Helping each other
First, I want to give a sincere “thank you” to the staff at Aero Methow Rescue Service and to Twisp Police Chief Budrow for their help with a very challenging social situation for a patient in our community. As the medical providers, our clinic staff and our case management nurse struggled to help one of our patients make the right choices about transitioning to a nursing home, Aero Methow was forced to repeatedly respond to help this individual who was not ready to leave her home and transition to long-term care. After many calls, we held a meeting to coordinate our efforts to move forward on the legal front to have the patient placed into appropriate care. The compassion demonstrated was admirable.
There is much we can all learn from this example. It is vital that we all think about the “what if I can’t take care of myself” scenario and have a contingency plan in place for how each of us would be taken care of in the event of a catastrophic medical event. There are a number of vulnerable seniors, living alone and often with scarce resources, limited financial planning and dependence on others who may be equally fragile, who need help in sorting out a plan for their care.
Our clinic team would like to encourage you to have those discussions with friends and family to plan how to manage a transition from home to a nursing home, assisted living, or full time in-home care. It is very tough to do that in a crisis and it is much better for all of us as a community if we do our part to plan ahead. If you know a vulnerable senior, please check in with them about their plan. We owe it to them to try our best to help them get a viable plan put together to avoid stretching our emergency services and police thin. We have great resources in Room One and the Lookout Coalition that can assist with this planning.
Let’s look out for each other — we can’t afford not to.
Michael Tuggy, MD, Confluence Methow Valley Clinic, Winthrop
Support ordinance change
I am writing in support of the amendment to the Westernization ordinance allowing solar panels on the roof of buildings in the W3-B3 zones as long as they are not visible from Highway 20, which is the main thoroughfare through this area of Winthrop. The W3-B3 zone has always had a more-relaxed version of the ordinance than the W2-B2 zone which covers the downtown businesses.
Anyone that chooses to walk to the back deck of my building (Winthrop Mountain Sports) would see two compressors installed on the deck for the heat pumps in the building. In the 24 years that I have been at this location, I have never been told by a visitor that the compressors negatively affected their Winthrop visit. As a business owner I would never want to see this town walk away from Westernization, nor would I ever support a variance that I feel would open the door to its destruction. I see the value of the ordinance every day. I also see the value of allowing businesses, new and old, to better handle the changing technology that the future will bring.
Rita Kenny, Winthrop
Almost daily a new lead, rumor or an actual artifact comes to light in the ongoing search by the Methow Valley Interpretive Center (MVIC) and its artifact research project. An amazing story of the past is slowly being unfolded. We can now say there were people who left atlatl and spear points here probably 9,000 years ago, even earlier. We have proof that obsidian was brought here for toolstone from Central Oregon. A cache of petrified wood tools and toolstone found its way to the valley long ago and was buried for future use. Sophisticated polished stone mauls for creating canoes and planks, fishing weights of three different varieties, hammer stones and polished adzes all have been offered by their owners for photographs or to display at the MVIC.
However, the least-seen and most valuable tool for dating is a projectile point. A projectile point is a particular treasure that can give us the relative time of its creation, a clue to trade routes, toolstone acquisition and a fill a possible gap in the peopling of the Americas.
Rumors abound regarding artifacts found long ago and stored away, treasured by their owners as part of their ranching heritage, forgotten in some barn or cellar, or have disappeared by the death of a relative or someone leaving town for other parts.
These disappearing cultural treasures are all part of a story that needs to come to light before it is lost permanently. We at the Interpretive Center are making a real effort to photograph, record and display when possible all the information we are collecting. Any persons wishing privacy can be guaranteed that. Our intent is to have at least a photographic record and description of each artifact. Not only will this greatly help archeologists, but will enhance the legacy of the Methow People who still cherish this land as we do. If you will share your stories or let us photo your artifacts, you will give your artifacts new life and be part of the disappearing prehistoric legacy of this special place. Please contact the MVIC or Rich Davis at (509) 449- 3796.
Rich Davis, Methow Valley Interpretive Center
Congressman Dan Newhouse is one of the sponsors of H.R. 3144, which would maintain the operational status quo at the four lower Snake River dams in the Columbia River Basin. These dams are bad actors for their negative effects on 13 runs of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. Newhouse says opposing the legislation is putting politics over science when it comes to improving fish recovery efforts. He seems concerned, legitimately, about possible impacts to ratepayers, but it shows he does not understand the historical record of Columbia River dam operations and the current science behind fish recovery.
This is the fifth time in over two decades that a federal judge has called for an overhaul of the Columbia River hydropower system. This recent court ruling requires that all options be on the table, including spill and dam breaching of the four Lower Snake River dams. We’ve seen this movie before. Fifteen years have gone by since new spill and other operational “fixes” ordered by the federal courts, have been tried at the four lower Snake River dams. During this time several generations of salmon and steelhead have gone through the hydropower system yet none have shown any meaningful improvement in survival to return as adults. This despite hundreds of millions of dollars invested in recovery efforts.
Newhouse chides our Democratic governor and west-side representatives for their opposition to his legislation. Could it be that they are willing to face up to the reality that without considering all alternatives, we stand not a snowball’s chance in hell of saving our Columbia-Snake river salmon and steelhead from eventual extinction?
Newhouse seems to have a blind spot when it comes to supporting dams that are a bad idea. In the case of the Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River, Newhouse is not even supporting the ratepayers. In the Okanogan PUD’s dogged pursuit of renewing the long defunct Enloe Hydropower project, Newhouse is ignoring the dubious economics of this poorly conceived hydropower project, that could end up saddling PUD ratepayers with decades of debt on the cost and operation of the dam.
Stephen Ralph, DeeAnn Kirkpatrick, Winthrop
Changes at Confluence
On behalf of the board of directors of the Confluence Gallery and Art Center, I want to extend our appreciation and thanks to Salyna Gracie, who, after three years, will be leaving her position as executive director in April.
During her tenure at the Confluence, Salyna has been a tireless advocate for the arts and our local artist community. In addition to initiating several successful programs like Artist to Artist and Make Art Work, Salyna has helped deliver more than 24 exhibits during her time at the Confluence. We all wish Salyna well as she pursues the next chapter.
We also want to announce the promotion of Sarah Jo Lightner to the role of executive director of the gallery. Sarah Jo has served as the gallery’s manager for three years. Her financial acumen, merchandising expertise and passion for supporting artists will continue to support the gallery’s mission.
For more than 30 years, Confluence Gallery and Art Center has focused on celebrating arts and culture in the Methow Valley and supporting the work of local artists. Through gallery sales, each year we return more than $85,000 into the pockets of artists in our community. We deliver programming to educate, inform and inspire the community and provide educational opportunities to kids and adults helping them explore their own artistic pursuits.
Please stop by the gallery and wish Salyna well and congratulate Sarah Jo.
Gary Ford, Board chair, Confluence Gallery and Art Center, Twisp
Solar a ‘no-brainer’
This past Wednesday I attended the Winthrop Town Council meeting. I was there as an advocate for allowing solar panels on structures in commercial areas to the south of the Methow River bridge. Those who were there certainly had themselves a time.
In my opinion, rooftop solar is a no-brainer, so the amount of enmity laid upon the solar proposal by representatives from the Westernization committee took me by surprise. It’s as if instead of rooftop solar, it was being suggested that an emu be sacrificed at high noon at the four-way stop each summer day. It’s absurd to believe that rooftop solar is an existential threat to Westernization in Winthrop. In my wildest imagination I can’t imagine a visitor being offended by a solar panel on a business outside the downtown core and over 50 businesses agree with that opinion.
I have to give a shout out to the spin that was spun by the representatives of the Westernization committee. Using disingenuous parables to portray those who choose to challenge the code as children, simpletons or miscreants disinterested in the rule of law, was a crazy funny usage of the evil genius gene. I’m quite sure if I ever decide to mount a political run against someone smarter, more qualified, worthier or with a fresher voice, I want these people propping up my campaign.
Whether you believe solar is the future or a stepping-stone towards the future, it represents in either scenario a path forward. Strong communities with foresight look towards and embrace the future. Weak communities? Not so much. It’s my hope that Winthrop chooses the future.
Andy McConkey, Winthrop
‘Thanks’ to Newhouse
I appreciate Congressman Dan Newhouse’s clear support of the Methow Headwaters mineral withdrawal, including his call for swift action on completing the withdrawal process (Methow Valley News, March 7). His involvement and recent actions benefit the entire Methow Valley: not just those us who live here, but all of those who like to visit.
Support for the withdrawal has united local businesses and our community in recognizing that large-scale mining in the headwaters seriously threatens the rare ecology of our valley, and the entire rural landscape that is critical to our local economy. By adding his voice in support of the Methow Headwaters mineral withdrawal, Rep. Newhouse is helping ensure that our farms, fish, local businesses and way of life continue to thrive.
While there is much to be done to finalize the withdrawal, having strong bipartisan support moves us closer to ensuring our valley’s future as we know it. Thank you Rep. Newhouse and all of you who have supported this important effort.
Sam Lucy, Bluebird Grain Farms, Winthrop