Letters to the Editor

DEAR EDITOR

We’re writing to offer an alternative view to the one published in your newspaper last week about Woodinville High School girls’ volleyball coach, Andrea Roelen. We have known Andrea for almost two decades, and nothing reported in your article is consistent with the person we respect and admire. We know her as an enthusiastic and principled individual.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Andrea helped distribute donated food from local farms to families in the community. She is also incredibly giving of her time and energy. At our local church, she has been an active member of the Christian Education ministry and has taught Sunday school classes for many years.

Finally, Andrea is passionate about empowering young women. For the past several years, she has run small girls’ groups to facilitate discussions on topics such as healthy social media use, peer pressure, and friendship. Our two teenage daughters participate in these groups and have found them to be personally beneficial and enjoyable.

When offered the volleyball coaching job at Woodinville HS, Andrea said she had landed her dream job. She was so excited to share her knowledge of and passion for a sport she excelled at in college. To see her name and reputation tarnished by such a negative and one-sided portrayal was distressing. It seems unprofessional that you chose to publish this story when Andrea was not able to comment freely.

We believe Woodinville High School and the surrounding community should feel fortunate to have our children mentored by an educator and coach like Andrea Roelen. When the school district’s investigation is over, Andrea should have the opportunity to clear her name and give her account of the situation. Her side of the story deserves to be heard, too.

Sincerely,

Don and Alison Christensen, Kirkland

Editor’s note: Northshore News did not solicit this story and was not offering any viewpoint or opinion on what did or did not transpire between coach Roelen and the girls on the volleyball team. We merely reported on the allegations brought to our attention by parents. Northshore News did its due diligence by reaching out to the Woodinville High School Athletic Director for comment, who chose not to respond. We reached out to the Woodinville High School Executive Director of Human Resources, who also chose not to respond, and to the Northshore School District Communications and Experience Officer who did respond but could not give any detailed information on the ongoing investigation. We reached out to coach Roelen as well who said she was aware of the allegations and that she could not legally comment on an open Northshore School District investigation as it could be a violation of the law for her to do so. Coach Roelen also emphatically denied the allegations. When the investigation has run its course and people can comment, Northshore News invites coach Roelen and any other parties involved to give their account of things if they desire to do so.

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DEAR EDITOR

Thank you for a long-awaited article about local wine bars disguised as wineries that have been disobeying King County’s Rural Area and Agricultural land zoning policies in Woodinville. I’ve looked for a similar article in the Woodinville Weekly for months. There are zones of Urban Area land available nearby for these interests but not on the Sammamish Valley floor. Agricultural land needs to remain in production of agriculture, we need open land for actual farms and King County has the ability to enforce their laws that protect that land and must be encouraged to do so. Thank you again for bringing this issue to the community’s attention. 

Nancy Stafford, Woodinville

LOVING NORTHSHORE NEWS

We just moved to Woodinville in mid-June and assumed the newspaper was just a free perk for the area. I saved all of them because I didn’t have time to read them when we first moved in and have just now started catching up with the June/July issues. The Garden Guy, Where’s Sara, current events like Good Brewing and their permitting violation, the stories of Woodinville development and history of areas like Cottage Lake… I’m totally hooked. It’s been so great to get up to speed on what is happening in this area and read something that is 100% relevant to my daily life, even the June issues!

We will get a subscription 🙂 

Thank you! 

Christine Mandley, Woodinville

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DEAR NORTHSHORE NEWS

I love reading the Northshore Newspaper as I thirst for local news and social media doesn’t cut it. Northshore News does a good job covering high school football and a handful of other sports. 

I’m so glad that Northshore News exists! The national news is so often too political, KOMO news is all of the bad stuff, schools aren’t publishing news right now, social media is skewed, local is where it’s at. I want to know about volunteer opportunities, community needs, stuff kids are working on, new businesses, new civic projects, farmers markets, restaurant reviews; everything local. The articles don’t need to be long–research can be done on individual interests. Local news can keep us feeling connected, grounded, proud, and maybe even motivated. Northshore is the Best!  I hope to evolve with it and keep up with the changes!

THANK YOU!

Melissa van Meurs, Kenmore

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I SUPPORT AMY FELT

I’ve lived in this community for forty years. I run a small business. I’ve raised children here. I’m now raising my two grandchildren here. You could say I’ve had some experience with the Northshore School District.

Amy Felt has been a neighbor for ten years. I know her well. Attacking her character and her intentions is dishonest. Attacks on her ability to be a good school board member are ridiculous. She is smart and effective. She really cares about children’s success as individuals and as a group. When the schools shut down, Amy and her husband came over to set up emails and help us understand how Zoom school worked so our grandsons could be successful. I know she works a lot with youth in the community and serves wherever she sees a need, which is why she’s running for the school board in the first place.

Maybe you don’t agree with Amy Felt. Don’t vote for her. But don’t fall for people who tell you she’s a bad candidate with extreme views. They either don’t know her like I do or have some special interest in keeping incumbents who don’t challenge them. She’s a parent who wants Northshore schools to work for all our kids. Talk to her yourself and see what she has to say.

Ray Foley 

Woodinville

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OUTSIDE PARTISAN INFLUENCE

We saw a letter in the Oct. 15 issue of Northshore News that was striking. It was signed by some partisan outsiders seeking to influence our local Woodinville elections.  The Woodinville City Council is nonpartisan and independent, yet in this election season, it was being attacked by a partisan political group of mostly non-residents.  

Our current city council is working hard on issues of concern to many citizens of Woodinville, such as fighting against the NE Transfer Station (dump) from being sited in Woodinville and working towards a resolution on the trestle bottleneck. They have stewarded a number of exciting new development projects in Woodinville while still protecting the R-1 neighborhoods of Woodinville that help make our city special, and they strongly support this approach.

As planning commissioners, we work with the Council closely and witness their priority in listening to their constituents, not individuals and groups from outside the city limits who have different priorities.  

City Council members are nonpartisan. Yet, this partisan group has gone to great lengths to put together a website, sponsored by a person who does not live in Woodinville, that misrepresents the stances of our council members. So, ask yourself why is a partisan political group working to elect their slate of candidates? Council members should not be beholden to any group inside or outside of Woodinville, or a political party. Your council members should be representing the interests of WOODINVILLE citizens, not a bunch of outsiders.  

Kevin Stadler, Chair, Woodinville Planning Commission

Steve Yabroff, Vice-Chair, Woodinville Planning Commission

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A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

Local elections typically have abysmally low voter turnout, and low turnout means that every vote really matters. Heck, in the last election I lost my run for Woodinville City Council by a measly 37 of them! So, let’s all commit to returning our ballots by November 2.

Our current city council has been epitomized by its spectacular dysfunction. They choose deceit over truth, cronyism over competence, and secrecy over transparency. Woodinville deserves better, and we have a golden opportunity to elect a better Council by voting for Sarah Arndt, James Randolph, Robin White, and Michelle Evans.

Each of the incumbents running was appointed, not elected, to sit on the Council. These appointments were highly irregular and provide clear examples of the worst kind of cronyism. These councilmembers were appointed because they were connected to Woodinville’s crooked political machine, not because they had demonstrated any competence or qualification for the seats they now occupy. Sadly, these appointees don’t represent the average citizen, they represent only their own self-interests and those of their pals who gave them power. Woodinville deserves better!

In recent years the appointed incumbents have restricted the time-honored tradition of allowing open public comments and refused to hear from the people they claim to represent. The Council’s recent practice has included the shameful silencing of all dissenting voices, the unprincipled restricting of all meaningful feedback, and the dishonorable intimidating of those who dare object to their unethical behavior. The very cornerstone of a healthy democracy is honest and open public discourse, but this council wants none of it—democracy be damned!

If you have not yet cast your ballot, please join me in supporting Michelle Evans (Position #1), Robin White (Position #3), Sarah Arndt (Position #5), and James Randolph (Position #7) for a better Woodinville. These four candidates will bring strong vision, relevant expertise, good judgment, and strong ethics to the city council that has had a dearth of those qualities in recent years. Best of all, they will serve and listen to all residents of Woodinville and will do so with transparency and accessibility.

Paul Hagen, Woodinville

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CHALLENGERS HAVE MUCH TO OFFER

When it comes to leadership, experience is great to have! But to suggest that voters should re-elect the Northshore School Board Members Sandy Hayes, Jacqueline McGourty, and Amy Cast merely because we shouldn’t have “rookies” on the board is simply absurd! 

It is clear ALL the candidates running for the Northshore School District board have valuable professional and community experience, but my question to you is what kind of experience do Northshore students and the community need?  

Amy Felt, Chris Roberdeau, and Elizabeth Crowley are all experts at policy and leading in their professions. They also all sat through remote school with their students for 18months while they tried to do their jobs or run a small business, something the incumbents did not experience. 

Amy, Chris, and Elizabeth have all attended board meetings, launched school board campaigns, and learned everything they possibly can to be equipped for the role, including reviewing budgets, legislative priorities, contracts, and meeting with thousands of Northshore constituents to understand all perspectives.  And now, they are navigating the new challenges of ensuring their students can access the public education provided to them when they have a COVID exposure. That sounds like experience to me. 

The incumbents would like you to think that holding a seat on the school board has made them indispensable, that the school district can’t work without them.  But that’s not how experience works.  We know from research and numerous successful companies and organizations locally and globally that new insights, ideas, and lived experiences have made many organizations stronger and healthier.  

So again, I ask you to consider what experience is most valuable to represent Northshore students and the community?

For me, as a parent to three Northshore students, I value the experience of those that respond to the current lived reality, have skin in the game, and are willing to go the extra mile to make positive change for my students, your students, and the more than 23,000 students that Northshore claims to serve. 

Please vote by November 2 for Amy Felt, Chris Roberdeau, and Elizabeth Crowley, and our future leaders, Northshore students.

Angela Chapman, Woodinville

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LACKLUSTER SELF-SERVING POLITICIANS NEED TO BE REPLACED

Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

As a retired member of the Northshore School Board, and a retired teacher, I’d like to publicly support and endorse the three challengers in this election to the NSD Board. 

Having served with two of the incumbents, I am thrilled that involved, knowledgeable, and passionate people have stepped up to replace these lackluster, self-serving politicians. The third incumbent enrolled her children in private schools instead of NSD schools. That’s called no “skin in the game” and it shows in her voting. The district has lost standing in the community under the current board, while neighboring districts achieve acclaim at a national level for innovative efforts and academic excellence. 

Taxpayers in Northshore have been extremely accommodating through the years and deserve MUCH better representation and service. I’ve spoken extensively with the three candidates about their child centered motivations. They all have children actually enrolled in NSD schools. I’ve heard the alarming concerns that caused them to leave their comfort zones and file for public office. It takes a lot of backbone to do what they are doing and backbone is EXACTLY what the Northshore School Board lacks. 

I enthusiastically encourage you to vote for AMY FELT, CHRIS ROBERDEAU and ELIZABETH CROWLEY to provide REAL leadership and representation for Northshore students. 

Dawn McCravey, Retired NSD School Board Director

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FALSE ALLEGATIONS

CATHY FERBRACHE of BOTHELL has made numerous false allegations in her effort to defend the incumbents and slander local parents. Her research and fact finding are lacking real evidence and any form of accuracy. Not least of which is her false allegation of some poor individual from the east coast that, according to her, runs the Students First PAC. Facts matter. Cathy is grossly inaccurate and misleading the public with these allegations. 

I registered the Students First PAC in collaboration with another local mom. There is no massive national funding. It’s a grassroots, frustrated and extremely local contingent of passionate parents eager to have a Board that puts our kids first for a change.

The published facts in our pamphlet and mailer are well researched and backed by data. Feel free to take a deeper dive in www.NSDVote.com where we provide additional details that extend beyond the limited capacity of a small piece of paper. Just because Cathy and others don’t like the truth, doesn’t mean you get to change the facts.

Vote for change. Get rid of special interest and politically backed incumbents. Time for change is overdue! Our kids need a Board that don’t take 4 years to think about a literacy program, or 12 years to effect a new start time. Our kids need action now. Solutions not excuses. Please vote for the children—vote for Elizabeth Crowley, Chris Roberdeau and Amy Felt by Nov 2.

DOMINIQUE FRANCE, WOODINVILLE

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BOGUS ELECTION ADVERTISEMENT

The advertisement supporting challengers to the Northshore School Board (10/22) was paid for by the “Students First” PAC. It is run by a Republican operative/media analyst in Pennsylvania named Joe Watkins. It’s misleading and full of inaccuracies. For example, they state “NSD performs 16th in the state in overall academic achievement”, without context, criteria or source, or whether it is state or national data. In reality, Niche gave NSD an “A” for academics and ranks it at #6 in Washington State for a high-quality school district. (https://www.niche.com/k12/search/best-school-districts/s/washington/)

“Diversity of Thought, 5-0” is a bad thing? This award-winning Board practices respect and curiosity for differences of opinion. They spend countless hours studying and discussing policy until it has the buy-in of everyone on the Board. Consensus is not a bad thing. It’s the objective.

The ad’s statements about teachers and the implications about learning loss are not based on fact. Northshore teachers never stopped teaching and students never stopped learning, unlike surrounding districts. This Board was pro-active in planning for online learning, so NSD fared better than most.

No one wanted to be back in school more than Northshore teachers. The Board’s practice is to retain good teachers, which studies show is the single most important factor for children’s learning https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211021005226/en/. Thus, NSD staff are older/more vulnerable. But they pushed to get back to school as soon as it was safe. These same teachers gave up a $700,000 raise to hire 6 elementary school counselors to ensure their students’ safety.

The district was forging ahead with plans to re-open as soon as a vaccine was available and in compliance with DOH physical distancing, so they could accelerate opening when mandates changed. Not one student or employee died of COVID as a result of transmission in Northshore schools—a direct result of this Board’s decisions and courage. Not every district can boast this success.

Quotes about Superintendent salary are also misleading and inaccurate. According to https://www.salaries.wa.gov/, there are twelve superintendents in WA who receive over $300,000 base salary. Dr. Michelle Reid is 7th on the list. And she runs the 7th largest district in this state, tirelessly, 24/7, giving far more of herself than she is paid to. As National Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Reid is in high demand and could easily command a much larger salary. It is this caliber of administration maintained by this incumbent Board that makes Northshore the highly sought-after district that it is.

What makes these three challengers in this race think that having kids in the schools makes them a better Board member than the three incumbents? Sandy Hayes, Amy Cast and Jackie McGourty have 24 years of combined board experience and lifetimes of parenting experience. Each has valuable academic and business skills and now 18 months taking care of our Northshore families during a pandemic. This job requires detailed and intimate knowledge of the day-to-day experiences of students at all grade levels, while maintaining a completely objective view of district operations—something only the incumbents offer.

The facts support the re-election of Sandy Hayes, Amy Cast and Jackie McGourty.

Cathy Ferbrache, Bothell

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OFFICER MURO WILL LEAVE A VOID

When I opened my Northshore Newspaper (Sept. 24) and saw the picture of Bothell Police Officer Louise Muro, I got a flood of good feelings and smiles seeing “Wheezer” as she was called, or “Wheezie” as was my name for her. 

Officer Muro was Bothell High School’s Resource Officer and I have such fond memories of working with her; I am the Campus Supervisor at BHS, so had many instances where she and I worked side by side. 

The picture of Officer Muro is spot on, it clearly captures who she was as an Officer. Wheezies interactions with the teens was fantastic, she was a great mentor and someone the kids could look up to. 

As the article pointed out, she was outstanding on the force and outstanding as our Resource Officer. Her core values were of honesty and integrity all with a keen sense of humor. She talked lovingly about “her little guy” Lucas and then her son who she was so proud of. I did not know that Wheezie retired from Bothell PD. She will leave a void, but I know that she will continue to inspire all who she encounters, for she is a humanitarian and will make a positive difference to all no matter where she lands!

Wendy Wands, Woodinville

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FOR THE GOOD OF THE DISTRICT

As a parent with children in Northshore School District, when I listened to the recent school board candidate forum I was expecting to hear not just “what” candidates wanted to achieve but also “how” they intended to achieve it.

The only participants who could cover the “how” in any real detail were the incumbent board members.

I would expect that to a certain extent as incumbents have more experience with NSD specific policies and budgets. However, I would also expect for challengers to have much more of an idea of how education administration works and to be able to speak to at least some specifics versus just sharing hopes and anecdotes.

Yes, we all had a tough time with Zoom lessons. Does that mean I am a good candidate for the school board, because I had some tough remote lesson experiences and know others who had children who really struggled?

No—not at all!

As a community we need leaders with specific expertise in the challenges of stewarding and funding school administration—at this difficult time more than ever.

For example, if the “what” is to achieve more inclusive services for children with special needs we need board members who know “how” funding for those initiatives works.

The “what” of listening to students and educators also sounds great; but “how” would someone achieve that when they are already attacking the people they need to build relationships with and aligning themselves with people who angrily attack the students they claim they will listen to?

For the good of our district, I will be voting for McGourty, Hayes and Cast to continue serving our district—and I urge you to as well. They know the challenges of “how” to achieve what we need to for our children and, with your vote, they can continue to rise to them.

David Dorrian, Kenmore

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NORTHSHORE SCHOOL BOARD RACE

As the election approaches, it is becoming increasingly clear how important it is for our community to retain school board members with integrity, common sense, and the best interest of students and the school district in mind. 

Sandy Hayes, Jacqueline McGourty, and Amy Cast have demonstrated many times over just how committed they are to our students and their education. 

They are knowledgeable about district programs, state laws and educational issues. They are also committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. This is extremely important to me as the areas NSD serves become increasingly diverse. 

The challengers are questioning what interest the incumbents, whose children are either in college and graduate school or grown, have in governing our public schools. They have the same interest that we all should, regardless of whether we have students enrolled in the district. As a semi-recent graduate from Bothell High School (2016) I still have a MASSIVE interest in our school districts direction. I’d like the tail end of my generation to receive a quality education and for my future kids to have that same opportunity. I’d like our schoolboard directors to keep listening to science and not conspiracy theories in regards to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the challengers to Sandy, Jacqueline, and Amy have provided inaccurate statements and minimal previous involvement in district activities. In short, the challengers have shown they have little understanding of how Northshore School District operates. 

Re-electing Hayes, McGourty and Cast is not just best for students, it is best for all of us living within the Northshore School District.

Andrew Nelson, Bothell

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AN ADVOCATE FOR STUDENT EDUCATION

Our public schools and educational equity are so important to me that I upended my life earlier this year and ran for Northshore school board. I was knocked out in the primary, but that didn’t end my desire to see all of our students thrive in a safe and optimal learning environment.

That is why I am continuing to campaign. Not for my candidacy, but for my former opponent, incumbent Amy Cast, and the two other incumbents, Sandy Hayes and Jacqueline McGourty.

As a parent, an informed voter and an active advocate for children, I trust that these three candidates will be champions for students and staff, thoughtful stewards of district resources, and responsible and responsive representatives. I believe they will act with integrity and weigh decisions carefully.

I know many were frustrated that the district was slow to bring back in-person learning when public health experts recommended reopening schools in the spring. I know some wanted the board to provide more direct communication and perhaps display more compassion. I hear you and your reservations are valid.

I also know that people can learn and become better versions of themselves. I can’t let that issue be the deciding factor in casting my vote. I hope you will all consider doing the same. 

My main concern for our district is making sure we uphold educational equity, particularly for our underrepresented students. I will continue to do everything I can to work toward that end. And I believe supporting Cast, Hayes and McGourty is a part of that.

Jasmine Lee Fry, Woodinville


NOVEMBER CITY COUNCIL ELECTION

Many thanks to Northshore News for its coverage of Woodinville and its city council. We ask for readers’ continued attention as the November election approaches. 

Until three years ago the city council’s priorities were the people who live here and the land we live on. Those priorities are no longer in evidence. Recent city council votes have been so disappointing that we’ve concluded, with regret, that it would be irresponsible to stay silent. 

A new website, Bad4Woodinville.com, provides links to video clips of current city council members in action, in their own words. It also contains links to lawsuits that taxpayers are paying legal fees for, campaign finance complaints, newspaper articles, and letters to the editor. 

With ballots arriving in the mail in the next few days we urge readers to view the videos on the website and review the linked information. We believe that Woodinville deserves a better city council than the one currently in place, and we think you deserve a clear, bright light on the reasons why. 

Susan Boundy-Sanders, Woodinville City Councilmember

Paula Waters, former Woodinville City Councilmember

Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge, former Woodinville Planning Commissioner 

Dave Williams, Immediate Past Chair, 45thDistrict Democrats

Kraig Peck, Woodinville resident

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