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Letters to the editor Nov. 16

| November 16, 2023 12:00 AM

Evergreen sidewalks

With winter approaching, kids are bundled up in warmer, less reflective clothing. Flathead drivers should continue to watch out for kids on their way to and from school. 

Just as we watch for deer and other four-footed creatures, leave plenty of room for school buses and be on the lookout for our two-footed cubs and fawns. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, less than 1% of all traffic fatalities involve kids in school vehicles. However, kids are more at risk when approaching or leaving school buses due to other drivers’ carelessness and impatience.

The Evergreen School District is geographically too small to qualify for bus transportation services. As a result, many Evergreen Wolverines walk or ride their bikes to school along U.S. 2, which sees 20,000 vehicles a day traveling at least 45 mph. 

Born and raised in Evergreen, I walked those U.S. 2 cow trails years ago. As a proud Wolverine myself, I joined the successful fight to secure funding for sidewalks along U.S. 2 during the 2023 legislative session as the state representative for Evergreen and North Kalispell.

Thanks to the hard work of many community members, small business owners, and the school district, Evergreen Wolverines will have safe routes to schools starting in the 2024–2025 school year. In the meantime, watch out for the youngest members of our community on their way to and from school.

— Tony Brockman, Kalispell

Keep public lands in public hands

In his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Tim Sheehy touts his experience as a Navy SEAL. While that experience is honorable, the importance of it pales in comparison to what he proposes to do as Montanan’s Senator. 

Most notable is his stance regarding the management of federal public lands. In a recent Working Ranch Radio Show interview, he espoused transferring the management of such lands to the state and counties. 

Transferring such control is a transfer of ownership. Thousands of Montanans across the state have already voiced, multiple times, an overwhelming opposition to land transfers. 

Most Montanans know — and Tim Sheehy should know — that federal land management agencies have local offices staffed by Montana residents. And perhaps he doesn’t know that hundreds of Montanans have gathered at the state Capitol in Helena each legislative session to protest land transfer. Obviously, Mr. Sheehy has not attended any of those rallies.  

Several short-sighted individuals have proposed the transfer of federally managed lands in the past. Fire suppression alone can total millions of dollars. It is unrealistic to believe that Montana could afford such costs without raising taxes. 

Because of those higher management costs, it is also realistic to believe that federal lands transferred to state ownership would raise the prospect of privatization. If Montana could not afford to maintain transferred federal lands properly, Montana counties could not either! 

The proposal of transferring federal lands has always been a bad idea. Let’s keep public lands in public hands!

— Larry Robson, Huntley