Articles written by Don Larson


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  • No nitrate problem in Seeley

    Don Larson, Polson, Montana|May 23, 2024

    We don’t have a nitrate problem in Seeley. We have a health department/real estate developer problem. These folks continue to push for a central sewer for the area but the system they are proposing, in the sewer district as it is now drawn, will never clean up or protect the watershed. The present sewer district does not include the worst septic effluent polluters. That would be all the waterfront and riverfront properties on all the lakes. Were the Missoula County Health Department to ever develop the political courage to test all the w...

  • Reproductive rights and gun control at the local level?

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Jul 7, 2022

    The primarily male U.S. Supreme Court has recently determined American women cannot decide for themselves what to do with their bodies. It trashed their reproductive rights while fiercely defending (primarily male) rights to carry an AR 15. Let’s bring this discussion down to the local level. I would very much like to know where my legislative representatives Representative Mike Hopkins and Senator Shannon O’Brien, stand on reproductive rights and gun control? What legislative actions will they initiate, defend or oppose at the Montana Leg...

  • Realtor commissions raise housing costs and promote government growth

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Sep 9, 2021

    Realtor Kevin Wetherell has noted home prices in the Seeley area have jumped by 53%...to an average price of $399,000. So much for affordable housing in Seeley Lake. What he does not mention, discuss or analyze is the impact realtors’ sales commissions have on housing prices. I would submit realtors’ commissions have a direct effect on the increased cost of housing AND the growth of local government. Here’s how: The realtors commission becomes part of the sales price of a home. That 4-6% increase in cost translates as a direct increase on an...

  • Sewer Board headed in right direction

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Jul 29, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Sewer Board is sorting out its priorities and finally heading in a good direction. I appreciate the work done by Beth Hutchinson who has worked tirelessly on behalf of Seeley Lake to ensure a sensible wastewater treatment policy. Without Hutchinson’s efforts, the 500 sewer district residents would be stuck with an ill-conceived, $35 million sewer project pushed by local development groups who have large land holdings in the district. She is a shining example of what community involvement should be and her cool h...

  • Hold Health Department accountable

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Jun 3, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - Voters unanimously defeated a $35-million albatross sewer proposal but the message seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Now the Sewer Board wants to charge resident homeowners $250/year for each parcel in the district. Many residences sit on two, even three parcels so the owners will be paying $500-750 a year for what? Stuff the County Health Department should have been doing from the get-go If the Missoula County Health Department would do its job we wouldn’t even NEED a Sewer District Board. The Board has FAILED to properly m...

  • Dissolve the sewer board and start over

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Mar 11, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Sewer District voters have spoken....again....loudly and clearly. They do NOT want a $35 million sewer to grow the community for a half dozen developers who have touted the proposal. If the board is listening it should: 1. Return any unused taxpayer funds to the taxpayers. 2. Fire itself and disband. We can re-constitute the board down the road as a COMBINED sewer / water district if we elect to move in a new direction....

  • Rebuttal to Friede's sewer letter

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Feb 4, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - Curt Friede’s letter to the editor about the sewer proposal last week suggests we “get the facts.” Here are a few: Fact: Mr. Friede of one of the parties suing the sewer district board to force them to build the sewer. Fact: There is NO SIGNIFICANT groundwater nitrate degradation, in the groundwater OR the lake, that we know of definitively. The engineers recommended water quality testing in all four sewer “sub-districts” but test wells were drilled in only two. Of those two, only one was tested regularly and it consisten...

  • Stop misinforming sewer voters

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Jan 28, 2021

    Walt Hill’s comments on our Seeley Lake sewer mess would be laughable except for the fact he is a respected community leader. His ignorance of the facts of the case are scary and dangerous. Here are some facts: • Sewer District residents have a right to KNOW all the truths about the sewer project...the reasons, the costs, the impact. The Sewer District Board has NEVER completely provided those facts to residents. • Sewer District residents have a right to PARTICIPATE in the discussion of this very important discussion. Past Boards have pooh,...

  • Where is democracy going?

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Jan 7, 2021

    Senator Steve Daines is one of 12 senators who have decided your vote doesn’t count. Those officials, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have organized to protest Joe Biden’s victory and are making a futile effort to unseat the President-elect. By this action Senator Daines is ignoring the Constitution he has sworn to uphold. While most of us democrats have long-felt a vote for Mr. Daines is wasted, this new twist suggests these officials are telling you ALSO, your vote doesn’t matter. To hell with the will of the people. Makes you wonder where...

  • State leadership needs to carefully consider direction

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Dec 24, 2020

    The Federal Government has only the powers specifically enumerated to it...all other powers accrue to the states. That’s the way the U.S. Constitution reads. However we all know, because it controls the big purse strings, the Feds make state and local governments beggar “socialist” states, ready and waiting for the myriad federal aid program handouts. And because the Fed controls these purse strings, it dictates much of what state and local leaders do. Our new Montana leaders, many of whom will take office next month, need to carefully exami...

  • The message from Republican sweep

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Nov 12, 2020

    The Seeley-Swan, and Montana generally, stayed red this past election cycle. What are the messages in this continued move to the right? Voters are apparently demanding less government, less in-your-face regulation and permitting, lower taxes and, presumably, fewer government “services.” That might even go as far as reduced funding for public education, welfare assistance and environmental protection programs. So, now that we have a Republican governor, a republican legislature and we have re-elected Republican Mike Hopkins to represent us up...

  • Montana - The welfare state

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Oct 29, 2020

    For those voters who worry about Montana becoming a socialist state, you’re too late. Montana already IS a welfare state. We get more back in federal payments than we pay out to the federal government in taxes. The Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, veterans’ benefits, unemployment insurance and the Federal highway programs are just a few of the many federal programs we enjoy. And the CRP, crop rotation program that pays farmers to NOT produce, is one of the biggest welfare scams in the country. Think about that!...

  • Give Browder a chance

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Oct 15, 2020

    Mike Hopkins is asking to be re-elected to the Montana Legislature as the representative from the Seeley-Swan -Potomac-Bonner-Clinton area. Here’s a fact to consider in your decision to vote or NOT VOTE for him. Seeley residents have been undergoing a vigorous, divisive discussion over a $40 million central sewer proposal. Mike Hopkins has never entered that discussion and asked if or how he could help. There are four state funding entities which could assist a local government like Seeley. The funding from these entities is woefully i...

  • Treat NRA grades with skepticism

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Oct 8, 2020

    With all the “grades” being issued by the National Rifle Association (NRA) for Montana political candidates I’d like to offer some perspective on this highly partisan organization. I am 74 years old and have hunted for nearly 60 years in Montana. When I was honored to be elected as a Democrat to the Montana House of Representatives back in the 1990s I earned a “D” rating from the NRA the entire time I was in office. The Republican gentleman who defeated me in my fourth bid for re-election had never hunted, fished or owned a gun but received...

  • Consolidation an answer to high cost government

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Sep 10, 2020

    It is time to fully examine the idea of combining Missoula with the county to streamline our governments. Communities such as Butte - Silverbow have done this successfully and dramatically reduced government costs by increasing efficiency. There is only one incorporated town in Missoula County, the City of Missoula. How hard would it be to re-constitute our local governments? Conduct a poll and ask the residents and I’ll bet they will agree - combined fire, water, sewer, road, police and school systems would eliminate a ton of expensive duplica...

  • Let's get back to the drawing board for the sewer

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Montana|Aug 6, 2020

    Missoula County Health Department Specialist Jim Erven doesn’t seem to get it. The residents in the Seeley Lake Sewer District fully understand the Health Department is a bully, it does its work poorly and the $40-million sewer project it is pushing will further impoverish us. Let me explain further. The Board has never fully tested the area aquifer to accurately determine the “need” for a sewer. Lake water quality remains virtually unchanged over the past 40 years I have resided in this community, despite considerable growth. The Board has nev...

  • Daines, be honest and tell us how you will bring back jobs

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Jul 2, 2020

    Steve Daines’ campaign ads that claim he will bring back the jobs from overseas suggest he is either stupid or naive. Here’s why... The jobs, if they ever were in the U.S, went overseas because there is cheaper labor and less government regulation - hence more profit for the companies that went there. Until those things change, U.S. companies will continue to base their manufacturing overseas. Should a company decide to return its operations back to the U.S. there’s a good chance it will not be able to find workers to perform the labor...

  • Tax relief for Montana property owners?

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Jun 18, 2020

    COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are at more than 100,000, more than 40 million people have filed for unemployment and the U.S. economy is officially in “recession.” While Montana has experienced relatively few deaths, its economy, too, is taking a substantial hit as people socially isolate and “non-essential” businesses have been shuttered. Montana is one of the very few states that does not have a general sales tax and instead relies on the property tax to fund its state and local governments. States which do depend on the sales tax have had to...

  • Restoring the right to vote

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Apr 23, 2020

    SEELEY LAKE - I would like to remind Sewer Board candidate Kyle Zumwalt, the Sewer Board and Missoula County, their actions overturning the 2016 public vote declining the project caused the lawsuit. The solution is obvious - restore the voters’ right to participate and let them vote on the $40,000,000 project....

  • Vote Morris and Gilpin for a change in direction

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Apr 16, 2020

    SEELEY LAKE - I am writing to recommend Tom Morris and Jason Gilpin for election to the Seeley Lake Sewer District board. Here is why. With only one recent exception, current board members have blindly pursued an exorbitantly expensive sewage treatment solution which will not clean up or protect our watershed. Tom and Jason will respect our constitutional rights to know and participate in this important process. With the direct aid of Missoula County officials, the Board did an end run around our 2016 vote to NOT pursue this proposal and has...

  • New candidates bring possibility of change

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Feb 20, 2020

    SEELEY LAKE - Missoula County officials have spent more than a half-million taxpayer dollars in the past decade trying to sell a community sewer here in Seeley Lake. Unfortunately, the proposal the sewer board settled on stinks. It does not clean up the shore dwellers’ waste effluent (less than 25 percent of the waterfront properties on the lake and the Clearwater are in the sewer district). It does not protect the watershed. It is REALLY expensive. And it may very well pollute nearly 100 drinking water wells up near the airport where the t...

  • Another opportunity to protest the Sewer

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Nov 7, 2019

    SEELEY LAKE - Sewer District residents have an opportunity to again protest against the proposed sewer project. The District’s engineering firm is asking to schedule meetings with residents to identify septic and line locations assuming incorrectly it has passed muster with residents. If you are opposed to the project DO NOT SCHEDULE an appointment with Great West Engineering. Let the Sewer Board know it needs to look at the alternatives....

  • Missoula policies do not fit healthy rural economy

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Oct 31, 2019

    Commissioner Josh Slotniks’ suggestion that Seeley Lake create a Business Improvement District suggests a certain naivete, or to use a football metaphor, a rookie mistake. Seeley’s business community seems fine. That we have to commute to Missoula for better prices and cheaper gas is another subject. Mr. Slotnik does not appear to understand the underpinnings of a healthy a rural community. First, most rural residents reside where they live by choice. They do not want the hustle and bustle of a Missoula. Second, any community to prosper needs a...

  • The Health Department is damaging Seeley Lake's economic health

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Oct 10, 2019

    SEELEY LAKE - President Trump’s trade war with China is expected to cost Montana families an extra $1,000 next year. Missoula County Commissioners have just announced an 11 percent increase in property taxes for 2020. Medical costs are out the roof. Electrical utility leaders are asking for rate hikes. Also, they say because of the trade war with China, monthly water bills here exceed $50 and are among the highest in western Montana. Gasoline is consistently 10-15 cents a gallon higher here than in Missoula. With these costs in mind, how can S...

  • Sewer Rules & Regulations - A must read

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Sep 26, 2019

    SEELEY LAKE - The Sewer Board has published proposed rules for governing its sewer operation. They are a must-read and are available online, at the County annex and the Seeley Lake Public Library at Seeley-Swan High School. They are disturbing. They violate your civil rights and they absolve the District Board of any liability. As they are proposed, a sewer district employee can enter your home and examine “the manner in which the water is used” to ensure compliance with their rules. The installation is at your expense except for a narrow win...

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