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Letters to the Editor: Pantry resumes indoor shopping

| May 13, 2021 12:05 AM

Pantry resumes indoor shopping

We wish to thank all the greater Polson/Lake County community for their wonderful support of our pantry throughout the years but especially this past year of pandemic. You have been most generous to Polson Loaves and Fish Pantry, and that has enabled us to continue to provide much needed food to those in need.

We are pleased to announce the reopening of Polson Loaves and Fish Pantry for indoor shopping. Beginning June 1 we will be open at our regular shopping hours: 2 to 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Fridays, with the following conditions:

  • Everyone must wear a mask.

Monthly Shoppers:

  • Only one masked individual per family will be allowed inside.
  • Only four masked individuals will be allowed inside at one time. All others will need to queue outside. Please stay 4 feet apart.

Milk and Bread Room Shoppers:

  • Only two masked individuals will be allowed inside at one time.
  • Please take only what you need and leave some for others.

The volunteers of the pantry are as excited to get back to individual shopping, as are our customers. However, if these modifications are not followed, we may have to return to our drive-through format. Thank you for your help in ending this pandemic.

— Cynthia Hoelscher, board president, Polson Loaves and Fish Pantry

Support state’s outdoors

Guard Montana’s outdoors. Last November voters passed I-190 regarding recreational marijuana, which is estimated to provide $25 million annually to help fund hunting and fishing, trails, outdoor opportunities and other conservation projects.

Montanans love the outdoors. So do the thousands of visitors to the state. In 2019 tourism generated $3.7 billion dollars of revenue. Conservation of public lands and enhancing outdoor opportunities is a double win; it’s good for Montana citizens personally, and it’s good for businesses.

Several bills in the Legislature seek to strip away those funds from conservation projects even though that’s part of the reason many people voted for the initiative. Three bills have been tabled, but HB 701 is still active. Please contact your legislators (leg.mt.gov or 406-444-4800) to oppose HB 701. Express your support for our great outdoors and your support for the conservation funds approved by voters.

— Stephanie Brancati, Big Arm

Voters’ will ignored

Montanans approved the legalization of recreational marijuana (Ballot Initiative 190) in November, which proposed 49% of the tax revenue going to public lands. Thirty-seven percent would go to Habitat Montana, and 4% to each of parks, trails and nongame wildlife. The Legislature’s first three bills (HB 670, 683 and 707) dedicated nothing to conservation but were eventually voted down. The latest bill, HB 701, initially proposed 4% each to parks, trails and nongame wildlife and nothing for Habitat Montana. It has been amended to provide 20% to Habitat Montana but the funding will not begin for two years. Remaining taxes would go to the general fund or earmarked accounts.

HB 5, a long-range development funding bill is making its way through the Legislature. Funding for Habitat Montana, which is used for acquisitions, fee title, conservation easements and leases, would amount to about $11 million for the biennium. That would be for the whole state for two years, which is completely inadequate.

In the meantime, SB 182 is part of a package of special tax breaks for the wealthy, who could get over $1,000 while the rest of us will get less than $20. SB 182 could trigger deep tax cuts in the future, resulting in cuts to essential social safety net programs that Montana families rely on. And SB 399, carried by Sen. Greg Hertz, is a massive overhaul of our tax system that would increase taxes on 1 in 5 Montanans.

It appears the Republicans in this Legislature who deplore federal overreach seem totally content disregarding the will of the voters in their own state.

— Suz Rittenhouse, Polson

GOP election 'solutions' unneeded

The Montana secretary of state says “Montana sets the standard for elections across the country.” And evidence continues to show that our election system is secure. Claims of voter fraud have been proven false time and time again.

Yet the governor has signed into law four bills that will make voting in Montana more difficult. These bills include eliminating same-day voter registration, which has been in place since 2005. For college students, a second form of identification is required in addition to a photo identification, but a Montana concealed weapon permit qualifies without additional information. Polling place hours may be adjusted in certain districts, which may limit the ability of some to vote. Voter lists will be revisited annually rather than every other year, which has been the norm.

Growing up in Polson and attending Polson public schools, I learned how important it was to vote, and I recall accompanying my mother when she voted. So why then are our Lake County legislators — Sen. Greg Hertz, Sen. Dan Salomon, Rep. Linda Reksten and Rep. Joe Read — who are educators and business leaders, ignoring our education systems and supporting legislation that suppresses voting?

— Kathleen Farmer, Polson

Local Democrats alive and well

During this past legislative session, a group of enthusiastic Democratic women have written letters to the editor, guest columns, recorded radio spots and encouraged people to contact their legislators. We covered issues like voting rights, local government control, environmental issues, taxation, transgender and COVID relief bills. Our mission was to inform the public of the many bills that were being discussed and voted on in Helena. When people have accurate, truthful information they can make better decisions.

The Democratic Party is fighting for a better, fairer and brighter future for every American. By working together and speaking as one, we can move society forward, especially when we raise our voices for those among us with little money, influence or acceptance.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Democratic Party or just want to stay informed check out the Lake County Montana Democrats Facebook page. We will be updating this page and plan on a new website, as well as Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The Lake County Democrats are alive and well. We are rolling up our sleeves and organizing everywhere to build back better.

— Gerry Browning, Polson