Letters to the editor for May 13, 2018

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AP leaving out Olszewski in their reporting?

We see examples of bias in news stories today, despite the fact that the press is supposed to be the Fourth Estate of our political system. They are thought to be the beacons of neutrality and objectivity when it comes to “reporting” the news, not creating the news.

Matt Volz, of the Associated Press, has made it a point to exclude a frontrunner in the 2018 GOP primary race. Mr. Volz has excluded Dr. Albert Olszewski in numerous written articles, mentioning the other three candidates, one of whom is far behind in polling favorability.

Why has Mr. Volz exempted Dr. Al Olszewski from news stories he’s authored? What’s his grudge against Dr. Olszewski? Why would Mr. Volz inject his own biases into a race? Why would he suppress Dr. Olszewski’s clear position as a leading candidate in this primary election? I would appreciate some explanation from Mr. Volz as to why he believes it’s reasonable for him to attempt to influence a race of this magnitude.

If Mr. Volz has a modicum of character, and I believe he does, then he needs to explain his past actions in opposition to Dr. Olszewski. He must also begin reporting the news about the GOP primary and include Dr. Olszewski and his campaign, rather than engaging in what clearly looks to be an effort to influence the outcome of a race.

What’ll it be, Mr. Volz? —Brad Tschida, Missoula Republican, HD 97

Superintendent says thanks for supporting levy

On behalf of our nearly 5,900 students and nearly 750 staff, I want to extend a sincere “Thank You” for the continued support of our schools through the passage of our Elementary General Fund Levy.

We do not take this for granted and realize that this support is a sacrifice of your hard-earned money.

Please know we will use it wisely and prudently. I wish we had other alternatives to make up for reduced funding from the state and rising operational costs but local levies are the current funding mechanism to address the need for increased revenue. Schools only collect what voters approve, not a penny more or less. There is a false perception that when new homes are being built or new businesses are going up, that schools get more money. This is simply not the case.

We will continue to work to meet the needs of all students. We firmly believe the students that walk across our stage and receive a high school diploma from Kalispell Public Schools are graduates of which we can all be proud.

Thank you again for your continued support as we fulfill our Mission Statement:

“Kalispell Public Schools provides diverse educational opportunities for all by engaging and challenging students, meeting their unique needs and preparing them to be career and/or college ready resulting in responsible citizens of our communities, state, nation and the world.” —Mark Flatau, Superintendent, Kalispell Public Schools

Commissioner should pay more for crime

I am appalled that our county commissioner is allowed to destroy county property, admit his crime and not have to pay full restitution.

Is it any wonder that our parks director jumps on board to help his boss, Mitchell, get away with a fine representing barely 50 percent of the damage he caused, in order to enhance his own property. Mr. Fisher should be less concerned with pleasing his boss, and pay more attention to the best interests of the county taxpayers. But once again, the taxpayers will be on the hook to pay the rest on Mitche|l’s damage.

It seems that Mitchell is certainly lacking in character, and at the very least, the judgment sufficient to run our county. If he had an ounce of decency, Mitchell would pay the full cost of the damage he caused, and then resign. Some have said that they are embarrassed to be in law enforcement in this county... well I am embarrassed to be represented by the government of this county. —Judith Hinchey, Kalispell

Daines wrong on public lands

What’s up with our Sen. Steve Daines, and this bill he has introduced called “Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act”?

What a misleading title. These half million or so acres of public land are currently protected through the 1977 Montana Wilderness Study Act put into place by our past senator, Lee Metcalf. What Mr. Daine’s bill does is unprotect your land. No more quiet hikes where all you hear or see is nature at her best. This so-called Protection of Public Use of Public Lands removes actual protection and allows all kinds of noisy and disruptive action and possible development.

What about letting the public decide? This bill comes from the top down. We have no say. That’s not how we Montanans work. Our elected officials do not pass bills without our OK. Public opinion should be at the forefront.

What about Jhn Tester’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act which has been in the making for at least 10 years? It has had public comment with 74 percent of Montanans in favor. It puts folks to work cleaning up our forests, maintaining recreation, and protecting some of our land.

What about the fact that we are the fourth largest state in size and only the seventh in number of acres protected? Idaho ranks 24th in size and is third in number of acres protected. We really need these study areas to remain public and protected as they currently are. Our state is so beautiful and we all know that tourism is our No. 1 industry. These fabulous protected lands are what bring prosperity to our most wonderful Montana. —Mollie Kieran, Troy

Public lands are key economic tool

As the owner of a small business in one of the most remote locations in Montana, my livelihood depends on public lands. And I’m not the only one who has a stake in these places — that was clear when over 30 groups came together five years ago to collaborate about the management of the Whitefish Range on the Flathead National Forest. I’m glad to say that the Flathead National Forest’s most recent revision of their management plan largely adopts the recommendations of the Whitefish Range Partnership.

The forest has taken leadership by listening to the needs and wishes of the community, and I hope that our elected decision makers will do the same. The Whitefish Range Partnership, the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition, and the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act are all shining examples of what is possible when community members sit down at the table and find common ground solutions in land management. We need to look for answers from the people who know the land best, and within the communities that will feel the outcomes the most.

Last year, my business, the Polebridge Mercantile, served over 50,000 people. As the outdoor tourism industry continues to grow, we need to plan for visitor use across public lands in a sustainable, collaborative way. One example is the recent Federal Lands Access Program grant that will improve public safety and access from the Polebridge river access site to the Canadian Border. The U.S. Border Patrol, Glacier National Park, U.S. Forest Service, and Flathead County all worked together to make this project a reality. I would like to thank the public agencies and their employees for being great partners. —Will Hammerquist, Polebridge

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