Good to see

Dear Editor:

Nice to see some smoke in the air from U.S. Forest Service prescribed burning.

Good for forest health and for protection of human habitat too. And yes, of course, smaller amounts now are part of reducing the future likelihood of heavy and long-lasting smoke episodes from uncontrolled wildfire.

Susan Crampton, Twisp/Winthrop

Thanks from Little Star

Dear Editor:

Little Star Montessori School wants to give a huge Earth Day shout out to Methow Natives Nursery. Rob and Heidi have donated and delivered potted trees to each student in the Kinder Class for the last five years. The children take these gifts home as graduation presents to remember their time at Little Star. Thank you, Methow Natives, for helping the Earth one tree at a time.

Little Star School, Winthrop

Fiddling away

Dear Editor:

Mr. Burr blames environmentalists equally with Republicans (“the opposite end of the political spectrum” — his words, with which I agree) for our woefully under-funded firefighting budgets (Methow Valley News, April 13). Please check your history. You can blame environmentalists (or thank them) for doing their part to save old-growth and ancient forests, but they’ve never had the power to set federal budgets for firefighting.

Mr. Burr seems to be crediting the Republicans with passage of a pilot project for prescribed burning. This was actually a bipartisan-sponsored bill that passed both state houses nearly unanimously and with Gov. Inslee’s support. But perhaps what he meant was that for once, the Republicans didn’t block a spending bill. In any case, even if one believes it is a good start for Washington, it does nothing to solve the nationwide problems of forest fires.

Nor does it alleviate the inadequate training of wildfire fighters that Mr. Burr talks about. I would also note that even the top wildfire fighters, federal “hotshots,” start at less than $14 an hour. They risk their lives for us, and deserve a lot better from us.

The problems will only get worse. Climate change generally brings warmer temperatures, more periods of drought, and less summer snow melt in many places across the country. Unfortunately, as long as short-sighted Republicans control the federal budget, we will continue to see cuts in essential services. Fires will continue to increase, with more lives and property lost.

Supposedly, Rome burned while Emperor Nero fiddled. The fiddle part may or may not be literally true. What is true, as shown in recent history, is that this country is burning while the Republican Party fiddles — with tax cuts for the rich.

Randy Brook, Twisp

Let them pay

Dear Editor:

If our county commissioners are so interested in dealing with our county’s cash flow troubles (Methow Valley News, April 20), perhaps they should considering paying back the taxpayer money spent on right-wing political organizations such as The American Lands Council, American Stewards of Liberty, and the Western Landmark Foundation — all organizations with an agenda to take the “public” out of public lands. If our commissioners want to support these organizations and attend their conferences, let it be out of their own pockets. What if the expenditures had been sent to Planned Parenthood or the Wilderness Society? Can you imagine?

Lynette Westendorf, Winthrop

Grateful for the help

Dear Editor:

Hooray for the AmeriCorps crew — such a fine group of young people! They came to the Methow Valley Community Center on Earth Day and worked with us all morning clearing brush and trees around the building. We had fun and the center’s board of directors fed them a huge lunch in appreciation. Thanks also to Willy Getz from the Methow Valley Farmers Market and Don Linnertz from TwispWorks, who worked all morning with us. Many hands surely made a big difference. Thanks to the Town of Twisp, Twisp Chamber of Commerce, and Methow Recycles for teaming up on this event.

Kirsten Ostlie, Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp