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Articles written by Bill Thackeray

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  • Community Focus: A great educational leader

    Bill Thackeray|Updated Sep 15, 2014

    I was very pleased with your recent front-page article describing the changes that have taken place at Hays-Lodge Pole School under the supervision of a new school board and a highly qualified new school superintendent, Margaret Campbell. As your article noted, the large grant the school received and innovations made at the school were greeted by a visit from Denise Juneau, the excellently qualified Montana superintendent of public instruction. Particularly, I appreciated the remarks made by Campbell and her description of... Full story

  • 'Winter in the Blood' celebrates Montana's Hi-Line

    Bill Thackeray|Updated Feb 6, 2014

    The one thing that the producer/directors of the new film "Winter in the Blood" capture in a remarkable way is the stunningly spectacular scenery of the mountains, plains and riverbottoms of north-central Montana. Alex and Andrew Smith, the movie-makers from Missoula who were inspired to make a movie of James Welch's first major novel, lay out the striking region of the Hi-Line in a way that has never been seen in film before. But not only is the natural scenery of the region captured very well in the film but also we get a... Full story

  • Free gift card letter is a fraud

    Bill Thackeray|Updated Oct 31, 2013

    Recently, a number of my friends and I received cards in the mail supposedly offering a “$100 gift savings card good at Wal-Mart or Target!” All that was needed was to call “toll-free” to 1-866-903-0947, supplying a claim number provided on the card. Calling the number, I was given the usual sales pitch, then told that I had to supply my credit card number and make a call charge before I could collect my $100 credit. Of course, I refused to supply my credit card number and its expiration date. Later on, contacting Walmart... Full story

  • A century-old look at our pristine northland

    Bill Thackeray|Updated Aug 29, 2013

    We have recently gone through a bitter conflict and unpleasant reactions to efforts to preserve native, beautifully pristine lands along the upper Milk River in north-central Montana. A century ago, our most famous historic figure in Montana made a statement that still holds remarkably true for such preserved and remarkable regions. Artist Charlie Russell observed the following: "Guard, protect and cherish your land, for there is no afterlife for a place that started out as Heaven." That observation applies to the badlands... Full story

  • Don't jump to conclusions with vice-chancellor

    Bill Thackeray|Updated Aug 27, 2013

    I was surprised at your article on the newly resigned vice-chancellor at Montana State University-Northern being criticized for raising the grade of a student at her former administrative position. After all, reviewing student grades and helping them with make-up assignments is often one of the central duties of administrators. And changing grades once the work is completed or corrected or made-up is often an administrator's responsibility. We would have to know many more of the details of the case involved to have any... Full story

  • The problem of the deficit in public retirement funds in Montana

    Bill Thackeray

    One of the big financial problems facing the currently meeting Montana Legislature in Helena and the newly elected Gov. Steve Bullock is the large shortage of funds in the Montana Public Retirement account. While covering current expenses with the help of previous legislation, the retirement account is still running short of the funs that it ultimately requires. Bill Thackeray It is not the payment of current retirement accounts in trouble. Rather it is the actuarial or investment value of assets to raise interest for the...

  • Here's the solution to Milk River Ranch controversy: Be neighborly

    Bill Thackeray

    It's puzzling to see why the north country farmers are so upset about the sale of the large ranch along the upper Milk River badlands region just south of the Canadian border. Was it the location of the land that is generally inaccessible to farming, or is it jealousy over the price the land brought? And beyond the strong negative reaction of the sale, does the closing of their lands to hunting as a means of retaliation make any reasonable sense? First, we have to wonder why the neighboring farmers aren't pleased that the... Full story

  • Montana charter schools not a smart option

    Bill Thackeray

    "Charter schools are smarter schools!" Thus goes the slogan in some of the many states where there are concerted campaigns by private charter school companies and operators to barge in on the public school system in those states. Is this slogan true? Or, as opponents of charter schools claim, do charter schools take advantage particularly of low-achieving and high-achieving students and their concerned parents, yet offer them a lesser quality education than is already available in the less-expensive public school system? Do...

  • Steve Bullock would maintain Montana's budget surplus

    Bill Thackeray

    Editor: The Montana Constitution provides for a two-term limit for governors of the state. Thus, Gov. Brian Schweitzer can't run again, so he has given his blessing to his protege, Steve Bullock, the present Montana attorney general. Bullock has only one opponent, in the June 5 primary, hence, he is regarded as a shoo-in for the nomination. The choice of a Republican opponent to run against Bullock is not so clear. There are presently seven candidates for the Republican governor's nomination in the primaries. Since Jeff... Full story

  • Rehberg unclear on health care reform

    Bill Thackeray

    Editor: So Rep. Denny Rehberg — Republican U.S. Senate candidate running against Big Sandy's Sen. Jon Tester — has had his public life made "more complicated than normally" in the extra effort he is taking to put the Obamacare health care plan into action. According to his local presentation, reported Friday ("Rehberg: Let's have a serious talk on health care," page 1), he is doing his best to put together the money and take care of "some unanswered questions" that must be cleared up so the bill will be most effective. Gee...

  • Taking another look at cell ban critics

    Bill Thackeray

    Editor: Now that the Havre City Council has decided to reconsider its restriction on drivers using cellphones while driving, I think we should look again at Ward 3 Councilman Rick Dow's column explaining his opposition to the cellphone ordinance (Opinion page, Feb. 2). Mr. Dow begins his column with an absurd example: an overworked driver going home warms his ears at a stop light and because his lips are shivering, a cop nearby stops him for cellphone use. A really silly, made-up example. First, it's unlikely that a...

  • The sales tax specter

    Bill Thackeray

    Editor: The ugly, horned specter of a general sales tax for Montana recently haunted a meeting of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce. According to a Havre Daily News report ("Tourism raises voice for support at Chamber," April 25, page 1), one of our Republican legislators from a Havre House of Representatives district made an impassioned plea for such a regressive tax. No one is documented as speaking up against it, although — if recognized and given a chance to speak — Sen. Greg Jergeson, who was present at the mee...

  • Sewer rates and religious beliefs: That's a non-sequitur

    Bill Thackeray

    Editor: Most of us have heard of the idea of a non-sequitur from science, history, writing, speech and political science classes well before middle school. But seldom do we see such a perfect example of this logical blunder as in Rick Dow's column on higher sewer rates in Monday's paper ("Combining church and state precipitates a higher sewer rate," page 4). As defined by Merriam-Webster's, a non-sequitur is "an inference that does not follow, ... a fallacy, ... a statement that does not follow logically from anything...

  • Bucy a refreshing choice for attorney general

    Bill Thackeray

    Editor: When Steve Bullock decided to run for governor, he had to pass up his opportunity to run for re-election as Montana state attorney general. Since there is no obvious successor to this state office, second in influence only to the governor's office, four lawyer candidates from around the state — two Democrats and two Republicans — are running for the nomination. Maybe, we should exempt one of these candidates because one Republican member of the Montana House of Representatives running for the job seems to be doi... Full story

  • Montana tea party has strayed from Republican ideals

    Letter to the Editor — Bill Thackeray

    Montana tea party has strayed from Republican ideals Editor: Nullification? Paramilitary armies? Has the tea party group in Helena gone completely crazy? When Thomas Jefferson first discussed the principle with James Madison, both Jefferson and particularly Madison made clear that the nullification they saw as a right of states was in the form of an advisory resolution. A state legislature could call attention to laws they deemed unconstitutional to challenge, not to defy those laws. It was John C. Calhoun, the infamous... Full story

  • Corrector presents malicious gossip, pictorial obscenities

    Letter to the Editor — Bill Thackeray

    Corrector presents malicious gossip, pictorial obscenities Editor: In our wonderful country with its governmental and cultural values that encourage debate and vigorous exchanges of opinion, the truth and best policies result from compromises among varying opinions. The means of reaching best solutions is a result of the free exchange of opinions and agreement on shared results as solutions. Opinions are our right as human beings and citizens, and exchange of opinions is an important means of arriving at sound solutions to...