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Vote to support juvenile center upgrades

Letter to the Editor


Last updated 11/1/2017 at 8:56am

It hasn’t been long since our previous county commissioners held evening meetings discussing the pros and cons of sending our juvenile offenders to Martin Hall in Medical Lake. Individuals from the Coulee Dam area even made the long journey to Okanogan to testify in favor of keeping these young people in our county, where they would be close to family support and therapy programs designed to fit their needs.

Our collective voices demanded attention, and the current board of commissioners has continued this trend by presenting a plan for funding the necessary improvements to our county’s aging juvenile facilities.

Now it’s our turn, as voters, to step up to the plate by approving a reasonable tax for the necessary expenditures. Although current national and international politics could be called discouraging, at best, our individual votes have a more obvious chance at the local level to effect change in a positive direction.

As a teacher of middle school aged children for several decades, I can say with confidence that these children face challenges most of us adults never dreamed of in our younger years. Anxiety and use of opioids have both reached epidemic proportions among the younger generation, upon whom we ourselves must rely for leadership in coming decades. Fear of loss of family ties through deportation and increasing financial uncertainty have added to family stress. I can honestly say that, over the years, I have often seen family support make the difference between success and failure in my students’ endeavors, often regardless of intelligence, learning skills, and even their own determination. And frequently, parents in our county must support their children while negotiating the challenge of two or more jobs, growing health care expenses, and increasing financial uncertainty.

If you have not yet mailed your ballot, please vote “Yes” for County Resolution 70-2017 by next Tuesday. Support these young people and their families by approving the necessary funds to keep our juvenile facilities operational with counseling and therapeutic programs locally available to them and their families.

Isabelle Spohn



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