By Sarah Schrock
The only thing that is constant is change. Someone famous said that, or at least I think it’s famous. As I review my 2017 columns, some themes emerge that expose both subtle and dramatic changes over the various landscapes across Twisp this past year.
The year began with an exceptional display of activism in the political landscape. The changing of the guard with the election spurred local activism that fell in line with national trends. The Methow Valley Community Center hosted town hall gatherings targeting Congressman Newhouse, while hundreds of marchers took the streets for the Women’s March, and again for the Climate March. Local efforts to protect public lands and roads, clarify water rights restrictions, protect access to health care and address affordable housing made a lot of noise in 2017 and are ongoing.
Political activism gave way to local action on the ground, resulting in the transformation of our urban landscape. We celebrated the dedication of the community plaza and splash pad as new public spaces at TwispWorks, the inauguration of Methow Housing Trust and its purchase of the Canyon Street property, and the dedication of the first link of the Twisp River trail. Twisp officials should be proud of their public works projects like new sidewalks on Twisp Avenue and out the highway to Blue Star Coffee Roasters. Similarly, private businesses and property owners took pride in their properties, renovating and cleaning up visible eyesores. The demolition of the Blue Spruce Motel, the removal of the elevated Model A, and the takedown of the fuel silos have changed the skyline and views of town.
The business landscape saw some notable changes too. Most recently, the new location of La Fonda Lopez is now open for business offering an expanded menu and lots of room. The retirement of Filer Plumbing, the end of Valley Video, and closing of Motion Auto are emerging with new businesses like the Old Schoolhouse Brewery Taphouse, Local Blend and Pinetooth Press, highlighting the never-ending cycle of life and death that runs through the business landscape.
The year saw the end of life for some remarkable personalities, leaving behind a legacy of love and care. James Donaldson’s and Rayma Hayes’ passing held heavy the hearts of many during the winter months, only to emerge in celebrations of life during the spring bloom. Babies are now held in care at Little Star South’s new care facility, a dream of Rayma’s fulfilled — providing much-needed infant care for working families.
The Great American Eclipse was thankfully met with a pocket of clear skies across the nation amidst an otherwise darkened summer of smoke-filled skies, obscuring our natural landscape. Many felt robbed of our precious summer that kept us indoors. The smoke blanketed our skies and our attitudes with feelings of desperation; those who could fled the valley for cleaner air. Those who stuck around and floated the river to cool off reported unprecedented levels of river trash. Thanks to local river keepers and Good Samaritans, like the Slostad family, much of the refuse was picked up.
During that darkened time, our editor, Don Nelson, fell desperately ill and we all waited nervously for his return to health. The paper was orchestrated and published by the dedicated staff along with some extraordinarily talented volunteers who stepped up to the plate. Thank you Methow Valley News staff, for the extra effort each week without our fearless leader at the helm.
While change is assured, some continuity exists providing fodder for this column and filling our needs for public life. Events like the Fly-in Breakfast, Santa’s pancake feed, holiday concerts, The Merc performances, the Trashion Show, TwispWorks events and Arts Fest, to name a few, represent the myriad of outstanding organizations that make this town buzz.
Meanwhile, more private gatherings continue to bring individual friends and cohorts into weekly rituals forged by common values. Church services, book clubs, senior lunches, yoga classes, and even board meetings sustain many of threads of social fabric with continuity (and more personal content for my column). Library on-goings are still ongoing, the birds keep coming and going, and every Monday morning I write this column.
New changes are on the horizon for me, but I will wait to reveal my new prospects until a later date. In the meantime, we need to get the Mazama beat going! Ashley, Joanna and I are happy to go on-and-on with our ramblings, but an extra 500 words from the upper valley would help us sleep a little better each Sunday night. Good tidings for the New Year, may you all see the changes you seek!
A final note: My neighbor Mary Bean turned 103 this week, and was feted at numerous local gatherings. Meanwhile, her driveway has been busy with a steady stream of visitors wishing her a happy 103rd!