mailboxSoup and more

Dear Editor:

The Methow Valley Community Center board of directors would like to invite everyone to our annual membership meeting on Monday (Nov. 4) at 5:30 p.m. Come share a supper of soup with your neighbors and fellow Community Center members. If you are not a member, come see what we are doing.

I hope you are proud to be reminded that you are a part of something great. The Community Center continues to hold a vital place in our valley fabric. We want to keep growing and meeting your needs.

If being part of such a great valley resource is not enough to get you to the meeting consider this: three kinds of soup, bread, door prizes, a trivia contest, ice cream and strawberries, and friendly folk. We’ll end by 7 p.m. Hope to see you there.

Carolyn Sullivan, vice president, Methow Valley Community Center board of directors


Don’t confuse OCTN with OCTA

Dear Editor:

We have become aware that Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition (OCTN) is being confused with the Okanogan County Transportation Authority (OCTA) proposal on the November ballot.

OCTN is in no way connected with OCTA. When we were asked if we would support OCTA we said that the only way we would was with an open-end contract with us to use our buses in conjunction with their program, while keeping our service as a personal service enabling our riders to retain their independence. They agreed.

Our buses do a lot for the community by allowing anyone, not just senior citizens, to ride for a small fee. We have the ability to transport bicycles, wheelchairs, walkers, etc., to enable our citizens to remain independent and free to go to job sites, personal and professional appointments and shopping.

We are funded by federal and state programs for senior citizens, donations from seniors for the meals and rides, donations from the communities we serve, and other grants that are available.

All six senior citizen centers in Okanogan County serve meals at least twice a week. OCTN provides the employees who work in these centers and provides very tasty dinners. OCTN also manages meals for the two other counties. OCTN does an exemplary job of management for all these services. Our meals aren’t just served to senior citizens, the public is also welcome, although they will have to pay a little bit more for their meal. We welcome you at any of our centers.

We also want the people of Okanogan County to know that as our economy diminishes, we also are having some real funding problems as our state and federal organizations face problems, and we would welcome donations from anyone. Our senior citizens have paid their dues and have a lot to offer to those following behind them. What we can learn from our seniors is endless.

The Okanogan County Senior Citizens Association is proud to oversee their operations, as well as In Home Healthcare of Washington and our six senior centers in Okanogan County.

Sally R. Alexander, board president of Okanogan County Senior Citizens Association, Omak


Clarifying FDA’s role

Dear Editor:

Ms. Stamper’s article about Initiative 522, which would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (Oct. 23), did an excellent and thorough job of laying out most of the issues. My one criticism is that the article could have said more about the claim by opponents of labeling that “the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have found genetically engineered foods to be safe.” This is a fundamental misstatement of what the government does.

Genetically engineered foods may be overseen by the FDA, but there is no approval process. From the FDA’s website: “The developer produces a safety assessment … FDA scientists evaluate the safety assessment and also review relevant data and information that are publicly available in published scientific literature and the agency’s own records.”

The industry-controlled safety assessments do not result in a government finding of safety. As noted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the FDA “has to show that there may be a problem with the food, as opposed to the company needing to prove it’s safe to FDA’s satisfaction before it can get on the market.” In other words, foods are presumed to be safe unless the FDA has evidence to the contrary.

In a long gone past, the government conducted or funded independent safety studies of food and drugs. Now those studies are left almost entirely to the producers themselves. They, in turn, may outsource the studies, sometimes to paid researchers in foreign countries that lack rigorous research standards or reliable peer review. There have been many reports of badly conducted studies and even falsified results. Nonetheless, anti-government legislators and right wing voters seem to trust industry scientists with our health and safety more than they do any U.S. government scientists. I don’t.

Randy Brook, Twisp


Learn about GMOs

Dear Editor:

If you are like me, you have been receiving mailers regarding Initiative 522, to require labeling of GMOs in Washington state. I found it interesting that while attributing the campaign to label GMOs to “out-of-state corporations,” the sponsors of the mailers happen to be the largest bio-engineering corporations in the world.

I somehow doubt that Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and Bayer Corporation are really concerned about any of us except as unwitting guinea pigs in their experiment to see what happens when humans consume untested bio-engineered food products or as ill-informed consumers willing to spend money on their products to increase their profit margin. They apparently believe that we are not smart enough to make an informed choice as to what we might want to eat nor are we able to read a food label and understand just what is in the food.

Their concern for our well being extends so far that they really don’t want us to spend good money on organic or non-GMO food when we can more cheaply eat food products made with GMO ingredients grown with government subsidies.

We all need to understand the implications of the prevalence of unlabeled GMOs in the nation’s food supply and the unknown results of consuming this food to our health. The FDA does not require testing of the effects of GMO consumption on humans and has few regulations regarding the growing or selling of GMO crops.

Many other developed countries either require labeling or have outright bans on GMOs since no one knows their ultimate impact on human health or the environment. I encourage anyone voting this fall to go to to better understand the issue before us and make an informed decision before you vote. Only through an informed populace can a democracy survive.

Howard Cherrington, Twisp


Bring back the barrels

Dear Editor:

If anyone has taken or borrowed barrels from Methow Resource Recovery in Twisp, I must warn you that the contents are quite toxic and need to be treated as such. When we researched them, the manufacturers did not assume responsibility that the contents were safe. We have strong admonitions about not cutting into them with heat, from three separate experienced welders, because that vaporizes some very toxic fumes.

Nancy St. Clair, chair, Methow Resource Recovery, Twisp