R&B Festival response

Dear Editor:

Re Mr. Fahnestock’s letter (July 30) regarding the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival: There were several inaccurate accusations about our festival, and I write to clear them up.

• It is false to say the promoters didn’t cancel because of their greed. The festival is a registered nonprofit event. All of Friday night’s proceeds are donated to The Cove, and have been for years. In addition, we have worked with the Montessori pre-school, donating all parking proceeds to their cause. This year, we raised over $5,100 in two days to help the fire victims.

• It is false to say that we placed innocent music lovers in danger by them being there. Many times every hour, we were in direct communication with the sheriff’s department, with the fire district, and with Aero Methow Rescue Service to have the most current data on the fire situation. If the situation had escalated to a dangerous level, we were prepared to immediately shut down the festival.

• It is false to say that Highway 20 could not be used for evacuation in case of a disaster because of the blues traffic. Count the cars on a weekend, Mr. Fahnestock. Research Washington State Department of Transportation traffic numbers before you make up numbers. More cars pass by the blues site every hour on a summer Saturday or Sunday than the total number of all the cars parked there.

• It is false to say that festival-goers are oblivious music freaks. We pride our event as being family-orientated and safe. All types of people from all walks of life have attended our event over the years.

• It is false to say that we are a strain on every resource the valley has. We gave free hot showers, free admission and free food to anyone affected by the fire. Only one business was operating with a generator in Winthrop, but didn’t serve main course meals. Everyone else was closed during that weekend. Many tourists with families came on site, not to see the music, but rather to find food to feed their families. We provided that to them.

Randy Levine, Vendor Coordinator, Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival

A big thanks

Dear Editor:

We want to offer condolences to the valley residents who lost homes to the fire. This is a heart-wrenching experience that most of us cannot imagine. The firemen, pilots, smokejumpers and all the other workers are a godsend. They have been doing a wonderful job and we are grateful. Appreciation is also expressed to the Okanogan County PUD for the work they did in getting our power back up in only a week. Again, thank you all!

Barbara Burns, Idle-A-While Motel, Twisp

For some smiles

Dear Editor:

I had the great fortune to attend the matinee performance of Twelfth Night this afternoon at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp. It is an amazingly wonderful performance: well acted and directed, clever and fun. It is the perfect antidote for much of the anxiety and grief we’ve had lately. Go see it! You will come out smiling.

Midge Cross, Mazama

Grateful for co-op

Dear Editor:

I never was enamored with the hubbub a while back when certain individuals were upset by the Okanogan County Electric Cooperative’s baseline rate hikes, transparency issues etc. I’ve always felt our power supply here in the valley to be affordable, reliable, and easy.

All the recent work, communication and expediency that the co-op has performed during these past weeks of utter mayhem sanctifies my belief that we are very fortunate indeed to have a local, I repeat, local electric co-op. Through all the tragedy and loss here, we’ve also witnessed many shining lights. The co-op literally has been a big one. I am grateful for their care. I’m proud to be a member of theirs, a neighbor of theirs, and local business owner that relies on them.

Sam Lucy, Bluebird Grain Farms, Winthrop

Think about power

Dear Editor:

People should understand now how important reliable power is. In fire season it means well water to protect your house. In the winter it means heat. Having two power routes into the valley is critical.

The argument that we should switch to a route down the center of the valley is a Trojan horse. It will result in another 10-year delay before we have a redundant line.

The engineering for the Twisp-Pateros line is complete. All but a handful of easements are resolved. Switching to the valley floor will result in years of negotiations with landowners, and engineering cannot be completed until the easements are resolved and the exact route is determined. It is not true that the existing easements and route will work for a much bigger line. (You can’t use easements for a county road to build a highway.) And there is the issue of multiple crossings of a salmon-bearing river. More red tape.

Imagine an ice storm on the Loup followed by frigid temperatures. An ice storm can take down many, many miles of line. Think of it. I have seen 30 degrees below zero. In 1968 it was 50 below. Cars don’t start. Pipes freeze. Animals die. Maybe even people. Two weeks without power. Think of it.

Craig Lints, Carlton