Box 97Lack of balance

Dear Editor:

In discussing all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) the Methow Valley News has recently tended to emphasize the views of the vocal anti-motorized element in the Methow Valley.

The Methow Valley is reported as being “non-motorized” in the News. This is not the case. During the summer there are numerous recreational motorbikes in the Methow and many street-legal motorbikes use county and U.S. Forest Service roads. (Not to mention the motor homes and vehicles pulling all sorts of recreational trailers which bring people to enjoy the huge variety of activities which the Methow has to offer). In the winter as well, there are large numbers of snowmobiles – which do have engines.

Rather than castigating the commissioners, as was done in the Aug. 7 editorial, we should applaud their courage in not discriminating against a part of the recreational industry. The Methow Valley should be treated the same as the rest of Okanogan County. Recreationists should be tolerant of others whose interests differ from their own, and no elite group should dictate what others can and cannot do.

Unfortunately some opposed to ATVs in the Methow Valley take the stance that “I’m here and no one else can come” and “if we don’t get our way we will sue.” A smaller minority still has resorted to even less admirable tactics. For example, in a letter to the News, what is “apparently those opposed did not have enough money in play to get the commissioners’ attention” supposed to imply?

Many Methow Valley residents attended the Okanogan hearing; some of them spoke in favor of the ATV proposal and the commissioners’ decision and many more signed in favor of the decision. It would be useful to know more about their reasons for favoring the ATV proposal and get a more balanced view of the advantages and disadvantages to the population as a whole.

Bill Ford, Twisp River


Crony capitalism

Dear Editor:

Re: “Accusations fired at Winthrop councilman, building inspector,” Aug. 14.

Crony capitalism – you think it’s just in Washington, D.C.? This scourge courses through our entire political system – from national to local.

Crony capitalism is what got us into this financial meltdown. Fannie Fae/Freddie Mac plus politicians equals cozy relationships. Big financial institutions plus the rulers in Washington, D.C., equals more cozy relationships. Obamacare exempting unions and favored big business – all at the expense of us taxpayers.

My observation has been that the more rules and regulations installed by the “political class,” the more of a propensity for crony capitalism, fraud, corruption – perpetuated to gain unfair advantage. But it really only increases the cost to all of us.

But rarely do we see bravery raise its head and sound the alarm. My respect and admiration for Doug Mohre went up five notches.

Betty Vaughn, Winthrop


Off the wagon

Dear Editor:

I am responding to specific statements in the Methow Valley News Aug. 7 editorial.

• The use of the words manufacture, tirades, tyrannical, unresponsive, quickly, brusquely, faint odor, hypocritical, illegal, flouting used in just the first three paragraphs are totally without merit and basis of fact.

• HB1632 had “lengthy” discussion and was passed with an approximate 8-1 vote ratio in both the House and Senate and signed by our Democratic governor. Hmm – hard to argue against that.

• The county started opening roads around 2009. It appears the commissioners are trying to equally represent the entire county. To suggest these last roads were opened without proper notification is just not true.

• There was a minimum of five veiled and/or threats of litigation if additional roads were opened and Commissioner Campbell responded  only to these at the end of the hearing during the summations. To suggest Commissioner Ray Campbell is Methow Valley’s “putative” representative (had to look it up) is just a little bit on the small side.

• You infer lots of money may be spent on legal action. Do you want to talk about the blocked power line we need in this valley?

• Law enforcement stretched thin? Most of us moved to the Methow Valley of our own free will.

• Off-road yahoos? You got me on that one; I would have used a stronger word!

• Annoys, just shut up, steamroller, undercuts, emotional arena, that brings us to the end.

Respectfully, I have been receptive to most of your editorials, but you just fell off the wagon on this one.

Steve Campbell (not related to Commissioner Campbell), Winthrop


Disappointing experience

Dear Editor:

My wife and family were visiting the valley recently. I always look forward to visiting the beautiful place I grew up and enjoying the hospitality of the people there. It was a surprising and unfortunate experience I had at the Winthrop Auditorium that was completely inconsistent with that expectation.

We parked near the Barn and when we got out of the car, we noticed a little girl crying hysterically. Apparently, she’d been stung by a yellowjacket. While the adult she was with was attending to her, I ran into the Barn to see if I could get some ice.

A man and a woman were sitting at a table on their computers. I told them what had happened and asked if I could have some ice and a plastic bag. The woman got some ice cubes from the refrigerator, but told me she wasn’t sure if they had a bag. I noticed the cabinet labeled First Aid. I asked if I could check first aid kit and was told “no.”

“You’re not authorized,” I was told, “and technically, I’m not authorized to be doing this either.”

“Well, I just thought it would be a nice gesture to get this little girl some ice,” I said. “I’m from here, you know.”

“Me too. Born and raised,” was the response. “And if you’re from here you should know we don’t have things like plastic bags.”

I’m not sure what that meant, so I suggested using a paper towel.

She managed to spare one paper towel to wrap up some ice cubes in. I thanked her for the ice and left. When I delivered the ice to the girl and her family, they were so thankful. We saw them while walking through town and they graciously thanked us again.

We didn’t do anything monumental or significant, but little kind gestures go a long way.  It’s too bad the woman at the Winthrop Auditorium didn’t understand that concept. Perhaps if she’s not “authorized” to hand out ice or open a first aid kit for a child with a medical need, she shouldn’t be representing the Winthrop Auditorium.

Jeff Leuschen, Elma, Wash.


Kayak thievery

Dear Editor:

The case of the missing yellow kayak continues. Dear kayak thieves (yes, you!), we know who you are now, not by name, but clearly enough to call you what you are.

You were spotted last weekend, carousing on the river, trespassing onto my property and, sadly, stealing my kayak (yellow Ocean Frenzy). The police (who in 35 years, I have never had occasion to contact) have been notified. You are on their radar.

And now, I feel compelled to tell the Methow community just what’s up.

Really? You “needed” it so badly, it was worth committing a crime to take?

This is not the kind of community we are or want to become. I understand that more than a few bikes have also “gone missing” in recent weeks. Not OK!

So, now what? It’s up to you. You have a chance to search your conscience and decide what kind of person you want to be. Can you continue to brag to your friends and lie to your parents about where and how you just happened to “find” this rather large plaything?

Think about it. You know right from wrong. Exercise that muscle. Hey, you can even get a free pass. “Discover” my kayak somewhere, somehow and leave it someplace for me to retrieve. No questions asked and (hopefully) lesson learned.

That’s it, the end. I am moving on, albeit more cautiously and perhaps with a big old paddle-lock.

Here’s to all that is right and good in our beautiful Methow Valley!

Laura Fine, Twisp


Guest cartoon by Dan Aspenwall:

contributed cartoon