How fortunate we are in the Methow Valley to have the Methow Valley News. As a longtime subscriber to the Bellingham Herald when I lived in Bellingham, I watched my local newspaper diminish in size and news content of both national and local news, and the loss of the latter meant people in the city and county no longer had journalists keeping them in touch with important issues. It also meant the loss of news that brought us together as a community.
In the magazine, The Week, March 22, 2019, there is a note in “Talking Points” that I will quote: “More than 1,400 cities and towns across the U.S. have had a newspaper close over the past 15 years. As a result, many Americans no longer have journalists serving as watchdogs on their local public officials, chronicling high school and amateur sports, or honoring the lives of local residents in obituaries. Associated Press.”
Subscriptions matter. Our local newspaper matters. Encourage your friends and neighbors to support the Methow Valley News as subscribers and advertisers.
Christine M. Kendall, Twisp
PUD is out of step
The Okanogan PUD is again putting the burden of rate increases on the backs of the smallest users and continuing to discourage conservation. It just increased the base charge by $33.72 year. This is supposedly to fund upgrades and expansion, which will mainly benefit developers and new users.
To some people, $33.72 a year may not sound like a lot. But consider the history of PUD rate increases. As recently as late 2013, a careful user with a small home could pay as little as $35/month, or $480/year. In 2013, those people saw their annual rates go up to $681, a 62-percent increase. Rates for big users (say 2,000 kWh/month) went up less than 1 percent.
With the latest rate increase, those small users will be paying $744/year. That is a 4.6-percent increase in one year — and a whopping 77-percent increase in less than six years! The 2,000 kWh/month user will see an annual increase of about 2 percent.
According to the Methow Valley News (March 13), the PUD’s reason for increasing the base rate rather than the per kWh charge is: “Changing the base rate means the impact won’t fluctuate from month to month.” What does that even mean? Our monthly bills have always fluctuated. And now they’ll always be higher. How about a more sensible approach?
Many public utilities have a graduated usage rate to encourage conservation. Seattle City Light rates are lowest for the first 300 or 480 kWh (seasonally changing), then go up significantly. That kind of rate structure all over the United States encourages conservation and thus reduces the utilities’ costs for new energy sources. Not our PUD! Up to 2,000 kWh/month, everyone gets the same rate.
Our PUD continues to be out-of-step with the times and the benefits of energy conservation, as well as ignoring the needs of lower income residents. I encourage all ratepayers to make it known that this is not what we want, and to boot out the current PUD commissioners at the next opportunity if they don’t see the light!
Randy Brook, Twisp
Thanks from Knowledge Bowl team
On behalf of the Liberty Bell High School Knowledge Bowl team, I’d like to thank several organizations and people that have supported us this past year. Each year the Methow School District administration, staff and parents donate their time to be readers, judges and timers at the school tournament. Dr. Allison Fitzgerald of the Liberty Bell Booster Club and the Winthrop Kiwanis club provided funds for the team traveling overnight to the state tournament. Katrina Auburn of Twisp Feed & Rental sponsored our awards banquet. The students always enjoy the recognition on the reader boards of Aero Methow Rescue Service and Twisp Feed and Rental, as they head to competition out of town.
The support these people give the Knowledge Bowl team each year has allowed us to have a fantastic program which can compete with some of the brightest students in Washington state.
Leverett Hubbard, Knowledge Bowl coach
Team members Nick Fitzmaurice, Lazo Gitchos, Tova Portmann-Bown, Emerson Worrell, Per Dillingham
Kudos to Methow Trails
On behalf of all the cross-country skiers who have used our trail system this winter, I just wanted to send out a big thank you to Methow Trails and their grooming team. We’re very fortunate to have such dedication that is required in making our trail system one of the best in the world and all of your hard work is much appreciated! Here’s to another great Methow winter.
Alan Sodell, Twin Lakes
Ski for Women a success
The Sixth Annual Methow Valley Ski for Women was held on Feb. 3, 2019. What a great time was had by all! The Animal Kingdom was well represented. Furry friends, dancing flamingos, singing ladybugs and three blind mice entertained the crowd before skiing. Cows, moose, bears, mice, skunks, leopards, tigers, ravens and sharks, plus many more, joined in the fun.
We would like to thank Methow Trails, the Mazama Community Club, Kevin van Bueren at Methow Valley Ski School and Rentals, the Methow Valley News, Don Ashford at KTRT, Kurt Snover and Peter Bauer for the great photography, and Room One and its board members for providing support.
Thanks to the many volunteers who helped with cookies, running the events, and to the Freestone Inn for providing the hot drinks and for continuing to offer free lunch to the participants and volunteers after the event.
Because of the many people who donated to the Ski for Women, we were able to deliver $3,700 to Room One. Thank you so much for your generosity.
Please save the date for next year’s Methow Valley Ski for Women on Feb. 2, 2020, and come join the fun. We look forward to seeing the creative costumes for the theme of Story Book Characters.
Email email@example.com if you would like information sent to you about future Methow Valley Ski for Women ski events.
The Methow Valley Ski for Women Planning Committee
Jackie Hovis, Jacquie Luke, Petra Kellie, Ken Rice, Midge Cross, Dee Christensen