Letters to the editor March 31

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Done with daylight saving time

Ten days into daylight saving time and our household is almost starting to feel like normal again.

By almost I mean that we try to get the children to bed on time even though it feels like we should be outside riding bikes. We haven’t actually been late for school yet, though mornings are still an epic struggle getting everyone out of bed. Worse for some parents evidenced by the increase in traffic after the bell has rang. I dread when they become teens if we are forced into dealing with the draconian practice of changing time.

Daylight saving was dreamed up in 1895 and first implemented around 1916. This was a time when eugenics was gaining steam and politics and business was focused on how to create a subservient class of workers in the general populace. They disguised it with ignorant claims about helping farmers and saving candles or electricity, despite everyone knowing farmers work to the sun schedule not the clocks. The estimated electricity savings in the 1970s was 1 percent by a Department of Transportation study. In the modern era, it likely leads to increased energy use due to increase air conditioning, television and other modern amenities.

It is disruptive to our children and our entire economy. Our neighbors to the south in Wyoming recently passed a bill to stay on daylight saving time permanently, provided at least three neighboring states do the same. Perhaps it is time for Montana to join the movement?

— Grant Hughes, Whitefish

Fake moos about Green New Deal

The recent letter “Liberal Democrats and the Green New Deal” (March 25) was full of fake moos.

Thus far the Green New Deal is just a list of goals and says nothing about banning cars, planes or cows. You can find out what’s really in the GND non-binding resolution by Googling factcheck.org “Green New Deal.”

Cows will actually play an important role in the GND’s plan to reverse climate change using best grazing and agricultural practices to turn our soil into a massive carbon sink which will also enrich our soil, making crops more resilient. Cows are responsible for only about 2 percent of our emissions (EPA), but sustainable managed grazing and phasing out factory farms that have steadily depleted our soil while polluting our land and water will cut about 15 percent of U.S. emissions (Nature) while making family farms profitable again. Luckily, we have a lot of cows!

The GND’s energy plan will pay for itself, costing $500 billion annually (Stanford University’s solutionproject.org). but it also will add over $500 billion to our economy annually (IPCC), mainly because by 2030 solar/wind energy will be “effectively free” Financial Times, UBS). It will also create millions of good-paying permanent (40-year), local jobs in clean energy while slashing energy prices (solutionsproject.org).

In contrast, without swift national action to transition to clean energy, we’ll face “catastrophic” global warming which will cause “global economic collapse” followed by “societal collapse” (National Academy of Sciences). Americans have already paid $1.6 trillion for ever-increasing climate disasters (NASA/NOAA). Just a half-degree increase in global warming will cost US taxpayers $13 trillion (National Academy of Sciences) and we’re currently headed for at least a 4 degree increase (IPCC).

“The costs of a Green New Deal are affordable, but the costs of inaction are literally beyond calculation.” (Forbes)

— Pete Kuntz, Northglenn, Colorado

Unanswered questions about roundabout

My driveway is located about 900 feet from the Dern Road/Spring Creek intersection off of U.S. 2. I was never notified by Montana Department of Transportation that a roundabout was being considered, much less in its planning stages.

In speaking with Mr. Vosen at the open house that was recently held, I asked him about the accident numbers that are noted in his newspaper interviews as MDT data. Articles in 2016 stated from 2003 to October 2014 there are a reported 48 accidents, including one fatality in 11 years. This is 4.3 accidents per year.

From late 2014 to the current year, Mr. Vosen has said 50 accidents. Only two more accidents? If so, this would mean in about a 15 year span, an average of 3.3 accidents per year.

When asked about the quoted MDT data and the past five years of only two accidents, Mr. Vosen told me he had too many numbers going through his head to be able to confirm the MDT data. He stated he would need to look into it. Mr. Vosen later then said that the numbers are updated every five years — we are approaching the five-year mark and those new numbers should be coming out. If so, where did the extra two accidents come from?

I then posed the same question to another representative, and was told that a total of 50 accidents since 2003 to 2019 sounded right. I pointed out that by those dates, only two of the accidents happened in the past five years, and he nodded in the affirmative. I asked what had changed if it is now safer in the past five years. He had no answer.

I asked the question of how often MDT updates their traffic data? I was told every year. I asked again, I was told every year. So is it five years or one year? I let him know Mr. Vosen said it was every five years, his response was that the general public does not have access to the “actual numbers” because they have sensitive material/information attached to them … what?

In addition, I asked if a study has been done to review if the opening of the U.S. 93 bypass has had an impact on U.S. 2. I was told that they had not done so as of yet.

No one had an answer as to how this might affect adjacent property values — positive or negative.

What I believe is a solution to be considered for safety, is to regrade U.S. 2 to fix the sight distance, making it wider and giving both Dern and Spring Creek a flat apron for stopping with better sight. Slow the U.S. 2 traffic to 45 mph. To enforce the slower speed, put in two sets of rumble stripping, as well as a digital speed reader that flashes when you are approaching too fast.

The traffic coming onto the highway is the problem, slower speeds and good sight distance will reduce accidents and the severity.

—Jenny Westin, Kalispell

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