A nice ‘welcome back’
The valley gave a rousing “welcome back” to the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival this weekend at our sold-out Valentine’s concert at The Merc Playhouse. I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make the concert such a sparkling success: Missi Smith and the staff at The Merc; Linda Mendro, Karen Edwards and Tom Ise, concessions; Kathleen and Kyrie Jardin and Mary Pat Bauman, door hosts; Susan and Peter Donahue, set-up and tear-down; Curt Speil, piano tuner and stage manager; Michael Brady, page turner for pianist Allan Dameron; Lynette Westendorf, poetry collector; and the festival board. I’d also like to thank Hank’s Harvest Foods for donating flowers, and John Bonica and the staff at Tappi for staying open really late Saturday night to host the post-concert crowd.
We look forward to seeing everyone at our summer concert series July 23 – Aug. 1. Thank you, Methow music lovers!
Liz Johnson, Executive Director, Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival
Your input needed
This week property owners in the Methow Valley School District will receive a special mailing from the school district’s Facilities Task Force. Since this diverse task force of community members, teachers, administrators, students, staff and parents formed last April, we have learned together about the state of our school buildings, grounds and transportation fleet. We recognize some significant needs to ensure student and staff safety and health and to make responsible investments now to avoid emergency costs later.
The task force has prepared the report to share projects we believe need to be addressed soon. Now we need to hear from you. Come to a public information session on Monday (Feb. 23) at 6 p.m. at the elementary school library. You can also share your feedback via the school district’s website, www.methow.org, or you can share any questions or suggestions with us.
Before we make a final recommendation to the superintendent, we need this additional input. Our schools are truly a community resource and we hope you will learn more about our responsibilities to keep them in good shape.
Sarah and Erik Brooks, Winthrop
Beyond fire district’s needs
After reviewing the plans for the proposed Okanogan County Fire District 6 fire station in Winthrop, my very first impression was “wow.” This is a real Taj Mahal. I think it would have been pushing the limits for a rural fire district such as this even if the levy to pay for it had been passed.
Since the levy failed (not once but twice), it reeks of hubris for the district commissioners and the fire chief to insist that they are planning on going ahead with it anyway.
I agree the district needs a new or expanded fire station, but feel that it goes so far beyond the bounds of anything other than outright malfeasance for elected officials to flout the expressed will of their voters by going ahead as if they had won the levy vote. There may be, at this point, no way to stop the process as even recall elections could not happen soon enough, but there will come times when these commissioners are up for re-election. I for one will support efforts to see that they are defeated. There may even be legal actions that could be pursued against them individually for malfeasance in office. I hope this is being explored as well.
Regarding the plans, I am going to assume that all firefighters are required to be physically fit (not wheelchair-bound), so why are there plans for not just one but three roll-in showers? Also, I question the need for separate offices for division chiefs.
Bill Karro, Winthrop
A workable plan
After seven years of designing, planning, and trying to find a way to finance a new Okanogan County Fire District 6 fire station it seems that the District 6 board of commissioners has finally put together a workable plan. The station design and site development have evolved, the cost has been reduced, and a feasible state financing program has been identified. Some of the station and site features had to be eliminated or reduced so that the station can be built within the existing district budget. Most importantly, the station will provide a safe and healthy work and training environment for our firefighters and the facilities needed to support a modern emergency response operation.
In any public project there will always be the naysayers, the “my way is better” group, and the pseudo-legal minded antagonists. Listen objectively to their input and seek out useful suggestions. But the bottom line here is that the facility is needed and that a plausible path forward exists to get the station built and operational.
Thank you, commissioners, for doing your moral and legal duty as you are empowered to do by the state RCWs and thank you for moving forward to implement a workable plan.
Your job, however, is far from over. Diligence, persistence, and attention to detail will be needed.
Please run with the ball and don’t pass as you approach the goal line for this project.
John Owen, Winthrop
Two valuable programs
As the administrator for the Guardian Angel Program, I would like to express our support for Methow at Home. It is a program that will dovetail with the services we provide. We provide volunteer visitors, the Guardian Angels, to the elderly, homebound and otherwise vulnerable people in the community. They are matched on a one-to-one basis. These volunteers visit their clients on a regular basis, do light chores if appropriate, run errands, and give rides to medical appointments. The main focus is on companionship and developing a relationship between volunteer and client. This is a program of The Cove and there is no charge for it. If a client has a need that we are unable to provide, we can refer them to Methow at Home.
Methow at Home is different in that it provides an array of services to people who are members of their program. Members pay a small monthly fee for this. Their services range from household repairs to help with technology issues, and many other things. If a member has a problem with any of the stated services covered, they can call a coordinator who will send a volunteer out to help them. If they determine that any of these people have a need for a visitor on a regular basis, they can refer them to the Guardian Angel Program. Both of these programs help people remain in their homes as long as possible. For more information visit www.thecovecares.com or www.methowathome.org, or call 996-5844.
Eunice Marchbank, Winthrop