Time to celebrate?
Now that summer is nearing its final days, I was hoping life would be getting back to normal. I didn’t expect the continuing battle with the COVID pandemic to still be ongoing. I miss the little things.
I thought with the completion of the Miller Pit purchase last February, that maybe there would be some sort of ceremony this summer. Maybe a ribbon-cutting at the lower gate of the site and a high school marching band filling the air with the steady bass vibration of a tuba.
There could’ve been two of three county commissioners who are up for re-election this year. Nothing better than a good speech on a warm day.
They could’ve stood on a podium and bragged about their efforts fighting a hard battle to secure the supply of gravel to the lower county. They surely would’ve mentioned the intense negotiations that ended with the county only having to pay over twice the asset value of the land and how they decided not to exercise the option of getting an independent appraisal. They could’ve bragged about how it wasn’t necessary to come up with a single alternative site to use as a comparison. Time was short and a family of groundhogs could’ve moved in and snatched the site away.
Maybe there is still time for the celebration. We probably shouldn’t expect the band though. It would be too hard for the horn section with masks on.
Howard Harbo, French Creek
Thanks, again, Solveig Torvik, for bringing to the forefront my ignorance of “blind spots” in how I was taught American history. Growing up in the 1950s and coming of age in the 1960s, I was made aware of racial struggles by my Mom, who worked avidly in the Civil Rights movement. Then, as a high school teacher on a teacher workday focusing on racial issues, we watched a documentary on “white privilege,” which was a real gut punch.
Up to that point, I’d always thought I understood racism, but I realized that there is so much more to it than believing people of all races are equal. There’s a backstory that needs to be addressed and felt at a human, not just cerebral, level. As a woman, I know what it feels like to have to fight for equality. I can’t even imagine the underlying anger people of color must feel, and it’s coming out in plain sight. I don’t believe in violence or destructiveness, but I do believe it’s time to deal with this issue and am glad to see people of all colors continuing to push for justice. It’s time.
Christine Garner, Winthrop
Protect the water
The Methow River and the tributaries that feed it are the lifeblood of this valley. Without these streams, and the precious water they convey, the valley would wither into a barely recognizable shell of its former self and quickly become a less than desirable place to inhabit. As human residents of this place, we depend on the rivers, creeks, and springs for our well being much in the same way as we do the blood that runs through our veins. We, along with the countless other plants, animals, and fungi that also rely on our streams for survival, need these circulatory systems functioning well in order to survive and thrive, so doing what we can to protect and enhance their integrity is something to consider.
The clean water that flows in our streams is truly a gift and one to be grateful for. Even though water rights exist as legal documents, and can be viewed as a sort of private ownership, we are best served when stewardship of our water is something we work towards in common — in community — as it is a resource on which we all depend.
In this light, I was uplifted by the incredible response to the recent river cleanup organized through the Methow Restoration Council. Valley folk both young and old responded to the call with an amazing sense of care, pride and love for our local streams by putting forth the time and energy to get out and pick up trash. Collectively, this inspired effort added up to a significant decrease in the amount of litter that had been lying in and along our local streams and I’m convinced the river is breathing a little easier in response. Much respect!
I would add that while cleaning up litter is an important thing to do, we must also remain vigilant of the larger-scale threats to our streams and ones that can, perhaps more significantly, harm both the quality and quantity of our life-sustaining water supply. Protect our water, protect our future.
John Crandall, Bear Creek
Harmful to humanity
I am writing to comment on the disturbing trend I’m seeing in our country and unfortunately right here in our county (in some letters, and on some local “community news” Facebook pages): baseless accusations, misrepresentations, false information, and just generally nasty comments about a large segment of our United States of America. And who are these comments being made about? Oh, the “spawn of Satan, pedophilic, anarchy loving, America-hating Democrats.” Who knew that your family, friends, co-workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers, ranchers, government workers, shopkeepers, essential workers and neighbors, were perpetrators of an evil conspiracy to bring down our country! Goodness! And if you think there is any truth to that comment above in quotes, then you are part of the problem.
Could we all just take a breath and realize that having different political opinions about how our nation, state and county is governed is not a capital offense? It is a constructive mechanism, a way for opposing sides to come to a consensus on important issues that affect us all. Taking the most extreme thoughts on the political spectrum and conveniently attaching them to an entire organized group, Democrat or Republican, is to distort truth and sow confusion and misunderstanding.
We all have our political bias; I’m a Democrat and while I will heartily argue the worth of ideals that include the common good of our nation, I don’t want to demonize the opposition, but I’ll admit I get angry or frustrated or saddened when I hear or read what some folks, even local folks, say about their neighbors, what they assume about Democrats, about me. I don’t want to do the same thing to Republicans; I’m trying hard to recognize our common humanity, and that’s not always easy when I see people pushing polarization and division.
Let’s not forget that having differences of opinion about how we govern is the promise of this nation. Let’s have respectful, spirited discussion of factual policies and issues, not made-up conspiracy theories bandied about for political gain, theories that assume the worst of folks who have different views — and bring out the worst in those who are perpetuating those theories. It’s harmful to our shared humanity.
Sandy Vaughn, Oroville
A letter opposing the Mission Project claimed “hysteria around wildfire” is being promoted. No, awareness of the risks we face is what is being promoted. After studying watersheds, rivers and landscape ecology (including fire ecology) in graduate school I pursued a career in natural resources. My goal was to reconcile the human use of resources with ecosystem protection. Now, my “mission” is to avert the catastrophe cued up by the combination of unhealthy forests and climate change. This is not hysteria; the science verifying both is abundant. It is difficult to fathom that some don’t take this seriously, even after our experiences with extreme fire since 2014.
The Methow Valley is Ground Zero for wildfire risk, with three of the 10 most-at-risk communities in the state. The good news is that recent research shows that fuel reduction treatments affected the behavior of the Carlton Complex Fire and provides new information about the effectiveness of various treatments.
Where conditions allow for low-intensity ground fire I wholeheartedly support the suggestion to “allow more natural ignitions to burn.” The trouble is, those conditions generally only exist where fuel reduction treatments have been implemented. That is why I support the Mission Project. Letting fires burn under current overstocked conditions will destroy our forests. Like the naturally ignited Carlton Complex did.
What seems irrational is fixating on ecosystem components. For instance, ”deer cover.” Have the Mission opponents asked whether the availability of cover is limiting mule deer populations? Dense cover usually means little food, so balancing the availability of both food and cover is crucial to maximizing habitat. “Patchiness” on multiple scales — which the Mission Project will increase — is a characteristic of productive, diverse ecosystems. Continuous dense cover is like a house that is all bedrooms and no kitchen.
Starting as a tree planter in my 20s, and throughout my career, I have worked in these beautiful, damaged ecosystems. I understand human actions can be very destructive. But they can also be regenerative. These systems will heal from whatever shortcomings are part of the Mission Project. But from destruction by extreme wildfire? Maybe not.
Gina McCoy, Winthrop
Coming Home, COVID Style
Last October we opened Homestream Park with a joyous gathering in what we hoped would become an annual “Coming Home” celebration, marking the return of our Methow salmon and honoring the native people, past and present, who have lived in this valley for thousands of years. While COVID is preventing us from having a large community gathering this fall, each of us can still find our own way to mark the occasion.
The salmon story is one that inspires purpose, resilience and hope, at a time of such great challenge and uncertainty in our turbulent world. And as we honestly examine the profound social and environmental injustices upon which much of our society was built, including right here in the Methow, it is with this same sense of purpose, resilience, and hope that we work toward a more equitable future.
So come visit Homestream Park this fall with these thoughts in mind. Maybe you’ll see a salmon splashing its way up the narrowing channel. Or you’ll sense the presence of the Methow spirits that have come home to a welcoming place. Take time to pause and observe, to feel. And smile, knowing there is still so much joy ahead of us!
Cathy and Phil Davis, Winthrop
Choose a unifier
As the time approaches to choose and vote for America’s local and national leaders, I’m concluding that one of several essential characteristics required would be as a unifier. I watched both party conventions last month, and I was encouraged when Joe Biden stated he would work just as hard for those of us who didn’t vote for him, as he would for those who did vote for him. The message was of unity, inclusion and support. That got my attention.
In contrast, I’ve been discouraged by our current president who has openly encouraged disunity. I disagree that certain communities of people with different skin tones, economic backgrounds, party affiliations or world views need to be feared, put down or mistrusted.
The great majority of us prefer peaceful neighborhoods and the rule of law. Our current president seeks to stir up emotions, then secure order by threatening force. Most of us know that real order and prosperity will come when all of us feel included, trusted, respected and supported.
Sowing division and fear, putting individuals and groups of people down, and corrupting long-respected institutions are the time-tested tools of dictators whose primary mission is to stay in power. To the delight of other nations who look forward to the continued fragmentation of our country, division and distrust make us weak, and less capable of meeting the great economic, health, justice and environmental challenges of our time. This is the United States. Please strongly consider voting for unifiers this November.
Andy Jones, Tonasket
Moore in the 12th
I feel so fortunate to have been invited to help out with the Adrianne Moore’s campaign for state representative for the 12th District.
Why? Because it gives me such hope that energetic younger people in our country care so much about making a difference that they are willing to put their own lives on hold while they and their teamwork tirelessly to gain support for what they see as basic needs and rights for all Americans. That’s the Moore campaign in a nutshell.
In the recent past, Adrianne worked with Room One helping to provide critical social services for our neighbors. Also remarkable was her leading the disaster recovery efforts in Okanogan County for families who lost their homes and livelihoods from the 2014/15 fires.
Now taking her proven energy and gained experience to all of Washington’s 12th District will only improve more lives and give more children and adults the services they so desperately need.
In a climate where social issues are repeatedly put on the back burner, it is refreshing to hear that Adrianne considers so many needs like education, affordable housing and the minimum wage as extremely important priorities that she will address and fight for.
I don’t know about you, but what I like to see in a politician is a great track record along with great enthusiasm and energy; this gives me hope — and isn’t that what we all really need right now?
Please join her many supporters and vote for Adrianne Moore for the 12th.
Alisa Malloch, Winthrop