Sunday, May 22, 2022

Letters: Enough with the siren

| November 18, 2021 12:15 AM

Enough with the siren

I am addressing my efforts to have the use of the Ronan Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD) air raid siren discontinued. I have been very clear to Ronan officials that I am not anti-RVFD. I have been on two volunteer departments myself and greatly appreciate and understand the need.

The issue is the unnecessary use of the 1940s air raid/civil defense siren that blares at 130 decibels for over a minute long. There is an apartment building less than 30 feet away from it, as well as many other residences and businesses. The siren repeatedly goes off all hours of the day and night. Often the RVFD does not respond to the siren because the call outs are cancelled but the siren blares.

I tried meeting with the city officials and fire chief to see if fundraisers or support was needed for the RVFD to help get lacking technology to be able to stop using the siren as other departments across the U.S. have done. It was discovered the RVFD already has all the technology that makes the siren use unnecessary. A Ronan city official told me, “You might as well give up now. No matter what you say or do, we’re not going to stop that siren.”

She said the reason why was because I “was not born and raised here” and had no right to try and change how things are done. She then warned me that because I dared complain, city officials had gathered “quite a bit of literature on me.”

I grew up in a military family, so I moved a lot and no one controls where they were born. Trying to gather “dirt” on people voicing issues? Not ok.

— Heather Reeves, Ronan

Questions regarding water-use letter

On Friday Oct. 15, I received a letter from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation titled "Notice of 180-day Registration Period for Unrecorded Existing State-based Water Uses within the Flathead Indian Reservation." The letter was dated Oct. 11, 2021. It was addressed to "Affected residents of the Flathead Indian Reservation."

I "reside" on private fee property in Lake County, a political subdivision of the state of Montana, within the exterior boundaries of what is called the "Flathead Indian Reservation." I am subject to state laws and taxes. The Flathead Indian Reservation is not a political subdivision of Montana per Article I of the Montana Constitution and the 1889 Enabling Act, which state: "All lands owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes shall remain under the absolute jurisdiction of the Congress of the United States ..."

By application of the Flathead Allotment Act of 1904, stemming from Art. VI of the Hellgate Treaty and reaffirmed by Sec. 3 of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the fee property which I own and reside on was "withdrawn" from "reservation" status; it is not "owned or held by an Indian or Indian tribes" and is not "under the absolute jurisdiction of the Congress ..." I am therefore a "resident" of Lake County and the state of Montana. I cannot comprehend, in any legal context, that I am a "resident" of the Flathead Indian Reservation.

The DNRC indicates in the letter that it "will not process the registration forms" which are submitted by "affected residents of the Flathead Indian Reservation." Rather, the forms "will be transmitted to the Board for processing once it is operational." This "Board," the Flathead Reservation Water Management Board, assumes to be created with the appointment of its members by the Governor of Montana and by the Tribal Council of the CSKT, with those appointees picking another member. In context, the premise of this board and the letter is that the tribal government has equal political status and jurisdiction with the state government for purposes of administration of water rights for "affected" water users who are residents, citizens and taxpayers of Lake County and the state of Montana. This removes these "affected residents" from the Article IX water rights administration afforded all other residents of the state, clearly diminishing their representation and equal protection rights secured by the Montana Constitution.

To Gov. Gianforte and Lt. Gov. Juras: Does this DNRC letter represent your administration accurately? If so, please explain why you support this diminishment of representation and violation of equal protection for certain taxpaying Montana citizens and why these citizens are not entitled to the same benefits and protections of the Montana Constitution as other citizens across the state.

— Rick Jore, Ronan