Thanks, Dr. Charles
Dr. Jesse Charles, Thank you for sharing your experience working on the front lines of the coronavirus with us in the recent edition of the Methow Valley News. Though I’ve followed the news regarding COVID-19 and read the daily local stats with slowly climbing case numbers, your candid stories really made this more real. I teared up while reading your story of “Mr. Pullman” and his family. I imagined myself in the place of his daughter and son, and wondered how I would be feeling if I were placed in their position. Let’s hope I don’t have to find out. It’s hard for us in this isolated valley to understand the severity of this pandemic. It’s too easy to become complacent and let our collective guard up. Your personal stories are an excellent reminder to be careful out there folks!
Alieta Gregg, Winthrop
Where’s the leadership?
I don’t get to live in my hometown of Winthrop anymore. Wish I could. My Mom moved me and my two sisters to the west side so she could go back to school in order to support us. But the Methow is still home to me.
The recent influx of tourists over the long weekend — apparently not abiding by any safety measures — is upsetting. It is overly documented that we should all wear masks in public spaces because the transmission of the coronavirus is found to be mostly person-to-person.
I’m disappointed that there has not been leadership in this regard. I am wondering about the town councils, the mayors and the community leaders of our valley. I would appreciate some clarity, some guidance, some sort of protocol.
The governor of New York kinda nailed it when he said something to the effect of .. Yeah, suffering economy? Really bad. Not death. Domestic violence? Very, very bad, not death. Having to put something on to cover your nose and mouth? Not that bad. Also, not death.
It’s not right, plainly disrespectful, to the people who are living in what is essentially an isolated community, to barge in without regard for people’s health. But, if people aren’t told otherwise, honestly they are not to blame.
So to my point, why is the leadership in Twisp and Winthrop failing to act? Is there pressure from the chambers of commerce?
I do realize the valley economy is largely tourism-dependent, and I support my friends and their local businesses. But here is my point. Considering that we want to keep people safe, but, also, ensure economic health in the valley, the highest priority should be establishing safe, viable and sustainable practices for business and recreation. That includes safety measures like, “hey let’s keep each other alive.”
The people hired to do this job have been strangely quiet. Nothing on the websites, etc. What could be more important than community safety? This is literally the job people signed up for. And now, as far as I can see, are not doing anything to accomplish.
Margot Dutton, Seattle
On June 5, the Liberty Bell High School graduates will drive in procession from Twisp to Winthrop and back to the high school parking lot for their graduation ceremony. We would love for everyone to come in to Winthrop and cheer them on as they drive through town. They should arrive around 4:45 p.m. on Friday. Let’s give them a safe and lively congratulations for their 12 years of hard work.
Rita Kenny, Winthrop Mountain Sports
We gathered this Sunday at Mac Lloyd Park in Winthrop in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Many locals showed up inspired to take action against racism.
High school and college students shared that educating themselves makes it easier to educate others, and breakdown cycles of discrimination. Many of them committed to writing weekly letters to potential voters asking them to vote in the next election. A group of middle school students expressed that these days it’s totally uncool to be racist; most kids would shut that down. If they see someone bullying or acting racist, they commit to speak up, ask questions and engage the person in conversation. They feel they can be an example.
Everyone there agreed that actively being an “anti-racist” needs to become routine and practiced in the wider public. The group was unanimous in voicing that we are not “haters who have to live with ourselves,” as one Okanogan County Commissioner ignorantly projected on Facebook. We are students, teachers, parents, volunteers, business people and community members. Americans who care.
Let’s keep listening to each other and educating ourselves, so that we can speak up and make a difference for all Americans.
Kim, Asher, Camille, and Cece Odell, Twisp
Voting for anti-fascists
Last week we watched in sorrow as our country boiled over in paroxysms of pent-up rage. Nero displayed his indifference to the burning of Rome by playing his fiddle. President Trump displayed his indifference to the burning of America by jetting off to play golf. Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the FBI would hunt down the agitators causing the violence: Antifa. Huh?
I had to look up that word, having never heard of this new threat to Western civilization. It turns out this isn’t a group per se, but a political position which is anti-fascist. So does that mean that the Trump administration is pro-fascist? This is very confusing.
President Eisenhower was clearly anti-fascist when he organized the Normandy invasion to destroy the Nazi/Fascist Axis powers. Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Bush Sr. were also anti-fascists when they joined the U.S. Navy to fight the Japanese fascists who attacked us at Pearl Harbor. My uncle “Frenchy” became a lifelong anti-fascist when he landed on the shores of Iwo Jima in the first wave of assault boats.
You can bet I will be voting on election day for anyone who is anti-fascist and against anyone who is pro-fascist.
Michael Sarratt, Twisp
It goes without saying that in times of stress and change, good leadership is more important than ever. Our county’s Board of Commissioners has largely taken their role seriously while grappling with the challenges that this public health crisis has presented.
However, the recent words and actions of one commissioner, Jim DeTro, have been so uninformed, divisive and repulsive that I am moved to write this letter. According to the Methow Valley News, DeTro was “outraged that people attending a Board of Health meeting had been asked to wear a mask, likening it to Nazi Germany.” The ignorance and insensitivity in that statement absolutely stunned me. This morning, while perusing social media, I see a post from DeTro showing a photo of a blood- and gore-splattered truck, and the words “Just drove through Minneapolis, didn’t see any protesters.”
Is this just a conservative-leaning person expressing his well-considered opinions about the major issues facing society? Is this the way a leader brings a diverse citizenry together in difficult times? No. The only thing about this situation that resembles Nazi Germany is that most people simply shrug off the hateful actions and words of men in positions of power, and don’t see or understand the danger that lurks on our doorsteps. As the son of Holocaust survivors, I know first hand what this can lead to. If we are to succeed as a society, we all need to step up and work for solutions that respect all.
George Schneider, Twisp
The disgusting Facebook posting of a picture showing a semi truck smeared with blood and bearing the caption “Just Drove Through Minneapolis — Didn’t See Any Protesters” generated an outcry for County Commissioner Jim DeTro’s resignation this weekend. Hours later, a semi truck actually did drive through a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis (investigation underway).
Thus one more elected leader in our country has shown not only a calloused attitude toward continuous and repeated human suffering, but also the poorest judgment imaginable at a critical time in our nation’s history.
Who bears the responsibility? There are many opinions, but my question is this: who elected these leaders, men who had made no secret of racist beliefs and had publicly displayed poor judgment on social media long before we elected (or re-elected) them? Chosen by the voters of this county in 2018 over a worthy candidate, Mr. DeTro is therefore not yet up for re-election. His beliefs, politics and status on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate list weren’t a secret and were publicized before the election. Think about it.
I attended a segregated elementary school in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1952. Each day I walked to a beautiful brick schoolhouse past another building with cracks in the walls and broken windows. That’s where the black kids went to school. Across the road from our housing development, a heavy rope swung from a huge tree. That’s where the neighbors said a black man had been lynched before we moved there. Many miles and years later, I settled in the Methow Valley in 1978. To my dismay, during my first year here a well-qualified black woman transferred out of the Winthrop district of the U.S. Forest Service due to threats in town to herself and her parents, who were well-liked volunteers beautifying the Forest Service compound.
Justice, racial equity and a state of peace and good health — rather than chaos and confusion — can never be taken for granted. We must know the positions of those for whom we vote and take seriously the possible consequences of their election.
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp
Wasting our time
A few days ago one of our county commissioners, Jim DeTro, posted on social media a photo insinuating violence toward the protesters in Minneapolis. Extreme violence. He has deleted the photo (I assume in embarrassment), but there are plenty of copies in the comments.
Mr. DeTro, you hold an important position for our county. You can make a difference in a positive way. I’m trying to help you realize that. It’s easy to criticize what’s wrong with various things. We can all do it. Point out the details that seem stupid.
Maybe you are trying to show how badass you are by posting such things. Yet, when you have been asked to wear a mask for protection against the virus you’ve likened it to being in Nazi Germany (more than once). Really, Nazi Germany? I wear a mask when in public. It’s not a big deal for a short duration. It does become a bit more of a challenge for a full work shift, but you can get used to wearing one. I think
I’ve picked up on some people seem embarrassed to wear a mask, or even emasculated (?). It’s a health-related purpose to wear a mask. What’s the big deal?
Maybe you just like to benignly invoke extremes to get people’s attention. I admit it has gotten more difficult to get people’s attention. You have to say over-the-top things.
My point is, Mr. DeTro, if any of these reasons pertain to you, if you can’t contribute a mature constructive voice to our public dialog, please give up the job, resign. You are wasting our time being a commissioner, when better things could be done by someone else in your position.
Buddy Thomas, Twisp