Deer are in trouble
Regarding proposed winter closures of portions of the Methow Wildlife Area, Dan Russell made an important and not well-known point in his letter to the editor last week. We all see deer crossing our properties, even in the towns, and on our roads. It is easy to think they are abundant and in no need of help. But this is wrong.
Migratory mule deer are in trouble. Habitat loss from development and climate change (including more big fires) are major factors. I regularly use some of the MWA for recreation in winter. I’m willing to give that up if it helps those deer.
Bond issue questions
The central question regarding the Three Rivers Hospital bond proposal is, what will those dollars deliver? Hospital stakeholders (our communities) deserve a review of the analysis used to develop the bond proposal which should include what alternatives were considered.
Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), particularly those with 50 beds or less, are closing at an alarming rate. They remain net revenue negative under current funding models, and it follows that funding new or replacement facilities based off of current programs will not correct this.
Health care is evolving. Delivery models, information systems, and service lines now emphasize health, rather than illness. To evaluate the bond proposal, I would hope that the public could be given more detailed information beyond the broad description of what the bond issue will fund. It would be very helpful to know revenue forecasts needed to sustain future services. How will this new facility as proposed impact outcomes and health metrics for the community at large. What are the historical data regarding utilization? How will this capital expenditure improve primary care services, elective and ambulatory surgical services, as well as imaging and laboratory services? As a CAH, will future costs of capital and operating costs be sustainable?
In considering this bond proposal voters should understand if alternative options were evaluated to share and centralize many of those services (such as elective surgery, imaging, and lab) with other hospital/health care service providers in Okanogan County. Is there a significant benefit to maintaining and staffing so few inpatient beds? What percentage of inpatient admissions transfer to other facilities? While 24/7 emergency services is critical and necessary, how can that best be achieved? Would operating under the new CMS Rural Emergency Hospital designation be a better option?
I hope the board and executive leadership at Three Rivers can provide public comment on questions related to the bond proposal. The community is much more likely to support funding if they understand the ask, and are confident of the deliverables, and the stewardship behind it.
Re: the Winthrop centennial article, Sept. 13. The irony of the 1924 “Winthrop Incorporates” story sandwiched between the new Twisp baseball team and a movie at the Twisp opera house was wonderful.
There are several photos of historical Twisp showing the opera house in the book “Bound for the Methow.” An opera house! It would be interesting to know more about that, how it came to be and how it could survive in a population of, what — 300 or 400 at most, scattered about on farms and orchards.
That “town to the north” had a little stature in the 1950s of my youth, because we had the sawmill in Twisp. Now it’s a force to be reckoned with, even if they are still thinking about the century-old question off a more adequate water system.
Thanks for the background on Winthrop’s centennial. It was a delight to read!
Do you know Jennifer Zbyszewski?
You may have noticed her unusual last name (say buh-chef-ski and smile). You may know her as the president of the Methow Valley Education Foundation, or you may have met her during her 30 years working with the local U.S. Forest Service. You may have met her son Tom, a stellar young man who graduated from Liberty Bell High School in 2013, and you may have admired Jennifer’s leadership, integrity and grace, when her son was killed by fire while working for the Forest Service.
I asked my son if I should mention his schoolmate Tom in this letter, and he replied, “Of course. I am sure part of the reason Jennifer is running is to honor Tom,” and to give back to the school that encouraged her son’s curiosity and exploration of the world.
Or maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Jen — all is not lost! You can visit her website, jenniferzbyszewski.com, or you can hear all six of the school board candidates at the Twisp Valley Grange forum on Oct. 17 — doors open at 6 p.m. and the forum starts at 6:30 p.m. Come and decide for yourself who will best represent our community and serve our children.
Vote Jen Z!