Letters to the Editor—Dec. 26, 2013

Accessible transportation is important for America

This year I have had the honor of serving as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) alleviating poverty in Montana. My position has been with the S.A.V.E. Foundation in Helena. I have had the opportunity to build community through partnerships and engagements in public transit and accessible biking and walking. In this role, I experienced how essential these aspects are to everyone’s ability to be part of a healthy community, not just those with the greatest needs who VISTAs serve most.

My experience has revealed how public transportation is essential in empowering our growing senior population to age-in-place as they become unable to drive. As Montana continues to grow, transit will be helpful for spending less time in traffic and more in the mountains.

I have seen that bikes are not just for the fearless and the brave cyclists, but also as means of genuine transportation for children to get to school and peoples’ ability to stay fit.

I’d like to thank this community and all the VISTAs serving across the state. I encourage any recent college graduate to spend a year serving America, especially in Montana. Learn about my experience at savemobile.org.


Matthew Cramer

AmeriCorps VISTA S.A.V.E. Foundation



Harrington explains CHC board resignation

Dear Madisonian,

On Dec. 9, 2013, I resigned as a volunteer member of the Community Health Center Board of Directors headquartered in Butte, Montana. I was appointed to the board in 2011, when Norman Frankland vacated his position on the board. My role as a board member was to represent the CHC in Sheridan and the Ruby Valley. My resignation was accepted by the President of the Board on Dec. 10, 2013.

The escalating discontent with regards to Dr. Christensen’s unfortunate resignation, and the recent letters to the local newspapers regarding this situation placed me in a very uncomfortable and unfortunate position in my community.  Over the past months, I have responded to remarks, accusations and general discontent towards the CHC in public and in the privacy of my home. Needless to say, people here are truly distraught, angry and feel negated that they are not only losing their physician but were not formally notified of Dr. Christensen’s resignation in September 2013, with a scheduled departure date of Dec. 31, 2013.  Many of her patients received formal notification that she was leaving as recently as Dec. 16, 2013.

My resignation is also due to a long list of concerns and transparency issues regarding the current management of the Community Health Center. In October and early November I carefully documented more than 30 community comments and concerns with regards to Dr. Christensen’s untimely departure. I forwarded letters and comments to every CHC board member, with a hope that we could discuss some of the issues at hand. Since that time, I have heard from one board member, and not one word or the mere courtesy of a call from the CEO.

I am truly sorry that our community has lost a brilliant, compassionate physician and her family. I sincerely hope that CHC board and management will treat new board members from the Ruby Valley, the new CHC Physician Assistant, and current staff members with the dignity and the professional respect they deserve.
Thank you,
Nondi Harrington



Response to CHC board chair’s letter

Dear Mr. Harper,

In your letter to The Madisonian Editor, you gloss over a management failure by CHC, stating, “…healthcare…will continue to change…” But, you would like us to believe that somehow “CHC’s commitment (to the communities served) will not change.”

In this letter, you imply that “change” is the problem. CHC CEO Jessica Hoff offered a similar reasoning in her bulk mailed letter to residents. But the facts are clear. Change is not a problem for Ruby Valley residents. Ruby Valley residents made the change from Dr. Sarah Googe to Dr. Kelli Christensen.

Now, we are losing Dr. Christensen. That’s a problem.

However, Dr. Christensen is not the problem. Dr. Christensen is highly skilled and compassionate. She is also sensitive to the unique needs of rural primary care. She also has personal ties to the Ruby Valley, strengthening her involvement with the community. Dr. Christensen is a wonderful fit for the Ruby Valley.

Examining the components, that brings me to CHC management. Your letter and the bulk mailed letter sent out by CHC CEO Jessica Hoff reveal insensitivity and even a sense of superiority to the Ruby Valley community. Somehow, Ruby Valley residents are to be massaged into believing it’s okay to lose a talented doctor, a doctor the community likes and respects.

I have to conclude that medical management out of touch with the local community is the problem.

With Dr. Christensen’s departure, I will be looking for another primary doctor, outside the CHC management system.


Betty Staley



Blue Moon hosts wonderful Christmas party

The staff at Madison Valley Manor wishes to say thank you to Brenda, Jerry and Dustin Clark.  We had our annual staff Christmas party at the Blue Moon in Cameron and once again they did a superb job.  The food was excellent and so was the entertainment.  Thank you for a wonderful time.

The staff at Madison Valley Manor


Great care every step of the way

A heartfelt thank you to family and friends for all the calls, visits, flowers, food, candy, good wishes and help since my accident the day before Thanksgiving.

I have had great care every step of the way—family, ambulance service, helicopter crew, Idaho Falls hospital home care and now the Ennis hospital. I am indeed thankful and grateful to live where I do.

Merry Christmas to all!

Lois Walsh




The photo accompanying the bighorn sheep article on the front page of the Dec. 19 issue of The Madisonian was obtained through a second party and not directly from Ross Winslow.

The Madisonian apologizes to Mr. Winslow for the misrepresentation of his opinions regarding the bighorn sheep transplant—The Madisonian understands the photograph was intended to be a lighthearted, enjoyable piece of artwork, not an image of controversy.

The following is a letter from Mr. Winslow expressing his opinion about the bighorn sheep transplant.


Dear Editor,

From the owner/photographer of the [bighorn sheep] photo:

I am not part of the anti-sheep transplant lobby and do not support their views.

I am a wildlife photographer and advocate and live among the bighorns in the Quake Lake region. I believe that, when practical, wildlife has the right to be restored to its historical range where human encroachment contributed to its disappearance. Reasonable compensation to ranchers for loss of livestock and grass, etc. should of course be part of the complicated formula.

Ms. Roberts doesn’t seem to understand that “managing” is exactly what the FWP is doing by redistributing local over-populations to other areas in their natural range.  We should be careful not to be flippant with the very resources that make living in and visiting Montana extraordinary.

Ross Winslow

West Yellowstone


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