Letters, published on April 11, 2017

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Let’s honor our citizens while they’re still alive

Some years ago, a “Celebration of the Life of Tom Yenne” took place at Fair-Mont-Egan School and a huge crowd attended. What made it so unusual was that Tom Yenne was alive at the time. Don Siblerud, now deceased, was one that spearheaded the idea as he felt it would be nice for Tom to actually know how much he was appreciated and loved for his years of service as a high-school bus driver as well as really fine man.

I couldn’t help but think of this when I saw the headlines about Don Rickles’ passing. Why do only celebrities deserve such attention? Actually, sometimes we do honor an ordinary, living person but such events often accompany a retirement of some sort. I have another idea of how we might honor the living, and it has to do with taking time to attend special events.

After decades, Ron Bond will be standing down as director of the Columbia Falls Community Choir. I had the honor of singing with that completely volunteer group a couple of years ago and was astounded at the amount of time and effort it takes on the part of the director, accompanist, singers and others to put on a concert.

There is no better way to show your appreciation to a musician than by attending their concerts — whether in a school or on a concert stage. I’d like to encourage you to attend the May 3 “Music Spectacular” where both the Flathead Valley Community Band and the Columbia Falls Community Choir join forces for a 7:30 p.m. concert at the Flathead High School Auditorium.

The Community Band and Columbia Falls Choir are both outstanding groups, and I know from past experience how disappointed my husband Ron Lyford would be when only a small crowd would show up for a Community Band concert where he had played tenor sax since the band was formed over 45 years ago.

I wish with all my heart that, instead of my reading wonderful comments on condolence cards, that my Ron would’ve been shown, in life, how much he was loved and how people appreciated his talents.

It’s too late for my husband, but it is not too late to show love and appreciation for the other musicians by giving the gift of your presence at that May 3 concert. How nice it would be for them to look out and see a really full auditorium and, yes, to perhaps receive a standing ovation. —Lois Lyford, Kalispell

Governor sells out Montanans on SB 97

In spite of the overwhelming support in the Legislature and from citizens across Montana, our governor chooses foreign law over Montana law. Gov. Bullock is quoted as saying, ““The intent of these bills is to target a particular religion and group of people for disfavored treatment.” Exactly how does this target anyone for “disfavored treatment”? He also said, the measure would “upend our legal system and debase what we stand for as Montanans and Americans.”

Governor, I’m not sure what you stand for but I, and 90 percent of Montanans, stand for the constitutions of Montana and the United States of America. That would be the Constitution you swore to uphold when you took the oath of office as our highest elected official. As a citizen of this great state, might I remind you of your oath, which reads in part, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the state of Montana, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity (so help me God).”

Senate Bill 97 did not target any particular group or people. It was designed to affirm, without a shadow of a doubt, Montana laws for Montana courts. When you, sir, choose foreign law over the laws you swore to uphold you deserve to be recalled from office. —Ed Kugler, Big Arm

Fight over water-bottling plant is land grab

The Egan Slough matter has nothing to do with the First Amendment or water. It is, however, a land grab issue.

It is an issue of a citizen’s Fourth Amendment right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, etc.

It is an absolute obligation of the government to protect the individual citizen from the entitlement minded mob that think they can ride roughshod over their neighbors.

Semper fi. —James Lester, Kalispell

Cattle ranchers are danger to bison, tribes

Regarding a February story entitled, “Hundreds of bison sent to slaughter over tribes’ objections”:

Again, here we have an interest group that manipulates the well-being of our natural environment — cattle ranchers. I have met several ranchers that have an affinity towards the environment, know the place of humanity in it, and work towards the perpetuation of humans and wildlife living together. However, the industry has been so destructive in even striking a balance between a healthy environment and sustainable living for people.

The woods, the plains, and all its critters have been starving because bison as a food source for the environment have virtually been eliminated by the cattle industry. This last fiasco with federal, state, and Montana livestock officials shipping bison to slaughter rather than the Fort Peck quarantine is not only a continuation of U.S. and state government continuing to oppress Native Americans here in Montana, it is also a quintessential example of how money (unregulated capitalism) sacrifices cultures, minorities, religion, and the environment all for the sacred dollar. Never once has a case of brucellosis been documented here in Montana, but still the powers that be continue to keep bison numbers so low in fear that bison will spread brucellosis and that bison will compete with cattle, and therefore, profits will be lost.

High fat unhealthy beef has replaced our wild bison and left bison existing only in parks and some small refuges, all for the benefit of cattle ranchers and America’s addiction to beef. Enough is enough. I urge everyone to stop eating beef until a better solution comes to play, talk to friends and loved ones and ask them to do the same. —Tom Irvine, Columbia Falls

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