Letters for the week of July 10

Jul 10, 2013

The 10 Essentials

Dear Editor:

Thank you for this article, Sara [“Missing teenage hikers found safe,” The Beacon,” front page, July 3]. I saw the parents' concerned/relieved faces on the local news, too.

It reminded me of the "10 essentials" one should take on hikes (http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html):

1. Navigation (map and compass)

2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)

3. Insulation (extra clothing)

4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)

5. First-aid supplies

6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)

7. Repair kit and tools

8. Nutrition (extra food)

9. Hydration (extra water)

10. Emergency shelter

Jo Hull,

Everett

700 hungry kids need your help

Thank you, Mukilteo Beacon, for the great article on our program [“Packs for kids expands to 3rd school,” The Beacon, front page, June 19]! You have helped us reach out to so many people!

Packs for Kids provides food supplement for children and families living in food insecure households throughout the Mukilteo School District.

Teachers and counselors identify the children in need. Those identified children receive a non-descript backpack every Friday to take home to their families.

We currently serve more than 30 children but have identified more than 700 more that need our help. That's where you come in.

Are you willing to help collect food or backpacks? Are you willing to spend an afternoon stuffing backpacks for the needy families? Would you like to sponsor a child for a school year?

Contact us to see how you can help! Find us at www.facebook.com/PacksForKids.

Oran Smith-Osterman,

Coordinator,

Packs For Kids

Avoid using the word ‘crazy’

In a recent issue of The Beacon I noticed that a columnist I don’t wish to name used the phrase “...like a crazy person.” The image that these words can convey has an effect that can diminish members of our society.

I doubt that the intention was to disrespect, but a word such as “crazy” is common parlance yet a stigmatizing word for those with brain disorders.

The media has a role to play in changing this, and the goal needs to be eliminating language that may be derogatory toward people with a mental illness.

Such disrespectful word usage contributes to the stigma they endure, and it is this stigma that keeps many from getting the help they need.

For this reason, I'm including two quotes from the latest Associated Press Stylebook regarding inappropriate media practices:

“Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story.”

“Avoid using mental health terms to describe non-health issues. Don’t say that an awards show, for example, was schizophrenic.”

Thus I wish to alert you and your readers that using softer, more humane language may lead to subtle but important changes.

Compassionate word usage, even with humor, can promote sensitivity instead of stigma, so that those with behavioral issues related to brain disorders may seek and accept help as readily as those with any other biological illness.

Shirley Oczkewicz,

Edmonds

Excellent feature on new book

Just read the article about my book in today's Beacon [“Book covers 100 years of hydroplane racing,” front page, July 3].

Excellent job! You even included some facts that I don't remember telling you. Great job of research.

Thanks for the good work.

Andy Muntz,

Edmonds

Team Bogart story embodies Relay message

Thanks for the wonderful Relay For Life coverage in last week's issue.

I thought the Bogart family story was amazing [“Hope to carry Team Bogart to Relay finish line,” The Beacon, front page, July 3]. SO positive, so much about how he's fighting, has changed his lifestyle, etc.

I just was very inspired and impressed by that story! It embodied the "fight back" message.

Thanks again!

Barbara Edmondson,

Relay For Life of Mukilteo,

Publicity Volunteer

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