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Invest locally

     Every four months or so, like most people I know, my wife and I make the trip to either Clarkston or Missoula and make the Costco/Walmart run. There are several items which either we just can’t get locally or we need to buy in bulk, so it just makes sense to go out of the area to buy these items.

     However, this probably only makes up about 5% of our total shopping. Like most other people I know, we try to buy as much as we can right here in Kamiah. With everything from groceries, gas, and pet supplies, to hardware, tires, and auto parts, we like to invest our money locally. It makes you feel good to spend your money locally, that hopefully your dollar supports your friends and neighbors. To me, this is the true definition of community pride, investing in yourselves and your neighbors.

     I propose that voting “Yes” on the upcoming Kamiah School District levy is the same as buying locally. A percentage of your spending money goes to the State and Federal government in the form of taxes, because this is the way the system works whether we like it or not. We have absolutely no control over these monies, they are gone for the government to spend as they choose. The rest of your spending dollar, however, you can choose to spend as you desire. A “Yes” vote for the upcoming school levy stays 100% locally. Not only do you know where this money is going, you will be able to see the good that your investment will do. For less than the cost of a bottled water per day, you can invest locally in our town’s largest employer, whose employees (administrators, teachers, custodians, kitchen staff, etc.) can turn around and invest in our local businesses.

     But most importantly, for less than the cost of a pack of gum per day, you can invest in the education of our local children, who will one day become the parents, business owners, and community leaders who will lead our great community. Please join me on March 11 and vote “YES” to invest locally in Kamiah’s future.

Nels Kludt



When our actions support our goals

     Sometimes it is frustrating in life when there are not easier solutions to our problems. Life can be complicated and so can our decisions. In those times it seems that we pull ourselves back to the goal. What do we really want out of life, what do we really want out of the situation that we are in?

     Reading articles about the levy, I started thinking about my position. I was raised here and my husband and I have brought our family back here. I also love Kamiah’s kids and want to make sure our community produces great students, great leaders and great citizens.

     I want a strong Kamiah. I am so proud of this place and I want future generations to feel that same way. I want to affect the future. I want to create legacy. For me I feel like it is my turn. That helps me make the far from simple decision to vote yes. I am not voting yes for the district, the school board, or even the teachers. I am voting yes for Kamiah’s students. This decision isn’t a simple one, but for me I know it is the right one. Some of you will choose to vote no. That is the great thing about living in America. Our freedom to vote is so precious.

     Whatever you decide to vote, I would encourage you to get involved. I think most of us want a stronger Kamiah and great students, leaders and citizens coming from our schools.

     I know that some of you are also concerned about the district, the school board and other facets connected to this topic. If a stronger Kamiah is truly your heart and your goal then we can all find ways to make this goal a reality no matter what the obstacles.

     I just hope that we really step forward and take those opportunities rather than just talk about them. No problem will fix itself. We have to step up and become a part of the solution. When our actions support our goals, amazing things can happen! I am excited to be a part of that solution and hope to do much more than vote yes.

Kelsy Colwell



District has yet to prove the need for levy

     The very first thing that the district must do is convince me that they are being a good steward of my money. Rather, the pro-levy writings to date are more in the vein of threats, veiled or otherwise.

     The published tax rate of $3.34/$1,000 of assessed value nearly DOUBLES my estimated property taxes. (Idaho County Millage Rate is $3.985/$1000.)

     This is going to take a lot of convincing.

     From the documents at www.kamiah,org, I see that the 2013-14 budget is approximately $3.8 million. With 492 students, this works out to approximately $7,700 per student.

     The chart published in the Progress brings to mind a number of questions not yet addressed.

     Exactly what increase in student-teacher ratios is anticipated? ($130,000)

     Exactly which high school offerings would have to be cut? ($88,950)

     What is Safety Busing? Why does it cost $48,000? And, why is it optional?

     I would like to see a COMPLETE and DETAILED breakout of the extracurricular activities that would be eliminated? ($115,000)

     From the district’s Negotiated Agreement, salaries comprise $81,600 of the earmarked $115,000. Of this, 87.7% ($71,580) is for sports or sports-related activities.

     Extracurricular activities should be self-funded. If truly of value to the community, then let the community show their support directly. Unlike academic course work, these activities benefit only a small select group of students.

     As has been noted, we are going to be asked to pass a levy of this magnitude, or greater, EVERY year, in perpetuity.

     By the way, advertising a Thursday evening meeting, IN THURSDAY’S NEWSPAPER, does not engender an impression of openness.

     The time to stop this fiscal irresponsibility is now.

John Kuklewicz



Leaders seek capitalism at all costs

     Convicted drunk driver Gov. “Butch” bemoans Federal Judge Winmill’s ruling that closed U.S. Hwy. 12 to megaloads, saying that the Judge obviously doesn’t share Idaho values. The Judge didn’t “make law” suiting those who worship unregulated capitalism.

     From top to bottom, from our D.C. legislators down to our governor, from him to our legislature down to our county commissioners, those who fancy themselves “in charge” worship capitalism-at-any-cost.

     The Woodlot Tavern & Cafe in Orofino recently went bankrupt because there’s no longer enough of a supportive fisher-folk customer base. Fish numbers have dropped too low, they said, yet not one voice from those “in chargers” was heard when the Port of Lewiston knowingly dumped dredged material into the Clearwater/Columbia rivers at the (“overly-regulated”) illegal time, thereby threatening, if not killing, those fish.

     “Let Mammoet use Hwy. 12,” wrote someone from Orofino. “They’re professionals, they’re not going to drop a megaload!” Mammoet did just that, although thankfully not into the Lochsa.

     A recent megaload haul using an alternate route past Salmon, Idaho, was stopped by ice on the roadway. Idaho’s Transportation Dept. “helpfully” sprayed thousands of gallons of chemical deicer (reported one of the crew who applied it (probably just a “radical environmentalist” fisherman, right?) to get them going. The chemical runoff goes where? Downhill, of course, right into the head of the Salmon River which, we all could know, is “only” important to a bunch of fish.

     Are Idaho voters so ignorant they’ll elect/re-elect money-grubbing, ignorant “leaders?” We’ll see, eh?

David Bearman



Idahoans deserve healthcare alternatives; Not more federal grants for Idaho’s health exchange

     We are 2/3 of the way through the enrollment period for signing up for health insurance and Your Health Idaho has signed up 15% of the 258,000 uninsured in Idaho. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we don’t know how many of those 38,000 signed up were actually uninsured in the first place. Many of them could have been insured, then lost their insurance, and got back a more expensive policy that is cheaper only because other taxpayers are subsidizing it.

     Sound confusing? It is. Idaho’s health exchange is completely dependent on the federal Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) for Idaho’s progress. And HHS doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about Idaho’s uninsured. It is simply administering federal law.

     Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal, all want access to affordable quality healthcare. It should be healthcare that is de-centralized – not controlled by a few large insurance companies. It should be healthcare that incorporates choice, technology, and competition. And, it should be healthcare that does not destroy the insurance agent market in the process.

     Idaho’s health exchange got $20 million and its performance has been miserable. I see no justification for it getting another $50 million in a federal taxpayer grant. Not one penny of that $20 million – or the $50 million, should it get the grant – is going to medical care. The entire amount is being spent on administrative process. 

     We have a CAT fund in trouble, Medicaid eating up 17% of our state budget, and less competition in healthcare than we’ve seen in years. It is time to stop the grants, declare the state health exchange a failed federal program, opt out, and explore alternatives.  Thank you.

Steve Ackerman

Kuna, Idaho

     Stephen M. Ackerman teaches Economics and Political Science at the College of Idaho, as well as for online institutions.  He has participated in debates, given talks, and written extensively on the Affordable Care Act.  He is also the former President of the Meridian-based Competitive Intelligence firm, Provizio, and a former analyst on the President’s Base Closure Commission.


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