Community deserves it
Re: Okanogan County Fire District 6 levy request. It seems to me that much of the money we pay in taxes goes towards all sorts of things that we have no control over and would not necessarily choose to support. This is an opportunity to do something in our community that impacts our lives in a very big and personal way. It also gives us an action that not only supports the men and women who volunteer to come to our aid, at risk to their own lives, but also allows us to say “thanks for all you do” in a big way. Vote yes for a new station. Our firefighters and our community deserve it.
Judy Good Miller, Winthrop
Thanks to museum volunteers
I am writing to thank the dozens of volunteers who have made the Shafer Historical Museum such a success again this year. This year we had about 65 volunteers who helped with the museum, acting as docents at the museum, repairing and restoring museum artifacts and assisting in every way with the upkeep and operation of the museum.
This year we had somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 visitors. Thousands of visitors signed our guest register again this year. We had visitors from 31 countries, 36 states and seven Canadian provinces. We had thousands of emails and hits on our website from all over North America and the world.
The visitors I talk to at the museum usually say they came to Winthrop and the Methow Valley to get a taste of what the West once was. They visit the town, its boardwalk and western theme and then come up to the museum where we think they get an idea of what this valley has really been like over the past century or so.
Without the superb help of all our volunteers, these thousands of visitors would not have the experience they get when they visit our excellent museum. Given space limitations, I cannot list all the individual names, but I do want to thank Carl and Roxie Miller, in particular, who spend nearly every day in the summer working at the museum.
The thousands of visitors the museum gets each year also spend money at businesses in the valley, so our unpaid volunteers also contribute to the economic well-being of the community. The volunteers are uniformly interested in the history and culture of the Methow Valley and do a great job each year to introduce tourists and visitors to that history and culture. Thanks again to all our volunteers!!
Richard Hart, Winthrop
There is a solution
The news was filled with stories of devastating wildfires this summer. My deepest condolences to the people affected by the Carlton Complex Fire — the largest recorded wildfire in Washington state history. It is my hope that nothing like this ever happens again.
According to Ben Curtis, a fire behavior analyst, fires like this happened because there were two weeks of very high temperatures, low humidity, a low snow pack that melted quickly, little spring rain, and unusually strong wind. These conditions are caused by our warmer climate.
According to the National Climate Assessment (http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/):
“Climate has been the dominant factor controlling burned area during the 20th century, and the area burned annually has increased steadily over the last 20 years concurrent with warming and/or drying climate.”
We must take this information very seriously and act on what we know to prevent further fires and other climate-related disasters. We are heating up the Earth through our burning of fossil fuels. We must ask our representatives to address the issue of global warming now. Some of them deny this climate science because they have no solutions. But there are solutions. We must decrease the amount of carbon dioxide we are pumping into the atmosphere through our burning of fossil fuels, as well as through the release of carbon dioxide by forest fires. There is a market-based solution to do just that.
The Citizens’ Climate Lobby Carbon Fee and Dividend Legislative Proposal is a preventative solution we can all support. It puts a price on carbon from fossil fuels, collects those revenues, and distributes 100 percent of the money back to the people. This proposal will create millions of jobs, save thousands of lives, and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent in 20 years, allowing the gradual transition off fossil fuels so we have time to adjust. The sooner we do this, the less we’ll suffer from burning houses and forests. It’s up to us to save our future, and it is comforting to know there’s something we can do: Ask your Congressman to support CCL’s fee and dividend legislative proposal (http://www.citizensclimatelobby.org).
Lora Rathbone, Richland
As citizens of Winthrop, we have witnessed the dedication and exemplary service that Okanogan County Fire District 6 volunteers have given our town and the Methow Valley.
We are personally aware of the training and equipment needed to support a fire department of this caliber. Even through we cannot vote in an Okanogan County levy, we believe that our Town of Winthrop taxes are well-spent contracting District 6 as our Town of Winthrop’s fire protection.
Carl Miller, (retired City of Spokane fire captain)
Roxie Miller, Winthrop
An overdue effort
I’m a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, an infantry lieutenant to be precise, and a retired national parks ranger with law enforcement duties in large parks with exclusive jurisdiction. This experience put me in intimate contact with firearms and the kind of people who own firearms. They cover the complete spectrum of society, from responsible hunter/conservationists who know and understand ethical behavior, to those unfortunately and sometimes accurately described as “gun nuts” with a morbid fascination for all things deadly, and an inability to differentiate right from wrong.
In between these extremes are self-described “gun nuts” who simply enjoy fine firearms for their own sake, and lack any mental pathologies regarding their use. My grandfather was this sort of gun nut. He taught me to shoot, was a volunteer deputy sheriff, and always carried a concealed pistol. He started his professional life as a gunfighter in the Dakotas, graduated to bodyguard for a banker in Minneapolis, and became a professional photographer for the Buffalo Museum of Science, at the urging of my grandmother. I read his American Rifleman magazine from the old National Rifle Association (NRA), before it went bad.
Living most of my life along the Canadian border and interacting with Canadian national park wardens on the Chilkoot Trail, I’m also familiar with firearms regulations there — which are much more civilized than ours. The Mounties, in fact, made their reputation by enforcing law and order among the American gold-rushers in the Yukon.
Initiative 594 is a long overdue attempt to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and anyone else with mental disabilities. Why the current NRA can’t understand this speaks to their mental problems, and the influence of corrupt industrial money. Vote “no” on Initiative 591 and “yes” on I-594.
Eric Burr, Mazama
Enough money already
As a past fire district commissioner for Okanogan County Fire District 6 (many years ago), I want to comment on the proposed fire district levy, Proposition 1 on the November ballot. I have just completed a detailed review of all 13 fire districts’ budgets and expenditures in Okanogan County. What I have found is that the expenditure for District 6 compared to all others is very excessive! You as taxpayers are already providing more than enough for this district’s needs.
The current budget for 2014 is $1,428,147.00. The expenditures as of today are $903,661.57. This equates to over $90,000 per month with a monthly budget amount of $119,000. The worst part of this story is that they want more! This district is paying over four times the average of all the other districts! With a “no” vote, maybe we can bring this district back to a budget that is in line with the rest of the county!
Paul E. Christen, Winthrop