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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.

Express thanks all year

As Americans, we take things for granted that many around the would consider luxuries

Philae gave me reason to believe

I’m usually not much of a movie-goer. And I certainly don’t plan to sit around and watch TV when there is life to live and work to be done. But then there are times I can be such a geek. I can sit motionless in front of the big screen or the TV. And on occasion, I can even tune out my favorite hard-rock songs and tune into “Coast to Coast.” Last week was one of those weeks.

Local athletes set good example

Brewster, Republic, Okanogan and Almira/Coulee-Hartline girls show class at state

Large ‘habitat’ buy raises concern

I’ve often voiced my concern over state agencies continuing to buy land in the name of habitat protection. But rural residents should also be aware of the economic pitfalls that will follow large acquisitions by environmental groups.

Look carefully at forest permits

A proposed directive concerning commercial filming in wilderness spilled over to the National Forest System, causing a “considerable response” among journalists.

Student election results intriguing

Last Friday, students statewide had an opportunity to participate in a mock election that included the same measures and congressional candidates as on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

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