Bitterroot Star Masthead
The Bitterroot Valley's only locally owned newspaper


Volume XIX, Number 37

Opinion/Editorial

Wednesday, April 7, 2004


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Guest Editorial


Honor our past, ensure our future

By Ed Sperry, Montana American Legion

The long overdue World War II Memorial is nearly complete. We are at war again. Our free society is again in peril. The words of President Franklin Roosevelt are worth remembering. The following is his letter to our expeditionary forces. It was in the 'belongings' of a departed family member who fought in North Africa in 1942.

"The White House, Washington
To Members of the United States Army Expeditionary Forces:
You are soldiers of the United States Army.
You have embarked for distance places where the war is being fought.
Upon the outcome depends the freedom of your lives: the freedom of the lives of those you love your fellow-citizens your people.
Never were the enemies of freedom more tyrannical, more arrogant, more brutal.
Yours is a God-fearing, proud, courageous people, which, throughout its history, has put its freedom under God before all other purposes.
We who stay at home have our duties to perform duties owed in many parts to you. You will be supported by the whole force and power of this Nation. The victory you win will be a victory of all the people common to them all.
You bear with you the hope, the confidence, the gratitude and the prayers of your family, your fellow-citizens, and your President.
Franklin D. Roosevelt"

As events unfold in our present war on terror, let's heed these words from the past. Our adherence to President Roosevelt's message will be the key to how we ensure our future.






Letters to the Editor


Help prevent drunk driving fatalities

Hello, We're the parents of a 27-year-old son who died September 13 2003, after being served too much alcohol at a local bar.

For a lot of people, it's the 2 o'clock in the morning phone call that they most dread, because unfortunately it's usually bad news. For us it was a knock at the door, at 4 o'clock in the morning, from the coroner. He was there to tell us our son had died that morning in a head on collision due to over intoxication. He had over three times the legal amount of alcohol in his system.

After finding out the facts, it became apparent that our son died in part, due to a tavern. A tavern which kept serving him alcohol even after he was passing out on the bar. Then they sent him on his way, oblivious of what the consequences might be. Taking no responsibility for their actions.

We asked for a formal investigation. The Highway Patrol and the County Sheriff's office did investigate. Then with overwhelming evidence that our son was intoxicated when he entered the tavern and was served, our county attorney's office dropped the case. Unfortunately county attorneys will not pursue a case that cannot be won.

Thanks to the vague and unenforceable Dram Shop Act, it appears that tavern owners all over our state cannot be stopped or prosecuted. They continue to serve alcohol to the obviously over intoxicated person, then send them out on our highways to kill themselves or innocent others.

We are asking for your help to revise the Dram Shop Act. Please. lt's time for bartenders and tavern owners to be made accountable for their actions. lt's time to stop them from sending our loved ones out on the highways to die.

Montana is the number one state in the nation for drunk driving fatalities. No criminal case under the Dram Shop Act has ever been prosecuted. Not even one. It's almost impossible. Please, we're asking for your help to change this law. It's time for bartenders and tavern owners to start worrying more about the safety of our children and loved ones, than profits.

If you would like to help, please contact us at one of the following numbers or e-mail addresses. Please help make a change.
Dan & Hollie Newbauer
Home: (406) 388-3080
Cell: (406) 581-9279
E-mail: HOLLIENEWBAUER@MSN.COM
or Brock Albin, Attorney At Law; Office: (406) 522-8888; E-mail: albinlaw@justice.com.

We would appreciate help in any way possible for you. Whether it be just a letter to your local newspaper editor on your opinions on this matter or volunteer work with the legal staff who are helping us to try and change this law. As anyone knows, this process will be long and expensive. Brock Albin and his legal staff have donated their time up to this point, but other legal and knowledgeable experts are needed to change the Dram Shop Act. lf you would rather help with a monetary contribution, a Joseph Newbauer Fund has been established. This fund would go towards changing the law, modifying the practices of taverns and bartenders, increasing public awareness and public perception in this matter, but most of all it could help prevent another of those little white crosses you see up and down our highways from being put up. Each one of those crosses marks a spot where another one of our children or loved ones died. If you would like to contribute, send any donations, whether it be $1.00 or $1,000.00 to:

Brock Albin; c/o The Joseph Newbauer Fund; 103 8th Avenue South; Bozeman, Montana 59715.

Dan and Hollie Newbauer
Bozeman






More growth policy sabotage

Dear Editor,

Anti-growth policy lie monger, Suzy Foss of Hamilton, is the current designated hitter for the You're Taking My Property Rights Team in Ravalli County. They figure she's a good choice because she knows how to tell some whoppers. In her letter (Star, 3/17) she praises switch-pitcher-Commissioners Greg Chilcott and Betty Lund, and ticket scalper-growth policy-opponents Charles Wissenbach and David Merrick. Property rights are two-way streets.

There are no absolute rights. Nobody can take your property. But, if you and your junkyard dog use your property in ways that ruin the properties of your neighbors, you will likely be visited by a delegation of people wearing anything but smiles.

Suzy Foss says that, "Wissenbach and Merrick have it right when they try to warn our citizens of the rights they are literally giving away..." No, Suzy, citizens are not giving away anything. The growth policy is not "... a huge regulatory document which is going to keep the valley from growing." It is a guidebook covering many aspects of life in the Bitterroot.

It states our policies to protect our way of life from the curse of unplanned and unguided growth and development. There is no regulation in it. Suzy, your examples from Florida and California have nothing to do with our condition in Ravalli County, Montana. You are hitting fouls in the wrong ball park.

You say, "I worked on the growth policy or at least I tried to." You are right, there. I was there, too. In the early meetings, when the school district focus groups were being organized, and before the All Valley Focus Group was set up, you were highly critical of the process and the growth policy, and were persistently disruptive in the meetings. You attended, but did not volunteer as a member of the working group.

When your refer to "anti growth policy people" as having been labeled "Realtors... whose sole interest in all this was greed and dollars," you are not correct. But, you are getting warm! Commission Chair, Betty Lund, is a member of a Realtor family. She excused herself from a recent subdivision decision because of a perceived conflict of interest. (The Coldwell Banker sign was right on the lot.) I have written several times that Betty Lund has a "perceived conflict of interest." In one letter, I asked that she resign from the commission.

You do not praise Commissioner Alan Thompson. Is that because his signature is on the original Growth Policy document, which was approved and adopted without Betty Lund's signature, in December 2002?

Lund and Chilcott pretend that the growth policy was never adopted. They are trying to dismember it, illegally, without public hearings. They are also trying to get the County voters to justify their abolishing it, with a phony November 2004 straw vote, and a "Sunset Provision" which was unlawfully written into the adopted growth policy without a public hearing. Also, city residents are not supposed to vote on any decisive county growth policy matter. It's a silly state law, but it's the law.

Dick Martineau
Stevensville






Support for Bookbinder

Dear Editor,

We have a opportunity this November to choose new leadership in the County Commissioners Office. Alan Thompson's seat is up for reelection and Phyllis Bookbinder is running for that position. I have known Phyllis for several years and I plan to support her for County Commissioner.

The job of County Commissioner is very important and requires a leader with many qualities in order to do a good job. They need to be willing to listen to all the people in the valley and their concerns. They need to make reasonable judgments based on the facts, common sense, and have a solid plan for the future of our valley. They need to be concerned about the Bitterroot Valley and also have the foresight to see what needs to be done now to keep it a livable, viable community in the future. They should be well educated so they can read documents, legal papers, budgets and plans, and interpret the information and make informed decisions. They also have to be willing to make the tough decisions that are the best choice, when all things are considered. Once the decision is made they have a public obligation to answer questions pertaining to their decision and be able to explain their reasons.

Phyllis Bookbinder can do all these things. She is the Democratic candidate for County Commissioner. Phyllis is a Therapist and Executive Coach. She works well with all types of people. She is an excellent listener and problem solver. She is an honest, successful business woman. She advocates smart growth, business development and planning for the future, while protecting our natural resources.

Phyllis is college educated, has a business background and is very active with civic issues. She has good judgment and is able to make sound decisions. Vote for Phyllis Bookbinder for County Commissioner.

Candi Jerke
Florence






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