A great breakfast
The Mazama Community Center volunteers would like to thank everyone who attended the annual World Famous Mazama Pancake Breakfast on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. We realize there were a lot of choices that morning with how you could spend your time and we’re grateful that you chose the Pancake Breakfast.
This event is the largest fundraiser for the Mazama Community Center and helps pay the bills for the upkeep of this community gem. Community meetings, potlucks, movie nights, trainings, and this past year a square dance, are some of the events which are held in this building in addition to private events.
Thank you to Cascade Endurance for putting on a great Fun Run and energetic way to start the day and Bree Dillon of Motive Yoga for the after race stretching. Also thanks to the community groups which participated by staffing an information table, Okanogan County Fire District 6 (with the new brush truck), Methow Ready, and the Shaffer Museum. Also thanks to Don Nelson of the Methow Valley News, who did a great job taking pictures which were published in last week’s newspaper. We hope you will join us again next year and bring your friends.
Nancy Kuta and Gay Northrup, Co-chairs, Mazama Pancake Breakfast
Sophomores in teacher Scott Barber’s civics class at Liberty Bell High School were recently assigned to choose a “civic action” project which required the students to think how to make the world a better place, and what actions might make that possible. Several students chose to write letters to the editor on their chosen topic. Below, we are publishing some of the letters and hope to publish more in the coming weeks.
End coerced marriages
Between 2000 and 2014, at least 4,408 children were forced or coerced into marriages according to information gathered by the head of Unchained At Last, Fraidy Reiss. Many were girls wed to adult men. People have defended the practice of child marriage with excuses like “religious and personal freedom” and 17-year-olds being “nearly 18,” but even if they are “nearly 18” they are still minors and therefore legally children.
One of child marriage’s most common uses is as an escape for child predators to get away with crimes. If an adult man has sexual relations with a teenage girl, forced or not, he can be arrested for rape charges. If the girls parents let him marry their daughter, however, whatever he does to her is legal.
Even if the marriage is not a result of a rape cover-up there are still many harmful effects that marriage has on children. Children in marriages often suffer from depression, PTSD, anxiet, and complex PTSD. Other health risks include unwanted pregnancies, STDs and physical abuse, all the while the child is regularly being used by both their parents and whomever they were married to.
If it wasn’t bad enough, minors in marriages have the same rights as children living with their parents: none. If they try to leave their terrible situation, the police are legally required to track them down and return them to their home because they are a child. If an adult wants out of a marriage, they can get a lawyer and go to court for a divorce, even if there is no real reason to. If a child wants out of a marriage, however, they cannot go to court for a divorce. This means they are stuck in their marriage until they become adults, at which point the damage may have already been done.
Please, write a letter to state Sen. Brad Hawkins and ask him to push for a bill to end this terrible practice.
Ryan Desjardins, Twisp
Starting school earlier
Currently Liberty Bell High school starts at 8:24 a.m. I believe that is too late, and changing its start time to 7:24 a.m. would give dedicated students and student athletes more time after school to complete their homework and other responsibilities. This also would teach students responsibility and learn their limits on when to go to bed and when to wake up for situations with schedules and jobs.
This schedule change would give students more time after school for student athletes to practice, travel to games and spend time training. It’s very difficult for student athletes to have time in the afternoon/evening to practice, go to games, and be able to complete schoolwork and homework. This extra time in the afternoon means they could travel to games earlier and return home earlier.
This would allow students to choose to work after school and still be able to complete homework. Our school has students who have jobs after school. Some of those students use the money they earn to buy a car, insurance, save for college, or just use the money for recreation. However, there are students who use the money to help support themselves and their families. If they are able to work just one additional hour a day for five days, those students would make approximately an extra $75 a week or $300 a month. That could be the difference between being able to pay their families’ rent or not go to bed hungry. That amount of money would more than make up for having to get up an hour earlier.
This schedule change would also teach students responsibility and learn their limits on sleeping, waking up and working on schedules. Having to get up an hour earlier would not negatively impact our students and would continue to teach students how to budget their time of sleeping, waking up, planning homework, hobbies and working. I believe students would soon adjust to the new schedule, just as they currently adjust to the change from summer to the start of school in the fall.
Alex Whites, Liberty Bell High School
End advisory periods
Have you ever had so much homework that you force yourself to an all-nighter just to finish an essay that is due tomorrow? I am a sleep-deprived sophomore at Liberty Bell High School, my workload is overbearing. I am given a 45-minute class period to finish all of my work. Thursdays, that work time is ripped from my trembling hands for a mostly unrelatable advisory lesson. On behalf of the students from Liberty Bell High School, I ask that advisory lessons are put at end as they are defeating the purpose of individual work time.
Advisory period is a lifesaver for some. Internet plays an enormous role in education today. According to Edtech Strategies, 96.5 percent of homework requires internet access at home. A large amount of students do not have internet at home, or the time to finish mounds of work. For example in 2013 43 percent of children ages 3-17 did not have internet or computer access at home. When work time is interrupted, students do not have the resources they need at home.
Relatable? In a survey I sent to all ninth- through 12th-grade students at Liberty Bell, one question asked was, do you think advisory lessons are useful? In response, 80.3 percent of students replied with no, 18 percent said they have mixed feelings about advisory lessons and 1.7 perecent said the advisory lessons are useful to their everyday lives. This goes to show how little students relate to advisory lessons on a personal level.
What do students think? According to the 195 students that signed my petition, students do not feel that advisory lessons are a good use of time – 95.1 percent of students that answered no more advisory lessons to the question, if you could choose weather or not to have advisory lessons what would you choose?
To conclude, advisory lessons are thieves of student work time. They are bullies to those who do not have access to internet at home, and stressors to athletic, and non-athletic students. Therefore advisory lessons should be abolished to give students back the right to pass.
Shelby White, Twisp
Extend burn bans
Did you know that as many as 90 percnt of wildfires in the United States are caused by humans? Human-caused fires can happen because of unattended campfires, the disposal of flammable debris, discarded cigarettes and even arson.
I did a survey of my peers asking how fires have affected them and what their ideas were on prevention and protection from wildfires in the Methow Valley. The results indicated that over 90 percent of people felt that they were affected by wildfires in recent years, and 99 percent of people agreed that additional measures such as backburning, trimming and a ban on campfires were needed in order to prevent wildfires. These results proved it is a general consensus that something needs to change.
The Department of Natural Resources issues burn bans only when conditions warrant,. Due to the changing nature of weather, I propose a blanket campfire ban for the state of Washington during the months of May through September. In these summer months, tourism is substantial with campers and vacationers exploring the wilderness, often without adequate information on how to prevent wildfires. This combination of factors can prove dangerous given the high heat and low humidity that are common during this time.
The effects of global warming are lengthening the wildfire season because the high temperatures can cause forests and grasslands to become tinderboxes under the sun. Higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier spring snowmelt typically cause soil to be drier for longer, increasing the likelihood of drought and a longer wildfire season, particularly in the western United States. These hot, dry conditions also increase the chance, once wildfires are started, that they will be more intense and long-burning.
In conclusion, with an extended campfire ban, man-made wildfires would be less likely to start throughout the summer. Wildfires are considered to be a serious concern for the students in the Methow Valley. To protect our future, additional measures to reduce wildfires need to be considered.
Nathaniel Batson, Liberty Bell High School
Eliminate federal mining law
In 1872 a federal law was passed that allowed any adult to buy public land to mine and prospect for less than $5. This law is still in effect today. I would like to eradicate this law.
One reason this law should be eliminated is that mining damages and changes the land and communities around it. Mining often contaminates water sources around it, endangering the communities surrounding the site. Mining involves injecting chemicals into groundwater where metal resides. According to investigative reporter Rachel Bale, “In-situ uranium mining by nature takes place where there is groundwater. The process involves injecting chemicals into the aquifer where the uranium ore is. The chemicals leach the uranium from the rock, and the uranium is then pumped to the surface.”
This significantly affects the environment and communities residing around the mine. Much of the community’s water comes from underground aquifers which chemicals contaminate and deem undrinkable. These non-degrading chemicals are permanently damaging our public lands.
Another reason this law needs to be eradicated is that our public lands are turning private for a small sum of money. Our public land is also bought by large foreign companies taking advantage of the mining law of 1872. One of these companies is a Hong-Kong based company, Azarga Resources. This company is mining uranium in South Dakota, paying no royalties to the United States, and can legally extract and sell the minerals from public lands without paying extra to the federal government.
Mining is dangerous and is shrinking and damaging our public lands. To help change the General Mining Act of 1872, you can contact the Senate as well as the House of Representatives asking them to help by creating a bill to eradicate the General Mining Act of 1872. You can reach Sen. Patty Murray at (202) 224-2621/154, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510; or Sen. Maria Cantwell at (202) 224-3441/ 511, Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510. Contact Rep. Dan Newhouse at (202) 225-5816/1318, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.
Gretta Scholz, Winthrop
Carbon tax policy needed
Do you want to do something that would benefit the environment? Carbon pollution is harming the environment every day and making huge contributions to overall climate change. Putting a policy in place that enforces a carbon tax would be a great step in the right direction towards creating a green energy economy. To make this happen we need to write and call our representatives and make a push to pass Senate Bill 6203.
This proposed carbon tax would raise money that would create a clean energy future for Washington state. All of the revenue from this proposed carbon tax would go to grants for clean energy projects and other climate change research. Fifty percent of the revenue would go to grants for clean energy projects, 20 percent to water and natural resource related projects and 15 percent to funding energy-efficient, low-income housing and an assistance program for eligible displaced fossil fuel-related industry workers. The last 15 percent would go to rural economic development and assistance to rural communities. This would ensure that people aren’t just being charged for carbon pollution, but the money is making a difference by going into clean energy projects.
Taxing carbon in Washington would decrease carbon emissions and set an example for other states. If this bill passes we would be joining California, British Columbia, other parts of Canada and European countries who have a plan to reduce carbon pollution. If everyone joins together, these efforts to reduce carbon emissions could start to make a noticeable difference.
I understand why people don’t want the price of things like gas to rise, but if we want to stop harming the environment we need to make some sacrifices and we need to make them soon. Climate change is resulting in longer and dryer wildfire seasons, rapidly receding glaciers and shorter winters. This carbon tax policy would be a stepping-stone in the path to resolve these problems and we would be one step closer to living in a world with cleaner air and a healthier environment.
Novie McCabe, Mazama
We need a skate park
Did you know that there are many kids that prefer to do an individual sport over a team sport? We have many team sports in the valley and few opportunities for individual competition and exercise, so I would like to introduce a skate park in Twisp to offer healthy competition and just one more thing to be involved in.
When kids are active and physically stimulated with activities that interest them, they will be less likely to end up turning to bad habits like doing drugs or getting in trouble. The physical activity will also do them good in the social spectrum. A skate park would also help add to the valley offering more to do and attracting tourists bringing more business like BMX and skate shops. With increasing amounts of skaters and BMXers, a skate park could even create town events and competition like the Loup Loup Ski Bowl Freestyle Competition and attract people from all over the state just to watch and compete.
Caleb Nielsen, Liberty Bell High School