Where is Teddy?

Dear Editor:

An informative and interesting read for anyone who enjoys history is The Bully Pulpit by historian Doris Kerns Goodwin. This book is framed in the early part of the 20th century during the turmoil between the newly formed worker unions and the trusts owned by the wealthy. These trusts or “boodlers,” as they were often called, were actively putting their competitors out of business by using their boodle (unlawful monetary gains) to purchase railroads, steel mills and coal mines. They owned the banks, the politicians and the judges and law enforcement. The wealth trust owners and Republican Party were able to run the country in any way they chose.

The workers were striking the unfair practices of these boodlers and U.S. newspapers were pushing for reform. Teddy Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to rectify many of these problems.

Has anyone noticed? Here we are again. The boodlers are running the United States of America, using their boodle to buy the country. They are forming large conglomerates which now have been empowered by the U.S. Supreme Court to act as individuals, changing the political field in favor of the wealthy. Again there is active opposition to unions, unemployment benefits, military and private pensions, and any program that helps the middle class and poor.

Where are the activists and the newspapers, but most of all, where is Teddy?

From a Democratic cowboy who would have voted for that “damned Republican cowboy.”

Carl Miller, Winthrop


Inevitable change

Dear Editor:

I wanted to respond to the letter from Kathy Langston (or Cass Roberts) published in your issue of Dec. 25.

Of course Winthrop has changed in the passage of more than 50 years. Change is a part of life, after all. None of us lives in a vacuum.

I also grew up in Winthrop, graduating in 1958. My younger sisters graduated in 1959, 1961 and 1969 (the younger two, of course, after the school burned).

My grandparents came, separately, to the valley in the early part of the last century. They were married at Rockview (now there’s an old name for you!) in January 1905 and lived in Winthrop for more than 50 years.

My mother and her two brothers also graduated from Winthrop, Mama in 1927.

We have many friends and family members now in the Sullivan Cemetery, where we will be when the time comes.

So even though I, too, have lived away from Winthrop for many years, it is still home. Changed yes, but not “ruined.”

Nancy (Nelson) Fischer, Vashon, Wash.


Health care solutions

Dear Editor:

As a relative newcomer to the valley, I have been following the Three Rivers Hospital saga in your paper. It seems the hospital was not financially sound, and Mr. Hufnagel was brought in to right this condition. However, he came up against a basic fact. To improve the finances, services had to be cut, as well as some jobs. In particular, the labor and delivery services had to go.

Having just finished reading T.R. Reid’s astonishing book, The Healing of America, A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care (2009), I view the Three Rivers Hospital’s situation with dismay. Obviously, the key players at the hospital feel the basic service of a labor and delivery unit is imperative to their objectives of providing decent health care to this valley area. And I was reminded of a point Reid repeatedly stresses in his exploration of health care systems around the world. He believes Americans need to first answer the question: “What are our basic ethical values? Do we believe that every American has a right to health care when he needs it?”

It sounds to me as if the interested parties at Three Rivers believe the answer is yes. Polls also show 85 percent of Americans believe this as well. The second primary building block of a good health care system, according to Reid, is that financing must be a nonprofit endeavor. Until we truly have these basics in America, we will continue to have hospitals facing the same dilemmas as our Three Rivers institution.

T.R. Reid’s book should be required reading for every citizen of this great country. There are solutions to our beleaguered health care system. We need to implement them now, and create an affordable care system that really works.

Karen Mulcahy, Winthrop


Fun at the Community Center

Dear Editor:

We are grateful for the great coverage of the “Better Space Project” and the energetic people who are continually seeking to improve our beloved Methow Valley Community Center. Upcoming on Jan. 25 is a chance to kick up your heels and dance away any winter blues you might have or just burn up some calories. There will be a no-host bar, beverages and popcorn. Children are welcome and there will be some games set out for them in the stone room.

This is one of our winter fundraisers as well as the upcoming Feb. 8 Chili Cook-off. This will coincide with the beginning of our membership drive, which is the lifeblood of what sustains us. Hope to see you at one or both of these events and to see your name on our 2014 membership roles.

Carolyn Sullivan, Methow Valley Community Center board


Great book on Elwha

Dear Editor:

It seems that all of my life (that I remember, because I am a ripe 96 years old, memory not too good), I’ve been real interested in the plight of the Pacific salmon.

So it was with glee that I read your Writers on the Range article about Elwha: A River Reborn. I finally got a copy from Biggest book I ever saw! But one of the best.

And if someone down here in Florida is interested, you may see a lot sold.

Homer Bruneau, North Ft. Myers, Fla.