Haven for commissioner
For the past couple of months, candidate Katie Haven, running for the District 2 Okanogan County Commissioner position, has been reaching out to voters in the county. She has been listening to us — our concerns, hopes and needs, both individually and for the county’s future. She has done this through phone calls, online chat sessions, and walking neighborhoods to distribute her campaign literature that addresses her priorities, issues and plans.
In every major town, residents have been interested and engaged. They have shared their ideas and asked pertinent questions. Most are surprised to see a candidate for county office walking the streets and asking them for their thoughts and concerns. Many do not know who holds the current commissioner spot. Many do not care about the candidate’s affiliation; they care about their views and concerns.
The Twisp Valley Grange provided voters with a candidate forum last Thursday. There are clear choices and differences between the two candidates.
Candidate Haven is the best option for District 2 and the county. She brings extensive leadership and experience with diverse groups; she knows how to bring distinct factions together for a common outcome; she is willing to listen instead of talk.
We are faced with uncertainty and lots of change. We also need a clear and inclusive leader to move us through this time. Water issues, land development, planning, transportation, wildfires all are in flux.
Please vote early and vote for Katie Haven for District 2 Okanogan County commissioner.
Nancy L. Pfeiffer, Twisp
The bigger picture
In his recent column, Don Nelson posed the question to all of us, why are you here? I have been thinking incessantly about this question as I reflect on the “zoom” town article, stare at the cover of “Billionaire Wilderness” on my coffee table and squirm having just read Trail Runner magazine’s inclusion of Twisp as one of the top trail towns in the west.
Years ago, a friend visiting from the coast emerged from the Branding Iron and stood in the middle of Glover Street and declared, “Man, this is so Jackson 30 years ago.” Perhaps not, but it sure feels like a possibility lately.
Certainly this valley does not belong more to me than anyone else, but the question of what we are doing here is worth exploring. Are you here to post your adventures, promote yourself with Instagram photos, or by tagging all the amazing places you find and gloat about the fact that you escaped the rat race? I ask you to shut down social media and enjoy these special places for yourself, your good health and the mental clarity that the mountains bring, and to save it before it is trashed.
So what are we doing here?
The majority of folks I know are contributing some portion of their time to what makes this place uniquely special whether it be in their daily jobs or volunteer passions. How will you help preserve the unique character of our community? Are you volunteering your time or money to help house and feed the most in need in the valley? Are you buying local whenever possible? Are you contributing to the Give Methow campaign this month? Will you show up for kids when they pour their hearts out on the stage of The Merc or sell their baked goods in front of Hank’s to raise their pigs?
I understand that change is inevitable but thinking now about what we want this place to be in years to come might help us avoid a similar fate to that of Teton County.
Let’s stay humble, dedicate ourselves to something bigger than our outdoor pursuits and remain vigilant. A community like the Methow is intentional, committed and welcoming when you come with an open heart and a willingness to fight for it.
Brynne Edwards, Twisp
No haunting on Burgar Street
Burgar Street wishes you a safe and happy Halloween!
Halloween on Burgar Street has grown into a celebration of truly epic proportions. Last year residents handed out treats to between 300-400 trick-or-treaters! This is an event that we all love and look forward to, each of us scheming for months about costumes and elaborate decorations.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing and, sadly, increasing across the country and around the world. Many residents of our street feel that it would be irresponsible and potentially dangerous to encourage this large gathering of people (even with masks).
This letter represents the thoughts of four families that live on Burgar Street. We know we don’t speak for every single household on our street. However, the majority of the neighborhood has indicated they will not be participating this year … meaning lights out-no candy.
Goblins, ghouls, witches and werewolves — we look forward to seeing you all in years to come.
Your friends and neighbors on Burgar Street
Support for child care
As people who have led child care centers, we have been telling our elected representatives that our child care system is in a crisis for many years. We’re not alone in making the case: Families know better than anyone that our child care system isn’t working. Families can’t afford the care they need, child care providers can’t afford to py their staff a living wage, and our entire economy is suffering because of it.
At a town hall last fall, Keith Goehner said that he didn’t know child care was an issue out here, despite many efforts across our region to raise awareness of this crisis. This is not OK. We are putting all of our support behind Adrianne Moore as our next state House Representative in 2020. Adrianne helped launch a child care needs assessment in her community and used those findings to help create a child care facility for working parents. This summer, she held advisory sessions with child care providers to learn more about how the pandemic is deepening this crisis because she is committed to using her platform to make a change. That is what leadership on local issues should like.
We encourage every person who struggles to afford child care, and every provider who wants a living wage, to put your support behind Adrianne and get involved in the Voice of the 12th campaign. This is the best shot our 12th District has ever had to change our child care crisis. Whether you are someone who votes to the left or someone who votes to the right, we can all get behind Adrianne Moore, who will fight tirelessly for working families, young kids, and an economy that works for all of us.
Dani Reynaud, Judy Derpack, Tania Gonzales, Signe Shaw
In last week’s paper, there was a great article about the wonderful new activities that Liberty Bell has created. These activities are thoughtful and appealing and they are serving many students.
As a student-athlete, I take exception only to the “No games? No problem” headline because it is a problem for me, and for other athletes. I love my sports and the competition they bring. I miss playing and competing against the best our league has to offer. I miss seeing my friends from other schools and I miss competing against them. Competing against other teams in our league is one way to feel like we are a region unified by friendly competition.
Four years of high school seems like a long time, but for me, it is flying by. Due to COVID, part of my four short years is in jeopardy. We only get four years to play team sports at a competitive level. If you’re lucky you can play in college, but if you don’t play in high school you probably won’t get that chance.
My years of high school are my only real time to play team sports and I want to play. I understand that the coronavirus is a factor that isn’t going away but if we are careful we can compete safely. The WIAA has recently changed their guidelines to allow teams back into the gym under specific safety protocols. I hope that our district will allow our sports teams back into the gym under those safety protocols, like other districts in our area have already done.
Jadyn Mitchell, Liberty Bell Class of 2022
Time for change
This week on Facebook a house was listed for rent in Twisp. Many folks took issue with the price, blaming “Seattle prices” among other things. This isn’t the first time we’ve placed blame on “others” for high costs in the Methow … higher rents, lack of affordable health care and child care. I propose we turn the blame around and advocate for our community through voting.
According to the ITEP, folks who make less than $24,000 per year pay 17.8% of their income on sales tax compared to folks in the top 5%, $248,000 and up, who pay about 4% of their income on sales tax. Put another way, a family with an infant pays 13.8% more of their income on diapers … That is the definition of a regressive tax. That is why affordable housing, health care, and child care is out of reach for many in the Methow. What if we didn’t have to have capital campaigns for day care and library facilities? What if we return to the expectation that government should work for the people?
What if we stop the finger-pointing and elect folks who represent the working community? Keith Goehner voted against a bill to authorize a local affordable housing tax, against establishing a Washington State Office of Equity, against restricting firearms in day care and child care facilities (what?), against requiring public companies having a gender-diverse board of directors, against requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, against paid family medical leave for unions, and against establishing a public option for health care coverage. The list of no votes is exhausting. Instead of blaming our neighbor and flaming them on Facebook, let’s place the blame where it belongs; on Keith Goehner who continually votes against the interests of the folks who live in Legislative District 12.
We need an advocate for District 12, we need a voice and a seat at the table. We need to vote for change in our state government. Please vote for Adrianne Moore for Legislative District 12.
Carol Fisher, Winthrop
Mountain biking agenda
I am writing in response to the overdevelopment of mountain bike specific trails in the valley. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance seems to have an agenda to turn the Methow into some kind of mountain biking mecca.
To set the record straight — I ride mountain bikes, have been riding here for over 30 years and still ride on the trails I am talking about. The problem as I see it is that mountain biking here has changed from riding and exploring on game trails to Disneyland theme park trail systems with big banked corners and jumps. I get it, things change, but when you take heavy equipment into wild places you better have more in mind then your agenda. The impact is huge on the landscape and the community of people and animals that live there.
Every trail that Evergreen has had their hands on has lost some of its wildness to overdevelopment. These trails claim to be multi-use but make no mistake, they are bike-specific. I think Evergreen needs to tone it down and think more about the community that lives here and less about its agenda of creating a Disneyland bike park in this sacred place that we live in.
Mike Kutz, Winthrop
More work to be done
“What are you (we) doing here?” in the Oct.7 issue got me thinking. As just one of our retired rangers here, I’m somewhat familiar with others, such as Jim Gregg the old snow ranger from the national forests of Summit County Colorado, doing Firewise for Freestone and planning for Mazama. What I’ve worked on most are trails that might make the eastern entry to North Cascades National Park a model for buffering other parks and forests’ overcrowded areas. This summer’s crowds highlighted our as-yet-inadequate response to Firewise, parking and sanitation, all of which influence our safety, wildlife, overall attractiveness, economics and sustainability.
AmericanAlps.org advocates giving our summits over to the better-funded Park Service, and they’ve changed their name to “Shuksan Conservancy,” which may divert some attention away from us. Mountain goats meanwhile love all the new salt providers, and probably hope the defunct “restrooms” at our passes won’t ever be fixed. The North Cascades Institute, financed by Seattle City Light, is picking up some of the slack in the underfunded park and forests’ budgets. Their visitor centers in and above Newhalem are examples that other parks and forests would do well to follow. Our Methow Interpretive Center, Trail’s End Bookstore and our new library already do and will continue to serve similar functions.
Fire and water are interrelated in many ways, as Dr. Sylvia Earl puts it: “Without the blue, there can be no green.” So, retired rangers everywhere are trying to educate people about the fire triangle, and its relationship to water, especially the only part we can do something about immediately: fuel. Heat, the second component, could increasingly be used with prescribed fire, but only safely — if all fuels are first thinned. Otherwise, Nature will do it on her own, in less pleasant ways: bugs and wildfires. The oxygen we breathe, the third component of the fire triangle, and coincidently water, are both transpired and gently released from more healthy widely spaced forests, without the excessive smoke, and floods from slopes denuded by catastrophic wildfires. We need to be doing more here, during this snow season break.
Eric Burr, Mazama