By Sarah Schrock

A healthy rivalry fosters pride and the rivalry is never greater than between neighbors. The rivalry that exists between our neighboring hamlets of Twisp and Winthrop always offers a lively conversation. Mazamans and Carltonians alike can shrug their shoulders and decree, “both towns are for the birds — give me the country.” But for those of us who have chosen or landed in either place recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses, yet we still seem to engage in the rivalry, all in good fun.

Recently, in one of these comparative analyses over a bottle wine, a friend commented, “I like Twisp better in the winter.” On first reaction, it seemed like a complimentary sentiment depicting an image of Twisp as a picturesque winter village tucked tidily amidst white hills. How quaint!

Upon reflection and further discussion however, we unearthed the revelation that perhaps her preference for Twisp looking better in the winter is directly correlated to a not-so-satisfactory image during the other months. Perhaps the blanket of white covers up some less-desirable eyesores. It conceals the collection of broken vehicles hiding in alleys and back yards, it hides unsightly piles of construction debris lurking in tucked-away corners, and, most importantly, it covers the dirt and dust that collects on every surface for nine months.

This issue of snow in Twisp leads to a more pressing topic that apparently needs some clarity: the removal of snow on sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owner. Whether you like it or not, you are required to remove snow from the sidewalks along your lot. The code, written in 1918, reads, “It shall be unlawful for any resident or property owner to allow snow or ice to remain on the sidewalks in front of property occupied or unoccupied after the hour of 11:00 a.m.”

I have come to learn, however, that the town has made some accommodations to this rule. Along the state highway through town and up Second Avenue, those sidewalks are cleared by town staff. Sidewalks are typically built in the public right of way, but as a citizen and property owner you have the obligation of keeping them clear and free of snow for the safety and civility for all who use them — it’s called pitching in.

There’s a local group pitching in efforts to participate in national politics. The Women’s March on Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C., is intended to send a message to the incoming administration that the voices of women, minorities and marginalized communities of faith, color, gender, sexual identity and disabilities, are standing together in solidarity. Regionally, similar marches are being held to coincide with the national march in Seattle and Spokane. Here in Twisp, on Friday (Jan. 13) from 4 – 7 p.m., at the Education Station at TwispWorks, a Methow block of marchers are preparing for the Seattle Women’s March. Organizers welcome anyone to join in poster, banner and art making to participate in the march or lend a hand for the effort.

Similarly, in the spirit of participatory democracy, many locals are preparing for a visit from Congressman Dan Newhouse’s staff on Feb. 6 at the Omak City Hall, 11 a.m. You have the right to approach any issue with your legislator, but keep in mind it will likely be most effective to approach topics that Newhouse is most involved.

These are reflected in the committees he sits on: Agriculture, Natural Resource and Rules.  While he doesn’t sit on the nutrition subcommittee, the agriculture committee overseas congressional allocations for supplemental nutritional programs such as school lunches, food assistance and WIC that many rural families rely on to meet basic needs.

Beekeepers, ranchers, organic farmers, fishermen, health professionals and recreationalists may be interested to know that Newhouse is a member of the Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research subcommittee, Livestock/Foreign Agriculture subcommittee, the Federal Lands subcommittee, and the Water, Power, and Oceans subcommittee along with numerous caucuses including Organics, Wild Salmon, Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Pollinator Protectors, and the moderate-leaning GOP Main Street Partnership. 

So be it shoveling snow, organizing, marching, or voicing your input, it’s never too late to be civil and pitch in. In the meantime, let’s relish the new blanket of white that’s keeping it quaint, clean and quiet.


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