There are similarities between National Forest logging plans in Idaho and Washington, as noted in recent news coverage.
The Mission Restoration Project (MRP) was developed in Washington’s Methow River watershed in 2015 using the same wording as was used in the Idaho Payette Forest project, with the only difference being location; that was the response to consumptive users’ lobbyists. It only differs by its amendment of the Forest Plan as part of an altered approach, while avoiding an Environmental Impact Statement.
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, with the legal representation of Claudia Newman, has responded to the opposition of those concerned about Methow watershed natural resources by filing a 60-day intention to go to court to block the MRP. The MRP shares other similarities to the Idaho Forest project with its intention to help pay for some environmental restoration after the logging activity degradation, but it will be a money-losing proposition for the public.
Don Johnson, Libby Creek Watershed Association
Don’t be confused
A letter to the editor in the Dec. 4 edition of the Methow Valley News made reference to an American College of Pediatricians statement that successful sex education has a foundation in abstinence. As health care professionals and other concerned citizens of the Methow, we feel that it is important to clarify that the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) is not the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The AAP was founded in 1930 and is the largest organization of pediatricians in the country, with 67,000 members. The ACP has less than 500 members and was founded in 2002 specifically to oppose same sex marriage and same sex couples raising children, and has gone on to spread misinformation regarding reproductive health care, advocate gay conversion therapy (which has been thoroughly debunked and is proven to be psychologically harmful), support corporal punishment of children, and support abstinence-based sex education.
Abstinence-based sex ed, recently rebranded as sexual risk avoidance, has been proven not to achieve stated aims. Young people exposed to this form of education do not delay age of sexual initiation and they are less likely to use condoms and other forms of contraception, thereby increasing risk of unplanned pregnancy and STI transmission.
The ACP should not be confused with a reputable source of health care information based in medical science. The AAP has been the leading source of pediatric and adolescent health care information for decades. And in case you were wondering, the AAP supports comprehensive sexual education, which includes sexual reproduction, anatomy, sexually transmitted infections, sexual activity, consent, sexual orientation, abstinence, contraception, and reproductive rights and responsibilities.
Blue Bradley, ARNP; Jesse Charles, MD; Amanda Davis, RN; Tory DeSalvo, ARNP; Phoebe Hershenow, ARNP; Katherine Kirner, ARNP; Kathleen Manseau, ARNP; Danielle Micheletti, P-AC; Adrianne Moore; Megan Schmidt, PsyD; Mike Tuggy, MD; Jim Wallace, MD; Allison Fitzgerald, MD; Kelle Ronnfeldt, ARNP; Leesa Linck MD, MPH, FAAP (fellow of AAP); Adriana Vanbianchi, RN
Stop jailing kids
Did you know that over one in five juvenile detention admissions in Okanogan County are for children without any criminal charges?
In May, the state Legislature passed a new law to partially eliminate the exemption that allows judges to jail children without any criminal charges.
I am a graduate student at the University of Washington researching noncriminal juvenile incarceration. Washington needs to stop locking up noncriminal children altogether. The new law might be a first step, but it cannot be our last.
Washington courts are mandated to hear every At-Risk Youth (ARY) petition and truancy petition, filed by parents and schools against children who run away from home, skip school, or otherwise misbehave without breaking any laws. Judges can set court orders that children follow rules such as keeping a curfew, attending school, and obeying their parents. Violating a court order can lead to a contempt of court finding and, until 2023, jail.
Research from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy in 2000 and 2010 found that involving the courts in truancy cases had no impact on school attendance and in fact increased academic failure and future crime. Similarly, the Washington State Center for Court Research found that truant youth who had to go to court did not have improved attendance, got worse grades, and had higher dropout rates.
Even as the new law eliminates a loophole for incarcerating noncriminal youth, it establishes another one. The new law will still allow courts to jail some noncriminal youth and will take four years to go into full effect. Even after the court order exemption is fully eliminated, judges can still lock up children in facilities “defined as secure juvenile correctional facilities.” To be sure, some juveniles’ behavior presents such a danger to others that detention might be the only option. But youth in court for noncriminal acts like truancy or running away do not belong in that group.
Jailing noncriminal juvenile status offenders is not humane or effective, and the Legislature agrees. So why is Okanogan County still doing it, at one of the highest rates in the state?
Willa Hevly, Seattle/Winthrop