The Billings Outpost

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Lewis puts Montana first

During the first debate, one thing that John Lewis mentioned was that he has received campaign donations from every county in Montana. Not only have all 56 counties supported Lewis’ campaign, but he has also traveled to all of them to meet with community leaders and listen to their individual, local concerns. This is truly a Montana home-grown campaign.

On the other hand, Ryan Zinke’s campaign finance concerns me. It’s no small secret that Zinke benefits greatly from Special Operations for America, a super PAC that Zinke himself founded. On top of his questionable PAC money, Zinke has spent much of his time raising money in California, Florida, Texas, and from large out-of-state corporations that don’t have Montana’s best interests in mind. 

I understand that today’s elections are going to draw money from outside of the state, but it seems to me that Ryan Zinke is more focused on out-of-state money than he is on Montana. I know that John Lewis will put the people of his home state first just as he has done so far in his campaign.

Karole Lee


Last Updated on Thursday, 24 July 2014 11:10

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Patriotism, climate change

With the arrival of Independence Day, veterans like us often reflect on what patriotism means in terms of the responsibilities we American citizens have. One responsibility we all have is environmental stewardship.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence, the U.S. military remains ready to serve and protect. In order to maintain a strong defense, our military needs safe, secure, reliable, and affordable energy. That’s why the military is taking steps to strengthen our defense by using cleaner energy, increasing the use of renewable energy and leading the way in clean energy technology. As our military leads the way, we encourage our elected officials to follow suit and support cleaner, more reliable energy.

The U.S. military also knows that climate change poses a very real threat to our national security. The Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board sounded an alarm in 2007 about the national security threats posed by global warming. In an updated report released in May of this year, “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change,” these retired military leaders reiterated their previous concerns and found that in many cases the risks previously identified are advancing noticeably faster than expected.

These risks “such as prolonged drought and flooding — and resulting food shortages, desertification, population dislocation and mass migration, and sea level rise — are posing security challenges to these regions’ governments. We see these trends growing and accelerating.” Their conclusion was that the accelerating rate of climate change poses a real risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global conflict.

Climate change, however, is as much an opportunity for cooperation and innovation as it is for increased conflict. For example, the Department of Defense has enacted a number of initiatives aimed at increasing energy efficiency, deploying more sources of renewable energy, and assuming a leadership role in clean energy technology innovation. A recent Pew report, “Power Surge,” shows how the military is leveraging the private sector’s resources to deploy clean energy and efficiency technologies at military bases to improve energy security and save money.

The U.S. military is estimated to have 384 megawatts of renewable energy on its bases and will reach 2.1 gigawatts in the next few years. Overall, this acceleration of clean energy will put DOD on track to meet its goal of deploying 3 gigawatts of renewable power by 2025, enough to power 750,000 homes.

We can and should apply the same can-do effort to our civilian energy systems. 

It is our shared duty to keep our nation safe. Doing so requires us to recognize the very real threats posed by climate change. It requires us to take appropriate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon, and to generate clean, domestic, affordable, and safe energy here at home.

We can join forces to support the first-ever proposed limits on carbon pollution. The solutions are attainable, but they require us to put politics aside and work together. As Montana veterans, we understand the spirit of Americans rising to meet a challenge and believe our strength lies in meeting the challenge of climate change with integrity, ingenuity and courage.

So reflect on what patriotism means, take steps to reduce your carbon pollution and support efforts to generate clean, domestic, affordable, and safe energy for these United States of America.

Michael Lee, Helena

Bob Raney, Livingston

Mike Jarnevic, Milltown

Lex Blood, Kalispell

John Wolverton, Missoula

John Grove, Stevensville

Mary E. Owens, Lolo

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 10:21

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Taxation without representation

The people of Lockwood voted the sewer project down five times. After the most recent vote in November of last year, the Sewer Board hired a consultant to hold a series of meetings with residents. They sent a questionnaire to residents asking people their opinion of a property assessment to create pipes through the residential streets in Lockwood. Sewer Board Chairman Carl Peters calls this a “survey.”

As a result of the “survey,” the board resolved to create a “Phase II Sewer Subdistrict” and a “Special Assessment Levy” tax on the 642 property owners of the redrawn Phase II. Each property will be charged $472.92 per year, regardless of property value or lot size. This may represent a great hardship to fixed-income persons and families with low income. The Sewer Board is at leave to sell the property if the land owner does not pay the assessment. That could be devastating for many.

The only voice the people of Lockwood have on this procedure is to lodge a written protest by July 28, 2014. According to the county attorney, 51 percent of the affected property owners must present one of these protests in order to change the Sewer Board’s proposed action. There will be a meeting Aug. 13, after the protest due date. By then, the protest time is over and if people do not respond now, they will be charged this new tax. I see this as taxation without representation.

Mana Lesman Seward


Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 10:21

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No response from Daines

I wrote several letters to [U.S. Rep. Steve] Daines. In the last one I asked for answers to these questions and as of this date I have not received an answer:

How can he claim to be a fifth-generation Montanan when he was born in California?

How can he claim to have passed legislation that increased timber production and created 6,000 jobs when that legislation was not approved in the Senate and has not created 6,000 new jobs?

Daines had called for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki while Republican Sens. [John] McCain, [Jeff] Flake and Republican Speaker of the House [John] Boehner had not called for the secretary’s resignation. Late last year he voted against funding for veterans programs.

At the national ceremony for the Veterans Cemetery in Laurel, I gave Daines a copy of the letter I sent him on May 12, and I got no response at all.

A couple of other things to remember. He stated that he voted against Obamacare, and also he claims Sen. [John] Walsh voted for Obama’s stimulus package when neither was in office at that time.

Ron Kuneff


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:49

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Treat with respect

Thank you so much for publishing my article about World Fair Trade Day a few weeks ago. Including it in the Outpost was important to the success of our events, both Fair Trade Day and our Go Global fundraiser, which was held in May. We received a lot of good feedback, and I am certain attendance was increased because of it.

Additionally, it was a great tool to help educate people a bit more about Fair Trade and its importance in building a more just world. As the movement grows, it becomes more nuanced and more complex, as many things do. In the end, however, it means we must treat people and the environment with the respect with which we would like to be treated.

Thanks you again for including the piece. Thank you all at the Outpost for doing an important job and for doing it well.

Candace Forrette

Global Village

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:47

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Book drive a success

The Used Book Donation Drive held by the Friends of the Billings Public Library April 26 at the old Volvo building downtown was a huge success. Thanks go out to the people who came by to donate to our cause. We were overwhelmed by the response. The success of this drive has helped to replenish the supply of used books in our inventory so depleted in the move from the old library’s third floor to a much smaller space in our new library building.

The Friends use these resources in outreach programs by sharing with numerous nonprofit and social service agencies throughout the community. Our Book Nook sales shelves in the new library’s Sweet Café coffee shop area will welcome the new additions. The balance will be sold and recycled back into the community through our various sales, revenues from which underwrite our mission, which is “to help promote and enhance literary usage and literacy through volunteerism and financial assistance.”

Special thanks to the Billings Clinic Foundation for the donation of the former Underriner building for the event. Without its help and cooperation, this event would have been much more difficult to carry out. We are also very grateful for the support from the local news media in promoting this event to the public. The huge turnout showed the event was worth doing.

Roger W. Young


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:47

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