The union solution
The April determination by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry to enforce Montana's tip-sharing law is a complicated ruling for both service industry workers and restaurant owners ("A tip-splitting case at Missoula's The Keep could change the way restaurants do business," June 8). The truth is, most restaurant workers rely on tip-sharing to get them from paycheck to paycheck (and let's be real, if the dishwasher did a bad job or the food is nasty, nobody's going to be getting a tip).
With the formation of an employee union, the workers enter into a collective bargaining agreement with their employer—because collective bargaining agreements are determined and voted upon by the workers, it wouldn't violate Montana's labor laws to include a fair tip-sharing structure as part of the agreement. A restaurant workers' union would help ensure that the back of the house is fairly compensated for their significant "[contribution] to a good meal and experience."
Unionizing is a simple solution to a complicated ruling for restaurant employees and owners alike. Absolutely anyone can start a union at their workplace, and Good Jobs Missoula can help you navigate the process.
Good Jobs Missoula
Let's see if I have this right ("Engstrom to earn $119K next year as UM professor," June 16 ). UM fires Engstrom, who drove UM into the ground in less than 5 years. They hire him back to teach entry level classes when he has not been in the classroom for more than 25 years. At the same time UM is laying off faculty and staff. Makes perfect sense!
Google an answer
As usual, federal and state taxpayers provide 90 percent of the funding ("Why getting rural schools up to internet speed is such an incredibly slow go," June 15). Then CenturyLink owns it? Why should private companies own and monetize publicly funded infrastructure? Existing fiber in Montana came from the evisceration of Montana Power under Racicot-era privatization and the Touch America debacle/boondoggle and subsequent bankruptcy and destruction of hundreds (if not thousands) of Montanans' retirement savings. So why are we repeating this insanity?
As the designated driver of the '70s, I was happy to drive Jay and other friends home safe ("Twenty years after his death, artist Jay Rummel still haunts Missoula," June 15). It was a crazy time. The first time I saw him he was on the tiny stage at the Top Hat. Shirley Juhl was one of the Gilded Lily owners then. My mother was scandalized by the Rummel print on the wall behind our couch. Kids never minded it. "Girl from the North Country," I think. Thumbtacks, yes.
Man of many talents
Most all the people in Rummel's art work are locals. I recognize some of them. Some have also passed along as Jay has. I have a River City Bad Girls T-shirt that has his artwork on it. The shirt does not fit me anymore but I would never get rid of it. Jay told some good stories, too. He was a storyteller as well as an artist.
I am one of those pickleballers, though not one who was there for this ("A pickleball rebellion at Playfair Park," June 15). I agree, there is no excuse for the impoliteness of crossing the court while the ball was in play. Perhaps they were newbies. None of the people I play with would do such a thing.
The reason that Playfair has been inundated with pickleballers is that the city is refurbishing the usual courts at the Fort and building six dedicated pickleball courts. This is not nearly enough. Bend, Oregon, has 16 beautiful courts. You should complain to the city that Missoula needs more pickleball courts. But we'll probably be off of Playfair later this summer.
More and more young people are picking it up, and there are many more pickleball tournaments than there are tennis tournaments in this region. You should try it.
A bird's life
That is very unfortunate ("The world is watching Missoula's osprey drama," June 15). On a brighter side, there are three thriving Osprey chicks in the Bitterroot Valley that have nested on a moving crane(!) There's a live YouTube feed for them as well at http://bit.ly/2s5v4DL
Thank you, Kate Cholewa, for a thoughtful and informative response to Mr. Brooks' piece from the other week ("Correcting the record on Montana's marijuana tax," June 15.) It is refreshing to see Montana moving forward with common sense, transparent and accountable legislation and beginning the process of responsibly regulating Montana's budding medical cannabis industry.
Man on the inside
Many Republican and all Democratic senators are being kept in the dark while a cabal of old white men develop a top secret "health care plan." But Sen. Daines brags that he's being consulted. This is not a compliment. If he is privy to what the cabal is up to, it's because they know he will not break ranks. He can be counted on to march in lockstep with whatever the group comes up with. The fact that a bill of this magnitude is being developed behind closed doors with no input from most Republicans and none from Democrats, to be followed by a full vote with little time for discussion or debate, tells me that this is a bill, like the one the House passed, won't be good for most Montanans. But, to his credit, Daines is a loyal guy. Loyal to his party. But not to the people of Montana. I'd love for Daines to prove me wrong.