mailboxSki Swap was great

Dear Editor:

Once again the Methow Valley has shown what a great community it is.

I would like to recognize all the people who worked together to bring the Ski Swap back to the Winthrop Barn. It was a community effort that benefited the Methow Valley Nordic Team and hopefully many happy customers who were able to buy great gear at a good rate, or those who were able to clear their storage rooms of gear!

Thanks to Larry Goldie of North Cascades Mountain Guides, C.B. Thomas of Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies, Rita Kenney from Winthrop Mountain Sport, Joe Brown and Julie Muyllaert of Methow Cycle and Sport, and Don Portman, who spearheaded the effort and brought in some fantastic deals to draw the crowds. Thanks to the Winthrop Barn for making the space available for the Swap, KTRT-FM for some advertising, and thanks to the volunteers who helped make it happen, especially Blue Bradley and Adrienne Schaeffer.

Now all we need is the snow so we can put all that gear to use!

Leslie Hall, Methow Valley Nordic Team director


Acts of terrorism

Dear Editor:

We are a decade into the War on Terror. I am wondering how the war is going. How is Terror holding up?

Freeman Dyson is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who brings his clear-seeing eye to writings on many subjects. Here is his definition of terrorism:

“Princip … a Bosnian Serb … assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie when they drove through Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. To kill the archduke was an act of resistance. To kill Sophie was an act of terrorism.” (New York Review of Books, Nov. 21 2013, a review of How to Be an Underdog, and Win by Malcolm Gladwell.)

Our war is being waged largely by unmanned drone attacks. Each attack is a conscious act directed by our national leadership through the chain of command. And almost all the attacks include the deaths of a few innocent bystanders. In part we resist our enemies, in part we commit terrorism ourselves.

Dan Aspenwall, Winthrop 


Barry’s annual advice

Dear Editor:

To my fellow snow country folks:  Now that it looks like winter is soon to show her face, I feel moved to pass on some annual advice.

A number of years ago I had a moment of brain-deadness and ended up turning off a snowblower with my left hand, and being flown to Harborview Hospital in Seattle where three surgeons spent 21 man-hours rebuilding my hand. I write to remind all of you snow blower operators this winter season to not repeat my stupidity!

Even with new designs and safety features on today’s machines (mine was 20 years old), blowers can still jam with wet snow or  “yard” objects. Due to the potential kinetic energy stored in the engine compression and belt tension when jammed, the impellers in a blower can rotate slightly when a jammed or clogged machine is freed up. There is very little clearance in the impeller housings … if your hand is the “freeing” agent, you can lose fingers or an entire hand.

Never use your hand or foot to clear a clogged or jammed snow blower. Use a broom handle or long, stout stick – not a body part. All new blowers come with a plastic paddle used to clear jams. Some even advise removing the spark plug to release any engine compression before working on a machine.

Snowblowers, like many powered devices, are in and of themselves not dangerous. They do need to be respected and operated with care and attention. Fatigue, being in a hurry, distractions, objects left out in the snow, etc., are the real dangers. Hopefully you will remember my story every time you operate a snowblower and not create your own story. Have a safe winter season.

Barry Stromberger, Twisp


What next?

Dear Editor:

First we are abandoned by Sue Misao. Now I see that the Almquists are deserting downtown Winthrop. I don’t know how much more I can take. Oh, wait. Maybe a pot store can move into the old pottery store. OK, carry on.

Mary McFaul, Loup Loup Pass