LETTERS, published on Feb. 16, 2017

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Public comment — and public — must be respected

While attending the County Planning Board public hearing on short-term rentals on Feb. 8, Mr. Sirucek, a member of the county planning board, addressed Mayre Flowers, the executive director of Citizens for a Better Flathead, regarding the timing of her comment submissions to the board regarding short term rentals. These comments were sent to the board two days before the meeting.

According to the guidelines listed, public comments are required to be accepted until 5 p.m. the day of the meeting at the county planning department and also may be submitted at the meeting.

Mr. Sirucek stated that board members’ packets are sent to them a week before the meeting, and he thought that comments should be received at that time.

This was a one-sided conversation that continued for at least five minutes. In my opinion, a public hearing with 100 people in attendance was not the place to vent your personal feelings as to the timing of comments being received.

Ms. Flowers prepares comments on behalf of Citizens for a Better Flathead on many issues, often due at the same time. This past month these included comments on the Whitefish Highway 93 corridor both within the city and just south in the county; the Bergeson Zone Change (R.V. sales lot across from the county landfill), legislative comments for a bill regarding billboards along highways outside of cities, the short-term rental issue and numerous others. All of her submissions are well researched and thought out.

If there are a lot of comments received after packets are sent out, time should be set aside for all comments to be read and considered. This may mean that the issue is tabled until the next meeting.

The community comes to public meetings and sends in comments with the understanding that their concerns and input are considered and discussed. Public participation in local decision-making is a vital part of our democracy. Organizations/individuals should not be singled out and accosted when participating in this process. —Sharon DeMeester, Kalispell

Let’s have a moratorium on dumb cliches

Let’s have a serious conversation about stupid cliches such as “on day one,” “at the end of the day,” “the bottom line is.” If you’re a “lib” in this new administration “ya ain’t gonna like it” — there’s a new one for you. I’ve been listening to all the questions from the left-wing media. Well guess what the answer to all of your questions is: “ya ain’t gonna like it.” We are a divided nation. Trump won and Hillary lost. “Deal with it.” —Martin Jay Weaver, Kalispell

Thanks to doctor for setting record straight on colonoscopies

Kudos to Dr. Michael Boharski (Daily Inter Lake, Jan. 14) for setting the record straight on Cologuard vs. colonoscopy as a screening tool for colon cancer. I was going to rebut Steve Eckels’ letter in support of Cologuard (as I have responded previously to other misleading articles and opinions regarding the latest and greatest medical treatment which frequently proves to be false), but waited, hoping one of our local gastrointestinal disease specialists would set the record straight instead of having it come from a retired heart surgeon.

Both I and my wife have had colonoscopies performed by Dr. Boharski, and I can assure those contemplating their first test that with proper premedication (as used in his office) most patients don’t remember anything and experience no discomfort. I found Dr. Boharski to be a caring, thoughtful physician and talented endoscopist. His staff was thorough, professional, respectful and empathetic. Patients should head his advice and opt for the best available test.

Since Cologuard is not as sensitive or specific as colonoscopy and more importantly doesn’t prevent cancer by removing pre-cancerous polyps, it should not be substituted for colonoscopy, which remains the gold standard and perhaps the only screening test that actually prevents cancer.

I am pleased to see a local physician willing to take the time to inform the public. A locally written medical advice question-and-answer column would be a great benefit to the people of the Flathead Valley, rather than a national column as is currently provided. —P. David Myerowitz, Columbia Falls

Where does support for religion end?

So we get a letter in the Jan. 27 Inter Lake from Christian Bumgarner in Polson stating, “What if parents could direct tax dollars to the Mission Valley Christian Academy just like they get to choose where to shop or receive health care?”

How hysterical is this? We just had President Trump sign the eternally re-created “gag law” about abortion and Sen. Daines posts on Facebook how excited he is that we don’t have to spend tax dollars on access to abortion. I sure can’t figure out how it’s OK to spend tax dollars on the choices around one person’s religion, but not spend tax dollars on my choices. Religious freedom in the United States of America appears to be rapidly disappearing into “freedom of my Christian religion.” How about we wait and see what Bumgarner says the first time someone wants to take our tax dollars for a Muslim school or a Jewish school or a Buddhist ashram. Are you ready for that? I am, but I bet you aren’t. —M. Jennifer Allen, Kalispell

Thanks to the Roundup for Safety

Gateway to Glacier Trail organization wishes to thank Flathead Electric Coop’s Roundup for Safety program for its support of our Welcome Gazebo project.

Co-op members who round up their bills make local projects like ours possible. The gazebo, a work of art built by Jeffrey Funk of Metamorphic Iron, using parts of the Old Steel Bridge, is located in the county park between Hungry Horse Boulevard and U.S. 2. The gazebo is the only off-trail location for trail users to safely get on and off the newly expanded Gateway to Glacier Trail. We will be adding seating, maps, donor recognition plaques, and local information once the weather cooperates. We hope everyone will make the time to experience the newest addition to Gateway to Glacier Trail.

Again, many thanks to the Roundup for Safety board and co-op members who care about our communities and show it by supporting local projects. Our hats are off to you! —Sarah Dakin, Columbia Falls

How will the wall stop boats in the Gulf?

In the swirl of rhetoric about President Trump’s ongoing insistence that the wall between the United States and Mexico will be built, why has no one made the following point?

How did all those refugees from the war-torn countries of the Middle East arrive in Europe? By BOAT! How did all those Cuban refugees arrive in Florida? By BOAT! Assuming that the construction of the wall will indeed go forward, does President Trump also plan to block access to the vast miles of remote coastline in Texas and California? It would seem that a boatload of immigrants could more easily and more quickly achieve the goal of arriving in the United States by boat, rather than on foot — faster and safer than traveling across all those miles of desert and breaching the wall.

There are indeed many issues and concerns about immigration which warrant our thoughtful consideration and attention. However, proposing a multi-billion-dollar wall as the solution to a complex problem is an absurdity. —Jeanne Welty Southwood, Bigfork

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