The Billings Outpost

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Concerned about Otter Creek

Montanans are concerned about the proposed Otter Creek coal mine. Though I now live in Billings, I grew up in Anaconda, and like many Montanans, I know what it’s like when the government fails to fully plan for the lasting impacts of mining, fails to fully protect our communities, and fails to preserve the natural beauty of Montana — one of our most precious resources. Otter Creek is a sensitive area because the coal seam is a vital aquifer for the area.

Coal strip mines sever and destroy such aquifers, resulting in impacts miles away from these mines; they dry up wells and springs, many of which are important sources of water for livestock and are critical to maintaining a diversity of natural plants and wildlife. Given that other mining operations have failed to restore the coal-seam aquifers disturbed by mining, and the vast majority of Montana mines have never been able to achieve full reclamation, the thought of a new, enormous mine is deeply troubling.

How will the DEQ protect and preserve the natural beauty and agricultural enterprises which the strip mine and aquifer disturbance threaten? Montanans need to speak up about the Otter Creek coal mine permit — currently incomplete — and hold our government accountable for its duty to protect our natural lands, our state’s farming and ranching heritage, and our local communities — which would be impacted by pollution, water drawdowns, reduced tourism and recreation, and increased train traffic.

Montanans shouldn’t have to pay for the mess mines leave behind.

Joy Barber



Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:10

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Beware of Otter Creek

At a time when the United States desperately needs to develop clean alternative fuels, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is fast-tracking the permitting process for Arch Coal’s Otter Creek Mine.

Not only would the mine development seriously damage agricultural land and water quality, it would be a catalyst for building the Tongue River Railroad, which would transport coal in open boxes to the west coast for export to China.

Air pollution from coal dust is a terrible health hazard. Regulations for containing the dust are not consistently enforced. This mine and railroad threaten to drastically worsen the clean, healthful environment that we want for ourselves and our families in Montana.

Please take a few minutes to contact the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and ask for a very thorough and complete review of all costs and environmental consequences of the Otter Creek Mine and the Tongue River Railroad.

Judy Staigmiller



Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:09

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Support DAV

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle.” President Abraham Lincoln set the goal in caring for America’s military veterans. You can help in a very real way.

Founded in 1925, the nonprofit Disabled American Veterans Billings, Chapter 10, is part of national DAV, which helps military veterans, their spouses and orphans. DAV receives no federal funding. Chapter 10, Billings, operates solely on donations. DAV’s bylaws mandate all monies raised by used to directly support veterans. Chapter 10 has two funds: the general and the vans fund. Our general fund gathers donations which Chapter 10 Leadership uses to support veterans.

The vans fund supports the  DAV Veterans Transportation Network (VTN). Military veterans should never forgo medical treatment because they don’t have transportation. DAV VTN began 25 years ago and drives veterans at no cost to the  Veterans Administration authorized appointments. In year 2011, Billings-based DAV volunteer drivers safely drove brightly emblazoned DAV vans over 186,000 miles and carried over 4,700 of Montana’s veterans to appointments. This level of effort increases about 10 percent annually.

DAV purchases transport vans through private donations. Each van costs about $15,000. DAV Billings Chapter 10, maintains a separate monetary fund to accumulate monies to purchase vans. Vans which Chapter 10 purchase stay in Billings and serve area veterans. Those businesses, organizations, or individuals who donate at least $1,000 are recognized by having their names displayed on the vans.

Will you help Montana’s military veterans? DAV Billings Chapter 10 stands strong and proud with it s local veterans support programs and its Billings-based DAV  VTN bans. Consider donating to: DAV Billings, Chapter 10 General Fund: or DAV Billings Chapter 10 Vans Fund, P.O. Box 20453, Billings, MT 59104-0453. All contributions are tax deductible. For more information on DAV VTN, telephone the Billings DAV VTN coordinator at 406-373-3590. DAV and Montana’s veterans sincerely thank you for your support.

Lindy S. Graves,

DAV Billings, Chapter 10

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 21:40

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Obama’s high crimes

Really, “Jane White.” Of all the high crimes of this entire administration, you zero in on marijuana legalization [Outpost, Aug. 8]?

What about the removal of Christian values and the insertion of Muslim “beliefs”?

What about the hundreds of billions of dollars and F16s and military equipment sent to countries that want to wipe us off the face of the earth while the country is being embraced by the “sequester.”

What about pushing a healthcare system that is so bad even the government does not want to belong to it, and now doesn’t have to since Obama gave them a free pass.

What about the millions of immigrants waiting to legally come in this country about to be passed by 11-plus million who illegally crossed our borders and that we know nothing about.

I ask you, would you allow total strangers whom you know nothing about to move into your home with your spouse and children?

Under this and the health care plan, if a business owner hired an illegal immigrant, he would not have to buy insurance for that person for 10 years, saving that business owner $5,000 a year per employee.

Whom would you hire?

What about the members he appointed to the National Labor Relations Board that were ruled by a federal court as having been appointed illegally? And yet he will not remove them.

What about killing by drones of American citizens turned terrorist in the Middle East and the deportation from the Middle East of terrorists to stand trial on U.S. soil in U.S. courts?

What about Benghazi? What about the fact that he or Hillary could not be reached after the initial notification? What about the order to stand down given to all units that could have assisted? What about the 33 survivors who have not been allowed to testify or come forward in any way?

What about the IRS harassing applicants simply because of their beliefs?

What about Obama making it illegal to sue Monsanto in any way over their Genetically Modified Organism? This is in the food YOU, me, all of us eat and is linked to autism, Parkinson’s disease and, um, that memory one, um ... Alzheimer’s.

People have no idea what this “man” has done because the media has been strong armed into silence. If your parent paper wanted to report some news, maybe they should start with these few story lines.

I do appreciate that you stopped and talked with us since the Gazette said they were to busy. I just wish the article was a little more serious.

Thanks for letting me spout off.

Jim Buterbaugh


Last Updated on Thursday, 15 August 2013 10:54

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Watch for goatheads

Riding a bicycle is my main mode of transportation. I was downtown recently and discovered many goathead vines in the parking lot kitty-corner to the Good Earth Market.

I returned next day with gloves, a trowel and garbage bag ready to do damage to this infestation of thorns. I dug up as many of these weeds as I could but could not get them all due to the gravel and rocks where they are growing.

I called the city’s Code Enforcement/Weed Control to report the problem. I received the following message: “Weeds that grow along the ground, even those with thorns, do not come under code enforcement jurisdiction. Weeds have to be taller than 12 inches to receive a warning.”

If you have tried to dig up goatheads and police your area for these pesky invaders, you know the issue of what I speak. They are drought resistant and a very aggressive weed. The thorns stick to the bottom of your shoes and reseed themselves. They are exceedingly painful if they puncture your skin. For a bicycle tire they are fatal. If goatheads are prevalent, a cyclist needs to ride in the street where cars drive. Car tires wear out the thorns.

I am asking the city to include goatheads as a problem weed. As citizens of Billings we need to be especially ardent and dig up any that we see. Also we request businesses to be vigilant in caring for their property so that goatheads do not grow there.

Audrey Wagner


Last Updated on Thursday, 15 August 2013 10:53

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Some killings ignored

Over the last months there has been much media coverage and demonstrations and rage over the T. Martin vs. Zimmerman case. It was a tragic event for all and perhaps if a federal or wrongful death suit results the whole truth may come out.

I was wondering, however, where the outrage and demonstrations and media coverage are for a mother and her young son who were shot and murdered over a purse. The baby was in his stroller and was shot in the face. His killers were two black teenage boys. There was no threat to these killers; they just wanted to kill these two “white” people. They could have gotten the purse by force, but chose to kill.

I was also wondering where the outrage and demonstrations and media coverage are for two teenage girls and their mother who were raped by two adult black men? The father was beaten senseless.

Why is it that when a black kid is shot by a white man it generates months and months of media outrage, demonstrations and sobbing interviews on daytime television? When a black is the perpetrator there is not much said.

Could it be that the media and the black populace are single minded and biased? The life of that mother and baby are as precious as anyone, but they are not afforded the same publicity. I think it outrageous and prejudicial and it smells. Mr. Holder and Obama have not mentioned these two cases either.

Sometimes stand your ground works and sometimes it is abused. We all have the inalienable right to protect ourselves and our family and goods.

Keith Babcock


Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 16:53

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