Learn about fire safety
With the recent fires in the valley, it’s time that we all reevaluate our position regarding fire safety. The fact is, we are all living in a very fire-prone area with many urban/wildland interfaces. It’s time that we start taking appropriate action within our community and sub-communities to promote fire safety. Each one of us has this responsibility, and each one of us can make a difference!
Please take the time to educate yourself and your neighbors on what can be done to make a difference. There are some amazing resources, tools and materials available on fire safety and fire prevention. Specifically, Firewise is an excellent resource to learn about what you and your sub-community can do to promote a safer neighborhood. Be an ambassador for fire safety. Reach out to your neighbors and start the conversation of community fire safety. Each small step that we take can seriously make an impact.
For free educational material on fire safety and how you and your community can participate, go to firewise.org.
Cheryl Quintana, Mazama
ISIS and U.S.
ISIS is brutal and intolerant of diversity. Where did they come from?
When I was in Iraq in 2004 with Christian Peacemaker Teams, we visited an Iraqi town that had been raided by the United States. The U.S. military showed up in the middle of the night, separated the men from the women and children, and took all of the men to Abu Ghraib prison. So the next day we went to Abu Ghraib.
The American guards would of course not let us in, but there were hundreds of Iraqi civilians outside, looking for their loved ones. There were notes coming out of the prison from Iraqi women, saying they were being raped by American soldiers and begging the insurgents to bomb the place, as their honor had been destroyed.
Two months later the news broke that Abu Ghraib was a cesspool of sexual abuse; in a modest society in which women wear head scarves and men wear long-sleeved shirts. The women were raped and the men were stripped naked and forced to perform oral sex on other prisoners.
The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, was a prisoner at the American prison Camp Bucca, and many thousands of innocent Iraqi men were taken to Abu Ghraib, where they were physically, sexually and mentally abused. Now he and his fighters hate all things western, and it is we Americans that gave them reason to feel that way. This is where ISIS has come from. The war itself was completely meaningless and useless.
And remember, “Every rocket fired signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,” and every bomb dropped lands on and degrades the earth, the very source of human life and well-being.
The brutality and stupidity of our own government is impressive.
Dana Visalli, Twisp
It’s not cider
I read in your paper that the so-called [Methow Conservancy] Cider Squeeze is happening. Well, no, not really! What’s really happening is the “Apple Juice Squeeze.” The word “cider” is just like the word “wine” — it is a fermented beverage. In other words, they are adult alcoholic drinks. You can’t just squeeze an apple and instantly turn it into cider. It’s just juice. Or as the English would call it, it’s the “must.”
Cider, which is now the fastest-growing segment of the beverage industry, is making a huge comeback in the United States. We Americans and Methowers need to recognize the difference between juice and cider, just like the Pilgrims did back in the 1600s. There are now two cider companies in the Methow and I know of two more that might start up in the next year. So please, all you intelligent people at the Conservancy, name your event for what it really is: An Apple Juice Squeeze!
Richard J. Wasson, Methow Valley Ciderhouse, Winthrop
The real disconnect
Its not that the tea party or constitutional conservatives hate government; they dislike government overreach when it exceeds its constitutional authority or fails to fulfill its constitutional mandate. One of the reasons that funds for wildfires have been reduced is that it seems that fire has become the only management tool the Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Forest Service can use to clean up forests that have developed a heavy fuel load.
Even NPR has noted that more money is now used to fight fires than to sustainably manage our forests. In fact, the Forest Service alone has transferred $3.2 billion in funds allocated to forest health and fire prevention over the last 12 years to fight fires. So the real issue is one of priorities — do we allow the forests to grow without human management or do we spend money to sustainably manage the forests, which includes commercial harvest to remove fuel load? The former contributes to the catastrophic fires we are seeing today.
One of the reasons money is not going to sustainably manage forests is that the Forest Management Plan is strongly influenced by environmental priorities that do not recognize human intrusion such as commercial timber harvest and the management of forests for harvest as a contributor to species survival, especially Endangered Species Act listed species. It doesn’t make sense for the state or federal legislatures to appropriate monies to reduce fire risk when such human intrusion is not allowed. So rather than blaming which party is the encumbrance to appropriate action for our situation here, the wake-up call should be re-evaluating how we manage our local forests. It doesn’t make sense to just let nature take its course…it is obvious she has a diabolical side that destroys her own environment.
The county commissioners understand this disconnect and understand that in addition to the very dry, hot weather, forest management or the lack of it is a key factor in our tragedy. It is right that they should be getting the state and federal governments to look at our situation and own up to their responsibility.
Dick Ewing, Winthrop