Facts about marijuana
I read Dave Gehrig’s letter to the editor (Nov. 19), and while I appreciate the concerns that he has about the homeless problem in Seattle, it isn’t connected to marijuana. Dave’s argument is a red herring fallacy, unfortunately, with regards to marijuana.
Dave’s reaction is one to his observations of the environment around him, and he admits that the beautiful scenery is part of the reason he loves coming to Twisp to see his family. I also love coming to Carlton and Twisp to see friends. I treasure the beauty of the Methow Valley and greater Okanogan County as well. Dave and I aren’t so dissimilar, I would say.
However, I understand that a cannabis store is not likely to bloom the homeless population in Carlton or anywhere else in Okanogan County. Many cannabis purchasers are tourists, likely to leave in a few days time. Many are locals who prefer the safer alternative of cannabis to a dangerous recreational poison such as alcohol or tobacco. Some are grandmas and grandpas looking to escape the pain of a lifetime’s activity or help in the face of terrible side effects of “life-saving” drugs.
I judge not those who enter the stores I own and have owned, but rather attempt to educate on the truths of the cannabis plant, and make known common knowledge in medical sciences. Cannabis has no lethal dose, and is safer than alcohol, aspirin, sex and many other things.
Carlton Cannabis (which will also be medically endorsed in addition to 21-and-over recreational) will not be a substandard facility, but rather a top-notch gem in the Methow Valley, owned by a Marine retiree, a Navy veteran and a prospector, all native sons of Washington state, and all the sort of individuals that would intervene and help someone with a problem as opposed to promulgating it in any way. We are very much looking forward to serving the communities surrounding Carlton in complete compliance with state law. We are neighborly, and are looking forward to proving it.
Kevin Heiderich, Fircrest, Washington
Be safe with snow blowers
To my fellow snow country folks: Now that it looks like winter is soon to show her face, I feel moved to pass on some annual advice.
Over 20 years ago I had a moment of brain-deadness and ended up turning off a snow blower with my left hand, and being flown to Harborview Hospital in Seattle where three hand surgeons spent 21 man-hours rebuilding my hand. I write to remind all of you snow blower operators this winter season to not repeat my stupidity!
Even with new designs and safety features on today’s machines (mine was 20 years old), blowers can still jam with wet snow or “yard” objects. Due to the potential kinetic energy stored in the engine compression and belt tension when jammed, the impellers in a blower can rotate slightly when a jammed or clogged machine is freed up. There is very little clearance in the impeller housings. If your hand is the “freeing” agent, you can lose fingers or an entire hand.
Never use your hand or foot to clear a clogged or jammed snow blower. Use a broom handle or long, stout stick. All new blowers come with a plastic paddle used to clear jammed blowers. Some even advise removing the spark plug to release any engine compression before working on a machine.
Snow blowers, like many powered devices, are in and of themselves not dangerous. They do need to be respected and operated with care and attention. Fatigue, being in a hurry, distractions, objects left out in the snow, etc., are the real dangers. Hopefully you will remember my story every time you operate a snow blower and not create your own story. Have a safe winter season.
Barry Stromberger, Twisp
Re: “Methow Trails adapts its Nordic system,” Nov. 30. One thing you forgot to mention was the work the U.S. Forest Service has been doing to enhance the snow conditions on the ski trails, specifically the work done by silviculturist John Daily. His thinning prescriptions are written so that along the south side of the trails, the trees with the denser canopies are left, creating shade in the winter months, thereby keeping the snow from melting in the heat of the day.
Also, trees right along the trails that would intercept snow and/or drop cones and needles are removed. If you ski the Cub Creek trails, or the trail near the Goat Creek Sno-park, you’ll see how this works. Soon the South Summit ski trails will be thinned in this manner also.
Brent Tannehill, Winthrop
The push by Methow Headwaters Campaign (MHC) to withdraw over 340,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land in the upper Methow Valley is shortsighted and fueled by baseless speculation.
The withdrawal proposal is shortsighted because it would block potential discovery and use of resources, both in the short-term and long-term, which may be critical to our country. We do not know today what mineral or organic resources may be needed to support carbon-sequestering technology, cancer treatments, or alternate energy production to name just a few issues that confront us.
The Cascade Range north of Interstate 90 has above-average mineral potential, due largely to the mountain-forming processes that built the range and continue today. The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest shares in this legacy. Enough so that the Okanogan Forest Plan and Final Environmental Impact statement (1989) created a minerals management prescription to recognize sizable, known mineral deposits. Look at a map and you will find that about 60 percent of the land in the North Cascades is already withdrawn from mineral entry in wilderness, national parks, etc. The proposed upper Methow withdrawal would increase this acreage substantially, further limiting availability of some of the best mineral potential lands in the continental United States, mineral potential that may prove crucial to our country and its citizens.
Methow Headwaters Campaign fears that drilling holes proposed by Blue River Resources “is the first step to developing a large-scale mine on Flagg Mountain.” This fear is unfounded. Blue River Resources is merely trying to complete assessment work required by law to maintain its unpatented mining claims. History shows that the likelihood of any large-scale project being permitted in the Methow Valley is virtually nil. The Early Winters ski resort evaluated by the Forest Service back in the 1980s is a case in point. Ultimately, lack of water availability in the valley in conjunction with the Endangered Species Act killed a recreation project that was decades in the making.
Rod Lentz, Omak
At this time of politics gone wild, let’s turn our attention to a significant local issue that we actually have the power to control: Enloe Dam. I’m amazed how the desire to “have our own dam” has become more important than the simple facts.
Over the past 10 years the Okanogan Public Utility District (PUD) has spent countless hours and approximately $14 million to resurrect Enloe Dam. The PUD plans to spend $40 million to $45 million more to get the dam to produce electricity. After all that, the dam will have a maximum generating capacity of only 9 megawatts (MW). The average capacity is projected to be a meager 4.5 MW. Apparently other power companies realized that Enloe Dam is a losing proposition. When it sought bids on the powerhouse the PUD received no acceptable proposals. More recently Energy Northwest considered Enloe Dam. They concluded that our PUD’s cost estimate of $40 million could be 40 percent low. If Energy Northwest is correct, then the cost of Enloe Dam power to Okanogan County residents would be 12.3 cents per kilowatt hour. Our current rate is 4.9 cents per kilowatt hour.
Enloe Dam was built during the early 1920s. Once large hydro projects were constructed along the Columbia River and power cost less, Enloe Dam became uneconomical to operate. Now, with the advent of wind and solar generation as well as upgrades to existing facilities, the potential power generated at Enloe Dam ranges from insignificant to a costly liability. Guess who will pay to keep this outdated dam operational. The price of power generated from Enloe Dam will not be competitive on the open market. The construction costs and the nearly $1 million annual operating costs will fall upon the shoulders and reach deep into the wallets of the people of Okanogan County.
The value of Enloe’s power production was determined to be zero in 1959 when the dam was decommissioned. The value today and in the future is even less. As responsible public servants, the Okanogan PUD commissioners owe it to Okanogan County residents and ratepayers to drop this costly boondoggle.
Jack Burchard, Okanogan
‘Blue Christmas’ service
For most people, Christmas and the holiday season is a time of celebrations, gatherings, gift buying, shopping and other activities that people look forward to and experience each year. For some, however, Christmas and the season before and after may not be a time of festivities.
For some, Christmas is a reminder that they are alone and not able to enjoy the atmosphere that surrounds the season. For others, sometimes-difficult decisions must be made between presents for their children and paying the rent. Still others may feel that they are left out and not invited to the parties and gatherings. Many people suffer during this season.
Once again this year, the Methow Valley United Methodist Church will offer a service on the shortest day of the year, the day when the darkness is the longest. This day, Wednesday, Dec. 21, is the symbol for those who are “hurting” while others are enjoying.
The “Blue Christmas Service” is about validating a person’s feelings. It is about a process of overcoming the hurt by knowing that one is not alone, that there are others struggling with Christmas. The service offers hope for those that suffer. Just as Christ’s death offered hope for an eternity, Blue Christmas offers hope for those wounded in this life.
The service begins at 6 p.m. and ends when the last person is able to leave the peacefulness of the church and venture back into the world of gaiety.
Rev. Donald A. Ford, AM, Methow Valley United Methodist Church
The electrification of Enloe Dam is the biggest blunder in the 67-year history of our Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD). The millions of dollars already wasted down the “we need our own powerhouse drain” since the 1980s is staggering. The total is now well over $20 million. The equivalent of $12,000 drained from each household in the utility district. The PUD plans for construction of a new powerhouse at Enloe Dam will cost each ratepayer household an additional $10–$20 per month for the next 30 years.
Consultants, engineers, lawyers and lobbyists have pocketed millions, taking this foolish notion of affordable electricity from the Similkameen River all the way to the bank. While our commissioners are dreaming about how great project this is, ratepayers are being taken for a ride. Funds that should have been spent on upgrading our poles, wires, transformers and sub-stations have been wasted. The $40 million to $50 million required to energize Enloe will create nothing but debt for us.
I am reminded of the children’s fable “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” The commissioners want a shiny new powerhouse just like the emperor wanted a suit of new clothes to impress his loyal subjects. The consultants, engineers, bankers and Okanogan PUD staff say it will be fabulous just like the suit sewing tailors in the fable. The PUD is as blind as the emperor. The Similkameen River is not suitable for the generation of affordable electric energy. That is why the powerhouse was shut down in 1958 and remained idle all these years. The power produced at Enloe Dam would be insignificant when compared with the already available power generated on the Columbia River. The power generated at Enloe Dam will cost the utility $1 million to $2 million in annual loses, producing power at three to four times the cost of power on the wholesale market. If the PUD continues forward we could all be standing naked, embarrassed and feeling the chill just like emperor who wore no clothes.
Joseph Enzensperger, Oroville
Avoid trolls’ traps
I am writing in regards to the article “Methownet.com alters its online rules” (Nov. 30). It is commendable to take this stance on fake news. It is unfortunate that a small number of people, known as “trolls” and “trollers,” have made this idea of “phony media” mainstream. These people make it their mission to comment on websites, media and non-media, to disrupt the conversation in a very caustic way.
Trolls have made the idea of a productive discussion about tax policy, health care, welfare, warfare, union rights, and just about anything else virtually impossible. In a world were everyone has a voice, the loudest can drown out any voice of reason. I would implore everyone to not stand idly by when we see this atrocious online behavior.
The most important thing media and us as bystanders can do is to not get caught up in the traps of these trolls. Stay on point of the discussion, do not get distracted by incendiary comments (most often in a racist, sexist, and xenophobic manner). We all need to stand up for online integrity and support our media by not falling prey to troller behavior.
Shannon O’Connell, Mazama