During his term as a school director for the Methow Valley School District, Gary Marchbank has consistently practiced steady and informed service. When it comes to making decisions as a school board member, he is known as an individual who listens, observes and reflects rather than relying on assumptions or hearsay.
Mr. Marchbank’s advocacy for developing critical thinking skills for all Methow Valley School District students through the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program, with its emphasis on real-world learning, speaks to his understanding of providing an education that is relevant to the demands and expectations of our rapidly changing world.
Working in a cooperative manner with the other directors, Gary’s positive nature comes to the fore. I know that he frequently stops by our schools to see how things are going with staff and students. He genuinely cares. Additionally, during his tenure on the board, he has shown a keen grasp of the myriad pieces — the nuts and bolts — of operating our school district.
Gary Marchbank has my vote for another term as a school director, and I urge you to support his reelection, too.
Patti Ahlfs, Winthrop
Mom for mayor
I’m writing today to encourage you to vote Sally Ranzau for Winthrop mayor. Sally is a 20-year resident of Winthrop, a former business owner, and holds a special place in my heart because she is my mom. I know that some have already cast their votes and I do hope you voted for Sally.
Her main focuses are to preserve the things that make the town of Winthrop special, balancing tourism with local quality of life and growing support for local infrastructure.
In my life my mom has been supportive, loving with a firm hand and willing to hear me out in any situation. I believe those qualities would translate perfectly into the mayoral position for the town of Winthrop. Vote for Sally (mom)!
Samantha Carlin, Twisp
A vote for ballot boxes
While I understand Okanogan County Auditor Laurie Thomas’ frustration at having to find additional ballot boxes to deploy in our large and sparsely populated county, I would urge her not to lose sight of the objective of the new state law, or her duty as county auditor, to ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to vote. The turnout in recent U.S. elections — even consequential presidential elections like last year’s — is far below that of other democracies. If additional ballot boxes encourage more voting that is surely a good thing. “There’s no such thing as a vote that didn’t matter” — Barack Obama.
Interesting that the story on the front page of last week’s paper about the additional ballot boxes was placed right next door to a story on the new website that matches volunteers with their particular interests. Perhaps Ms. Thomas can use Volunteer Methow to locate citizens concerned about the health of our democracy who could spare few hours to place, lock, unlock and empty ballot boxes, and transport the ballots. Many people have been energized since the last election to participate more meaningfully in political life. The use of such volunteers would greatly reduce the cost to the county of the new state law.
Marian Exall, Winthrop
Korean War history
The real history of the Korean War is different from what we were taught in school. Korea was a unified kingdom for hundreds of years before it was invaded by Japan in 1905. There was no North and South Korea. When the Japanese surrendered in August of 1945 the Koreans were jubilant. The country was divided into North and South by the United States on Aug. 15, 1945. Russia later agreed to this unilateral American action but had no part in dividing it at the 38th parallel.
South Korea formed a national government on Sept. 6, 1945; the U.S. military arrived on Sept. 8 and dissolved it, setting up a puppet dictatorship. Many Koreans resisted this foreign domination; it is estimated that more than 500,000 South Koreans were murdered by the South Korean government (with American complicity) before the beginning of the war.
There were over one thousand border conflicts along the 38th parallel between 1948 and the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, many of them initiated by the South. During the war itself, the U.S. military savaged North Korea, destroying every city, every village. every road, every rail line, every dam. One-third of the entire population of the North was slaughtered — 3 million people, many vaporized by napalm. Those who survived did so by eating grass and tree bark. The war was 100 percent a fabrication of the United States; remember, the United States created two countries that had been one.
One year after the 1953 truce that ended the Korean War, the United States went to war in Vietnam. Since then we have ravaged Laos, Cambodia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria in that order. The United States is addicted to war, addicted to killing other human beings. Anyone with a shred of compassion will be overwhelmed by the death and destruction we sow in the world.
Dana Visalli, Twisp
I would like to thank Ashley Lodato for a timely conversation on humanity (Oct. 25, Valley Life). As someone who has worked with diverse populations both in small towns and large cities, it is very apparent that no matter what color one’s skin is, how much money one makes, etc., we all feel pain, joy, fear, love and have goals, hopes and dreams for ourselves, our families and friends. My neighbor has chosen to display a Confederate flag on the side of their house, and while I understand the right to free speech, I will also say that to drive past it is the most disappointing part of my day because I know what it stands for.
Kat Werle, Winthrop
Juvenile facility needs
In 2016, hundreds of citizens spoke out against a possible move of Okanogan County’s juvenile detention facilities to the Spokane area to be managed by a multi-state business. That proposed move would have also meant a loss of 10-plus professional jobs and their contribution to the local economy. The pressure engaged citizens used to dissuade our county commissioners from “robbing Peter to pay Paul” was effective, and commissioners rightly decided that the people did not want this service nor our children moved more than 200 miles away from families.
Now is the time for voters to say “yes” to needed juvenile detention and jail facility upgrades that triggered the commissioners’ review. The current building was constructed in the 1970s and hasn’t had any major improvements. Now, juvenile detention renovations are needed to comply with current state regulations, including additional sign-in rooms, improved security doors, and anti-slip flooring. Other needed improvements are new showers, heating/cooling upgrades, and a backup generator. The last cosmetic upgrades were done over 15 years ago.
The current county budget does not have the needed revenue to pay for these upgrades from the general fund, so a levy is necessary. Proposition One is on your mail-in ballot for the Nov. 7 general election.
Vote “yes” to keep these needed services in the community and at acceptable standards. Do your part to improve the quality of life in Okanogan County. Put your vote where your heart is — for this county and its future!
Sharon Sumpter, Winthrop
Yes for juvenile facility
I hope that former County Commissioner Dave Schulz’s letter to the editor in support of County Resolution 70-2017 caught the attention of many readers. He gave compelling reasons that our juvenile offenders here in Okanogan County should be kept close to home rather than shipped off to Martin Hall in Medical Lake.
Although current national and international politics could be called discouraging at best, our individual votes have a more obvious chance at the local level to effect change in a positive direction.
It hasn’t been long since our community rallied in support of keeping these young people close to family support and local therapy programs here in Okanogan County. Our voices demanded attention, and the current board of commissioners has continued this trend by presenting a plan for funding the necessary improvements to our county’s aging juvenile facilities.
Now it’s our turn as voters to step up to the plate by approving a reasonable tax for the necessary expenditures.
As a teacher of middle school-aged children for several decades, I can say with confidence that these children face challenges most of us adults never dreamed of in our younger years. Anxiety and use of opioids have both reached epidemic proportions among the younger generation, upon whom we ourselves must rely for leadership in coming decades. Fear of loss of family ties through deportation and increasing financial uncertainty have added to family stress. I can honestly say that over the years I have often seen family support make the difference between success and failure in my students’ endeavours, often regardless of intelligence, learning skills, and even their own determination. And frequently, parents in our county must support their children while negotiating the challenge of two or more jobs, growing health care expenses and increasing financial uncertainty.
If you have not yet mailed your ballot, please vote “yes” for County Resolution 70-2017 by next Tuesday. Support these young people and their families by approving the necessary funds to keep our juvenile facilities operational with counseling and therapeutic programs locally available to them and their families.
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp
Hover backs juvie tax proposal
As most of you have seen by now there is a new sales tax relating to the Okanogan County Juvenile facility being proposed on your ballot. It is for a one -tenth of 1 percent increase to current sales tax. This would mean that for every dollar spent your tax would be increased by one-tenth of a penny but would not apply to food or other tax-exempt items. The proposal was put on the ballot in response to the overwhelming support of keeping the Okanogan County juvenile center open and keeping the youth who need support closer to home.
Sales tax within this county is collected at about two- thirds local funds to one-third visitors from outside the county. In this way the money collected is dispersed to more people than just county residents.
The tax will be spent in two ways. The first portion will be used to fund the day- to- day operations of the facilities, an amount that is between $160,000 and $200,000 per year depending on youth population. It will not be used to pay staff wages. The second portion will go into a separate line to fund maintenance and immediate infrastructure needs of the facility including, but not limited to: updating security systems to increase youth and corrections personnel safety, increasing the number of booking rooms to two instead of the single room available today, installing more- secure doors in detention access points, and updating the HVAC system to provide for better efficiency and air quality and improve the fire suppression system.
As the infrastructure needs are corrected, part of the money will go toward the funding of an assessment of either fully renovating or replacing the existing facility to safely and efficiently house our county youth. From this assessment, plans will be made to create a facility that ensures the safety of our youth for generations more, and most- efficiently uses tax dollars to create it.
I appreciate the time you have taken to read this and hope it sheds some light on a ballot item that you will be voting on.
Andy Hover, Okanogan County Commissioner, District 2