Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Thanks to the people of Park County for love and support


I apologize for taking so long for these thank you’s. This summer we saw the worst and best of life. Our captain and friend lost his wife and son on the Yellowstone. Your Sheriff’s Office including the search and rescue volunteers were incredible! I was able to meet Sgt. Brad Bichler for the first time while he was incident commander.

Brad’s leadership and compassion was impressive and he will be an excellent sheriff for you in my opinion. Congratulations to Sheriff Hamilton on a well-earned retirement. Scott is a great man and a good friend. I wish he and Lori happiness post circus life!?

Finally, I want to thank the Park County people for their love and support during our heartbreaking situation. Your response is everything that’s right with our state and why we are blessed to live here. God bless.

Brian Gootkin

Gallatin County Sheriff


Park County does not need a billboard cop


The zoning proposal currently being evaluated by the Park County Commission clearly has a hidden agenda. I would encourage the citizens to carefully read the document located on the county website. There are three statements in Section II, PURPOSE.

Billboards are not even mentioned in any of the statements that define the purpose of the document.

What is written is the following: “To create a tool that will allow the County to respond to and address evolving land use issues while recognizing and maintaining the value of Park County’s unique natural amenities as outlined by Objectives 16.3 and 17.2 of the Park County Growth Policy.”

The tool that the document refers to is zoning. It gets worse in the Applicability section.

“Where the provisions of this District impose a greater restriction on land, buildings, or structures than is imposed or required by such existing provisions of law, ordinance, resolution, contract, or deed, the provisions of this District shall control.”

I attended the candidate forum and heard Commissioner Steve Caldwell ridicule citizens for taking the time and effort to testify at the commission hearing. Mr. Caldwell’s comments were totally inappropriate for an elected official. For your information, Mr. Caldwell, written words are recorded and become law, not your inappropriate and inaccurate comments.

The state of Montana has the responsibility by statute to regulate all signs within sight of the highway system.

We do not need a county billboard cop.

Marty Malone



Thank you, Alan Redfield, for your help in Cooke City


I would like to personally thank Montana Rep. Alan Redfield for his help in our little, remote, sometimes forgotten but important community of Cooke City. Being a gateway community for Yellowstone National Park creates many challenges that are amplified by our lack of a city government. We have no police force, no mayor, no single government agency that speaks for our community, so when Rep. Redfield secured us radar speed control signs last year, we felt heard.

Being an entrance and exit to the national park and the Beartooth Highway brings hundreds of thousands of vehicles through our community, sometimes at ridiculous speeds. It is not uncommon to see business owners run out of their business to scream at speeders.

Radar signs do work and we noticed immediately that traffic was slowing down.

We lost the signs to a different community this year, I am sure it was meant to be fair in order to share the limited assets available in our state, but it left us with speeding vehicles again with no police force to help.

Rep. Redfield tried numerous avenues with numerous agencies to get us some form of speed control to no avail this year. Thank you for your effort.

The good news is that, after four years, with the help of the Park Community Foundation, Flathead Roundup For Safety, Colter Pass-Cooke City-Silver Gate Chamber and a couple of generous business owners, we were able to buy four radar signs that we will put up in the spring.

So when you visit our community in the future and are reminded to go 25 mph, remember, everyone working together found the solution.

Victor Sandonato

Yellowstone Trading Post

Cooke City


Why is Donald Trump so interested in Montana?


It’s a sad situation when the leaders and their families travel from state to state to endorse individuals who lack talent or knowledge to compete for an office that they clearly are not qualified for. They have no morals and have severe character flaws, so these leaders (dictators) have to speak for them so they can keep their ill-gotten power.

Right now, we have Jon Tester who has served the people of Montana successfully for 12 years. He has represented veterans, farmers and ranchers, the elderly and people who are medically needy. Jon has also defended public education.

It irritates me that the government that is supposed to represent the people of this nation is spending our tax dollars on their journey of destroying our country, by their greed. Instead of wasting our hard-earned tax dollars on flying from state to state and going to excursions of their interests, it could be used to rebuild and save states where there are natural disasters, (fire and flood), that need to be addressed and fixed.

That’s another reason I respect Jon Tester, he has standards and good judgement.

Why does Trump want to control Montana and the people? What is his agenda and the rich 1 percent he represents? The first thought that comes to mind is the land and the treasures it holds, the coal, minerals and the gasses. Also the living commodities; lumber, crops, livestock and the wildlife.

Yes, by mining it would produce jobs, but once it’s mined, it’s gone, never to be replaced, the materials are gone, the jobs are gone, the air, land and water are polluted and cannot sustain life.

The rich are richer and their bank accounts are fed by their greed and the lifeblood of us Montanans. Jon Tester is a man of integrity, he stands by his morals and beliefs, he represents the people of Montana in the way I have raised my children to be; truthful and to stand up to bullys and to the injustice that others want to inflict upon themselves and others.

Jon Tester stands for the working people, not self entitled greedy individuals who keep their money by taking from others. The main reason that Trump and company have an interest in Montana will destroy Montana for generations to come, perhaps forever.

So, people do some research. Most everyone has a smart phone. Google the questions you want answered. By putting incompetent and greedy people in power it will destroy the future of our children and the structure of our nation.

Chris Betts



Join us in celebrating the Park County Senior Center


Lately, the Senior Center in Livingston has been in the news because of its recent financial problems in paying for a new roof and solar panels. It is now time for us to have some fun and celebrate the beautiful fall season. Seniors as well as all ages love parties. On Wednesday, October 31, the Senior Center will have a Halloween Party for all ages at high noon at the Senior Center. Costumes will give us the opportunity to be a new person for a few hours. Please bring a recycled gift to share. Prizes will be awarded for the best costume. A Halloween lunch will be available to purchase. Come and join us, young, middle-age and old to celebrate a new day and say thank you to our Senior Center which is now 50 years old. The friendly spirits await your arrival.

Nancy Adkins



A closer look at policies impacting Park Electric Co-op members


In recent months I’ve learned that Park Electric’s member participation and renewable energy policies could be vastly improved. Since existing practices came as such a surprise to me, I’ve been engaged with Northern Plains call to action for Co-op members. The points are as follows, as I think it’s important the broader membership is aware.

Net metering: For those not familiar, this allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power (or other renewable energy sources i.e. wind) to send electricity they don’t use back into the grid.Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.

Net metering rates are capped and the standard for Montana cooperatives is 25W. Park County’s is 15W. Why? It should at least be at the state standard so we’re not at a disadvantage. We’re asking the rate be increased to 25W.

What I was also surprised to learn is that Co-op members who have solar panels and are selling back to the grid are charged a base rate fee of $9. Why? Those who choose to generate some of their own power should not be unfairly targeted for that decision. We’re asking the fee be removed.

The third practices I was discouraged to learn about is Coop voting. At present members can only vote if they attend the annual meeting in person. This year’s meeting begins at noon on Oct. 26. A time in the middle of the day, in the middle of the work week, that is unrealistic for most to attend. We’re asking to make voting by mail for member-owners possible.

If you’d like to see these changes implemented go online to the Northern Plains website and sign the call to action for a brighter future here:

Let’s engage as Co-op members and seize the many opportunities of renewable energy and widespread voter engagement.

Lara Birkes

Paradise Valley


Join me in voting for Alan Redfield and John Esp


Sweet Grass and Park Counties have two highly qualified and experienced people running for public office: John Esp in Senate District 30 and Alan Redfield in House District 59. Both men know the issues on production agriculture, health care, public access and the need to be fiscally responsible. They are honest, sincere, fair and will listen to your concerns to come up with a common sense solution, while treating you with respect.

On November 6, I urge you to vote for two common sense Montana natives: John for Senate District 30 and Alan for House District 59. Your choice matters, please vote on November 6.

Kevin Halverson, president

Montana Wool Growers Association

Big Timber


Follow the money to see who supports candidates for office


Republican John Esp is running for Montana senator in Senate District 30. We recently had another grizzly bear mauling in the Gardiner Basin buffer zone. This one was in Beattie Gulch. Earlier this year the United States Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the grizzly bear. They held that the grizzly had recovered in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Wyoming and Idaho instituted grizzly bear hunts in their states. However, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, led by John Esp’s opponent, succumbed to pressure and failed to stand with Wyoming, Idaho and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Liberal environmentalists and green decoy groups shopped for and found a Missoula judge who stopped the hunt.

In 2015, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists proposed raising the wolf hunt quota in the Gardiner Basin buffer zone from two up to six. The FWP biologist’s sound proposal to harvest four more wolves in the area was shot down by the Fish & Wildlife Commission, chaired by John Esp’s opponent. Why is the five-man commission appointed by Montana’s Democrat governor so predator-friendly in the Yellowstone Park buffer zone?

Just follow the money. Montana has a Campaign Electronic Donation Reporting System. You can see who is donating to candidates running for state-wide offices. It’s an eye opener. Go to Select a House or Senate District and read the financial reports. It’s public information.

In Senate District 30 it pencils out that John Esp’s opponent has reported $54,548 in campaign donations. Donors with addresses in SD-30 gave $18,613.

Those with addresses outside SD-30 donated $35,435 with $12,325 of that coming from out of state addresses. John Esp reports donations of $20,640 with only $470 coming from out of state addresses.

Republican John Esp is running for Montana State Senator in SD-30. John can use more support from those of us who actually live in Park and Sweet Grass Counties.

Vote for John Esp to be your Montana State Senator.

Edwin Johnson



A vote for a Livingston Democrat is a vote for ... Nothing


I received a flyer Saturday from The Center for American Progress, a John Podesta and George Soros-funded Political non-profit out of Columbus, Ohio, supporting Kathleen Williams for Congress.

Headline “We need more Dog Lovers in Congress.” Her dog Daisy is just lovely, but on her website, she is pictured “hunting” with another dog, a black lab. Hmmm. What is wrong with this picture. Obviously someone is not being truthful about their support of hunting and gun rights for Montanans, or they were hoping we would not notice. The Williams campaign has nothing to run on as well as our own local Democrats in Livingston running for office. Trust funder Dan Vermillion has a love of fly-fishing and a free pass to a cushy appointment by Gov. Steve Bullock, maybe via a very large donation because he has more money than God and absolutely no experience in the public or private sector at anything resembling a real job in his entire life. Now, he is using his vast wealth to buy the hearts and minds of unsuspecting voters. Then there is Laurie Bishop for her love of, well who knows? Because Bishop has done nothing for suicide prevention in this town. The only people dealing with teen suicide is “Rise Up” in downtown Livingston who’s suicide prevention program and crisis center provides 24/7 direct support and early intervention to our middle and high school students who are identified through our local school administration, staff, youth probation and/or other collaborating agencies as at risk for suicide, substance abuse, non-suicidal self-injury and other underlying risky behaviors.

Their suicide prevention coordinator provides ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) and SOS (Signs of Suicide) classroom lessons to all 6th to 12th grade students within the school district as well as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training to all district staff members.

Job well done Bishop, you had better come up with something else to run on, because the private sector has taken care of this issue without your help.

For you all out there that are on the fence, even though you may hate Donald Trump, the man, you had better think again about all that the Republicans have done to improve your 401Ks, stocks, the economy, reduction of those on food stamps, increase in jobs, less on unemployment, healthcare tax, trade for farmers and natural resource management and the list goes on.

A vote for Democrat is a vote for, well nothing I guess, because I cannot for the life of me figure out what they are running on beside hate and personal destruction.

Not very constructive.

Lori Richards



Bichler ranks in the top percentile of all the law enforcement officers


It is with great enthusiasm that I submit this letter of recommendation on behalf of Brad Bichler who is running for Park County Sheriff. I have known him personally and professionally for over 20 years and strongly believe him to be an accomplished and excellent candidate for Park County Sheriff.

As a retired federal law enforcement officer with over 40 years of experience I have observed and tracked Brad’s development and progression into to a fine mature law enforcement professional. I am writing this endorsement for Brad for the second time in his career.

In 2004, I first wrote a letter to the sheriff of Saint John’s County, Florida, in which I introduced and recommended Brad at the start of his law enforcement journey. Knowing Brad’s parents and siblings, it is clear to me he has strong family values, ethics, honesty and desire to pursue a successful career in law enforcement.

Please accept this recommendation as my endorsement of Brad Bichler, whom I personally consider to be in the highest regard as a professional, diligent, conscientious public servant who works well with others to serve the people he represents.

I have had the opportunity to see and work with many talented United States and international law enforcement professionals worldwide. Rarely do I have an opportunity to get to know or follow the careers of persons as talented as Brad Bichler.

From my conversations with Brad on a personal level I have found him to be gracious and of high moral standards, a loving husband and exceptional role model and father figure to his three sons.

He is committed and dedicated to his family, proving to me that when he makes a commitment he believes in, he will carry it through serving his family and protecting the good citizens of Park County.

I have maintained contact and communication with him through the years and marveled at his ambition to further pursue his educational and professional goals. He takes a distinctively proactive approach in enhancing his law enforcement career and I fully expect to see him in the future as Park County Sheriff. He is fully prepared to assume greater responsibilities.

His talents do not end there, Brad Bichler is also a person of tremendous energy, maturity and interpersonal skills which he has demonstrated many times over the years. In my opinion, he ranks in the top percentile of all the law enforcement officers and professionals I have had the pleasure of working with during my career. I highly recommend him with no reservations.

Grant T. McIntosh Jr.

Retired Special Agent, U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative

Service. (NCIS)

St. Johns, Florida