Seek leadership elsewhere

I grew up hunting and fishing, hiking and camping along the Snake River when it ran wild and free. We picked fruit from orchards at Wawawai. I have memories of stopping at Wawawai Store for a candy bar on many a hunting trip, and of swimming in the current of the river while waiting for the Lyons Ferry to arrive and take us across the river at a time when a Washington State University archaeological crew was frantically excavating Marmes Rockshelter before it was flooded out by the rising waters behind Lower Monumental Dam.

I learned to rock climb at Granite Point. But by that time in the early 1970s, clearing and construction for Lower Granite Dam was well underway. The orchards, where only a few years earlier we had picked peaches and apricots, were gone. The old Wawawai Store was nothing more than a ruin, soon to be completely demolished.

I watched as a wild and free river was turned into a series of slackwater reservoirs. A once-thriving river community and semiwild ecosystem turned into something that looks almost lifeless to me. To this very day, it breaks my heart to see.

The final Environmental Impact Statement just put out by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration only furthers this heartbreak by refusing to offer real solutions to the fish and communities hurt by the construction of these four dams.

It’s time we look elsewhere for the leadership these rivers need.

J. Michael Short

Pullman

Costs too much

If there ever was a time for Nez Perce County officials and commissioners to be cautious about committing the taxpayers of this county to building a new courthouse, this is it. It is estimated that a new courthouse in the current location would cost $40 million (just about this year’s county budget) and another $15 million to find a location and build a new city police station.

It seems to me that there are several options that would be much cheaper. Leave the police in their current building ($15 million saved) and find another location in the area.

The city of Lewiston is littered with empty commercial buildings and I would expect that commercial building property owners would be eager to lease or even sell their property to the county. The old Kmart building is one example with lots of parking or Safeway is another example.

Another option is to re-purpose the old high school into the county courthouse. The school district could lease or sell the property and be out from underneath the expense of maintaining of that legacy property. Another bonus in this option is that by acquiring the old high school, the county would preempt the city, which has been secretly discussing acquiring it. The last thing this city needs is to blow out its budget (double the county budget) with another ill-considered project.

The taxpayers of this county should be paramount in considering a courthouse, not a few law firms and not county or city bureaucrats.

Brian Hensley

Lewiston

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