Plenty of water
With plenty of water for irrigation, California’s climate and geography make it a great place to live. Millions agree, making that state one of great vitality and tremendous prosperity. California has developed water resources which up to now were split 20 percent to cities, 80 percent to other uses. The good news is that California has almost five times as much water as its people need. The bad news is that in response to the drought, the ruling elite choose to blame people as the cause of the drought and restrict municipal use.
The highest and best use of a state’s water resources is to provide domestic water for its people. California should allow market forces to reallocate some of its agricultural water to the cities. The state should also rethink the policy of releasing a city’s worth of water into the Sacramento River each year trying, and failing, to lure salmon back to this now too warm latitude. It is sad to see California savage its own economy in order to appease the boogeyman of global warming. What a long way California has gone from Gov. Pat Brown’s can-do attitude towards water development to Gov. Jerry Brown’s scolding environmentally correct austerity.
Dan Aspenwall, Winthrop
Time for a change?
Over the past year, there have been several articles regarding westernization issues in Winthrop. Although I’d be considered a short-term resident to the valley (five years), I have read the history of how the western theme came to be and why.
It made perfect sense at the time to create a persona that would draw visitors to the valley and it also made sense that this coincided with the opening of the North Cascades Highway. So here we are, 40 years later. I think visitors now come to our valley for more than just a western theme. They come for the well-known superb Nordic skiing. They come for fantastic mountain biking. They come for the hiking, the breathtaking views, and the awesome weather. We’re also working on bringing them here for a great hockey venue. And without a doubt our downtown shops, restaurants and hotels are unique and inviting.
Our western theme is wonderful and its purpose was successful, but I really wonder if it’s time (hold on to your hats!) for a change. I’m not suggesting throwing out the western theme. All I’m asking is that we consider that the western persona no longer is the draw into the valley and that the Westernization Architectural Committee (WAC) should adapt their guidelines to these changes. We can easily keep a “western” look without requiring the detail and expense of an 1800s town. The expense for small start-up businesses to comply with the WAC requirements seems unreasonable if we really give ourselves credit for being much more than just an “old west” tourist trap.
Maryann Timchalk, Winthrop
Control your dogs
Do any of you know that during April, May, June and July, it is forbidden for dogs or other pets to roam unattended on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) lands? Search the Public Conduct Rules for WDFW Lands adopted in 2007, which apply to the 900,000-plus acres of wildlife areas and water access sites under WDFW ownership or management. They specifically state that hunters can use hunting dogs under their control, but cannot let them or other pets roam unattended. From April through July, all dogs and other pets must be leashed on WDFW lands to protect nesting wildlife. There are several rules, but to a horseman as myself this one is most important not just to the wildlife but also to other trail users.
I rode April 9 at the Quincy Lakes wildlife area and encountered a loose pit bull-type dog. When we asked if the owner, who was also riding, would take control of their dog, we were faced with non-compliance and disrespect. On April 12 at the Big Valley WDFW area, there was another issue with three loose pit bull-type. A horseback rider tried to stop the charging, harassing dogs by circling the dogs to push them back towards the owners in an effort to protect herself and other friends riding. An incident recently occurred in O’Neil Park, California, where a loose pit bull-type dog attacked horseback riders. The riders went to the hospital, and the horses required vet care.
I too am a victim of a menacing dog charging at my horse, threatening harm and causing my horse to react with defensive behavior which sent me to the hospital in 2010. Please, as another trail user, you should have the courtesy to obey the law. Dogs and other pets should not be turned loose and out of your control. You never know when your dog may cause an accident with serious and reckless harm. My injuries are a lifetime reminder of how painful and sudden it can turn serious and out of control. It is a beautiful season to enjoy the trails, be respectful so all users and wildlife are protected.
Mary McHugh, Twisp
Keep road open
There is a simple explanation for the Gamble Land/Gebbers attempt to close three miles of Three Devils Road: Greed has no bounds.
These are reputedly among the largest landholders in the state. In Okanogan County alone, the state treasurer’s listings show tens of millions of dollars in property under the Gebbers name. There may be no way to know how much more is held under different names like Gamble Land. On much of this land, they pay only a tiny fraction of their gross tax assessment, unlike most of the rest of us who cannot claim exemptions.
Obviously, those land holdings and tax benefits aren’t enough for them. As Ms. Super testified, they have a long history of having public roads closed or gated. I sincerely hope that for once the county will show some concern for the local residents, who are not so wealthy or politically connected, and just say no.
Randy Brook, Twisp
I have read several letters expressing concerns regarding the upcoming school improvements levy. It’s not lost on me that there is stress inherent in such a request. I hear a need to know where these dollar estimates come from. As a facilities task force member, I’d like to start to answer that question for the part of this levy with which I’ve been most involved: the strength and conditioning room at Liberty Bell High School.
We’ve sought to provide an actual training space at the lowest cost to serve the most students. What we currently have does not allow students to train properly, and puts them at risk of injury in a host of ways. In producing price estimates, we’ve focused on durable equipment and quality flooring. We want to protect this community’s athletes and its investment in them. Anything we propose to purchase is solid and competitively priced. On bumper plates, for example, we saved 46.45 percent through competitive price seeking between eight vendors. If any individual would like to see our pricing breakdowns, I’d love to be transparent in this process.
A strength and conditioning room is just one piece of this levy. It’s a good investment, as are all of the projects to be addressed with levy funds. That full list is available at methow.org.
I do not take lightly the asking of our community’s hardearned dollars. I do, however, believe these are good projects. They deserve our support.
Brian Wilbur, Twisp
Need to remember
It has been many years now since the tragedy of the wreck that killed Josh and Rachael. Thank God the others were spared.
If you don’t know about or haven’t seen the three crosses on Twin Lakes road, this is where they died. Five lives were changed forever due to DUI. Many of the young people who were friends got together to build those crosses. We drove to the site of the crash and put the memorial crosses up for Rachael and Josh. We held hands in a circle, honored them, and offered prayers. Most eyes were wet. It’s the most heart-wrenching thing I have known.
The crosses need attention. The big cross is knocked over. I sanded and repainted crosses last year, but they are in need again. Maybe some flowers? Anyone who wants to help, please come. Donations of white paint and sandpaper are appreciated. Please come forward and remember them, anyone is welcome. Please remember what a horrible way to end the summer that year.
Please don’t drink and drive. Please don’t throw beer bottles at the crosses. Let’s meet at the site on May 2 at 11 a.m.
Shannon Aikins, Twisp
As I’m sure we are all aware, the Methow Valley School District is holding a special election, asking community members to vote for two levy measures, one to provide funding to improve the schools’ facilities and the other to replace our aging bus fleet. Passing these two measures is critical.
Consider the following:
• Despite being maintained by an excellent maintenance staff, our buildings and ground facilities are in major need of repair and upgrade.
• Bus transportation is not a luxury but a necessity. Our runs are longer than any other school district in the surrounding area, with daily travel from Lost River to below Carlton in all kinds of weather and road conditions. Our bus fleet must be replaced to insure the safety of our students.
Please, for the health and safety of our students, support them by voting “yes” on these two measures.
Jane Orme, Winthrop
For the children
We would like to thank the community for their continued support of our schools.
Recently you received ballots for a capital improvements levy and a transportation levy. As we have spent many years bringing the roof up to standard, it is now time to look at the neglected maintenance as identified on the district Methow Valley School District website. We use our facilities year-round for our students and the community.
We are very lucky to have such a beautiful place to live and nourish our youth. Please take the time to read the needed repairs and the importance of purchasing new buses to keep them safe for our precious cargo.
Again, thank you all for your belief in our schools and in our children.
Deborah DeKalb, Principal, Liberty Bell High School