A few years ago, my nephews, aged 8-12, came to visit during spring break. Everything was closed and there was not much to do. No bakery, no pizza, no burgers. Ski season was over, the rink was closed, the trails were still covered in slush, biking wasn’t possible, and roads were a mess. Unlike this spring, it was wet and dreary. We tried snowmobiling, but freezing rain and a wet snowpack foiled our plan. Finally, on the last day we rented roller skates at the Methow Valley Community Center and had our own roller-skating party.
The Community Center gymnasium provided us some sort of indoor recreation, thankfully. We shot some hoops, expended pent-up energy. I can’t help but imagine if we’d had a full-scale recreation center for us to enjoy, maybe my nephews would come back to visit more often. The reality is that they are busy with their own swim meets, lacrosse games, girlfriends and jobs now. Still, I like to imagine a rock-climbing gym, workout equipment, indoor pool, billiard/game room, indoor track, pickle ball or racquetball courts, perhaps an indoor soccer pitch to enjoy.
My boys are approaching that age now, and the idea has been swirling in my head for years. I’ve started sharing it with others in some informal conversations to discuss an effort that came to pass a few years back — the formation of a recreation district. We’ve discussed the reasons the effort failed at the ballot five years ago, and we’ve discussed the merits and opportunities a recreation district would hold for the valley. The conversation continues, and we need more voices.
At a minimum, a recreation district would help equalize the burden of funding operations and maintenance of our current public facilities like the pool, the rink and trails, as well as give leverage for bigger dreams to unfold like a recreation center. If you’re interested in joining this conversation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll be placed on a mailing list and invited to ongoing discussions to explore the formation of a valley-wide recreation district.
I expect lots of people will return this week from spring break with tanned faces and vibrant attitudes after escapes to faraway places. Hawaii, as usual, seemed to be a popular destination, and lots of people got really cheap tickets. We headed down to California’s desert and paid more than some who flew to Hawaii. We had to fly mid-week because the weekend fares were cost prohibitive. Apparently, if you search and buy on Tuesday, and fly on a Tuesday, you are better off. Doesn’t it cost the airline the same to fly any day? What gives? What a racket.
The airlines have algorithms where the longer you browse the tickets online, the prices start to rise, creating a sense of urgency. Warnings like “only four seats left” and “15 people are searching this flight right now” instill a sense of panic. A friend of mine recently tried to beat the system by opening up separate browsers on his laptop and bought one-way tickets across multiple legs to Europe simultaneously with different transactions to get the cheapest prices on flights that for some reason cost more with round-trip fares. My elderly father recently got so confused and frustrated with changing prices as he searched for tickets that he finally drove downtown and walked into the local AAA office where an agent found a good ticket for him. So, it goes to show that we can beat the system with some ingenuity and a human touch. But there doesn’t seem to be anything very fair about airfare.