The article last month about the protest against vaccination requirements left me with a lot of strong feelings. I frequently struggle to understand those who, in the face of a seemingly obvious choice to help end this pandemic, decide that their “freedom” overrides public health. However, in the interest of discussion, I’ll share some of why the choice seems obvious.
One quote mentioned the low chance of death from COVID-19. However, an individual’s chance of death from COVID specifically is not the whole point of prevention. As I write this there are news reports of stroke, cardiac and appendicitis patients getting delayed care because Washington hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients. Preventable hospitalizations are displacing those in need of emergency treatment, and the choice of individuals to needlessly risk their own health is causing others with unexpected conditions to lose care.
Another quote cites an “immune system created by God.” Remember that in addition to our immune system, God also gave us intelligence, creativity and reasoning skills. In Genesis, God says let Man “have dominion over … all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” I am no pastor, but this seems to directly call on us to tame a virus using our god-given gifts. It’s like the parable about the man standing on his roof refusing those who would rescue him from a flood because “God will save him.” I understand a trust in God, but it’s good to remember that God works through people, and his works rarely show up as a flaming bush, but rather a good Samaritan offering human help to one in need.
I do hope that everyone out protesting took into consideration the effect their choice not to get vaccinated will have on others in the community, and how easy it is to prevent severe disease. We can let hospitals use their emergency rooms for truly unpredictable and difficult-to-prevent medical events.
Ranzau for mayor
In November, the residents of the Town of Winthrop will be voting for our mayor. We don’t take our duty lightly. We understand that our choice of mayor will affect the community as a whole. Our elected officials must walk the fine line between a “tourist economy” that ensures a lively hood for many outside of town while giving the residents who make Winthrop their home a livable well maintained environment. Mayor Sally Ranzau understands those responsibilities
As you all know, the past four years have been turbulent for our community. We have faced fires and COVID. Mayor Ranzau has led us through this time by fulfilling her obligations with integrity and compassion. As a new mayor she worked diligently to inform herself of town codes and laws that would inform her decisions. She gained the respect of her staff and the newly elected council.
Her accomplishments are many. She hired a full-time police force, encouraged town employees to finish infrastructure projects that were approved ,such as repairing streets and replacing old sewer lines and repairing town restrooms. She championed ongoing projects such as the annexation of property for a new fire station, ice skating rink improvements and improvements to town hall and the Barn. She understands that our community relies on the Town of Winthrop for many of its amenities such as city parks, trails, ball fields and the future library.
As the needs of the town and community change Mayor Ranzau knows that it is her responsibility to keep abreast of the these issues by attending informative meetings and discussions concerning year round sustainable income for our businesses, affordable housing and livability in a tourist environment.
I urge you to reelect Sally Ranzau as our mayor. She has shown her care and devotion to our community through her interaction with business owners, town residents, firefighters, government officials, and health care personnel. She is a full-time mayor who champions our needs to a broad audience.
I noticed an ad in last week’s paper for a write-in candidate for mayor of Winthrop. I have lived and voted in the Methow Valley since 2001, but won’t be able to vote in the Winthrop town election until next year, when we move onto our property within the town limits. That is unfortunate, since I think Mayor Sally Ranzau has done an outstanding job, and needs to be re-elected in November. So I decided to go ahead and voice my support, and my reasons, for my support of Mayor Ranzau.
She has been instrumental in moving a number of important projects forward during a very difficult time in our valley. Despite a global pandemic and major smoke and fires, Mayor Ranzau and the town council worked cooperatively with the Methow Conservancy to acquire Meadowlark Natural Area, a wonderful open space and trail amenity for Winthrop. They worked closely with Friends of the Winthrop Library and the North Central Libraries to build the new library, which is changing daily before our eyes. Employees have been hired for the marshal’s office and public works during a time when employing people has been difficult. The amazing gift of 2,000 air purifiers was accepted by Mayor Ranzau, who headed a wonderful cooperative effort with local nonprofits to distribute them to folks valley-wide.
There are numerous other examples of the skillful, ethical and professional manner in which Mayor Sally has worked for Winthrop, but in summary, I think she’s done a terrific job, and needs to be re-elected.
To prevent further spread of the coronavirus, we should require everyone to get fully vaccinated (including a possible third dose) — unless exempted by a sincerely held religious belief or medical condition. We should write to our legislators and executives at all levels of government.
Commissioners avoid leadership
After listening the Okanogan Commissioners’ Sept. 21 county commissioners meeting discussion regarding the wearing of masks this is what I would like them to know:
I realize each of you represent different points of view which you attribute to your constituents. I think you may be trying to represent too many issues at one time wrapped up in the guise of COVID. You mentioned that eastern Washington hates Gov. Jay Inslee and implied that is a major reason to not support his mask mandate. You stated that our nationally elected president is allowing all manner of immigrants to cross the border carrying and spreading the COVID virus. And this is how you justify having no obligation to protect county residents here at home?
I call your attention to the fact that you were elected by a broad spectrum of county residents who participated in electing the governor, the president and you as leaders. You were not elected to fight other elected officials unless you take a county concern through the court system. It is absolutely not in your scope of responsibilities as commissioners to revise public health and safety laws, or state and federal mandates without going through a legal process. As elected County officials we expect you to follow national and state mandates.
Your lack of leadership in encouraging adherence to mask mandates is inexcusable; as is your lack of support in the county’s public health arena. Encourage us to wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and avoid large crowds. Until you do so, we are placed in a growing and increasingly dangerous COVID environment (though you state it will simply fade away). Our local economy is failing with the lack of retail staff, teachers, and health care workers overwhelmed with COVID deaths and illnesses. Families are losing income and closing businesses while taking care of children and parents ill with COVID or in fear of COVID. When will you step up and show some leadership in making sure Okanogan County emerges from this pandemic healthy, stronger and ready to pick up the pieces?
Support center, pool
As we all consider our choices during the Give Methow campaign, I want to share my thoughts about two in particular. I am unabashedly a fan and supporter of the Methow Valley Community Center. Not only does it reflect a longstanding history of our valley but also it is there for our largest gatherings, our children’s activities and offerings for our literary, art and health needs. It is a place where all valley residents are welcome. I hope you will remember it in your giving.
Another place that meets the needs of many of our valley’s youth is our Wagner Memorial Pool. Even if you have your own pool, I can assure you that many families and youth love having a pool in Twisp. I hope you can support them as well.
Studen for Twisp council
I am writing to let people know that I believe Aaron Studen is a huge asset to Twisp Town Council.
I have known Aaron since 1994 when he was one of our first employees at Cinnamon Twisp Bakery, where I was a co-owner. He then went on to open the Methow Valley Brewing Company (and later the Twisp River Pub) which was a huge success, bringing so much life, good food and beer and live music to Twisp.
He sits on the Classroom In Bloom Board, where I am the Farm Manager, and is a “working Board Member,” giving huge amounts of donated time. Aaron was the project manager of the recent greenhouse and root cellar projects at CIB, sourcing materials and volunteer help to complete these jobs. He drove all over the state picking up materials to make these crucial additions happen.
He also is on the Cascadia Music Board and as well as being on the Twisp Town Council, he has been a Chair of the Financial Committee for TranGO (Okanogan County Transit Authority).
My personal experience with Aaron, and why I am writing this letter, is to say that Aaron is one of the most hardworking, intelligent people I know. Those who work with him know him as a “can-do man,” one who gives selflessly.
On the surface, Aaron is a calm, understated person, but he moves through life taking on many projects, completing jobs and almost always saying “yes” to his neighbors. I have witnessed this time and time again. He never brags about himself or his accomplishments. He is not a complainer or a gossip but a good, smart man who gets things done.
Vote Aaron Studen for town council!
Thank you for printing Chris Furr’s My Turn column, about our current year’s fire summer. And thanks also to the visiting firefighters who saved our towns. As an old retired smokejumper and wilderness ranger, I heartily concur with Furr’s reality check. Nature is thinning our forests her way, since we obviously lack the political will to do it ourselves.
Stephen Pyne was recently interviewed on NPR regarding his latest book, and I highly recommend reading it, along with Stephen Arno’s, which I’ve previously endorsed. Overpopulations of trees, people, billionaires or any other cancerous organisms will inevitably invite nature’s ways to thin them out, and hopefully save some sort of remaining life on our planet. These are obviously hard realities to grasp for generations raised on Bambi’s Disney versions.