Follies were fab
Thanks to all of the people who made the 2016 Fabulous Fall Follies a wonderful event. My sincere appreciation goes out to all of the entertainers, volunteers, chefs and board members who shared in this fun-filled evening. Thank you for coming to this heartwarming event. All proceeds from the event are for building improvements.
A huge thank you goes out to the Methow Valley Theater board, one of the first tenants in this building when it became a community center. They organized the entertainment, and encouraged the singers, dancers and comedians. They performed as Judy Garland, Tina Turner, guitarists, and mermaids running from “Mack the Knife.” They ran the sound, lights and stage crew. They also make work fun! It is a pleasure to do events with all of you. We will look forward to 2018 for the next Fabulous Fall Follies.
So, Twisp, you have some time to get your act together!
Kirsten Ostlie, Methow Valley Community Center, Twisp
Support for Board of Health
I agree with Sharon Sumpter’s recent letter regarding the need for increased funding to improve the current status of our county’s public health district. The Okanogan County district currently ranks 36th out of 39 counties in Washington.
One public health issue that needs attention is the teen pregnancy rate in Okanogan County. One in 20 girls in our county will become a parent before she reaches adulthood. Although Washington state has one of the lowest teen birth rates in the nation, Okanogan County’s teen birth rate is higher than teen birth rates for the state of Alabama!
Despite working with a severely reduced staff (down from 22 employees in 2009 to 11 employees now), the public health district has managed to provide basic public health services. These services include inspecting public facilities such as food establishments, hospitals, wells, swimming pools and septic systems. The Community Health program also continues to monitor incidence of disease and sponsors preventive-health programs. However, so much more needs to be done to improve public health in Okanogan County.
I urge you to vote for Ashley Thrasher for county commissioner because she has made public health one of her primary issues. She has attended Board of Health meetings and met with the public health directors in order to educate herself about the issues. Ashley will be proactive in working with the Board of Health.
Charlene Burns, Jonathan Hawley, Twisp
Wow, that was some bake sale and auction for Sheilah Kennedy’s fundraiser! One buyer paid $250 for a $12 peach pie. The money she raked in helped pay for a full-page ad in my local paper. After reading the ad, I realized that Sheilah is being too modest. Let me add a few of her accomplishments while commissioner that she neglected to mention:
• She voted to support the Gebbers family corporation by vacating the Three Devils Road, against the wishes of the people of Chiliwist. This led to litigation and extensive legal fees.
• She voted to provide taxpayer funds to the American Lands Council, a group that favors transferring federal lands to the state (and then she criticizes the state of Washington for poor stewardship on state-owned lands).
• She voted with the other commissioners to renege on the hiring choice of the Superior Court judges for court administrator, leading to litigation and those legal fees again.
• She voted for a Comprehensive Plan and Zoning ordinance that are in clear violation of state law, leading to litigation, and more of those legal fees.
• She and the other commissioners failed to regulate marijuana growing operations when they had the opportunity, resulting in unsightly compounds in rural residential areas and reduced property values.
If you wake up some morning and find a junkyard next door to your property, you can thank Sheilah. She voted to allow junkyards, rendering plants, asphalt batch plants, gravel pits and more in rural zones in much of the county, as long as they obtain a conditional use permit, while at the same time limiting the conditions which can be imposed.
Yes, Ms. Kennedy has many accomplishments if you are Gebbers Farms, a Realtor, developer, or land transfer zealot. But, but for the rest of us, not so much.
Jessica McNamara, Tonasket
Cruel, disgusting word
Re the recent article by Joanna Bastian in her Lower Valley column: I applaud the efforts of Joanna for her series of articles addressing the pre-white history and culture of Native Americans in the Methow Valley. As the great-grandson of valley pioneers I have always felt that we lacked in our knowledge about those people who were valley “residents” thousands of years before Euro-Americans arrived.
Joanna’s recent column addresses the use of the word or term “squaw” and its common use by whites referencing the female gender of the American Indian. She points out a couple of examples in which historians and writers use the word freely and in derogatory tones as though describing a woman or group of women of a lower social order.Unfortunately, the word or term is still heard today.
Over the last few years I have asked many American Indian women about the word/term “squaw.” Without exception they find it highly offensive. Their response is commonly high emotion, sadness, tears, and sometimes too upset to respond at all. One distinguished Native elder told me it’s as despicable as using the “f” word.
Joanna is correct in calling to attention this cruel and disgusting term that should have no place in our vocabulary. Anyone using it should be shamed.
Chuck Borg, Wenatchee
As I consider the issues facing Okanogan County, I can’t think of a more experienced or suitable candidate for county commissioner than Chris Branch. I worked with Chris when I returned to Okanogan County after college. At the time he was a senior planner with Highlands Associates and I was new to planning. I learned so much from him about how land use is intertwined with our values. Chris listens, checks things out on the ground, and considers the range of views and impacts. More than most people I know, he can hear opposing points of view and find common ground.
Given the contentious tone we’re hearing all around us with the approaching election, we need thoughtful leaders who are committed to finding solutions that work for more of Okanogan County. I see Chris as that kind of leader; let’s get out and vote for him.
Rocklynn Culp, Twisp
Clean sweep needed
I am one of eight citizen volunteers from Oroville, Okanogan, the Chilliwist, Twisp and the upper Methow who have recorded notes of county commissioner proceedings during the past year. This effort was initiated because minutes had been posted weeks or months late, and commissioners had been unresponsive to citizens on essential issues.
On Oct. 27, 2015, the commissioners discussed sending juvenile offenders to Martin Hall in Medical Lake while the Superior Court judges and Juvenile Administrator were out of town; it didn’t appear on the agenda, it wasn’t covered by the press, and when commissioners’ minutes were finally published there was no record of the discussion. We began posting our notes on the website of Represent Okanogan County (ROC) shortly thereafter.
I agree that Sheilah Kennedy is the hardest-working commissioner, actually reading important documents and refraining from name-calling or insulting remarks during proceedings.
But concerning her asking “the hard questions” regarding departments’ budgets, consider one item: the county’s Expenditure Detail Report shows that during their first year in office these commissioners overspent their own $6,000 travel budget three-fold (spending $18,444.18) and raised their travel budget to $15,000 for 2014, $20,000 for 2015, and $16,000 for 2016. This was while criticizing other departments for overspending and pushing departments to contract jobs to private entities at much greater expense to the taxpayers. Their travel expenses emphasized training with organizations whose extremist ideologies even my Republican friends cannot support, thus encouraging antagonistic relationships between our county and essential statewide agencies, citizens, and the federal government.
We are best served by a clean sweep of the board of commissioners, electing independent candidates with extensive budget, economic, and county-wide governance experience (Chris Branch) and the work ethic, bridge-building, decision-making talents, and courage to make changes and serve us well (Ashley Thrasher.)
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp
Thanks for trail work
I would like to acknowledge and thank the Methow Valley Back Country Horsemen for the hours of volunteer work they put into keeping numerous popular trails cleared and repaired this summer. Until I read their recent newsletter, I had no idea how much time and effort went into these projects in order to keep these trails usable for all of us to enjoy.
As a hiker, I want club members to know how much I appreciate their work. If it wasn’t for their effort, some of these trails could very well be let go.
Margaret Rosenstine, Twisp
Vote for change
The U.S. government is now run like a big business. The more money you have, the more access, influence and power you have over government decisions. It saddens me to see the corruption and greed that has taken over.
The actions of the Republicans and the Democrats are virtually indistinguishable. During the election cycles the voters are made all kinds of promises, but the only constant seems to be that if you get back into office, you can continue to do nothing or, even worse, continue to jack up our debt and print more money so it can be spent on ridiculous projects or fund agencies which have long outlived their usefulness.
The American people have been used as pawns for decades. The politicians thought we were stupid and they treated us like mushrooms (kept in the dark and fed manure). They thought we were stupid because we believed our government would not lie to us. But no one likes to be treated like a fool. There’s been a huge wake-up call this election cycle and the American people have heard it. We want change and accountability and for everyone to be subject to the rule of law.
I am ready for a rebel to lead this country. I want someone who is going to knock over the tables of the money changers and tell the truth. I want to hear the words, “You’re fired” ring up and down the halls of government. We are in a real poop sandwich folks, and this may be the last chance we have to get this country turned around.
So vote. And while you’re at it, use your cell phone to take a picture of your ballot before you submit it to prove how you voted in case there is any monkey business about the vote count.
I love my country but it is in dire need of drastic change. We all need to do our part. Your vote is vital.
Chrystal Perrow, Winthrop
County commissioner meetings are public — anyone can observe. Since they are open, the audience should be able to hear and understand the activities of the meeting, and maybe even ask questions. Most organizational meeting standards include advance notice of agendas, timely approval of minutes, available materials for topics discussed, time for discussion, and a record of decisions made. County commissioners make their executive decisions through resolutions, which are normally recorded in the meeting minutes or may be attachments to the minutes.
But, here is what is happening at the Okanogan County Board of Commissioner’s meetings. There is often no agenda put on their website in advance of the meeting. The approved minutes until recently were months behind in being posted on their website. Resolutions are not posted. More surprisingly, if you want to see a resolution, you must file a public disclosure request! Many Washington counties have their resolutions on their websites. At our meetings, the commissioners talk among themselves in undertones or whispers without turning on their microphones. When a topic requiring a decision and resolution is considered, there are no materials or details for the public — nothing is put on their website in advance, even when staff do have the materials in advance of the meeting. It would be very simple to use their big screen to display documents under consideration so the audience can follow the proceedings.
Commissioner Kennedy’s campaign slogan is “accountability, responsibility and leadership,” but her way of conducting meetings is not accountable, responsible or transparent. It appears that they don’t want us to know what they are doing or why.
Lack of transparency is just one of the reasons why I will not vote for Incumbent Kennedy in November.
Sharon Sumpter, Winthrop
Working for you
As I follow campaign rhetoric in this year’s election I hear the refrain “I will work hard for you.” What exactly does that mean to you the voter? I am reminded of my Pennsylvania Dutch heritage where you were admired for your work ethic and the integrity of your handshake.
While working with Andy Hover during his campaign for Okanogan County commissioner I am impressed by his work ethic. He feels that it is his responsibility to give 100 percent to the job at hand. During the primary campaign he continued to work as the full-time manager at Valley Lumber in Winthrop. He gave us his evenings and weekends, introducing himself and his ideas to county residents. After the primary he honored his handshake and began to train his replacement at Valley Lumber. He is fulfilling that commitment and he is giving you his remaining hours. He has sat at your tables and visited your work places. He has given you the opportunity to voice your opinions on the many issues facing the county today. He continues to join discussions and forums giving educated answers based on his many hours of informational study.
Andy understands that the decision to run for county commissioner would be a life change regardless of the outcome of this election. He willingly made the decision to work for you. As my Dad would have said, that man has proven he has an admirable work ethic and we should give him our handshake knowing he will do the job. I agree, join me in voting for Andy Hover as your county commissioner in District 2. I know he will give you 100 percent.
Roxie Miller, Winthrop
Pluses for Hover
During the past four years we have witnessed the actions of three commissioners more responsive to their own whims than those of the general public.
In the upcoming election, the two new candidates for Position 2 offer varied experience, which should be compared and contrasted: For example, Andy Hover was born and raised in the Methow, has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture technology and management with a minor in business administration from Washington State University. Ashley Thrasher, born and raised in Vermont, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound in biology and a minor in African American Studies. The greater relevance of Hover’s education should be readily apparent.
Hover grew up in an agricultural family and has over 10 years of experience managing two businesses in which he has dealt with budget, personnel, and management issues. Thrasher is currently a carpenter and has seven years as a firefighter/smokejumper. Smokejumping requires physical strength and courage, but not the management and operational experience that Hover offers.
Both candidates propose useful ideas, but Hover’s are more thoughtful, reasoned and practical. Specifically, he suggests a comprehensive vocational program at Wenatchee Valley College in Omak to prepare students for living wage jobs, specializing in mechanics, construction, fabrication, welding and HVAC. Another of Hover’s proposals is building a more robust high-speed Internet, which would allow local residents to telecommute to distant jobs. Both are eminently doable.
Without providing empirical evidence, Thrasher takes the position that helping existing businesses to grow has proven more successful than recruiting new businesses. Then she goes on to suggest the possibility of a bottle recycling facility, a small-diameter wood factory, and a biodiesel industry, all requiring a plan which she does not provide.
We have known Andy Hover and his family for more than a decade, both in business and on a personal level, and know that he is forthright, hardworking and honest. After listening to, reading about, and weighing the two candidates, it is apparent to us that Andy Hover is the better candidate for Okanogan County commissioner, District 2. He has our votes.
Steve and Anne Peck, Winthrop
Franz for lands
A really important statewide race has gotten little attention here. While the county commissioner elections are critical to the Methow, so is the race for Commissioner of Public Lands. This commissioner directs the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which manages 5.6 million acres of state land (more than 300,000 in Okanogan County), as well as Washington’s largest firefighting operation. There is a stark choice between the candidates, and Hilary Franz is by far the better one.
Franz, the Democratic candidate, is a former executive director of the land-use advocacy group Futurewise. She has devoted much of her career to promoting land use planning that takes into account a wide range of values and sustains the underlying ecosystems when developing land for housing, logging, grazing, farming, and the like. She’s had experience working with state and local governments, as well as a wide range of community groups.
In contrast, the education and experience of Franz’s opponent, Steve McLaughlin, are all in the military and homeland security, not land use or natural resources. He wants to increase logging in state forests, which also means more road-building. Most public land managers are looking for ways to reduce roads and their adverse effects on water quality and wildlife. McLaughlin’s big claim to being environmentally aware — we are not making this up — is that he has been a member of REI since before his opponent was born. One of his largest contributors is the Diamond M Ranch, the ranchers in Ferry County who have repeatedly demanded extermination of wolves on public lands where they graze cattle.
Among others, Franz is endorsed by the Washington State Firefighters Council and the Washington State Fire Chiefs, as well as several major newspapers. Locally, she is supported by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Working with tribes is essential for any land manager in Washington. McLaughlin is basically the timber, ag and homebuilders’ candidate.
Please don’t ignore this important race. If you think state public lands belong to all of us and should be managed wisely, vote for Hilary Franz.
Randy Brook and Melanie Rowland, Twisp
Yes on I-732
Thanks to the Methow Valley News for publishing the news of Amy Snover’s recent talk in the valley. Snover, the head of the UW Climate Impacts Group, gave the audience very important information about what North Central Washington will look like under our new climate realities. Most alarmingly, Snover highlighted our declining snowpack, which is forecasted to decrease by 44 percent by 2040. If you eat food or drink water, this should be cause for action. If you fish, ski, or enjoy the bounties of our forests, you should also be seeking action.
Luckily we have an opportunity in this upcoming election. Carbon dioxide is the cause of our rapid warming and putting an extra price on carbon means that we recognize its social costs. Initiative 732 is on the ballot. I-732 will put a price on carbon, charging industry polluters $25 for each ton of carbon released into our atmosphere. I-732 also directs the state to lower the sales tax rate by 1 percent giving each citizen of Washington an average of $200 every year. I-732 will also fund a working family tax break, granting 400,000 low-income families up to $1,500 in tax rebates annually. I-732 will also eliminate the B&O tax on manufacturing in the state, helping grow and keep good jobs in Washington.
I-732 is a revenue-neutral initiative, which means it raises no new money for Olympia. It simply puts a price on carbon and cuts taxes for manufacturing, working families and every consumer in the state. This is our best chance to make an immediate difference for North Central Washington. Join me in voting yes on I-732.
Kelly Grayum, Twisp
Will miss Coyote Ridge
Thank you for the article about the retirement of Gary and Anna Clark and the closing of Coyote Ridge Automotive.
My wife, Vicki, and I bought a cabin 12 years ago up at Twisp Sky Ranch where we met Gary and Anna. They were always very helpful to us and always looked after our cabin when we were not there. Gary also has plowed our driveway the entire time.
More importantly they bailed us out three different times with our SUV when we had mechanical issues. They always got us right in and took care of the problem.
They even drove us back to our cabin after we dropped our car off and would drive the car back to our place after the repair was completed.
Coyote Ridge closing is going to leave a big void in the valley for auto repair and personal service.
Gary and Anna, enjoy your retirement. You deserve it!
Gary Mueller, Vicki Rova Mueller, Twisp/West Seattle
Climate change follow-up
Thank you to everyone who turned out on a Tuesday night to learn more about how and when the effects of climate change are likely to unfold in our region, and how communities are — and could be — preparing for these changes. I’m writing to provide a couple of important corrections to the recent Methow Valley News story (“Climate change consequences are unavoidable, speaker says”), and to share some thoughts about how climate impacts and preparative actions fit into the larger context of addressing climate change.
First, corrections: Washington state’s climate is projected to warm about 4–6 degrees Fahrenheit (not Celsius, as reported; that would be 7–10 degrees F of warming!) by the 2050s, compared to the 1980s. One of the effects will be warmer streams, causing currently warm locations, like those typically found in the central Columbia River basin, to be much less hospitable for salmon (rather than incapable of supporting the fish, as reported) during the hottest summer months.
Second, about the need to respond to the symptoms and cure the disease: Despite the changes already “baked in” as a result of previous greenhouse gas emissions, society is in the driver’s seat concerning how harmful climate change will be. Our choices about energy use and other greenhouse gas-emitting activities determine how much and how fast the climate will change; reducing emissions is necessary to avoid the really large changes in climate we’re currently heading towards. Our choices about whether and how we prepare for the changes that can’t be prevented influence how harmful those changes will be for our landscapes, waters and communities.
In other words, dealing with climate change involves two types of actions — preventative actions that slow or stop climate change, and preparative actions focused on dealing with its consequences. The less we do to slow climate change, the harder it will be to cope with its local impacts. And the longer we wait to start either type of action, the more we’ll have to scramble to catch up.
Amy Snover, Director, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington