Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Letters to the editor Jan. 17

| January 17, 2022 12:00 AM

Technology intrusion

I am writing today to strongly protest the installation of a radio repeater and other equipment on Elk Mountain in Glacier National Park.

As a frequent hiker in Glacier over the past 46 years, I am well-acquainted with the value of the Park’s backcountry as a get-away from the stressors of modern life. A hike to the summit of Elk Mountain with two of my sons several years ago was one of the most cherished events of my life.

The solitude there is profound; along with the spectacular views from the summit, Elk Mountain is one of the best examples of the “care-killing” effects of Glacier, as described so ably in the early days of the park by famed naturalist John Muir. He goes on to explain that time spent in Glacier “will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it.”

This area should never be despoiled by man-made structures of any kind. And I use that word, “despoiled,” intentionally - its meaning being “to steal or violently remove valuable or attractive possessions from; to plunder.”

Please join with me in insisting that the radio repeater and other equipment is not installed on Elk Mountain. Technology needs of the park itself or of visitors to the park do not justify this intrusion on the wilderness landscape of Elk Mountain.

— Elizabeth K. (Betsy) Wood, Kalispell

Taxpayers expect quality services

I was pleased to read in the Inter Lake of your vote to increase the pay of Flathead County employees with a 4% cost of living increase. As most local employers know, retaining employees in the current environment is a challenge that must be met to maintain quality services to the people of our rapidly growing county. This 4% increase is a good step in that direction.

Chairperson Holmquist acknowledged to the Inter Lake that increasing county pay was needed because of “issues with keeping and finding people.” I would hope you will therefore reconsider the Library Board’s decision to cut the pay as well as required qualifications of the library administrator. An applicant pool is only likely to include librarians that have the necessary credentials to maintain ImagineIF’s state accreditation if the pay levels are in line with similar libraries in Montana.

Recent actions (and inactions) by the Library Board and County Commissioners result in a failure to meet Montana State Library minimum standards and therefore mean the loss of accreditation and the loss of over $35,000 annually from the state. What’s more, we become only one of four uncertified libraries in the state!

Taxpayers appreciate efficiently run government, but they also expect quality services from government agencies. Failing to meet state certification standards suggests that quality has been sacrificed in the name of efficiency. But efficiency will also be sacrificed by choosing to lose significant annual state funding that requires certification standards be met.

I respectfully encourage you to reconsider recent decisions by the Library Board and the Commission that adversely affect what has consistently been an efficient and quality county library system, ImagineIF Libraries.

— Sue Brown, Whitefish