Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Letters: October 3, 2019


October 3, 2019

Curry letter

People have been identifying income inequality as one of the top three problems facing our country. Of course this means wealth inequality, but most are not wanting to acquire wealth for its own sake, but to smooth out the bumps from ridiculous medical expenses, etc.

Frank Watson is wrong about $15/hr being a living wage. Maybe a single person could live on that, but not support a family. I have always been willing to pay more for goods and services so that employees can be adequately compensated.

In this context, a statement I saw over the last year comes to mind: "Don't let someone making $2,500 an hour tell you that paying employees $15 an hour is going to wreck the economy."

Bob Curry,


Rural benefits

It’s often said that living a rural lifestyle is a choice, which of course has its unique set of challenges and benefits. When individuals and families across our state come together each year to participate in all the activities offered by local fairs, our communities experience both.

The camaraderie and community spirit that allows our youth to showcase their hard work, dedication and projects through organizations like FFA, 4-H and others, is often offset by the continual degradation of the state’s fair fund, which helps put on these important events. While I have always – and will always – fight in the Legislature to keep this fund healthy and intact, the importance of our local fairs was once again brought home to me recently in a real and personal way.

At the Palouse Empire Fair in Colfax, a typical youth auction was taking place. Unbeknownst to many in attendance and bidding, one young man had very recently lost his father. The winning bidder for this youth’s sheep announced he wanted to donate his newly purchased stock back up for auction, with the proceeds going to this young man and his family. As the bids rolled in and the dollars raised went up, the tears streamed down – in the eyes of the family being blessed, and in the eyes of so many who were touched by the generosity of their friends and neighbors. In the end, after several rounds of winning and rebidding, over $20,000 was raised. This, in a county where the median income hovers around $40,000.

You don’t experience something like that and go unchanged. Yes, living a rural lifestyle is a choice. So is fighting in Olympia for the funds needed to continue the good that our local fairs impart into our communities.

I’ll take this experience with me to the Legislature and when I’m trying to convince my legislative colleagues on the West side of the state of the need to keep the state’s fair fund fully funded, I’ll remember the damp eyes and generous actions of my local community.

Joe Schmick, R-Colfax

9th Legislative District

Increased demand

You’re concerned about a change in your health. Its been bothering you for days and now seems to be getting worse. So, you call your doctor’s office to get an appointment.

“I’m sorry, but the earliest we can see you is in four weeks.”

Or six. Or eight. (You’re nodding your head, aren’t you)?

Sadly, this scenario is commonplace in Pullman today. Too few docs trying to juggle too many patients, and everyone is frustrated over it.

The fact is Pullman needs more good doctors.

Our population has grown―and continues to grow―at a faster rate than the current medical community can handle in a timely fashion. We need more doctors―the sooner, the better.

This summer, the WSU College of Medicine received a $750,000 grant to help with start-up costs for a new residency program in family medicine at PRH. That’s a promising start. But for the program to flourish and lead to more docs staying in Pullman, they’re going to need more space.

Nearly 20 years ago, we passed a multimillion-dollar bond to move the hospital from an old, outmoded building on campus to the current facility on Bishop Boulevard. It was the right decision then, and we’ve been reaping the rewards ever since.

Pullman has grown substantially in the last decade. The current hospital facility has reached the limits of its capacity. The status quo is insufficient to meet the increased demand for services.

Our hospital must continue to innovate, expand where needed and move forward to meet our current and future healthcare needs. We need to prepare for the next 20 years and we all have a stake in this. Please join me in voting to approve Proposition 1 and support Pullman Regional Hospital’s ability to provide us with Next Era of Excellence.

Roderick T. Schwartz,


Colfax therapy pool

Closing of the Colfax pool always concludes a season of swimming in our city. Yet, not many people know that there is a swimming pool open all year round in Colfax. This pool is the therapy pool in Whitman Hospital and Medical Center. The therapy pool is unique. Its water sits at 90°F. This warm temperature allows for people to unwind and accomplish what the pool was intended for: therapy.

The therapy pool boasts classes that are all very beneficial to one’s health. At the end of each of these sessions, patrons have the option to use the spa. Many comment on how the spa is the best part of their swim. Along with the pool the hospital provides equipment, also accessible all year long.

I have been working at the therapy pool for a little over six months now. I have learned what it feels like to assist others, but most importantly I have learned how much the hospital means to the community. I have gotten to know many wonderful people and I truly enjoy being able to assist every one of them in their fitness journey.

Patrons have gone up to me many times and commented on how much they enjoyed their swims and how much they appreciate the helpfulness of the pool staff.

Under the leadership of our department management and the cooperation from our team, I am not only learning valuable working skills, but also seeing the significance of therapy pool service to the local community.

Shelly Wu,



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