Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

The Fourth of July has passed and the traffic appeared surprisingly light, at least compared to the amount of traffic we anticipated. After all, it was a three-day holiday. It’s possible the traffic was lighter because there are no fireworks allowed over here, which does not apply to the less-volatile west side of the state. Still, there were enough individual pyrotechnic and explosive recognitions of the day to set a few dogs howling and probably more slinking into a corner. As somebody remarked at the SLIME confab on Monday, who would not be scared if they had no idea what was going on? Currently, it could signal an attack by ISIS in (or out of) Iran, our latest enemy from foreign soil.

On a more benign note, the weather has been typically warm — OK, hot most of the past week, with temperatures here in the upper reaches scratching at the high 80s most afternoons. What is forecast is more of the same, with low 90s on a couple of days. Thus, we remove a layer or two of clothing to cool off, which the mosquitoes think is a cool thing, and they have been gathering strength and numbers over the past week. Out come last year’s repellent dispensers, and people passing by are reminiscent of the cosmetics floor at Neiman Marcus as the various scents waft over us.

Today (July 7), there were fewer humans at the Mazama Store than in at least two weeks. One day last week, there were 28 vehicles parked at the store and across Lost River Road at 7:30 a.m. Highly unusual, but we were told there were rather large numbers of mountain climbers in the area.

One can gauge what is happening up here by the part-timers who arrive in West Boesel, which has an ordinary population of eight. Depending on the number of guests coming with the irregular homeowners, the population could easily be thrice that amount. But so far, no traffic jams on Highway 20.

Most valley residents got the letter from the garbage company, WasteWise, that the rates had been elevated. Two letters actually, the second one raising the price of what was quoted in the first. This was to accommodate a dictum by the state Utilities and Transportation Commission that the original amounts were too small and needed to be increased.

I have no quarrel with the raise in rates. In fact, I think they have been lower than what they should be for the past three decades. And while not a quarrel, I do have some concern about a gummint agency — any — having the authority to dictate higher prices. Is this a tax revenue issue, and they need those extra pennies is Olympia?

Coming events at the Mazama Store might help, as the trash will be considerably higher this summer than in the year past. The primary change will be the co-mingling of pizza and the Mazama Farmers Market, which was for years held at the Mazama Community Club but has been moved to the store’s patio. It will be on Wednesday evenings in conjunction with Pizza Night, from 5 – 7 p.m.

Other events at the store are the ice cream and beer served on Fridays through Sundays from noon – 5 p.m., with brats and beer on Fridays and Saturdays from noon – 9 p.m.

And just maybe, exciting news of a future brew pub. Stay tuned.