June 10, 2015 — Letters to the Editor

Brad Skiff

Support Tonasket pool tax levy

As a person who would be in the proposed Tonasket Parks and Recreation district, but who does not live in the town of Tonasket, I want to offer a different perspective than that shared by a previous letter writer in a letter to the editor last week.

I live seven miles south of town in Crumbacher. I am 100 percent behind the parks and recreation district. The new pool will be built with funds provided by private donors. There is no tax revenue that is going to be spent to build this pool. It will be a gift to the wider Tonasket community from these generous private donors, most of whom live locally.

My oldest son finished the life-saving portion of his swimming merit badge at the Tonasket pool. Without the pool, I am not sure when he would have finished this merit badge. Learning to swim by qualified instructors, learning life-saving skills, providing a venue for physical activity, much-needed summer employment for our local youth and inexpensive, positive family entertainment, as well as increased property values are just some of the benefits the new pool will provide to Tonasket and to others that live outside of city limits. 

What is being asked of us is to support the maintenance of the pool, a very small cost in comparison to the benefit. Additionally, the proposed parks and recreation district can provide other outdoor activities for our youth and families. To me, this is a win-win situation and I will be campaigning for the parks and recreation district come the election.

Kathleen Thompson


Do you know about ‘breadcrumbs?’

Last week in Sprague, Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon rolled out the new “Breadcrumbs” surveillance program. Ecology is an agency with the full power of the courts including incarceration for non-compliance in its toolbox.

“Breadcrumbs” is about collecting data on all facets of private property with any possible connection to water or moisture. Pictures of pets, buildings, vehicles, livestock and reports and observations are being recorded and openly posted online for use by Ecology and anyone else.

Please, please, please stop Ecology from its overzealous activities.

Our freedom and liberty is being taken away.

William N. Demers


Omak needs an indoor pool

Our community’s outdoor pool is a great place to swim. My personal experience in the pool is amazing. Unfortunately, that pristine water is only available during the summer.

An indoor pool for schools and public use would be a great opportunity. Compared to our outdoor pool, an indoor one may be used year-round and need not be drained. The pool may cost money, but can be bought with fundraisers and city budgets. The change to an indoor pool would create a place of peace that elders as well as others who enjoy swimming will benefit from.

Swimming is an intense exercise, so a pool can be someone’s year-round gym. As there isn’t a city gym, the people of this city need a place to go to exercise freely, away from the elements. An indoor pool is an excellent opportunity for these children, the elderly and all ages in between. People I personally know need exercise, but do not like running for lifting weights, yet they enjoy swimming.

Many pools have heaters to keep them warm. A chlorinated “mini-lake” as well as being a place of exercise can also be a place of comfort during winters and cold fall afternoons. However, heaters may also be a cost problem. I believe the pool could be easily funded.

Imagine the smell of chlorine in the air, and the sound of splashing and laughter. This opportunity for an indoor pool will lead to fun times no matter what the weather outside. The exercise opportunity of pristine swimming water will bring happiness and health to our community.

Brandon Maple


More, healthier lunches needed

School lunches are a great thing for schools because the food regenerates students’ bodies and minds. Unfortunately, lunch can also be a problem as many students don’t receive lunch. Everybody should have a meal to eat every day.

In our daily school diet, we need to eat healthier food. Now, we eat food that has tons of fats, which can affect weight. We need to eat more food that has less fat, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and drinks. I know that we already have those food groups, but we need healthier items. Also, students don’t want to eat food straight from a can every day in school. Most students want nutritious food, even though they still need fat in their bodies.

Our school lunch needs a greater quantity of food. When we arrive at the cafeteria, it’s loaded with starving children with short tempers. Students who stay in class to finish their assignments don’t receive lunch unless they brought their own food from home. By the time they arrive in the cafeteria, there’s no food left, so they have to starve until they get home.

There are 295 students in Omak Middle School, but there isn’t enough food for that many kids. We need to make extras so all students have something to eat. When kids don’t eat food, they are cranky, mad and tired. This negative reaction affects them because they can’t concentrate in class, so their grades drop.

Clearly, we need healthier food for our minds and bodies, and more food for our peers. You can change our diet, put smile on our faces and make school a happier, more successful place.

Jaqueline Suastegui


Levy needed for Tonasket pool

I am a retired orchardist and one of the fundraisers for the new Tonasket swimming pool.

Yes, it is difficult to ask people for more taxes, but I do support the committee’s choice to ask people for this swimming pool maintenance and operations levy. I support it because I am a taxpayer and I know what it is to be spent for.

It is not to build the swimming pool of $1.25 million. That is by donation and donation only. The maintenance and operations levy is to hire lifeguards, power and maintain the park, which will be shared with the city.

The levy is $60,000 per year, for six years, which equates to 15 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. Yes, the city will pay a huge share of this levy because the closer to the city you get the higher, the assessed value.

Back to fundraising for the pool, this is history repeating itself. The pool is built by donations and fundraising by my parents and neighbors, who didn’t have two nickels to rub together. I also support this tax because I believe it is as fair as it can be.

Our funding has been successful because it has been with friends and business people that we have done business with over the years. I hope this is better understood.

The committee has looked into pools that have built in the last few years to learn what not to do. There are four or five fine pools in Okanogan County and they are having the same difficulty, lack of funds for maintenance and operations. I see where some in Omak want a year-round indoor pool.

I have mailed 50 packets of information concerning the Tonasket Pool. Fifteen cents per thousand dollars of property valuation is a small price to facilitate this kind of investment. Rest assured, no one will feather their nest but the kids and that is what this is what it is all about.

If you are interested in receiving a packet please let us know. If not, come swim.

Gerald Green


Bring roller skating to Omak

Okanogan County has many enjoyable interests, including bowling, movie theaters, hunting, fishing and hiking. However, the majority of activities is not year-round.

My idea for improving the activity array here is to bring back a roller-skating rink.

A year-round roller skating ring is an essential addition to Okanogan County because it allows people of all ages to participate and is an enjoyable activity for the whole family. It would be a big attraction. In fact, roller skating is proving to be America’s fastest growing sport.

Skating also improves the body by working out all the muscles and letting the mind relax. Skating rinks benefit people of all ages. Children are becoming bored of the old activities and are starting to misbehave. However, a skating rink will keep juveniles busy, which can prevent them from causing trouble. Youngsters can enjoy birthday parties and fun events while adults and teenagers can skate or lounge. By adding another activity to the county, people will be excited to try this sport.

Bringing back the roller skating rink in Omak will benefit the community in many ways. People of any age can profit from skating and social activities, while fitness will rise, making our community happier.

Kaitlyn Short


Pot store location should change

How do you boil a frog? You place a live frog in a pot of warm water and then gradually raise the temperature. The frog doesn’t recognize when it’s too late to jump out of the water and boils to death. The Chronicle continues to spotlight the marijuana shop controversy by placing articles on the front page for the last two weeks. It’s turning on the stove.

I think it’s a tragedy that the city of Omak gave up the fight to keep that shop from opening in a prominent location. Yes, it’s legal in the state to open up a pot shop, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. The location was poorly chosen. Apparently, the owner doesn’t care about the hordes of young people that frequent other stores in that and nearby shopping centers, or who attend church school and youth activities every day of the week right across the street. Or perhaps she chose that location because of those young people.

Speaking out about the poor location choice for this shop may draw unnecessary attention to it. However, I don’t feel right keeping quiet about a subject that is detrimental to our community.

What’s popular isn’t always right and what’s right isn’t always popular. I’m doing the unpopular thing (based on the Chronicle’s coverage) by speaking out against allowing recreational marijuana shops in our community.

By placing a pot shop in sight of our youth and drawing their attention to it, we’re slowly turning up the stove. I prefer to keep my frogs alive and hopping. Please consider moving the shop to an alternate location away from the sights of the formative minds of young people and move the story off the front page of the paper.

Lisa Bauer


Swimming pool requires support

Over this past year, the “community” of Tonasket has demonstrated overwhelming support for a new swimming pool, to be built with donations from individuals and businesses — a gift to the Tonasket “community.” While welcoming a new pool, the Tonasket City Council has made it clear that the city cannot afford to maintain it. Funds for a new pool must somehow come from the community.

So, how does a “community” pay for a pool? Does the community consist of the 1,000 people within the city limits or rather, the Tonasket School District, serving a population of nearly 6,000 in an area the size of Rhode Island? The proposed parks and recreation district takes a middle road, assuming people within 15 miles of Tonasket are those most likely to benefit and support a new pool. The majority of park users live outside city limits.

On the ballot this November, registered voters within the boundaries of the proposed parks and recreation district will be asked their opinion regarding the idea of supporting a pool via a small property tax.

The estimated $60,000 generated yearly from this tax will be used to maintain the pool and improve the quality of Tonasket’s existing parks. For property owners, this means a tax of 15 cents per $1,000 assessed property valuation — $15 per year for a $100,000 property or $150 per year for a $1 million property.

If you have questions, please contact the Tonasket Swimming Pool Association at 509-486-2517 or email tonasketpool@gmail.com.

Norm Weddle



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