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Newspaper Archive of
The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
December 23, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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December 23, 2009
 

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A2 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 239 2009 THE ISSAQUAH PRESS Resident asks school board to remove Pledge of Allegiance from meetings By Chantelle Lusebrink Issaquah Press reporter The Issaquah School Board may consider eliminating the Pledge of Allegiance at its regular business meetings. At their Dec. 9 meeting, school board members were asked to eliminate the pledge from their meetings by parent Matthew Barry. "The words 'under God' in the pledge are offensive to your athe- ist residents in this school dis- trict," Barry said at the meeting. "A study from last year, The American Religious Identification Survey, indicates that 15 percent of Americans aren't religious. In Washington, which is one of the most nonreligious states, 25 per- cent aren't religious. So, I think it is safe to assume there are athe- ist taxpayers, parents, students and maybe even a few teachers in your district that aren't reli- gious." SChool board members couldn't take action or discuss the item since it wasn't on their regular meeting agenda, but they said they would take the item under consideration for a future agenda topic. "It is inappropriate for the school board to ask atheists to stand and proclaim they are 'under God,' said Barry, a self- proclaimed atheist. "Atheists don't believe in gods, so they certainly don't think they or the nation are under a god." Barry said other residents with different religious beliefs might also find the pledge offensive. "If the school board were asking Jews, Hindus and other non- Christians to stand and proclaim that Jesus Christ is the messiah, I'm ,pretty sure we'd all agree that s inappropriate, he said. "It's none of the government's business what our private reli- gious beliefs are, if any, and cer- tainly none of the government's business to ask us to stand and publicly proclaim what those beliefs are," he added. "Most would agree it's even worse if the government asks someone to stand and say something that con- tradicts their belief system. "If I understand his logic cor- rectly, simply because something is offensive and unnecessary, it should be removed, said Jared Spataro, a parent and Boy Scout Leader whose Scouts presented the colors that night. "I'm very proud to see us stand up and very proud to see my Scorns lead us in the pledge tonight and talk about God. "We don't necessarily, say that everyone needs to believe in the same God, I think he referenced Jews and Hindus and others, but we do teach our boys, especially in the Scout program, that belief in a higher authority is important as an aspect of our community, and as an aspect of who we become in the community and how we con- tributethere." Barry said he wouldn't have a problem withboard members asking meeting participants to cite the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance which didn t include the words "under God" and was recited from 1892-1954. The words "under God" were added in 1954, Barry said. Right now, schools within the state are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and hold flag salute exercises at the beginning of each school day under the state s revised code No. 28A.230.140. However, the law recognizes that students can't be forced to participate: "Students not reciting the pledge shall maintain a respectful silence." School districts aren't required to recite the pledge for school board meetings. In fact, the Lake Washington School District does- n't require the pledge at board meetings, Barry said. Since the pledge is irrelevant to the board's work and is offensive, even if it is voluntary, it should he eliminated from the board meet- ings, he added. "I understand many things we do are offensive to people," Spataro added. "But just because a small group of people, or even a large group of people, are offend- ed it doesn't mean they are right." Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www. issaquahpr ess. com. On TV, when things go wrong in the ER, they win an Emmy. In real life, when things go right in the ER, they win one of these. You're looking at the 2009 Press Ganey Summit Award. And, while you've probably never heard of it, if you ran a hospital you certainly would. That's because the Press Ganey organization studies more than 10,000 healthcare facilities in the U.S. The 74 that delivered exceptional patient satisfaction scores three years in a row won this award  and that's exactly what the Swedish/Issaquah ER just did. What makes Swedish patients happy? For starters, instead of making you wait in the lobby; you're almost always ushered right into a treatment room. There are no long delays to see a doctor either Swedish guarantees the doctor will be with you m 30 minutes or less. Truth be told, Swedish didn't win this trophy. The men and women who work at this remarkable, efficient, patient-friendly place id. They're the real stars of the show. And, while they may never win an Emmy, they definitely deserve a standing ovation. SWEDISH Issaquah 2005 N,W. Sammamish Rd,- www.swedish,org/issaquahER Ii;M M "t '' aud tke EM M Y star,wile are tke ,'&'lcmark proper;)" ofA'I A.STNA'DLg. Correction In the Nov. 24 issue, a Cub Scout was misidentified in the Here's pie in your eye photo package. Ian Wood was seen throwing a pie in the face of Den 679 Cub Master David Langrock. No school There is no school for Issaquah School District students from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3. The school district's administra- tion building, 565 N.W. Holly St., will close Dec. 24-Jan. 4. Students will also have a day off Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Issaquah Police Department will increase holiday DUI patrols Issaquah police and officers from 25 other law enforcement agencies will increase DUI patrols on Christmas, Dec. 26 and New Year's Eve. During the stepped-up patrols, known as X-52 patrols, officers will look for people who drive after drinking or using drugs, and arrest them. King County law enforce- ment agencies and the Washington State Patrol will work together to conduct the DUI patrols. "Traffic crashes kill or seriously injure hundreds of people in King County each year, Dr. David Fleming, director and health offi- cer for Public Health, Seattle & King County, said in a news release. "By driving sober or plan- ning safe rides home, you can pro- tect yourself, family and friends. Traffic crashes claimed 94 peo- ple in King County last year, and seriously injured another 699 peo- ple. Officers who participated in the King County patrols through last year and 2009 made 5,061 con- tacts with dangerous drivers, wrote 3,619 traffic citations or infractions and arrested 105 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Officers also made 14 arrests for felonies. Public Health - Seattle & King County and the King County Traffic Safety Coalition organize the X-52 patrols in north King County, and the South King County Target Zero Task Force organizes patrols in the southern part of the county. Money for the X-52 patrols comes from the state Traffic Safety Commission. Target Zero is a plan to eliminate traffic deaths and traffic- related serious injuries in the state by 2030. Learn more about the plan at http.'//www, wtsc. wa. gov/index, p hp. King County Parks showcases Grand Ridge Park King County Parks and the Washington Trails Association have partnered to improve and expand trails in Grand Ridge Park -- 1,200 acres with thick forest, winding creeks and seven miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding -- near the Issaquah Highlands. King County Parks and the non- profit trails association recently completed a bridge across Canyon Creek. The bridge, paid for with a King Conservation District salmon habitat grant, carries a trail across the creek, and protects salmon habitat. Wood for the bridge deck was made from fallen trees salvaged from the park after windstorms. Merry Christmas Issaquah Fund He/pinE neiEhbors help themselves Total: $26,962 from 1 1 6 donors 2009 Fund Goal: $50,000 Thank Youl to this week's donors: Wendy & Gerald Blackburn Julia Benson John & Marie MacDuff Wayne & Tara Michaels Jim & Ann Crabtree Violet McCray Dwight & Linda Fruge Alfred & Elizabeth Lang Karen Luecking Amy & Stanley Owings Fred & Sylvia Melsom Loft Vandmark Francis & Carrie Lord Paul & Lisa Bialek Randal & Daphne Darst Lloyd & Kathleen Wicker Mark & Dorothy Gregoire Steven & Kristine McBride Gretchen Galer Richard & Lynn Weisberg ............. " Kristi Tripple Jeff & Jutie LaPrairie Lisa Cuevas Karl McGill RW & Caroline Snyder Charmaine Kampschror Geraldine & Larry Carey Vee Fletcher Ramon & Catharine Priestley New Life Christian Fellowsh p James & Charlene Gorringe E M. & Ginny Christiansen Patricia Garrity Mary & Katherine Williams Mary Piggott Brian & Ann Ayers EK & Marsha Kringlen Nancy Rasmussen Ava Frisinger , ,. ,-. Lee & Helen Bergsma, in memory of Greg Hampton : i" Oscar & Suzanne Wallem Merrill & Eleanor Grogel Pattie & John Miotke Alan & Patricia Herold Nicole & Michael McHale Gerald & Lucille Hersey Keane Barthenheier & Alison Meryweather Richard & Diane Stefanich Carol Huber George & Laurie Engelbeck Paul & Judy Kenyon Claire Brady Robert & Katherine Owen Jan Breuser 6 anonymous To donate, send to: Meny Christmas Issaquah do The Issaquah Press PO Box 1328, Issaquah, WA 98027 Name will be published unless anonymity is requested.