From safety to human services
By JOHN B. HUGHES
Bothell Reporter Columnist
October 14, 2008 · Updated 5:22 PM
Let’s talk safety, generosity, energy and human service dollars.
For the past three years, Bothell resident Jenny Lutz has found a way to slightly ease the pain of the loss of her son, BJ Brown, in an auto accident. She takes every opportunity offered her to talk with young people about driving safety and the responsibilities that go with getting behind the wheel of a car.
She is eminently qualified, as a teacher of environmental sciences at Bellevue High School, so she is no stranger to daily contact with an age group the rest of us barely understand. She is a mentor as well as educator, in this regard.
The car in which her son died was “totaled.” But, her insurance carrier turned the 1999 Porsche Boxster over to her to use at school assemblies to drive home her message about safe driving. Farmers Insurance donated the salvage fee to help build a scholarship endowment in BJ’s memory.
Lutz has been to Inglemoor, Arlington, Stanwood and Bellevue so far.
“I would gladly offer my time and BJ’s ‘story/car’ to any high school in the area, especially for the assemblies they put together on safe driving,” she said.
In September, Lutz was invited to a Safety Fair at Henry Foss High School in Tacoma.
“There were several booths there – rescue dogs, alarm systems, personal defense,” she noted. “The contact person (for Farmers) was very touched by BJ’s life and the scholarship we started and was instrumental in ‘lightening my load’ in building the scholarship endowment.”
The company sent a $9,100 donation to the endowment held by the Northshore Scholarship Foundation – putting the account among the 50 permanent endowments maintained for annual scholarships.
Lutz can now go about her speaking engagements, having the assurance that B J’s memory will forever be not only with her, but also many graduating senior recipients to come.
The community lost one of its staunchest supporters of University of Washington Bothell last month with the passing of Mrs. Richard C. “Lois” Worthington. She died at age 91, at a retirement home in Anacortes.
Early on, Lois and her family became strong advocates and supporters of Bothell as the site of the University of Washington’s second branch campus.
Several scholarship programs at UW Bothell bear the name of the Worthington family, funded through the Richard C. and Lois Worthington Foundation.
The Worthington family was prominent in Bothell’s early days with Richard and brother Dean’s attorney father having established the Bothell State Bank. Dean served as bank president and Richard was vice president, operating the family’s insurance agency, A.G. Worthington.
Richard and Lois’s son Richard C. Worthington Jr., was killed in combat in Viet Nam when his helicopter went down while on a rescue mission. His parents established a four-year college scholarship at Bothell High School honoring Richard, Jr. and recognizing the value of service to school and community in the scholarship criteria.
Puget Sound Energy last month revealed to customers the “fuel mix” resources the firm uses for generating electricity.
Being a native of the Northwest, I would have thought a greater source would have been hydroelectric dam generation. It was only 42 per cent.
The company’s monthly billing included a statement concerning Puget Energy’s efforts to produce clean, renewable electricity.
“PSE is working to secure 10 per cent of its power supply from renewable sources by 2013 and 15 per cent by 2020,” the statement said.
In 2007, the sources also included coal (37%), natural gas (19%), nuclear (1%); biomass, landfill gas, petroleum, waste, wind and solar presently account for but 1 per cent.
King County Council has put in motion spending $50 million a year to deal with the fact that our jails have become inappropriate repositories for the mentally ill and those with drug dependence.
County councilman Bob Ferguson noted “these dollars represent the largest infusion of human services dollars in recent history and will help individuals struggling with mental illness and substance abuse, provide greater treatment options, and reduce the number of people cycling through the county’s jails and hospitals.”
The funds are from the implementing of a one-tenth of one per cent sales tax for mental health and chemical dependency services. This marks an encouraging change away from looking primarily to our “corrections” system for dealing with those burdened with drug or mental illness issues.
We hope that innovative programs will evolve from this approach – possibly another look at the state’s involuntary commitment laws in the case of the mentally ill.
Our mental health system faces a critical shortage of beds, is riddled with ineffective communication breakdowns among service providers and hamstrung by the present state commitment laws. There is a crying need for more counselors and better treatment facilities.Contact Bothell Reporter Columnist John B. Hughes at email@example.com.