Dear Editor:

Hats off to Room One for pulling together Methow Voices, a powerful play based on interviews with local teens. Sharing community voices through events like this helps build understanding and awareness.

More events are worth the community’s participation. Today (Wednesday, May 15) at 6 p.m., Liberty Bell seniors will present their senior projects at the high school. These include a student trip to Africa, the dissection of cow hearts with a fifth-grade class, the composition of a piano solo, a research internship at Bear Fight Institute, and the refurbishment of a Chevy S10 pickup truck.

On May 20, 7 p.m. at the Merc Playhouse, the Liberty Bell Speech & Debate class will present work from throughout the year, including speeches on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, the Innocence Project, and how to increase community support for individuals with disabilities. Then on May 21 at 6 p.m. in the Liberty Bell cafeteria, the video productions class will present films they produced, along with a display of student artwork and construction projects.

Student voice is strong in this community. Having an audience for these events is huge, as it raises the bar for performance and signals to our young people that we care about their thinking and their work. Please come to these events, if you can.

Mark Wenzel, Superintendent



Dear Editor:

I read with concern the recent Methow Valley News letter to the editor about how wolves help watersheds (May 8). I am not a doctor or scientist but I find it alarming some folks apparently still don’t know that hydatid disease tapeworms are carried and discharged along with their eggs in the fecal matter of foxes, coyotes, and wolves. Wolves are the apex canine predator; areas where they congregate will have concentrations of fecal matter, which will deteriorate leaving microscopic eggs to float like dust and be ingested into the lungs and digestive tracts of ungulates – cattle, elk, deer, etc. When ingested the eggs grow into individual cysts and/or clumps of cysts that decrease organ capacity and increase vulnerability if/when pursued. Published research suggests two thirds of Idaho big game killed have hydatid cysts in their organs.

I find the statement from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (below) particularly interesting though ambiguous, because European history suggests an understanding that tapeworm eggs could be ingested from casual contact with dogs that carried the eggs on their hair and feet. In Finland and other cold climates dogs were not allowed in living areas to prevent human infestation.

“Do wolves have tapeworms that can spread to other animals and people? … Humans are very rarely infected, because they would have to ingest tapeworm eggs in canid feces or drink water contaminated with canid feces. The parasites are highly unlikely to be spread by handling ungulate capes or meat, unless those parts are contaminated with canid feces and handlers do not use good basic hygiene. Likewise, if a pet dog rolled in feces infected with tapeworm eggs, good hygiene is required after handling the dog. Humans cannot be infected by ingesting cysts found in ungulates. These parasitic tapeworms are not wind-born nor transmitted in any way other than direct ingestion of eggs in feces. All parasites or diseases harbored by any wildlife should be taken seriously. Good hygiene should always be used when handling live wild animals, dead wild animals, their secretions, or their products.”

The public needs to be aware.

Phil Andresen, Olympia



Dear Editor:

The information in your May 8 article on the removal of the “Welcome to Twisp” sign at the intersection of Highway 20 and the Twisp-Carlton road appears to have led some folks to believe that TwispWorks had something to do with the decision to remove the sign. This is not accurate.

While I am the executive director of TwispWorks, my comments regarding the sign were provided in the context of my role as a member of the Twisp Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

After the Washington State Department of Transportation notified the landowner that the sign must be removed from the right of way, the chamber was offered the opportunity to remove the sign itself, and given an extension of one month in which to make it happen. Paul Sudak of Wildcat Ridge Excavating generously offered to help us do so, and TwispWorks agreed to store the sign until it finds a new home. The chamber is considering options for placement of the sign in a location that will comply with all current state and local regulations.

If you are interested in hosting the “Welcome to Twisp” sign on your property, please contact twispchamber@gmail.com.

Amy Stork, Secretary, Twisp Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors



Dear Editor:

We just wrapped up a season of Earth Day events with another successful metal drive! Nearly 300 people came to Methow Recycles’ spring metal drive with loads ranging in weight from 20 to 2,400 pounds. Some people made multiple trips, including one happy guy (you know who you are) who I saw at least four times. The final tally for the day was just over 76,000 pounds, proving once again that it all adds up!

Twenty-seven hardy volunteers worked cheerfully and safely in the warm May sunshine to help their neighbors unload. We couldn’t have done it without them! Cascade Concrete provided the venue and assistance with marketing the metal. Proceeds from the sale of the metal collected will go directly to support Methow Recycles’ programs. Thank you everyone! (PS: We hope to do another drive before the snow flies.)

Betsy Cushman, Executive director, Methow Recycles



Dear editor:

We want to extend a very special thank you to the fourth-grade Math is Cool coaches, Pete DeLong, Eric Bard and William Worrell, and helper Emerson Worrell. Their dedication brought the fourth-grade team to a victorious second-place division win in the regional competition! In addition, three of our team members placed in the top 10 of all competitors in our division, including the No. 1 spot (which, by the way, was held by a third grader!).

The coaches brought an array of skills to the team. These skills helped bestow the team with a culture of kindness, a healthy competitive spirit, and incredible math know-how. Our coaches managed to accomplish all this alongside busy lives, including international travel, competitive soccer schedules, and the birth of a new baby!

Many thanks Pete, Eric, William and Emerson for your incredible efforts. It might be hard to make math cool, but you somehow managed.

The fourth-grade Math is Cool team and parents



Dear Editor:

On April 27 the annual kids fishing derby sponsored by the Methow Valley Eagles was held at Pearrygin Lake. It was a success again as in past years. This derby has historically been held each year on the opening of fishing season set by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). There were approximately 60 entries and many prizes given out to these eager and excited anglers. There was even a 2-pound rainbow trout and a 2-pound German brown trout entered. Way to go, kids.

We here at the Eagles would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their continued support of this worthy cause: The Methow Valley News, Hank’s Harvest Foods, Winthrop Ace Hardware, Winthrop Tenderfoot store, Twisp Do-It  Center, Pearrygin Lake Store, Dick Hill, John Jensen, Todd Smith, Bob and Dorothy Kartcutski, Rick Lewis and Pearrygin Lake State Park. Also, a huge thank you to Mark Seguin and Dwain Hutson for running the whole derby. If I have left anyone out I sincerely apologize. Without these businesses and individuals it would be a flop. Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts. See you at the park next year on opening day of fishing season.

Mike Hanley Sr., President, Methow Valley Eagles, Aerie #2584



Dear Editor:

We want to extend our sincere appreciation to County Commissioners Jim DeTro, Sheilah Kennedy and Ray Campbell for their forward thinking approach to improved security in our courthouse. Rather than wait for tragedy to strike, our commissioners, in recognition of citizens’ needs to feel confident and safe in seeking access to courthouse services, adopted a resolution creating a courthouse security officer position.

The courthouse building serves voters, jurors, employees, litigants, victims, taxpayers, and people stopping in to get a passport, renew their tabs, record land documents, or get assistance from the noxious weed office. The courthouse is also where people come to resolve disputes and criminal charges, which can lead to volatile, sometimes dangerous situations. Time and again, we find that people act more civilly when there is an armed presence in the courtroom, and certainly our goal is to prevent problems and de-escalate situations when possible. If you see one of your county commissioners, please tell him or her thank you for making our courthouse a safer place for everyone.

Heidi E. Smith, Presiding Judge, and Charles D. Short, Judge, Okanogan County District Court