It rocks

Dear Editor:

Kudos to Steve and Teresa of the Rocking Horse Bakery. Your remodel of the bakery helps to elevate the game in Winthrop for all businesses and makes town an even better place to be, both for locals who live here and for the tourists who choose to spend their vacations here. Nice job!

Brian Sweet, Winthrop


Questions about salmon

Dear Editor:

The state Department of Ecology, in reference to the ongoing disputes with regards to water, has made the assumption that more water means more fish. This is simply not true unless your water, the stream or river in question, is already at maximum holding capacity for fish. We currently have more water and more habitat than our fish stocks can use. Adding more of either will not be, and has not been, an effective tool for increasing fish populations.

The history of “salmon enhancement” in Washington shows that over $250 million has been spent on various projects. Most of these funds came from federal grant programs, funded by taxpayers, and given to state or tribal agencies. The monies were then used for a variety of projects, most aimed at improving the quality and/or quantity of habitat. What have they accomplished? Have we removed any fish runs from listing under the Endangered Species Act? How many new species/runs have been added to the ESA listings? The two words that best sum up our salmon enhancement efforts are “expensive” and “ineffective.” Could this be the intention of state and tribal agencies?

How many endangered salmon have been slaughtered by state and federal hatchery workers to prevent them from spawning? How many fertilized salmon eggs have been destroyed, rather than planting them in our rivers? Could these actions be part of a plan to maintain endangered status by state and tribal agencies?

How many state and tribal employees are paid by grants that go away if the salmon are de-listed? How many of these employees are responsible for “salmon enhancement” programs? If these employees were to be successful and the salmon were de-listed would they lose their jobs? Have we created a program that rewards failure with continued employment and punishes success with unemployment?

Could it be that salmon are just the excuse, and control of land use and growth, through controlling water, is the reason, and salmon must remain endangered for state and tribal agencies to obtain their true objective?

Mike Newman, Twisp and Mount Vernon


Let wild be wild

Dear Editor:

I totally agree with Mike Kutz (Jan. 22), not only in regards to cougars, but also wolves, bears, eagles and whatever creature is the target du jour in order to protect … you fill in the blank.

We are the Johnny-Come-Lately folks here. All of us. Except these creatures and the Native Americans.

My grandparents dry ranched on the Okanogan, so you don’t get to call me an out-of-touch-with-the-“real” valley values weekend Spandex visitor. I have roots here, too. And I am appalled at the way we take out large carnivores, kind of like we took out the Native Americans, but that’s another story. Or is it?

White male (or female) privilege, at least historically, thought it was fine to rape, ruin, pillage or kill anything in its path.

It’s the 21st century, but the same kinds of attitudes have killed four cougars and would, no doubt, purge us of all carnivores.

Sheep and cattle, however tasty, are “introduced species,” brought here by the French and English. So are cats and dogs, which I dearly love. The native buffalo easily endured predators and weather, unlike their replacements.

So let the wild remain wild. That is why many of us are here. Figure out how to live with these rapidly disappearing first residents.

I had a cougar in my driveway a few years back. I felt blessed. Try that attitude on for size. Say thank you and keep your cats and dogs inside at night, where they belong.

Julianne Seeman, Lost River


Background on Beebe Springs

Dear Editor:

In response to the Jan. 8 letter, “Help Beebe Springs,” submitted by Dan Aspenwall: I was pleased and encouraged by his sentiment regarding the development of the Beebe Springs Wildlife Viewing and Recreational Area and its potential for public enjoyment. I also share his concern about continued maintenance of the site.

I must point out that the Beebe Springs project is not funded by electrical ratepayers. The project is the result (and a great example) of state government working with local citizens on a common vision that benefits the public and wildlife.

Background for the development started early on, with the interest of the Lake Chelan Sportsman Group and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Since acquiring the property in 2003, WDFW has sought assistance from the local community to develop a vision for the site by inviting interested parties to join a Beebe Springs Stakeholders Group. Participants include state and county elected officials, state and local agencies, the U.S. Forest Service, tribal agencies, chambers of commerce, local school districts, Public Utility District representatives, and local service groups like Audubon, The Wenatchee Sportsman Association and the Lake Chelan Sportsmen’s Association.

Through the efforts of this stakeholders group, private donations were secured to initiate the development of a trail system and interpretive component highlighting cultural history, geological features, habitats, and fish and wildlife viewing opportunities.

During the cycles of planning, grant and permit requests, many on-the-ground volunteer hours were expended by service groups, school classes, and private individuals helping to prepare and improve the site.

Now, regarding weed control: The Beebe Springs project manager was given expanded regional responsibilities in 2012. This diluted his personal on-the-ground attention to Beebe Springs as well as his time to organize and work with volunteer groups. Adequate resources were not in place to compensate for the extraordinary efforts the manager has provided. The stakeholders group will work with WDFW to create funding and resources to deal with this issue on a long-term, ever-changing basis.

We all want a complex that will evoke a greater appreciation for nature. Thank you for your interest.

Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, 12th Legislative District


Thanks from Room One

Dear Editor:

A big “thank you” from Room One to all those who contributed to the second annual Ski for Women event. Despite a lack of snow, four amazingly decked out teams of women, and a host of volunteers and spectators turned up to raise money for and awareness of women in need in our community.

A special thank you goes to the coordinators, headed by Roxie Miller, and including Jackie Hovis, Jacqueline Luke, Ken Rice, Susan Snover and Teresa Castner. Volunteer judges were the esteemed Ardis Bynum, Delene Monetta (whose daughters participated on the Seagals  team) and Sara Ashford. The Mazama Store donated a beautiful red velvet cake for the top prize, and Rocking Horse Bakery and Sunflower Catering provided delicious cookies and treats. The event raised over $1,700 for Room One, our local health and social service organization.

From all of us at Room One, thank you to the organizers, participants and volunteers of Ski for Women!

Adrianne Moore, Room One, Twisp


Our mistake

Dear Editor:

Why the Okanogan County Transit Authority couldn’t get readily available bridge financing to implement mass transit in Okanogan County, according to Commissioner DeTro: “The voters made a mistake.”

Mr. DeTro doesn’t like mass transit. He also doesn’t like SEPA, or the U.S. Forest Service. Or environmentalists. Or the Methow Valley. Or anyone, really, who lives in the 21st century. He especially doesn’t like democracy.

But he does occasionally tell the truth, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. We did make a mistake: We elected this guy. Let’s not do it again. I can think of any number of individuals who would be better qualified. Not all of them have only two legs.

Alan Fahnestock, Winthrop


Town Hall is tough

Dear Editor:

The Feb. 5 article regarding Mayor Soo Ing-Moody looking for funds to repair or replace the Twisp Town Hall building could lead you to believe only the roof was repaired.

I would suggest for a refresher on this to look at the article in the July 4, 2012, issue of Methow Valley News. It says a $60,000 loan was used to put polyurethane on the leaky roof and given a 10-year warranty. It also says the structural weaknesses were repaired and the hollow walls filled with rebar and cement and were no longer hollow. The major repairs have already been done, and the rest of the listed problems can be fixed for cheaper than a new building.

I got the impression the mayor was more interested in demolishing and putting a new one in the same spot. That would be a total waste of the $60,000!

I don’t know why there is surprise that the walls were hollow. Anyone old enough to have seen those buildings built with blocks back in the 1940s to ’60s or so, could have told them that. They thought then that the dead air space of the blocks were a form of insulation and wouldn’t have wasted money pouring cement in them. If they’d wanted solid walls, they would have used forms and poured cement instead.

I believe short of human demolition, Town Hall will still be standing long after its present occupants have passed on. Any act of nature that could bring this building down would bring every other building in town down, too.

Al Ames, Twisp

Dark-sky friendly

Dear Editor:

Those of us who care about the integrity of our beautiful night skies owe a word of thanks to the Okanogan County Electric Co-op for changing out their streetlights in and around Winthrop to non-glare, dark-skies friendly bulbs. The streets beneath the co-op’s lights (not all lights in town belong to the co-op) are well lit, without the visual glare. Thanks to the staff and board, also, for making this issue a part of their on-going communications and educational message. Good work!

Lynette Westendorf, Winthrop


Room for bikes

Dear Editor:

I found last week’s High Country News article (Feb. 5) on mountain bikes and wilderness entertaining. The writer comes on like a real Old Testament jeremiad, a true priest of the wilderness instructing us on proper reverence.

Author Howie Wolke is the most exclusive kind of superior purist. He would exclude cyclists from all backcountry. He grumbles about trail runners and iPods, proper attire and anything invented after 1980.

He goes on to reveal that he makes his living leading people into the wilderness. I congratulate him on his magical “leave no trace” boots. We must assume he issues these same magical boots to his paying customers.

The wilderness around the North Cascades National Park is among the least visited in the nation. I think there is room for a bike trail somewhere in those millions of acres of the Pasayten Wilderness.

More users means more public support for land preservation. The reverse is also true, fewer users means less support. Support for wilderness will become very abstract indeed if only users approved by Wolke are allowed.

Dan Aspenwall, Winthrop


Read the law

Dear Editor:

I learned a valuable lesson after being asked to sign a petition last year. The information I was given verbally was: “Just a little help from Okanogan County funding to help our local communities maintain Winthrop and Twisp with ongoing expenses toward their city parks and [Twisp’s] swimming pool facilities.” The petition I signed is much so more than that.

RCW 35.61, which established a Metropolitan Park District in the boundaries of the Methow Valley School District, is all-encompassing and reaches into every property owner, homeowner, business owner and individual’s pocket who resides here. If implemented to the fullest extent of which it was intended, RCW 35.61 would permanently alter the Methow Valley as we now know it.

If RCW 35.61 is approved by the voters in this district, my name will be on the ballot for one of the five board members elected to do my absolute best for the land and people of this district. This is my valley! I have no political or financial agenda here.

Please take time to read this critical legislation prior to the election date, which will be publicized in the local paper soon.

Paula Stokes, Twisp


Nice policing

Dear Editor:

I want to express my appreciation to the Town of Winthrop for how interim Marshal Ken Bajema handled an event last week. In a situation in which a citizen’s right to speak publicly about an issue — in this case, the noise pollution of excessively barking dogs — was called into question, he handled it in a very positive and professional manner, with full recognition of America’s fundamental right to freedom of speech. The quality of his policing of this situation reflected very well on the town.

Birch Berman, Winthrop


Chili feed

Dear Editor:

A huge thank you to the chefs of the valley who brought their best chili and salsa to the second annual Beat the Chill Chili Cook-off last weekend at the Methow Valley Community Center. We had a wonderful time eating and tasting 10 varieties of chili.

Kathy Borgersen made her winning chili from last year’s competition, so everyone had plenty to eat. The Hoodoo Marimba Band played lovely music for us to enjoy. The winners are Alejandro Lopez, first place with his “Chili De Tres Carnes” chosen by the judges. Second place went to Joel Travelstead with his “Hot Pants” entry. The People’s Choice winner was Brook Behrle with her “Green Scream Chili.” The winner of the judges’ and People’s Choice salsa was Austin Smith. Congratulations everyone! There were several entries that were only a few points off from the top winners. We aim to do it again next year.

I would also like to thank the volunteers who decorated and served. Flora Abuan, Ann Simmons, Brook Behrle, Joan Lasse, Bob Elk, Janie Lewis, Alan and Lois Caswell, Steve and Terry Dixon, Kay Lee, Mike and Doreen McHugh, Tina, Virginia Hammer, Susie Kowalczyk and Edroy Parker. Thanks to our judges this year: Susie, Kathy, Trudie Allen, Dave Ellis, Jeremiah Fosness, Brian McAuliffe and John Wagsteff. We had a great time, and appreciate you all for coming.

Kirsten Ostlie, Methow Valley Community Center