The Wednesday Read

Happy 4/20 day. Celebrate accordingly!

Quote for the Day…

The best part of being the underdog is when people say you can’t win. -Unknown

In today’s column, I look at these people/issues:

  • Russell Herring
  • Emily Pennington
  • The Western Word Poll


The E-City Beat blog in Great Falls posted a column written by Philip M. Faccenda that claims Great Falls Public School Board candidate Russ Herring posted a picture that appears to have offended him. Supposedly Herring wrote something about Black Lives Matter (BLM) that he apparently did not like. Due to those two issues (and probably others like he was endorsed by Great Falls Public School teachers), they won’t allow his candidate profile on their blog.

The horror…the horror…

Here at The Western Word, I could not independently verify the accuracy of the photo or the quote. Even if it is true, it does not bother me. I’ve seen stranger things on social media.

I do not personally know Russell Herring. I don’t think I have ever met him. But it seems that several folks have an opinion about him – and it looks as though they are from the extreme right-wing side of the fence.

It appears the E-City Beat folks are picking on the low-hanging fruit in the election because Herring is running for an open one-year seat and that’s probably the only chance their side has of gaining a seat.

I was happy that Faccenda put his name on the column. That’s a good thing as that is not always the case with his blog.

Some of the comments posted in connection with the story on the Facebook page of E-City Beat and on the Facebook page of Rick Tryon, who is a Great Falls city commissioner, show why Great Falls is looked down upon. Tryon is a contributor to the E-City Beat.

One person commented, “I’ll bet he endorses anal touching by kindergartners!!!!”

Another said, “Dudes probably a pedo.”

Someone commented, “so you really think it’s OK for a teacher to do that?”
By the way, Herring is not running to be a teacher. This person who posted that should probably not be voting…

Stay classy, Great Falls…

In an earlier column, I said I was voting for Herring. I still plan to. He is a USAF veteran like me. We need his expertise on the school board as many children in the Great Falls school system are from military families.

To get a better understanding of the career of Russell Herring, click HERE.

Don’t forget to vote in the May 3 election and let’s all try to be nice!


Back on March 28, I wrote about Emily Pennington a Billings West High School junior who has Down syndrome.

The Billings Gazette reported that Billings School District 2 policy 2050 states that schools don’t have to enroll students who have reached age 19 on or before Sept. 10 of the school year in question. Pennington turns 19 on July 11, 2022. She was held back in kindergarten and had several surgeries that delayed her education.

The Gazette is now reporting that Pennington will get to stay another year at West High School in Billings and graduate with her class in 2023.

Common sense won here. Good for Emily.


This week’s poll question asks, “Do you approve of Steve Daines’ visit to Ukraine?” (Background)

The results will be posted later this week.


5 thoughts on “The Wednesday Read

  1. That ECB blog site has long been guilty of the worst sort of yellow journalism and the latest is no exception. Candidate has some comment about BLM on his Facebook that doesn’t align with the conservative koolaid that there’s no racism in America, so let’s pull a picture off his page and fabricate a whole story about a guy wearing a mask to smear him.

    That classless editorial trashing one of our neighbors is far more objectionable than the picture itself and highlights the ugliness of the modern extremist right. It also tars the four Great Falls conservative community school board candidates by association with this Great Falls conservative community blog.

    • Jenn Rowell from The Electric has the video of her school board candidate forum available, for anyone who wants to take the time to listen to the candidates speak for themselves, as opposed to being told what they should think by right wing muckrakers who cared less about the character issue for the entire 4 years of Trump, but seemingly suddenly found religion.

      Warning: Someone sitting close to the microphone was hacking up a storm the entire 2+ hours, and I’m pretty sure I caught Covid just listening to this thing.

      Spoilers/executive summary:
      – The incumbents certainly sounded the most knowledgeable about every subject.
      – Incumbent Herring obviously marches to his own drum in general, which adds context to the ECB motivated Facebook picture kerfluffle.
      – None of the conservative candidates came off as drooling wingnuts, but none were particularly impressive either, with the possible exception of the well-spoken Brian Cayko (who the closed captioning identified as Brian Psycho). Most just repeated boilerplate and platitudes particularly Turoski who said nothing at all memorable or unique one way or the other.
      – Conservative candidate Meyers apparently wants to bring back good old fashioned flunking. Wonder how that will play with the district’s parents?
      – Conservative candidate Jablonski is convinced no one listens to parents or kids, and is in favor of board members doing drive-by surprise evaluations of teachers in their classrooms because principals aren’t doing the job.
      – Non-conservative endorsed Amie Thompson also came off well.

      Other things we learned:
      – Great Falls is dead last in the state in tech spending per student. Missoula spends 10x as much.
      – Academic achievement all over Montana is poor compared to the rest of the country.
      – Montana has a reputation with the military of having a poor educational system.

      • Terry – Great information. Thanks. I heard that some of the audio or video was not good.
        As for Herring, he is not an incumbent as you said; he’s running for the one year term that was Cahill’s and is currently occupied by Reiff. Reiff decided to run for three year term. The other incumbents are Johnson and Finnicum. Gray did not seek re-election.
        As for Cayko, I saw a YouTube video where he pronounced it Psycho. Interesting. -JmB

      • Wow I was sure fooled. Herring was so knowledgeable and detailed I would have sworn he was incumbent. My bad.

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