The public schools’ mandate
When and how did our school board become a political landmine?
Don’t we as a community still believe all students in public classrooms have the right to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking and diversity of thought? Some school board candidates and parents wish to censure open thinking by inserting their personal beliefs on all students. This can take the form of book banning, prohibiting classes on sexuality and classes that pertain to our history of racism. For some it is a political edict.
Yes, school board members and administers have a responsibility to listen to all parents. These discussions should be civil, based on fact and the current laws of state and federal governments.
As you are deciding who will get your vote be cognizant that you are making a decision that will affect the education of all children. It is our responsibility to elect school board members that believe in the mandate of public schools — the right of each child to have the tools necessary to sustain them as they move forward into a meaningful future filled with opportunity and thoughtfulness.
For these reasons I will be voting for incumbents Judith Hardmeyer-Wright and Frank Kline. They have shown their abilities to make forward-thinking decisions for the betterment of the school district and its children.
For a new board member, I will be voting for Jennifer Zbyszewski. She has shown through thoughtful conversations and life experience that she is highly qualified for this position. Be informed please read her web page.
Check it out
The new book “Disneyland on the Mountain” will be in the library soon. It promises to take the influence of this iconic environmental battle even further than Selmi’s 2022 book. So far on the internet one of its authors does mention Powder readers, but nothing about avalanches, my editorial, my book, or Early Winters. I’ll write a review here as soon as I get the book. Disney’s True Life Adventure films and Vail Resorts are of course part of this story, as is The Marshal Plan and skiing as an economic generator.
Channel the visionaries
Over the last few years, I have watched as a small team of dedicated, hardworking volunteers spend literally hundreds of unpaid hours working to create a plan for keeping a pool in the Methow Valley. Since there is not a pool in the country (that is not a destination waterpark) that is able to operate in the black based entirely off of admission fees, the creation of the Methow Aquatic district is a responsible first step that will ensure a funding stream for any pool that eventually gets built here. Many of the state and federal grants available for construction of municipal pools, require this to be in place before applying for these grants.
No one likes paying property taxes. I do however appreciate having safe roads to drive on, a school system for our children, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, libraries, etc. This is the design of property taxes; everyone pays their share, and everyone benefits. This type of tax is far less regressive than a sales tax.
I have seen the joy that swimming brings to kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds in the valley. If you have ever been to the Wagner pool in the summer, you have witnessed the countless kids that spend every day of the summer there, enabling their parents to go to work all day. The pool is truly a mixing pot that welcomes all the kids of every background in the valley, while helping them learn a critical life skill.
In the end, when contemplating which way to vote on this issue, I would urge you to channel some of the visionaries of the Methow Valley. People thought the idea of valley-wide network of trails was elaborate and unnecessary, people thought that the valley didn’t need an ice rink, a new firehall, a new library, a new civic center. These are now beloved assets that help define our community. It takes a bold vision and a ton of hard work to bring something as audacious as a new pool to this valley. Please join me in helping bring this vision one step closer to reality by voting yes on Proposition 1.
Yes on Proposition 1
Here’s the long and the short of it. Without a taxation district contiguous with the Methow School District, there will be no likelihood of a new pool of any kind. If the Proposition 1 fails, we won’t get a new pool. If the proposition passes, a discussion of what kind of build-out can begin.
Both Winthrop’s and Twisp’s planning commissions are appointed, not elected. People who put their names forward for these positions are to be commended. These demanding jobs are not paid. Why is there such opprobrium about appointing willing citizens to plan an Aquatics Center?
To ask people to vote against Proposition 1 and then tack on a “Yes to a new pool” begs the question: a new pool where? And who is going to pay for it?
Vote for Proposition 1.
Kudos from the Grange
The forum for the school board candidates was an example of small-town democracy in action. Our thanks to those who took the time to show up in person and/or contributed with a good variety of questions. Specifically, we once again want to recognize a man of many talents, George Schneider, for being willing to be the forum moderator.
Above all, kudos to these candidates who are both dedicated and brave to face a gamut of questions. They have devoted countless hours in our behalf of our future. Our community owes them a huge debt of gratitude.
Wendy Braden and Val Hecker
Twisp Valley Grange
Halloween at MVCC
We are grateful for the support from the 30 local businesses who sponsored our Methow Valley Community Center (MVCC) Halloween night event, plus the generosity of the Winthrop Kiwanis. Dozens of volunteers and high school students have worked hard to create this community event.
We look forward to welcoming everyone to the community center on Oct.1, from 5–8 p.m., for a Halloween celebration that promises a memorable and safe experience for all community members.
We hope your family will include the community center in your plans for the evening. We also hope that if you don’t typically make plans on Halloween, you will still venture out to support the MVCC by visiting one or both of our Halloween events.
See you Oct. 31!
Methow Valley Community Center Association Board of Directors
For the community
The amount of backlash Proposition 1 has received is incredible to me, especially after multiple community engagements where it was heard loud and clear that a new pool is needed and an indoor, year-round pool would be best.
For those of us who have raised kids or been witness to the chaos, we know how all-consuming, isolating and, at many times, excruciating parenting can be. If I wanted to find an indoor, smoke-free, insulated place to have my kids let off some steam, quite literally the only option in Twisp for an active space is the Community Center gym.
And parents know that often, that precious hour or two outside of the house mingling with others in a kid-safe space is invaluable to their well-being. It can make or break a day. Just take a look at the Wagner Pool on summer afternoons and the importance of the community pool to parents’ and children’s mental health cannot be overstated. It’s a cornerstone to the well-being of the community. That’s enough reason for me to vote for Proposition 1.
Yes, we’re in some tough times. Absolutely everything is more expensive than it ever was. Property taxes have gone up twice. My family is among those feeling the effects of that yet still, we see the value in an indoor aquatics center in our community.
As for the misinformation and fear-mongering claims circulating in the valley, it’s all an unfortunate sign of our times. Too often we forgo opportunities that would benefit us simply because the misinformation, rumors, and perceptions muddy the truth. Take the time to educate yourself before writing it off as another money-grab by special interests. And if by special interests the well-being and safety of our children is meant, then yes, those are very special interests indeed. Vote yes on Proposition 1.
A big shout out to Friends of the Pool for spearheading this effort. You’ve all endured such vicious backlash throughout it all when really you should be thanked for your efforts to find a way to upgrade the Wagner Pool. I see it and I am grateful.
I want to encourage every eligible voter to cast a ballot in the upcoming General Election. Its how you make your voice heard on special initiatives and who manages your town, hospital, fire district, cemetery and public schools.
If you haven’t received your ballot by Oct. 27, call the Auditor’s office at (509) 422-7240 to receive a replacement. You have until Nov. 7 to return your ballot by mail (with a postmark dated on or before that day) or by dropping it in a ballot box by 8 p.m. on election day.
Concerned about election integrity or ballot security? For years Washington state has made it easy to see your registration information and to track the dates when your ballot is mailed, received, and accepted/counted by going online to www.VoteWA.gov (no log-in needed, just your registered name and date of birth.) New this year, you can sign-up to receive your ballot’s status by automatic text message. To add text alerts go to www.VoteWA.gov and click on “Update my name or address.” Be aware that the last day you can update your voter information before the upcoming election is Oct. 30. If you have trouble, or do not have a smart phone or computer (basic mobile phones can receive texts), just call the Auditor’s Office for assistance.
What about lifeguards?
I love swimming so much I’ll drive to East Wenatchee to swim during the winter and I’m still swimming in Pearrygin Lake, albeit in a wetsuit. A big problem for pools I’ve found is finding lifeguards. At Eastmont and Carson City Aquatic Centers where I’ve been swimming recently, guards switch out every 15 minutes. This means at least two certified lifeguards during public swimming.
Both facilities have periodically had to scale back services for lack of lifeguard staff, in cities with much greater populations to draw from than the Methow Valley.
Keep science in schools
Watching the candidates’ forum at the Twisp Valley Grange recently revealed stark contrast between the individuals vying for the school board. Only three candidates clearly focused on meeting the students where they were to create a welcoming, inclusive educational experience: Judith Hardmeyer-Wright, Jennifer Zbyszewski, and Frank Cline. In addition, I was disheartened to hear from three of the school board candidates that creationism and intelligent design should be incorporated into the science curriculum at Liberty Bell. This shows a misunderstanding of what science is.
Science is not about truth. It is a method of data gathering to model our natural world in order to better understand it — and to predict what will happen in the real world. When we shoot rockets into the air, we have a fairly precise idea of where they will end up based on this methodology. Similarly, evolution science has predicted for decades that pandemics evolve over time to evade our defenses while simultaneously becoming less lethal to the surviving population — exactly what we’ve been witnessing with COVID. It also predicted bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and insect resistance to pesticides.
These are the aspects of evolution that we can observe in our short lifespans. Geology and paleontology provide overwhelming support for the development of new species over millennia that evolution explains. Intelligent design, even if true, is not science. It can’t be refined, proved or disproved, and it can’t predict what will happen.
Let’s leave religion in our houses of worship, and keep science in our schools. Vote for Judith Hardmeyer-Wright, Jennifer Zbyszewski and Frank Kline.
Continue the excellence
Not long ago, I had the tremendous honor to serve on the Board of Directors of the Methow Valley School District for 11 years. To this day, that remains the most intellectually stimulating and challenging endeavor I have ever been involved in. I’ve also had the joy of teaching young people for many years as a high school and college science teacher and as the Mountain Lion baseball coach.
As you receive your ballots to elect three school board directors, remember that the current board has governed our highly competent superintendent to guide our exceptional faculty and staff to create a school district that is among the best in the state and a model that others try to replicate.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I served on the board with Frank Kline for 11 years. I always respected what he brought to the table in the form of fiscal responsibility, community voice and a collaborative spirit.
“Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream.” When I left the board to spend more time with my aging mother, Judith Hardmeyer-Wright was elected. We had good conversations about teaching, learning and our district. Her devotion to education and care for each student earned my endorsement then, as it does now.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else” (Yogi Berra). After many years of wonderful service, Mary Ann Quigley has stepped down. I cherish our time on the board together as she overflowed with care for the kids. An open seat provides opportunity. Jennifer Zbyszewski will bring fresh, attentive eyes and ears to observe and evaluate issues with an open mind. Jennifer will contribute new thoughtful perspectives and direct with a collaborative spirit without any specific agenda. The Methow Valley has been her home for many years so Jennifer understands our community, and the world beyond it. She is smart, committed and caring. Jennifer’s a perfect fit.
Vote Jennifer, Judith and Frank for our school board for continued excellence!