Thanks, PPE group
For three months, Room One has placed requests for masks with the Methow Valley PPE group, a collective of volunteer sewers, who by one account have sewed and distributed 9,000 masks. We are so fortunate to have this group of community members who were dedicated from the beginning to assuring that essential workers and vulnerable community members could have the protection they needed. And they have an incredible collection of fabrics! Room One has remained open throughout the COVID crisis as an essential service for those in need. Being able to offer masks to clients coming through the door has meant we could keep working safely. Thank you, Methow Valley PPE group — we could not have done it without you!
Kelly Edwards, Room One, Twisp
I want to thank Shelley Smith Jones for her wonderful article on June 10 on four African Americans who taught us so much about black culture and what it is like to be an African American. I could never walk in their shoes but I could understand considerably more from my many years of conversations with them. By the way, Hilda loved the Methow and was a regular visitor.
Croil Anderson, Winthrop and Seattle
Thanks from PPE team
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of valley residents organized to provide a mechanism for sewing, collecting and delivering face masks to health care providers, businesses, and individuals in dire need of protection. Methow Valley PPE was born. Free masks were made available locally and quantities were delivered from Mazama to Pateros.
In late March, eqpd gear joined the effort. As a small factory, they were able to provide kits that expedited home-sewn mask production. By the end of June, 9,000 masks will have been donated through Methow Valley PPE efforts.
Since March, much has changed. Masks are now readily available, including from the local manufacturer eqpd. The efforts of home sewers are no longer urgently needed.
Therefore, Methow Valley PPE is taking a break, until — if and when — needed again. The website will remain, but inactive. After the weekend of July 4, the baskets of free masks will be removed, as will collection boxes. If you have masks you’d still like to donate, please do so before the Fourth of July. The email account firstname.lastname@example.org will be monitored sporadically, but will remain in place.
Research has shown that masks do help reduce coronavirus transmission, especially when all parties wear masks and practice physical distancing — the reasoning behind the new Washington state requirement to wear masks in public spaces.
A big thank you to all Methow Valley sewers, aided by the Quilting Hive in Twisp and eqpd gear at Twisp Works. Stay safe. Wear your mask.
The Methow Valley PPE Team: Joanne Hunold, Lynette Westendorf, Jonathan Baker (eqpd), Carolyn Groninger, Ann Diamond, Mary Jane Perry
Leadership on racism
I am voting for Katie Haven for District 2 county commissioner.
Recently Okanogan, Wenatchee, and East Wenatchee mayors and candidate Katie Haven spoke out with powerful statements concerning racism in our communities and the need to address this “disease.” East Wenatchee: “It would be reckless of me, as your mayor, to think that the status quo is OK.” Okanogan: “Don’t hide behind All Lives Matter. That’s a cop-out for not making it right.” City of Wenatchee: “The City of Wenatchee is committed to being a welcoming city. Together we create a community where all feel welcomed, safe, and able to fully participate in, and contribute to our City’s economic and social life. Wenatchee was shaped by people of diverse origins…” Katie Haven: “Jim DeTro’s (Facebook) page is filled with memes that attack people of color, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ community … an elected public official embracing hatred, bigotry, and racism cannot be accepted … I have learned that when faced with comments like this, it is unacceptable not to take a stance. I condemn Jim DeTro’s posting and similar public statements.”
Katie Haven knows that remaining silent is a demonstration of white privilege and won’t stay silent any longer. In her leadership role as commissioner, she will actively work to “foster an environment where all will feel welcome to speak their truth and know that someone is listening while condemning hatred and racism.” Katie has talked with community members and participated in workshops and vigils in the Methow and Okanogan. She marched with 400 to 500 county residents last week showing her support for change in how we treat non-white people.
Katie has over 30 years of Alaska Ferry System leadership experience. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation appointed her to represent marine engineers on the federal Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee for 15 years. Since 2018 Katie has attended commissioners’ meetings and knows the challenges that remain unaddressed.
Katie Haven will be a commissioner with proven leadership experience and move our county forward protecting and representing the interests of all. Support true leadership and vote Aug. 4 for Katie.
Gay Northrup, Winthrop
We can learn
As we approach the beginning of the fifth month of living under restrictions related to the coronavirus, I’m more and more aware of the toll this is taking on our community and the psychological, emotional, and economic challenges we face. As time goes on, some things may get better as we accommodate to new ways of being and relating. Other things, like financial stability, may get worse. It’s upsetting, disruptive, and confusing. It stirs all kinds of emotions.
Over 50 years ago, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross codified the five stages of grief in connection to death and we’re seeing them play out in public with the death of a way of life we’ve known. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We don’t always get to choose our circumstances, only how we accept what is really happening and decide how to respond. Everyone has different circumstances (health, wealth, and adaptability). They have a very different impact on all of us and we will all move through this process in our own ways. We need to recognize that, support each other to ensure nobody falls through the cracks, and be compassionate.
As hard as this all is, I’m also aware of a huge opportunity we have in Okanogan County to get through this and move forward not back. As the virus resurges around the state and the country, we still have a relatively small number of cases and the ability to contain the spread. To be cavalier about our few cases is to miss what has happened in Yakima County with 7,000 cases and 13 times the infection rate of Okanogan. We can avoid that and still open businesses if we all pull together and follow public health guidelines; wash/sanitize hands, social distance, and wear masks. I’m old enough to remember when cars did not have seatbelts and later what a hassle it was to have to put one on. We learned to adapt to seatbelts and saved hundreds of thousands of lives, including maybe our own. We can learn to wear masks too.
Peter Morgan, Twisp