The Montana Pioneer welcomes letters to the editor dealing with issues relevant to our readers and in response to articles appearing in the publication. We reserve the right to edit for length appropriate content, grammar, and length. We do not publish personal attacks or defamatory language.
Impact Unacceptable to Many
I read your article What’s a Word Anymore? Language as a Lesson in Liberty in the April issue with much interest. You touched upon many of the salient issues involving language but there was one thing I found odd. It was your problem with the use of the word impact as in “environmental impact”. You were concerned that the dictionary didn’t even have an asterisk warning of its questionable status. So I looked it up—in an old dictionary made out of paper.
Not only did the definition of impact in my dictionary have more than an asterisk, it had an actual number warning of the questionable usage. And you might be interested to know that you are one of many people who find it unacceptable. Here is the relevant part of the definition: 3. Informal. To have an effect on. Usage: The use of impact in this sense is unacceptable to many because of its association with bureaucratic language or technical jargon. So you can rest assured that in my dictionary, at least, there is a warning of the unacceptable use (to many) of the word impact. So why would anyone use impact instead of effect? I guess they feel it has more of an impact.
However, as you correctly pointed out, “language has a mind of its own comprised of millions of people.” My dictionary was published twenty years ago which makes me wonder how many decades does it take of millions of people using a word before it becomes acceptable to use the word that way. After all, communication suffers when we insist a word means something different from what everyone else thinks it means. We become like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland declaring in a rather scornful tone, “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
Which brings me to the use of a word that is bothersome to me. The word is viral and the use is to describe something that is popular on the internet by saying “it has gone viral.” I’m bothered because viruses cause disease. They may exist, but I am not aware of any good viruses. Some even believe viruses come inbound on comets from alien planets. And no, I’m not one that counts genetic engineering as a “good” use of viruses. So I feel there has to be a better phrase for going viral and I think I’ve found it— going webdemic. If you search for webdemic on YouTube you will find a short video that promotes the phrase. Do I think it will change the behavior of millions of people? No, not really. But who knows, if the video goes webdemic it just might.
Navy Seal Ryan Zinke—Real Character Over Character Assassination
As the smears against Ryan Zinke continue to arrive in our mail, we feel it’s time to put some perspective on the Congressional race.
It’s pretty easy to represent yourself as the true American in the race, but it’s a whole lot tougher to put your life on the line to defend the principles of freedom in the fight against terrorism. Congressional candidate Matt Rosendale pretends to shoot down a drone aircraft in his television ad to prove how tough he is. But Rosendale’s negative gimmickry pales in comparison to Zinke’s decorated record of defending this nation’s freedoms. Zinke’s patriotism is no act.
While Rosendale was making his millions in Maryland, Zinke was risking his life for our nation as a Navy Seal. It is deeply offensive for us, all military veterans who have known Ryan for most of his life, to see him attacked by someone who has never worn the uniform of this great country.
It’s also extremely revealing to compare campaigns. Typical of someone whose character is proven through his life experiences, Zinke has remained positive, while Rosendale stoops to new lows with each vicious attack.
Earlier this spring, Ryan Zinke stood up and delivered a fitting and moving eulogy for his mentor, Senator Bob DePratu, a true Montana Statesman. It seems only fitting that we who were friends of Bob’s now stand up as DePratu would have done in a forthright defense of Zinke, as fine, brave and capable a man as any of us have known.
We will vote for real character over character assassination. Ryan Zinke is a genuine and proven leader with the guts to think independently and the will to fight to get this country back on track. He is exactly who we need in Congress.
Charlie Abell, Bill Beck, Bob Brown, Bob Lawson
Punkzilla Issue Not Directed Personally
I regret if my letter to the editor regarding the book Punkzilla have been interpreted by some as an attack against any individual(s) within our school system or our current administration. That was never my intention. I recognize that we have many fine teachers and administrators working hard to improve our schools including our high school principal Lynne Scalia. My letter was written as a mother. And, I’m sure that every mother who loves her offspring has felt that “inner mother bear” rise up when confronted with impending harm to their child. I love children. I work with children and only want the best for them.
My hope is that this incident will bring awareness in our local community of a rapidly growing trend, nationwide, of the proliferation of sexually explicit literature for juveniles. A case in point is The Bluest Eye, which includes graphic depiction of rape and pedophilia and is a required read in some schools.
Under national and state law, material in Punkzilla and The Bluest Eye appears to qualify not only as obscenity but also as child pornogra-phy since the depictions are between adults and minors. It is a crime to “make available anything obscene to anyone under 18 years of age” (MCA 45-8-201), or to “sell, furnish, present, distribute, or otherwise disseminate to a minor or allow a minor to view, with or without consideration, any obscene material;” (MCA 45-8-206)
So, if an 18-year-old high school senior obtains one of these books at a school library and then gives it to a younger student could that teen be criminally charged? It appears so. But, who’s to blame when book covers and book descriptions don’t accurately depict what’s inside? An immunity loophole, in the obscenity laws seems to have created a laxity that maybe has become too lax. It exempts, anyone “acting as, an employee of a bona fide public school, college, or university or a retail outlet affiliated with and serving the educational purposes of a school, college, or university and the material or performance was disseminated in accordance with policies approved by the governing body of the institution.”
Years ago we didn’t have safety caps on bottles because no one yet thought of defiling bottle contents. Who would have imagined back then that schools would soon be carrying books that could be considered child pornography? Is it time for us to create a “safety cap?” After all, there are ratings on movies and video games. I don’t believe our current administration condones this type of material, and if they had know they wouldn’t have allowed it, but shouldn’t we be aware of the growing trends and create protections for the future?
We as a community can petition our city, county and state government to create a safety cap for our youth while they are working out who they are during secondary school. I am not for burning books or anything of the sort but let’s make sure adult material is in its proper place.
Montana Is Bad for Restaurant Business, Bozeman Worse
The state of Montana drives businesses elsewhere, especially restaurants, and with them jobs and chances for a better life. Montana is one of few states that require waiters be paid, by comparison, a high hourly wage in addition to tips. Waiters usually make the bulk of their income on tips, but Montana forces restaurant employers to pay wages about three hundred percent more than 48 other states. With labor one of the biggest costs to business, this forces them out of Montana. And while you might think the higher wage helps waiters, it does not. Far fewer are employed as a result and less money flows into local economies. As usual, when government intrudes, supposedly to help people, the opposite happens. Instead of helping wage earners, the law hurts them. It’s the same principle as mandated over-time pay. The result is less hours, less pay, because government penalizes employers for giving the extra hours.
Montana government is bad for restaurants and businesses in more ways. One of the issues we hear about is the workers comp mess. And a state liquor license in Bozeman can cost $700,000, a Beer and Wine license $150,000. With Obama-care coming it will get worse, making it more difficult for businesses to start up, hire, or continue operating. For those who think killing an economy is a great thing, that tourists should stay away, keep in mind that with no economy there’s no community, no chance for people to live with peace of mind because they have a job. Are ghost towns what you really want?
Punkzilla at Public School Teaches Violence and Obscenity
Livingston Public Schools are asking voters for a double annual-increase in taxes of $194,000 and $447,000. The first increase is permanent, every year, forever; the second is for five years. When you go to the polls May 6th consider this:
For a home valued at $200,000 the property owner will be forced to pay an additional $61.25 in taxes. For a minimum wage earner that would amount to giving up 10.5 hours of their life for supposed “education quality, safety and security.”
Well, my son came home from our taxpayer supported public school with a book titled Punkzilla. The book is a first person account of 14 year old Jamie, aka Punkzilla, who hops on a bus “while still buzzing from his last hit of meth” and goes on an adventure to see his homosexual brother before he dies. On his way he knocks people unconscious and steals their iPods, does drugs, smokes cigarettes, befriends a transvestite who yearns to have a penis, and has sex with prostitutes among other perverse activities.
Here are a few quotes:
“Me and this kid Bobby Job were Fat Larkin’s iPod thieves. Bobby Job has emotional problems and likes to [obscene text involving animal cruelty deleted by the editor]…He would give me twenty bucks for every iPod…I would jump joggers…I mostly went for mom types or fat people because they were easiest to knock unconscious…then we went and got [crude sexually graphic text deleted by editor] from Buck Tooth Jenny…she will sometime [crude sexually graphic text deleted]…”
Punkzilla meets another girl, “I would totally smoke pot with her so she went into the bathroom and wet a towel with warm water and came back and rolled a joint and we totally got stoned on her medical marijuana and exhaled into the towel which is a technique she obviously perfected from lots of practice. It was such good weed it only took me one hit to get high…After that we made out and she [crude sexually graphic text deleted by editor] and things were getting really intense…’
After reading this I don’t know what I was madder at, the fact that my hard working tax dollars, $17.00, went to purchase this book, or the fact that my hard-working tax dollars were spent on the employment of someone who made the decision to purchase such a book.
We have serious problems facing our youth. In the past three months, four teens from Butte High School committed suicide. Sixty Montana school age children are listed as missing. A Bozeman Chronicle blotter item read, ”A woman reported that kids bring morphine, hydrocodone pills and marijuana to school in Park County.”
Today’s news included this story: “A group of young boys, who sources said were between 12 and 14, was being questioned for a Central Park mugging spree in which they are suspected of taking an iPad and iPhone from two women and slugging a man who refused to hand over his cash.”
Antonio Gramsci, one time leader of the Communist Party of Italy, said that the way to destroy the west was to destroy their culture. Unfor-tunately, it looks like it is being done through our tax supported educational/socialization system.
If you want to read Punkzilla for yourself please don’t purchase it through a bookstore. It’s available free at the taxpayers expense at the Park High School Library.
‘Dark Money’ Hypocrisy
Rhetoric from Washington would have you believe Republicans and right-wingers are pouring cash into a well-oiled political machine, while ragtag liberals and Democrats are stuck in disorgan-ized poverty. The real numbers in Montana tell a different story. Here, liberal causes dominate both the money and machine that drive political outcomes. And, frankly, even though I don’t share their goals, I have no problem with their funding sources or organizing methods. I just wish they’d be a little less hypocritical about them.
People should be able to spend their money on political causes. It’s the modern-day equivalent of the corner soapbox, as messages have to reach more people and compete with more voices. The answer to irresponsible speech is more speech, not less. Whether it’s billionaire Tom Steyer killing the Keystone Pipeline or the Koch brothers funding libertarian causes, adding speech to political debates is preferable to taking it away.
Changes in campaign finance laws have shifted most of this speech from parties and candidates to independent expenditures, or “dark money.” But the term “dark money” has become nothing more than a focus-group tested euphemism for money spent on conservative candidates and causes, and a shallow one at that.
The problem isn’t that there’s too much money in politics. It’s that there’s too much politics in money. As long as government insists upon picking winners and losers, people will find a way to pay to be on the winners’ list. Eliminate government’s ability to make or break businesses, communities and convictions, and you will eliminate the money people spend protecting those things.
That’s probably not in the cards, so let’s take a snapshot of who’s spending the “dark money” in Montana. During the 2012 election cycle, independent expenditures supporting liberal candidates and causes outpaced those of conservatives by an order of magnitude: $4.3 million to $336,000. Sure, there are all kinds of other direct and indirect political expenditures, but if it’s “dark money” critics want to focus on, all they have to do is look in the mirror.
In truth, national political agendas are increasingly driving political activism and spending in Montana—right and left. With federal laws, regulations, and spending impacting more and more of our everyday lives, virtually every issue in the political world has become a national issue. Obamacare dictates the insurance you can buy. Dodd-Frank regulates your banking options. The Education Department decides what your kids need to know. The list goes on, which means national interests have a stake in state elections. And those interests on the left are pouring resources into Montana affinity groups where they can get a big bang for their buck.
How do we know this? My group just put up a website that connects the dots between national, state and local organizations and individuals advocating so-called progressive agendas and issues in Montana. If you’re on the left, you can go to www.MTLegacyTakers.org to find out who’s on your team and support them. Good for you, and I mean that. But if you lean right on most issues, you can use the site to figure out if that local “sportsman” or other mild-monikered group associates itself with causes that share your values.
We’re defined in large part by the people with whom we choose to associate, and it’s fascinating how resources—not so much money but organization and people—are funneled into the state through a few groups and then parceled out to make a progressive national agenda look local.
The site only looks at left-leaning networks because, well, that’s our job. But if someone wants to create one for right-leaning networks I’ll be happy to give them pointers. Again, the antidote to bad speech is more speech, not less. People have a right to speak and spend in ways that advance their values. But let’s be honest about who’s doing what instead of engaging in hypocritical rhetoric.
Montana Policy Institute, Bozeman
Sheriff Lutes Endorses Hamilton
I am Marshal Allan Lutes, second term Park County Sheriff with a total of over 40 years in law enforcement. As I looked forward to the 2014 elections, I made the difficult decision not to pursue a third term serving as your Sheriff. I want to insure that the advancements we, including the Deputies as a team, have made in the Park County Sheriff’s Office during my tenure will be carried on and further improved by the right new Sheriff. That candidate for Sheriff, in my opinion, is Undersheriff Scott Hamilton.
Scott Hamilton ascended the ranks from Reserve Deputy, Deputy, Detective, Patrol Supervisor as a Sergeant, Captain with Administrative Duties, and in 2008 I promoted him to command level as your Undersheriff. The Park County Sheriff serves as Chief Law Enforcement Officer for the county. In my opinion, Undersheriff Scott Hamilton is the only candidate for Sheriff who has the training, experience, command experience, overall qualities, and qualifications necessary to serve as your new Sheriff. I believe the people of Park County deserve only the best possible Sheriff. Particularly important is Scott Hamilton’s training and experience in Search and Rescue and as Incident Commander overseeing disasters such as floods, river rescues, and fires. This community requires someone who can take command of the Sheriff’s Office from day one and not someone who would require on the job training.
As your current Sheriff, I recognize and respect Scott Hamilton’s personal qualities, character traits, strong core values, experience and commitment to Park County. His performance record and resume clearly demonstrate he is the most qualified candidate for Sheriff. Throughout my career in Law Enforcement, which includes Police Departments and Sheriffs Offices, I regard Scott as one of the best Law Enforcement Officers I have had the pleasure to work with.
Carefully study candidate information so you can vote for the most qualified candidate to meet the needs of Park County. I encourage you to join me in supporting Scott Hamilton in the upcoming primary election on June 3, 2014.
Marshal Allan Lutes
250,000 Year-Old Human Site in Mexico
I took the bait. When David S. Lewis went on his latest rant about how “‘science’” is “mired in political, economic, ideological and personal interests” he mentioned in passing to look at the Virginia Steen McIntyer story. What an eye opener for a pipsqueak like me who both roots for the underdog and has an open mind about how consensual reality is built.
While in south central Mexico in the sixties, finishing up her doctorate as a geologist, she said she discovered a site of human habitation at Hueyatlaco that must be 250,000 years old (and that was dated to that timeframe by five geological methods with the participation of the United States Geological Survey). It’s impossible, absurd, thundered her superiors. Humans didn’t migrate from the birth of man in Africa to there but a few thousand years ago. The religion, uh, doctrine of Darwinism tells us that humans way back when could not have been in North America at that time, that the timeline of evolution does not allow for it.
Fortunately, Virginia wasn’t cowed by all that screaming—and the loss of her career path— and to this confusing day has continued to collect evidence that supports the original findings of 1962. She points out well-made tools and butchered parts of extinct Pleistocene animals. And she says that, since carbon dating is not possible at 250,000 years, there are four other dating processes that show that this is an ancient human site. And what about the overlying beds of younger volcanic pumice and coarse ash that cover the covered remains?
Speaking of rooting for the underdog (hint, hint) I am rooting for the Libertarian candidate for national Senate, Roger Roots. I know Roots, and I know he is not only a lawyer, a sharp minded analyst, but he has taught law and written books. And he is friendly, not aloof like many “leader” types.
Being too clever for his own good (Strike that!), he is not susceptible to the perception management of the mainlined (addicted?) people who follow the news and vote, again and again, for the same old political predicament. Roger Roots, United States Senate.
Daniel R Peterson
Black Panther Sightings
I read your story online about black panther sightings. I for one know first hand they are in north america. My neighbor lost a 800 lb calf to her. I met up with her one night walking from the car to my porch. She squalled 15 feet from me. I yelled at my son and he hit her with the spotlight we use at fishing camp. She was all dark black, fat after shreding 28 of my chickens, and yellow eyed. Talk about scared out of your mind. My cousin who lives in Tennessee has photographed two. I know black jaguars are in Central and South America and black lepoards in africa. This one to me looks more jaguar-like from the size.
I live in Romance, Arkansas, one mile south of Lake Barnett. My house is on the main highway, a large hilly area in front covered in woods and behind us was a large wooded area.
My dingo, a bush dog that loves to chase everything, was going crazy to get into the house. This was a dog you couldn’t pick up and drag into the house, she would go nuts to get outdoors and try to tear down the door to get out. The big cat had scared her that night. When she took off I could tell it was female, no male organs. Our spotlight is very bright. She went into the woods on the hill out front. This cat is smart, she would shut her eyes so we couldnt eye shine her and she would creep along the hill before she opened them to look at us, but we kept the spotlight on her. That told me volumes. She wasn’t afraid to raid close to humans. I had nothing but feathers in my chicken pen and she was heavy enough to bend the wire my dingo could never get threw and go for the chickens.
This area is very hilly around the lake and has 9,000 acres on each side of the lake with rocky cliffs. Recently ,we found her tracks, following deer tracks, after a big rain on the church community garden. She had followed the deer that night across a 200 yard field parellel to the creek. She’s killed two of our friend’s calves now inside a corral below the mountain. Tracks there led back to the cliffs. It’s been seen for many years, perhaps more than one. I personally would love to see her darted and taken alive since they are rare and her DNA studied.
Game and fish released two pumas that were not black near the chimmney rock by the lake 15 years ago, we saw her and two cubs in a large rock outcrop while deer hunting then.
Also, my neighbor saw the black panther in his deer stand last winter. We also have a large black bear in the area. I found her prints 150 yards behind the house on the creek. This area has beaver, otters, deer, turkey, ducks, etc. So there’s a strong food source for predators. They released red tailed hawks and eagles here, too.
We were fishing on the lake below the cliff and I looked up and there sat a red wolf. She was toting a pup back inside her den. I haven’t seen but one other here and that was about 20 miles from the lake. I have found three places within a mile of us that cold underground water comes to surface, there are small caves all over these hills too. So they have a haven here year round.
Steve McQueen Tending Bar Locally
Nice job with your Starting Thoughts piece regarding Steve McQueen. You hit some good points, especially regarding the McQueen black and white poster from The Great Escape. Yes, my brother had one also—classic. Also, good story on Barbara McQueen.
It is amazing that people under 35 do not remember Steve, but also many people in Bozeman/Livingston do not realize he spent time here, and was one of the first film people to hang at Chico, etc. Didn’t he also fly his plane in? I also enjoyed seeing the photo of Becky Fonda, with McQueen, from the late ’70s.
Like you, over the years I have met many people, including our local celebrities, and have gotten to know quite a few of them. I heard a story the other year from the family that use to own the bar over by Chico. Steve grew a beard, and was over weight. One night he tended bar, and no one knew who he was. Eventually, as much as he liked not being recognized, it also began to bother him, and he started telling the patrons who he really was, and no one believed him. Of course, that bothered him too (he may have been laid back out west, but he still had an ego). Classic.
What’s a Critter to Do?
Imagine you’re a grizzly bear, Canada lynx, wolverine or one of the two-dozen animals that are high country, deep snow-dependent in our ecosystem during winter. Now imagine that your home is disrupted by humans on snow machines. With much of your habitat developed, roaded and logged, you really don’t have anywhere else to go.
Much of the northern part of the Gallatin Range–especially the lower elevations—have been radically altered by people and are no longer suitable as secure habitat. Protected public lands are our last refuge. Humans call this the Last Best Place. Well, they’re partly correct; Last Place is more like it. Amazingly, that’s where humans are going to finish—last, dead last. The relatively clean air, water and land are dwindling, threatened by pipelines, coal trains, hydraulic fracturing, logging, mining, and motorized recreation. Swarms of humans are seemingly everywhere, all at once.
Weather and climate are going haywire, further disrupting habitat. Now, the humans are talking about ‘collaboration.’ What does that mean? It seems like a local process designed to compromise what’s left while excluding tax-paying stakeholders throughout the country; people who should rightfully have a place at the table. You know, folks who believe public supported lands should be protected for biological diversity and for the use and benefit of wildlife and the people who enjoy it; our advocates. What’s a critter to do? Disappear?
If we critters can’t make it, humans can’t make it. Visitors aren’t attracted to degraded landscapes devoid of life. They come here to see us. Wild places with wildlife are the attraction. The local human economy will disappear with us. It’s all connected. Everyone wants a ‘piece of the pie,’ but that’s how the pie disappears. Too bad. Could have been prevented by protecting the little bit that was left.
Stewart Truelsen’s opinion piece in your February issue was so far-fetched and misleading I feel compelled to respond. Obviously he knows very little of the most recent studies done on the issue of obesity which are very clear. They prove that over consumption of sugar and other addictive foods like animal fats actually alter—permanently—the brain’s control mechanisms for feeling hungry. This is a major finding. And it supports arguments that Truelsen pooh-poohs by scientists and policy makers like ex Mayor Bloomberg that it is absolutely imperative that something be done about this extreme health hazard which is causing historically rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes even among children.
And Truelsen’s claim that regulation and Prohibition are the same is just plain false—any dictionary can explain the difference—which is considerable. But Truelsen obviously is scare mongering (drones over our hot dogs), the common last resort of all defenders of the status quo.
The truth of the matter is that none of his imagined “food police” will ever be be needed. All reformers really want is, (1) the end of subsidies for corn and its resulting dirt-cheap corn syrup, now ubiquitous in almost all foods, and corn feed for animals which makes them far fatter and sicker (requiring more antibiotics, etc.) than they were just a few decades ago before corn was subsidized. And, (2) reformers are asking for limits on the size of sugary drinks over the counter. It’s pretty simple: Stop using tax money to allow big corporate food processors to get our people hooked on garbage that is killing them and breaking our healthcare system.
All we need, to prove my point, is look at the many historical photos of the Old West appearing in your newspaper before sugar was heavily subsidized. When sugar was too expensive to buy in large quantities for most people. Obese persons are nearly non existent in these photos. Most are quite lean, in fact.
I just finished reading the January issue of the Montana Pioneer and had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed the issue. I always find something to enjoy in each issue, but this month exceeded my expectations. The historical articles and the articles on local issues were superb and thought provoking.
I look forward to each issue as I feel this magazine is one of the best magazines produced in our area. The fact that it is offered free feels like a gift each month. Thank you for the literary gift you provide to our community.
Dry Hydrants Needed
MDT recently held its sham Highway 89 Corridor project “public hearing” (in which the “public” did not have the opportunity to speak publicly—but rather sat around tables and “talked” informally) thus allowing the “moderators” to control the context and content of the meeting.
In previous written comments, I have asked MDT to plan for [emergency fire] dry hydrants at every bridge crossing of the Yellowstone and Shields rivers. A dry hydrant is simply a “fish friendly” culvert with holes drilled in it, set horizontally below the ice/low water level of a year round water source. The culvert has an elbow and vertical extension well inland that allows fire trucks to suck water into their tanks any time of year. Based on the studies of the $7 million Governor’s Upper Yellowstone Task Force none of the 17 tributaries on the Yellowstone between the YNP border and Livingston can reliably be counted on to have emergency water for fire suppression on a year-round basis. The various fire departments have lots of expensive toys, but few dependable county locations to quickly access water. The last figures seen as a national average for a fire to consume a house trailer was 8 minutes. Log homes were not much better.
Dry hydrants is one of several subjects that the Upper Yellowstone Task Force packed up and went home without considering at all. It’s now up to the public at large to request.
A 2-foot tall, 6-inch diameter pipe sticking vertically out of the ground along a highway, viewed from a vehicle travelling 65 miles per hour is not an eyesore. That set of pipes, properly located and accessible year round to fire trucks, has the potential to lower fire insurance premiums for about 65 percent of all Park County property owners—not to mention saving properties from spreading fires. When all the dry hydrants are in place, Liv-ingston, Clyde Park and Gardiner residents can expect to benefit, fire-wise, and insurance wise.
MDT gets a 15 percent override on everything they build so the more they spend, the bigger the Butte district “personnel octopus” they can feed. At the same time it is amazing how many times your roads get patched, plowed, striped, etc. for less tax dollars than it would cost to have your driveway plowed even once. Since all potential dry hydrant sites are on MDT right of way, it only makes sense that they build the hydrant pads to their mutual liking, irrespective of who builds the actual hydrants. The amount of water expected to be extracted annually by any dry hydrant is minuscule compared to the 4,000 [fall] to 40,000 [spring] cubic feet per second Yellowstone river flow rate (a big fire truck holds about 6,000 gallons and can take up to 10 minutes to fill) .
I’ve been assured by a board member of the Park County Conservation District that they will support and cooperate in such a program. Over the years, I have pointed out over 50 safety problems in the Paradise Valley to MDT. They always respond that they can’t possibly do that. Jim Lynch [former MDT honcho] once wrote me that Highway 89 was, to MDT, just another road. I responded that Highway 89 was the primary access road to five of the premier national parks in the U.S., with year-round excessive tourist traffic. One Californicator wrongful death lawsuit would involve enough cash to rebuild the whole thing—but too late to save lives.
Yet in 6 months to a year they make the fixes anyway. This is just a proposal. Many meetings and inputs and negotiations will follow and a variety of concepts will eventually be analyzed.
If you want much better fire protection for your property, You are asked to do any of the following:
1. E-mail [email protected] with the simple subject line: I want dry hydrants at 89 bridges.
2. Ask others to do the same.
3. If you have an easily truck accessible pond, creek, etc., and would be amenable to having an emergency dry hydrant located at or near your property, contact your local fire chief or the Park Conservation District. Currently, there are very large geographical areas in Park County that have no nearby fire fighting water supplies.
4. Now is the time to speak up. All dollars that get spent on this project, don’t even exist, so you will never have to repay them. If you don’t believe me drive over and look at the freeways between Hamilton and Missoula, from Helena to Missoula, or Bozo to Big Sky. MDT has money to do virtually anything they [we] decide. You need to help them decide.