On Feb. 16, the Methow Valley received some wonderful news. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, announced the selection of 15 priority areas to receive funding to address the backlog of trail maintenance in our national forests and grasslands. The Methow Valley Ranger District in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest was one of the 15 areas named.
This bit of news was shared recently by Congressman Newhouse in his latest newsletter. He rightly mentions “Not only will this increase access to our beautiful public lands, but it will benefit local economies and create local jobs.” I’m not sure how many local jobs will be created but it will certainly benefit our local economies.
For those of you who don’t receive Congressman Newhouse’s newsletter, here are a couple more quotes. “As you may know, the National Park Service manages and maintains all of the National Parks throughout the country, but NPS currently faces an enormous maintenance backlog, which negatively affects the public’s access to roads, trails, and visitor facilities.” Also, “Being named a priority area means the Methow Valley Ranger District, which is widely used by recreationists, families, and visitors from out of state, will be on top of the list for improvements as NPS works to clear its backlog.”
Congressman Newhouse seems to be shockingly unaware that the National Park Service has nothing to do with the announcement made by Secretary Perdue.
Perdue is Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service is one of the USDA’s agencies. On the other hand, the National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior, headed by Ryan Zinke. The announcement of the Methow Ranger District being one of the 15 finalists comes from the Dept. of Agriculture, not the Dept. of the Interior.
Hmm. I wonder how many of Newhouse’s other statements are filled with misinformation?
Patti Nordby, Winthrop
Reason to hope
Last week I received an email from friends who volunteer regularly at a preschool in Washington, D.C. They wrote: “The children there have not been allowed to go outside for recess to play due to the number of shootings occurring there and they have to check in with the police daily before considering taking the children out to the playground.”
How have we reached a point where children must live in daily fear for their lives in the capital of our country?
We can blame the politicians, mostly Republican but also many Democrats, who think that bowing down to the NRA is more important than children’s (and adults’) lives. Seventeen students and teachers were just killed in Florida. Florida politicos respond: Tweet, tweet, “sending our thoughts and prayers,” but we’ll still keep taking millions of dollars from the NRA. From Trump: Tweet, tweet, “very sad, [but it’s the FBI’s fault].”
The United States experiences an average of nearly one mass shooting per day every year. Virtually anyone can obtain rapid fire or automatic weapons. The total number of gun-related deaths in the United State from 2005 to 2015 was close to 300,000. Yet to the NRA and the politicians it pays, unlimited gun ownership is more important than any number of innocent lives lost.
We can blame an activist, conservative Supreme Court that decided in 2008, by 5-4, that the first phrase of the Second Amendment should be ignored in modern times. That phrase reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,…”.
Most important, we have to acknowledge the failure of our older generations for allowing the politicians to maintain our culture of gun violence.
Still, there is some hope. A younger generation is realizing that if we won’t do anything about gun violence, they have to do it themselves. Students are demonstrating and making their voices heard across the country.
Tax cuts for billionaires won’t make our country great. A safer future for our children will.
Randy Brook, Twisp