Keep highway closed
There’s a movement afoot to keep the North Cascades Highway closed until the COVID-19 virus has subsided.
Our geographic isolation here in the valley provides us with an opportunity to protect our community as we protect ourselves and our families from infection.
Please consider contacting Mayors Ing-Moody and Ranzau, and Gov. Inslee, and ask that they support leaving the barricades in place on Highway 20 until the virus has run its course.
Richard Bailey, Winthrop
How then shall we live? In the days of coronavirus, how do we frame a response? Our answer is embedded in a deeper question — that of identity. Stripped of normalcy we find ourselves struggling at every level with who we are, and how to bring purpose to our lives.
As a nation, we ask what is our role in the world. Are we the greatest nation? How do we define greatness among many? Does it matter? The pandemic has peeled away our veneer of comfortable self-assurance. In its place, we find a shared commonality in our vulnerability and fears. Odd as it seems, this struggle may be the path to a richer place as community.
As Americans, we have a stature and uniqueness apart from anyplace else in the world. We are a country founded on liberty, and the principles of freedom and self-determination, with rights and privileges that very few outside our borders enjoy. This nation is great in size, natural resources, innovation, economic and social potential, and blessed with a diversity of culture, ethnicity and race. Our Constitution is a powerful tool. It guarantees us the freedom to have and express perhaps the greatest division and animosity towards one another not exhibited since the Civil War.
As we live in an era of confrontation, this same document compels us to exercise the privilege of self-discipline; to be a country greater than what divides us, and to heal our wounds. With freedom comes rights, and those rights mean little without individual responsibility and restraint. We have a choice — be a nation divided over politics, race and gender, or find an identity as a people that gives grace in respecting our differences, and as individuals under one nation, the willingness to lay ourselves down for each other when necessary.
The greatest power in individual liberty is found in the privilege of self-denial to the benefit of our neighbor, our community and our country. That is where we ultimately find greatness. Perhaps, in the days of coronavirus, might we discover an identity forgotten?
Don Stevens, Twisp
How to stop the spread
With no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Okanogan County yet, why are people from infected areas able to travel through the county?
With fishing and camping coming up, I am also sure it will spread here. This could be stopped easily: if you don’t live in Okanogan, you cannot travel here.
Wake up people, and stop the spread.
Mitch Blackledge, Twisp
Be careful outside
Due to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of us may now have more time on our hands than usual. We want to stay healthy and exercise, and the stress relief of exercise is a legitimate part of this. We are blessed in Okanogan County with a great deal of open space. Many people are going outside to hike, run, bicycle, ski, rock climb, etc. This is fine. But be sensible. Don’t carpool and maintain social distancing when out.
Go slow and be careful! Do not get injured and overburden search and rescue, the ambulance services, emergency departments, and hospitals. They have more important things to do, even now. And in the near future their work may become much more difficult. Some of their staff may become ill and equipment shortages may develop. At that point they may not be able to attend to your sprained ankle, broken collarbone, or even head injury. And do you want to spend time in/or around hospitals anyway? Please think ahead and do your part. We have a long way to go.
I write this as an outdoor enthusiast, physician, and search and rescue member. Believe me, I am as frustrated as you are.
Michael Koerner, MD, Mazama
Stop clearing Highway 20
To help slow the spread of the coronavirus, we in the Methow Valley need to call and request/demand that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) stop clearing the North Cascades Highway. We have heard that people from outlining areas are driving to our valley to stock up on items they can’t get where they live! Opening the highway will further deplete our supplies from our stores for our people!
Leave a message for Gov. Inslee at www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/contacting-governors-office. Contact WSDOT at www.wsdot.wa.gov/region/northcentral/contact-us.
June Bartram Fitzpatrick, Winthrop