Thursday, January 21, 2021

Letters to the editor Aug. 2

| August 2, 2020 1:00 AM

I am writing to offer a testimonial to the work of the Flathead Warming Center, to urge the Kalispell community to find an appropriate venue for them for the coming winter. I speak from experience: Christ Church Episcopal hosted the Center last winter. We could only provide space for 20 people, due to city occupancy codes, but more than 100 individuals stayed in our facilities for one or more nights, managed by Warming Center staff and volunteers. We saw first-hand how effective and how needed their work is. There is nothing to be feared and much to be gained from getting homeless people off our streets at night and into a safe location.

At a recent meeting of our governing board I asked for comments about our experience. Here is some of what our Vestry members said:

-There were no riots.

-I was originally a no vote, but they proved me wrong. Now I think it was a really good thing.

-None of the things we were afraid might go wrong did go wrong. We were worried that there might be damage to the buildings and so on, but actually everything worked out fine. We returned the damage deposit WC gave us, in full.

-The staff was very professional, not just in taking care of our buildings but also how they managed the case load.

-Members of our Youth Group met with the guests at dinner time several times. It turned out to be one of the best things that happened for our kids all year long. They learned so much!

-Of any of the things Christ Church has ever done for the community, hosting the Warming Center is the one I am proudest of.

If our space were large enough to meet the need Christ Church Episcopal would probably consider hosting the Center again. Having seen for ourselves, we strongly encourage any parties who do have adequate space to consider making it available to the Warming Center. After all, winter is definitely still coming.

—Rev. Donnel O’Flynn at Christ Church Episcopal in Kalispell

I love the fair. I was thrilled when my pigs won blue ribbons and I loved riding my Arabian horse into the arena along with the other fair royalty. What a wonderful way to end the summer before heading back to school. Having the fair would be a welcome celebration and a break from the monotony of social isolation caused the COVID-19 pandemic. But pretending COVID-19 has disappeared in our valley is the same mistake made earlier in Florida and Arizona.

As of July 29, the cases in Flathead Valley have sky rocketed. Over the past two weeks Flathead County has reported more than 100 new cases with a total state case count of over 3,500. This is not the time for the fair.

While the Fair Board made a wise decision to cancel the fair parade, they need to do the more difficult task of cancelling the fair entirely. Hosting the fair in our community is akin to a perfect storm. According to Mark Campbell, the Fairground Manager, contestants requesting participation in the rodeo have increased dramatically. Typically, the fair attracts about 250 contestants, but as of July 16 the requests are closer to 500-700. Because most fairs and rodeos in the northwest have been cancelled, people from all over the west are seeking admission.

Yes, our fair board is taking some cursory precautions. There will be more handwashing stations; the concert attendees will be dismissed row by row; masks are required but not enforced. The number of carnival rides will be reduced from 30 to 20 more likely creating longer lines making social distancing even more difficult. None of these measures are enough to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Do Mark Campbell and the Fair Board really want to be responsible for escalating the virus in our community? Do they want to become the stimulus for closing schools and for shutting down businesses? And is our hospital really ready to handle a large increase in COVID-19 cases? The pain of cancelling the fair is far less than the pain caused by losing the COVID battle. If the fair goes on, it might be your mother or grandmother who lives her last weeks on a ventilator!

—Carol Santa, Marion

If Gov. Bullock “feared backlash over mask mandate” maybe he shouldn’t have opened up the borders and lifted the quarantine in the first place. The consequences of doing so were completely predictable ... a rise in COVID-19 cases.

I DO resent being required to wear a mask because of a tide of people from out of state who, predictably, came here to get away from their own COVID-19 infested states. Bullock’s decision was an economic decision and an unwise decision since it’s likely to contribute to further shutdowns.

—Kathryn Berg, Bigfork

In the July 19 edition of the Inter Lake, R. Hopkins of Columbia Falls makes a great point by referencing Ronald Reagan who asked, “Are you better off now…?”

I completely agree with him, but he also defamed President Trump by calling him “emotionally disturbed,” and “intellectually deficient.” By whose standards? When Trump’s opponent’s arguments fail, they often default to such personal attacks. Trump’s style is as a businessman, not a slick politician. He approaches problems bluntly, not guided by the latest polls.

Mr. Hopkins lists no evidence that we’re “not better off.” Does Hopkins recall that our economy was roaring prior to the catastrophic world shutdown that resulted from the pandemic? Statistics show that unemployment for all Americans, Hispanics, Blacks, women, virtually any other class you can name, was at a historic low. The stock market soared. People were happy, because economic futures, for the first time in 10-12 years looked promising, which is what Trump promised.

Through no fault of his, another obstacle appeared in his path, and throughout the world. The virus pandemic severely struck places like Italy and the rest of Europe early on. I suppose Trump must have guided the virus like a missile right to Italy’s shores. The blame, instead, falls squarely on the Chinese Communist Party.

Now, because of vile police-involved deaths, we have dangerous civil unrest, which has led to desecration and destruction of monuments; cities burned; people killed, but not by peaceful protesters. Anarchists, communists, and others, foment this unrest, yet the Democrat-controlled cities take no action. Our country is in peril, but the president cannot fix it alone. He also needs a supportive Congress, lest we lose the country to Socialist/Communist thugs. If you don’t want violence on your streets, vote Trump to make America great again.

—Ward DeWitt, Bigfork