Letters to the Editor – Nov. 7, 2013

Picnic table appreciated at Ruby Valley Swimming Pool

A big thank you from the Ruby Valley Swimming Pool and friends to Connie Richards for donating a redwood picnic table to the Ruby Valley Swimming Pool for everyone to use next summer. Special thanks go to Micki Benedict and the crew at JDL for moving the table to the pool area.

Janet Doornbos,

President Sheridan/Alder Parks and Recreation


Coaching goes beyond running

Thank you and congratulations to Coach Cori Koenig and her Ennis boys cross country team that took sixth at the state meet in Missoula on Oct. 26.  We would like to thank coach Koenig for all she has done for the Ennis cross country team.  Not only does she take time to coach the team, but she also teaches lifelong skills to her runners.  She sets good examples for the team as she teaches them about eating right, making good choices and decisions, being flexible and stretching properly, and giving it their all. One runner states, “Coach Koenig is always so upbeat and encouraging.”  A big thank you Coach Koenig for all you do.

Race Owens

Lane Sitz

Wade Luly

Wyatt Murdoch

and their families


Responsible pet owners deserve thanks

The Ennis Spay/Neuter Task Force would like to thank all the responsible pet owners and volunteers who attended our last clinic. By having your pet spayed or neutered you help to reduce unwanted animal populations in our community. Also by vaccinating your pets you help to keep them healthy as well as protect other animals and humans from diseases such as rabies.

As always, thank you so much to our faithful volunteers. We so appreciate that you take time out of your busy lives to help out at the clinics. Thanks to Madison Foods, Pit Stop Pizza, Sportsman’s Lodge, White & White and those of you who make donations. We couldn’t do it without you.

The Ennis Spay/Neuter Task Force

Terri, Tami, Debbie and Audra


Hunters Feed fundraisers another success

The Ennis Community Children’s School would like to graciously thank the community members and businesses that made our annual Hunters Feed fundraisers another success.  We would truly like to thank The Wilderness Edge and Shedhorn Sports for sponsoring this year.  Congratulations to the winners.  Also, thank you to the businesses that filled the tummies of our little trick-or-treaters on Halloween, the ECCS children always love to visit you.  If any of our friends would like to stop by and see the fun and learning we are having at ECCS, visitors are always welcome.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve our community by enriching the lives of our future for more than 30 years.


ECCS Board of Directors


NGO claims are nonsense

Madison County Commissioner Dan Happel’s latest opinion letter appeared in the Halloween edition of The Madisonian.  How appropriate.  The scary monsters he warned us about are five environmental groups that offered input on a public document addressing a public resource, namely, the Grizzly Bear Management Plan Draft EIS prepared by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP).  Mr. Happel claimed that these five “non-governmental organizations” (NGOs) had undue influence on FWP, to the exclusion of the public and local officials.

Nonsense.  I read the plan and found plenty of consideration given to private landowners and outdoor enthusiasts.

During a recent public meeting on the Draft EIS in Twin Bridges, FWP staff explained that the plan went through a public scoping process.  FWP sent notification letters to many people and groups, including county commissioners.  FWP staff indicated that five environmental groups requested a meeting with FWP about the plan.  FWP met with them and listened to what they had to say.  FWP staff said they would have done the same thing with county commissioners, had the local officials requested a meeting.

NGOs are private, nonprofit organizations with a mission endorsed by their membership or supporters.  According to Mr. Happel, environmental NGOs serve as puppets for the United Nations.  While he correctly stated that the UN coined the term NGO, he mistakenly asserted that the UN invented the concept of NGO in the 1950s.

NGOs in this country date back to the 1800s.  The Sierra Club, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Daughters of the American Revolution and NRA are all NGOs.  I doubt the UN is in cahoots with any of them.

In his future communications, I would urge Dan Happel to make very clear that he is speaking as a private citizen, member of an NGO or representative of the Board of Madison County Commissioners.  In the case of his Halloween letter, does his opinion reflect a position adopted by the Madison County Commissioners at a publicly noticed meeting?

Doris Fischer



Montana kids are getting a world-class education

Montana’s students excel in many areas.  When comparing Montana’s eighth grade science, math and reading scores nationwide, Montana ranks third in the nation.  Only Massachusetts and Vermont have a better composite score than Montana. We have known we have great students, great schools and great teachers in Montana for some time.

Now, where does Montana sit internationally?  The U.S. ranks 25th in science and 17th in math, which is just average worldwide. When we take just Montana, and compare it to the rest of the world, the results are impressive to say the least.  Only four countries scored above Montana eighth-grade students in science, (top five in science in the world) and only seven countries scored above Montana eighth-grade students in math (top eight in math in the world).  Yeah, we’re that good.

We can certainly do better, but it’s time to start listening to Montana’s educators on school issues like Common Core, for example, and not the Tea Party.  Our educators are providing Montana’s children with a world-class education.  We have some of the best schools in the world right here in Montana.

As an aside, Montana’s per pupil expenditures on public education rank 29th in the nation and the per capita expenditures on public education are 41st in the nation.  Translation:  Montana is getting plenty of bang for its buck.

So I tip my hat to Montana’s teachers and our public schools.  Great job and keep up the good work.

We are also inviting the folks in the entire area to the next Harrison School Board Meeting, Monday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m. where we will have a presentation on Common Core with a panel of educators who helped write the curriculum for Ennis, Twin Bridges, Harrison, Three Forks and Whitehall, as well as special guest, Dennis Parman, the Deputy Superintendent of the Office of Public Instruction.

Fred Hofman






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