of East Wenatchee Waste Management contract — specifically 7.6% higher for the 96 gallon cart, 9.2% higher for the 64 gallon cart, 14.9 % higher for the 35 gallon cart, and 16% higher for the so-called extra per bag charge.

Could the transportation costs to the Douglas County Landfill be that much greater? After all of this, I’m tired and still feel comparatively snookered.

P.S: Don’t forget to reserve your 64 gallon garbage cart by April 9.

Nick Gerde

Wenatchee

Did city get snookered in garbage service contract?

As a former director of personal health for a county health district, I strongly support the efforts of the Immigrant & Latinx Solidarity Group (Wenatchee World op-ed March 11) to have a more diverse representation of citizens on the county board of health.

Besides the elected County commissioners, the other members of the board consisted of one elected city councilperson from each community in the district, which varied with their elections. These people were usually business people who represented the interests of their community’s economies, but rarely had any health backgrounds.

It was the responsibility of the medical health officer (MD), the environmental health director and the personal health director to present information about the counties’ health status and make requests for approval of projects the staff felt warranted. Usually the board would support recommendations but not always and if not, it often was because of financial concerns.

During my employment, we had no racial diversity representative of our communities. I feel the disproportionate number of COVID cases and deaths in our county could have been avoided if there had been more input from all parts of the community.

Different cultures often require different approaches to share information and encourage cooperation and this was badly needed during this pandemic.

Kirsten Sweet, Public Health Nurse

Leavenworth

The Sellar Bridge flag: A story like no other

It was gratifying to see the front page of the paper featuring WSDOT technicians replacing the tattered flag on the Senator George Sellar Bridge last week.

The story behind that flag is like no other.

First, it is an FAA safety beacon — the only one of its kind. After 9/11, a local group formed and put up the flag which had to get special FAA approval to be continuously lighted and never lowered so it could replace the safety beacons (for airplanes).

WSDOT was involved in getting that FAA approval, but a surprise came a couple years later when the local group disbanded and replacing a weathered flag fell to WSDOT.

That is, until the state auditor informed WSDOT it had no legislative authority to spend tax dollars for bridge flags.

What if WSDOT could find a sponsor?

The call went out and for the past two decades Wenatchee’s RiverView Kiwanis Club has paid for the flag for the Sellar Bridge. The club has also adopted the flag on the Wenatchee River Bridges on the north entrance to town.

Jeff Adamson

East Wenatchee

Want to write a letter? Submit letters online at wwrld.us/letterstotheeditor.