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Letters for March 2, 2022

Nursing home workers need living wage

I’m a nurse’s assistant at a nursing home in Spokane. Despite serving our state’s elderly and sick on the front lines of this pandemic for two years now, nursing home workers haven’t received hazard pay.

We’ve worked long hours and are short-staffed. Many have quit. Burnt-out staff have been asked to come back to work a few days after a positive test if they were asymptomatic or feeling well enough, because there isn’t anyone to fill in for them. In 2020, we had a wave of COVID-19 cases, and both staff and residents got sick. Twenty-nine residents died before the end of the year, some of whom I’d cared for for over three years and considered family.

I am shocked that the proposed budget released by the state Senate does not include any funding for nursing home workers to receive up to a $4 per hour wage increase to help stabilize our workforce or funding to increase nursing home provider rates to keep up with rising costs.

Nursing homes were severely underfunded even before the pandemic. We are understaffed and overwhelmed, and without funding wage increases, we are condemned to struggle and burnout, and residents are condemned to lower-quality care because there aren’t enough people willing to work these jobs. We deserve compensation that would allow us to provide for ourselves and our families.

Long-term care workers are putting our lives on the line. Our legislators can and must do more.

Cal Hilmo


Remove Russian vodka

To all restaurants, markets, bars, grocery stores, Costco and any establishments selling Russian-made vodka: Please remove it from your shelves. A small price to pay to inflict some pain on Putin and his cohorts!

Dave Goebbert


McMorris-Rodger’s violation

I just read Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers’ weekly newsletter.

In the three photos from her town halls I see only two masks. No one else in the pictures has a mask.

I wanted to attend one of the meetings, but anticipated that much of the crowd would be unvaccinated anti-maskers. It would be an unsafe environment, particularly for someone over 65. In the last two weeks in Spokane County 70% of the new COVID-19 spread is among those under 50, while almost 90% of those who die from it are over 70. Masks have been shown to greatly reduce the chance of being infected. Though I had a question, I could not take the risk in exposing myself.

If she was doing civil disobedience by violating the Washington state law that requires masks at indoor meetings, I understand (but do not agree). She supported the Kettle Falls School District doing this, but they, and Colville School District, have decided it was a bad idea and have backed off.

Her violation of the state’s mask mandate is endangering the health of her constituents and selectively making access to her dangerous for a large group of us.

This is not acceptable for a public official.

Harvey L. Brown


Aryan Freedom Network gathering

We read with great dismay that the Aryan Freedom Network, a white supremacist group, is having a gathering on March 12 at Hayden Lake and has said that part of their purpose is to identify “things we can do to make our communities a little better.”

That a poster for this event includes a swastika and the words “keep Idaho white” shows clearly that their vision for “a little better” is one that is in opposition to both the American ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in our Constitution, and totally against the values of Christianity.

While this is not a “Christian nation” and we fully celebrate religious freedom for all, as leaders of Christian communities that include North Idaho, we stand united in opposition to this blatant white supremacy and urge everyone to stand united against such activities.

To state the obvious, the very notion of white supremacy depends upon the narrative of anti-blackness and all people of color. As Christians, we cannot support anything that denies the fundamental nature of the beloved community Christ calls us into, a beloved community that knows all as beloved of God and siblings to each other.

We reject all forms of white supremacy and pledge to continue to actively speak and work against the structures that enable the quiet complicacy in and tolerance for such practices. We pledge to actively work for that day when all are seen, valued, honored and respected as children of God.

Gretchen Rehberg

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Spokane

Kristin Kuempel

Bishop, Northwest Intermountain Synod of the ELCA

Sheryl Kinder-Pyle

Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of the Inland Northwest, PCUSA

Daniel Miranda

District superintendent, Inland Missional District, UMC

Sandy Messick

Regional minister and president, Northern Lights Region, Disciples of Christ

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