Letter published on Feb. 13, 2018

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Return Downen to FEC board

Ratepayers in the Flathead Valley have been fortunate to have Jay Downen representing us on the board of directors of the Flathead Electric Co-op. Downen is now up for another term and he deserves our support and our vote.

Innovation, planning and energy efficiency have been the hallmark of his tenure at FEC. Downen supports renewable energy sources like wind, solar, landfill gas, and hydro. He has consistently fought to keep rates low while supporting a rainy day fund and FEC transparency with the public. During Downen’s tenure, good planning has resulted in rate stability.

Jay Downen has proven over the years that he has the knowledge, experience and stamina to represent our interest on the FEC board. We appreciate that he is willing to stand for election once again. We encourage you to vote for Jay Downen. —Michelle Tafoya Weinberg and Dan Weinberg, Whitefish

The Olympics and politics

Like most Americans I am so fed up with all the racial and political animus being spewed out by half-wits that haven’t a clue of just how lucky they are to be an American.

When you have two athletes take a “selfie” and then post it under “We are Queer and Pence get used to it,” that is not representing the USA; that is making a personal statement and it has nothing to do with the sport of the Olympics. When you have another individual so angry that he wasn’t chosen to represent the USA as its flag bearer in the opening ceremonies, that he boycotts the ceremony and claims “racism” over a coin toss, you have another personal statement that has nothing to do with the Olympic spirit. In reality, a vote was taken and it came out a tie. So a coin was tossed and this individual was so angry he wasn’t chosen because it was Black History Month.

In my humble opinion, the individuals involved in both these incidents should be disqualified from the Olympics and sent home for not only embarrassing themselves, but the U.S. Olympic Team.

I watched the other night a sister and brother skate team on the ice representing the USA and another young lady who did for the first time in the Olympics a triple axel, which no other American woman has done before. All three of these individuals were of Japanese ancestry, born in the USA and all American citizens. Yet compared to the black individual who claimed “racism,” these three people are a minority within a minority. But you didn’t hear them bitching or complaining that “they” didn’t have a chance to carry the flag in the opening ceremonies and scream “racism.”

During the early stages of the Second World War, the U.S. Army put out a series of propaganda films directed by John Huston and Frank Capra. In one of the films titled “Our Town” and narrated by Frank Sinatra, it showed different ethnic groups all living in the town of Hackensack, New Jersey. But all spoke with the same voice, the voice of Frank Sinatra, and when asked about this particular presentation, Mr. Sinatra replied to the questioner: “We’re all Americans aren’t we, and we all speak with one voice, don’t we?” This was meant to convey a message to the American people at this time in our history — that we were all in this war together.

What is it going to take to make us all realize just how lucky we are to be born in this country and how petty are the complaints of some, that do nothing but make most of us just plain angry with all this racial division. —Jim Garvey, Kalispell

Forest Service to blame for fire policy failure

In as much as I intend to send this missive to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, I thought at least a segment of the Montana populace might wish to read its contents as well.

It seems to this Montanan that our fire seasons are becoming ever more serious from one summer to the next, and the expense of combating the flames ever more egregious. In addition, property damage takes an increasing toll. To a considerable extent, I lay the blame for the above on how the U.S. Forest Service confronts lawsuits blocking timber sales, which if allowed to take place just might have curtailed the severity of recent fire seasons.

Consider the USFS’s approach to defending against the aforesaid lawsuits. Typically, it seems, the Forest Service abstains from resorting to jury trials and/or the recusing of federal District Court judges who have a history of ruling for anti-logging litigants. Were it otherwise, it could be argued, Montana would experience some relief from wildfire ravages and the increasing costs involved. Moreover, the logging industry here would likely enjoy a comeback, including more jobs.

Am writing this epistle, too, because the last fire season prevented me from acquiring sufficient firewood since access to Forest Service land was denied until the fall of 2017, thereby disallowing adequate time to amass a heat source sufficient to weather the present winter. Brrrr!

Mr. Secretary, would it help matters firewise to repeal (or amend?) the Endangered Species Act and/or the Equal Access to Justice —Kenneth “K.C.” Smith, Frenchtown

Immigration, debt crises could just be the start of ‘end times’

Pelosi and Schumer should hold hands on TV and sing “Kumbaya.” The Democrats seem to constantly want to give our country away to illegal immigrants. All the money (crumbs) that the middle class would have had from Trump’s tax bill will now need to be used to stay solvent. Our leaders act like immature children who cannot have their cookies.

I really think that the truth of the matter is, our country is broke! Our national debt has all but destroyed us! The way that this federal government has been spending tax money for a long time is insane! Foreign aid in many cases has been a sick, pathetic joke. The outcry for the Wall is just a ploy. I can think of many ways this country can better spend $18 billion, without a painful and expensive government shutdown. The Wall simply will not keep these desperate people out. Maybe an elaborate minefield would!

In my opinion, the one world government is at hand. All individual rights will be abolished. Everyone will be forced to comply and conform to every instruction. There will be no excuses and no exceptions. The mark will represent your commitment to the Beast. —Sinowa Cruz, Kalispell

Is tree Tester’s Christmas present to himself?

It looks like Sen. Jon Tester is losing his mind! To begin with, the taxpayers have already spent enough money on this national Christmas tree to put a down payment on a new Lamborghini.

If Sen. Tester wants to bring this fabled tree home to Montana, I suggest that he pay for the incurred expenses for getting this tree home from the Swamp to Montana from his salary which is donated to him by the taxpayers of Montana.

I’m wondering, could it be, Jon, you might be angling for a bit of legacy to have your name attached to the famous Sperry Chalet? Before this project is complete, the taxpayers will know they have been to the money store, again! It’s another stretch of mindless lunacy to think the wood from this tree would be of quality worthy of using in construction of anything worthwhile. At best, I doubt if there would be enough scale in this saw log to make more than a few knot riddled 2x4s. It’s doubtful if Sen. Tester knows any more about construction lumber than he does about politics.

I’m not quite through yet. Sorry, Jon. The forests of Northwest Montana have millions of board feet of fire-killed timber standing waiting to rot. The way it looks, there might be a lot more in the future. My challenge to you, Sen. Tester, is this: Why in your infinite wisdom don’t you come up with a plan to utilize the fire-killed timber? Get to work on it and stay with it until you solve the problem. The way it stands today, forest fires are burning more marketable timber than is cut by our timber industry. If you don’t see this as a problem, you might consider a new career! —Jerry Fisher, Bigfork

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