I usually have a lot of reasons to say “thank you” every week — to my staff, advertisers, contributors, supporters, vendors, and the community at large — all of whom have a vital role in making what we do possible.
Last week was an especially good time to feel and express gratitude. Two readers sent encouraging notes that included checks to support the newspaper’s operation. We haven’t sought that kind of direct contribution, so the unsolicited gestures were particularly moving.
And, a friend donated funds to support a local nonprofit’s important work, with the stipulation that some of the money be used to buy advertising in the Methow Valley News. It’s an amazing gift.
I’ll add those blessings to the earlier offer by Zumiez to buy four full pages of advertising in the paper, promoting the Spend a Ben campaign.
There are a lot of worthy causes to give money to these days, so I am mindful of how special these serendipitous gifts are. The generosity of this community, and the people who love it, never fails to humble me.
Tangentially related, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback for last week’s admittedly unusual column. I also received a phone call from a subscriber on “the coast” who is a devotee of the Methow Valley and a solid supporter of President Trump. He was, shall we say, disappointed in the column’s tone. But he was courteous, articulate, and, as I told him, seemed like a reasonable guy. I admire him for taking a direct approach and being willing to have a conversation, instead of just unloading on me. I encouraged him to write a letter to the editor. I hope he does.
That said, I stand by the sentiment of last week’s column. In fact, I thought I was being polite. The staggering failure of this nation’s leadership to responsibly address the coronavirus pandemic must be pointed out and commented on, loudly and often.
Words are important, but action is critical. Over the past couple of months the valley has adapted with equanimity and resourcefulness to what in retrospect will be seen as one of this country’s biggest historic challenges. It has been impressive.
I do worry about pandemic fatigue. We still have a long way to go before we come to terms with COVID-19 rationally and effectively, and there will be setbacks.
Uncertainty is the only certainty we have at the moment. Taking the long view — past the personal inconveniences, past the ghastly mortality figures, past an economy in shambles that will need rebuilding, past the political divisiveness — is the only thing that will save us, and the most difficult path to follow. How we get through this will be as important as that we get through it.
For the past three years, the Methow Valley News has, in partnership with the weekly Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune in Oroville, been the newspaper of record for the county government’s legal advertisements. It has been a significant source of revenue for the Methow Valley and Oroville newspapers and we were grateful for the business.
The legals contract is up for renewal through a competitive bidding process every year. The bid documents require detailed information about each newspaper’s operations. This year, the county commissioners awarded the contract to the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle, in a second round of bidding after the Chronicle’s original bid was rejected. The other bidder in the second round, along with the Methow Valley News and the Oroville paper, was the Wenatchee World.
We’re disappointed, but we accept that it’s a competitive process and the commissioners have to make what they believe is the best choice for their constituency. We have appreciated working with the county and believe we’ve done an excellent job of meeting the contract’s terms.
In the past, the Chronicle has editorialized against the commissioners’ decisions to award the legals contract to the News and the Gazette-Tribune. We’ll just say this: Thank you, Okanogan County, for your faith in us; thanks to the commissioners for their consideration; congratulations to the Chronicle on the winning bid; and we hope to be back in competition for the contract next year.