The Billings Outpost

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Help stop organ harvesting

The story, almost too dreadful to believe, was first revealed in 2006 when a woman claimed that as many as 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been killed for their organs at the hospital where she worked. Her husband was a surgeon and disclosed to her that he removed corneas from the living bodies of 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners. (Falun Dafa is a traditional Chinese self-improvement practice of mental and physical wellness through meditation and gentle exercises. The core teaching principles are Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.)

In response, congressional resolution HR 281 was recently introduced by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Congressman Robert Andrews, D-N.J. The resolution expresses concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their beliefs, as well as numbers of other religious and ethnic minority groups.

Because killing of religious or political prisoners for their organs is an egregious crime, I ask Montana readers to contact our congressman to urge him to co-sponsor this resolution. The resolution is an important step to help put an end to this atrocity.

The resolution will also help our country’s doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and universities make informed decisions and take a righteous stance regarding illicit organ transportation, and stand up and speak for those without a voice.

For more information about Falun Gong and the on-going persecution, please visit

Katherine Combes



Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014 21:48

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Thanks to workers

Thanks to the many snowplow and sanding truck operators and emergency personnel who join our excellent law enforcement officers and work long hours to make our roadways safe and passable. You often get called out late at night or on weekends resulting in time away from family during the holidays when they need you the most. You do all this in the name of public safety. We appreciate what you do.

Jim Reno

Yellowstone County Commissioner 



Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014 21:47

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2 more Honor Flights

Happy New Year from the Big Sky Honor Flight Committee. Our World War II veterans are the greatest! What a year 2013 was with five flights and seven overall taking more than 600 World War II veterans back to Washington, D.C., to see their World War II Memorial.

From the pennies raised by schoolchildren for their class projects to the checks from $25 to $100 to $1,000 and the generosity of our corporate sponsors - BNSF, Stanley J. Rogers, EPC Services Co., CHS, Wal-Mart Foundation, Alamo Honor Flight, Stockman Bank, Breakfast Exchange Club, Walleyes Unlimited of Montana, Honor Flight Network, ExxonMobil Corp., Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, Lockheed Martin, Monty Eric Erickson, Billings Mustang Boosters Association and MTNG Thrift Shop Inc. and our many, many more sponsors, we would like to thank all of our wonderful donors for their generosity to make these flights happen.

Thanks to veterans’ organizations, RSVP, medical personnel and the many volunteers who have signed up to help, the response has been tremendous!  We look forward to 2014, with two more flights in April and May.

Thank you for all of your help, generosity and prayers in 2013 and we look forward to partnering with everyone to finish our flights in 2014.  One last thing, when we finish our ninth flight in May, we truly will have our mission accomplished.

If you would like to donate, please send your contribution to Big Sky Honor Flight, PO Box 80201, Billings, MT 59108. God bless you and our veterans.

Bill Kennedy

Vice Chairman

Big Sky Honor Flight


Last Updated on Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:14

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Visit veterans this week

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

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Making democracy work

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.

Betty Whiting


Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:42

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Live on the edge

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.

Lauris Byxbe

Pompeys Pillar

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:42

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