Fire hall alternatives
Ratepayers dodged a bullet in 2011 when management changed at the Okanogan County Electric Cooperative. Old management was wedded to the idea of a big new power line to Mazama as the only solution to a peak demand problem. New management was more creative and found ways to solve the problem quickly and for a tenth of the cost.
The situation with the new fire station for Okanogan County Fire District 6 has some parallels with the co-op. The current management is wedded to the idea of a new full-featured fire station as the only solution to its problems.
The fire commissioners appear to be about to use their administrative authority to spend 20 years worth of operation and maintenance funds for a new fire hall. This in the face of losing a bond measure for that same new fire hall. The commissioners’ plan has the implicit end game of going back to the voters later for new operating funds, as the firemen will certainly be impoverished in their new fire hall.
The fire commissioners make two points to justify their move: first, that District 6 at 156 square miles is large; second, that the district faces a state citation for the crowded conditions in the current fire hall.
That District 6 is large is true, but it is not a good argument for a new fire hall. District size is a factor in response time, not in the total number of fire call outs.
The looming state citation could be avoided by simply parking some of the 20-odd fire trucks elsewhere. Covered and heated parking can be had for a fraction of the cost of a new fire hall.
Dan Aspenwall, Winthrop
The continued “positive press releases” of Blue River Resources Ltd. continue to be of interest. Prior to and during a short period of time of the releases, the stock of this company rises from 5 cents to 14 cents. The volume of stocks exchanged is from a minimum value to in excess of 75,000. Finally, it now seems the U.S. Forest Service has recognized this scam and is attempting to limit as much activity as possible. The stock is now 4 cents — maybe one should buy now, waiting for the next “positive” announcement, which seems to occur with regularity in May and June over the past several years!
Duncan Bronson, Winthrop
Where’s the information?
I see in the News that the Okanogan County Commissioners are fine-tuning their 2015 budget. The details in the article are sketchy, which I suspect reflects the details of the presentation. Nowhere on the county web page is there anything about this new budget (or for that matter, any commission minutes at all for the last couple of months). I note that the 2014 budget included $320,000 for the Okanogan County Fair. What I cannot determine is how much funding is being granted to the new Parks and Recreation Board.
Recall that some folks in the Methow claimed assurances from the county commissioners that they would stop neglecting that aspect of their responsibilities and actually fund certain capital and maintenance efforts above and beyond the funding for the fair. This was the justification for opposing the proposed Methow Valley Recreation District.
Interestingly, the web page doesn’t appear to even list such a Parks and Recreation Board, just the Fair Advisory Board. Since there are no details available, I cannot say for certain whether or not the commissioners are now laughing at the gullibility of those Methow Valley folks. There probably isn’t any more time to enact a change if the commissioners have remained consistent with past behavior, as the budget will be set very soon. But from what I can find, it looks like another broken promise.
Bob Hunt, Renton and Twisp
Let there be lights
I know it may have been short notice, but do we really need any notice to decorate, to put up lights? When things are rough, that’s when best to expel the darkness with lots of light! And, while commercial lights don’t signify the true meaning of our Christmastime, in symbolism they can represent the light of the world, Jesus, who did come to dispel the darkness! And the celebration of the season can be appreciated a bit more infectiously.
How delightful it is to drive up the valley and start to see homes lit up — far off in the darkness, a bright spot to behold, especially if you are coming from a long journey and it’s late. What a comfort to see the lighted cross. Why, it is its own advertising, the welcome mat in a dark economy. And one should not be fooled to be drawn into the falseness that is irreverent to the Lord Jesus and his birth. It is an inviting symbol of representing his light and a wonderful way of welcoming in the celebration of his birth.
So let’s make it a happy birthday celebration and really participate with the lightning displays, in a welcoming fashion, by bringing out the lights and pushing back the darkness. We can do our part the best we can — why even the electric companies could do their part by not raising fees to put a burden on already hurting people. Let kindness be a light throughout the darkness.
Anna Hammer, Twisp