News Briefs: March 2019


Volunteers jump to the aid of stranded Northshore families

After a record-breaking snowstorm stranded many low-income Northshore families in their own homes, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid and a group of volunteers took matters into their own hands.

In the early hours of Feb. 11, Northshore schools remained closed and families awaited their eighth day of the snow-in. Dr. Reid and Communications Director Lisa Youngblood Hall considered the impact the long closure might have upon the district’s approximately 3,000 students relying on free or reduced-price meals.

By 7 a.m., Dr. Reid and Hall managed to assemble a small force of local volunteers, who delivered hundreds of bagged lunches to some 35 stranded families identified on social media. Local businesses offered to deliver water and general supplies. The team continued to offer general assistance to community members until Friday, Feb. 15.

“The way we look at it, if there’s a need in any house, there’s a need for all of us,” said Dr. Reid.

Starting Mar. 11, to compensate for the closure, first-period classes at Inglemoor will begin ten minutes early. Thirteen of the 16 remaining short Wednesdays will be replaced with full-length schedules.


Washington State moves to narrow vaccine exemptions

A proposed Feb. 28 Senate bill would prevent Washington state parents from leaving their children unvaccinated over philosophical or personal objections. Senate bill 5841 comes in direct response to the Clark County measles outbreak, which has caused 70 confirmed cases since January. One additional case was identified in King County.

Measles most severely affects children under the age of five. Roughly a quarter of kindergarten-aged children in Clark County were not vaccinated against the disease, the highest rate in the state of Washington.

Democratic senators who proposed the bill say it will prohibit unvaccinated children from attending a school or licensed day care center without an official medical exemption. Rep. Annette Cleveland, who introduced Bill 5841 to the State Senate, said it will slow the outbreak which “threatens the health of not only unvaccinated children but those that cannot receive vaccinations.”

Critics claim the bill will punish families unable to complete the complex process necessary to obtain a medical exemption.

Various Congress subcommittees will convene to discuss the bill in the following weeks.


Jay Inslee launches climate-focused 2020 presidential bid

On a platform of urgent climate action, Washington State governor Jay Inslee announced his presidential campaign Mar. 1 at a solar panel business in Seattle. Inslee hopes his campaign agenda will distinguish him from a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

Inslee, a Seattle native, graduated from the University of Washington in 1973 with a degree in economics. He since served as a city prosecutor and house representative for two decades. He has been governor since 2013.

Inslee has staked the credibility of his core message upon a consistent record in tackling climate change. As a member of Congress, he co-authored a book advising a transition of the American economy away from fossil fuel dependence.

Finding the national spotlight will pose the governor’s first major hurdle. Inslee will be challenged by more established Democrats, even over his principal issue. Sen. Bernie Sanders, alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thrust himself to the forefront of climate action as co-author of the Green New Deal in February.

“We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change,” said Inslee at his campaign launch, “and we’re the last that can do something about it.”