Letters published on Feb. 18, 2018

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Budget cuts hurts local health efforts

It is easy to dismiss the budget cuts being considered by the Department of Public Health and Human Services as an easy way to save money. However, the latest round of proposed cuts to home support services and therapeutic foster care create a potentially serious situation when coupled with the drastic rate reduction for case management services. If the proposed cuts are finalized, it is questionable whether any organization will be able to provide these essential services. These cuts will negatively impact the health of our citizens for years to come.

Community services like therapeutic foster care and home support keep families together and help children overcome trauma. Eliminating these levels of care will lead to an increase in youth being referred to more expensive options such as hospitals and residential treatment.

We understand that the Department of Public Health and Human Services needs to make immediate cuts. However, the intended funding changes will result in cuts to community services that are far deeper than intended and will place our most vulnerable Montanans at risk.

Providers have already been forced to make difficult decisions so that they can continue to provide needed support to Montanans. Youth Dynamics has made difficult internal changes to limit expenditures, but we have not laid-off employees, cut services, or closed offices because we do not believe it is necessary at this time. Changes have not been finalized and we are searching for solutions so that we can continue to support youth and families with these essential services.

As CEO of Youth Dynamics, I am still confident that we can work with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to build a budget that is both fiscally responsible and is not balanced at the expense of Montana’s most vulnerable. —Peter Degel, Kalispell

Repeal and replace Mitch Mcconnell

I am a surgeon, so I will be as sharp as my knife. Now is the time to repeal Sen. Mitch McConnell as the Senate Majority Leader and replace him with a true leader who will fight for America.

The McConnell-Schumer Deal is the straw that breaks America’s back. Senate Majority Manager McConnell did not compromise with the Washington Democrats; he capitulated to them! This confirms the words of Sen. Rand Paul, “...when the Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party.”

In the dark of night, behind closed doors, the Senate elite of both parties sold out our children and their children’s children to Washington’s special interests. For what? Was it to ransom our military from the Democrats who have held our warriors and their families fiscally hostage for almost a decade? If the $400 billion ransom payment is derived from the sacrificing of our children’s future prosperity, it is simply too high of a price to pay.

So I ask you, Senate Majority Manager McConnell, what happened to passing a budget through regular order and transparency in the U.S. Senate? Where are the committee hearings and open floor debate about the budget transmitted to the U.S. Senate by the U.S. House of Representatives? Are you too busy begging for special interest money for the next election that you are deliberately derelict in your duties to America and our people?

Once again we have witnessed the classic American political tragedy. America’s people and our children’s future are harmed by the villains who voted for this budget deal. It is time for the Republican senators to step up and become the heroes in this tragedy. It is time for them to cull the “Old Bull” from the herd and elect a new Senate majority leader who has the courage and stamina to lead the U.S. Senate in a new direction and make America truly great again. —Albert Olszewski, Kalispell Republican state senator and candidate for U.S. Senate

Thanks, FEC!

On behalf of Evergreen School District 50, I am writing this letter to thank all the members of the Flathead Electric Cooperative who allow rounding up of their bills. This money funds the Roundup for Safety program, which provides funding for needed safety projects.

The Evergreen School District had a situation where the snow accumulating on the Quonset roof of the administration building gym would slide off on to the flat roof wings and then form large chunks of snow and ice which would slide off into the drive/walkway below. This created a serious danger for anyone who happened to be there at the wrong time. A person shoveling the roof could easily be swept off the roof in an avalanche. On occasion, several tons of snow and ice would come down at one time.

Using funding from Roundup for Safety, we were able to install heated roof mats and heated gutter drains to melt the snow and ice before it could slide off the roof. So far this winter, it has totally eliminated any danger. —Steve Windbigler, maintenance director, Evergreen School District 50

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