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Evil prevails in splitting church, state

letterpolicy Letters to the editor must contain the signature of the author, the writer’s street address and work and/or home phone numbers. Maximum length is 300 words. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, conciseness, taste, and to prevent libel. Signed editorial columns appearing on the Opinion page and letters appearing in the Voice of the Reader columns do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Billings Gazette. Send your letters By mail to: P.O. Box 36300 Billings, MT 59107-6300 By fax to: (406) 657-1208 Or by e-mail to: speakup@billingsgazette.com

All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. The ACLU has prevailed – the Ten Commandments will be removed from the courthouse lawn in Miles City.

If separation of church and state is so good, how come we build so many prisons? We abolish prayer in the schools. Now we got guns and dope – you expected maybe violins?

Dr. Martin Luther King said it best, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

He must have forgotten apathy.

Don McDowell Miles City

School lawsuit would cost taxpayersI find it interesting that papers throughout the state have been reporting that “school officials are trying to drum up support for a major school-funding lawsuit” against the Montana Legislature (which just gave them $31 million in new money plus $20 million new money to the University System). What these individuals are saying is they want the Montana Supreme Court to require major tax increases and circumvent the power of taxation which constitutionally originates in the Montana House of Representatives.

When someone talks about suing the Legislature, they are saying they are going to sue the taxpayers of Montana. It is also interesting that the school officials have hired Helena attorney Molloy. Trial lawyers make their living suing someone, which means either our insurance premiums or our taxes usually increase. When we have a radical liberal majority sitting on the Montana Supreme Court, their chances to bypass the elected representatives and force tax increases are better than average. The Molloy family of attorneys (brother Don is now a district court judge) specialize in these types of lawsuits. Their previous lawsuits are responsible for our current complicated school funding formulas which only increases administrative costs for a system which is difficult to understand and more difficult to provide discretionary spending to give more flexibility to address local needs.

Because of the previous court rulings, there will be at least two major legislative committees spending more tax dollars meeting during the two years between legislative sessions to attempt and discover the “magic school funding formula” to fill the “black hole” of educational dollar demands created by lawyers sitting on the Supreme Court playing God.

These threatened lawsuits make me wonder if maybe we really need school officials with a different vision!

State Sen. Edward B. Butcher Member, Senate Education Committee Winifred

Albertson’s supports Billings downtownI would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Albertson’s, especially the downtown Albertson’s, for continued support of downtown Billings and the downtown revitalization process. I would like to commend Chris White, the downtown store director, for his participation as a member of our association’s board of directors and a willing volunteer in downtown activities.

Albertson’s recognizes the importance of corporate responsibility to their neighborhood and, as far as downtown Billings is concerned, they have been very good neighbors. Albertson’s participates in downtown events such as the annual Strawberry Festival. They help with, and contribute to, our fund-raising campaigns to provide for street decorations and other cooperative ventures. Albertson’s accepts Downtown Billings Association gift certificates, and this adds value to the program and assists the DBA in its day-to-day activities. The DBA is a nonprofit association that depends on cooperative programs to raise funds for association and community activities in the heart of our Magic City.

Thank you, Chris, and thank you, Albertson’s, for being active members of our association and concerned community partners.

Lisa Von Laven President Downtown Billings Association Board of Directors, Billings

Thanks for great fireworks showThe fireworks were excellent, and I really enjoyed them. They were as much fun to watch as the ones I saw in Bozeman.

Chuck Smith Billings

Supporters make ZooBilee greatOn behalf of ZooMontana, I would like to thank the community for their support of ZooBilee.

This first-time event was a success, generating approximately $50,000 in net proceeds, all to help feed the animals of the zoo.

Another heartfelt thanks goes out to those who put in their time, energy and hard work to provide a positive and entertaining event for the community. Please know that you are appreciated.

ZooBilee provided a unique opportunity for people to experience the zoo after sunset. It was a fun atmosphere for all to enjoy. Thanks again to all of you who made this benefit for ZooMontana a tremendous success. We are looking forward to next year.

Tricia Hansen Special Events Manager, ZooMontana

Government fails to keep promises to vetsI believe armed forces recruiters should be banned from the state for deceit, false advertising and deceptive practice. They are, in fact, spokesmen for our government.

When I enlisted in December of 1949, we were promised free medical care for life. Well, it’s a class action suit now, and they are still stalling, even though a federal judge has ruled against them.

As a disabled vet, I must waive a dollar of my retirement pay for each dollar of disability that I get. Even though Senate Bill S170 has 71 co-sponsors and HR 303 has 351 co-sponsors, the Republican House leadership refuses to call it to the floor for a vote. “Not a priority,” they say. “Costs too much.”

As the greatest generation, vets are dying at the rate of 1,300 per day, the voice gets smaller each day while the power boys play and stonewall.

If and when the World War II memorial ever gets built, it will be just another tourist attraction and will have a hollow ring to it, the way these men were treated.

The survivors of the spy plane make good recruiting poster people. To any young person considering the military, I say there is always a chance they may tell you the truth, but they sure lied to a whole bunch of us! Try Lotto, instead.

David Ries Forsyth

Taylor good choice for U.S. SenateI am writing this letter to tell you about my friend, state Sen. Mike Taylor, who is running for the United States Senate. I have worked with Taylor in the Montana Senate and find him to be principled and intelligent. While sometimes I can be a bit hard to get along with, I have found Mike to be a consummate statesman who was willing to work with me even when we did not have the same outlook on bills before us.

Even more important, Mike has assured me that he will fight to keep our country free. As a United States senator, he will do everything in his power to preserve the sovereignty of these United States.

He will use all of his ability to preserve our right to keep and bear arms and will fight any move by the United Nations to take any of our constitutional freedoms away from us.

He will vote against, or vote to repeal, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) and any other bills which would allow the federal government to take vast quantities of land out of private ownership and convert them to state ownership. He will consistently vote to preserve our existing freedoms and property rights.

I believe Taylor’s desire to protect the freedom of our country will be critical in the days ahead. Therefore I am supporting him for the U.S. Senate and urge you to do the same.

State Sen. Jerry O’Neil Kalispell

Joliet retreat center fulfills dreamIn reference to the July 7 article “Joliet retreat center long on dreams,” I want to compliment all the people who worked so hard on this Christian retreat including Dave Rowland’s hard work and donation of the 40 acres. This area is so beautiful and peaceful. I know because I’m the one who had the dream of this place, and my friend Dave Rowland took the dream to heart and designated the property for God’s plan!

Gerri Banks Billings

Patients must know risks of clinical trialsIn regards to the July 15 article, “Monitoring health,” these patients recruited by the Montana Health Research Institute are nothing but guinea pigs for drug companies.

The free medicines are fraught with dangers far beyond what can be determined immediately since most long range symptoms do not appear for years and these are usually irreversible and some times deadly.

The article did not say if any of these patients would be insured by the clinic or drug companies for a five-year period against any bad side effects. Would they?

Free medicine is great as long as the side effects are minimal, but you are rolling the dice with people’s lives here and they could be incapacitated for the rest of their lives by a bad new drug.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, M.D. of the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group advises not to take any new drug for five years because that is how long it can take for a drug to damage or destroy vital organs.

Drug companies love to get this kind of cooperation and will happily pay for it but think before you sign away your rights because you are part of an experimental drug’s journey through the process of getting approved.

Richard Monette Billings

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Small town sports coverage lackingI don’t see why the Billings TV and radio stations can’t report the sports events of the smaller schools on their evening news on the day they are playing. The Gazette is also guilty of this – on weekends, especially. For example, the weekend of July 1, there were several Legion teams playing around the state but all we see or hear are the Billings teams.

These other teams are in The Gazette’s, TV’s and the radio’s audience.

Marjorie Hale Columbus

Editor’s note: The Gazette welcomes news of sports events and game scores in our region, but we rely on Legion team coaches to provide this information. Coaches may call The Gazette sports department toll-free at (800) 543-2505 from 3 p.m. till midnight seven days a week.

Big Sky development caters to rich skiersThe recent article on Big Sky Resort and the Gallatin Canyon point out how success has brought ruin to a lovely and pristine area. Chet Huntley envisioned a resort for middle class and working people which was affordable and eventually limited in its development. The original covenants limited the heights of structures to be no more than approximately 25 feet. The present owners had other plans and have maximized development into a major resort and ski area for the wealthy, giving no consideration for the hundreds of service people who are forced to live in shacks and sometimes tents.

The entire dream of Huntley is now perverted into a grotesque array of development and sprawl. In the early days, Big Sky was a wonderful area of solitude and space. By the mid-’90s, I was disgusted and sold our condo and building lot.

Currently “Big Sky” is a tribute to human greed and bottom-line expansion.

Leland E. Stanley Cody, Wyo.

stillwater mine

Mine provides good jobs for communityI was alarmed at the hazy picture that Brad Shorey painted in the front page article, “Stillwater Mine: Workers, company in conflict over working conditions” in the July 1 paper.

I have been employed at Stillwater Mine in Nye for 3 1/2 years as an underground miner, working seven to 10 hours shifts, then having seven days off. Sure, there are occupational hazards underground, as with any job. But you are only as safe as you make the job.

If Shorey doesn’t like the pay and the hours or feels unsafe, maybe it’s time for him to find other employment.

Stillwater Mine is a good job. I know a lot of other employees who feel the same way and would be interviewed and let The Gazette use their names.

Stillwater Mine provides my family, our community and state with good jobs and taxes and benefits.

Richard L. Siemann Park City

Letter, story don’t tell mining truthI feel the need to respond to Eric Ramsey’s July 14 letter to the editor. Ramsey was complimentary of The Gazette’s “revealing” article referencing the internal strife and safety issues at Stiliwater Mine’s Nye Complex.

Having been a certified MSHA safety instructor and professional in the mining industry the past 10 years, I think the public deserves clarification of The Gazette’s article and of Ramsey’s contempt for the mining industry. The only things revealing about The Gazette article were:

The public is reminded that mining and mineral processing are very dangerous occupations. High levels of personal responsibility for safety are taught and reinforced with all employees on a continuous basis within the mining industry worldwide. In the U.S., companies are responsible to provide a safe work environment through training, safe work place standards, adherence to regulations, and reinforcing/enforcing worker compliance and awareness of safety issues. From this point, each employee is personally responsible and must take ownership for their individual safety.

Unions and management will generally be in conflict and take opposing points of view. It is not uncommon for one or the other to manipulate events and public opinion to their benefit. This supports a common divergent observation of having “two sides for every story and then there’s the truth” in situations like these.

Yes, high paying hourly wages and employment are very scarce in the state of Montana. When a person has a family and financial commitments, you’d be surprised what they would be willing to sacrifice.

I tend to side with Ramsey to some extent in that sacrificing one’s life for a job is not practical nor fiscally prudent. If there were other opportunities in Montana to garnish similar wages, the law of supply and demand would impact the work culture very definitely.

Mike G. Eiselein Billings

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