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Good ideas

Dear Editor:

It’s definitely a very poor idea for a copper mine on a mountaintop in the upper Methow Valley. It’s definitely a very good idea for organized public response from multiple interests and groups.

That each of us take a look at what copper is mined and used for and how ourselves and our families thoughtlessly or unknowingly use or waste copper resources and products, or other resources and products, is another definitely very good idea.

Our life on Earth, past, present and future.

Susan Crampton, Twisp/Winthrop

Things to enjoy

Dear Editor:

Two things enjoyed by me as we speak: First is the abundant snow this winter, appreciated for what it looks like and what it promises to turn into later. The second thing are the ladybugs, whose numbers and month-to-month quantitative presence I’ve never in a long life encountered before; the ever-marching little darlings have enlivened and cheered me up every day.

Aristides Pappidas, Winthrop

Support for Mission project

Dear Editor:

I find it very difficult to understand the arguments of the folks in Libby Creek who are opposed to the Mission restoration project proposed by the U.S. Forest Service in collaboration with several conservation groups and the Colville Indian Tribe. In my opinion this type of project is exactly what is needed to control the massive wildfires such as those we have experienced over the past two summers.

Past improper forest management practices, combined with a decline in timber harvests on Forest Service lands, has led to increased fuel loads on our forests. This unnatural condition has greatly increased the probability of massive wildfires. This isn’t just my opinion, but the consensus of nearly all (if not all) forestry scientists. The thinning of overcrowded tree stands has shown to be effective at reducing fire intensity. The thinning of ponderosa pine stands in the lower Chewuch watershed was largely responsible for controlling the southern flank of the Farewell Fire in 2003.

In addition to lessening the effects of wildfire, the project will lessen the effects of post-fire mudslides. The collaborative partnership will replace at-risk stream culverts, decommission high aquatic risk roads, and improve road function within the project area.  These actions are well documented to reduce storm impacts that can follow wildfires.

Federal land is owned by everyone. I live on the north side of Lookout Mountain and am very concerned about the overcrowded stand conditions to the south and west of Twisp.  We are very fortunate to get interest and funding for projects like Mission, which not only reduce the risk of massive wildfires but also make firefighting safer, and in the long run, less expensive.

I urge everyone to send positive feedback to the Forest Service when the scoping letter for the project is made public.

Dave Hopkins, Twisp

Interesting figures

Dear Editor:

I read your article on the WSU study of the interactions between wolves and livestock (Feb. 17). I found the information informative and love it when statistics are involved. The study, which evidently is going to be in its third year, has some interesting facts. It made me bring out my calculator to understand what I was being told.

Gabe Spence, the leading investigator of this scientific study, seems to paint a rosy picture of the wolf reintroduction. I thought that there must be some bad points.

The study shows 285 probable kills by wolves in the last two years, of which four cattle are included for the 2015 season (none are reported in 2014 which would mean a 400 percent increase). He states that this would be 2.3 percent of all prey killed in 2015.

Using those figures, that would mean that the probable kill for 2015 would be about 174.  Subtracting that from the two-year figure of 285 kills would leave the figure for the 2014 season at 111 probable kills.

This would be a 57-percent increase increase in kills over a one-year period. Maybe space wasn’t allowed to give reasons for the increase. Maybe the reasons are not known yet and there might be another large increase this year. I’m looking forward to the study.

Mr. Spence’s last quote in the article seems to show his position on this issue. We don’t need studies to be slanted to one side or the other. As a popular 1960s television character is credited with saying “just the facts, ma’am.”

Howard Harbo, Methow

Reason for hope

Dear Editor:

Over the decades, I have seen people take strong, often emotional sides on issues like the ski resort, PUD powerline, ATVs, zoning and shorelines, etc. It’s good to be reminded of how we can come together sometimes: neighbors in need, natural catastrophes, fires, and now a potential toxic mine that could threaten the health of the Methow River itself.

I was amazed and heartened by the turnout for the meeting at the Winthrop Barn. It was filled to the rafters with Methow folks unanimously opposed to the Flagg Mountain copper mine. I give special thanks to the Methow Valley Citizens Council and the tremendous showing by the Methow business community. It gave me real hope that we actually can stop the mine with a future-looking strategy.

Randy Brook, Twisp

Make your vote matter

Dear Editor:

Three letters to the editor last week (Feb. 17) stood out as perfect examples of how important this year’s local elections will be. One letter described how our county commissioners have been using taxpayers’ money to support their personal agendas – in particular, money given in various ways, to the American Lands Council (ALC). A second letter gave voice to several reasons as to why these contributions to the ALC are a waste of taxpayers’ money. It made that third tongue-in-cheek letter about “reality-challenged” public officials not so laughable.

Two of the three county commissioner positions are up for election this year. We need representatives in public office who will not waste taxpayers’ money supporting personal agendas. We need people who will truly represent all the constituents and help our county recover from the devastating events of the past two years.

Your vote matters. You can vote for the candidate of your choice in both District 1 and 2, regardless of which district you reside in the county.

Make your vote count this fall towards a more open and responsive county government.

For more information, go to www.rocon2016.org.

Karen Mulcahy, Winthrop

Broken promises

Dear Editor:

I was at the meeting on Feb. 14, 1995, at the Twisp Town Council chambers when 1,100 feet of river frontage on the old Wagner Street, at the old lumber mill site, was vacated and turned over to the Lloyd family.  Here is section 5 of “Ordinance #425, Vacation of Wagner Street,” verbatim:

“Lloyd Development Corporation has testified that it is necessary for the viability of the development of the proposed business park that such portion of Wagner Street be vacated as petitioned. The public will benefit from the proposed development of Lloyd Development Corporation by increased job opportunities, increase in the economic base of the Town of Twisp, and increased tax revenue for the Town of Twisp.”

The Town of Twisp assumed a great deal of debt to help kick-start the Lloyd’s business park project, in the form of public money (through the Public Works Trust Fund and the Community Economic Revitalization Board) for the specific purpose of economic development. The town also vacated the riverfront, in good faith. Not a single job was created, the economic base has grown not one iota, and there is no increased tax revenue.

Twenty-plus years of waiting patiently for the Lloyd family to do what they committed to has yielded nothing. Their recent pullback of a trail commitment, after three long years of planning and expending precious town resources, poured salt on an old wound. The family was on the verge of building bridges and good will in the community, but couldn’t quite get over the finish line.

Promises have been, and continue to be, broken. Large sums of public money went into improving the Lloyd property, which greatly enhanced it as a personal long-term investment for them. The townspeople have received nothing. The time has come for these issues to be addressed.    

Dwight Filer, Twisp

Keep it local

Dear Editor:

As the decision whether to move Okanogan County’s Juvenile Detention facility nears, the leadership of Room One encourages our Methow Valley community to ask what our most vulnerable teens need to thrive. In a rural community like ours, connections to local support systems and neighbors who care for each other are critical for youth who are affected by poverty, trauma and other challenges. Moving our teens to a distant, privately held facility in Medical Lake risks increasing their exposure to problematic prison systems and weakens their connections to family and local support systems.

We believe it is the responsibility of our community to care for each other, and the responsibility of families to care for their children. By moving the detention facility, we give up control over the type of support our teens receive and assign it to an external facility that is unfamiliar with the challenges and resources of our community. Perhaps most importantly, we lose a significant opportunity to support our youth when they need us most.

Teens who enter the criminal justice system are often reduced to a label of “at risk” and faced with a future of struggle and lost opportunity. We find they are also often smart, resourceful and much bigger than the stories that lead them into a crime. As youth-allied adults we have to demand that our most-vulnerable teens be given the greatest possible opportunity to rebound and restore themselves. At Room One, we will advocate for our detention facility to remain as close to home as possible and encourage you, our powerful neighbors, to continue learning and call upon our commissioners to keep our detention facility local.

Room One Board, Twisp

 

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