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West Seattle Herald
Seattle , Washington
June 24, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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June 24, 2011

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6 Friday, June 24, 2011 West Seattle Herald C MMENT The diaper dilemma By Nancy Woodland, Executive Director of Westside Baby How well could you parent without diapers? Imagine caring for your precious grandchild with an empty daper bag. Families in this community ration diapers, rinse out and reuse soiled disposable diapers and stretch one diaper over days. They choose between paying rent, gassing the car or buying diapers. Working parents have to stay home and teen morns must miss school because their day care programs require a full day's supply of disposable diapers dropped off with the baby in the morning. This is true even in subsidized day care programs. Infants are abused because they scream from the pain of diaper rash. Even if a family in poverty wants to use cloth diapers, detergents and the few Laundromats that will allow dirty diapers in the machines are very expensive. Recently, I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with my friend's 2 month old baby boy. James smiled a lot and it was a marvel to see his little brain engaged in faces and playthings hanging over his head. His tiny body and brain were doing exactly what they are meant to be doing during this critical developmental time, growing and taking in the world. It's hard work! That's why babies (and puppies for that matter) tire so quickly when they are little. I changed James' diaper 4 times in the short time I was with him. As his Mom said, "James likes a clear canvas." Because his bottom was clean and dry, his "attention" could be where it should be. Right now, in this country, babies born into poverty are caught in a diaper dilemma. Diapers are not covered by any government assistance programs, not food stamps and not WlC support. Diapers are rarely provided through food banks*. Diapers are expensive, about 25 cents each. An adequate supply, costs $75- $115 per month. Families in poverty or crisis due to illness, domestic violence, mental health issues or just bad luck, struggle heartily to provide the basics that so many of us take for granted. There are a number of "political" ways that one can respond to this issue. In the end, is this a battle that babies should be fighting? I don't think so. Locally, WestSide Baby provides 500,000 diapers to local families in need. These diapers are donated through diaper drives, we purchase them with financial donations and some are donated by diaper manufacturers. On the most basic level, these diapers prevent infection and the spread of disease to the babies, their families and anyone else these babies connect with daily. To be blunt, anyone who has ever had pain "down there" should cringe at the thought of baby diaper rash. What can you do about this? For starters, let people know about this diaper dilemma. Set aside a quarter each time someone says "Really?" when you say "Food Stamps don't cover Diapers." Consider donating diapers or hosting a diaper drive. WestSide Baby will distribute those diapers through more than 90 local established social services agencies, including the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks. We are also exploring bigger ways to address this issue. We are looking at national efforts, considering legislative advocacy, exploring purchasing options to keep our costs as low as possible and working closing with Kimberly Clark, Huggies as they prioritize the issue of diaper deprivation. I don't believe that any one entity can solve this problem alone. It's not up to government, corporations, foundations or individuals to tackle this in isolation. It must be a group effort. For now, I think we'll have better luck with baby steps than James will, especially with your help. Once they are here, let's do what we can to help their tiny selves focus their energy on developing their bodies and brains. * Most food banks can hand out only a handful of diapers in emergency situations. Through partnership with WestSide Baby, the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks are able to do more. More than $45,000 in diapers provided in the first half of 2011. Nancy Woodland is Executive Director of Westside Baby a nonprofit organization that collects previously owned items for children and babies and distributes them free of charge to South King County families in need. More than good walk spoiled By Jerry Robinson (After a record number of days without sun, local golfers are eagerly heading to the local links to swat at little white balls. The Robinson Family history with golf is a long one. For them, golf is more than a good walk spoiled and includes some comical mishaps. Here are a few we thought you might enjoy.) By Jerry Robinson My brother Albert used to caddy at Columbia Edgewater next to the Columbia River in Portland when he was 13 and often brought home golf balls way back in 1930: One time he gave a scarred up one and I foolishly cut it open to see what was inside. Using Dad's hacksaw I found another ball about a half inch around inside. I then cut open the inner ball which was full of gooey pure white liquid and got it all over my hands and scared me because I could not find anything to get the icky stuff off my hands. I was in panic when I heard my mother yell that dinner was on the table. "Come and get it or I will feed it to the hogs." Of course, we did not have any hogs except my four brothers, but the threat was scary. That inner ball was wrapped with a continuous rubber band. The white outside hard rubber cover was really tough. I admitted that I had ruined one of Albert's golf balls. That was when my Mom told us an amazing story. Her Dad, my grandfather, his name was Charles Scott. He was a pattern maker by trade, and he had invented the machine that wound the inner continuous rubber band inside all golf balls at that time. He had a partner who was a lot smarter businessman than he was who had taken the plans for the continuous rubber band machine and got the patent for himself. Grampa died in what, at the time, was called a poorhouse. He coulda been a rich guy. By Ken Robinson It was 1975 and Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club in Federal Way was a fairly new course surrounded by ranch houses. The fairways are tight and players are rewarded with lower scores if they can keep the ball down the middle, or at least inbounds. I was an average golfer, about an 18 handicap. Playing at that level meant not all shots were Straight or even sent in a predictable direction. On the fourth hole, a dogleg left, I squibbed a drive off the tee about 150 yards to the right. The ball followed an arc like a banana, crossing the edge of the fairway and a manicured yard. It almost seemed to fly in slow motion as it smashed through the kitchen window of a yellow house. My mouth went dry. In the kitchen was a guy the size of Man Mountain Dean. He came out onto the lawn as I approached. I apologized in my most obsequious manner. He said "Come on in and write down your name and address and I'll have the window replaced and send you the bill." The course rule was that if you break a window, you are obligated to pay. I dutifully followed the big guy into the house, stepping gingerly onto what appeared to be new linoleum. Unfortunately, I neglected to remove my golf shoes as I went inside. I could feel the steel spikes sinking into the soft new fRooring. I got to the counter and wrrote my name and address, glancing once at the broken glass in the sink and on the floor. I did not want to draw attention to the fact that I had just aerated his new floor because he was a pretty big guy and I did not want a bloody nose. So I began a trailing apology as I backed up toward the door, attempting to step in the same holes I had made on the way in. I got outside without further incident, took a penalty for going out of bounds, and still parred the hole. So it ended well other than the $64 I had to pay for the window. ByTim Robinson While playing golf out at Tyee in the late '70s I stood on the tee of the 300-yd. par four 14th hole waiting for the group ahead to hit their approach shots, it was the White Center Jubilee Days tourney. The group advanced with all players on the putting surface except one chap in the right hand bunker. ! turned to our group announcing that I was going to tee off, as it was safe to do so. I made all the right moves connecting on the drive down the right side with a bit of a left turn. It landed in front of the bunker on the fly, took a large hop and smacked the fellow right between the shoulder blades as he stood preparing to hit out of the sand. The poor guy turned in anger to see me back on the tee in my follow- through. While momentarily stunned, he looked back down at his own ball and proceeded to finish the hole. I ambled up the fairway eventually arriving near my ball now resting quite near where his once laid. I sheepishly walked over to the next tee area to apologize for striking this man with my ball. He accepted my apology immediately congratulating me with what was obviously alcohol-laced admiration. "Thhhaaat's ooookaaay", he muttered, "annyyyone who cannnhit a balllthat far cannhit me annyytime..." Still shaken from the incident I went back to the trap to hit my next shot. I barely made it out of the sand due to my emotional state. As luck runs in my family, I stroked my next shot into the hole for a very unlikely birdie. The ball raced far too fast across the green. It hit the hold dead on, popping straight up into the air a good foot before falling directly back into the hole. Jerry Robinson is the publisher of the West Seattle Herald/White Center News. He can be reached care of Ken Robinson at kenr @ LETTER TO THE EDITOR Reject the tunnel To the editor: I am writing this letter to urge the voters to reject the tunnel and refurbish the viaduct. The Mayor and City Council have the duty to look after the people of the City of Seattle. After all, it's our City and the citizens have a right and duty to see that they do that. Personally as a resident of West Seattle I enjoy using the viaduct and the Broad St. tunnel both as a highway thru town and as an access to town on its ramps. I also enjoy the view of Seattle's harbor from the viaduct. It's a neat way to avoid the freeway and it makes our city unique. It also bypasses all the ferry traffic from across the sound. Stick to your guns Mayor McGinn and the voters are watching your Mr. City Council. I am urging the voters to reject the tunnel again as you voted on this subject previously. With the tunnel the Seattleites are getting a bum deal. The following are my reasons to refurbish and keep the viaduct: The tunnel allows no access to downtown Seattle from State Highway 99. This is a bum deal for downtown businesses and shoppers. The viaduct and Battery Street tunnel are still the best solution for access and route for highway 99 and the city. A prominent and experienced civil engineer named Victor Gray has publicly commented that the existing waterfront viaduct can feasibly be strengthened to withstand seismic activity. The new Tunnel will have tolls that will cause cars to divert to city streets causing more congestion. The proposed tunnel is likely to have cost overruns due to the nature of the glacial soil and the likely of tunneling machinery getting stuck. The act of tunneling may cause damage to buildings and utilities above it. The 200 cars from each of two ferries coming into the waterfront hourly will congest streets already crowded by cars trying to avoid the tunnel tolls. The West Seattle cars (trying to avoid tunnel tolls) eastbound on the Spokane St. viaduct will try to get on I-5 on single file merged ramp to go north on I-5. This ramp is inadequate and backup cars on the Spokane St. viaduct making it a parking lot. Finally, maybe it would be a good idea to double-deck I-5 downtown if we have to have a tunnel. That way we could tear down the Convention Center and become famous. If we tore down the Kingdome, the Viaduct and the Convention Center would we be famous? Calvin R Bannon PE (ret) We welcome letters We welcome letters to the editor. Letters are the opinions of NEWS/HERALD readers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the NEWS/HERALD staff or publishers. Please submit letters at least a week prior to the publication date. Mail or bring to 14006 First Ave. S., Suite B; Burien, WA 98168, email to, or fax to 206453- 5041. Letters should be no longer than 400 words. The NEWS/HERALD staff reserves the right to edit for length, clarity, or possible libel. Letters must include writer's full name, city and daytime phone number or email for verification.