On behalf of the Little Star Montessori School staff and board, I would like to give a huge “shout out” to Travis Grialou. He ran almost 200 miles and raised over $3,000 for Little Star’s scholarship program so that other children could attend Little Star. Thank you, Travis, for being a role model to our kids and an inspiration to us all! You are our hero!
Patsy Pattison, Little Star Board member
Checking the sources
2017 promises to be a year that will challenge us to evaluate various “news” sources. Regardless of our political leanings, we are inundated with “news” that needs to be checked. I groan when I hear the term “fake news” like I tired of “paradigm shift.” To avoid deception and outright lies we must evaluate our sources. It’s too easy to say, “I have always trusted (insert source).”
The Methow Valley News offers a forum for sharing tips to evaluate the news. For example, here are some steps I go through as I decide if a news story is worth my consideration:
- I use a search engine to see who is reporting on the topic. Do sources, both left- and right-wing, cover the issue, or is it being talked about by only one politically or ideologically narrow group?
- I compare the reporting date on a news story to a quick Google search on the topic. Some questionable sources use old events to trigger new rounds of outrage. These sources obscure, deny or omit when the original event occurred. Being a date miner will uncover these kinds of tactics.
- I check to see if the topic or event appears in a variety of news forums, in news sources from outside the United States, in alternative media sources, on radio talk shows, on TV “in-depth” discussions, in weekly news summaries, both print and online. The more diverse the coverage, the more likely I am to spend my time considering what they write or say.
- Finally, I see if the author or speaker is an authority on the topic. Does her or his educational training and experiences warrant my attention?
All of these steps are not always necessary. Examination via any one step may quickly reveal a lack of truth or a mess.
I’m eager to hear how others evaluate the news. What’s your strategy?
Jan Sodt, Winthrop
Commissioners not credible
Our county commissioners are proposing to reduce the speed limit on the West Chewuch Road from 50 mph to 35 mph under the guise of safety. Don’t believe it. In my opinion, this is nothing more than a veiled attempt to give ATVs access to the West Chewuch Road and the many miles of county and forest service roads that it connects to.
The West Chewuch Road is generally a very straight road with good visibility. I frequently drive many of the county roads in the Methow Valley and haven’t personally observed a higher amount of bicycle or pedestrian traffic on this road (the commissioners’ alleged safety concern). It is very dangerous to lower the speed limit of a road below its design speed. Drivers become frustrated driving behind slower-moving vehicles and tend to pass where they shouldn’t.
I’m confident that the design speed of the West Chewuch Road is at least 45 mph. If speed is really a concern, why not reduce the speed limit to 40 or 45 mph, which is much more reasonable? The answer is obvious.
In Okanogan County, an engineer’s analysis is needed before the speed limit can be changed on any county road. Why are the commissioners proposing a reduction of speed on the West Chewuch Road before the engineer’s analysis has been done? I can only guess that it is because two commissioners were ousted in the last election, and that they (and the ATV club) are desperate to get this done before they leave office. I’m guessing this is why there was so little time to comment on their proposal (the meeting to give public input was on Dec. 19, only five days after the notice was published in the Methow Valley News). I’m also guessing that the ATV club attended the commissioners meeting in full force since we know how serious they are about this safety issue.
I hope that after the commissioners reduce the speed limit on the West Chewuch Road to 35 mph that many of you will join me in petitioning the new commissioners to change the speed limit to the safe design speed of the road.
Dave Hopkins, Twisp
Bankruptcy for all
Although president-elect Trump has not yet divulged his approach to instill a better health care system, it’s possible to infer from his actions how this might all actually work. One only has to put a couple of pieces of the puzzle together before a clear picture emerges.
- Trump has vowed to end Obamacare.
- Trump likes debt and how the law allows the use of bankruptcy.
With these two concepts in place, we can anticipate that those currently insured under Obamacare will lose their health care. Government has nothing else it needs to do or provide. Some will find health care by other means, and the poorer and/or those with pre-existing conditions will be uninsured, much as they were before. However, they will still have access to the health care system. They just will not be able to pay the bills.
This is where the use of debt comes in. Health care debtors (the uninsured) will be able to combine their collective debt into pools. When a pool reaches $960 million, the pool then automatically files for bankruptcy. Consumers in the debtors’ pool will realize significant savings in legal expenses by being combined into a large pool subject to a single bankruptcy proceeding. (This would be called the non-payer system).
The non-payers are absolved of their medical debt and go back into the uninsured pool where the medical debt accumulation — bankruptcy — forgiveness cycle repeats. While technically they would have to declare their forgiven debts as income, we can count on our next fearless leader to pioneer a way through the tax codes to dodge that possible tax burden. Make America great again! What’s good for the leader (or the goose) is good for the masses (or the goosed).
Hospitals, doctors and other medical professionals will bear a rather large burden with this “better than Obamacare” program. Some of this burden may be shared with the finance industry by making that industry cover one-half of the medical industry’s losses.
Although this proposal was intended to be somewhat satirical, it probably lands somewhere between the future reality and fake news. I guess anything is possible.
Lincoln Loehr, Mazama
On Sunday (Dec. 18), we attended one of the best Christmas plays ever shared! At the Cascade Bible Church, it was put on by the Master’s Christian School here in Twisp.
Hollywood, move over. These kids were terrific! “Miracle on Main Street” was delightful, entertaining, kept our interest throughout the play, and the wonderful and uplifting songs gave a message, and the “messengers” relayed it superbly!
Staff, helpers and student all participated — including some grandchildren of these grandparents! A mainly one missing part was a granddaughter who recently moved away from here, the only other missing part was more local audience. As well-attended as it was — seats almost full — the folks that couldn’t or didn’t come missed out on a great event, with messages not just for Christmas but for all time.
So if you feel your Christmas time is missing something, if your holiday is just stress, or it has become old, sad or lonely, just glitz and tinsel, try realizing the real meaning many of us know and celebrate — the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten son, who came to earth from heaven’s glory to be reason, not just a part of a story or season, but the true reason for all to receive salvation and newness of life, to receive God’s love through Jesus.
So we hope many more will get the goodness of his life and enjoy Jesus, and may we “regular people” be a light for Jesus that might brighten someone’s moment, somewhere.
Mrs. Roger Hammer, Twisp