MTPR

Opinion

Commentary from a variety of Montana citizens expressing a range of viewpoints.

Views expressed by the commentators do not necessarily reflect the views of this station.

Good evening, my name is Elisa Prescott and I am the Sustainability Coordinator for Lewis and Clark County in Helena.

Over the last few years, Lewis and Clark County has been working hard to encourage, promote, and support resource efficiency, energy conservation, and economic savings throughout our community.

As the second session of the 113th Congress develops, it is my great hope that Congress can leave its abysmal bill passage record in the past. In 2013, Congress signed just 58 bills into law, the lowest since bill tracking was initiated in the 1940’s. Much of the stalemate characterizing the last two congressional sessions has been blamed on bipartisan gridlock. It begs the question, why aren’t the widely supported bipartisan bills that are waiting in committee becoming law? Bills that are well rounded, effective, and supported by stakeholders are repeatedly dying in committee.

The Flight from Coal in U.S. Electricity Production

 

          In the late 1990s as the Montana Power Company exited the electric utility industry and headed for bankruptcy as a telecommunication company, Montana Power sold off all of its Montana electric generating facilities to Pennsylvania Power and Light. The utility that bought Montana Power’s electric and natural gas delivery system of pipes and wires, NorthWestern Energy, is now trying to buy back those Montana hydroelectric facilities.

Natural Hazards

Mar 21, 2014

Floods and avalanches are on Montanans’ minds right now.  That means it is also an appropriate time to take a step back and think about natural hazards more generally.  We are accustomed to thinking of these disasters as acts of God or bad luck, or otherwise entirely outside of our control.  However, if we look carefully at disasters worldwide, we see an important result: natural disasters are more often—though not always—human disasters, because the largest influences on the outcome are social and ethical considerations.  Let me give you an example: the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Fr

The Future of Aging

Mar 20, 2014

Good evening.  I’m Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services; the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli County.  Recently I attended the American Society on Aging’s (ASA) national conference, the largest one related to aging in the country. For 60 years ASA has studied the issues and opportunities surrounding our nation as we age. Tonight I will share some of the exciting conference highlights.  

Rewarding the Profession: Melding the Art with the Science

Healthy Montana Initiative

Mar 18, 2014

All over Montana this week, people were peering outside and breathing a sigh of relief.  The sun is out, the temperature is above freezing, the snow is melting.  Early signs of spring are appearing.   Many of us are beginning to think ahead to spring and summer – the hiking and camping, rafting and floating, road trips and barbeques.  But for some Montanans, while the weather is improving, they are still living day-to-day without access to healthcare.

A True Montana Melodrama

Mar 17, 2014

A True Montana Melodrama

A Montana Public Radio Commentary by Evan Barrett

March 13, 2014

Much has been said about the appointment of John Walsh to the US Senate including comparisons to Montana’s earlier Senate appointments.

It’s interesting to look at the actual historical facts of the earlier situations.

Civil Justice System - Protecting All Citizens, Even Hypocrites

Buying Back the Dams: An Important Billion Dollar Decision for Montana

 

          When NorthWestern Energy announced last year that it had entered into an agreement to buy back the hydroelectric facilities that the Montana Power Company once owned, most Montana’s probably smiled a little , thinking that a serious public policy mistake of the 1990s was about to be corrected.

Montana’s Role in Global Sports Diplomacy

Mar 5, 2014

Montana’s Role in Global Sports Diplomacy

 

Deena Mansour

Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center

Your Nonprofit Wants You to Hear This

Mar 5, 2014

Your Nonprofit Wants You to Hear This

Hey, nonprofit board members, listen up.  Your nonprofit organization has asked me to talk to you.  Yes, you.  I mean, I ASSUME your nonprofit wants me to talk to you.  Otherwise, why would the CEOs of so many nonprofit organizations, from A to Z – from arts organizations to zoos – talk to me ABOUT you?  They MUST want me to talk TO you.

Obamacare deadline

Mar 5, 2014

Olivia Riutta - Montana Primary Care Association

MTPR Commentary - 02/27/2014

We are now just one month away, from the March 31st deadline to enroll in the new health insurance Marketplace.

When you hear talk of health reform, or the ACA, or Obamacare or whatever you prefer to call it, a lot of things probably come to mind. For me, as a Navigator whose job is to  help folks in my community by answering questions and walking them through the process, I think about Bill, a man I met in southeastern Montana.

Beware of Common Sense

Feb 27, 2014

Beware of Common Sense

Valuing the Montana Colstrip Electric Generators: A Strange New World

 

NorthWestern Energy is proposing to purchase the Montana hydroelectric generators originally owned by the Montana Power Company. Montana Power sold them off in the late 1990s as it pursued a speculative dream of becoming a national telecommunication company. Instead Montana Power went bankrupt and ceased to exist.

Educators as Leaders

Feb 14, 2014

What do Mike Mansfield, Pat Williams, Jon Tester, Bob Brown and Angela McLean have in common?

Mike Mansfield, Senate Majority Leader longer than anyone in US history, led a US Senate that was arguably the most productive in US history.

Pat Williams, elected Montana Congressman for nine straight terms, more than anyone in our history, had a record of legislative accomplishment in fields as varied as labor, education, the arts, wilderness and public lands access.

In Praise of Public Schools

Feb 12, 2014

What do these seminal Americans, Thomas Jefferson, John Dewey, Horace Mann, Frederick Douglass, John Adams, and Susan B.

Work Comp – You Can Help

Feb 12, 2014

Workers' compensation, pretty boring stuff, until you need its benefits.  So, this is for all you workers out there – from desk jockeys and burger flippers, to firefighters – and for you employers who want the best for your workers.  What do you do if you are injured on the job and are unable to work for several weeks, months or years?  How will you keep a roof over your head, make your car payments, buy clothes for your kids or put food on the table?  If you are like most Montanans, you would have to rely upon the Workers' Compensation system. 

U.S. State Department Greenlight for the Keystone Pipeline?

          The U.S. State Department, which has to approve pipelines crossing into the United States from other countries, recently released its updated study of the environmental impacts associated with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.  That pipeline would carry Alberta tar sands bitumen to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast. President Obama had previously indicated that he would approve the 1,700 mile pipeline if it would not “significantly exacerbate” greenhouse gas emissions.

Black Butte Copper Project

Feb 7, 2014

Good Afternoon, my name is Jerry Zieg and I’m the Vice President of Exploration for Tintina Resources, and a graduate of the University of Montana.  Tintina Resources is a mineral exploration and mining company working through the process of permitting a copper mine on what we call our Black Butte Copper Project near White Sulphur Springs, Montana. 

Community Progress Brightens Gloomy February

Feb 7, 2014

One of my favorite cartoons shows two schoolboys in a blinding snowstorm.   It’s dark out; they’re bundled up and hunched against the wind; clearly, they’re miserable.  One boy looks at the other and says, “I can see why they made February the shortest month.”

That line resonates with me during these grey days and cold nights, especially when I often work on some pretty bleak subjects:  kids dropping out of school, homelessness, childhood obesity, hunger.  But bright spots of recent progress in those areas promise to make THIS February a lot less gloomy.

Veteran's Viewpoint

Feb 7, 2014

This is Dan Gallagher with Veteran’s Viewpoint.

In many ways, this is a hard commentary for me to do, and frankly, I worry that my words may not be sufficient to make the points I think important with the amount of feeling the subject merits.

The subject of my discussion today, and in my next Veteran’s Viewpoint, is this:  Do soldiers ever die in vain?

In today’s Missoulian, reporter Martin Kidston tells the story of Ngo Ha, a Vietnamese professional currently in the U.S. on a Department of State program.

One could debate whether the recent recommendations by Governor Bullock’s Greater Sage Grouse Advisory Council went too far to protect the bird or not far enough.  There certainly have been concerns expressed from both camps.  However, one thing is certain, the best way to protect the bird, and the people that share its habitat, is to keep the sage grouse off the Endangered Species list.

Let’s Fix Montana’s Food Regulations!

Feb 4, 2014

Food safety regulations are some of the most important laws we have to protect public health and safety, but they can also be some of the most confusing aspects of running a successful local food business.  For a long time now, many of Montana’s local food producers and consumers have been dealing with a frustrating patchwork of food safety regulations. 

The War on Poverty

Jan 30, 2014

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson, in his State of the Union address, declared an “unconditional war on poverty.”  Last night, President Obama took the same stage once again to highlight the tragedy of poverty perpetuated by obscene and corrosive inequalities.  Given the half century between these speeches, it would be easy to conclude, as President Reagan did already in 1988, that the war on poverty is over and, as he put it, “poverty won.”  But that’s the problem with persistent and complex challenges:  we’re too easily tempted to buy into the stories that let us off the hook.

Let’s Put an End to the Overhead Myth

Jan 24, 2014

Nonprofit leaders joke that Missoula has five seasons:  winter, spring, summer, fall – and fundraising.  We’re in the thick of that season now at United Way of Missoula County.

We’re not alone.  All over Missoula, banquets are being planned and grant proposals submitted.  And donors – faced with a plethora of worthy causes – do their best to figure out which charities are most deserving.

Yellowstone Bison

Jan 24, 2014

And again, almost like clockwork, the Yellowstone bison wars begin.  This time, however, it’s a much different and important battle.  As deep snows continue to accumulate on the high Yellowstone plateau and bison begin their historic and highly anticipated migration out of the park, Montana’s Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks and the Board of Livestock are once again are at odds over where America’s largest wild bison herd should be allowed to roam. 

Retirement Planning

Jan 24, 2014

Good evening.  This is Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services, the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli counties. Tonight I’d like to share some thoughts I have about the very important topic of planning for retirement.

Like many of you, I am beginning to think about when I might be able to retire.  It’s not that I have ignored the subject over the last 35 years. I diligently do my best to contribute to my retirement fund and annually monitor my expected Social Security income. But I always knew I needed to focus more attention on it.   

Election Protection

Jan 17, 2014

I love election day.

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