End the Mandate Banner in Winthrop. Photo by C. Creighton.

I reported on both local anti-mandate protests that occurred recently, and I was there for all or most of the duration of the demonstrations. Later, when reading the Methow Valley News’s interpretation of the events, article archived here, I was struck by the significant discrepancy between the reported numbers of attendees. For the Winthrop protest, I reported that over 60 people attended, and their reporter claimed it was a dozen. You’d think that – even if we approach the event from different angles – that maybe one thing that we could come close on is objective numbers – such as how many people were there at a demonstration. A dozen, and five dozen are not really interchangeable. If they were, imagine sending someone out for donuts! Still, there’s a lot of variables that go into such a count. I knew how I got my numbers, and I wanted to find out how the local paper arrived at their reported numbers.

World Wide Rally for Freedom in Twisp, WA. Photo by C. Creighton.

METHOW VALLEY – Last Friday, you may have seen a number of flag-waving, sign-bearing demonstrators protesting vaccination mandates on a Winthrop bridge around noon. Or similarly in Twisp on Saturday for a couple hours in the early afternoon, near Highway 20 in front of the Commons Park.

MVSD Superintendent Tom Venable speaks to demonstrators outside the District office, with 3 of 5 school board members. Photo by C. Creighton

WINTHROP – Over 100 people turned out for a Methow Valley School District Board meeting on Thursday evening, the 9th. The concerns of the people in attendance were centered largely on COVID-19 policies that the board had enacted before the start of the school year, which participants felt were discriminatory towards children as well as teachers. A recent incident of COVID-19 exposure at the school brought the disparate treatment to the forefront, in which un-vaccinated high-school students and teachers were forced to quarantine (teachers: without pay) for 2 weeks, even if not symptomatic, and exposed but vaccinated individuals are allowed to continue as normal but take a test a few days later. The individual who was sick and exposed others in this case, was indeed vaccinated.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

OKANOGAN COUNTY – Recently, Governor Jay Inslee has mandated experimental gene therapy shots, that are claimed to provide protection against COVID-19, for executive branch state workers, on-site contractors and volunteers, as well as public and private health care and long-term care workers. He later similarly mandated such shots for K-12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities. The requirement also includes public, private and charter schools, as well as most childcare and early learning providers who serve children from multiple households. Covered persons must accept the shots by early October, or provide a suitable religious or medical exemption, or face termination of their employment. There is no testing option, according to the governor.

METHOW VALLEY – A local school board candidate was unable to continue her campaign recently, largely due to the impact of a monetary fine imposed by the state’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). Michelle Randolph, a candidate for Director position 4 for Methow Valley School District #350, made the decision to withdraw as part of a settlement with the PDC.