Allligators, orcas and refugees | Letters to the Editor

Nov 14, 2018
Courtesy of: Jim Ellis Harry John Ellis drove the old Alligator Bus around Edmonds and Puget Sound.

My grandfather drove Edmonds’ Alligator Bus

I really appreciated Betty Lou Gaeng’s “The Stuff of Nightmares: Edmonds’ Alligator Bus” (Nov. 1) because my grandfather, Harry John Ellis, worked for Suburban from the ’20s until he died in 1957, a year before I was born.

He and another driver, Leigh, were good buddies and both drove out of the bus barn that is now all those little shops in downtown Edmonds. He lived in North City and parked the bus in front of his house, supporting his rather large family (wife and seven children) with that job through the depression and on.

Betty no doubt rode on his bus. I have had older people tell me they remembered him when they were children. The funny thing is they would say he was a real character, but wouldn’t tell me any stories about what he did.

Of his seven children, only the oldest and the youngest are still alive. My uncle George was the oldest. He is 97 and doing well, still living in the home that he bought with his late wife after coming back from WWII.

My father, Jim was the middle child. Of the six sons, all of them but one were bus drivers or truck drivers at some point.

Jim Ellis


WSDOT should look at orca recovery plan

It is with pleasure that I read in the Beacon that people are concerned about our Marsh (Save our marsh: Grassroots group sees chance to further protect natural habitat,” Nov. 1).

Yes, I believe the land WSDOT will acquire from Unocal should be used for a wildlife preserve, and should be used to open the marsh to Puget Sound so salmon and other fish can return to help feed orcas.

I would love to see the Beacon report on the governor’s Orca Task Force recommendations ( released to the public for comment recently. It has suggested increasing investment in restoration and acquisition of habitat to help salmon and, thereby, help the orcas.

Our Edmonds Marsh could possibly provide suitable habitat if it were to become a fully functioning estuary again. Wouldn’t it be great if juvenile Chinook salmon could use the estuary to feed and rear? Possibly chum and Coho salmon could use the Marsh for spawning – if only they didn’t have to go through a dark pipe that is more than 1,000 feet long.

The Orca Task Force recommendations call on at least seven state agencies, including WSDOT, to take immediate actions. It is a powerful group.

Among many other recommendations, it suggests spending $60 million for the acquisition and restoration of near-shore habitat. The Edmonds City Council is already looking at daylighting the marsh to open it up to the Sound.

WSDOT is in the process of taking possession of the land, that same 22 acres right next to our marsh, that would be needed to connect it to the Sound. How do we get them to notice that our Edmonds Marsh is also part of the orca recovery plan?

Laurie Sorensen


For safety’s sake, please check your car’s lights

Please check and replace your car lights!

As many as 5 percent of the cars traveling Edmonds streets after dark this fall have one or more headlights, taillights and brake lights out.

One evening, I counted two of 20 oncoming cars on Ninth with one headlight out. On a recent foggy evening, I mistook a car for a motorcycle.

It's not rocket science to check your own lights: When I pull into my driveway every evening, I can see if both headlights are shining on the garage door. Get a neighbor or relative to look at yours.

It's not just courtesy. It’s safety!

Alan Mearns


Financing the caravan

I have helped finance the migrant caravan, in a way.

I received a letter from Doctors Without Borders asking for a donation to help cover expenses in the medical care they were giving to people in the Caravan, so I sent a check.

This nonprofit corporation is an American group of medical doctors who volunteer their services in dangerous places. Quite a few Edmonds doctors have volunteered in recent years.

What is the caravan? It is a large number of people from Honduras, escaping poverty and violence, walking all the way through that country, then Guatemala and now through Mexico, hoping to seek refuge ultimately in our country.

Why am I helping?

Because they are my Catholic brothers and sisters. For over 50 years, I have been going to daily Mass at Holy Rosary church in Edmonds. These people have been doing something like that on their travels.

Along the way, the Catholic church has been helping them. For example, one lady who has two children along with her has not had to sleep outside once!

Each night someone has offered to let them stay in their house. Catholic priests say Mass for them along the way.

Someone asked them about their reaction to our president's order of troops to the border. Their response? "We are hoping for a miracle!"

They look to the flight of the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt, through the desert as a model, with their faith in God.

Mike Herb




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