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Letters for Wednesday, May 16, 2001

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Lee Montana Newspapers poll

Your numbers don't add up

Since when did a 27 percent poor rating make it an overall poor rating? Your "pie" chart (Missoulian, May 6) shows this: 3 percent excellent, 24 percent good, 31 percent fair; three plus 24 plus 31 equals 58; add in half of the 15 percent undecided (to make it fair), 7.5 percent, and simple math comes up with three plus 24 plus 31 plus 7.5 equals 65.5 percent approval rating. Poor was 27 percent plus 7.5 percent equals 34.5 percent.

Hmm. The headline must be misleading, but headlines don't always have to be unbiased, do they? Least ways not in the Missoulian. Some of us actually read the articles before we form our opinions. By the way, the word fair has always meant just that, fair, not poor, just okie-dokie.

Bill Johnson,

743 Minnesota, Missoula

Lowell School

Thank goodness there is no closure

It is comforting to hear that, after years of being on the "short list" of neighborhood schools targeted for closure, Lowell School is not in danger of being closed. Responding to a flier circulated in the neighborhood, the superintendent of schools assured Westside and Northside residents that Lowell School absolutely will not be targeted for closure. Three cheers for City Council candidate Allison Handler and her volunteers for taking effective action on an issue that has concerned Ward 2 for far too long.

Perry Gliessman,

636 Phillips St., Missoula


Don't let the glass program die

Glass recycling has been an ongoing issue in Missoula for a long time. Last week, the city realized that it had more glass than it needed for the whole summer and considered ending the city/BFI glass recycling program altogether. This is still a real possibility if in the next two months we can't find more ways to use glass locally.

Until the beginning of 2000, Missoula Valley Recycling was the only company that collected and recycled glass. It was taken to the BFI recycling facility, crushed, and shipped to Denver at a cost to MVR of 5 cents per pound. Then BFI made an agreement with the city of Missoula to collect glass and store it on city property where it could be used in road construction. In the meantime (at the city's request) BFI moved its recycling facility out of the downtown area. This eased the traffic congestion on Toole Street. At the new facility, BFI has no space to set up its glass crusher. So if the current program fails, all glass will have to go to the landfill.

Glass has come in from all over western Montana, and now the supply and the storage area to keep it are causing a dilemma. Currently glass is worth only 50 cents per ton in Denver. Clearly, it is not economical to ship it thousands of miles away. Dave Harmon on the City Council worked hard to put this program together, and it would be a shame to end it because it is too popular. Missoula Valley Recycling will continue to work with BFI, and city/county officials to help solve this problem. We are currently looking at using glass in county roads, as well as city roads, and using the crushed glass as fill around buildings.

Tom Ernst,

P.O. Box 9458, Missoula

Milltown Dam

Public needs to take a stand

It's possible for us to get the toxic sludge at Milltown cleaned up and the dam removed, but that won't happen without the public calling for it. Without a public outcry, we are going to end up with a rubber condom on the dam and the same old mess behind it. We must be proactive on our own behalf. It's time we start talking with the neighbors (expect to be favorably surprised by the things we have in common).

A wise old woman once told me, "If you don't get up there and tell them what you need, nobody can help you. So don't be afraid to tell them what you need." When I talk with people these days about the possible cleanup at Milltown Reservoir, those words seem to call out. What do we need? Beyond the endless arguments of experts over the many issues what do we need? My heart says we need clean water, now and in the future. It says a Superfund toxic waste site less than 10 miles upriver from my home threatens our water. I for one will never feel at ease until the sediments behind the Milltown Dam are cleaned up, completely. Period. That is what I need.

And that is what I will tell the Environmental Protection Agency. I invite you too, as well. We don't need to be scientists to comment. If we need the dam and the sediments behind it removed in order to feel safe about the water here, that's all we need to say. Leave the quibbling to the experts. The most important thing is that we say it as often as we can, especially over the next months, and don't give up until the dam is gone.

Tom Dailey,

823 Wolf, Missoula

Letters policy: The Missoulian welcomes and encourages letters to the editor on topics of general interest. Letters should be about 300 words or fewer. The Missoulian reserves the right to reject or edit letters for content and length. The Missoulian prints as many letters as possible. Letters must contain the writer's name, address and telephone number (phone numbers are for verification, not publication).

Mail to: Missoulian Letters, P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807. Fax: 406-523-5294. E-mail:

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