Letters published Jan. 10, 2018

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A special plea from one who worked on Frank Lloyd Wright Building

It is with great dismay that I read in Friday’s paper an article by Lynnette Hintze that the Frank Lloyd Wright Building may be torn down. I feel this would be a tragic loss to the community, as if I recall correctly this was the first F.L. Wright building in Montana.

When this building was in its construction phase, I recall many people stopping by and watching and asking questions. I was in the second year of my apprenticeship as a brick mason and felt honored to have a chance to work on a F.L.W.-designed building. There were some interesting features not normally found in most of the buildings of that time. Certainly the fireplace is one of them.

My father Ray Nelsen Sr. was the brick contractor. This was only one of his many projects that he worked on in the Flathead Valley. In Whitefish alone he did the masonry on the Catholic Church, National Guard Armory, and other commercial buildings as well as some homes.

We took great pride in our work. I have been out of the Flathead Valley for over 50 years but have gone back on a few occasions. In the summer of 2014 my brother and sister and I spent some time together and looked at all the projects my father helped construct. We lingered at this building longer than others because it meant so much to our family.

My father passed away in 2009 at 104 years. I believe my younger brother, who worked as a hod carrier, and I are probably the only workers still around.

I truly hope that the preservation committee will be able to find a means to keep the building from being demolished. It is part of the history of Whitefish. —Ray Nelsen, Coos Bay, Oregon

Plowing crews all deserve our thanks

I would like to comment on the letter from Rebecca Wilke of Kalispell about one employee of the Flathead County Road Department. In her letter she stated that Tim Buck “stands out above the rest.”

But Tim is not a one-man show. He is part of a team of employees who strive to keep the county roads safe for the public, not just Springhill Road. Tim operates a grader to plow the snow, which does not put sand on the road. His truck driver partner comes and spreads the sand and plows the same roads, too.

The county maintains over 850 miles of roads, and there are many, many more roads than just Springhill that can be dangerous in the winter. From the Canadian border in the North Fork to Lake County, and from Thompson River to West Glacier, the road crews cover a lot of roads.

Back in the day, people did not complain about not being plowed out; they accepted the fact that the plows would get to them as soon as they could. Nowadays, everyone wants their roads to be the first on the list. This is a big county, and the plows cannot be on everyone’s roads first thing. All of the employees strive to do their best on all the roads maintained without favoritism. Let the road crews plow the roads to open them up, so you can get where you are going, then they will come back and do clean up.

With the limited resources the Road Department has, all of the employees do a fantastic job of maintaining the county roads, spring, summer, fall AND winter! People need to actually look at their tax bills and see how much is given to the Road Department. I know what I have spent on my driveway alone is 10 times more than what I have paid in taxes to the Road Department to have my county road maintained year round.

So, the thank you should go to all the employees, not just one!

A county road resident and taxpayer, too. —Patti Fleming, Kalispell

It’s time to really plan for growth

I’ve been a Flathead citizen for nearly nine years now, after a 25-year absence from this state I was born and raised in. When I originally moved here I admit, I was naive concerning the growth and development in the Flathead Valley, especially because I moved back home during the housing bubble. However, in recent years, every Flathead citizen I’ve spoken to is alarmed at the accelerating development.

I started to do some research on the matter and discovered the notes from Planning Board meetings from years gone by to recent. Scanning them I noticed this trend at the end of nearly each agenda item — “recommend approval to the Board of County Commissioners.” Granted, some agenda items took a few meetings to get through but eventually they were approved.

I then started to seek out and speak to those in the “know” and every one of them stated something like “it’s Flathead County’s philosophy that people should be able to do whatever they want on their property.” Wow! Anything they want?

So after spend many more hours searching the internet I eventually found a 228-page document titled “Flathead County Growth Policy” on the Flathead County Planning and Zoning website. I thought, there surely are some controls stated in this document. To my astonishment right on page 37 it states “Property rights are protected individual rights that guarantee a property owner’s right to use his or her property as he or she wishes, limited only by a reasonable, lawful and compelling public need.”

This policy is devastating to neighbors. I know. I’ve witnessed it first hand. Indeed, it may allow property owners to do whatever they want but at the same time, the neighbors feel absolutely helpless. As the population in the valley grows, there needs to be a balance. If this policy does not change, it will devastate the Flathead Valley.

Please, to the people who designed and signed this document, reconsider this policy before this “Our Last Best Place” becomes just another “Over-developed, Ugly Ordinary Place.” —Francis Johnson, Kalispell

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