Modern and professional
Today, it may seem shocking to us to consider that, as recently as a couple decades ago, there was beer chilling in the fridges at valley fire halls, to start the refreshment immediately after coming back from a fire.
But this sort of thing hasn’t happened for a long time. It’s been a long process, and a lot of work, but our local fire protection has been modernized and brought up-to-date with society’s current expectations. Professional standards for volunteer members are required and enforced.
District 6 has standardized the truck and equipment setups between all stations, as well as policies and training. On a large emergency scene, this lets firefighters quickly find needed tools and equipment on a less-familiar engine from another station, and work safely and efficiently with each other.
Many long-time valley residents may assume that the rivalries and independence of the various volunteer fire halls of the past also continues the same today. But that is not true. While we do get a bit competitive between stations during our drills, we work together much more closely and cooperatively than previously. The motto we live by today is “one fire district, multiple locations”.
These days, house fires burn hotter and faster due to more synthetic materials in our homes. New home construction no longer uses as much solid wood, instead using many engineered wood structures that are made with a lot of flammable glues. Fighting these fires effectively means that your volunteer firefighters are spending a lot more of their time training and drilling to newer and higher standards. Like the bucket brigades of yore, the slap-dash ways of the firefighting past here are gone.
Our fire commissioners over the past 15 years or so have been the driving force behind this push for modernization and professional standards in the district. Darold Brandenburg has been one of these commissioners, and your current local firefighters support his vision and strategy for the continued improvement of fire protection and rescue services in the Methow Valley.
Dave Crosby, Volunteer firefighter, Mazama
I would like to give my support to Mayor Soo Ing-Moody in her bid for re-election for mayor of the Town of Twisp. I live outside of the town limits and cannot vote on town issues but would vote for Soo if possible. In my capacity as utility clerk for the town, I worked with Soo for seven years, first in her capacity as a council member and then as mayor of Twisp.
I have found Mayor Soo to have the interest of the town in the forefront of her actions, and she is looking into the future for my hometown. The progress made by Mayor Soo, Public Works Director Denham, and the Town Council in securing water rights, replacing aging water and sewer lines, improving our streets and making our streets safer for pedestrians with sidewalks shows a strong work ethic and a desire to make our town better.
The Twisp Town Hall is more than 70 years old. After working in the building for 23 years as the utility clerk, where I loved my job and the people I interacted with each day, I know the building’s flaws; I know it could not support an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which we definitely need. An EOC would give Twisp and the Methow Valley a secure communication base in case we have another event where power and communications cuts us off from outside help. I was there during the wildfire disasters and could see how difficult it was to manage an emergency without a working facility.
I support Mayor Soo in her request for your vote so she can continue to work towards the goals that she and the town council have set for Twisp.
I also support council members Alan Caswell and Mark Easton in their bid for re-election. They are part of the team that is working hard for the Town, and they are willing to continue that effort for another four years.
Jane Surface, Twisp
The reverent value of water on our landscape is to manicure the landscape, provide pathways of communication from mountain crest to ocean trench, flow like the blood of Mother Earth nourishing her living body.
Seasons bring about fresh new periods of time in which water in its various forms replicates an ocean beach’s pounding surf continuously transforming the landscape into a similar yet newer form. Smohalla, an Upper Columbian River Plateau Dreamer Prophet who spent two years in a newly constructed Alcatraz prison, for speaking his prophetic mind, once said to the U.S. government, “Why would I scrape my mother’s face when she gives me all I need already? Why would I cut my mother’s hair then send it to where the animals who would eat it do not live?” Smohalla spoke of the end of humanity, which he prophesized before having ever seen farming equipment; or, the way humanity, like a pounding surf, hurricane, changing season, snow melt or avalanche, brings about an everchanging landscape.
Tides change directions, thanks to the moon. Seasons change, thanks to the sun and moon. Change is multi-dimensional traveling within a linear bi-dimensional direction labeled time. Change occurs on our landscape and within us who are within bi-dimensional time. That change happens within our belief system, and that change affects metaphysical, humanistic, and material lives others not yet existing will live, multi-dimensional.
What the equatorial shifting (season) does for all of us is to allow the micro-climatic changes that take place in each of us each season to drift a bit off shore with an outgoing tide, dislodge and relocate during spring run-off, be blowing snow between mountain cirques like jets between continents. We are bags of water attached to a brain creating change at a rate unparalleled by any other metabolizing cellular structure, while also at the mercy of nature. We are to nature, less than the atoms in a grain of sand, and therein lies our purpose for humility, respect, thoughtfulness.
As we experience this changing season, may we think back to the last season asking; will it nourish tomorrow’s humanity?
Brandon Sheely, Okanogan/Twisp
Thanks for the talk
I was privileged to hear Dr. Jan Hettings teach on “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). He is the author of “The Safe King, Finding in Jesus the Leader You Can Trust.” There is also a study guide you can get with the book. He is also author of “Still Restless, Conversations that Open the Door to Peace.”
Thank you, Pastor Humiston, Lonnie Good and the church leadership for bringing Dr. Hettings to the valley. As the apostle Paul admonished us in Romans 12:2, “and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Elsie Baylor, Carlton
As the election season kicks off, it seems inevitable that rumors begin to circulate around town. As the former U.S. Forest Service district ranger for the Methow Valley, I understand how easy it is to be misunderstood or misrepresented. I know from experience that public leadership is not easy. For this reason, I offer my thoughts regarding Soo Ing-Moody’s leadership as Twisp mayor. I hope to provide an additional perspective and promote constructive dialogue.
During my nine-year tenure as the district ranger here in the valley, there have been three Twisp mayors. During that time, the ranger station in Twisp was sold and became TwispWorks, wildfires threatened the town of Twisp, and issues such as ATV access on town roads and copper mining in the Methow headwaters have directly connected the town and the Forest Service. However, only Soo proactively reached out to me as the district ranger to hear my thoughts and discuss the potential impacts to the town and its residents.
In my professional contacts with Soo, she has always been responsive, respectful, competent and humble. She is bright, visionary, and has exceptional leadership traits — which are reflected by her impressive list of awards and accomplishments. Her education and past experiences also provide her with skills and an expanded knowledge base, which benefits her decision-making. Whether in the middle of the chaos as a wildfire threatens Twisp, or sharing before our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., in support of protecting our clean water, agriculture and way of life, Soo is on top of it; putting the interest of the town and residents first. On more than one occasion, I have seen Soo demonstrate her ability to look at both short- and long-term consequences before making her decision.
While it’s easy to judge, it’s harder to understand the difficult choices that have to be made due to fiscal realities and mandatory requirements. Mayor Soo has worked many long hours in support of Twisp and our community. I hope to see her continue to build on her successes as mayor, she has my vote.
Michael Liu, Twisp
Those who follow such things, know that small towns in America are dying. Many little towns, with diminishing populations and falling tax revenues, are struggling to make ends meet.
And then there’s Twisp. Instead of a diminishing population, one of our primary problems is a housing shortage. New enterprises are opening, thriving businesses are moving to larger spaces. New homes are being built. The art and music scene is flourishing. And perhaps most noticeable, the streets are always torn up!
Did I just say that!? Well, yeah. Over the past several years in Twisp, the streets, sewers, water lines and sidewalks have been torn up a lot. It’s mostly the mayor’s fault. You see, while many little towns have fallen on hard times, our mayor has gone after the money to pay for water system upgrades, a steady flow of street projects and a host of other badly needed infrastructure improvements.
During her tenure, Mayor Soo has pursued state funding, usually in the form of grants, to the tune of more than $15 million. That’s more than twice the amount awarded to the town of Omak, a community that’s five times the size of Twisp.
That state money has allowed the Town of Twisp to carry out a long-term plan for water and sewer system upgrades, street improvements, sidewalk and trail projects, and the construction of a new, well-designed and functional public works building.
Mayor Soo was instrumental in acquiring additional water rights for the town, thereby opening the door for future development. She negotiated an affordable fire-protection agreement with Fire District 6. The town’s police force is stable and effective. The sewage treatment plant has received outstanding performance awards for three years in a row. If that weren’t enough, she has consistently maintained a balanced budget with a reserve for emergencies.
The town still has plenty to do. The long-term plan has many more future projects to complete. And for those plans to be enacted, we need a mayor with a proven ability to get things done.
When you cast your ballot in the coming election, remember those torn up streets. They are the evidence that things are getting done. Vote for Mayor Soo Ing-Moody.
John Fleming, Twisp
Don’t delay fire station
The choice for fire commissioner is straightforward. A vote for Darold Brandenburg is a vote for a new station and for our volunteer firefighters. We are very fortunate to have volunteers willing to take the time to learn how to use the equipment and fight fires for us safely and effectively. The least we can do as property owners is support the volunteers with a safe and usable central station.
Unfortunately, a vote for the other candidate is a vote for more delays on this important facility. Among the critics of the new fire station there is an idea that there is some perfect location for a central fire station. I served on the property search committee and no such perfect property exists. All the locations have some negatives. The other fantasy held by the critics is that the new station can be built for much less money. The plans for the station have been thoroughly scrubbed of any extras. The station design is what Fire District 6 needs to support the safety and training of the volunteers and to house the districts equipment. Most of the district volunteers live in the Winthrop area and respond throughout the valley.
There are very few fire districts in Washington state that are geographically as large as District 6 (300 square miles). Stevens County No. 1 (Loon Lake, Deer Lake, Suncrest) is that large with a similar assessed valuation. Their levy is $1.30/$1,000 assessed value. District 6 is $.65/$1,000 assessed value. Even when the new levy is passed by the voters, the District 6 levy will be less than the levy for Stevens No. 1, less than Chelan, and less than Leavenworth.
We live in fire country. Skimping on fire protection makes no sense to me. The critics would have you think that another delay will result in a better solution. We have put this decision off for 10 years and no better solution has been put forward. It’s time to do the right thing. Vote for Darold Brandenburg and the volunteers
Ralph Carlberg, Winthrop