mailboxPraise for Mackies

Dear Editor:

I take issue with Mr. Stern’s letter (Nov. 27) claiming that the Loup Loup Ski Rental shop in Twisp has no connection with the Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation (LLSEF). The Loup Loup Ski Bowl owes a great deal to Ron and Kim Mackie, owners of the shop in Twisp. Their connection goes back 40 years.

Since the 1980s, Ron has been a key figure at the Loup. He was part of the group that saved the bankrupt ski area by organizing the creation of the LLSEF. He was general manager in 1998 when a chair lift became available. At that time there was only a platter tow to the top of the mountain. With a budget of $50,000, Ron solicited donations of materials and organized the largely volunteer effort to install the lift (hence the name of the “Volunteer” run). It was an enormous undertaking and a remarkable accomplishment. I doubt anything comparable has occurred at any other ski hill.

By 1985 Ron was owner of the Loup Loup Ski Rental Shop at the hill. For about 25 years, the family-owned business operated from the tiny space, providing great service, technical expertise, and a happy, welcoming atmosphere. They knew and welcomed all the kids and their parents, helping create the family feeling of the Loup experience. They also paid 14 percent of their gross revenue to the Ski Bowl/LLSEF.

Until recently, Ron’s importance to the Loup Loup ski area was recognized: “Ron’s Run” was named for him. A couple of years ago the run was renamed “Race Face” and the hand-made sign removed (you can see it at the shop in Twisp). That seems petty.

My husband and I are regular season-pass ticket holders, and he is a volunteer instructor; we love our little ski hill. We are grateful to the Mackie family for their many contributions to making it a great ski area. Our business has followed them because they run an excellent ski shop; also they are nice people who do not speak ill of others. It would be nice if Mr. Stern could be as gracious as they are.

Gina McCoy, Winthrop


Real costs of health care

Dear Editor:

Solveig Torvik’s October column was about the Republican party shutting down the government all by themselves (a sentiment mirrored by the editorial in the same issue). The point of both articles was the lack of compromise on the part of the Republicans. They have wanted Obamacare to go away. However, they did indeed compromise to the point that they offered to not stop the government if the Democrats would delay the implementation of the individual health care, like they did for small business, for one year. It was actually the Democrats who refused to compromise at all.

Now Ms. Torvik writes an article about Obama’s failed presidency and the mess that is Obamacare. The Dems would have done themselves a favor by accepting the Republican compromise and the result would have been not only no government shut-down, but also time to get “affordable health care” ready for prime time. (After seeing my individual health care plan go from $300 per month to $600 per month with less benefits, I marvel at the naming of this bill!)

The Republicans actually offered Obama a way out of this mess, but that would have denied the Dems the ability to blame the Republicans for the shut-down (witness the Methow Valley News). Our health care is in need a major overhaul. My friends from British Columbia love their health care system and we are the only civilized nation in the world without nationalized health care. Our future health care will inevitably include some form of rationing. We will probably also have clinics that will provide state of the art health care for the wealthy.

My New Zealand friend was diagnosed with a blocked coronary artery and scheduled for surgery 18 months later. Instead he wrote out a $40,000 check and had it done the day after diagnosis. Health care clinics catering to wealthy Canadians are a growth business in Bellingham and Buffalo, New York. As long as we realize what universal health care will look like, we need to do it soon. Just start saving your money if you want the best health care!

Rick Todd, Ferndale/Winthrop


Thanks for the care

Dear Editor:

While enjoying an afternoon strolling around Winthrop during Christmas at the End of the Road festivities, my mother took an unfortunate tumble, which resulted in a nasty bump on her forehead. First to her aid was Bart Northcott with a huge bag of ice. As we ambled back to my car, Seth Carlson from the Winthrop Marshal’s Office stopped us. He could see my mother holding the bag of ice to her head, and although he had not witnessed the fall, he asked my mother what had happened, if she was OK and if he could see her injury.

Upon seeing the giant goose egg that had instantly formed on her forehead, he convinced us that calling Aero Methow Rescue Service was the prudent thing to do. Seth made the call and then stayed with us until Aero Methow arrived where we were then met by Tom, Kurt and Bill. They took mom into the back of the aid car and ran her through the usual tests and questions necessary for a head injury.

After careful assessment and consultation with all of us, it was decided that Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak was the next stop on this journey. Additional attentive care was administered at the hospital by the admitting department, nurses and doctors. Mom had a clean CT scan that allowed us to return home while collectively breathing a sigh of relief.

I cannot begin to say how grateful we are to all of the individuals who came to our aid that afternoon. While my brothers and I remained calm, the truth was that we were all very worried. Dedicated, caring people of this community were there for us the whole time. We are giving thanks to all of you!

Carole, Peter, Kevin and Jennifer Elden, Winthrop


Seeing the stars

Dear Editor:

I wanted to write a huge thank you to Donnie Wallis and Kari Bown for their help with the first astronomy night in 2013. Thank you, Donnie, for braving frigid temperatures and being flexible last Wednesday (Dec. 4) and letting people gain a glimpse of what our night sky holds. I loved seeing the bands of color on Jupiter and its four moons and the Orion Nebula through your telescope. Thank you, Kari, for teaching us how to find our place in the universe using our bodies as a compass and the stars as locator beacons. Being able to find our latitude using just Polaris made me feel like an ancient mariner!

Thank you both for contributing your time and energy to help make science at Liberty Bell real and relevant for our seventh graders and their families.

Tyler Slostad, Liberty Bell High School science teacher


Crossing caution

Dear Editor:

This is to the man in the red pickup truck backing out of the Twisp post office on Monday (Dec. 9). You thought you were helping me, a pedestrian, cross the street over to the post office, by waving me to cross. Unfortunately, I did not think to look to the left and see another pickup with a plow coming towards me.

I am thankful I was able to run out of his way. I was standing, waiting for traffic to clear in front of the post office as several other cars were backing out. I saw that it was a cluster happening. And I was thinking that I should go to the crosswalk, seeing the “mess.” But I trusted your wave, which seemed somewhat impatient.

I was wrong for not going to the crosswalk. You were wrong to have waved me across. You must not have seen the pickup coming from the other direction. I wished you would have stopped and apologized to me, but you kept on going. And maybe that was best, as I was quite shaken and may have said or done something I shouldn’t have.

So this letter is the only way I have to connect with you. I apologize to the pickup with the plow coming from the other direction. I am sure I gave you a scare. I am only partially to blame for the situation. From now on, I will be a responsible pedestrian and use the cross walk.

This brings up another point that Karen Williams made in a letter some weeks ago. People really do need to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. It’s the law! And let’s extend some courtesy to one another. Pedestrians need to be proactive to make sure that can happen. Give ’em eye contact and point at the pedestrian sign if you have to. Motorists, please do not try to tell us when to go. We have the soft, crushable bodies, and you do not.

Pearl Cherrington, Twisp


Credit for coaching

Dear Editor:

That was some great coverage a few weeks back of the Lady Lions soccer team with a front-page photo, an editorial mention and a big article on the sports page. The players deserved all of it, placing third at state and being academic champions as well. Curious, though, was the near absence of any mention of the team’s coaching staff save for one sentence about assistant coach Lucas Budrow’s formation strategy at the end of the story.

To round out this stellar but strange season, it seems important to acknowledge assistant coach/interim head coach Erik Olson and longtime head coach (in absentia) Mike Wilson.

As much as the team’s success is about this year’s players, it is more indicative of the Lady Lion soccer program. Championship caliber teams, academically and athletically, just don’t happen on their own.

Here’s to a job well done, Erik and Mike!

Paul Butler, Mazama