The week of Feb. 10-14 is the Veterans Administration’s National Salute to Veteran Patients Week.
Throughout the state of Montana, there are men and women who are serving or have served our county to preserve our way of life and the freedom we enjoy. Many of these veterans come to the Medical Center at Fort Harrison or Community Based Outpatient Clinics around the state for their health care. The employees and volunteers who work for VA Montana Health Care System are privileged to provide care to these Heroes.
During the week of Feb. 10-14, VA Montana would like to invite you to visit the Medical Center at Fort Harrison, our Community Living Center in Miles City or one of our Community Based Outpatient Clinics to visit with veterans and show your appreciation for the sacrifices they have made for our country. The veterans enjoy visits from individuals and groups and this can help brighten their day!
During National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, you can join our “Visit a Vet for Valentine’s Day” program during this week, by bringing valentines to the veterans. I would invite you to explore the opportunity to volunteer as well. VA Montana has a large volunteer organization that assists our facility in many areas and this is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for all they have done.
If you would like to come to the Medical Center or one of our Clinics, please call our Voluntary Services office at (406) 447-7345 to schedule a visit and be part of the VA’s National Salute to Veteran Patients.
Christine Gregory Fache
VA Montana Health Care System
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:13
With the League of Women Voters of Billings asking people to nominate someone for the Joan Harwood Galles Making Democracy Work award, I’m asking, “What does it mean to make democracy work?”
The United States is a representative democracy that has evolved over 238 years, starting with a Constitution that allowed only white men with property to have the right and responsibility to make decisions to current laws allowing universal suffrage with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
According to Freedom House, 118 of the 195 countries in the world have electoral democracies. Not one is like ours. Robert A. Dahl of Yale University asks why other countries haven’t used the U.S. as a model of democracy in his book, “How Democratic Is the American Constitution?”
Here are some of Dahl’s findings comparing the 22 most developed countries across several decades: The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate; fourth greatest in income gap; 21st lowest in voter turnout; 19th lowest in energy efficiency. What can we do to make our democracy work better?
• Develop a fair framework for an election process where everyone has easy access to register to vote, vote, and run for office.
• Support free, public education so all citizens know our history and can think critically.
• Look for independent media that research and report the issues.
• Expect transparency in government with opportunity for public comment.
• Guarantee that equal treatment is shared by all segments of the population.
• Stop economic exploitation in our policies.
Each of us can find ways to make democracy work. We can and we must if we are to survive as a people and a country.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:42
During the Christmas break I went by a school. The sign said, to the effect, “Have a safe, fun and happy vacation.” Happy I could see, but fun and safe seem like an oxymoron. When one is young, fun rarely is safe.
Some examples: swinging from a rope in a tree or hay loft, riding a three-wheeler, now four-wheeler as the former has been federally banned, sledding down a hill on whatever is slippery, cardboard, scoop shovel, sled, plastic. From my youth, everything was fun till someone got hurt.
Life is to be lived on the edge. Yes, one can be safe and cautious, but when does that become fear of failure, embarrassment or becoming paralyzing to the point of not doing anything? “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
If you are doing what you enjoy, you are going to make mistakes; you will have accidents. Others will disagree with you or be offended. If you are doing things to please others, sometimes you please neither yourself or others.
For the new year, follow your heart and take that leap of faith.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:42
Alzheimer’s stories are all around us.
My mom. My husband’s dad. My uncle. My college roommate’s dad and her young sister. My oldest friend’s mom. Most families I know have had this disease strike heartbreakingly close to home.
Today there are an estimated 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s including as many as 21,000 here in Montana.
That’s why Montanans should join the Alzheimer’s Association in urging Congress to prioritize Alzheimer’s disease as a vital component of the fiscal year 2014 budget.
Alzheimer’s is not a Republican or Democratic issue – it affects all of us. It was encouraging to see Congress create and pass, on a unanimous bipartisan basis, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which spurred the creation of the first National Alzheimer’s Plan.
The Senate has prioritized the National Alzheimer’s Plan by including an additional $100 million for research, education, care and support; it is vitally important that Congress include these resources in fiscal year 2014.
November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Please contact Sen. Jon Tester today and ask him to provide the funding necessary to support the National Alzheimer’s Plan through Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach, and support activities.
You can contact the Alzheimer’s Association state office in Billings. It offers a great resource and loan library, free education materials, group presentations, support groups (three in Billings), facilitator training and initial care counseling for families facing Alzheimer’s.
The important thing is to let your voice be heard in Washington on behalf of Alzheimer’s families in Montana and everywhere.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:53
The redneck, racist viewpoint of Max Lenington insulting the president and his wife: Do you suppose that this is the viewpoint of the average Montanan against the president of the United States?
James O. Southworth
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:52
In the 2010 Citizens United case, the Supreme Court of the United States, by a partisan 5-4 vote, opened the door to unlimited corporate financial support of political activity. Some of this money is channeled through 501 (c) 4 “social welfare” groups, the number of which mushroomed after the court decision. The overwhelming share of this money goes to support conservative political messaging, even though 501 (c) 4 groups, like 501 (c) 3 “charitable groups,” must essentially abstain from political activity to merit tax-exempt status.
A unit of IRS, housed outside Washington and woefully understaffed with politically naive civil servants, is responsible for reviewing applications for tax-exempt status and deciding whether to extend this benefit.
This involves determining whether applicants disqualify themselves because of political activity.
Only an idiot would deny that the Tea Party was established as a purely political group and has engaged in political activity from its inception. The IRS staff is simply doing its job to target and examine Tea Party applications for tax-exemption. They give the same scrutiny to left-leaning groups, although there are far fewer such applications. To deny tax-exempt status is not to deny an entitlement - it is to withhold a special benefit.
It takes enormous chutzpah for a politically active group to request such a benefit in violation of the law, and they to cry “foul” when it is denied. Perhaps burdening the IRS with a flood of groundless applications was a political strategy in itself?
Lawrence K. Pettit
Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 19:53