Letters to The Editor: November 9-15, 2023


The Editor: 

I am writing this letter with intention to let Birch Bay residents to know I am not the only one to be stunned by what’s going on out there where we live. Do you see all of these unusual looking fishing boats every morning and night, every day for almost more than two weeks? I am told they are people from Lummi Nation. 

They were never around in these numbers in Birch Bay waters to fish before. This is a sudden, unexpected act of them which worries me to think what is going on?

This is peaceful, beautiful Birch Bay we chose to retire to 24 years ago. I am sure other residents are fishing and crabbing in this water, but not like what these people are doing.

These people are here every single day, I see net fishing and buoys laid out everywhere around our beautiful Birch Bay water. It looks like they want to clean out the bay. 

That’s not how I wish to keep the mostly beautiful blue ocean alive with crabs and fish left in this water. 

I hope some residents who live here feel the same. 

Kay Schuhmacher

Birch Bay

The Editor:

When Ben Franklin penned his famous quote in 1735, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he wasn’t referring to a person’s health but rather to fire prevention. 

How do we douse the silently smoldering “fire” that Type 2 diabetes has become in the U.S.?

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Employers in Whatcom County should consider offering the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) as a covered benefit for their employees. 

The DPP is a successful evidence-based curriculum designed by the CDC that is offered throughout the country. 

One in three U.S. adults has prediabetes. More than eight in 10 of them don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts a person at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes which can lead to heart attack, stroke, amputation, blindness and kidney failure. 

There are proven ways to reverse prediabetes in most cases or slow its progression to diabetes dramatically. 

In 2021, WWU’s Center for Economic and Business Research compiled a list of Whatcom County’s largest employers. The top seven are St. Joseph’s Hospital, Lummi Nation, WWU, Bellingham public schools, BP Cherry Point, the city of Bellingham and Whatcom County. 

If all of those employers offered diabetes prevention as an employee benefit, think of the progress we could make to ensure a healthy workforce and thriving communities. 

By 2030, experts forecast that 107,713,000 people in the U.S. will have prediabetes; 41,733,000 will be diagnosed with diabetes; 13,180,000 will have undiagnosed diabetes.

Those numbers are staggering. That’s why Franklin’s “ounce of prevention” is wise advice. I think Ben would advise those employers listed above to offer their employees access to diabetes prevention in their benefits package. 

For readers who are prediabetic, I encourage you to sign up for the YMCA’s diabetes prevention program. Contact Tara Marshall for information on the next session at tmarshall@whatcomymca.org or Kate Foster, diabetes prevention coordinator at the Mount Baker Foundation, kate@mtbakerfoundation.org

Sandhya Manivannan Gelou, MD


The Editor:

We are heartbroken by the recent violence in Israel and the Gaza Occupied Palestinian Territory. We deeply mourn the loss of all lives and pray for those who have lost loved ones over the last few weeks. We unequivocally condemn Hamas’ attacks and inhumane treatment of civilians and call for their immediate release of all hostages. We also condemn the indiscriminate and violent Israeli response. 

Hamas killed more than 1,300 Israelis in the October 7 attack and took over 200 civilian hostages into Gaza. The subsequent Israeli military attack on Gaza has killed more than 9,000 Palestinians, almost half of them children. 

The Israeli government has restricted food, fuel and humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip resulting in devastating humanitarian consequences. 

It is beyond sad that decades of systemic suppression of the Palestinian people have led to this latest debacle. A military solution will never be a long-standing solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The humanity of the other side must be seen. In the long run, recognition of Palestinian human rights will support Israeli human rights. Love thy neighbor. Hate and killing only return the same. 

We urge representative Rick Larsen to support House Resolution 786 which urges President Biden to immediately call for and facilitate de-escalation and a cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine. On the Senate side, senator Durbin is requesting a cease-fire and we ask senator Cantwell and senator Murray to join him. 

Charles Janeway, co-signed by the San Juan Islands Friends Committee on National Legislation Advocacy Team

Lopez Island



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