WINTHROPBy Ashley Lodato

Some claim that poetry is dead, but those people clearly didn’t set foot into the Poetry Out Loud competition last week. Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition that inspires students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. After spending the fall selecting poems, memorizing them, and getting performance coaching, 12 Liberty Bell High School students — all of whom won their classroom competitions — competed for a single slot to the regional Poetry Out Loud competition in Spokane.

The young orators knocked the socks off the audience; their poise, apparent grasp of the material, and nearly flawless performances were both impressive and inspiring. Liam Daily will be representing Liberty Bell at the regional competition, with Claire Waichler as an alternate, and Kira Cramer will represent the Independent Learning Center. Based on last week’s performances, both of these students have a good chance of following in the footsteps of last  year’s winner, Tom Zybzewski, at the regional competition in February.

Everybody in the Methow seems to have had perfect Currier and Ives-like Christmas tree hunts this year, so I thought I’d share a story from my neighbors the Sculls about their west-side Christmas tree cutting experience with their granddaughters, which involved driving to a Christmas tree farm somewhere around North Bend.

Upon arriving at the site, they saw what Eliot describes as a sea of 1,000 vehicles lined up to enter the tree lot. When they finally made their way to the trees and were handed a saw, they set out to determine which of the completely identical and perfectly conical trees would be going home with them. Having made their selection, the Sculls proceeded to the check-out station, where their tree was machine-shaken (to eliminate dead needles) and machine-baled (for ease of transporting to the living room). A far cry from wrestling a scraggly Douglas fir up an embankment, scraping the paint off the entry walls while bringing it into the house, and then having it shed needles for two weeks straight, but equally interesting as an iconic holiday experience.

From the Random Acts of Christmas department comes news that the agencies involved in coordinating winter fun came through with some mighty fine donations for clients of Room One. Methow Valley Sport Trails Association, Loup Loup Ski Bowl, the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink, Methow Valley Ski School, Winthrop Mountain Sports, and Methow Cycle & Sport all offered passes, lessons, and equipment to Room One to distribute to clients who could use the packages as Christmas gifts for their children.