By Sarah Schrock

Anyone with a smart phone in 2014 during the Carlton Complex Fire remembers what a lifeline it was. During the blackout, checking for alerts, updates, and information on social network sites and most importantly texting and calling friends during the turmoil was only possible so long as the generator that powered the cell towers were fueled up.

During a brief period, if I recall correctly, the gas did run out and the information highway was completely impassable (akin to the Loup right now), leaving us stranded in a sea of no contact. Of course, there was real life interaction outside the cyber-sphere, checking in with neighbors face-to-face, and frequent bulletins posted at information boards, but contact outside the valley was cut off during that short stint.

Imagine now, a raging wildfire in the heavy timber leading upslope toward McClure Mountain where the towers stand? The event could be catastrophic to the infrastructure on the mountain, severing our access to communication and the outside world, for a greater period of time. Thanks to a group of veterans know as Team Rubicon, the towers on McClure will be made more defensible from wildfire in the next couple weeks.

Team Rubicon is a volunteer organization comprised of military veterans who train as emergency responders to be deployed in response to natural disasters. Team Rubicon members will be in the area for two weeks clearing brush and trees near the communication towers to lessen the hazards near the towers. Their visit to Methow will provide them training and service to be equipped to work as a team during a disaster.

Valley organizations and businesses such as VFW and Hank’s Harvest Foods are offering support for the efforts through accommodations, discounted meals, and logistics to Team Rubicon. The Twisp Chamber is hosting a barbecue potluck at the Community Covenant Church on Saturday (June 17) at 5:30 p.m. If you’d like to help, contact Sandy Moody at smoody4059@gmail.com, or call Sandy at 997-5970.

Photo by Sarah Shrock
Home for the summer: LBHS 2016 grads Chase Vander Yacht, left, Connor Cooley and Andrew Reggiatore.

Also seen around town are some familiar, yet remarkably more mature faces.  Some of Liberty Bell High School’s class of 2016 is slowly returning from their first year of college and looking forward to the tranquility of the summer vibe in Methow. Reuniting on the basketball court at Twisp Park, Connor Cooley, Chase Vander Yacht and Andrew Reggiatore are looking forward to lots of river and lake time, hoops, and work after a fulfilling and exciting freshman year.

Connor, who will be a sophomore at Gonzaga University in Spokane, reports that he had an amazing first year with Gonzaga’s bid for the NCAA basketball championship in March, and enjoys life in Spokane – where there’s a lot food choices and a variety of things to do. A computer science major, Connor will work at Glover Street Market for the summer and play lots of hoops.

Chase will be working in the dining room at Sun Mountain Lodge, and reports he had a good first year at Western Washington University where life’s a bit busier than life in the Methow with traffic and such, but overall the vibe is similar with lots of focus on outdoor life. Andrew, also at Western Washington, enjoyed his first year and will pursue his business degree after a summer of work and spending time with his mom Heidi Miller of Twisp.

Finally, the pool is open and the water is warm. Don’t miss the dunk tank event on Saturday (June 17) from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to help Friends of the Pool finalize payments for last year’s resurfacing project. There are always new needs at the pool, like this year’s new reel for the cover and lifeguard buoys, so any contribution is much appreciated!

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