Letters to the Editor

Be a part of future skate park Dear Editor, 2017 is turning out to be an exciting year for Lewistown. There are so many wonderful projects in the works that will benefit the community as a whole. One of these projects is Big Spring Skate Park that will be located in Symmes Park. The organization behind this project, Make it Happen, is comprised of a small group of local young adults trying to bring something fun and unique to our community. They dedicated many hours of hard work to get the project to this point. They received a commitment from Jeff Ament (bass player of the band Pearl Jam) and their Vitalogy Foundation called Montana Pool Service to match, dollar for dollar, any money raised by June 1. With the Montana Pool Service funds, the group is half way to having the project funded. With your help, it could be built by the end of summer 2017. I challenge you to pull out your checkbook and support this great addition to our community. The committee’s goal is to raise $100,000 from community members. All it takes is 100 people to give $1,000 or 1,000 people to donate $100 to make it happen. As stated above, the money you give now through June 1 will be matched. Checks need to be written and mailed to the Central Montana Foundation at 224 Main Street, Lewistown with MIP/Skatepark written in the memo. I hope you will be part of making it happen by donating to this project, as Rod and I are doing. June 1 is not far away, the committee is small and you can make a difference by sending the check today. Thank you to everyone that steps forward and helps. Kathie and Rod Bailey Lewistown Interstate insurance sales – the answer or fraud? Dear Editor, Selling insurance across state lines: the answer or a nightmare fraught with fraud? Many in our current administration are touting capacity to sell insurance with unfettered access across state lines as one of the answers to lowering health care costs. If a policy is approved for sale in any state, it would then be available in all states. The risks of this irresponsible move would result in placing individuals in a position where they would be responsible for the investigation and decisions as to the actuarial soundness of companies. (This task is currently handled by experienced professionals in state insurance departments.) Potentially, a department in some other state would then set the terms and conditions pertaining to renewability of a policy or the ratio of cash to liabilities which a company is required to maintain. Rules governing the licensing requirements and what agents are obligated to tell you would be made in another state that may not have your best interest as its main concern. Local insurance agents and companies would follow the Montana laws, while “out-of-staters” would follow their regulations. It would be like driving on a highway where each driver followed the laws of the state they were licensed in, no matter what the posted laws were. If that isn’t dangerous enough, imagine our law enforcement monitoring only the drivers from their state while drivers from other state sped on by. If you were in an accident or health claim, which rules of liability would be used -- Montana, California or Mississippi? If the driver or company with liability didn’t pay, would you now have to go to that state’s insurance department, or to court, to contest or enforce a claim? We have state laws for a reason. We feel certain standards and actions must be met before companies and agents may do business in our state. Companies can sell across state lines now. The only requirement is that they adhere to our norms. If you still think unfettered access across state lines is a good thing, I can get you a good deal on your neighbor’s house (way below book). We can use the laws of a state with a less restrictive view on proof of ownership and other pesky restrictions the citizens of Montana deem relevant. Let’s face it: some things are too important to have anyone but Montana regulate. Dean Martin Lewistown Justice delayed is justice denied Dear Editor, In 1972 the State of Montana got a new Constitution. Included was “Article IX, Section 3. Water rights. (1) All existing rights to the use of any waters for any useful and beneficial purpose are hereby recognized and confirmed.” During the next eight years, the Water Court was formed, and rules and laws were established to work under the Montana Supreme Court, to establish a procedure and a process to determine what these rights were, and to establish an order for “first in time is first in right.” The Montana Supreme Court ordered that all water users must file a claim, and a closing time for that was set, I believe, for about 1982. The water court then started processing these claims, organized by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, as required by the constitution. For each water basin all of the water rights are published, and a time is given for all who wish to file objections to any of those claims. After the time for objections is closed, all objections are resolved under the supervision of an officer of the water court. This then results in a decree being published by the water court, containing the corrected water rights for that basin. Many of the basins are on the way to being completed, but 76L and 76LJ that comprise most of the Flathead Indian Reservation have not been started. In conversations with DNRC staff people recently, I found that they hope to start in the next year. This is about 35 years after the deadline for filing claims. There is a saying that justice delayed is justice denied. I think it is a terrible thing our citizens cannot have their water rights settled as the constitution demands. I do not understand how the Montana Supreme Court can ignore the Constitution. Jim Paugh Coffee Creek

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