Letters to the Editor. 2.21.13

Thank you Ray Shaw for seeing through smoke screen

 

Dear Editor,

An interesting story by Katrin Frye ran on Montana Public Radio the other day. Dan Zorn, superintendent of the Kalispell schools provided some comparisons of our current Montana educational system to international performance levels.

“International assessments are conducted every other year and in the last round. . . a few states competed as if they were individual countries.”  The scores on that National Assessment of Educational Progress show that Montana school kids are performing at levels that place them among the best in the world.

But even with that solid evidence of the great job being done by Montana schools, legislators are promoting “school choice” bills that would disassemble our educational system in this state.  They are trying to argue that implementing charter schools, using public money, will somehow improve the educational quality of the entire system.

50 of the legislators in the State House saw through that smoke screen and voted against HB315.  I would like to thank our HD 71 Representative, Ray Shaw, for being one of them.

 

John Getty

Whitehall, MT

 

Libraries are a resource for information, research

 

Dear Editor,

Library; an organized collection of resources made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.  Today, libraries not only have books and maps but newspapers, E-Books, audio books, CD’s, cassettes, DVD’s and computers.  Libraries are a source for people to find and gather information so they’re able to form an educated opinion or come to a conclusion from their research.  You can’t make a cake without knowing the ingredients and you can even find cookbooks at the Library.

Investigatory journalists who spend a great deal of time researching and gathering information from public news reports make documentaries. They acquire information from their research of government papers, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, as well as econometrics, from interviews of CEO’s of past and present corporations and from past and present Legislators.

The Documentary, “ Gasland: Can you light your water on fire?” showcases the issue of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which is a method of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas wells. This is drilling that can threaten water supplies.  Once a well is drilled, million of gallons of water, sand, and 596 different proprietary chemicals are injected under high pressure into the well shaft.  The pressure fractures the shale and opens fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out.  People from Pennsylvania are trying to save their land, and drinking water, from fracking of natural gas.  How could our Government give Halliburton their loophole (exempt from Safe Drinking Water Act, exempt from EPA, their toxins cause Cancer, leukemia, muscle weakness, swelling of the brain, kidney damage and a lot more)? They are fracking in Montana.

Other Documentaries that will be showcased at the public Libraries will be “Vanishing of the Bees”, “Future of Food” and “The World According to Monsanto”. Want to know more about what is going on and how things work when a lot of money changes hands?  Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, this is information we can all benefit from in order to become more informed about our food supplies and how it’s grown.

 

Judith M Wiancko

Ennis

 

Shaw provides update on local issues

Dear Editor,

 

HB315 was defeated; charter schools do not fit rural Montana. I also voted against sex education in schools—I believe that this is the parents’ responsibility and that our parents want these responsibilities.

There certainly needs to be pay raises. A majority of State workers were not able to give themselves a pay raise. The talk is now that we should possibly give those on the lower end of the pay scale raises that will help with current cost of living expenses. These raises should be based on dollars per hour not percentage of total salaries.

The Corner Crossing Bill is a huge infringement on Private Property Rights. What happened to knocking on the door and requesting permission?

Term Limits may or may not be a good deal. With Term Limits, we often lose knowledgeable people. If someone is not doing their job, vote them out.  Also, in State Administration, a Bill was introduced to allow counties to do away with going to polling places and replacing our voting with mail-in ballets. A large percentage of the people who spoke on the bill favor this form of voting. “What do you think?”

The Wolf Bill was signed by the Governor, which extends the season and allows people to buy more than one tag; there is also no buffer zone around the Park. There are some other Wolf Bills coming along that appear to be good bills. Funding for Wolf Management, which includes collaring and taking out problem wolves, appears to be just about done. I will know more this week.

Appropriations amounting to approximately two million dollars have all but been approved for finishing the Ruby Dam Project. The gates are a very important safety concern.

It has been a real challenge to get funding for the Pipestone Creek Project and the Jefferson Slough. This has been an up and down battle, but with the help of a lot of people in favor of this project—such as Senator Keane—all the hard work is going to pay off. Thanks to all the people in the Whitehall area that sent letters and made phone calls in support of this very worthwhile project.

 

Ray Shaw

Alder

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