Finding your sunlight
Strange times are upon us like unchartered land, raw and natural. Like wandering out into the mountains on paths that are non-existent, seeing a corner ahead and not knowing what lies around the bend. No footprints to follow, only game tracks that switch back and forth in untraceable patterns, giving us subtle clues on somewhere we may be going. Much like the times that are upon us this year. There are no answers to be had on what our future will look like, not just with the pandemic but with politics, environment, economics, wildlife, access to justice, education, global health, humans rights, and so much more. Only whispers are hinting as to how our lives are changing. Some for the good and some for the bad. The universe is throwing us curveballs and we, as humanity, must adapt.
Peace must be found.
I am confident we all can find this sense of peacefulness in different ways. It may be for a minute or may be for a lifetime. Even if the dark somber grey cloud lingers over our heads, we need to find the sun’s rays of light and hope. We all need to take a moment to breathe in… breathe… slow our pace, wane our minds and find what truly lights up our lives and makes us internally smile. Take one moment and think … who, what or where could you put yourself to release stress, anxiety, worry or tension? It does not have to be grandiose just a minuscule thing. Then go and do it.
Mine is simply Mazama, where you can hear the river flow unbothered around the rocks, the Ponderosa pines swishing willingly in the wind and the tall sunburnt grass swaying without tension in the cascade breeze.
Go find your ray sunlight, help the world relieve tension. We all will benefit.
Caryn Darmer, Mazama
In the upcoming local elections, let’s not risk losing Chris Branch as county commissioner for District 1. Having taken notes at commissioners’ meetings since 2014, I can confirm the complexity of a commissioner’s job. It includes land use, economic planning, writing and repealing laws, coordinating over 20 departments governing such activities as public works, the court system, emergency management, responsibility for an approximately $70 million budget — and more.
Once a heavy-duty mechanic and logger, Branch later became a planner by profession and education, working for 27 years with towns and cities in Okanogan County in community development. His past affiliations have been as president of the Community Action Council and the Economic Development Board. At the multi-county level, he serves the Washington State Association of Counties on its board and legislative steering committee, focusing on health care, the elderly and workforce development.
Branch’s extensive experience with the diverse land and people of our large county, together with four years of learning the intricacies of this job, makes him a leader we can trust during challenging times ahead. Be aware that his challenger for the office does not have close to this type of experience or perspective.
In addition, Branch identified the failings of the county’s microphone and PA system as citizen complaints mounted. After County Watch note-taker Katie Haven (now a candidate for commissioner in District 2) introduced YouTube videos into county proceedings and identified resources for the county to do their own, Branch convinced the commission to invest. This big step in open government allows the public to view meetings at any time and reduces staff workload.
Branch owes allegiance to no political party, only the United States and Washington State Constitutions and the commissioners’ oath of office. He clarified this publicly on June 1 during an open commissioners’ meeting that followed a distressing Facebook post by Commissioner Jim DeTro. Taking leadership by opening a productive discussion among commissioners, he addressed each commissioner’s responsibility to represent all the people of Okanogan County rather than solely a personal perspective or that of a political party.
Vote experience and integrity. Vote Branch.
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp
We need water plans
This summer I have heard about more and more people in the valley whose wells have run dry. My 87-year-old neighbor is among them. See also My Turn — Know your Methow Water rights (Sept. 23) for more examples. At the same time, new houses are being built at a fierce pace. Many established contractors are backed up for a year or more with new house orders.
Many of the new houses are going up on existing lots. But at the same time, the county is allowing new subdivisions dependent on a limited supply of water designated for single houses, with only token regard to state laws and regulations prohibiting this.
The county still doesn’t have any real plan in place to deal with the water shortage we already have and which is likely to worsen in the future. When it does, will we tear down the new houses that should never have been built because there was no legal source of water? Of course not. But those owners may have to find other sources than their illegal wells.
I have looked at the positions taken by Katie Haven (a rancher herself) and Andy Hover. Katie lists planning for future water needs as her number one issue. This is crucial to the future of all of us. Andy features support from the Farm Bureau as his top attribute on his Facebook page. Ironic, since any farmers with interruptible junior water rights have been cut off in most recent years. Andy’s lack of good planning will only make it worse.
If you are concerned with the future of the valley and think we need real planning for water needs, increasing fire risks, and other important issues, vote for Katie.
Randy Brook, Twisp