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 By Pam Burke    Opinion    June 23, 2017 

View from the North 40: Just another soul-sucking adventure

A modern expression warns that “a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into.” I like that and the format applies to many of our specialty splurges. A monster truck is a hole in the mud you throw money into. See what I did there? A...

 

State government and aviation public safety

In the last few months there have been several emotional editorials concerning the Montana State Lighted Airway Beacon System. Unfortunately, the reality of the facts seems to have gotten lost in the emotional clutter. I am sure that almost...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 22, 2017

Looking out my Backdoor: I think I'll write a self-help book

Well, why not? Back in the day, I devoured self-help books. Back in the early 1980s when my life was shattered like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces, in an attempt to put myself back together, I...

 

AHCA is unfair and unaffordable

Recently, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act.  This bill would give billions to big drug and insurance companies while dramatically increasing costs for Montanans over age 50 and those with pre-existing conditions....

 

Libraries are an essential service

As the Board of the Montana Library Association, it is our responsibility to open a dialogue about the 2017 executive and legislative cuts to state agencies including the Montana State Library. We must also speak out about House Bill 261 reductions...

 

SNAP is crucial in fight against hunger

In our work with the Montana Food Bank Network, we have the privilege of working with nearly 150 food pantries and other partner agencies throughout the state. We see firsthand the important role that donated food plays in keeping tens of thousands...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    June 16, 2017

How the Bright Knight saved LA

Once upon a time, when I was young, which was in an era far far away, I wanted to live anywhere except in a little no-account town in Montana where nothing happened, so when I had the chance to live and work in the Los Angeles area for a summer I...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    June 9, 2017

View from the North 40: Oh, Canada, you know how to woo me

Canada has officially become my first alternate for home country. Sure, Montana will always be the country that calls to my soul, but there’s a push in Canada to “update” their laws by making it not illegal to get in a duel with someone. In...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 8, 2017

Looking out my back door: Human nature being what it is …

I hate physical therapy. Writing with a computer means you’ll give me no sympathy. If we were talking face-to-face, I’d be able to mumble, “It’s my own fault. I quit too soon. It’s been...

 

The future of Montana agriculture

June 1, Great Falls was the center of our nation’s agriculture conversation as I hosted the Montana Ag Summit, a conversation about the future of jobs in our state’s number one economic driver: Agriculture. We had two of the nation’s top...

 

Time will tell with Gianforte

Greg Gianforte eventually apologized to the reporter he manhandled on election night. For some the apology was late and inadequate. For others Gianforte shouldn’t have apologized to the “liberal” reporter at all. Such is the divided nature of...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    June 2, 2017

View from the North 40: When life give you hazards ...

So I lived beyond the summer cold, with some lingering signs, but life just keeps throwing it at me like I’m a fan, and I’m really thinking I should have something like worker’s compensation, but I wouldn’t have to work for it, just live for...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 1, 2017

Looking out my Backdoor: Getting in touch with my inner farmer

Two weeks ago I had declared, “New window glass all around; new patio roof; I love it all. These are my final projects. My home is complete. My garden is full and lush. No more projects!” This...

 

Road safety benefits us all

Road safety is something that benefits us all and should not be a polarizing political issue. Period. During this recent legislative session road safety, specifically a bicycle safe passing law that died in the Senate, became politically divisive....

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    May 26, 2017

View from the North 40: I'm sick of my uninvited guest

Dear Summer Cold, I hate to be rude, but I see why nobody likes you. I realize it was unrealistic of me to think you would just go away that first day. But, seriously, all you did was sneak in and annoy my tonsils until they became angry and red. You...

 

65th Legislature: A landmark session for addressing sexual assault and domestic violence

Every 23 hours, a person is raped in Montana. Last year, over 800 sexual assaults and 4,000 domestic violence crimes were reported statewide. However, this accounts for only a fraction of the total number of crimes that actually occur, as most go...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 25, 2017

Looking out my Backdoor: Days of Our Lives: Updated episode

Tell me, what is all the foo-foo-rah over being fit and healthy? I have friends who abstained from meat (?Not eat meat?), ran marathons, contorted themselves into pretzels with an hour of daily yoga,...

 

New Congressional health care plan - A devastating blow to Montana's public schools and students

Today, as every day, teachers called the names of more than 140,000 students, as they took attendance in Montana’s 821 public schools. For the thousands of children who file into our classrooms, school is more than a place to learn. In-school...

 

Gianforte offers new hope for Montana reservations

Montana is on the verge of a moment when our state can unite. It’s a chance for Montanans, including Native Americans and non-Indians alike, as well as Montanans of different backgrounds, to come together to make a change for the better. Greg...

 
 By Pam Burke    Opinion    May 19, 2017

View from the North 40: Free tickets to the funhouse

Visiting family is like looking at yourself in a funhouse mirror. You know you are seeing yourself reflected back, but everything is skewed, cockeyed and out of proportion. Some of the reflections scare you, but some make you laugh out loud. Half my...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 19, 2017

Looking out my Backdoor: Four women on the loose in Guadalajara

I didn’t want to go. I was still recovering from burning the soles of my feet on the hot sands of Mazatlan. The plan was for Lani, Kathy, Crin and me to go to Tonola for the tianguis, the huge...

 

What's at stake for public lands in this special election

Public lands have become a major issue in this campaign, and for good reason. Whomever Montanans elects as their next congressman, he will have the opportunity to vote on congressional budgets that will have an enormous impact on our public lands....

 

U.S. House members were reckless with health care vote

As a 28-year registered nurse, I can tell you that I have been intimately involved in the outcomes of people’s lives. Their physical, mental and spiritual health is a tremendous responsibility that deserves thoughtful attention, knowledge and...

 

Mountain bikers seek to gut Wilderness Act

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., recently introduced a bill in Congress at the behest of a group of mountain biking proponents that would eviscerate the 1964 Wilderness Act and allow bicycles in every wilderness in the nation. The bill, House...

 

Habitat Montana restored through teamwork

Thirty years ago, the Montana Legislature passed a bill to establish a one-of-a-kind program to conserve Montana’s best wildlife habitat. Habitat Montana, as it is known, has done just that. With over 600,000 acres of conservation easements and...

 

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