CWU Observer- Fall 2020, Issue 8

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Vol. 117 NO. 8

November 3 - November 10, 2020

Día de los Muertos uplifts students’ spirits Continued on Page 5

Mitchell Roland/The Observer

Joey Packer (left) and Roberto Chavez (right). Diversity and Equity Center (DEC) staff provided games, pan de muerto and candy for students celebrating Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Gaudino talks COVID-19 and winter quarter Bailey Tomlinson News Editor President James L. Gaudino discussed CWU’s handling of a “manageable” number of COVID-19 cases in the student body over the current quarter. Additionally, he explained health and safety related changes to winter quarter, including it potentially beginning fully online. Gaudino made his comments at the Oct. 29 Board of Trustees meeting. “I wish I could report to you that we have had not a single case of [COVID-19] within our student population. Of course, I can’t do that,” Gaudino said. “But I can report that because of the work of the [COVID-19 response] team in developing the opening strategies, our rates of infection have been manageable.” The total number of student cases since beginning the academic year is about 125.

In This Issue 1-4 5-7 8-9 10-12 13-15 16

News Scene News Opinion Sports Engagement

CWU has been managing around 25 to 35 cases at any given time, with “occasional spikes,” Gaudino said. Gaudino said the quarter’s infection rates have stayed within levels the university is able to quarantine and isolate, and that looking at the trends has made the response team hopeful infection levels will remain manageable through the end of the quarter. Kittitas County Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Larson has been working closely with the response team since the beginning and has provided valuable expertise, according to Gaudino. “[He] has been arm-in-arm with us,” Gaudino said. “I mean, the level of detail, the level of time that [Larson] has been willing to give [CWU] gets down to approving weight lifting protocols in our athletic department for our athletes to see if the proper social distancing, the proper washing of

equipment is being proposed and then is being followed.” Larson has also been touring university facilities, such as the athletics areas, to ensure they are properly set up to adhere to health and safety guidelines. CWU is working with county health officials, who are working with the state, to have access to more testing resources. According to Gaudino, the campus opened this quarter with less testing capability than wanted. “We opened without, as most universities did, we opened without the availability to us of the testing regiments that we wanted to implement. And that’s because the testing wasn’t available. It wasn’t because we didn’t want to do it, or couldn’t afford it, we simply could not get the adequate supply of tests,” Gaudino said.

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Election Central Round up of coverage • Page 3 - A look at the state rep. from the 13th district • Page 4 - A preview of the two candidates for sheriff • Page 7 - A look at voting for third parties in elections • Pages 8-9 - Campus’ thoughts on the election • Page 13 - How athletics is getting athletes involved

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Alex Ybarra profile

Parties and COVID-19

Aviation program

2 November 3, 2020


COVID-19 and winter quarter changes Continued from Page 1 However, a plan is underway to address this as winter quarter draws closer. “I don’t want to announce exactly what we’re going to do yet, because we don’t have the approval of the testing resources, but essentially we’ll have a much more robust testing protocol both in exiting the quarter and the students going home, and the students returning in the winter quarter,” Gaudino said. “So we’ll get a sense of the prevalence at the start and be able to do the quarantines and if necessary the isolations at the beginning of the quarter.” This plan also includes the potential for the first two weeks of winter quarter to be held entirely online. Following those two weeks, classes that require in-person instruction will begin holding physical classes. According to Gaudino, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Life Michelle DenBeste has been in talks with faculty regarding this process. “We’re trying to create as much of, if you will, a sanitary bubble at the beginning of the quarter as our testing will allow us to, and as the behaviors of our students will allow us to do to lower the start point as we go through the quarter,” Gaudino said. According to Gaudino, CWU has proven that a university of its scale can return to functioning and adhere to new health and safety protocols with few exceptions.

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James L. Gaudino

The exceptions are off-campus parties that “result in a [COVID-19] infection or two” and can spread on campus when students who live on campus attend them. Even so, Gaudino said the CWU community has come together due to the pandemic. “[The pandemic] could have had everybody bickering at one another, but the reality was that it threw people together, it drew people together, this crisis given to us by this external factor of the pandemic,” Gaudino said. “The students, the faculty and the other employee groups have been incredibly willing, able, competent, professional partners in our pivots to respond to ... the [COVID-19] crisis.”


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Alex Ybarra recounts first term serving in Olympia Jessica Perez Staff Reporter Alex Ybarra is a Republican who has been representing the 13th district for two years. Now that his term is ending, he is seeking re-election and is running unopposed. The 13th district is one of 49 districts in Washington which represents the people in the state legislature. This district includes most of Kittitas, Yakima, Lincoln and Grant counties. Ybarra specifically represents these counties in the House. Ybarra learned many things in Olympia during his first year, including the process for passing a bill through the system. Ybarra said he learned “the pitfalls of being a minority party, because we don’t get a lot of bills passed because we don’t have the votes to pass them.” During his second year, Ybarra said he learned more about bills specifically. He said the state legislature runs through about 2,000 to 3,000 bills in a three-month session. “That’s a lot of bills,” Ybarra said. “You can’t be an expert in every single one, but you can learn about many of them.” Before Ybarra worked in the state legislature, he spent time working for the Quincy school board. On the board, he served as the past president, vice president and as a legislative representative. According to Ybarra, his background working for the school board helped prepare him for working in the state legislature. “In the legislature they’re really structured and you have to follow the parlia-

Republican Alex Ybarra is running unopposed for the 13th district state House seat . Provided by House Republicans Official Website mentary procedures there, so [working on the school board] really helped me learn how to go through procedures like we do in the legislature,” Ybarra said. Ybarra also worked for Grant County’s Public Utility District (GCPUD). He said the experience he gained from working there has come in handy in the



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legislature as well. “I’m the energy guy, so I could weigh into a lot of energy issues that come across my desk, so that really was very helpful and still is,” Ybarra said. “To this day, I’m asked to be in a lot of energy committees to help and support those final decisions.” Ybarra said cities like Seattle create a lot of carbon, and because of that, they want to switch to renewable energy in the form of wind, solar or nuclear. According to Ybarra, those forms of energy cost 10 times more than a hydro dam. It would be a higher cost to construct and for consumers as well. Ybarra also supports tax relief and limited government. “They are one in the same. Less taxes means we are going to hire less state employees. We have to do things better and more efficiently, meaning cheaper,” Ybarra said. When it comes to education, Ybarra wants to make sure students are “graduation and career ready.” According to Ybarra, 20 or 30 years ago, most people believed they should get a four-year degree and then find a job. Now, he said, not everyone wants to go get a four year degree. Some people are happy completing an apprenticeship in a field they enjoy. “We need to open up those pathways for kids to do what they want to do,” Ybarra said. “No job is worse than another job. In the education committee we just want to make sure those pathways are open.” Ybarra said a recent bill that passed that helped accomplish this was the Pathways Bill (HB 1599). Thisbill allows students to choose from eight pathways they want to take. Ybarra said there is a minimum amount of credits students must take and pass, and then they can choose to take electives relating to a field they are interested in. Ybarra also feels strongly about forest management. He said $61 million were requested last year to help maintain forests and make them healthy. He said this money would be very help-

ful to help clean up the forests and reduce the amount of things that burn. “The forests have been neglected probably since the [1970s], so there’s not been a lot of forest management, which in my opinion, is why we are seeing a lot of these forest fires,” Ybarra said. Ybarra said he would leave it up to the experts on how to best approach maintaining the forests, as it could be done in many ways. In order to connect with college voters, Ybarra said he spends a lot of time talking with college students. He said he gets many calls from students and he also speaks with groups of students who lobby for bills in Olympia. “We’ll work together on trying to get those bills passed,” Ybarra said. “I gave them some advice on who to talk to in the legislature to get the bill passed through the system because I am just one vote out of many,” Ybarra said. Ybarra said one of the things he is most proud of is listening to his constituents, the people he represents. “Whatever my constituents in Kittitas County, Yakima County, Grant County and Lincoln County want, that’s what I vote for,” Ybarra said. “They’re the ones who elected me to vote for them, so that’s what I try to do.” Another thing Ybarra said he is proud of is being the second Latino Republican ever elected to the House, and being the only Republican person of color in the House. However, Ybarra said he is treated differently because of his skin color. “I’m treated terribly,” Ybarra said. “I get treated badly because I’m a person of color and most of the other people of color, that are representatives, think I should be voting very liberally and I am not liberal. I am conservative. Because I vote conservatively, they think I am eroding their message.” Ybarra said he also gets called names by people on Facebook and sometimes in person for being a person of color and voting conservatively. Ybarra said most of the people who call him names are other people of color in the legislature. “Back in the [1970s], yeah, it was white people calling me names. Now it’s people of color calling me names,” Ybarra said. “I believe what I believe and that’s why I got elected to my position in district 13, and I don’t want to change what I believe and I’m not about to because people are calling me names. I’ve been called names before. You just have to deal with it. That’s part of being a Mexican-American. You just get called names.” Ybarra said it’s strange, but he puts up with it because he put himself in the position to be called names by running to be an elected official. Ybarra said being Mexican-American has allowed him to bring a different perspective to the legislature. “If you’re not that race, people don’t actually know what you think and how you do things and why things sometimes don’t make sense in your culture,” Ybarra said. “I know a lot of people that don’t know much about Mexicans and Mexican-Americans and so when they say things, I tend to say Mexican-Americans think this way, not what you’re stating.” However, Ybarra said he tries to do what’s best for all, not just his culture. “All humans are like that, we just want what’s best for our kids and everyone else, so I try to do that,” Ybarra said.

4 November 3, 2020


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Sheriff candidates make their pitches Bart Olson, Clay Myers face off to be Kittitas County Sheriff

Olson said he plans to work closely with mental health professionals in the county, a relationship is he said he’s made in the state patrol. “Law enforcement ends up having to n Election Day 2020, the two be the person to go in and solve so many candidates for the Kittitas mental health issues,” Olson said. “And County Sheriff’s are making that’s difficult on law enforcement’s part. their final push for the job. When this happens, Olson said the Current Sheriff Clay Myers has been result “isn’t always great for either ofon the job for just under a year after ficer or sometimes the person in cribeing appointed to the position in No- sis” since a lot of police officers are not vember of 2019. equipped to handle these situations. Myers was named Sheriff after the Olson said he also talked with the sheriff Gene Dana retired late last year. police chiefs in various agencies in the Now, Myers is running for re-election county to “go after these drug dealers for a full term. that are harming our youth.” During the August primary, Myers “The sheriff’s office actually only made won with 73.25% of the vote compared one delivery of a controlled substance in to Olson’s 25.74%. 2019,” Olson said. “So that’s a goal of mine.” Olson said crimes like assault, robBart Olson bery and stolen vehicles are “rooted” in A 1991 graduate of the CWU criminal drug use and drug dealers so “we need justice program with a minor in psychol- to target all drug dealers.” ogy, Olson currently serves as a WashingWhile Washington residents voted to leton State Patrol Sergeant in Ellensburg. galize marijuana in 2012, Olson said the sale Before his current post, Olson served on of marijuana is only legal in dispensaries. the Governor’s protection team and worked Olson said he also plans to crack as a reserve in the down on opiKittitas County oid and meth Sheriff’s office afin Our population has grown in this distribution ter he graduated. the county and Olson’s three county, and we continue to grow said “we need priorities are into target all of creasing the num- every year. I think what happened the dealers. ber of officers in is people from other parts of the “Ever since the department, marijuana’s increasing officer state have realized what a great been legalized, safety through in- community this is, and they like there are more creasing training drug dealers and raising drug the ruralness. now than I and crime awareever saw beness in the county. fore marijuana - Bart Olson, Washington State On raising was legalized,” Patrol drug and crime Olson said. awareness, OlOne of his son said he other goals is wants to crack to increase the down on drug number of officers in the sheriff’s deuse while also helping those with men- partment, which Olson said lags behind tal health challenges. a population increase in the county. “We need to find a way to protect “Our population has grown in this those people,” Olson said. “And what I county, and we continue to grow every mean by that is we need to protect peo- year,” Olson said. “I think what happle from basically themselves at times, pened is people from other parts of the and that’s where law enforcement I think state have realized what a great commucan do a very good job at trying to help nity this is, and they like the ruralness.” those people out.” While a decision to expand the number of deputies in the county is up to the board of county commissioners, Olson said as sheriff he would target CWU law and justice students for the Kittitas County Sheriff reserve program. “I think there’s a good way to target the people who want to stay here,” Olson said. “Give them information about the sheriff’s office, what we do, what the goal is.” While increasing the number of officers, Olson said he always wants to better train the department and said he wants “the highest level of training possible to make sure that they are safe in every regard of their job,” while keeping suspects safe as well. Olson said he wanted to bring the same standard to the sheriff’s office that he has at the state patrol, which he called a “really professional department.” Bart Olson


Olson plans to bring in trainers from across the country and the state to “basically make sure that the Kittitas County sheriff’s office has the best training we possibly can get, within budget means.” Olson also wants to bring activists and journalists into police training and “show them the aspects of police training and police decision training scenarios.” By doing this, Olson said it would improve both law enforcement as well as making more people aware of how law enforcement makes decisions.

Clay Myers

Myers has been on the job for less than a year and served previously as the undersheriff while Gene Dana was Sheriff. Myers did not respond to several requests for Clay Myers interviews for this article. According to his campaign website, My- other things, hosting monthly meetings ers wants to stay in the job so he can help with the heads of local, state and federal agencies, hosting monthly meetings with handle the problems Kittitas County faces. “The county has some big challenges chiefs and prosecutors and hosting an anahead, the continuing impacts of a pan- nual state sheriff’s meeting. Myers’ website says he will also indemic, unprecedented restrictions of our civil liberties, and significant pop- crease transparency in the department ulation growth,” his campaign website by changing “the historical command says. “I am well prepared to continue structure and business model to enproviding public safety to our commu- hance transparency and accountability.” Myers would appoint a compliance nity as we address these challenges.” Myers started his career as a correc- officer to “ensure operational and admintions officer. He later served as a Line istrative compliance across the board.” To address the violent crime and gang Deputy and then was later promoted in 2004 to the role of Undersheriff by for- crime in the community, Myers’ website said he would increase “training in recogmer Sheriff Gene Dana. “I am in my 34th year with the Sheriff’s nizing and responding to illegal gang activOffice where I have worked in and command- ity” while also expanding the intelligence of “criminal ed every division intelligence within the agency,” reporting Myer’s campaign The county has some big challeng- among local website says. Myers’ web- es ahead, the continuing impacts of and regional enforcesite says before his a pandemic, unprecedented restric- law ment.” work in the sherAccording iff’s office Myers tions of our civil liberties, and sigserved in the US nificant population growth. I am well to his website, among Army and was stationed at Joint Base prepared to continue providing public his plans for Lewis-McChord, safety to our community as we ad- a d d r e s s i n g mental health which is just south dress these challenges. and addiction of Lakewood, in the comWashington. - Clay Myers, Kittitas County munity, Myers On his website, Sheriff will change Myers lists his prithe structure orities as increasing of the jail “to interagency combetter serve munication and the addicted cooperation, addressing mental health and addiction in the inmate population” while also initiating county, increasing public trust and address- “new programs to enhance medically assisted treatment for inmates.” ing violence and gang-related crime. In an Oct. 3 forum sponsored by the According to his website, his goals for the department are to increase ser- Kittitas County League of Women Voters vice to the upper part of the county, in- and the Daily Record, Myers said he would crease inter-agency communication and pursue accreditation for the department cooperation, address mental health and by the Washington Association of Sheriffs addiction in the county, increase public and Police Chiefs if he is elected. “I absolutely believe that we need to be trust in the department and reduce vioaccredited, we’ve already initiated that prolent and gang-related crime. On his website, Myers says he will cess,” Myers said. “I served on the accreditaincrease the service to the upper por- tion commission for Washington state and tion of the county so that the depart- also on the accreditation committee. I’m also ment can “improve services and reduce a certified accreditation inspector.” Myers said in the forum that being accrime,” and he would like to establish a credited would help the department have the west precinct to do so. Myers’ website said that he would in- proper policies in place because “you have to crease interagency cooperation by, among prove that you are doing things the right way.”

Mitchel Roland Editor-in-Chief

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November 3, 2020 5


Día de los Muertos brings color to the community Aeryn Kauffman & Bailey Tomlinson Copy Desk Chief/Opinion Editor & News Editor The Diversity and Equity Center (DEC) held their annual Día de los Muertos celebration, complete with pan de muerto, art, games and music on the SURC Patio East on Friday, Oct. 30 from 4-7 p.m. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life and death and a time to remember friends and family who have passed. Traditionally, families who celebrate Day of the Dead will write poems for loved ones, make altars, called ofrendas, to leave food offerings at, and leave flowers on graves of those who have passed away. The DEC set up a large sand tapestry in the SURC Pit in addition to the activities on the SURC Patio. Sugar skulls, candles and Mexican marigolds adorned tables in the SURC Pit and large boards displayed facts about the holiday. Program Manager for the DEC Elizabeth Vidaurri said staff at the event “want to pay homage to Mexico and others.” Vidaurri said the holiday highlights her own culture and other students’ as well.

Graphic by Bekah Blum/The Observer

Photos by Mitchell Roland

6 November 3, 2020


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Violations of health guidelines, including parties of over 10 people, may lead to fines Jared Galanti Staff Reporter

In any college town there are bound to be parties found somewhere either off-campus or on campus. Dan Hansberry, the operations captain of the Ellensburg Police Department, said due to large COVID-19 outbreaks happening at other universities in the state, the way that the documentation of these gatherings had to be changed a little bit. The health guidelines in Kittitas County state that no more than 10 people who are not in one household can be together at one time with social distancing and masks on. “What we have done in partnership with other law enforcement agencies in [CWU] is come up with a reporting process or following our standard process back to the school if we find students who are violating the health rule for COVID-19,” Hansberry said. Hansberry said officers who arrive at a scene off-campus with more than 10 people who clearly don’t live together will write a citation to the homeowner as well as sending that report to CWU Student Success, where the violators will have to deal with potential penalties as well. Hansberry also said it is pretty easy to spot potential violators because of the noise ordinance in Ellensburg. “You kind of know on a Friday afternoon if someone is setting their house up for a party,” Hansberry said. “You start seeing other people showing up, we’ll preemptively make contact with that residence.” Hansberry said when they make contact with the residents they will let them know the police department is aware that they are having a party, and will let them know the consequences if they do, which includes fines. Those fines double each time a noise ordinance is broken within a 12

Casey Rothgeb/The Observer

Due to large COVID-19 outbreaks, both off and on-campus police officers are enforcing COVID-19 group guidelines through fines and education.

month period starting at $513 for the first offense, $1,025 for the second offense and $2,050 for the third offense. Officers aren’t the only ones concerned about parties going on during the pandemic. Students have also become concerned about parties taking place to begin with. Judy Brewer, a junior industrial engineering major, said she has heard of parties going on that are not in agreement with the health guidelines. “I saw one. They were in a garage and there were easily 50 or more people,” Brewer said. While Brewer said that she has gone to small BBQs with friends, she has never been to one of these massive parties.

She also said random people who are looking for parties, referred to as party crashers, have come into her apartment thinking a party was happening simply because they heard loud music coming from there. Brewer said she thinks the guidelines put forth by CWU are good but she knows not everyone is following them. “If everyone followed [the guidelines] to a tee that would be awesome,” Brewer said. “It’s kind of [like] recycling. If everyone does a little bit it’s really great.” In addition to the Ellensburg Police Department, the CWU police department is also taking part in enforcing COVID-19 guidelines both on and off-campus. Marc McPherson, a lieutenant of the CWU police department, said they are trying to enforce safety and

noise guidelines with the least intrusive ways possible. “As far as COVID-19 protocols go we are essentially information gatherers at this time which is good,” McPherson said. “Because it helps us maintain that relationship with the community.” McPherson said there have been a few complaints on campus about gatherings of more than 10 people and people not wearing masks. He said the protocol for those sorts of complaints is educating the violators and making sure they are in compliance with the guidelines put in place. “Our primary goal is to make sure everyone is safe,” McPerson said. “It’s a plea to stay within the guidelines and stop the spread so we can get back to normal sooner rather than later.”

Theatre department brings Edgar Allan Poe paintings to life Abigail Duchow Scene Editor On Nov. 5-7 at 7:30 p.m. the theatre department will be bringing Edgar Allan Poe’s paintings to life as a live art exhibit. Small physically distanced groups are invited to walk around the exterior of McConnell Hall and view Edgar Allan Poe’s “paintings” come to life through live scenes performed by CWU theater students in the building. Tickets can be purchased online at the theatre department’s page for current productions. They are $5 for CWU students and $12 general admission. Face coverings will be required for audience members. In addition to the in-person event, an online presentation is being developed for peo-

ple who prefer to watch it from home. Those tickets cost $5. The description of the production on the theatre department’s website reads “An art exhibit is traveling to town and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to put yourself in the art. Paintings of Edgar Allan Poe texts come to life before your eyes as you wander around the museum for an evening, exploring the mystery and the macabre of Poe’s mind. Live, devised scenes will be performed within the frames of McConnell Hall. The audience is invited to walk around the exterior, gazing through windows into the activated strokes of Poe’s genius. Audiences will be limited to small groups, so make your plans now and stay tuned for more specific ticket and production information.”

Photo courtesy of CWU Theatre Department

November 3, 2020 7

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Third party over here! Ryan Nakamura Staff Reporter

In the United States there are two major political parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. These are not the only political parties in the U.S. According to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), there are at least seven third party organizations including the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party. For Josh Porter, an Ellensburg resident and former third party voter, it means disappointment when one of the major party candidates wins with slightly lower numbers. He hoped his vote in 2016 would have an effect on the Trump/Clinton election, which it did, but in nowhere near the way he wanted or expected. Porter voted for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, in 2016. “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both looked awful to me,” Porter said. “Honestly at this point, I wish I’d voted for Clinton because it feels like I wasted my vote.”

Graphic by Tiffany Tablang

Voting for a third party candidate means that there is one fewer vote that goes to either the Republican or Democratic parties. Porter wasn’t the only one feeling dissatisfied with voting third party in the 2016 election.

Marie Reilly, an Ellensburg resident and prospective CWU student, wants to give third party voting another try. Reilly said while disappointment is natural when the desired result doesn’t happen, it’s not possible to win every time.

“We’ve had the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and the Civil War in this country,” Reilly said. “Just because things are bad doesn’t mean we should compromise our values. I think that you have to vote for someone who represents what you believe in no matter what party they’re in.” There are those who are excited just to have the opportunity to vote. Franklin Jones, a Kittitas County “temporary inhabitant,” has voted third party in every election he could, with the exception of President Obama’s campaigns, and plans to continue doing so as long as he’s able to. “I love voting for the underdog. That’s the beautiful thing, son,” Jones said. “Sure they might not win but you’re giving them a chance and one of these dasys we will have somebody like that in office.” Jones said in addition to liking the underdog he has distaste for the current system. “I keep voting the way I do not just because I love it but because I hate the idea that our choice has to be binary. You can’t take everyone in the country and tell them their options are Box A or Box B. It’s about freedom.” Jones said.

Trick-or-treat COVID-19 style, haunted homes tour and more for this year’s Ellensburg Halloweek Jayce Kadoun Staff Reporter Ellensburg Halloweek took place Oct. 26-31 and included a number of Halloween related activities and events put on by the Ellensburg Downtown Association both online and in-person. The in-person events required volunteers and participants to wear masks and take other social distancing guidelines into account. Director of Tourism and Events at the Ellensburg Downtown Association Madison Ford said the festivities this year were catered to all. “Halloween in Ellensburg offers something for everyone, even the families who don’t want to experience any physical contact with others,” Ford said. Ford said events like the candy bag grab offered a fun experience for kids to dress up, get a bag of candy and other prizes and celebrate with their families without even leaving their vehicle. “We are proud that organizations within our individual communities and county as a whole have come together, offering safe and festive ways to celebrate together this year,” Ford said. Some of the festivities included a haunted homes driving tour around Ellensburg sponsored by Habitat for Humanity. The car ride experience displayed homeowners’ halloween decorations across town while drivers could stream Halloween music from Ellensburg Community Radio. Ford also said Cle Elum did a “phenomenal job” in pulling off several events right in the downtown core, including the BOO-CRUISE, a festive parade that kids could safely enjoy from a distance.

Casey Rothgeb/The Observer

One in-person event was the Halloween Candy Grab Bag. Trick-or-treaters drove through different locations and picked up candy for their kids. Alumna Maddie Hesse said she remembers Halloween in Ellensburg from previous years and thinks the event lineup this year seemed to make the best of things, despite the health guidelines and restrictions in place. “Obviously things aren't the same this year, but I think [the Ellensburg Downtown Association] did a good job making sure people and kids stayed safe and still had fun at the same time,” Hesse said. According to Hesse, the Ellensburg Downtown Association puts on fun events every year.

She said she looks forward to attending them and seeing everyone get in the Halloween spirit. “I think it’s cool that they were still able to put on some of them virtually,” Hesse said. “The fact that people can still experience the usual Halloween stuff without physically being anywhere is actually pretty amazing.” Alysa Johnson, an exercise science major, said she drove by some of the houses on the haunted homes tour with a group of friends and enjoyed seeing everyone’s Halloween display. “A ton of people around town went all out this year on the decorations,”

Johnson said. “The houses on the tour were all pretty impressive this year, but the one house that looks like a castle on third was our favorite for sure.” According to Johnson, the haunted homes tour is worth driving through no matter what age you are. She said she wants to make the drive around decorated neighborhoods with friends part of her Halloween tradition. “Honestly, I like going around and seeing people’s decorations more now than I did when I was little, so it really doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or a kid,” Johnson said.

Election day is Written by Aeryn Kauffman & Star Diavolikis Copy Desk Chief & Staff Reporter

“Women fought in an organized, national effort 72 years just to get the vote … It’s not something to be thrown away especially when democracy is hanging in the balance.”

Questions we a

1. What are your though 2. Are you planning to

3. Who will you be supp dential election and wh

Percentage of each age

- Savannah Strode, junior studio fine arts major

“I worry that the wrong candidate could be elected. This could mean a lot [of] damage done to the Hispanic community, which I am proudly a part of.” - Jasmin Rodriguez, pre-veterinary medicine major



“I don’t want to say there’s going to be a civil war, but it kind of feels that way.”


- Ruthi Erdman, senior lecturer in the Department of English


“Us young people, we can see the problem a lot bigger than these older people do.” - Jacob Crumb, undeclared freshman

s finally here

asked students

hts on the election?

vote? Why or why not?

porting in the presihy?

Designed by Bekah Blum

“The two-party system is tearing apart this country … We want a united country. It says so in our title, ‘The United States of America.”’ - Chris Ruck, a freshman political science major and Libertarian voter



group that voted in 2016



“I prefer [Trump’s] policies. That’s why I voted for him. Not because of his personality, because he is kind of a jerk, but I prefer his policies over the other side.” - Aidan Matthys, a freshman computer science major

“Mike Pence has literally funded conversion therapy, and that terrifies me.” - Emily Baker, a sophomore biology major and social media manager for the Astronomy Club

“We were actually just driving, and we saw a Trump rally. We see those a lot often now, more than before like, last year, say ... This year definitely has made a change in what I believe in and what I want to study more about and learn about.” - Maria-Rosarie Wright, a sophomore business administration major

10 November 3, 2020


Designed by Tiffany Tablang

The Observer bite-sized opinions I’m so tired of hearing people say ‘when we go back to normal’

Bailey Tomlinson News Editor A phrase that I’ve been hearing repeatedly throughout the duration of the pandemic is “when we go back to normal.” Things will be better, plans will be made and loved ones will be seen “when we go back to normal.” A pandemic is not an event that leaves a culture untouched, and frankly, if we come to the other side of this and nothing has changed due to it we should strive for better. This moment has highlighted necessary change. As somebody who both is and has loved ones who are at heightened risk of complications due to COVID-19, the responses to the pandemic on many levels have failed me. I am not even part of other groups that have been touched much more deeply by this trauma, like Black Americans and the homeless population. We are in a moment of redefinition. I do not know what the future will look like, but I do know that it is incredibly unlikely it will look like the past. So when people reassuringly tell me that any myriad of things will be better “when we go back to normal,” it’s dismissive of this entire experience. It’s dismissive of the sacrifices I’ve made, the nights I’ve spent awake and the precautions I’ve been taking for the past eight months. I don’t know what our new “normal” will look like, or when it will come, but I know I hold it to a higher standard than this.

A year without cons, the artist alley depression

Tiffany G. Tablang Graphic Designer The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge blow to the convention community, mainly for the artists who sell to the many patrons that attend. Conventions were the highlight for artists. For some, to make a living. It wasn’t just the fanfare of the many fandoms, cosplays or events that were condensed into those short three days. It was seeing all the people and the smiles brought on as they bought our goods that took hours and a lot of money to produce. With virtual cons, what is left for the artists? Paying and prepping for the amount of stock enough to sell to hundreds of people for it all to stay in boxes and to slowly sell online. Conventions gave notice, fan support and gave us confidence in our work. As one of those artists, what do I do now?

This ‘Bachelorette’ season is a mess

Amy Morris Managing/Online Editor Being stuck at home has resulted in me watching a lot of TV. Almost every new show I seemed to have watched. “The Bachelorette” in particular has

sparked a lot of conversation lately. This season is truly unlike any other. Not only did the filming process happen during a pandemic, but the bachelorette this season was very unexpected. Usually the bachelorette is a popular contestant from the last season of “The Bachelor”. Not only was Clare not from the last season, she was also 39. Most of the contestants were noticeably much younger than her. Clare being a very intense person brought a deep, emotional turn to almost every conversation. Her need for a deep connection got in the way of her making meaningful connections with the contestants. Not everyone can dive straight into a deep conversation without knowing someone for a while. Her fixation on the contestant Dale also became an obsession. I understand the feeling of falling for someone very deeply and wanting to focus on only them. However, “The Bachelorette” is all about dating multiple men at once, not just one.

A cup of sugar

Casey Rothgeb Photo Editor With the election around the corner, which old white guy is going to win? The one who doesn’t know what position he is running for, or Chester Cheetos’ grandpa getting his orange dusty fingers all over the oval office? One candidate who calls himself a visionary has one point for his candidacy that I love and believe we all need to get behind from here on out. We need to value our relationships more than money and politics. We are all in this together and need each other. Go out and vote for whoever you believe will run this country the best, and at the end of the day, if you and your neighbor voted opposite of each other, you still better bring them that damn cup of sugar over for their cookies and tell them to have a great night, because that is what neighbors do.

PSA: Kanye West is not on the Washington ballot

Aeryn Kauffman Copy Desk Chief/Opinion Editor I can’t tell which is worse, the fact that West is on the ballot, or the fact that some voters don’t know he’s only on the ballot in 12 states. Those 12 do not include Washington. There are some interesting and passionate third party candidates on the ballot who have well thought-out stances on issues, but Kanye West isn’t one of them. Also, many third party candidates are actual politicians. Please take your vote seriously, and vote for a party that isn’t titled the Birthday Party.

Choose democracy: abolish So fun you’ll wet your pants the electoral college Riel Hanson Abigail Duchow Scene Editor The Electoral College is the formal body which elects the President and Vice President of the United States. When voters go to the polls in a Presidential election, they are actually voting for the electors to cast their ballots for that ticket in the Electoral College. According to the Federal Election Commission, in the 2016 election Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.09%, and while that may not seem like a lot, that 2.09% represents more than 2.8 million votes. However, President Donald Trump won the election because of the electoral college, obtaining 77 more electoral college votes than Clinton. If you care about democracy, you should care that this happened. The people of the United States did not vote Donald Trump into office. Rather, a group of people took the country’s fate into their own hands and decided to vote against the nominee the people chose. The people’s voice should be the voice that matters the most. The nominee the people vote for should be the nominee to become president. To accurately represent a true democracy, the electoral college should be abolished and the fate of the country should be voted on through the popular vote.

Now’s the time to become I am so sick of maskne Chef Ramsay Aeryn Kauffman Bekah Blum Lead Graphic Designer With COVID-19 keeping us all indoors there’s no better time than now to truly evolve into the greatest chef in the world, Chef Gordon Ramsay. With all the time you have inside it’s a great time to binge some Master Chef, or stalk Gordon Ramsay’s TikTok and dream of being as cool as him. Sure, you can learn a recipe or two, but what I really mean is learning how to speak like a true chef. Next time you sit down for a meal maybe spew out a quote from Gordon Ramsay himself like, “For what we are about to eat, may the Lord make us truly not vomit.” Eventually, maybe even you can become as beautifully versed as Chef Ramsay. Just don’t go blaming me if you start speaking in a British accent.

Regardless of how this election plays out, there is still more work to be done. Stay informed on what your elected officials are. Know who your representatives in congress are. Know who the mayor of your town is. While it seems like your voice won’t make a difference, it does. If there’s something in your community or in your town that you don’t like, speak out about it. And if your elected officials don’t do anything about it, then vote them out or run for their position to change it. While it is important to vote in a presidential election, please remember to make your voice heard more than once every four years.

Copy Desk Chief/Opinion Editor The flipside of COVID-19 outbreaks is COVID-19 breakouts. I’ve probably aged a good five years during the pandemic because of maskne, or mask acne. It’s not cute. I’ve combed through the recesses of /r/SkincareAddiction and tried many different strategies to manage it. Right now my strategy is being thankful the mask covers up the problem it caused. Send help.

Civic responsibility does not end on election day

Mitchell Roland Editor-in-Chief Whether or not you submit your ballot by 8 p.m. today, and I encourage you to do so, please remember to get involved the rest of the year.

Graphic Designer Growing up I’ve never had any consoles where I could really play with anybody else. I found joy in watching people on YouTube playing games instead. During COVID-19 I was able to get a PC that could run the games I’ve always wanted to play myself. I’ve been able to play Ark: Survival Evolved, Among us and Dead by Daylight. Playing these gawmes has kept me going throughout the pandemic. Phasmophobia by Kinetic Games has the most recent one. It was released on Sept. 18 and has already hit number five on Steam’s list of top games. The game itself is described as a four person co-op psychological horror game, but can also be played with a solo team. I’ve never been one for the horror genre and probably wouldn’t have even considered playing it if I hadn’t watched others play it. The goal in the game is to discover what type of ghost based on the three pieces of evidence the ghost reveals without getting killed by the ghost, as well as record evidence of the paranormal activity. The game uses directional chat for players to have a complete immersive experience. Phasmophobia is so fun it’ll make you wet your pants.

Today’s gift: Your voice and your vote

Rey Green Sports Editor Every single day is a gift and should be treated as such. It’s a gift because tomorrow’s not promised. All we can control is right now and right now it’s very vital that we vote. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ashamed I have never voted before. I blame myself for this selfish act. Always believing that everything will be handled. Clearly with how divided our country is, that assumption was wrong. You should never leave anything in the hands of someone else. Especially someone who doesn’t care about you. President Trump during the second debate didn’t condemn white supremacy, and told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” Get up and vote. Your voice matters. Right now is going to determine the future, not just for you but for your kids and their kids as well.

November 3, 2020 11 Designed by Riel Hanson


Thanksgiving is the best Addie Adkins Columnist Now that Halloween is over, it’s time to gear up for the best holiday of the “-ber” months. Can I get a “gobble gobble?” While Halloween and Christmas are tied for my number one holiday, I will always champion for “Turkey Day.” Here are six reasons why Thanksgiving is the best of all the holidays. It’s Low Key There’s not much to prepare for. Most people attend Thanksgiving dinner, whether it’s at a family member’s house or maybe you take part in “Friendsgiving.” If you are the host, then you are kind of busy. You plan the meal and are busy cooking most of the day. However, if you are just an attendee, you show up, reminisce, laugh, watch the parade, watch football, eat and then go home. Basically, when I think of Thanksgiving, I think of a massive family hang out session. Also, there aren’t any added celebrations or parties to attend in the weeks leading up to the actual holiday like there are for Christmas. Company Christmas party anyone? It’s Low Cost Thanksgiving is one of the cheapest holidays out there. According to the American Farm Bureau, in 2019 the average cost of preparing a Thanksgiving meal for a group of 10 was $48.91. That’s less than $5 per person and you get leftovers. No gifts mean no spending money on Mom, Dad, little brother or Aunt Sally and Uncle Rick. It’s less pressure and more money in my pocket. Also, you generally don’t have to dress up. Having two kids, clothes are incredibly expensive without having to worry about adding special fancy clothes to the mix more than twice a year. Getting special Easter and Christmas outfits can get expensive.

Graphics by Riel Hanson/The Observer

Thankfully, for Turkey Day, it’s comfy pants and a nice-looking shirt for everyone. Bonus points if it is a Thanksgiving themed shirt. There’s So Much Good Food In a more traditional type dinner, turkey is generally the main course, but the real stars of the show are all the delicious side dishes. Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, candied yams, green bean casseroles and cranberry sauce give a little bit of something for everyone to choose from. That’s just the main course. Dessert is when the pie comes out. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, chocolate cream pie and so many others. It’s All About the Alcohol (or Sparkling Apple Cider) My family doesn’t really drink. So, instead of wine or fun cocktails, we always had Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider on hand for the big feast. When I was about 10 or so, we were all sitting around the table devouring our delicious turkey, when my mom suddenly said to my aunt, “Do you remember wine flips? We should do that next year!” The next Thanksgiving, our table had something new on it: alcohol. Mom mixed red wine and 7up in some wine glasses and gave a glass to everyone who wanted one, me included. It was the first time I tasted wine. Lots of holidays have alcohol, so what makes Thanksgiving different is it’s perfectly acceptable to day-drink since dinner is usually more of a late lunch. It Could Also be Called National Nap Day It is almost expected of you to take a nap on Thanksgiving. The running joke in my family is who will be first to crawl under the table and fall asleep. Turkey has the amino acid L-tryptophan which turns into serotonin and

melatonin, the happy and sleepy hormones, according to Of course, the post-dinner sleepiness can also be attributed to overeating and the alcohol too. It’s a Four-Day Weekend Not everyone gets the day after Thanksgiving off. But a lot of workers do, and schools and colleges are generally closed for the whole weekend. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of March 2018, 43% of civilian workers received the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday, with 39% of private industry workers and 69% of state and local government workers receiving the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday. What better way to spend a fourday weekend with your family and/ or friends, eating good food, making memories to talk about next year and just having a relaxing time? Bonus: It’s the Unofficial “Official” Kick-off to the Winter Holiday Season While many people use the day after Thanksgiving to take advantage of sweet Black Friday deals, I tend to stay home, blast Christmas music and transform my house into my own personal winter wonderland. It’s been a tradition for years. Last year, I was particularly depressed, so my tree went up on my mid-November birthday, but I didn’t decorate it until the day after Thanksgiving like normal. It’s the day I spend watching my favorite Christmas movies, drinking eggnog coffee and eating leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast. Thanksgiving may only be my second favorite holiday, but it’s still the best holiday out there. Sure, the summer holidays are great too, but nothing beats the wonderful smells of a feast cooking all day long, the Macy’s parade, all-day-long football or the great memories being made with family.

12 November 3, 2020


Designed by Riel Hanson

Good night, morning and afternoon Ryan Nakamura Columnist You should be sleeping more and it’s the most important thing you can be doing for yourself right now! In this day and age going outside and spending time with people would be great, but right now that’s not what you should be doing. The year of 2020 is nearly over and most of it has been spent dealing with a global virus. Netflix has been binged, games have been played, and in the case of food? DoorDash has been to the door and already dashed. What else is there left to do? You guessed it, sleep! Nap throughout the day as well as sleeping at night. Sleep is a time where the worries of the day can slide off our shoulders, a place where we are free of the constraints that hold us back in our day-to-day lives. We can be our own greatest hero, saving the day and solving all our problems in our dreams. The time isolating indoors has been impactful on people and not in a positive sense either, with an infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating that in late June over 40% of surveyed U.S.

adults reported mental health or substance abuse issues. According to the CDC over 40% of 5,470 surveryed people reported negative mental health, including people reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression (30.9%), those with symptoms related to COVID-19 (26.3%), those who used substances to cope with stresses related to the virus (13.3%), and those who had considered suicide in the past month (10.7%) Of course, sleep isn’t the solution to everything in the world. It won’t likely win any wars or find the cure to any diseases, but it can still help more minor issues. According to Psychology Today there is a correlation between not sleeping and depression. If you get enough sleep it will help mitigate the effects of depression, and with how sleep schedules have been altered while day-to-day schedules may not have, what option is there? Once again, it’s daytime napping. For the average college student seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended. I, for one, wouldn’t have nearly that amount if it weren’t for my naps. In order to sleep I get in bed early and wind up staring at the ceiling for hours because it just won’t come.

18.8% 30.9%

10.7% 13.3%

26.3% KEY

Anxiety/Depression COVID-19 Symptoms Used Substances Considered Suicide Other Mental Health Problems

This matches up to testimony I’ve heard from college students from all walks of life at all sorts of universities. Sleep is especially important for us. According to, “Not getting enough sleep causes daytime sleepiness … and can impact your performance. Other effects of sleep deprivation include … increased risk of accidents, memory impairment and trouble concentrating.” Those last two are the real killers in an education environment. It can be difficult enough to focus on a lecture via a Zoom call, to add in additional trouble concentrating because of a lack of sleep. It’s practically begging for poor performance. That’s to say nothing of the nightmare that is taking a test with memory impairment. Ever stay up all night studying and are unable to remember any of it when the test is in front of you? That’s why, and it’s yet another reason to get sleep however you can for your own good. Sleep deprivation is a real problem, for all of us. Whether we’re a student, teacher or anyone else, we all have felt the pain of a sleepless night once or twice. We need to be kinder to ourselves now more than ever. We need more sleep.

You should try owning a pet at some point in your lifetime

Ty McPhee Columnist Yes, I know pets aren’t for everyone but please just hear me out. Spring 2020, home alone with no one but my family cat for company. I would spend my lunch time with him to actually chat and relax with mentally. He’s not my first cat either, he’s my fourth. Cats have been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and they’re the kind of animal that suits my needs and my lifestyle perfectly. I live very much like them, only really being active when it’s in my favor and relaxing for most of the day, that’s what my cat does too. Recently he’s been choosing to sleep on my lap during this quarter since I’m home and the weather has been cooling down. It’s nice to feel him purr on my lap and feel him twitch when he dreams and reminds me to just take it easy I know that as a kid I always wanted a dog but knew it wouldn’t work with my two cats, and I know that my dad wouldn’t be convinced to have one because he also grew up with cats his whole life too. Dogs, rats, birds, chinchillas, axolotls, turtles and vinegaroons. There are so many different pets that can fit any different kind of lifestyle you could possibly think of. That, and there are so many different kinds of subspecies.

Photo courtesy of Ty McPhee Want a pet that you can have and take it with you on runs? Get a Husky. Want a pet that looks cute and is super soft? A bunny. Want a pet that is a dog but isn’t actually a dog but is really a cat? Get a Maine Coon cat. According to the National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Prod-

ucts Association, in 2019-2020, 85 million families in the United States own a pet (or 67%). Getting a furry friend or even a scaly one can be fun and a great way to destress and make sure that your sanity isn’t dropping like a rollercoaster. My girlfriend got a dog when she was younger to help with her anger issues and

she got another to help with her depression a couple years ago. I know that emotional support animals require a lot of training but can quite literally be a life saver in some instances. I thought about getting an emotional support cat after seeing someone on campus with one but passed knowing how much time I spend jumping to and from places to hang out. CWU offered goat yoga and even Paws and Relax before finals, and with COVID-19, people aren’t able enjoy that opportunity they’d normally get. Now allergies are one of the huge arguments I’m sure people will point out when they say they can’t get a pet and that’s totally acceptable. I’m allergic to peanuts so I try my best to avoid them any way I can. But there are pets that you can find that don’t trigger a bothersome stuffy nose or itchy skin. What if I’m not home to be with my pet all the time, you ask? Fish are a great pet for you. Auto feeders and water filtration systems make taking care of a fish so much easier and less stressful on your end. You will still have to make sure there’s food for the auto feeder and to make sure the tank is being cleaned properly but it shouldn’t take up a large chunk of your attention. Dogs are man’s best friend and we’ve been worshiping cats for ages. It could be why we’ve made it so far and advanced as a species, because of our pets.