Remembering Al Green

Dear Editor:

Al Green (obituary, Sept. 28) and I met around 50 years ago near Seattle, both members of a fly fishing club. We fished together from time to time on west side rivers and shared stories. His were self-effacing, memorable to this day and often funny.

When I moved to the Methow Valley, I felt these rivers and this valley should have a fly fishing club. I contacted Al, who was already living here. Together, we got the Methow Valley Flyfishers rolling.

I am so pleased that to this day, this club is a testament to our vision of caring for splendid rivers — a club that respects and enjoys them — and to Al, a fishing buddy, a partner in the vision and a reminder to keep on fishing and telling tales.

Ben Dennis, Lacey

Supporting Kennedy

Dear Editor:

Watching Sheilah Kennedy at the Okanogan County Fair, first in the Republican booth, then Community Alliance (as commissioner, she sits on their board), and then fixing the toilets in the restrooms (Sheilah is also the commissioner contact for the Fair Board), I was reminded again why she has my utmost respect and friendship.

When Sheilah was manager of the Noxious Weed Office, her commitment to serve the county that paid her wages was extraordinary. She was always the first one in the door in the morning, and quite often the last one to leave at night. Sheilah’s leadership, hard work, encouragement and support led us to reach goals, and make new goals to better our county.  

Then, and now as county commissioner, Sheilah is able to see the big picture, and work to make changes that better our county. Sometimes change is difficult, but Sheilah is able to look at an issue and see it from various angles, determining the best way to get to where our county needs to be whether that is looking for a cheaper place to purchase office supplies, language in contracts, or legislative bills and laws.

As a former employee, and now a friend, I know that Sheilah has always and will always have my back. And she has the same loyalty and commitment to Okanogan County. She has shown that dedication in finding ways to save county funds, feeding fire crews and giving us a hard-working commissioner that actually works for us.

I fully support Sheilah Kennedy. She has my vote for county commissioner.

Janet Nelson, Okanogan

Voting for Hover

Dear Editor:

We are fortunate to have two solid candidates from the Methow Valley to consider for the upcoming Okanogan County elections for county commissioner positions. Both Andy Hover and Ashley Thrasher came forward to run in the recent primary election, because they understood the need to listen to the citizens’ concerns about the contentious management style and decision making of the current slate of commissioners. Each of them is to be commended for making the commitment to run in the three-person primary election, which signaled the defeat of the incumbent from District 2 and their moving forward to the November election.

Last summer, when we first heard that Andy Hover was giving serious consideration to running for county commissioner, it was very good news. To have somebody of Andy’s caliber, willing to answer the call for qualified commissioner candidates, meant that the status quo could be altered. But work needed to be done to make constructive change possible. Apathy wouldn’t do. It was up to us — the voters — to get involved and educate ourselves about the vision and qualifications of the candidates. Given the stakes, making a decision based solely on party affiliation was wrong-headed, and so we set out to do our research.

We’ve had the opportunity to listen to both Andy and Ashley in public forums, and on two different occasions have actually visited Andy at his house for more in-depth conversations. Early on, we made a decision to support Andy because of his deep understanding and appreciation of the needs for all Okanogan County residents, and that decision still stands. Andy is a good listener and plain-spoken in expressing his views. He has devoted many hours and traveled many miles to meet with the citizens of our county during his campaign for commissioner. Andy has integrity, and he is trustworthy. As commissioner, he’d make well-informed decisions because he is, at heart, a learner who understands that ill-informed decisions have negative consequences.

Andy Hover is an exemplary citizen and a good neighbor. He has earned our support, and we will happily cast our vote for him this November.

Patti and Nick Ahlfs, Winthrop

Why I support Hover

Dear Editor:

I support Andy Hover for Okanogan County commissioner. I want to tell you why in the hope that you will vote for Andy.

My decision is set against the backdrop of what is happening all over this country and in our county as well. Many of us are lined up on one side of the issues. Anger and bitterness are coloring the debate and the attempted resolution of important issues, not to mention how we feel about people that disagree with us.

It seems to me that we need elected officials and leaders that respect all of us, hear the range of opinions with an open mind and make hard decisions for the most good for the most people. Our leaders need to be honest, pragmatic and wise.  

Andy is just that person. He understands and respects the people of Okanogan County, whether they come from a more conservative bent or a liberal bent. We are fortunate to have a candidate representing District 2 that cares for all the people of Okanogan County. I know this is true, as I have known Andy and his family for many years. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to vote for a balanced candidate like Andy this time around.  

Please join me and vote for Andy Hover for county commissioner, District 2.

Jane Gilbertsen, Winthrop

On gender equality

Dear Editor:

This is a response to Hannah Hogness’s column on gender equality in last week’s paper (Sept. 28). Unfortunately, Ms. Hogness is correct. She, and all women out there, should know that not all of us guys are like that. Growing up I had more girl friends than girlfriends. I found y’all very interesting. Still do. After observing and knowing many girls and women, the conclusion I have come to is this: The only thing a man can do that a woman can’t is write his name in the snow.

Ric Grehan, Twisp

Branch for District 1

Dear Editor:

I’m writing in support of Chris Branch for Okanogan County Board of Commissioners. Having dealt with the board for over 10 years since returning to Okanogan County from working with King and Kitsap County governments, I’ve found that Okanogan County is by far the least-effective, most-unproductive of the three. 

They have disregarded advice of their departments, advisers and citizens only to have the related decisions challenged in court. This wastes time, effort and most, importantly, my tax dollars. As a small business owner, I find this unsettling and am appalled by the fiscal mismanagement traceable directly back to the current commissioners. Chris will lend his expertise and experience in this area and others. He has the education and experience sorely lacking in the present board and a track record of dealing with all sides of an issue, rendering a fair and equitable decision.

Reputable studies show that money spent within a county generates over three times the amount spent; but our county is hemorrhaging jobs due to poor choices initiated by his opponent. 

One primary tenet of business or government is that an adversarial relationship with union and other workers is always counterproductive, costing money in the long run. Branch is the person to reverse the current adversarial atmosphere before it’s too late.

I recreate on public lands and am also concerned by the commissioners’ mindset and financial support of organizations promoting transfer of federal public lands to local jurisdictions. These lands belong to all citizens, not just the privileged few. With this board’s track record, such action would be a disaster in the making.

Chris Branch has a history of productive relationships with municipalities, state and federal agencies rather than an adversarial approach. Above all, he listens before making decisions based purely on emotion and pressure from moneyed interests.

Dave Sunde, Tonasket

Look at local candidates

Dear Editor:

This election year, as presidential campaign rhetoric becomes ever more visceral, it is easy to transfer your dislike for the folks at the top of the ballot down-ballot to your local candidates. These are folks that live in your neighborhood and are willing to serve as elected officials such as mayors, energy and ditch boards, county officials, fire and police chiefs, school boards and yes, county commissioners. They are Republicans, Democrats, Independents and those who have no preference. It has saddened me that some citizens of Okanogan County may be rejecting good candidates because of their perception of who that candidate will support in the presidential election. If this is your criteria for how you will be voting, I suggest you personally talk with the candidate and not follow rumors.

I will be supporting Andy Hover for County Commissioner from District 2. He not only has all the credentials that are required to serve, he has shown me that he has outstanding integrity and good judgment.

Carl Miller, Winthrop

Thanks from Methow Recycles

Dear Editor:

Visitors to Methow Recycles will now get to enjoy an even nicer looking place thanks to a paving job completed last Tuesday. We are very grateful to the Moccasin Lake Foundation for helping to fund this project, and to Andrew Denham from the Town of Twisp for helping us to coordinate our schedule with the town’s paving schedule. This coordination made Moccasin Lake’s gift go even further to make this long-awaited improvement for our community.

We apologize for the inconvenience experienced by recyclers last Tuesday when we were closed for completion of the project. We had hoped to arrange the work for a day when we were closed, but in the end we opted to strike while the iron (and the asphalt) was hot. Thanks for your understanding and we hope you enjoy a less-dusty parking lot when you’re recycling!

Betsy Cushman, Executive Director, Methow Recycles

More about marijuana

Dear Editor:

The medial marijuana article was great (Sept. 28), but I believe a few additions need to be added to understand why marijuana is even a controversial topic.

For 5,000 years, marijuana has been used as a natural medicine, even in the United States prior to 1938. Before being made illegal by the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act in 1938, it was a component in over 40 percent of all prescribed medications in the United States. Its illegality is founded upon racist, anti-Mexican immigrant sentiment present during that time. This, compounded by Dupont’s lobbying for its No. 1 competitor, the hemp industry, to be eliminated, created the original controversy around marijuana in the first place. 

On to John Erlichman’s statement about Nixon’s War on Drugs that designated marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug in the 1970s: “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. Raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” Currently we see symptoms of that same institutionalized prejudice in that African Americans are arrested at four times the rate of whites for marijuana possession, though percentage of users is the same.

In states with legal medical and recreation marijuana, reports suggest a significant reduction in opiate abuse. Now pharmaceutical companies and private prisons lobby against medical and recreational marijuana. Fentanyl (possibly the most dangerous opiate available) manufacturer Insys Therapeutics recently donated $500,000 to lobby against recreational marijuana in Arizona.

Finally, in August the DEA recently re-stated its position that marijuana is to remain a Schedule 1 drug, with no evidence of medical application. Strange how the DEA’s funding directly relates to federal forfeiture of assets gained from drug raid seizures. 

Without racism, prejudice, corporate greed and false propaganda there would be greater scientific understanding of marijuana’s benefits, not controversy.

Kyle Northcott, Winthrop

Hawkins in District 12

Dear Editor:

We are writing to show our appreciation and support for Brad Hawkins running for the open Senate seat of the 12th District.

We and many constituents of the Methow Valley appreciate Brad for:

• Serving four years as our representative for District 12.

• Securing funding for capital budget projects in Pateros ($1.1 million for Phase 2, Pateros water system); Brewster ($1.25 million for Brewster reservoir replacement); and Twisp ($500,000 for Twisp civic center emergency response facility).

• Sponsoring HB1003, which brings together local, state and federal agencies to help schools affected by natural disasters (the bill passed).

• Securing emergency state funding for the Pateros School District following the 2014 Carlton Complex Fire.

Brad understands how decisions made in Olympia affect those of us in District 12, especially the Methow Valley. He will continue to serve us with honesty and dedication.

Vote for Brad Hawkins, senator for District 12.

Gordi and Sandy Northrup, Mazama

Reasons for Thrasher

Dear Editor:

We are fortunate to have two good candidates running for county commissioner, but after hearing from them both, I am voting for Ashley Thrasher. Here’s why:

Ashley has the courage, skills, energy and vision that we need in Okanogan County government. 

Ashley is a seasoned firefighter. Her training and experience gives her a double advantage: she has first-hand knowledge of the ravages of fire, and she knows how to prevent them. More to the point, anyone who has served seven years as a wildland firefighter, hot shot and smokejumper has the will and courage to wade into the issues that she will face in Okanogan County government.

Ashley has deep roots in the valley; her family goes back generations. She is the niece of Paul Butler, former publisher of this newspaper. Her young niece and nephew inspire her commitment to preserve our public lands and to create a vibrant, growing economy to support family wage jobs. 

Her passionate love for the Methow combined with the experience of living, learning, and working elsewhere will give her the edge on the kinds of issues facing Okanogan County, including the security of our public lands and the health of our economy and our people. Because she is not insulated or beholden to special interests, she will represent everyone. She will build bridges and open lines of communication. She has already done this during her campaign with good results.

Ashley has not relied on name familiarity. She has done the hard work of meeting Okanogan residents face to face in community meetings, living rooms and on their front porches, listening to their questions, needs and concerns. She knows that listening is the basis of good government, and listening takes time, energy and patience. These are the qualities we need in county government.

Ashley will work hard for all of us: the young and the old, the families who live here and those who come to visit, to recreate and to retire, as well as future generations who –thanks to the good work of Ashley and others like her — will continue to live well and prosper in Okanogan County. 

Julianne Seeman, Mazama