Letters to the Editor
The Montanan welcomes letters to the editor. We ask that letters be signed and include the writer’s graduating year or years, home address, and phone number or e-mail address.
Unfortunately, because of space limitations we are not able to include all letters sent to us. Letters that appear often are edited for length or clarity.
While universities are places of discussion where people of goodwill do not always agree, letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published. Opinions ex-pressed in the Montanan do not necessarily reflect those of The University of Montana.
Mildred Walker Remembered
WOW! I just finished reading another issue of the Montanan from cover to cover and, as usual, found much to enjoy. But your story on Mildred Walker’s book Winter Wheat immediately caught my attention. I was one of those who first read it way back in 1944. It was at the height of World War II, when the campus was reduced to an almost-women’s college. And we women were “hanging on” by sheer determination.
I was a “J” school member and head of the Kaimin organization. We were well into plans of holding a banquet event that would honor the outstanding women on campus who would represent their various vocations. As we searched about for a top-notch keynote speaker, Mildred Walker came to our attention. I remember contacting her—and being elated with her unequivocal “yes.”
The event was a great success in so many ways and has been a heartwarming memory over the years for me. I’m now retired from the communications/publications field but try often to return to my alma mater. It’s been a favorite spot!
Lorraine E. Lindahl ’45
Freshmen and the ‘M’
I note that you missed a chance to clear up the errors of David Armstrong ’67 (Letters section, Fall 2003 Montanan), claiming it was some athletic organization that painted the ‘M’ in the early years. The M was painted by freshmen in the fall. Freshmen volunteers were sought in the spring, but often it was the two service organizations, the Spurs and the Bear Paws, who did most of the spring touch up. As a long-time Missoula resident, I know this was true for the ’50s and ’60s.
Dave Browman ’63
St. Louis, MO
When I was at the University (1941-47, with time out for World War II), the M was traditionally whitewashed, stone by stone, by the freshman men, who were supervised by sophomore members of the Bear Paw chapter of Intercollegiate Knights. Thus, the Bear Paws (I was one) had to do it twice, once as freshmen and again, a year later, to supervise the next class of freshmen. In those days, with no fire road, there was no way to get a vehicle up there, and the buckets of whitewash had to be carried by hand up a steep switchback trail from the campus. Having grown up in Missoula in the 1920s and 1930s, I had always taken the M for granted. I was glad to learn from your research that it was created in 1908 by the Forestry Club. I believe that UM is the only university in the country with a mountain on its campus. We should all be grateful to the foresters for “topping it off” with that magnificent M and to the volunteers who whitewash it each year. It’s a unique and distinctive gift.
Arnold (Arnie) Rivin ’47
Montana Kaimin Editor ’46-’47
Santa Fe, NM
As described by Joan Melcher (“Politics as Unusual, Montanan Fall 2003), Garry South epitomizes the current underbelly of American politics, which has turned off millions of Americans, regardless of party affiliation. A career political operative whose singular achievement is packaging Gray Davis to California voters, South packs a dubious one-two punch: the unbridled megalomania of the politician without the requisite charisma or chutzpah to actually BE a politician. As a UM alumnus, I only wish this minor-league version of James Carville had discovered his love for Never-Never Land sooner, and never graced UM with his three-piece suits. South’s disdain for the Montana Stock Growers no doubt is reciprocated. In fact, to paraphrase the old ranching cliché: in the real world where most of us live, South provides about as much value as a certain body part on a bull. You can fill in the blank.
Bill Barlet ’77 ’78
Until now, the content of the Montanan has been, for the most part, blessedly nonpolitical. Now we have this puff piece about an alum, a hired gun political operative, who helped get Gray Davis elected, a pol who so ruined California that a huge cross-section of voters are recalling him. And South considers that an achievement? This is the Garry South whom some have called a “proven political killer,” who coined the political phrase “murder-suicide,” meaning negative campaigning that destroys both the intended target and the initiator of the campaign.
John B. Dwyer ’76
Editor’s Note: Garry South was in Missoula visiting the campus with his wife shortly after the article on him appeared in the Montanan. They stopped by my office and he related running into the current ASUM student body president, Aaron Flint, who boasts several photos of former Republican presidents in his office. Flint had just read the article on South, recognized him, and hurried up to introduce himself. Flint said he might be able to arrange for South to return to give a lecture. I relate this story only to point out that the spirit of tolerance and respect for other people’s abilities and opinions is alive and well on the UM campus. And I must point out that South did indeed coin the term “murder-suicide” in American politics, but it was not about work he did. It was about a large amount of money spent in negative ads by Al Cheche against Jane Harmon when Gray Davis was in a three-way race for governor in 1998 with those two people. Cheche’s negative ads hurt Harmon (murder) but backfired on him (suicide) while Davis took a low profile and emerged the winner after the “murder-suicide.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the current issue of the Montanan! I forwarded links to the online edition to lots of my friends. I had to brag that not only is a Montanan running the Governor Davis campaign, but also a Montanan is the youngest American to summit Everest! My co-workers at KVOA TV4 get really sick of my blathering on and on about how great Montana and UM are. But your articles provide incontrovertible evidence about what wonderful and varied people hail from the state and the U. Thanks so much!
Frank Field ’97
Editors Note: This message first appeared in the Montanan Chatroom, http://www.themontanan.us. Log on and tell us what you think. It’s the easiest way to send a letter to the editor or to discuss issues explored in the Montanan.
Getting it Straight in Libby
Daniel Berger’s article on Libby and its asbestosis problem was well written and told the story well. There was, however, one line that rubbed me (and, I hope, other School of Forestry graduates) the wrong way. It had to do with the town now looking toward a better, healthier future “with the departure, for the moment, of extraction industries.” I have worked in the natural resource management (and extraction) industry for several years now in a number of clean and healthy towns. It is a disservice to the timber and mining industries as a whole to clump them together with one bad apple. I’m sure that many of the “good-natured, hard-working, creative, and charming people of Libby” were not so delighted to see Stimson’s mill close its doors.
Josh Anderson ’96
As a Libby resident who attends the Community Advisory Group meetings, I would like to compliment you on the article, “Clearing the Air” (Fall 2003 Montanan). You present a clear picture of the health situation and concerns of the victims and families. I would, however, question your data to make the statement “Libby is safe.” Many of the discussions at the CAG meetings deal with concerns residents have about how safe Libby is. EPA has cleaned up some critical areas and it is safer than it once was; however, the cleanup process is still going on. Many victims feel that any tremolite fibers are unsafe; many homes still have vermiculite to be cleaned. Perhaps “Libby is safer” would be a more accurate statement.
Mary Tevebaugh ’74
A Special Place
As always, we enjoy receiving our copy of the Montanan. It is an excellent alumni publication. We visited UM in the summer of 2001. The campus looks great and I am impressed with all the changes. I know how difficult it is to run an institution in these economic times. I enjoyed some excellent fly fishing while in the state. I was taught by one of the very best—your “Jigs” Dahlberg, one of my instructors. I still have some of the royal coachman flies he tied and gave to me.
Keep up the good work. There will always be a special place in our hearts for UM. It was our first year of marriage. Kate from the East Coast and me from the Midwest. Montana sure seemed like a big place for two so far from home. The University became our substitute family while we both completed our degrees.
Thomas Flynn, M.Ed ’64
President, Monroe Community College
Kate Niebling Flynn, M.Ed. '64
One of Our Voluntary Subscribers
It’s about time you heard from me! I do like getting the Montanan. Great articles all the time. Really interesting about the multi-generational UM families, Libby health connection, and the story on Patrick Calf Looking.
Deanna Dean Popp
Correction: In the story “Clearing the Air” (Fall 2003 Montanan), there was an error of misidentification. The person pictured on page 22 is Helen Clarke, not Dixie McLaughlin. Montanan staff members deeply regret the error.