A mere seven years ago, my wife and I moved to the Methow to make it our full-time residence. We were initially drawn to the valley by the amazing recreational opportunities and quieter lifestyle. However, I knew that as a serious introvert I needed to make connections in the community or risk the possibility of becoming a hermit. So, I contacted Cindy Button to explore opportunities to volunteer with Aero Methow Rescue Service.
My expectations were modest. I expected to help around the quarters, perhaps wash ambulances, doing the day-to-day tasks so staff could be out saving lives. Those expectations were short-lived as I quickly learned that volunteering for Aero Methow was about being a full member of the team. Hence, I became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and along with other volunteers have been first-responders for a broad range of medical and trauma emergencies in the valley. I have been asked, “What is your most memorable 911 call?” The answer that most folks expect to hear is that I single-handedly saved a life! However, the truth is that my most memorable 911 calls have been those where I had an opportunity to hold the hand of a hurt and very scared person, where I could provide comfort, compassion and support for my patient and their family during a terrifying time.
Clearly not everyone is called to be an EMT, but each of us has been uniquely gifted and have passions that can be easily shared with others. The breadth of volunteer opportunities in our valley is as broad as the beautiful mountain sky. For the many folks who have volunteered throughout the valley, thank you for all you have done. For those who have yet to volunteer, I encourage you to seek out how you may share your life passions to provide a helping hand. The big bonus of volunteering is not what we give as volunteers, but what we receive back. I guarantee it will put a smile on your face! What is your volunteer calling?
Chuck Timchalk, Winthrop
It’s our river
Enloe Dam is a structure without a purpose. Decommissioned in 1958 due to the high cost of the energy produced by its powerhouse, this 55-foot high concrete structure has blocked upstream migration of anadromous fish for 100 years. Upper Columbia River steelhead, Pacific lamprey, and bull trout are native species now in such low numbers that they are protected under the Endangered Species Act. During 2019 fewer than 3,000 Steelhead swam upriver of Wells Dam. No Pacific lamprey or bull trout navigated the fish ladders at Wells Dam.
According to the scientific river study conducted in 1984 by IEC Beck Consultants, Richland, B.C,. for the Bonneville Power Administration, over 100,000 Steelhead could spawn in the 350 miles of habitat available upriver of Enloe Dam. Bull trout and Pacific lamprey recovery would also improve with this new habitat.
Even though the PUD has abandoned all plans to generate electricity at Enloe Dam, the utility plans to leave Enloe Dam in place continuing to marginalize the river. To do so, $4 million to $6 million will be spent over the next two years installing a new control gate and steel pen stock on the right buttress of the dam. These new components will be used to dewater Enloe Dam for a dam safety inspection lasting two or three days. Experts will examine the dam face, foot, toe and attachments to the adjacent bedrock. Why does the PUD feel compelled to sink more funds into Enloe Dam, essentially out of Okanogan County ratepayers pockets? Sound or not, this dam should be removed.
Our PUD is aware of dam removal funding available from federal and state agencies charged with salmon and steelhead recovery in the Columbia River Basin. If the PUD showed interest in dam removal, there would be multiple agencies willing to cooperate technically and financially. Enloe Dam has been obsolete for nearly 60 years. We need more abundant fish in our waters, not higher and higher electric bills. Contact your commissioners and share your opinion.
Joseph Enzensperger, Oroville
The Christmas Dinner at the Winthrop Barn was enjoyed by approximately 165 folks from the valley again this year. Sixteen volunteers from the community and the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association started cooking at 7 a.m. and served dinner between noon and 2 p.m. on Christmas Day. We cooked six turkeys, three hams and 35 pounds of sweet potatoes, along with plenty of other donated foods and deserts. Everyone had plenty to eat.
On behalf of the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association, I would like to thank Cinnamon Twisp, Lariat Coffee, The Cove, Winthrop Thriftway, Methow Valley Industrial, Hank’s Harvest Foods and The Winthrop Barn for their generous donations. Donations are what make this event possible and successful. I would also like to thank all of the volunteers that provide the time and hard work necessary to make this a fun and successful event. It amazes me at how much work is required by events such as these, and our community has so many events similar to this every year. It says a lot about the generosity of the people of the Methow Valley.
Thank you to everyone.
Christmas Dinner organizers
Methow Valley Snowmobile Association
Beaver books to read
“Eager, the Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter” is a best-selling book by Ben Goldfarb, which stars the Methow Valley, Kent Woodruff and John Rohrer. The next book I’m ordering is “Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver,” by Francis Backhouse, from Canada.
Their stories have long needed to be told in the popular press, as I discovered over my long career in the outdoors. The examination of beavers’ interaction with our expanding population of wolves is especially timely. The geomorphological and ecological effects of beavers and wolves, as told in my “Ski Trails” book, is at last and thankfully getting help for a wider audience of readers.
Eric Burr, Mazama
Get the facts
As I watch the snow falling gently this morning, fire season seems but a distant memory. However, when I see the horrific news about Australia’s bush fires, quite possibly the worst in their country’s history, I am reminded that fire seasons around the world are increasingly dire and devastating. As we have all heard again and again, it is not a case of “if we will have a fire,” but “when.”
Okanogan County Fire District 6 knows we need to prepare for potentially bigger and more devastating fires than we have seen in the past. Now, more than ever, we need this new station and training center. The Winthrop station can’t be upgraded to comply with state safety regulations. The county needs a place where firefighters can properly train for the challenges ahead, and one that meets the state’s safety standards.
District 6 will be holding a series of open houses at all the district stations to help provide accurate information on the new construction. Winthrop and Twisp stations will have theirs on Jan. 14 and 16, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m., as well as Jan. 18 from 9-11 a.m. Carlton and Mazama stations will be holding theirs on Jan. 15 from 5-7 p.m. and Jan. 18 from 9-11 a.m. We invite everyone to come and learn the facts.
The commissioners will also soon be deciding on whether to ask voters for a bond or a levy to help fund this station, and they are requesting citizen input. There will be a special meeting to discuss the planned station construction on Jan. 29, 7 p.m., at the Winthrop station. If funding gets voter approval, the district will receive a $1.8 million grant from the Betti Foundation. This will pay for such things as a multi-purpose training room, a training materials library, living facilities for a small number of trainees, and will also provide an ongoing endowment to support a lead trainer and recurring training programs.
Come to the open houses and the special meeting. Bring your questions and your input and participate in this important decision for our community.
Karen Mulcahy, Winthrop
Why no questions?
Why has no one questioned the immunity that the Department of Justice claimed kept them from prosecuting Trump for collusion? They said they had the evidence, they could prove his guilt, but he had immunity. Republicans didn’t question it, Democrats didn’t question it, the media didn’t question it, no one questioned it. Why?
According to the “law,” if you cheat in the Presidential election and win, you can’t be prosecuted. Do you really believe that is the law in the United States? Who passed that?
Presidential immunity is not in the Constitution. Look it up. The Constitution says the President can be impeached for “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors,” but it doesn’t grant immunity from any prosecution. The Constitution grants Congress immunity from prosecution for actions taken while in session, but nothing for the President. Collusion was not included in the articles of impeachment. Does the “immunity” also apply to impeachment?
Why hasn’t it been questioned? It appears to be an easy out if the investigation really found no evidence, but why aren’t Republicans screaming cover-up? If Trump actually cheated to win the election he should be removed from office and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. All Americans, regardless of party should want that. Cheating the election process is not protected by law.
Is it possible that the investigation really did find something, but neither Republicans nor Democrats want the truth to be known? That would explain why both sides are not questioning the immunity, but it doesn’t explain why the media hasn’t questioned it. Benjamin Franklin said that a “free and vibrant” press was necessary to protect our freedom. TV news is entertainment, and newspapers are dependent on government tax breaks to keep them in business. Why hasn’t the immunity been questioned?
Mike Newman, Twisp/Sedro-Woolley