Thanks to Newhouse
I wish to express a public thank you to our Congressman Dan Newhouse for choosing to condemn the reprehensible actions of our president by voting yes to impeach Donald J. Trump on charges of incitement of insurrection. Someday I hope the country will reach a place where I write more apolitical letters than political, and this seems a good sign.
Murray Sampson, Winthrop
Don’t overlook us
I look forward to your year in review every new year. I am writing however to bring to your attention the conspicuous lack of inclusion of the lower Methow Valley in this year’s review. Noticeably missing was the Carlton Store which appears to still be for sale and the recent purchase of the Methow Café and General Store.
As a resident of Methow, it is increasingly obvious to me that happenings south of Twisp are frequently overlooked. The Cascade Loop Travel Guide describes the Methow Valley as “… Pateros to the crest of the North Cascades,” and yet our local tourist map handed out at hotels and information sites stops at Carlton. Why is that?
The lower Methow Valley may not be the home to deep-pocket valley transplants or upscale hotels and restaurants, but we are rich in resources and history. Many residents who settled here have lived and farmed and ranched here for generations. More importantly, the lower Methow is the home of direct descendants of the Methow tribe who have lived on traditional lands in the lower Methow for hundreds of generations. Like the tourists in winter, the salmon pass right by our homes on their journey north.
We pay taxes and spend our money in the valley, but we do not have the same access to services like reception to KTRT or anywhere to purchase our local newspaper. Soon you will know us better though because we will host, to our detriment, a 149-acre gravel pit which will provide the materials for valley road repairs. You’re welcome. I have to wonder, would this have been allowed to happen up the Rendezvous?
Adding insult to injury, building down here appears to be going unchecked, wells of questionable legality are being drilled, roads are being carved where there used to be none and sheds are dotting ridgetops everywhere.
The clincher for me was a recent article in the New York Times, which included the Methow Valley described as “… three towns woven together: Mazama, Winthrop and Twisp.”
I ask our greater community to remember that below Carlton is also the Methow Valley.
Mary Yglesia, Methow
Help is needed
Yellowstone is a preview of what’s in store for us at Washington and Rainy passes. Rangers there have had to wear gas masks, and now our cross-country skiers and snowshoers have learned to avoid Early Winters and its nearby trails if they desire fresh air and quiet. WSDOT’s abandonment of the new Silver Star Sno-park has forced snowmachines down to Early Winters, and thereby saturated the trailhead area, including beautifully rustic Freestone Inn, with unprecedented stench, noise and controversy.
Yellowstone’s experience is noteworthy, where increasing restrictions on snowmachines have been forced by public outcry WSDOT and the U.S. Forest Service could mitigate this conflict and the need for more restrictions, by building another trailhead at the Klipchuck and Cedar Falls level area on Highway 20. WSDOT and the Forest Service however, would need both more funding and new directions to help make this happen. Snow depth may again force seasonal abandonment of Silver Star’s Sno-park.
Early Winters, like Yellowstone, is a magnet for overuse by all recreationists, skiers too. Many skiers there use snowmachines, the same way hikers use cars. Last summer, cars overflowed all three parking lots and the ridiculously inadequate outhouses provided by the hopelessly underfunded Forest Service. As a retired National Park and National Forest ranger, and heli-ski guide, I know our best and really only hope, even under Biden, is the Shuksan Conservancy’s plan for a “North Cascades National Preserve” extending national park funding and experience east, up to and including all three of our spectacular alpine passes.
Yes, Harts Pass is also overcrowded and overrun with out-of-control snowmachiners and hikers. Please go on to AmericanAlps.org for the Shuksan Conservancy plan proposed by Dan Evans, Jim Whitaker, Estella Leopold and many other similarly famous and well-informed advocates. Recent academic studies have confirmed that all types of recreational overuse, not just motorized ones, disturb wildlife. Restrictions are inevitable if wolverines are to be protected. WSDOT, the Forest Service and even the National Park can only help if they’re better funded. WSDOT could lead the way.
Eric Burr, Mazama
In a recent letter to the Methow Valley News, a writer stated those wearing masks are sheep bending to the will of Gov. Inslee. He thinks we’ve given up our freedom and are afraid of dying. The truth is we know COVID-19 is a deadly disease, while we can’t choose how we’ll die, we can avoid risks; we do so every day in countless ways. While many contract the disease, suffer and survive, other survivors have lasting impacts severely diminishing their quality of life.
Most of us don’t want to find ourselves in overcrowded hospitals, with staff stressed to the maximum, or find ourselves unable to see family or friends, or have them die alone. Gasping for breath looks like a miserable way to die. If you aren’t aware this is a deadly epidemic you are not paying attention, sir. As to not enjoying life, yes, we miss life as it was prior to COVID, but we know to return to normal there are sacrifices to make. Our parents and grandparents made sacrifices during WW II when our country was at war. We are at war against this plague and most of us are willing to do everything to beat it.
What saddened me in reading the letter is its selfish attitude not in the spirit of the Methow Valley community I witnessed during the 2014 fires where people’s concern was for their neighbor’s welfare. The first words I heard people address to others were, “How are you doing?” Not a complaint of what they were suffering or might have lost. We had total strangers take us and our dog into their home until we could return home. That’s the kind of people we are; we mask up because we care about our neighbors’ well-being.
Christine M. Kendall, Twisp
In 1998, over 200 Republican House members voted to impeach Bill Clinton for what was essentially lying about and covering up a private, consensual sexual affair between two adults. No one was hurt, and no one died. Clinton was later acquitted by the Senate, though many Republican senators voted to convict him.
In 2012, a small band of terrorists killed four Americans at a remote outpost in Benghazi, Libya. The Republican Party later called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a “murderer” for the deaths, but only when she became a viable candidate for president.
In 2021, Donald Trump incited a large, armed mob of traitor terrorists to attack the U.S. Capitol filled with Senators, Representatives, and staff. Trump told his mob followers: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He also said he’d march with them, but then hid out in the White House to watch the events on TV.
Thousands of Trump cult followers marched on the Capitol. Five people, including two policemen, died in the attack. Afterwards, Trump told his mob: “We love you, you’re very special.” A week later, 192 Republican House members voted against the impeachment of Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection. None called Trump a murderer, or even admitted he was directly responsible for the five deaths, though he clearly was.
What does this say about Republican “values?” It seems that encouraging violence and insurrection is now acceptable to most Republican politicians, including Cathy McMorris-Rogers. At least, longtime Trump supporters Reps. Newhouse and Beutler voted in good conscience for impeachment. Now it’s up to the Senate to convict.
Randy Brook, Twisp
Care for each other
The freedoms in every form of democracy since Athens include the implicit burden of responsibility. Perhaps the most vital of these comes not only through law but via morality: do unto others.
COVID is spread primarily by those who don’t know they are infected, so masking and distance remain the primary forms of control, at least until there are enough people who survive or are vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Until then, the unadjusted mortality rate will remain about 1.5% and much higher in susceptible populations. To date, nearly 400,000 Americans have died of this disease. While it is true that the death rate from COVID isn’t enormous, it is if someone you love is one of them. So, we should try to protect others as a matter of our communal responsibility.
This will not be the last time a world now populated by nearly 8 billion self-seeking people will face this problem. Viruses reproduce within hours and bacteria often in a few minutes. As they grow, micro-organisms discover ways to mutate and defeat both mammalian immune systems and the antibiotics humans have made to treat infections, because all living organisms evolve. Micro-organisms evolve much more efficiently than do mammals.
About these topics, all infectious disease experts agree. We should care for one another now by finishing the current pandemic, and preparing more rationally for the next one.
Richard Rapport, MD; Twisp
Comp plan update
If you are a resident or landowner concerned about how water, air and land resources in our county will be managed for humans, wildlife and natural occurrences such as wildfire in the coming decades, you should read the County Legal Notices with the eyes of an eagle in the next week or two. This year, the Omak Chronicle is the county’s official newspaper of record for these legal notices.
According to the county commissioners’ proceedings, your first deadline for comment on new draft Comprehensive Plan documents will be Feb. 10. The Comp Plan is the overall guiding document for ordinances governing zoning and population density, subdivisions, building, shorelines, wetlands, open spaces, allowable locations for industrial uses and more.
However, the associated Environmental Impact Statement analyzes what impacts each alternative course of action in the Comp Plan would have upon living things such as human beings, fish and other wildlife and their essential resources.
Although a public hearing on the new draft Comprehensive Plan is planned for Feb. 22, you will have a legal blink of the eye — only nine days — to obtain the new Draft EIS (including a new addendum), read and comprehend it, and submit written comments by Feb. 10.
Considering concurrent national events and a global pandemic, the timing and deadlines are less than ideal, to say the least. However, the county is years late in responding to a court order that water, wildfire and other issues be addressed more adequately than they were in the most recent Comprehensive Plan revision and that the zoning ordinance be considered concurrently.
Please do your best to find some time for thoughtful consideration as to how and why we live here and the best pathways our county can take to provide a sustainable and desirable future in this large, diverse county.
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp