Don’t degrade it

Dear Editor:

Boy! Who’s in charge of the town? The article in the Methow Valley News (Feb. 24) about horse hoof prints on streets was very bizarre. To say hoof prints in cement or pavement wasn’t cartoonish was way off the mark. The hoof prints took away from the real issue of following the Westernization rules. The ordinance says: “ … all visual parts shall be authentic in appearance to the time frame of 1850 to 1900.” Are you Knotts Berry Farm or are you a Western town?

I commend Anne Acheson, Gaile Bryant-Canon and Mike Strulic for having the concept and thought process of what is cheesy and what isn’t. For a Westernization Architectural Committee (WAC) person to not have a concept of a western town was flabbergasting.

Winthrop has a theme but it was never meant to be “cutesy.” The WAC ordinance is clear. Don’t let people who want cutesy and to degrade the town run the town. It is in the process of deteriorating because of doing things by what people “think it should be” instead of following the ordinances. Council and WAC people, don’t ignore the rules. You are the keepers of the town ordinances with a very serious job of saving Winthrop. Be proud of it. That’s where you get your B&O taxes to run the city.

I was getting the opinion nobody cared, but thank you, council, for not having hoof prints. Now let’s get off to bigger and harder issues.

Carol A. Lester, Okanogan

Waiting too long

Dear Editor:

I grew up in the Methow Valley and have recently returned to raise my family here. The Methow Valley is very near and dear to me.

I recently learned of an issue and it’s very concerning to me. It is in regards to the Lloyd industrial park development in Twisp.

How is this being addressed currently with the town council? Not only do I see a conflict of interest by a party on the town council, but this issue has gone on far too long. As a Twisp resident I would like to see a resolution for our town and hopefully help our community grow, as it should have 23 years ago. I hope there is currently more investigative work being done to educate the community as to what has been going on.

Alisha McMillan, Twisp

Thanks for support

Dear Editor:

We would like to thank the many people and volunteers who participated in the Methow Valley Ski for Women, which was held in Mazama on the morning of Feb. 7. The costumes were wonderful. The 1- and 3-kilometer races were followed by a party wave ski and relay races. One hundred percent of the donations received were donated to Room One.

Thanks to Methow Trails, the Mazama Community Club, Don Portman and the Methow Valley News for providing support. Special thanks goes to The Freestone Inn for serving an enjoyable free lunch to the participants and volunteers after the event.

Jackie Hovis, Jacquie Luke, Jojo Howard, Ken Rice, Midge Cross, Methow Valley Ski for Women Planning Committee

More on Mission

Dear Editor:

Pema Bresnahan is correct in her recent (March 2) letter to the editor that “severe fires when removed from the context of human structures are ecologically important disturbance events.” This is one of the reasons that fires in wilderness areas are sometimes not being suppressed. However, the key part of this statement is “when removed from the context of human structures.” The combination of hotter, drier summers and a hundred years of fire suppression, combined with past improper timber harvesting methods, have created a situation where it is very risky to live in the forest. It appears Ms. Bresnahan is willing to take these risks. It is likely that there are many others, including myself and those who fight the fires, who would like to have these risks mitigated.

Ms. Bresnahan is also correct that sediment can affect water quality and harm fish. Several members of the collaborative group involved in implementing the project are conservation groups whose “mission” is to improve watershed and fish habitat conditions. These groups include Trout Unlimited, Conservation Northwest and the Wilderness Society. Numerous projects beneficial to fish and wildlife are being designed by the collaborative. Replacing at-risk stream culverts will reduce the risk of post-fire flood events and open up many miles of stream to fish passage. Decommissioning at-risk aquatic roads and improving road function in the Libby Creek and Buttermilk Creek watersheds will significantly reduce sediment input into these streams. Other planned projects, including aspen stand regeneration and wetland restoration, will improve habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

Ms. Bresnahan is also correct that in addition to extensive restoration work, the Mission project is also a timber sale. What is wrong with that, especially given that mainly small diameter trees will be harvested with the objective of moving forest stands towards old growth conditions? People that move to areas of the forest managed for timber harvests should not be surprised when harvesting actually occurs.

Dave Hopkins, Twisp

Had it with debates

Dear Editor:

I have not enjoyed watching the Republican debates. The TV networks have made (and obviously will continue to make) what was supposed to be a time for voters to become knowledgeable of the various candidates’ political stands on important issues into a poorly run reality show.

I do not care to hear the tag team lightweight questions which incite vitriolic and immature responses, accompanied by yelling and talking over each other, being foisted on listeners as part of a debate. That kind of crass and inappropriate behavior should have been left in the elementary school yard.

What these debates (and I use that term loosely) do tell me is that the mainstream media will grovel at the lowest level in order to pull rude and childish behavior out of candidates for no better reason than to play to humanity’s lowest common denominator for TV ratings — and it is working America, I am sad to say.

So I will not watch any more of this nonsense. I will continue to listen to interviews and go to the candidates’ websites where they are far more articulate in outlining their views.

Chrystal Perrow, Winthrop


Dear Editor:

Our Okanogan County commissioners are considering a grave injustice to families and the future of our county, thinking that a “potential” budget savings solution is to send our presently troubled children out of sight and out of mind.

The Omak juvenile detention facility is aged and needs to be brought up to code. But, doing a cost/benefit analysis of capital improvement costs, operating costs and lost jobs against outsourcing this responsibility to another facility 140 miles away is incomprehensible and irresponsible. Do the commissioners have an estimated cost for the lost lives of the next generation of citizens that these children represent? Is there a cost value to the pain and loss of separated families? Would the commissioners be seriously considering this if even one of them had a family member in juvenile detention? I think not.

Many people are protesting this potential move — judges, school district leaders, probation officers, law enforcement, newspaper editors and many concerned citizens. Our commissioners are not being stewards of this county if they do not share the same values as the majority of us do. This issue is not a matter of cost; it is a matter of the future of our next generation of citizens.

I urge readers to send emails, make phone calls, write letters to the commissioners, and attend the public meetings being held March 15, 29, April 12, 26, and May 31 about the future of juvenile detention for Okanogan County.

Sharon Sumpter, Winthrop

Do research on screenings

Dear Editor:

I keep getting letters in the mail and seeing stories in the news about for-profit medical screenings, so I did a little research, and it looks to me as though it might be a pretty good deal — for the screeners. For the “patients,” maybe not so much.

Let’s say you go to one of these outfits for a “screening.” If their tests indicate that you have a medical condition that warrants medical attention, what happens next? Chances are they’ll tell you to see a doctor. So, let’s see: You spent good money to avoid the higher cost of going to a doctor, only to be told that you should go see a doctor, who probably is going to run the same tests (if warranted) because he or she is not going to trust results produced by a bunch of non-doctors. Looks like you just paid twice for the same service. Or quite possibly, the tests ordered by your doctor will be covered by insurance or Medicare.

Before paying a for-profit business that uses non-medical professionals to run tests that are not medically necessary, please check out the company on the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website: Don’t stop at their rating. The actual complaints you can read there may be more telling. The BBB rating is heavily based on whether the company resolves BBB complaints. It may not consider how serious the complaints were or whether the company resolves complaints without BBB or government intervention. It’s hard to right a wrong with a refund that takes multiple calls and months to get.

Don’t waste your time and money by dealing with an unscrupulous company that uses scare tactics to relieve you of your hard earned cash. Please think twice about them: the only guaranteed medical procedure they’re going to accomplish is surgical extraction of your wallet.

Pat Leigh, Winthrop