Thanks from the climbers
On March 13, eight volunteer and career firefighters from your local Okanogan County Fire District 6 joined 1,200 other participants from agencies from all over the nation and world to climb the Columbia Tower in Seattle. The event raised $1.9 million for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, in what is called the world’s largest on-air stair climb competition: 69 floors, 1,356 steps and 788 vertical feet.
While wearing our bunker gear and air packs, all eight firefighters completed the climb, with Jeff Kingsberry having the best time of 19:38. More importantly, our team raised $34,636 in donations and were No. 5 in overall team fundraising.
We are honored to represent such a compassionate and generous community and would like to acknowledge the following individuals, businesses and groups for the support and inspiration: Methow Valley News, Winthrop Kiwanis, Hank’s Harvest Foods, Okanogan County Fire District 6, Aero Methow Rescue Service, Lucy Riggs, Katie and Tim Leuthauser, The Waller family, and the many others that donated to our team during our fundraising events. Thank you!
Zack Gurney, Jeremiah Fosness, Jeff Kingsberry, Rick Zeeb, Mark Crum, Bill McAdow, Josh Jankowski, Tiago Pacheco
Okanogan County Fire District 6
Have the doomsayers of climate change made you oppose natural gas distribution? Do you yearn to take the cruel road back to a post-carbon Eden? Forget about it.
Cooking fuel is a basic necessity. We have a microwave oven in every kitchen, gas stop, break room, rec room, dorm room and hotel room in the county. So we forget about it.
The absolute necessity for cooking fuel means that one quarter of the world’s poorest families are in a constant search for firewood. Searching on foot for dwindling resource. This means great labor and also great deforestation. In addition, cooking over an open fire is a health risk which rivals malaria worldwide. Opposing natural gas delays the day when the world’s poor can stop cooking with firewood. Forget about it.
Rwanda has been called the Switzerland of Africa. Its people are among those who must glean cooking fuel. As you read this, Rwandans are poaching wood from the last forest of the Mountain Gorilla. Forget about it.
On behalf of the Liberty Bell High Scholl Knowledge Bowl team, I would like to thank various members of the community who contributed to our successful season this year. Especially Katie Leuthauser, Brita Ness, Chuck Russell and Tom Venable, who helped with reading and judging our meet this past January. The teachers, who have inspired the students to learn beyond the curriculum and provided their classrooms for practice space. The Liberty Bell Booster Club, Kiwanis Club and Twisp Feed Store, who provided funds for our team to travel to the state tournament in Richland this past weekend. With the continual support of so many community members, the Knowledge Bowl program has been able to enjoy success year after year and provide students an opportunity to enjoy academic excellence.
LBHS Knowledge Bowl Coach
Reason to worry
For my friends in Europe (where I am now), the invasion of the Ukraine is a lot more frightening and personal than it is for most Americans. We’ve never been invaded by a foreign country, never had our homes and businesses bombed incessantly from the air, never seen foreign troops garrisoned in our homes. Their parents experienced all that, in England and across the European continent.
My friends (when young) could still see signs of terrible destruction. Their parents told them stories of the terrors of war at home. They haven’t forgotten hearing those stories as children. We’ve only seen them in movies and books.
With a madman in charge of Russia, they are worried about whether there could be war in Europe again. Even if Russia didn’t invade any NATO country, there are many other countries he’d love to annex. It is very depressing for them.
The Republican reaction in the U.S. is sadly predictable. Trump has repeatedly called Putin a “genius” for invading the Ukraine. Not surprising, since Russia helped him defeat Hillary Clinton and then he was best buds with Putin during all four years of his presidency.
The Republican party has mostly condemned the invasion but also bizarrely wants to blame it on President Obama and, by extension, then vice-president Biden. They prefer to ignore the four more recent years that Trump spent encouraging Putin.
I hate to think how much worse the risks to all of Europe would be now if Trump were still president.
There is possibly no right held by a society of free people greater than the right of individuals to elect their own leaders. The rights of free speech, privacy, religion, assembly, press and arms are important not only for their own right but also because they are integral for the democratic process.
Democracy demands sacrifice. In our history many people have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend and grow our democracy. Our most deadly war was fought among ourselves in an attempt to expand democratic rights to slaves. One hundred years later, many people died again to finish the job and give the right to vote to their descendants Even today these rights are not granted to all our citizens and our democracy has room to grow.
Today, 45 million people are fighting for the right to continue to live in a democratic society. This is a staggering number of people to lose their freedom. We must do everything possible to defend these rights. It is what’s demanded of us.
We should agree to send oil to Europe so that they can cut off the Russian spigot. We should support world food programs so that the Russian bread basket can go moldy and we should supply surface-to-air missiles so that the Ukrainians can close their skies. The economic cost of these actions will be incredibly high though that seems like a small price to pay for our freedom.
No one is free, until we are all free.