Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Part of the problem

Posted on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Montana has the highest rate for DUIs. There are a lot of Republicans or rednecks in this whole state—the kind who have motorcycles and thirty packs of Icehouse out for a day of ripping up the seams of the earth; the kind who are repeat offenders. It is too perfect of a fit for the mindset around here; both rationales go hand-in-hand. There are more bars, storage units and churches than there are day care facilities, schools, hospitals and nonprofit organizations to help the poor, like the Poverello Center.

Everywhere I go, there is drinking in heavy doses and it's accepted. I think that psychedelics are illegal because no one would be unaware of how apathetic they've become. Alcohol is legal strictly for profits off of self-inflicted addictions and they're for the dumbing-down effect. It even keeps the court systems going. Almost every crime I read about is alcohol-related.

When I stepped back, I clued in to what I should be disappointed about. One of them is the fact that the courts aren't clear on how they "protect" the citizens. They dole out ticket after ticket with jail-time after jail-time without anything in turn to give back—send them back wherever they came from. No counseling. No posters behind the steel bars that say, "Hey! We are here because you keep coming back so stop wasting your money. You are getting our wallets fatter."

It's Russian Roulette, a dangerous keno gamble for the people who haven't clued in yet, who've lost too much into these systems with no real jackpot wins. Why do the casinos keep the blinds closed, entrapping colorful blinking lights in the dark and not one clock on the wall? Those owners own them because the customers can't own up to their addictions. They don't want these customers to realize the true meaning of "gamble" because they'll spend more time in there without even realizing how pathetic their choice is rather than being at home with their kids. That's where dreams go to die at the bottom of every bottle.

I couldn't believe it when I opened my eyes enough to see how often alcohol is glamorized. Rarely will I see anything about Alcoholics Anonymous or any suicide hotline advice for those sitting at home alone with a barrel of a gun sitting in their mouth. Once you connect the dots, from the reports of people dying from cancer, liver failure, hit and runs, unresolved abuse such as domestic violence, and suicide, you'll begin to realize the source of this blame.

The source is that sad excuse of a social lubricant—too much drink on a daily basis. It is denial and cognitive dissonance. It's bad enough that they sell the crap right next to the baby-care aisle in Safeway. It's bad enough it's streamed on the streets, coming out of car radios like the party hasn't died. But the cover of the Indy? (See "Big Spirits Country," Aug. 1.) You are not the solution. You are part of the problem.

Hillary Burnham

Hamilton

Dear Jon (and Max)

Posted on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Think we have a representative form of government? Nothing could be further from the truth. Want to prove it to yourself? Try writing to either of our "good senators" with a question or concern and wait for a response. The reply, if you even get one, will be political double speak, a non-committal statement or a form letter.

I have called the office of Sen. Baucus on several occasions and was told by senator's staff that the senator was too busy to answer letters for constituents. Try telling your employer that you don't have time to answer their questions; you would quickly join the ranks of the unemployed. So, why do we tolerate this kind of behavior from our elected officials?

Our senators seem to have forgotten that they are accountable to the people who sent them to Washington. Both Sens. Tester and Baucus have faithfully followed the party line while promising the people of Montana everything under the sun. They have supported our president and his policies to the detriment of all Americans. They have passed bills without reading them, voted for unpopular amendments, advocated use of the IRS to intimidate and mislead the people of Montana.

Form letters, dodging issues important to Montanans, blindly supporting the current administration policies, abject loyalty to the Democratic Party, ignoring the will of the people and political double speak—these are not the attributes of an elected officials.

Think we have a representative form of government? Think again. Our senators are only representing their party's interest. They really don't care how their votes affect the rest of us as long as they blindly follow party doctrine.

John Mello

Kila

One solution

Posted on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Nice column on sidewalks (see "Cracks in the pavement," April 15).

What we did in Hamilton 11 years ago was pass a 10 mill levy per year.This made available about $100,000 per year to fix our sidewalks. Cities and towns have to fix their sidewalks because they are a liability! No one wants to pay. So, everyone pays a little on their tax bill every year.The Public Works director inspects and hears complaints as to which sidewalks present the greatest hazard.We felt it was not fair to fully tax the present landowner, because they might only be there a few years.They should not have to pay for the neglect and damage before they owned the property! We have fixed thousands of feet of sidewalk, and most folks are happy with the compromise. Feel free to bring this idea up at a council meeting. After all a reporter is a member of the public!!

Joe Petrusaitis

City Councilor (and former mayor)

Hamilton

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Righteous stance

Posted on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The story, almost too dreadful to believe, was first revealed in 2006 when a woman claimed that as many as 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been killed for their organs at the hospital where she worked. Her husband was a surgeon and disclosed to her that he removed corneas from the living bodies of 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners. (Falun Dafa is a traditional Chinese self-improvement practice of mental and physical wellness through meditation and gentle exercises. The core teaching principles are truthfulness, compassion and forbearance).

In response, congressional resolution 281 was recently introduced by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Congressman Robert Andrews, D-N.J. The resolution expresses concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their beliefs, as well as numbers of other religious and ethnic minority groups.

Because killing of religious or political prisoners for their organs is an egregious crime, I ask Montana readers to contact our congressman to urge him to co-sponsor this resolution. The resolution is an important step to help put an end to this atrocity.

The resolution will also help our country’s doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and universities make informed decisions and take a righteous stance regarding illicit organ transportation, and stand up and speak for those without a voice. For more information about Falun Gong and the ongoing persecution, please visit faluninfo.net.

Katherine Combes

Kalispell

Feeling connected

Posted on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 4:00 AM

I read with interest the article about cellphones and towers in Hot Springs (see “Tower on tap in Hot Springs,” Aug. 8), because I am a part-time resident in that quirky rural Montana town.

I was distressed by the cartoon that said, “Integrity is free, but selling out pays cash money.” I do not know Glen Magera, but he certainly has the right and perhaps the duty to cash in on any free money that someone wants to hand him. He is a rancher, and money is not easy to come by in that profession. If he can get a few (or many) extra bucks from renting dry range land to AT&T, the more power to him. Hopefully he will spend the lease money at the few businesses that still survive in the economically blighted town.

Some residents are opposed to the building of an AT&T cell tower on Mr. Magera’s hill because they fear that the towers emit radiation. A quick Google search of “cell tower radiation” results in many stories about residents opposing cell towers in their neighborhoods. One newspaper in Vancouver, Canada, said, “Radiation caused by cell towers is too insignificant to cause health problems, according to Health Canada.” The Gazette in Maryland said, “According to the National Institutes of Health, some studies have found a faint link between exposure to electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia, but other studies have found no link between such exposure and other childhood cancers.” Apparently any links between cell tower radiation and ill health have not been firmly established.

Some town residents complained that they were left out of the decision loop, as to whether to have a cell tower or not. Unfortunately for them, there are very few building codes in Sanders County. The Hot Springs town council was not included because the tower will be built outside of the city limits, where it has no jurisdiction. It seems that the lease between Mr. Magera and AT&T was a legal private contract that was approved by the state of Montana. We all have the right to complain but can’t do a damn thing about it.

Personally, I will use my cellphone in Hot Springs, because most of my work is derived through connection with the rest of the world. Now I have to spend five days a week in Missoula in order to work. I am selfish—I would rather spend those five days in the quiet of Hot Springs and just two days in the hustle and bustle of Missoula. I think more visitors will come to Hot Springs if they know they can be connected. We can always turn the cellphone off if we do not want the distractions of the interconnected world.

Jim Beyer

Missoula

Righteous stance

Posted on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The story, almost too dreadful to believe, was first revealed in 2006 when a woman claimed that as many as 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been killed for their organs at the hospital where she worked. Her husband was a surgeon and disclosed to her that he removed corneas from the living bodies of 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners. (Falun Dafa is a traditional Chinese self-improvement practice of mental and physical wellness through meditation and gentle exercises. The core teaching principles are truthfulness, compassion and forbearance).

In response, congressional resolution 281 was recently introduced by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Congressman Robert Andrews, D-N.J. The resolution expresses concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their beliefs, as well as numbers of other religious and ethnic minority groups.

Because killing of religious or political prisoners for their organs is an egregious crime, I ask Montana readers to contact our congressman to urge him to co-sponsor this resolution. The resolution is an important step to help put an end to this atrocity.

The resolution will also help our country’s doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and universities make informed decisions and take a righteous stance regarding illicit organ transportation, and stand up and speak for those without a voice. For more information about Falun Gong and the ongoing persecution, please visit faluninfo.net.

Katherine Combes

Kalispell

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Who's invasive now?

Posted on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Who is really the invasive one in our War on Weeds? We are the species who compacts the soil, defoliates, plows, overgrazes cows and degrades large tracts of land. Then we are the ones who spray known toxins on weeds that have the nerve to grow on ground we ruined. It's as if on a subliminal level we know the plants are a testament to our cruelty and we want to get rid of their damning evidence, fast. Don't our actions make us the invasive one?

Who do you put your faith in—the chemical companies' testing laboratories, some of whom have received felony charges for falsifying test results? The Environmental Protection Agency, who has not pulled Milestone's registration despite the die off of thousands of garden plants that were mulched with Milestone-laced manure? Or do you put your faith in scientists who tell us that even micro-doses of toxins can derail a child's development in utero or after birth causing autistic disorders, ADHD, developmental and cognitive disorders and brain cancer in our children?

Our use of chemicals is so rampant that the Center for Disease Control started testing humans for chemical residues and found almost all of the tested chemicals. They even found DDT despite its ban since 1972. Newborn babies have hundreds of chemicals in their cord blood yet we continue to spray chemicals on our parks, school yards and campgrounds. Do we really value weed-free grass over our children's health?

I know people's efforts to eradicate weeds are well-intentioned; saving genetic diversity on behalf of the botanical kingdom is compelling justification for using poisons. But in our noble effort to save genetic diversity we are, in fact, reducing diversity on a global scale by maiming future generations of insects, birds, amphibians, mammals, and yes—ourselves. How is this okay?

And just for the record, herbicides are not accomplishing their intended goal. Since 1996 weeds have grown more and more herbicide resistant. Studies also show that landscape application of herbicides, such as the aerial spraying the U.S. Forest Service currently employs, causes more problems than it resolves, a major one being the arrival of more weedy species; the Forest Service actually budgets in chemical treatment for the second wave of non-native species they know will come. Do we really want to amp up our chemical barrage?

I think we are missing nature's metaphor. Just as white blood cells in our body rush to the site of an infection and overpopulate it in order to fight the disease, might weeds be the Earth's equivalent of white blood cells trying to repair our infectious impacts? By sending in weeds nature is trying to heal, not hinder. Many weedy species such as dandelion, burdock and thistles are medicinal for humans. Might they also be medicinal for soils we have impacted? Is anyone looking into this? Perhaps we are killing the cure.

Native seeds remain viable in the ground for decades, even centuries, and re-inhabit landscapes once the harmful impacts have been removed and the soil has healed. Letting the weeds run their course may seem unfeasible in a world that has grown dependent upon chemicals, but if you truly think this through doesn't the economy of health and well-being for ourselves, for wildlife and for our land trump all other economies?

Rather than focus our venom against the weeds, we need to admit the weeds are here because of us. Instead of administering a steady chemo drip to our children and our environment, modifying our impacts and restoring soil health is a far safer way to proceed.

Randi de Santa Anna

Seeley Lake

Polson problems

Posted on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 3:07 PM

After years of hearing our citizens discuss corruption in our local government and our city being run by a "good ole boy's club" catering to special interest groups, I decided to start attending the city council meetings and would like to share just a few personal observations with you.

One city employee required to attend our meetings appears quite animated while she rolls her eyes and drops her jaw as our citizens express their concerns at the podium.

Another city employee hired to represent our city appears to want to be anywhere other than in his seat at the city council meetings. He is known to do crossword puzzles during our meetings.

One of our elected officials giggles when she agrees with a speaker and visually scorns the ones she disagrees with.

One man in the special-interest group obnoxiously speaks out of turn and is disrespectful toward our citizens he disagrees with—with no removal or repercussions from our council.

Most of the special-interest groups leave immediately after their agenda has been passed by council, leaving our citizens to pick up the tab for their frivolous new "projects."

Obviously, Polson needs a fundamental change in government and their childish policies. I am hoping that our disgruntled citizens are registered or will register to vote so we can make a difference. With the election for mayor and council members approaching in November, it will be interesting to discover which candidates will align themselves with the "good ole boys" and special interest groups and which ones are mature and capable of conducting themselves independently.

Will Polson continue down the same path or will we have a much needed change? Support responsible government.

Linda Ray

Polson

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