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Policies leading to forest closure

Current forest rules allow off-road vehicles everywhere, unless a need arises for a specific closure. But if the rules change, motorized vehicles would no longer be allowed in millions of square miles of forest in North-Central Washington.

Build it, and they will come back

Elks members are taking steps toward rebuilding the downtown lodge, which has been a hub of community activity

Names of state fish and wildlife director finalists should be released, now

A decision by officials to hide the finalists' names for the Department of Fish and Wildlife's top job only damages an already tarnished reputation. Fish and Wildlife Commission members should release the names of the finalists before secretly interviewing them Thursday.

Rule change would affect rite of passage

This coming weekend, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission is set to change the sportfishing rules. In short, the new rules will close all of the Columbia River, its tributaries and beaver ponds to fishing “unless otherwise open.” That’s a reversal of tradition.

Rock'n'roll may have a place here

With all the cowboy and country persona emphasized here, it sometimes feels like I’m the only one in the area who listens to hard-rock music. But there are several local hard-rock musicians making a name for themselves elsewhere

Letter writing tradition goes on

This week, we continue a longstanding tradition of recognizing the year’s letter writers.

Dear Santa, will you please leave...

It’s usually easy for me to ask for a few well-deserved gifts. But given the destruction caused by this year’s Carlton Complex wildfire, there are so many things that area residents deserve — and need — that I can’t possibly ask for enough. But I’ll start with a few common-sense requests.

Helping others is part of life here

We’d like to say the spirit of Christmas is alive and well here. But that wouldn’t quite be accurate ... residents here take care of their friends and neighbors all year along, not just during the holidays.

Reopen 36-mile stretch of river

Residents of our state did not cede the right to access and enjoyment of public waterways to utilities operating dams on the Columbia or other rivers. But Grant County Public Utility District officials would have you believe they are the sole arbiters of who gets to fish, boat and access a 36-mile stretch of the Columbia River from Wanapum Dam to Rock Island Dam. They are not.

Per-mile tax idea bad for ruralites

That invasion of privacy, along with the potential tax-burden shift, should prompt rural motorists to urge the state to look elsewhere for funding.

Omak is the place to be Saturday

City's "Icicle Junction" comes to life this weekend downtown. You won't want to miss it.

Road block to established access

Forest Service Road No. 30 is an example of access issues facing those of us who enjoy recreating on publicly owned lands managed by a government agency. It makes you wonder how many public roads with prescriptive rights are now off limits, locked behind a government gate.

Sustainable means maintainable

Having a sustainable plan means striking a proper balance, rather than tipping the scales further toward environmentalism.

Gebbers deserves funds for fire fight

Gebbers Farms should be commended for its fire fighting efforts. The reimbursement cost taxpayers far, far less than had the company stood by and watched the Brewster area burn.

Focus funding on our agriculture

In the wake of the Carlton Complex wildfires, you’d think the only industry here in Okanogan County is tourism. It’s a narrative a self-serving group of state agencies want you and the world to believe.

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