Wenatchee School District addresses sexual health education and Critical Race Theory; Fiestas Mexicanas looking for new venue
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Good Morning it’s Tuesday July 27th and this is Slices of Wenatchee. We’re excited to bring you a closer look at one of our top stories and other announcements every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. 

 

Today - In an effort to inform the community where it stands on controversial topics, the Wenatchee School District recently posted about two of the more controversial topics out there…. sexual health education and Critical Race Theory.

 

Now our feature story… 

 

In an effort to inform the community where it stands on controversial topics, the Wenatchee School District recently posted about two of the more controversial topics out there…. sexual health education and Critical Race Theory.

 

District spokesperson Diana Haglund said the district office and school board members have been receiving a lot of calls and emails on those two topics from community members and parents. They’ve been asking questions about how the subjects relate to Wenatchee schools. 

 

Most of the people contacting the district were concerned and looking for more information. Some were emotional.

 

Haglund also said that the district felt it was important to make information publicly available to help dispel any inaccuracies. 

 

She also explained that the statements are related to current state legislation. 

 

It was important to them to tie the information to the passage of legislation, so parents in the community can know what those bills look like and what was included in them. It’ll also help connect families and the public with information about what is happening with comprehensive sexual health education.

 

In fact, the Wenatchee School Board received a presentation on the sexual health legislation in January 2020, shortly after it was approved by state voters. 

 

Haglund said Wenatchee School District curriculum was aligned even before the passage of the bill and again, available on the website.

 

Still, parents do have the option to opt their student out at any time during the curriculum.

 

They also have the right to review the curriculum at any time.

 

In terms of addressing Critical Race Theory, Haglund said the district office has been receiving a lot of questions from parents. 

 

Parents are concerned it is happening in schools specifically related to recent legislation, House Senate Bill 5044. House Senate Bill 5044 requires Cultural Competency, Diversity Equity and Inclusion training for school staff.

 

The new law requires school districts to use one of the professional learning days to train school district staff in either cultural competency, diversity, equity or inclusion.

 

But Haglund said Critical Race Theory is not part of the new law, nor is any other specific curriculum mentioned in the law.

 

She did explain that there is some concern that CRT is part of that and being taught in our schools. That’s why they wanted to come out with a very clear position that they are not teaching CRT. 

 

The district is not required or mandated by the state to do so. 

 

This is something they want to be really clear with the public on. 

 

We encourage you to read our full story and join the conversation by visiting NABUR at wenatcheeworld.com/nabur.

 

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Before we continue, a special thanks to our friends and sponsors at Confluence Health. The team at Confluence Health is grateful for the trust the community puts in them every single day. They are diligently working to improve the health and quality of life for our friends and neighbors. They are Grateful | They are Confluence Health.  Learn more by visiting them at ConfluenceHealth.com

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Here’s what else you need to know today.

 

Another year of Fiestas Mexicanas has gone the way of the pandemic.

 

The two-day, free event — which features music, food and vendors in a celebration of Latin American Independence Day each September — won’t be held in 2021. It was also canceled in 2020.

 

Martha Zaldivar, who has organized Fiestas Mexicanas for 14 years, said many of the event’s sponsors were not able to contribute this year because of the economic impact of COVID-19.

 

The event is also facing long-term obstacles in the form of space. 

 

Zaldivar said Fiestas Mexicanas averages 20,000 people each year — a big crowd for the limited space at the event’s usual venue - Lincoln Park.

 

The city of Wenatchee is working on a number of improvements at Lincoln Park, but Zaldivar said the changes won’t benefit the event.

 

For example, the park’s new stage won’t be large enough. And parking will also still be an issue.

 

Wenatchee Parks Director David Erickson said no additional parking is in the works since the existing lot has enough space for the majority of the park’s regular uses.

 

So, Fiestas Mexicanas is looking for a new venue but they still haven’t found the right place. One concern is that at least 30% of the event’s attendees are individuals who walk to the event from areas surrounding Lincoln Park. That means switching locations could have an impact on attendance numbers.

 

Despite these issues, Fiestas Mexicanas hopes to return stronger than ever in 2022. They are also planning a second, smaller fiesta in May.

 

Their priority? To give the community a free band and a good quality event.

 

Finally,

 

Fishers, a mid-sized member of the weasel family, are making a comeback in the Pacific Northwest and Chelan County.

 

The species was eliminated from Washington state in the mid-1900s. How? Due to trapping - for their fur. 

 

But Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service, Conservation Northwest, and Calgary Zoo released 89 fishers in the North Cascades between 2018 to 2020 to help restore the species.

 

Since then, state wildlife biologist Jeff Lewis says fishers have started having babies in the wild and have gotten as far as between Stevens Pass and Lake Wenatchee.

 

In March 2019, a resident of Plain caught an image of a fisher on a game camera. At the time, the picture was a unique find as Lake Wenatchee is so far between two of the recovery zones.

 

It now seems that fishers are doing quite well in upper Chelan County. The animals are found predominantly on the west side, where there are dense, Douglas Fir forested canyons.

 

The state agency is working to return fishers to the landscape for several reasons... 

 

For one, they were a part of the natural landscape before human settlement caused them to be overhunted.

 

That means they have a role to play in the ecosystem.

 

Fishers are one of the only real predators of porcupines for example. They are also predated on by bobcats and mountain lions.

 

The state agency is now working on a camera trap study to track fishers in the wild and see how broadly they’re distributed on the landscape. This will help them decide if they need to relocate some of the animals or release more on the landscape.

 

Eventually, state biologists may do a camera trap study near the Lake Wenatchee area.

 

For now, the fisher population isn’t sustainable yet around Lake Wenatchee, but it might be someday.

 

Stay up to date by visiting us at Wenatcheeworld.com

 

 

Did you know that the Wenatchee Confluence State Park is a great place to birdwatch? Officially created in 1990, more than 30 breeding species will make their homes there and 224 total species including falcons and bald eagles have been spotted. With more than 97 acres designated as natural and wetland environment, you’re bound to see something incredible.

 

 

Thanks for listening. We’d also like to thank our sponsor again, Equilus Group, Inc, a Registered Investment Advisory Firm in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

 

The Wenatchee World has been engaging, informing and inspiring North Central Washington Communities since 1905. We encourage you to subscribe today to keep your heart and mind connected to what matters most in North Central Washington. Thank you for starting your morning with us and don't forget to tune in again on Thursday!

 

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