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Letters to the editor May 17

| May 17, 2020 10:16 AM

As a retired fire chief and past 16-year volunteer firefighter, I implore you to take action if you are a resident of the Whitefish Fire Service Area and recently received a letter about their upcoming contract negotiations with the city of Whitefish. I can see this critical issue from both sides. If we take no action we could be facing response times of 30 minutes for both fire and ambulance as opposed to the current average response time of 90 seconds to have crews on the road en route the emergency. If you take no action, the consequences could be dire and irreversible. Is it money or pride? The boards action could be putting our lives at risk.

Whitefish Rural board already raised our rates by 60% with no plan for those dollars, and now are proposing to decrease our level of service.

Our area located outside Whitefish city limits has been served efficiently by Whitefish Fire Department for many years. Whitefish is a professionally staffed combination fire department that has 24-hour per day coverage. The current board is proposing they cancel that contract and start their own volunteer department as an option. Volunteerism is down nationwide and if there were an additional 10 to 15 volunteers they propose to start this new department, those individuals would already be volunteering at the city of Whitefish Fire Department, which currently only has a few volunteers to supplement the career staff.

Please take immediate action by writing jdyonwfsa@gmail.com before June 1 or attending their next board meeting Tuesday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. The fire station is located at Whitefish Stage and Hodgson in Whitefish. Tell them to negotiate in good faith with the city of Whitefish and maintain our current level of service. Please see Whitefish Fire Service Area Information on Facebook for additional details and updates.

—Scott Miller, Whitefish

We have had no new cases of COVID19 for nearly a month (as of May 12) in the Flathead. As I said in early April, knowing what we now know, it is time for the Flathead to get back to normal. Our risk is not from within, but rather from the out-of-state tourists coming in this summer from hotspots. I have heard no plans on how the county or state plans to deal with that eventuality.

My opinion is that there is no good answer. Screening out-of-state visitors by taking temperatures, self-quarantining, and spot testing all are ineffective and impossible to achieve.

We now have good data on who is most vulnerable (older +/- comorbid conditions). These people should be more cautious in their interactions. We also know that the fatality rate and need for ICU care outstripping available beds for all but a few areas was much overstated. We should no longer overreact to a known disease risk.

One unrelated point. As I read that liberals like Cuomo and DeBlasio are telling volunteer medical personnel in New York City that they must pay state taxes and kick out Rev. Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse that provided care in a Central Park medical tent to 300 people at the request of Mt. Sinai Hospital for free, I have advice for these caring, sacrificing volunteers. If New York City has another overwhelming wave of illness and seeks volunteers, tell them to pound sand. Liberal stupidity knows no bounds. Almost as bad as Cuomo killing over 5,000 nursing home patients by ORDERING these facilities to accept actively infected COVID-19 patients.

As Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

—David Myerowitz, Columbia Falls

Prior to Governor Bullock’s reopening of Montana, two young boys who live just outside of the Billings area had heard about many families possibly not having enough food due to lack of employment. So one day, actually for several days, these two little guys went on a mission.

Wearing their masks and gloves and carrying paper sacks, off they went from house to house in their small subdivision, asking for canned donations. They did pretty good, but weren’t quite satisfied. So with their folks permission, the boys went through all their toys and collected enough to have a garage sale. It was a huge success! People purchased all of the toys and had even made money donations!

The boys were so happy and even more so when their Mom drove them into town to present their incredible gifts to the local food bank. They wanted nothing for themselves, no recognition or praise. This was their gift and their way to be kind and loving.

When I heard this story, I almost cried thinking about children like this in our state, our world today! Can you imagine the kind of adults they will become? We could all learn a lot from such precious little people. May God Almighty keep them safe and always in his care.

—Brenda Anderson, Columbia Falls

The photograph on the front of the May 9 Daily Inter Lake (Bars, restaurants report slow start to reopening) was sobering given the fact that the subject of the article was concern for the slow start to reopening restaurants. Yesterday I had a long, informative conversation with the Flathead County Department of Health and Safety because I wanted to know the details of what our local restaurants and salons had been instructed to do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I learned that they have all been educated on the importance of screening employees on a daily basis, strict adherence to cleaning methods, encouraging social distancing and, of all things, WEARING MASKS. While it is NOT required, it was most definitely recommended and it was her opinion that she wished it COULD be required.

But now, that has become the great debate...to wear or not to wear...THAT is the question. With the inevitable influx of some level of tourism we are about to experience it is not possible to avoid the introduction of COVID back into the valley. Once the two-week quarantine is lifted these folks will be frequenting our businesses — and thank God — Lord knows we need it. But no matter how careful our little restaurants and salons are with cleaning there is NO way these servers and stylists can maintain a 6-foot distance and they will be attending closely to people who may be carriers. So why not take that extra precaution and wear a mask, properly, not half on and half off as we often see around here.

Personally we will choose, for now, to only dine in restaurants where the employees are wearing masks. Rightly or wrongly, it gives us an added level of confidence as to how seriously they are taking all of this. So far it is my observation that the “chain” restaurants are requiring it but not our wonderful local establishments. If restaurants continue to see a lack of patrons, perhaps they may want to explore whether this may be an issue for many of us. No one likes eating out as much as I do and I cant wait to have the confidence to go back to my favorite places...but not if i dont see masks.

—Donna Mckiernan, Kalispell