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Letters to the Editor

Biathlon course

I disagree with Ms. Bay's comments about the Army National Guard biathlon course proposal being a "carrot." She states she enjoys the quiet family time at the present facility. I wish I could get my family to go. The current trail system of having to climb up Microwave Hill to get to the really fun trails keeps my children at home. I would love to have a more gradual access that actually encourages all ages and abilities to enjoy cross country skiing as much as I do. I agree there may be times where the facility will be packed with competitors, spectators and staff, however, how many times will that happen in a one year period? And, I actually look forward to a consistent grooming schedule by staffers — takes the guess work out of which skis to pack.

West Yellowstone already has a biathlon facility. I do not find the biathlon course to distract from the peaceful skiing. I am willing to give up a weekend of my ski time here and there for a biathlon competition; maybe I would even enjoy watching some quality athletic competition.

Theresa Sheldon

East Helena

Homes out of reach

With interest I read the front page IR article May 26 titled "Home prices, wages out of whack." I am going through a divorce and will soon be a single parent. I will need to work after the divorce. I want to move back home to Dallas, where my hourly income can nearly double in the administrative field. In the Dallas suburbs I can purchase a new brick 3-4 bedroom home fully landscaped for around $125,000. This type of home in Helena would cost over $200,000. It would cost more in towns such as Bozeman and Missoula. Working as an administrative assistant or receptionist in Montana, I will be lucky if I can afford my rent. Home ownership will be a pipe dream. Montana is a beautiful state full of warm and wonderful people. But the scenery and warmth of its people will not pay the bills or buy me a home.

Leigh Ann Phillips

757 South California

Spirit of Service

The Spirit of Service project in Helena is yet another example of this fine community. This year my husband and I were the grateful recipients of assistance from the dedicated and hard working folks that participate in this program. Staff from Rocky Mountain Development Council, Anderson-Zurmuehlen, and other generous employers in the Helena area participate by agreeing to have staff contribute their efforts while being paid as if they had reported for a regular day at work. Many hours of much needed house maintenance and yard work was accomplished at our home by three energetic and skilled women.

When I was younger I pondered what constitutes community — I was very drawn to the idea but wasn't sure I had closely experienced the reality. Now, Charles and I know in our hearts and minds that REAL community is right here in this wonderful town. So many Helena people have faced health crises and Helenans spontaneously rose to the occasion, gathered around people who faced major traumatic change in their lives and lifestyes, and gave of their time, resources, financial support, prayers and love.

Our sincerest thanks to our dear community.

Kathy van Hook

517 Waukesha

No new taxes?

Recently, Gov. Schweitzer has stated that a new licensing fee is not a tax.

"Schweitzer, who has pledged not to support any tax hikes, countered that the $5 is a fee, not a tax because it applies only to people who drive cars on the highway," said Sarah Elliott, Schweitzer's spokeswoman.

What a delightful approach to smoke and mirrors! Guess we can have our property taxes raised next … only a "fee" for those who choose to own property in Montana, or our income tax … another "fee" for choosing to work in Montana. The possibilities are endless. No wonder he couldn't carry his own county. Those who know him or have mutual acquaintances know that Brian's word is only what's convenient for Brian.

When George Bush Sr. said no new taxes (fees?) the American public took him to task. I sincerely hope that in four years the people of Montana send this "fee and spend liberal" back whence he came.

Rob Myers

101 Travis Creek

Clancy

Medical pot

The recent Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana is telling in more ways than one. They have admitted that they (the federal government) have no real authority over INTRAstate commerce, but that in this situation they "feel" that even if the states who have passed medical marijuana legislation did it correctly the marijuana "could" end up being sent across state lines thereby creating INTERstate commerce which Congress can "regulate." So we are back again to punishing people for a crime that "could" be committed. The answer, all states must pass medical marijuana legislation NOW. Another answer would be to remove all of the old cronies from Congress who feel that having an erection, whether or not you are a convicted sex offender, is a "constitutional right" that you should PAY FOR with your tax dollars through MEDICAID. Of course we could just remember that "regulate" means regulate and not BAN. It would make a fine episode for "Numbers" since it is all about the "money." It always has been.

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Lyle Myhr Jr

4960 Silver Creek Road

‘Lawn order' health threat

Spring is my favorite time of year, when life itself reaffirms that life is a continuous process. Unfortunately, this is also the time when my fellow citizens start spraying pesticides, herbicides, and petro-chemical fertilizers on their lawns. Much to my dismay, even the state Capitol had a sign on the lawn this past week that pesticide and herbicide had been sprayed and advised us not to walk on it. These chemicals find their way into our water and the food chain. Some of us are already hyper-sensitive to the chemicals that are seemingly everywhere. It is suspected that many of these chemicals cause cancers of the reproductive system in men and women, because they mimic hormones in the body. Most of us know this, but continue using these chemicals anyway. Apparently, we prefer cancer to dandelions and ants. We must have "lawn order" at all costs. Think about it.

Lemuel Pitkin

P.O. Box 1803

Medicine's cost

At the present time, there are 45 million Americans with no health insurance. Currently, 20 percent of Montanans are uninsured. These Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world, without access to lower negotiated drug prices. A great number of Montanans do not fill their prescriptions because they can't afford the excessively high prices.

Importation of drugs from Canada and other countries can provide access to lower priced drugs, even though this is not the sole solution to continual rising drug prices.

NOW is the time to enact prescription drug importation legislation. AARP is endorsing the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2005, sponsored by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. It is imperative that this legislation pass very soon! Drug importation is a realistic way of gaining access to affordable medications for the thousands of Montanans without drug coverage — and those with limited coverage.

Congress must be influenced to pass this legislation. Call or your congressmen and let them know that many Montanans need this legislation now.

Call Sen. Max Baucus at 1-800-332-6106, Sen. Conrad Burns at 1-800-344-1513 and Rep. Denny Rehberg at 1-888-232-2626.

Charlotte Thomas

1703 Highland Street

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