Just tell me the truth. Our country’s voting system is a mess. I had no idea it was so filled with corruption. As citizens, we deserve to have confidence in our voting process, to know that every legal vote will be counted, and that no amount of money or political party can illegally influence our elections.
And why aren’t all the parties jumping on board to make sure our voting system is simple, clear and easy to validate? If there’s nothing to hide, no amount of scrutiny should be a problem. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat or Libertarian or Independent issue. This is a national security issue.
If we can’t trust our voting system, we have no republic. So I am all for digging deep into the voting systems in each state to make sure they are only counting legal votes, and that no political party can disenfranchise any other party from observing the vote count, or manipulate the voting system, or count votes after the voting deadlines.
So go for it — dig deep — expose the truth. I can handle it.
And by the way, no one should be claiming victory at this point in the election. Each state has to officially validate their election results, and then the electors for each state (via the electoral college) vote appropriately. We are a long way from that happening. So cool your jets — let’s see how all this plays out.
Chrystal Perrow, Winthrop
Why are you here?
As the sun set, snow spilled from heaven’s kitchen like flour onto the valley floor. The smell of burning wax from ski sheds began mixing with the rising smoke of woodstoves.
Snow falling in the dark lends focus to what “year-rounder” portends; but then wasn’t everyone a visitor first including those born between the climbing walls and the migrating Asians who settled Metwhu — “low lying valley with blunt hills all around.”
Part-timers know little of daily nuances and the season’s rhythms, but given time they will fall in step or beat feet back to whence they came.
For instance, the phrase “open range” never really had any special meaning to the “newbie;” until now, with the snow coming down around their dream home along with the cattle from the surrounding high country.
All comes together in a gestalt. Every spring ranchers bring cattle up into the U.S. Forest Service hills above. For six months, Elmer and Elsie wander along the ridgetop on a family outing grazing for free without a care in the world. There are few rustlers, cougars or wolves anywhere in sight. Just mountain bikers tearing down “big banked corners and jumps” and hikers in search of the perfect social media post could possibly disturb these peaceful bovines. But, when the temps start to drop and quaking aspen leaves burnt with color fall, the cattle mosey on down in search of food not covered with snow or, even better, their Uber Rancher offering a lift back to the barn.
The vacation homeowner never saw anything like this at Christmas while using their three-day ski pass or on the Fourth of July at the rodeo and follow-up Thompson Ridge mountain bike stampede. What they are now witnessing in Zoom Town is novel beyond description. Huge mammals chewing on their cuds are staring back at them through the sliding glass doors into their safe shelters. White-Butt and Black-Face are nonplussed, as well, at not being invited in for a “cuppa” and fireside chat.
In times like these, everyone has something to chew on.
E. Anton Kubena, Mazama
Snow blower warning
To my fellow snow country folks: Now that it looks like winter is settling in, I feel moved to pass on some annual advice. Especially given the Zoom Town reality of several new members to our community, some of who undoubtedly will be operating a snowblower for the first time.
Over 26 years ago, I had a moment of brain-deadness and ended up turning off a snowblower with my left hand, being flown to Harbor View Hospital in Seattle where three hand surgeons spent 21 man-hours rebuilding my hand. I write to remind all of you snowblower operators this winter season to not repeat my stupidity!
Even with new designs and safety features on today’s machines (mine was 20 years old 26 years ago!) blowers can still jam with wet snow or “yard” objects. Due to the potential kinetic energy stored in the engine compression and belt tension when jammed, the impellers in a blower can rotate slightly when a jammed or clogged machine is freed up. There is very little clearance in the impeller housings … if your hand is the “freeing” agent you can lose fingers or an entire hand.
Never use your hand or foot to clear a clogged or jammed snowblower. Use a broom handle or long, stout stick. All new blowers come with a plastic paddle used to clear jammed blowers. Some even advise removing the spark plug to release any engine compression before working on a machine.
Snowblowers like many powered devices are in and of themselves not dangerous. They do need to be respected and operated with care and attention. Fatigue, being in a hurry, distractions, objects left out in the snow, etc., are the real dangers. Hopefully, you will remember my story every time you operate a snowblower and not create your own story. Have a safe winter season.
Barry Stromberger, Twisp