Look out for impostors
Thank you to the hard working state employees who help to keep our state parks running. If you encounter one of these professionals you will likely find them to be good ambassadors of our parks.
We ran into a situation where someone at a Sno-Park was acting like they had authority yet had no park identification. Per the Washington State Parks, the employees should be driving a state vehicle or wearing clothing with identification even if it is just a badge.
If you encounter someone at a Sno-Park who is harassing in nature, it is highly likely not a state employee. Ask to see identification and report the details to the Washington State Parks.
J.E. Fohrell, Winthrop
Thank you for printing the wonderful letter by Alan Fahnestock (Feb. 12). I moved to the Okanogan (I’m a 65-year-old native Washingtonian, though) knowing full well what the politics are around here. However, Commissioner DeTro beggars belief. I have seen and heard him in action in various public forums, and wanted to crawl under the linoleum in acute embarrassment. I sure didn’t want anyone in the room to know I was from Okanogan County, where the electorate is so ill-informed they could possibly elect such a person.
Yes, Mr. Fahnestock, the voters of this county get exactly what they deserve. I presume a majority are pleased with the performance of these individuals since they sail to victory. I send copies of the goings-on to friends and relatives around the country to show them how things function out in “The Olde Wild West.” Yes, the educated have to actually sue the commissioners (front page article, same date), who very clearly hold the voters in complete contempt.
I have exactly zero expectation that anything will change in the next election cycle. By the way, good luck with that keeping the Methow the way you found it thing. The Methow Valley News pieces on land use and traffic issues are already ramping up.
Bob Pfeifer, Tonasket
Help when needed
A big thanks to Dr. Steven Harrop! We were in the valley for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend when one of our party came down with a serious toothache Friday evening.
Fearing an imminent root canal (as well as a damper on the whole weekend), we called Dr. Harrop early Saturday morning. He provided the needed antibiotic prescription to be picked up at Ulrich’s Valley Pharmacy and assured us he’d be available the entire weekend if needed. We had the prescription filled by 11 a.m., and soon all was well.
The valley is truly fortunate to have a dentist like Dr. Harrop.
Mary Ellen Stone, Sammamish
A good friend
Recently we lost a good friend. To those that she counted as her friends, Shirley Lewis was bigger than life. Not only in stature, but Shirley had the biggest heart of anyone I know. There were those who were not particularly fond of Shirley, but did she care that not everyone liked her? Nope. Did she waste her time worrying about what people thought of her? Nope. What Shirley did was worry about animals. That’s what Shirley lived for. She truly loved the animals. People? That was questionable, but you knew when you were her friend … or not! Her sense of humor and her candor were priceless. You never knew what was going to come out of Shirley’s mouth or when. She cracked me up sometimes!
Working with Shirley, we formed the Methow Valley Animal Foster Care. Shirley was really good at getting us into places, situations, and predicaments that we had no business being in (some of which were legally questionable!) but always at the heart of it would be the welfare of an animal in need. I’ve known Shirley to walk out in the middle of a snowstorm, go down to the store, buy some pet food, and deliver it to someone who needed help. She paid for other peoples’ animals to be spayed or neutered. She said it was cheaper for her to do that and prevent future litters of unwanted pets that would no doubt come into our care for us to deal with later. Can’t argue with that! Shirley lamented many times, “Judy, I’ve never been bitten by a dog that I was trying to help, but I’ve been bitten by people that I have helped.”
Yes, I will miss Shirley very much, yet I have to smile and be happy for her to know that she is with all those pets that she lost and is now in the position to care for and love all those that never found a home or knew love here. I know she is looking after mine that I lost, also, until I get there. Thank you, my friend.
Judy Picard, Twisp
As a business owner and resident of the Town of Twisp, I have witnessed this town struggle with financial issues, one of which is the Wagner Memorial Pool. It is old, and it leaks warmed water into the ground, and it costs the taxpayers of the Town of Twisp a truckload of money every year to keep it in functioning disrepair. That said, it also provides a lot of valley residents (my wife at the top of the list) and the children of this valley a place to exercise and learn sportsmanship and water safety.
The idea of a platform to allow for all who use this luxury, to help pay for this luxury, seemed like a really valid idea. That is until I was challenged the other day as to my beliefs. What appeared to me as a good idea has somehow now morphed into a really bad idea with catastrophic tax implications if in fact this gets voter approval in April. I have conversed with a fair number of residents who signed the petition (I was not approached nor did I sign) and who thought they were helping a really good idea, only to realize that was not what was presented to them at the time of signing the petition.
But the bottom line here is, do not believe what I am saying, but in fact go educate yourself. Google RCW 35.61 (proposed on the ballot in April) and RCW 36.69. Ask for a copy of Town of Winthrop resolution 2013-14 as well as Town of Twisp Resolution 13-518. Ask the county auditor for a copy of the petition that you signed and what was proposed to the townspeople of this valley, and see if what you petitioned for is what you are voting for in April. I, for one, am seeing a wooden horse. It is amazing what the truth can reveal.
Mark Ivan Edson, Methow Valley Industrial, Twisp
Laws have consequences
Most people in the Methow Valley, whether permanent residents or folks who just recreate here, feel recreation is an important element within the character of the valley. Like it or not, our agricultural/industrial base has shrunk dramatically. So, what can we do? Organizing recreation is a good idea. Unfortunately, the present proposal (the Methow Valley Recreation District, under RCW 35.61) has so many negative consequences to property owners in School District 350 that most owners (the ones I have talked to) find this solution unacceptable.
Last month I wrote a letter lamenting a few of the onerous parts of the proposed recreation district. Condemnation via eminent domain is bad and establishing a district which has the authority to levy an annual budget of almost $1 million without voter approval is not such a good idea either. After reading the law a few more times, here’s some more consequences we need to consider:
• The commissioners can make you pay for their ideas without a plan. RCW 35.61 does not require planning in any form, no master plan, no site specific plan, no planning at all.
• Why stop at the southeastern end of School District 350? Why not include all of the Methow Valley and take the proposal to Pateros? The Methow River doesn’t stop at the southeastern end of School District 350, and the benefits and obligations of a recreation district should not either.
• The five commissioners for the district would be completely autonomous. Having our county commissioners provide oversight sounds like a good idea, but such oversight doesn’t exist under RCW 35.61.
RCW 35.61.100 will also give the commissioners the ability to market “recreational bonds” to pay for their projects without a vote! This ability is one quarter of 1 percent of the assessed valuation of the district, or $3 million. In order to sell recreation bonds the recreation district will need to pay about 6 percent annual interest or $180,000, and at the end of the bond life (20 years) the district will still need to pay back the original investment ($3 million).
Please read RCW 35.61 before you vote.
Ron Perrow, Winthrop
Too much power
Your recent coverage of the proposed Methow Valley Recreation District was totally inadequate. The explanation on the actual petition was also inadequate and misleading. I’m sure many of the folks who signed it didn’t have enough information or they likely wouldn’t have signed it. The petition gives the impression that this is for “the children” and would fund the pool in Twisp and the skating rink in Winthrop. Well, it can certainly do that and many other costly things.
This district would have the authority to tax the property owners of School District 350 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and the voters won’t have any say on how it is spent or what commitments they make that obligate the cities, the county and the taxpayers. This group would have $950,000 of our tax dollars per year to spend as they deem fit and we won’t have any say in the matter. This money will compete for the total tax burden on our property and will make passing levies for items such as schools very difficult. This group could pursue land acquisitions, use eminent domain to seize property, buy rights-of-way, and I suppose conservation easements as well. They can pay themselves salaries.
I can see the vision now. There will initially be a paved hiking, biking and groomed cross country path along the Methow River between Twisp and Winthrop. It will be environmentally sound, meet all accessibility standards, complete with toilets, and it will be sold as a wonderful addition that will promote both towns. But, the real key here is that it won’t have to be sold, they can just do it!
I’ve been thinking what this valley will look like in 50 years. There will be paths along all the rivers and streams, with small tasteful concession stands along the trails. On second thought, a nice trail near the River Bend area with a pleasant bucolic view of cows chewing their cuds across the river might be a good thing. Just remember that we have to keep those polluting cows back from the river to make room for the toilets!
Keith Hole, Methow