Some corrections needed
I must take serious objection to the statement in a recent letter from the Methow Valley Citizens Council that “… the County lacks a comprehensive plan and has been allowing unplanned development that has no access to water.” The statement ignores the fact that in 2014 Okanogan County adopted a detailed update of its comprehensive plan. That plan retained the “Methow Valley More Completely Planned Area” and “Methow Valley More Completely Planned Subarea” retaining the local vision for the Methow Valley adopted more than a decade before.
In 2016, the county adopted a detailed zoning ordinance implementing the comprehensive plan and putting into place the tools to implement the vision. That zoning ordinance (now codified as section 17A of the Okanogan County Code) and related environmental review identified how the county’s vision and goals were to be accomplished and met all legal requirements. Here again the plan was adopted after months of hearings and input from all segments and regions of the county.
At this same time, the state Supreme Court implemented a number of decisions pertaining to county responsibility to regulate exempt wells at the platting and building permit level (Yelm and Hirst), and the county promptly implemented a new regulatory scheme to put those requirements in place.
The Citizens Council and its west side environmental guru, Futurewise, are free to advocate for more restrictive rules if that is what they desire. But they should do so with the acknowledgement that that County Planning Commission and prior commissioners spent more than four years working with citizens and other groups to craft a plan which met the requirements of state law and the requirements of the 2014 vision and its implementation.
The current commissioners agreed to take a new look to see if policy changes were warranted but that was done with the full support of the record of the prior work and not the absence of a plan or unplanned development as suggested in the council letter.
A.W. “Sandy” Mackie, County land use counsel through 2016
Why groomed trails?
When one listens to the talk about town, you hear the need for groomed trails for cross-country skiers and snowmobiles. My mind is unable to wrap around the need for groomed trails for cross-country skiers or snowmobiles, as it seems to be an oxymoron to say cross-country while using groomed trails and where snowmobiles are designed to go where other vehicles were not. After all, isn’t cross-country supposedly where trails don’t exist? I question if maybe it is because people are afraid of getting lost unless they are on a well-defined path with signs directing them to where they parked their Prius or pickup. If a person is that afraid of or is inclined to getting lost, maybe they should just stay in the safety of their living room or never venture out of their fenced in yard.
Vern Herrst, Winthrop
Crime against humanity
A friend of mind recently called to let me know of the arrest of Francisco Morales by Customs and Border Patrol. This is outrageous, so wrong, and so un-American! My husband and I own a home in Winthrop and spend a lot of time in the valley and are impressed by the community spirit that we observe. It far surpasses any other community we have been involved with. This must be so difficult for all his friends and family.
This action by Customs and Border Patrol is no small matter. For them to do this to an innocent resident, who is married to a U.S. citizen, and whose children are U.S. citizens, is a crime against humanity. As well, he has made several attempts to obtain his U.S. citizenship to no avail. It is up to all of us to stand up for what is right and just, as a community, and do whatever it takes to bring Francisco home to his family and community. I have not yet met Francisco, but I hope to meet him one day soon.
If the government can arrest Francisco for no crime, that makes us all vulnerable. This is happening all over the United States, right under our noses. “None of us are free until all of us are free” is a quote that comes to mind ! Another quote from post-war Germany is worth noting: “First they came for the socialists , but I wasn’t a socialist so I did nothing, then they came for the trade unionists, but I wasn’t that so I did nothing, then they came for the Jews, but I wasn’t Jewish so I did nothing, then they came for me, and there was no one left to defend me.”
Thank you to all who have gotten involved; here’s hoping we can build a better world by caring and staying involved in our community.
Jessica and Joe Klein, Winthrop
Cutting down on plastic
I commend Methow Recycles for encouraging people to pledge for a Plastic-Free February. I have been swearing off plastic for years. Every year my husband and I come up with new ways to ward off using the nocuous plastic. We have used our own tote bags, washable bags for bulk produce, and would never consider getting a coffee in a single-use cup, for a long time. (Did you know those “paper” cups are lined with plastic?) Once you get in the habit of not using single use plastic items you find other ways to eliminate them. Ways we have reduced our plastic waste. We:
• make our own yogurt in quart glass jars. (Yes, containers can be recycled but it takes energy to produce and recycle.)
• make our own kimchi and granola.
• make our own bread and bagels.
• buy bulk items such as flour, oats, oil, nuts, etc.
• buy as much as we can in glass containers. (You can actually buy mayonnaise in a glass jar.)
• reuse as many plastic bags as we can until they cannot be used any longer.
• don’t use a plastic bag for our trash.
• compost and recycle.
We generate very little trash. We both work but find the time to make food to eliminate using plastic containers. It takes time to make changes in our habits; we have been at it for a long time.
My January challenge was to not buy anything new (except food, TP). Everything new seems to come in plastic these days. If I don’t have something I can probably find it in a second hand store. I’m going for February now; who knows, maybe I can go the entire year without buying anything new.
Start with something simple and then add to your list each month or year. Collectively, we can make a difference.
Deirdre Cassidy, Winthrop
To understand just how affected our little valley is by mental health, call around to any of the many adolescent mental health counselors in the Methow and greater Okanogan area and try booking an appointment with them. It won’t be easy, because at the moment they’re booked. The same is true for marriage and adult mental health counselors. This is a compelling epidemic that shows no signs of providing sustained recovery without pharmaceuticals, which is another reason why I’m intending to pursue this field by becoming a naturopathic doctor.
Please realize, that every difficulty in mental (M) or emotional (E) ability is a reaction, not an initial action, and then you can begin to realize there is little to no sustained recovery potential associated with attending any mental or emotional therapy (MET) that fails to regulate or bolster the underlying digestive causation. The underlying causations associated with needing or wanting corrected ME qualities, we call this therapy, are functions of the neurohormone and neurotransmitters, respectively, found in our bodies. While everyone who has ever attended a therapy session will likely declare, “something made me feel better there” that “better” feeling is now completely understood to be either the production of the neurohormone oxytocin leading to dopamine and or serotonin increases, or both oxytocin production and Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor.
Every adult person employs 5 pounds of gut biota that is responsible for turning food into ME brain power. That old saying, “you are what you eat” is close but not exact; and, the new correct saying is, you can be what you can digest. Difficulties in mood and cognition are factors associated with dysbiosis first, and psychology second, it’s true.
Brandon Sheely, Okanogan/Twisp