Letters to the editor Oct. 6

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A few observations

If you read the Constitution it does not state that a president can do anything he wants. It does state what powers and duties each branch of the government is responsible for, and establishes a system of checks and balances among the three branches.

The constitutions preamble begins with “We the people,” it doesn’t begin with “I and only I can fix things.”

When you won’t emphasize human rights you lost the title “Leader of the free world” for the U.S. You alienate our allies but admire/embrace dictators.

Conspiracy theories are what you like to listen to and promote versus actual facts.

One trait you seem to lack is empathy for people, events, etc., which is pretty sad.

Your strongest traits seem to be bullying and mocking people, but don’t like it when it is done to you.

Diplomacy, statesmanship, etc., are not traits you possess and don’t seem to want to develop.

You enjoy running for president, but run from performing the job duties it requires.

Your persona/attitude/demeanor leans to being cynical or negativite toward the nation and world. Do you enjoy life at all?

You demand loyalty to you from people, yet aren’t loyal to them in return. In fact you tend to be vindictive if someone tells you you are wrong or tries to correct you-you then claim to be a victim if they do. People that serve in any branch of government do not pledge their allegiance to the president.

You embrace/encourage chaos and history shows countries do not do well under chaos.

Part of JFK’s inaugural speech has been turned on it’s head under your leadership--you ask “what our country can do for you”, and as president you should be asking “what you can do for your country!”

­—Linda Newbrey-Edwards, Kalispell

Energy efficient homes

Guest contributor Steve Snezek argued (Sept. 28) that a proposal to improve the energy efficiency of homes would increase costs, but he has it backward. Building an efficient home from the start — particularly in Montana ­— saves families thousands of dollars on energy bills, far exceeding the small upfront cost.

Home heating is one of the biggest financial challenges for many families. More than one in five U.S. households sometimes forgo basic necessities to pay energy bills.

When our homes are even slightly drafty or poorly insulated, we waste money on heat that goes right outdoors. Even new houses vary widely in quality, and heating bills vary accordingly.

Cost-cutting in construction can mean high energy bills for today’s residents and future residents. The small mortgage payment savings of a minimally insulated home are dwarfed by the larger monthly energy costs.

We can save money by ensuring homes are less leaky from the start. Strengthening state and local energy codes is key. The U.S. Congress is considering a bill – supported by Democrats and Republicans alike – that would help.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act would give states and towns assistance in creating and implementing codes. It would help homebuilders to cost-effectively implement any updated codes.

The bill recently advanced through the Senate’s energy committee with support from Senators in both parties – but unfortunately Senator Steve Daines opposed the bill. I urge him to reconsider. If Congress can pass this bill, it will help lower costs for Montanans.

­—Jason Hartke, of Washington D.C., is president of Alliance to Save Energy

Open Spaces Disappearing

Today I went for a walk. I walked on my sister’s property along the west fence line of the proposed Benches subdivision east of Columbia Falls.

I followed a game trail through the thick cattails growing higher than my head in the wetlands scattered throughout the property. These are the same wetlands that cover a large part of the “bottom” land on which Prairie Dog Development plans to build 30 resort cabins, an event center, office and parking for 60 cars, as well as a road to the upper bench land.

I couldn’t help but wonder how the 760 cars a day (according to city staff report) traversing the road built over three sections of the wetlands will affect the water and wildlife. Of most concern are the road salt and dirt that will filter into the water.

I delighted in seeing the whitetail buck and doe I startled from their grazing in the back section of the bottom, hidden from all the traffic zipping by on U.S. 2. Once this subdivision goes in and when the open land along River Road is also developed this major North Valley wildlife corridor will be narrowed to a 100-yard-wide strip my family continues to preserve.

As I delighted in seeing the deer I realized that soon those deer will be considered a nuisance among the 48 houses planned for the upper bench area. Their habitat will be bulldozed eliminating their food sources and their birthing and bedding areas.

I walked through the grasses, snowberries, wild roses, and beside red osier dogwood, and even a wild asparagus patch. All of this habitat for ground nesting birds such as the western meadowlark will be gone as well as much of the Doug fir, larch and Ponderosa pine on the ridge lines of the property (everything less than 12 inches in diameter.)

To quote Kenneth Rosenberg, a Cornell University conservation scientist, from a report in the Daily Inter Lake Sunday, “One of the scary things about the results is that it is happening right under our eyes. We might not even notice it until it’s too late.”

He was speaking about the drop in wild bird populations. I’m speaking about the proposed subdivision east of Columbia Falls and the loss of our open spaces – “we might not even notice it until it’s too late.”

This subdivision will be on the Columbia Falls City Council agenda for possible approval at their Oct. 7 meeting. Please speak up before it’s too late.

—Shirley Rogers Folkwein, Columbia Falls

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