I was pleased to see that Amazon has increased its minimum wage for its workers to $15.
We have seen the stock market go steadily up in the last year, but have noticed that, although unemployment is low, wages have not increased proportionately. This wage increase of Amazonís represents a substantial increase above the $7.25 national minimum wage and the current Montana $8.30 minimum wage.
A $15 minimum wage would make it possible for a single-income family to have good food and a warm home. It would make a big difference in their lives.
I would hope that companies who do business in Montana would follow Amazonís lead and increase their minimum wage to make it possible for every full-time worker to earn a living wage.
Thank you Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
ó Eva Maxwell, Kalispell
The lands belong to us
In the 1400s English commoners fought battles and staged riots protesting the loss of their grazing and farming commons to wealthy landowners. The commons had been part of the public domain until the nobility started fencing them off for their own private use. Itís taken the British people six hundred years since those battles just to earn back the right to walk on that land. Not even to forage or hunt on it, just to walk on it.
If politicians like Jennifer Fielder (Montana) and Mike Lee (Utah), and the people who support them, achieved their goals and forced all public lands out of federal control, it wouldnít be long before the only people who would be able to ranch, farm, hunt, or fish in America would be private landowning billionaires. Every loss of the commons, whether itís the loss of a stream access law or the shrinking of a national monument, brings us closer to losing some of the greatest freedoms we have.
I canít imagine fishing in the Missouri River Breaks, or going hiking in the Great Bear Wilderness, and not feeling gratitude for the foresight it took to keep these places in public hands. Those lands donít belong to the federal government in the way we usually think of ownership. The government is simply a trustee; the lands belong to us, the American people. I feel sorry for anyone who is unable to understand what a gift they are, and how much we would lose by giving them up.
ó Antonia Malchik, Whitefish
The right thing to do
No child is unwanted, but sometimes the people who want them are not the one who will give birth to them. We may be considered foolish for loving an unwanted child, but we will never be wrong. That is why you see us in a vigil at the abortion clinic in Whitefish. Adoption is the loving and right thing, not abortion.
ó Georgia Branscome
The abuse of power
It is terribly difficult to be at a point in our community and culture where I feel it is necessary to implore our president and those who support him to reconsider some recent expressions and behaviors. It is not OK to make fun of a generation of women standing up for themselves against sexual exploitation.
There are those who perpetrate sexual exploitation and there those who donít. Before we elected him our president demonstrated he is a perpetrator of sexual exploitation. Men in positions of power have the choice to act in such a way, or not. It is more than locker room talk. It is the abuse of power at the expense of people with less power. It is not complicated, again it is a choice men in positions of power have to make.
Making fun of those with less power who are standing up against sexual exploitation is the behavior of a fearful and insecure adolescent. A good father would stand with these strong women and be grateful they are protecting his daughter. He would see his daughter among all the other daughters. He would be joining this movement of people protecting daughters from sitting in rooms with men in positions of power who would act with impunity for the historical lack of accountability.
History is now changing. For whom the bell tolls. For whom the bell tolls.
ó David Fischlowitz, Whitefish
Importance of libraries
Each of the many times Iíve visited ImagineIF, our country library, with my daughter, I didnít realize I was taking the library for granted. Once I was early for an appointment, and decided to stop by. The curators obviously do a great job picking out timely and thoughtful displays: I was slowly drawn in and lost track of time.
My adult mind (which these days is with preoccupied with work or coping with the same aforementioned four letter word) was transported. I was picking up books on hobbies deferred and remote places unseen. I briefly felt free, exposed to thoughts that never would have happened had I been perusing the world through a mouse click.
What was it about a library that creates this feeling? Unlike the internet, a coffee shop, or a book store, no one is trying to sell me something. I am there as a citizen, not as a customer, nor as the member of any other cause or club.
A civic space like a library has never been more important. Today, social media and the internet guide us down narrow paths that comfort our egos with preconceived notions. Our politics has become so crass and uncivil. Every inch of our society has succumbed to the imperatives of the almighty dollar. The library is a safe space to be free from the vitriol, where we can meet around shared ideas and interests, or just be quiet and read. There, I am a citizen, not a consumer.
I realized that afternoon that itís not just about checking out books: a library is a place where we can check out of consumer society, and - even if just for a few minutes - check back into our own thoughts. Where else can you find that sort of freedom?
óBjorn Beer, Kalispell
With all the recent killings of troublesome grizzly bears, wouldnít it help keep sportsman happy, to have a damage hunt list? Potential hunters apply for a permit, like the bison hunt in Yellowstone, and as the need arises they are notified of the troubled area and allowed to kill the problem grizzlies? Does that make too much sense for state employees to understand?
Also redo the big three hunt applications, goat/sheep/moose, to only odd and even years corresponding with your birth year. Yes, double the fees, so moose and goose keeps getting the money they treasure, and hunters actually have twice the chance to be drawn! OK also kick in once in a lifetime for successful draws! Yes moose and goose got their big horn sheep killed off by employees, so now it should be the actual sportsman chance as well.
By the way, where did they send the record ram they shot in the breaks on a sting hunt that was thrown out of court?
Want to talk fishing? How about getting our salmon back by eradicating them from the river? By the way the native trout they replant were hauled in by horse back years ago as the lakes were empty?
Oh well, work together and see what happens.
ó Ron Albrecht, Kalispell