Letters to the Editor: Jan 31, 2013

Dear Editor,

I find it necessary to correct some misconceptions in the article in the Jan. 24 issue of The Madisonian, which was submitted by Don Black regarding Madison Valley History Association meeting held on Jan. 17 at First Madison Valley Bank.

The program for the meeting was the Bear Creek School.  The speakers for the program were Mona Durham and Karen Shores.  My brother, Larry Zabel, had painted a fine painting of the schoolhouse as it might have looked in 1909 for the Ranchlands Group’s annual noxious week abatement fundraiser shortly before his death.  This original painting was sold at auction and was one of the final events my brother was able to attend.  My daughter, Kathy Carpenter, was a great help to my brother during his final months.  She and her partner, Randy Green, operate an art support and fine art reproduction printing business here in Ennis under the name of Mountain Creative Concepts.  They have worked for and with Larry for a number of years, producing nearly all of the giclees (digital reproductions on canvas) of his and others’ paintings.  Larry suggested during his final days that they might produce a giclee of the Bear Creek School painting for the schoolhouse.  They did this and Don Neville made a fine frame for it.  (Don and I are both long-time members of the History Association.)  It seemed the perfect time to present this at the History program, so I took it there and presented it to Mona Durham for the school.  The nice article and picture in The Madisonian states that I was the one who provided this giclee.  I wish to correct this misinformation.  Kathy and Randy have provided this piece and a number of others at their own expense to some fundraisers in the area, so I felt it necessary to write this letter to set the records straight.


Beverly (Zabel) Claassen


Dear Editor,

My mother always told me that life is just too short to spend attacking those who don’t agree with your political or philosophical perspective.  Now there was a very liberal lady with some common sense!  I am amazed how some on the far left that scream the loudest about free speech and label themselves as “liberal” are often the most narrow minded and likely to suppress ideas that threaten their utopian world.  I really don’t like to stoop to the level of my detractor, but I have to answer some very vitriolic and false accusations about personal and political philosophy.  I am not anti-government and have never said or thought anything of the kind!  I believe in fiscally responsible, constitutionally based, federal government that respects the unalienable rights of the citizens and recognizes its responsibility to protect and defend their right to work and live in a free and non-repressive society.  The proper role of the Federal government is that of protector, not provider.

I believe in a strong state government that represents the interests and needs of the citizens within the state, protecting their rights to work, provide for their families, and live in liberty.  I believe that county government was intended to be the most representative because it is the most accessible to the citizens.  County government should have a backbone and be willing to stand their ground when the State or Federal government fails to respect the rights or needs of the citizens.  I believe that local government is the last best hope for an America based on the principles of freedom as outlined by our forefathers.  Ms. Bradley has told me that we need more regulation and that the Federal government is in many ways too restricted and should have more control.  I totally disagree, but will jealously defend her right to say anything she wants………….as long as it’s truthful.

Dan Happel / Madison County District 2 Commissioner

Dear Editor,

Were you aware that the Floating Flotilla and Fish Fantasies’ River Parade and the Friends of the Library Garagarama may not happen this coming year? That the Ruby Valley Ambulance and Ruby Valley Search and Rescue are in dire need of volunteers? Did you know that the Ruby Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture was considering dissolving for lack of participation? All these groups are struggling and holding together by a thread because of lack of participation!

Take a moment to consider what these valuable resources’ dissolution would mean to you and the community. What would you lose?

You may not feel like you are needed but you are! Volunteers are the lifeblood of rural community action. In an environment where paid officials are few and the resources to hire help are sparse, little happens without the leadership and labor of unpaid citizens. Your fresh ideas are the essence of a thriving community, and additional hands can help renew the strength of those who have carried the load in the past. Because of past discrimination or just the belief that community development is someone else’s job, citizens may be reluctant to step forward but Community participation is critical to community success.

Community participation is far more than a requirement. It is a condition for success and progression. Studies have documented that communities that have numerous volunteers that engage in local civic, nonprofit, or philanthropic groups raise more resources, achieve more results, and develop in a more beneficial way.

Community participation is critical to community success! Participation is the soul of an empowered community!  And your ultimate buy-in helps to embed that change into the fabric of the community for future generations. Find out how you can help. Contact a community group today. If you’re not sure how you can help, contact your local chamber and let them help direct you to a local civic, nonprofit, or philanthropic group that you can share your talents with.


Jack Leber

Twin Bridges Community Association VP

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