I was at the Twisp recycling center when I overheard two local acquaintances talking about whether we still have a democracy in the United States. One said we did, but it was hanging on by a thread. Sadly, I had to agree.
For years, the Republican party has made voter suppression a key focus of its efforts. They’ve been successful in many states with Republican-controlled legislatures. It has become harder for poor people, minorities, college students, and the elderly to vote. Requiring new forms of identification these people often don’t have is one of many approaches. The conservative U.S. Supreme Court has mostly supported these efforts, with a notable recent decision to the contrary. It overturned Alabama’s grossly distorted redistricting that blatantly denied Black voters fair representation.
Now the Republicans have taken on a new, anti-democracy mission. They are attacking institutions (like universities and “think tanks”) that investigate “disinformation” campaigns. They aren’t hiding the fact that they consider exposing political disinformation (falsehoods!) hurts conservatives. They just hate having their lies exposed. They are afraid of the truth and shameless about trying to conceal it. What a sad commentary on our country.
Regarding Gina McCoy’s letter to the editor on June 21: First of all folks, please do go drive up Buttermilk Road and see the devastation that the U.S. Forest Service called “thinning.” The logged areas on Buttermilk are not thinning projects and they didn’t “restore” anything. A tree every 200 feet is a clear cut. They logged large, fire-resistant trees and left debris on the forest floor so that when a fire does come, it will burn right through that clear cut. This scenario won’t make the fires less damaging. What the Forest Service is planning and has done will actually make the fires worse because the forest floor will dry out, leaving trees that are unprotected and creating an area the fires can whip through and gain intensity. That’s right — the Forest Service plans will actually worsen the spread of major fires.
Now about the Cedar Creek Fire. Yes, do walk through the Thompson Ridge Road area. But this “devastation” is hardly that. This is called a snag forest. This very real type of forest develops after a forest fire. Look at all of the plant life already growing back. Look at the woodpeckers and other birds making their homes in the vertical tree snags. Look at the new shrubs and wildflowers, already making inroads and providing habitat for bees and other insects. And the carbon that was stored in those trees that burned? t’s still in them. In fact, there is still more carbon being stored in this post-fire snag forest than in the “restored” areas on Buttermilk! Very soon, new pine and fir seedlings will arrive, and the forest will move into another cycle. By contrast, the clear-cuts on Buttermilk Road? Those ripped up lands are devoid of anything, but a bunch of logging debris left on the ground — sometimes 4 feet high. Nothing will grow through that for many years, except a fire.
The Forest Service plans are extremely misguided and must be altered from the current trajectory, so that the forest remains largely intact with all of the large, fire-resistant trees left in the forest.
Time for new pool
It’s all around us, summer is here the pool is open and well … in use. The Killer Whales swim team is practicing, kids and parents are swimming, guests from out of town are enjoying the pool. However the pool needs help, it needs support from the valley and Prop 1 (Methow Aquatics District) is a step in the right direction.
It is a known fact that the majority of funding from the Wagner Fund will be exhausted by 2024 which leaves the pool without funding to operate. It’s also of note that the pool in its current state lacks what this valley needs. Health and fitness is critical to this valley and having a diverse offering of activities leads to a healthier population overall. The Methow Valley Aquatics Center (MAC) will support these activities, opening its doors to year round health and fitness!
As someone who has spent the last 25 years as a health and fitness professional I can attest to the importance of activity in ones life. Having year round access to the MAC will allow valley residents and guests the opportunity to swim, be active, escape the smoke and brutal winter chill. It will support low impact water activities, teach young and old new swimmers the benefits of swimming and water safety as well as provide an additional athletic outlet.
The time is now for a new pool, one that can replace the aged and well used Wagner Pool. The MAC will be an asset to this valley and support continuous year round aquatic and recreational activities.