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SUNDAY, FEB. 24, 20l9 Catch and keep or let them swim away It’s often said that Mon- tana is like a small town with long streets. Montanans may be separated by hundreds of miles but it’s amaz- ing how many mutual friends you find you have after talking with some— one for five minutes in this giant small town. A defining character- istic of small towns is that people care about one another and rally together in challeng- ing times. Chances are you’ve attended at least a few community benefits to raise money for medi- cal bills or to help a fam— ily that had some other misfortune strike. Today, our giant small town of Montana is ’Grants could be used to buy a home, start a business, pay off student debt, relocate or any way an awardee sees fit to give them a leg up on starting life in the area they love.’ Joel Kroutter State representative facing a threat to the continued existence of many members of our small town, unless we rally together and begin to turn things around. A total of 44 of Mon- tana’s 56 counties are slowly losing their life-blood —~ the youth who go aWay to college or trade school and don’t return. Many wish they could come back to the communities and way of life they love, but after getting established in Montana’s booming counties, or out of state, the only time they may come home is for a class reunion, holiday, wed- ding or funeral. Montana’s seven most populated areas, from Kalispell to Billings are growing by leaps and bounds. Montana’s 12 biggest counties have grown by roughly 49 percent since 1980. In their shadow, Montana’s 44 other counties have barely increased half a percentage point over the same period of time, being left behind. . FEB. 23, I945 from wwwhistorycom During the bloody Battle for Iwo J ima, US. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regi- ment of the 5th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest peak and most strategic position, and raised the US. flag. Marine photographer Louis Lowery was with them and recorded the“-.- event. American soldiers fighting for control of Su- ribachi’s slopes cheered the raising of the flag, and several hours later more Marines headed up to the crest with a larger flag. Joe Rosenthal, a photographer with the Associated Press, met them along the way and recorded the raising of the second flag along with a Marine still pho- tographer and a motion- picture cameraman. Rosenthal took three photographs atop Suri- bachi. The first, which showed five Marines and one Navy corpsman struggling~to hoist the heavy flag pole, became the most reproduced photograph in history and won him a Pulitzer Prize. The accompanying motion-picture footage attests to the fact that the Store fronts on main streets sit empty with signs of “for sale” or “for rent.” Schools fall from Class A to B, or B to C, and in more dire cases are forced to consolidate, fighting to stay alive. , I have visited with business owners, com— munity leaders and fel- low young professionals about the struggles rural areas are facing to re- cruit and retain the qual- ified workforce needed to reverse the trends and ignite economic develop— ment. We’re all worried that without immediate action, in 1520 years we will be a state with seven thriving urban areas and 44 ghost counties. This is why I have in- troduced a bipartisan so- lution to give rural areas a tool to begin to reverse the downward trend. It is called the Catch and Keep Montana’s Trea- sure Act. In exchange for a five year commitment, this legislation will provide hundreds of small grants directly to skilled or educated young people as an incentive for them to return to rural commu- nities and establish their lives and families there. Grants could be used to buy a home, start a business, pay off student debt, relocate or any way an awardee sees fit to give them a leg up on starting life in the area they love. In combination with tax credits for property taxes, the program would require local’ and private capital matches in coun- ties who eléct to partici- pate. Kansas, which has had a similar incentive program in place since 2011 to revitalize their rural areas, reports a return to their economy of roughly $6 for every $1 invested in the program. Montana is at a cross- roads. Without action, the decline of our rural areas will snowball until communities are beyond the point of no return. I urge you to participate in the hearing on March 8, at 8:30 am. in the House Business & Labor Com- mittee. Details of my bill can be found at: https:// leg.mt.gov/ bills/ 2019/ billpdf/HB0405.pdf . State Rp. Joel Krautter hisduvi' picture was not posed. Of the other two photos, the second was similar to the first but less affect- ing, and the third was a group picture of 18 soldiers smiling and wav- ing for the camera. Many of these men, including three of the six soldiers seen raising the flag in the famous Rosenthal photo, were killed before the conclusion of the Battle for Iwo J ima in late March. In early 1945, US. military command sought to gain control of the island of Iwo J ima in advance of the projected aerial campaign against the Japanese home islands. Iwo J ima, a tiny volcanic island located in the Pacific about 700 miles southeast of Japan, was to be a base for fighter aircraft and an emergency-landing site for bombers. On Feb. 19, 1945, the first wave of US. Marines stormed onto Iwo J ima’s inhospi- table shores. By March 3, US. forces controlled all three airfields on the island, and on March 26 the last Japanese defenders on Iwo J ima were wiped out. Only 200 of the original 22,000 Japanese defenders were captured alive. More than 6,000 Americans died. ditorial SIDNEY HERALD Money for nothing There is no other nation whose citizens are better equipped to make moral judgements about total strangers than Americans. After all, a good part of the first Europeans here were the Puritans whose religion was based on what one skeptic said was “The haunt- ing fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” So, when it comes to our gov- ernment helping the poor, we are the experts on who should not be helped. We might categorize them as “those unwilling to work”, or deadbeats, or losers, or whatever; and money from us they shall not get. But now comes the liberal Dem- ocrats’ “Green Revolution” which stated in an FAQ (frequently asked questions) posted online that they stood for “economic security for those unable or unwilling to wor .” Realizing almost immediately that that was a bad choice of words the FAQ was taken down from the site where it was posted, but the political damage had been done, and maybe even a lesson learned. What it seems that they were hinting at is called a Universal Basic Income. The FAQ does/ did not use the term Universal Basic Income (from now on UB1), but it sure implies It, so what is UBI, anyway? It’s a concept that has been around for centuries, and it es- sentially involves, giving impov- erished people money without strings attached to do with as they will. It is welfare money with no means test and no spending restrictions. It would, I suppose, replace current welfare programs. The idea is that individuals and families whose income is below the official level of poverty in America could be given a UBI to bring their income up to the poverty level. ‘ Now The idea of a UBI is not new in this world of ours. It’s not even a new idea in America because you may want to be seated for this — President Richard Nixon was serious about the idea in 1968. So serious that he instituted pilot programs in Jim Eula” different geograph- ical areas in which a total of 8500 people received monthly checks amounting to $1,600 a year (about $11,000 today) which was the pov- erty level at that time. The pilot programs found that after receiving the money people did not automatically break out the beer and lounge chairs but did things to improve their lives. Working mothers quit jobs and went to college, the high school graduation rate among New Jer- sey recipient families increased by 30 percent and for the most part, people kept working at jobs. The pilot programs were con- sidered a success and the idea had the support of one of the most conservative economists of that (or any) time, Milton Friedman, an advisor to the president. As early as 1962, Friedman felt that a universal basic income would be far more cost effective than the then highly bureaucratic Welfare system. Interestingly, two of the people Nixon picked to run the experiment were the future Secretary of Defense in the George H. W Bush administra- tion, Donald Rumsfeld and Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney. As with any new program there would be a planned, grand, na- tional roll-out. But on the very day of that roll-out an advisor showed Nixon a paper on a similar but “failed” experiment that had taken place in England 150 years Montana Democrat ’So, when it comes to our government helping the poor, we are the experts on who should not be helped.’ Jim Elliott Columnist earlier. Nixon abruptly changed his mind on UBI, and that was all she wrote. Today, the concept of a UBI is supported by the conservative Cato Institute as well as liberals. Some governments, such as Fin- land, have experimented with a UBI with mixed results. The agri- cultural city of Stockton, Calif,is planning on starting one soon. Al- though it is not considered a UBI, in Alaska, almost every citizen receives an annual check from the Alaska Permanent Fund ($1,100 in 2017). The payments have not affected the unemployment rate. So, economically, it seems to ‘ work out. But of course, the idea of people getting a universal benefit is a moral argument, not an economic one. And we know that in America morals trumps money (or maybe it’s the other way around). [This article uses information on the topic from the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine, ‘ among others] Jim Elliott sewed 16 years in the Montana Legislature as a state representative and state senator and tour years as chairman of the Montana Democratic Party. He lives on his ranch in Trout Creek. Montana Wewpoint appears in weekly papers across Montana and online at mis- soulacurrent.com. is the time to build wrecking ball, it could ‘ sion. For a decade or more Renova- our Montana legisla- tion would ture has grappled with result in the increasing needfio 19 safe renovate both Romney and acces- Hall on the MSU cam- sible class- pus in Bozeman and rooms the Montana Historical , seating Society museum facility M more than in Helena. Oman“ 1000 stu- A compelling case has Viewpoint dents. been made for both these The projects, but they have urgency repeatedly come up just M Blow" of making short of final approval in Romney the complicated legisla- a usable building is tive process. that enrollment on the Romney Hall is a Bozeman campus has great and imposing old increased from 12,369 in structure constructed in ' 2008 to a current enroll- 1922 during the admin— ment of 16,902. That’s an istration of Warren G. Harding. There is noth- increase of 37 percent in 10 years. MSU in- ing wrong with Romney structional facilities are structurally. It is a has bursting at the seams. tille of a building. But it With its soaring grand has no modern heating, arch, Romney is an icon- air conditioning, ventila- ic monument to a past tion, or modern fire sup- era. Today’s students pression systems. It is must continually walk inaccessible to students, around its fortress-like faculty and staff with walls. The central loca- disabilities. tion of Romney could be Romney now contains a major asset. Instead, only four viable class- the building is a huge rooms with a maximum obstruction. While it is capacity for 141 students. too formidable for the Sfihnrfi ltlrmlh SERVING THE MONDAK REGION SINCE I908 Kelly Miller, Publisher Bill Vander Weele, Editor be readily converted into cost-effective education- al space functional for many more decades. As proposed in Gov. Bullock’s budget, the Romney project can be authorized by the current session of the legislature. It is a great idea that is long overdue. It will only become more expensive with more delay. The Montana Histori— cal Society is the oldest continually operating state historical society west of the Mississippi. It is currently housed in the 70-year-old Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building. Like Romney Hall, the Historical Soci- ety building is structur- ally strong, but woefully in need of renovation and significant expan- Also like Romney, it is perfectly located. It is in the center 0f the capitol complex‘where it is readily accessible to student groups and all Montanans (visiting the capitol. Like Romney, it is recommended in the governor’s budget. Tragically, nearly 90 percent of the museum’s nearly 50,000 wonderful artifacts and artworks are in storage for lack of exhibit space. Most of the state museum facili- ties around the country have been converted into modern facilities. Montanans need to catch up with our history, too. Our history is a great one. It is our Montana memory. Our genera- tion has a civic duty to adequately preserve it and pass it on. ' Views of our readers The Sidney Herald welcomes letters to the editor. Whether olitical, a prob lem in the city or neighborhood, or to pat someone on the ack, let us know what’s on your mind. All letters must include the writer’s signature, address and daytime telephone number. We do not publish anonymous letters. letters are subtect to editing lor spelling, clarity or le for the newspaper to verily information in every letter. impossi ength. Be sure at your facts. It is We reserve the right to select which letters are published. One letter per month unless in response to another letter. The Herald will not ublish letters critical of individuals or businesses unless , such letters deal wit issues involving taxpayers lands. ‘ Letters submitted to the Sidney Herald may print or electronic forms. Write to: letters to the Editor Sidney Herold 310 2nd Ave. N.E. 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