A changing economy, new energy
The June 10 cover story, "Rise of the 'Green Coast,' " brings out the idea that entrepreneurship that responds to change lives on. My great-grandfather Gen. Lester S. Willson and his brother orchestrated the first wagon train to Bozeman, Mont. – the focus of the article – in 1867. He founded a freight company, general store, and bank. His son, Fred Willson, studied architecture abroad and returned to build much of Bozeman and Montana State University, including the Baxter Hotel, pictured in the article.
The destructive extractive economy is indeed changing, as is the expectation of what constitutes a truly satisfying standard of living. The habits and sensitivities of the past 40 years of expensive resource-intense living fueled by housing appreciation and cheap credit and energy are over. As American author and social critic James Howard Kunstler has argued, in the future, our communities will thrive on local economies that are "simpler, smaller, closer," even as businesspeople use amazing technology to create livelihoods.
Bozeman, indeed, epitomizes a new economy with a respect for conservation and development of new energy and an eye to environmental preservation so that future generations can enjoy nature and health. I've just returned from the BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Livable Economies) conference in Buffalo, N.Y. Rest assured, the pioneer spirit is alive and well throughout the United States, and a new sense of quality of life is imminent.
Lester (Casey) Willson III
Main Street and Sustainability Programs manager
MD Small Business & Tech. Development Center
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.
Pray in secret – at school or not
The June 17 cover story on the state of religion in schools 50 years after the US Supreme Court "banned" school-sanctioned prayer ("Was God expelled?") overlooked one important issue. In Matthew 6, Jesus said to pray in private and silently, not publicly and not aloud. This is a basic tenet of true Christianity, a religion of deeds and behavior, not of overt expressions of belief.