Letters to the Editor – April 11, 2013

Madison Trifecta Sporting Series needs community hosts

Madison County and the Madison County Economic Development Council (MCEDC) need your help to host a local sporting event that has gone nationwide in popularity. 

This summer athletes from around the nation and from several countries will be coming to Madison County.  This letter is to ask for your help to make their experience a truly original Montana adventure.

The Madison Trifecta is made up of three separate sporting events – the Madison Duathlon (July 7), Madison Marathon (July 28), and Madison Triathlon (August 11).  There are already five athletes signed up to do all three events.  On May 1 at 10:00 AM, online sign up for all three events opens to the public for the first time.  The Madison Marathon will sell out, probably within a few days.  The MCEDC has already received nervous phone calls and emails from runners across the United States who are anxious about booking plane tickets and hotel reservations and about getting into the race. The duathlon and triathlon will at least double and maybe triple in size from last year’s inaugural races. For race information, go to our website at www.themadisonmarathon.com.

The MCEDC has built an exceptionally unique sporting event. Now, we need your help.  We’re looking to recruit a nonprofit, church group, school group, or any other kind of community group to help us with the Madison Trifecta.

Here’s the deal.  We need volunteer workers to do everything from putting up signs to manning food/water stations to hosting the pre-race dinner.  This is not a one-way deal (i.e. you help the MCEDC and we just say ‘Thank you!’). As the host organization, you will earn both financial and community benefits.

Your organization gets to take part in all three community events, meet people from around the world, earn money for the mission and vision of your organization in at least three ways, be part of laying the groundwork for a new economic driver for Madison County, and have a ton of fun all at the same time.  This is a moneymaker for your organization’s mission. It also happens to help out the greater Madison County community. This is truly a win-win.

If your organization is interested, please contact Sam Korsmoe at 682-5923 or by email at info@madcoedc.org for more information and to get a Request For Proposal (RFP) document.  This is a simple form that will detail the work involved and ask for your basic information, mission, and the people who will work with us on the projects. The full MCEDC Board of directors will select the host organization.

Thank you and we look forward to working with your organization and showing the world what a wonderful community we have in Madison County.


Sam Korsmoe

Executive Director

Madison County Economic Development Council Inc.


County commissioner warns against radical environmentalism


Can we continue to consume our natural resources at the same rate that we have over the past 100 years without long-term impacts on the living standards of our children, grandchildren and future generations?  Probably not and we must learn to use our natural resources more wisely, but neither can we afford to completely shut down our economy to meet the utopian goals of radical environmentalism.  There has to be some common ground and a lot of common sense to any program that recognizes the necessary changes in consumption, but sees humans as problem solvers rather than the “useless eaters” identified some years ago by “one world” European central banker David de Rothschild.

At a wolf policy hearing last winter at the Fish Wildlife & Parks building in Helena, a young lady claiming to represent the International Union for the Preservation of Nature (IUPN) testified that there were not nearly enough wolves and that we would be much better served to kill humans than wolves, since there are far too many humans on earth, and far too few wolves.  That testimony brought cheers from about half the room, many representing environmental groups, and snickers from the farming, ranching and sportsman’s groups there to testify against wolf increases.  I told several of the folks with me, “don’t laugh, she really means it, and so do those cheering for her.”

The whole bizarre scene really emphasized the chasm between rabid environmentalism that recognizes no claim to individual property rights because of a collectivist mindset; and those of us who have owned and worked on the land for generations, and feel that because we live in America we will always have our rights to life, liberty and property; no matter what.  To ignore or think this ideological polarization is going to miraculously disappear would be a huge mistake.  We had better wake up–they’re here to stay!

If we are to remain on the land and pass our farming, ranching, mining and natural resource legacy onto future generations, we need to recognize that the groups wishing to turn much of Montana back into Pre-Columbian wilderness are deadly serious and have a lot of money, power, and influence.  America is one of the last free republics in the world and we had better be prepared to defend our freedoms by making wise decisions.


Dan Happel

County Commissioner – Madison District 2


School board candidate is a breath of fresh air

Dear Editor,

What great news to hear that Ms. Maria Lake has offered to serve the citizens of the Ennis School District by submitting her name as a candidate for the School Board.  I have known Maria for a number of years, first in her capacity as a Loan Officer at the First Madison Valley Bank and then throughout the years as a friend and neighbor.

After speaking to her about her approach to the opportunity, she immediately focused on the fact that taking a position on any matter of significance is premature without first attaining a complete and thorough understanding of all of the facts and details both public and confidential.   She expressed only that she has committed to keep an open and honest mind on some very important matters to come before the School Board. Knowing her both in a professional and personal context, I know she will be the perfect candidate.


Bernie Oglietti

Ennis, Montana


Competition is a good thing in the school system


Dear Editor,


We all lose when competition is stymied. Such is the case with the present controversy on school choice. It is true that public school is not compulsory, but paying for it is through taxes. If one chooses option B, they pay both costs. Unions and Associations like it this way for the obvious reasons. Protecting their own turf serves them well, but at what cost? The State Constitution Article, 10, Sec. 1, states “It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person.”

Can we really state with confidence that the system we have meets this goal with the one-size-fits-all monopoly we have allowed? Technology has revolutionized education and opportunities that did not exist a few short years ago have changed the education game, but when the outcome of the game is predetermined by the referees (the current monopoly), we all loose because the game was fixed. Students and parents don’t know what they missed and teachers don’t know how good and valuable they really are.  Fear of competition motivates the weak to maintain the status quo costing all of us the opportunity to explore the possibilities of excellence that only competition can provide.


Bob Wagner


Mediation scheduled for school district, TRS, former superintendent


Dear Editor,


The Ennis School District, the Teacher’s Retirement System, and Doug Walsh, together with their lawyers, are scheduled to start a mediation process at the end of this month to see if TRS claims against Walsh and the District can be settled without going to court. Our attorney, Elizabeth Kaleva, has arranged to attend this mediation process with no Board member present. That would be a mistake.

TRS’ major claim is against Walsh. TRS may offer to compromise their claim against us in exchange for our cooperation in their collection efforts against Walsh. Elizabeth Kaleva helped write the bus supervisor contract for Doug Walsh that the TRS views as fraudulent. Kaleva defended Walsh in District Court regarding all of his concealments, in addition to having his sworn deposition sealed. Ms. Kaleva appears to have a conflict of interest in the upcoming hearing.

For Ms. Kaleva to attend this mediation without a Board member present could leave the District vulnerable to this conflict of interest, as Kaleva negotiates to protect her former client, Walsh, and her own prior involvement.


Mike Richmann



Thank you Madison Valley Manor


The manor was recommended to me when I was in the hospital.  I didn’t want to go because I didn’t know what it was like.  When I got there I was amazed at the quality of service.  They have outstanding nurses and aides.   The care of my personal needs was exceptional.  My room was cleaned every day, laundry was done every day, and the food is very good.  I just want to thank the entire staff for my treatment.


Thank you,

Jerry Krusemark


Reader supports Mick Richmann


To the Voters in the Ennis School District:


I will be casting only one vote in this year’s school board election and that vote will be for Mike Richmann. As Phyllis Wasick noted in her letter of support for him, he is the only candidate running who has consistently called for truth and transparency regarding the issues surrounding the District’s problems that were brought to light three years ago. The other candidates have been silent.

Last year we had four candidates running for the two seats that were open. Craig George was one of those elected, and he has stood by the promises he made for a thorough, independent audit of our school’s finances and for a desperately needed second legal opinion regarding the mess we’re in. A lot has been accomplished, but there is still a lot of clean up that needs to be done before the taxpayers of this district will ever approve more levies.

Mike Richmann will help get our school back on the right track and will restore taxpayer faith. He has supported Lisa Frye and Craig George in their efforts, and he will serve the best interests of the district when he is elected.

Mike is the only candidate of the three who are running that clearly, courageously, and consistently stood on the right side of these issues. For that reason, he will be the only candidate that I will be supporting this year.

What we don’t need right now is someone who “talks the talk”. What we need is someone who “walks the walk.” Mike Richmann has the integrity, intelligence, and courage to stand up for what is right and has done so consistently for the past three years. I will gladly cast my vote for him as a trustee on the Ennis School Board on May 7. I hope you will join me.


Dave Hunt

Ennis, MT


Ray Shaw applauded for legislative work


Dear Editor,


What a difference a session makes!  Or maybe it has something to do with the wisdom of the voters in House District 71.

Two years ago our representative to the State Legislature was trying to shut down veteran’s homes, defund public education, drown government in a bathtub, withdraw from the Union, impeach the president and — if we can believe his rhetoric — asking people on the street to buy him condoms.

In contrast, Ray Shaw has demonstrated a solid grounding in common sense. He has proven a willingness to work for his constituents, reaching across the aisle instead of obstructing and dismantling. I am proud of his strength to stand for what is right, rather than a political agenda. His recent vote against SB81 is powerful evidence of that.

I only wish more of the Legislators in this State could reach that point.  If we’re lucky, maybe by electing Ray Shaw, the voters of HD 71 will become known for our wisdom and patriotism.  That would be a huge improvement over our current national reputation as wacko birthers from the sticks of Montana.


John Getty

Whitehall, MT


Dear Voters of the Ennis School District,


In school board elections for the past two years, two candidates have been elected–Craig George and Lisa Frye–who truly have the best interests of the school district in their hearts and minds. While some progress has been made, there is still much left to do. We need two more people with integrity, knowledge and professionalism on our school board to finish cleaning up the mess our last superintendent visited upon our school and community.

One of those persons is Mike Richmann. Over the past three years, Mike has stood up at board meetings and has written informed and professional letters to the editor regarding the school’s issues. He has never wavered in his convictions of what is right and what is legal, and he has remained respectful and civil to those who have disagreed with him.

We will be voting with confidence for Mike Richmann in the school board election on May 7. We ask you to join with us and other retired, property tax payers concerned for Ennis students, faculty and community. Thank you.


Samuel and Elena Korsmoe



Moderate Republicans under attack by extreme factions


Dear Editor,

Do you know what being “primaried” means?  Some moderate Republicans in the 63rd can tell you.  The new word and action frightens legislators in that they may be targeted by organizations such as the Montana Growth Network, one of the “dark money” factions of the Republican party if they do not follow the “party line.” These guys have apparently made it clear to their more moderate colleagues that they either stand with the tea-party ideology on legislation, or they will find themselves attacked in the primary elections.  One Republican with whom I corresponded actually said that. This week, Sen. Jason Priest, R-Red Lodge, openly asked the extremely rare and brazen question if Republicans would follow him and vote the party line to oppose letting the Medicaid Expansion bill go to the House floor. Seven GOP senators dared to defy Priest and the bill will be allowed to have a full House Floor discussion. A big thanks go to these legislators to allow the work of the 63rd to be conducted openly, fairly and by the legislative rules, especially a bill as important to the welfare of 70,000 Montanans such as the Medicaid bill.

The papers have reported the chasm among the Montana Republicans.  Some of the out-of-state ALEC-affiliated members of the 63rd are listed as David Howard, Park City, Cary Smith, Billings, Wendy Warburton, Havre, Verdell Jackson, Kalispell, Debby Barrett, Dillon, Scott Sales, Bozeman, AND Jeff Essmann, Billings.  Art Wittich and Mark Blasdel also work hand in hand with this faction.  Fortunately, by checking voting records, Rep. Ray Shaw and Rep. Jeff Welborn, have dared to vote for the good of Montanans and against some of the worst harmful bills pushed by the tea party.   Sen. Debby Barrett’s record show that she is in lock-step with dark money advocates. Please support our moderate Republican legislators and let them know that extreme factions will not bully Montanans.


Pat Bradley

Twin Bridges


Thank you for the ride of my life!


    I’ve driven my last trip to deliver UPS packages to your businesses and homes in Madison County. I was born in Sheridan and was given the great opportunity to work my entire career in county 25. I’ve had the time of my life and absolute pleasure to serve and get to know all of you.

I was blessed each day when stopping to deliver packages and in turn I received the friendliest of greetings and the most incredible attitude one could ask for. This has kept a permanent smile on my face and resulted in the most gratifying feeling one can know.

I will treasure my memories and the friendships we’ve established over the years of being your UPS man.


A heartfelt thanks and farewell,

Dave McKenzie




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