Don’t move juvenile facility

Dear Editor:

There is a proposition to start sending Okanogan County juveniles at least three hours away to a maximum-security facility. We believe in having our own Okanogan County Juvenile Detention Center for kids who live in Okanogan County. We have some concerns and questions about Okanogan County using Martin Hall as our juvenile detention facility.

It seems as though the main concern with regard to juvenile offenders is with cost of housing them. We think that the main concern should be what’s best for kids in Okanogan County. What does Martin Hall have that would benefit juvenile inmates that our current facility doesn’t have?

According to an article in the Spokesman Review, Spokane County stopped sending juveniles to Martin Hall. Instead, they found ways to keep kids out of jail. We should look at Spokane as a role model and consider options other than jail.

Another main concern is that many families in small communities like ours don’t have the resources or time to travel at least three hours only to be able to visit for a two-hour period. Families aren’t the only supporters that kids won’t have access to. Kids at Martin Hall wouldn’t be able to access counselors, supportive friends, or community members. Why would we put young adolescents into such a stressful situation? It’s just punishing them, rather than trying to help them make better choices.

As we all know, Okanogan County already has issues with unemployment. Taking away our facility will only make the issue worse. People currently working at our facility would lose their jobs. It’s better for our economy and the morale of our troubled youth to keep our facility local. Instead of closing our local facility, why not think of alternative ways to help kids and maybe create more jobs in doing so?

As teenagers residing in Okanogan County, we strongly believe it would not be beneficial to our kids to shut down the Okanogan County Juvenile Detention Facility and move our local kids to Martin Hall. Please keep our juvenile detention center in Okanogan County.

Isabella Oborne, Trevor Ritchey, Nichole Preciado, Corydon Goodman, Bergen Patterson, Students, Methow Valley Independent Learning Center

Thanks for memories

Dear Editor:

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the column by Bob Spiwak about his memories of Bob and Ray (Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding), who were an amazing comedy duo of the past. We listened to them on the radio and never missed one of their shows. We did not have TV at the time so the radio was our entertainment for years.

Bob and Ray were able to impersonate many voices of the characters they portrayed and they were hilarious. Two more characters that were not on Mr. Spiwak’s list were Maude Prichert and a cowhand named Tex. Tex would come in after a trail drive or being around cattle all day and he would be told to “stand downwind.”

Their comedy was something the entire family could listen to and that is missing in most of today’s comedy. There was nothing vulgar or indecent about their shows. They were true showmen and we could use more of their talent today. Some of their material was not rehearsed — one would say something and they had the talent to go on from there, never missing a beat.

So, my thanks to Bob Spiwak for bringing back the memories of Bob and Ray. Our family has never forgotten their shows.

Lorraine Derig, Omak

Help the pool

Dear Editor:

Yes, the Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp will be open this summer. We have work to do as we have been talking about all year. Along with ongoing maintenance, there is a big job coming up. As soon as the snow clears, we will need volunteer help and of course money.

Friends of the Pool is working hard to find the rest of the money to be able to complete the entire job this spring. We need your help both voluntary and monetarily.

We all know how important it is to have a pool for our children to feel respect for water by learning to swim in a safe environment. We need our pool for the hours and hours of swim team practice and competitions, for lap swimming, water aerobics and open swim. The Wagners had a great idea 50 years ago to fund this pool. Let’s get together and keep up the good work.

We need you help and your donations. Please help us by sending a check to Friends of the Pool, P.O. Box 438, Twisp, WA 98856.

Thank you for all your help and support over the years. Friends of the Pool and certainly the kids of the valley appreciate all you do to help.

Patty Yates, Twisp

Action needed

Dear Editor:

The occupiers at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge wanted to give public land to private ranchers. Now that the “patriots” are gone, the birdwatchers can come back. We have the reverse problem in Twisp. Against state law, we gave our public shoreline access to a private landowner and now we can’t build a trail.

If you talk to lawyers and bureaucrats, the problem is complicated. But it is actually quite simple. Twenty-three years ago, the citizens of Twisp and the taxpayers of Washington put millions of dollars into a business park project to create jobs and revenue for the town. The owner/developer of the project told us we needed to give up Wagner Street, the shoreline road, for the project to work. They never delivered the business park, but they kept the improvements and the road. Where the trail would go is now exclusive private riverfront.

Imagine you hire someone to dig a ditch to get water to a pasture that is drying up. You pay them in advance, then they say they also need your shovel. They keep your money and the shovel, but they never dig the ditch and you lose your pasture. How does that work? How long do you wait to call the sheriff?

If you are a citizen of Twisp, tell Town Hall to recover the public money and Wagner Street. They can do it, they have the public power of the state behind them. They just need their marching orders. What is not in the public interest about building a shoreline trail and getting our money back?

Mike Price, Twisp

Other voices

Dear Editor:

Dave Hopkins’ recent letter (Feb. 24) cites an almost unanimous consent among scientists that thinning is effective at reducing fire intensity, and is in the best long-term interests of forest health. However, there are many voices in the scientific community questioning this approach, for a variety of reasons.

Mark Finney, Ph.D., research forester with the U.S. Forest Service Fire Lab in Missoula, said:

“There’s a confusion that if you do timber management you’re doing fuel management — you’re not. We’re not going to cut our way out of the problem, but there are ways to do this strategically, get the benefits and have a sustainable fire management approach.”

Richard Hutto, professor emeritus in biological sciences at the University of Montana, said:

“Severe fires are not disasters when removed from the context of human structures — they are ecologically important disturbance events. Although it’s hard to swallow, severe fires are necessary if we are at all interested in maintaining the ecological integrity of our mixed-conifer forests.”

William Baker, fire ecologist from the University of Wyoming, said:

“We shouldn’t be managing just for low-density forests. We should not be unhappy with — or perhaps even manage for — higher severity fires in the forests … fuel-reduction programs aimed at removing trees and shrubs in the name of easing fire threats are creating artificial conditions that likely make dry forests less resilient.”

Though the Mission Project is labeled “restoration” and not “timber management,” it initially proposes removal of 8.5 million board feet of timber, approximately 2,200 log truckloads.

The Mission Project will not “control massive wildfires.” It is ignition points, terrain and extreme weather conditions that set the stage for large-acreage wildfires.

Will the sediment from log trucks and associated new “spur roads” affect water quality and fish? Will the endangered and threatened species that reside in or migrate through the area be affected?

Who will be paying this highly questionable project, including the decades-long monitoring that is needed (and required) to really determine its successes and failures?

Pema Bresnahan, Member, Libby Creek Watershed Association

Great example

Dear Editor:

I was truly impressed with Aaron Studen’s attitude and fortitude this week. Just mere hours after the fire that nearly destroyed the Twisp River Pub swept through his restaurant, he said he was hopeful that the pub would be open again in time for the summer tourist season. In the face of a disaster that would leave many people lost and reeling, he immediately saw what needed to be done to recreate this restaurant that is an important place for locals, visitors, and his employees. He’s a great example for all of us.

Brian Sweet, Winthrop

Thanks from Studen

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank all the emergency responders and firefighters who were woken up early this Monday morning and came to the scene of the fire at the Twisp River Pub: Twisp Police Department, Okanogan-Douglas Fire District 15, Aero Methow Rescue Service and especially the paid and volunteer staff of Okanogan County Fire District 6. They worked diligently and persistently, and due to their heroic efforts the damage was contained to the back portion of the building. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, and once the fire investigators have done their job I will work with the insurance company to come up with a plan to repair the building. I would also like to thank all the people who have sent well wishes in the past couple days. I am grateful for all the community support, and I wish I could take you all up on your offers of help and we could dive right in and whip the pub into shape in no time.

Aaron Studen, Owner, Twisp River Pub