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Letters to the Editor: March 13, 2014

Build library on current site

To the Editor:

Sometimes, seemingly complex decisions are really very simple and straightforward. Case in point, our community desperately needs a new library, and it should be built on the site of the current library.

Although there are different opinions about the location of a new library in New Richmond, it’s important to consider the impartial conclusions of the Library Board tasked with that decision. Our Library Board is a very qualified group of intelligent and respected members who represent the entire community without any compensation. Its seven members include representatives of the City Council, the school district and three representatives inside, and two outside, the city limits. In fulfilling their duties as responsible for the library, they have been diligently studying this issue for years, and after due legal process, hired an architectural firm to assist them in this process. What was their unanimous conclusion, which after thoughtful reconsideration, they still believe to be correct? That the current site is the best location for building our new library. They have sought input from all parties and considered all the facts – over and over again.

They considered cost, as well as the established and central placement at the current location that is so important to our community. Indeed, the current library is uniquely and ideally situated on a beautiful piece of property located off the riverfront and the city’s main street (Knowles Avenue) and quite visible near the heart of the city. The property was deeded to the city expressly for a library, which is the only building use that is legally permitted on that site. Realistically, library fundraising – a critical part of the required money – will be more successful for a new library built at its current location that all of us can rally behind.

The Library Board has thoroughly studied this issue ad nauseam, and there is nothing left to be studied or said on this matter. We have had enough committees and meeting groups formed, and then recast in slightly different configurations, at the various political levels, spending endless hours talking; all of which by now could have built a new library several times over.

Enough with the endless talking as the years – and decades – continue to go by since it was objectively determined a new library was needed. It’s time that those favoring endless inaction to get out of the way. The time for talk is over; it is time to make a decision and move forward. Without a decision such as the Library Board’s, a new library realistically will not happen. Decades from now, we will still be talking and forming committees. End the impasse; most of us – young as we are – would like to see a new library in our lifetimes!

If our various elected and appointed leaders would courageously support the Library Board’s unanimous decision as to location and boldly lead, they would be astonished by the outpouring of excitement and community support from all of us rallying behind them and racing to completion of a wonderful new building at its current site that would be the pride of the city.

Let’s proceed to expediently build a new library, at the current location, designed for the future. A library that we can all be proud of as our city grows, especially with the new St. Croix River Crossing. A vibrant new library that will meet the needs of all of us – including our children – for the foreseeable future at the current site. A beautiful new library suitable for “The City Beautiful.”

Jerry Pults, Town of Richmond

Plenty at stake in spring elections

To the Editor:

I just wish to remind everyone that our spring elections are going to fall on April 1 this year and there is a lot at stake this time around. I feel that this election will have some major long-term impacts on the future of the county and how services are provided to the people of the county. What is the future of the ag building and how the services within are delivered to the taxpayers? How will the county move forward with the county nursing home? How do we address the growing heroin problem? In short, how do we prepare for the future?

I believe that the county needs to shoulder its responsibility to the people it serves. The ag building is one of the greatest examples of how to provide service within the county. It highlights how there are still lessons that government can learn from working with our great agricultural community. We need to move forward with the county nursing home, something that has been in stasis for two years. This is an issue that has huge public support, proven by two referenda, and this summer we should finally be able to move forward with it. Finally, we need to bring on a special drug prosecutor and stop waiting to see what the state might do. With every day that passes the more this danger spreads throughout the area and the more difficult it becomes to combat.

I believe in taking to heart the greatest words on what the role of government truly is. As President Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address, we are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” I feel that this is a lesson some elected officials at every level have forgotten, but this is the metric that I check for every decision that I make.

Thank you, and remember to vote on April 1.

Travis Schachtner, Town of Somerset

Get involved in local government

To the Editor:

I would like to introduce myself as a candidate for 3rd Supervisor - Town of St. Joseph. My name is Richard Thompson. I work at the Somerset School as a High School Math and Physics teacher. I have been a resident of the Town of St. Joseph for the last 14 years and a resident of Wisconsin a majority of my life. I enjoy living here. I have been attending town board meetings for about the last eight years and have been on a couple committees. When Brian Gullickson informed me he was not going to run for the position this year and asked me to run, I gave it considerable thought before accepting the nomination. I think Brian has done a great job and I’d like to continue what he has started. I have a daughter going to the Houlton Elementary School. We all know with the new bridge our town will change. The question is how? We have all driven through towns that looked like they had a plan and those that obviously did not. We need to have a plan for how to grow our town and keep the small-town atmosphere. I, by nature, am pretty conservative and see the need to spend our town money (your tax money) wisely to pursue this goal. I encourage everyone to come out and vote on April 1 and to attend the town meetings and committee meetings. We need you involved. I am not going to put up any signs, put any fliers in your mailbox, or run a negative campaign. I think everyone has a right to their opinion. I will be at the Candidate Forum at the St. Joseph Town Hall on March 24 from 7-9 p.m. and will stay after as long as it takes to answer any questions. If you know me, I ask you to come out and vote on April 1. If you don’t know me, I encourage you to come to the forum and get your questions answered. Thanks and have a great day.

Richard Thompson, Town of St. Joseph

We no longer live in a free nation

To the Editor:

In response to Carol Johnson’s Letter to the Editor, the week of Feb. 9, I too, worry about the state of our union. I believe the institution of democracy is under attack as government regulators and pseudo-environmental groups seem more aligned with benefitting corporations, stripping local control, and erasing constitutional rights than preserving the Constitution. When a corporation regardless of industry can swoop into a rural community, take control and force its agenda on an unwilling population for the financial benefit of a few, I believe we no longer live in the free nation.

It is no secret that Ms. Johnson, a Forest resident, has been a proponent of industrial wind energy in our town, as well as a supporter to reverse protective zoning in our community, which would only benefit commercial enterprises. The intent of her letter is perplexing, as industrial wind and no zoning both threaten the quality of life, property investments, and constitutional rights of everyone in Forest.

Johnson states the fossil fuel industry receives huge subsidies but neglects to inform the reader that those subsidies are consistent with all corporations in the energy industry. Johnson further neglects to inform the reader that industrial wind energy receives subsidies regardless of production and nets much higher payouts than conventional energy. The development of and production from wind farms is reliant on subsidies in order to continue operation. Turbines produce electricity only when the wind blows; which means the real winners are not the retail consumer or businesses but the developers, investors, and owners of wind farms.

I completely agree with Ms. Johnson that the time has come. “We the People” must pay attention and elect lawmakers who put the people before corporate interests. In the Town of Forest, we have elected our supervisors not once, not twice, but three times because all three have proven their dedication to the majority; a majority opposed to living inside an industrial wind facility.

In these days of greed over good and propaganda over truth, when lies are disguised as facts, I am reminded of when King George ruled America, and our nation’s forefathers fought against tyranny and won. Those patriots went forward to create a nation “Of the People, By the People, and For the People.” It is time to take a stand against those who would make corporations king.

I agree with Ms. Johnson that it is the responsibility of each American to vote responsibly, but I disagree that most voters are uninformed or ignorant as Johnson infers. In the last several years, I have observed a trend of more participation at the local, county and state levels of government all across Wisconsin and the United States. Communities such as Forest will only “perish from the earth” as we know it if residents do not support an ethical and responsible local government that puts people before profit and demand constitutional justice from our state and federal representatives. We are residents of the Town of Forest in the great State of Wisconsin, and we are Americans. We live by a higher standard!

Jeff Ericson, Town of Forest

Take back our state

To the Editor:

Who benefits and who loses when Wisconsin’s Republican majority lawmakers take away local authorities’ ability to monitor and control air and water quality? Who loses and who wins when they take away control over the funding of our schools? Who loses and who wins when mining companies can drain and strip lakes and water flowages but locals are left powerless to stop it?

Republican legislators like our own Rep. Dean Knudson are voting to take away local control over issues vital to communities even though Republicans have historically promoted the importance of local control, saying that those at the front line know best. Why?

It’s all about money. Someone is walking out the door with a load of dough, laughing all the way to the bank. Who might that be? It’s big business, especially out-of-state big business. For every such issue before Wisconsin’s legislature, there are at least five proposals for tax breaks, subsidies, exemptions, and exceptions for corporate pigs at the public trough. They’re walking off with our state. It’s time to take back Wisconsin from the likes of the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council who write the laws and manipulate our Republican legislators like puppets on a string.

The people of Wisconsin are being taken to the cleaners over and over again, stripped of our power to affect what’s happening in our back yard. We are in charge of the quality of our own lives. Tell Rep. Dean Knudson to stop giving away our state.

Harlen Menk, Ellsworth

The rest of the story on Obama

To the Editor:

Maybe you have heard this saying: “There are lies, damn lies and statistics.” Or this one: “There is the truth and then there is the whole truth.” I have never read a better representation of the negative aspects of these two adages than I did in the letter submitted to the editor two weeks ago entitled “Obama has accomplished much.” Some of the president’s accomplishments as stated by the author, both historically and statistically, were correct. The problem is, if you look a little closer, you see, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.” Let us take it point by point.

Yes, we’ve had GDP increases of 2 percent to 3 percent each year. It sounds wonderful until you compare those percentages with the historical recession recovery GDP yearly increases of 5.5 percent to 8 percent. China’s economy is growing at 7 percent. Comparatively, 2 percent to 3 percent is pathetic.

Yes, we have added 1.6 million jobs per year or 133,000 per month and that sounds good until you come to understand that the economy has to add a monthly average of 265,000 jobs just to sustain the country’s population increase. Compare Obama’s recovery with the 345,000 job per month average increase during the Reagan recovery years; 133,000 jobs per month is pathetic.

Yes, we have had 44 months of uninterrupted job growth. I wonder if the author would consider adding one job a month for 44 months successful job growth. Again, the job growth has been pathetic.

Yes, the unemployment rate as currently figured is 6.6 percent. What is conveniently not factored in the unemployment rate is the number of chronically unemployed people whose benefits have lapsed or have stopped looking for a job. Add in those and the real rate is close to 12 percent. And is it not statistically strange, that the labor participation rate can go down to a 35-year-low and the unemployment rate can also go down at the same time? Do you remember 1978-79, the last time we had a far-left liberal president? I do, and it was pathetic. Don’t forget, all this only cost us $900 billion in stimulus money.

The rest of last week’s letter, with which I disagree almost entirely, was just the author’s misguided but entitled opinion, not fact.

I will admit that the president has accomplished much; much in the same way a football team that finishes the year 2-14 accomplishes much. Or a mountain climber who freezes to death half way up the mountain accomplishes much. I believe the president’s two major accomplishments to date are that he has clearly shown how liberal big government policies based on Keynesian economic theory have been a complete failure and, sadly, he has gotten many people to not only accept pathetically low achievement but somehow make them believe it is “good news.”

Dan Singer, Town of Star Prairie

Fox News loves Putin

To the Editor:

What’s with the talking heads on Fox News lately? I’m talking about how they’re trying to cast President Obama as a weakling, especially in foreign policy. I did get a kick out of Sarah Palin’s comment on the president wearing “mom jeans” when comparing him to that Russian stud Vladimir Putin. It seems like Ms. Palin wasn’t the only one who’s been enthralled by the Russian president. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and Lindsey Graham, along with the regulars on Fox, O’Reilly, Hannity, etc., have accused Obama of not being on top of the Ukrainian situation, while at the same time giving backhanded praise to Putin for decisiveness.

It has gotten so bad with the “man crush” the folks at Fox seem to have on Old Vlad, that I wouldn’t be shocked if they’re already fighting about who gets to take him to the senior prom.

But really, other than economic sanctions, what is this president (or any other) going to do? Send troops to the Ukraine? Hardly. Perhaps we should use the example set by George W. Bush in August 2008, when Russian troops invaded Georgia, which was pretty much nothing. There are still Russian troops there five years later. The only thing the Bush administration did was advise them to talk. Here’s what they said: “The U.S. supports Georgia’s territorial integrity. We call for an immediate ceasefire. We urge all parties to de-escalate the tensions and to avoid conflict. We will work on mediation efforts to secure a ceasefire, and are urging all parties to restart their dialogue.” (Dana Perino, White House spokesman, August 2008)

It’s the same thing, so why is this president being treated differently?

And just to clear something up for our conservative friends, Obama doesn’t wear the mom jeans, that was Mitt Romney, and this president still has a pretty good jump shot. Take that Vlad.

George Richard, New Richmond

Can Russia stop?

To the Editor:

Last week Russia sent in more than 2,000 troops to the Crimea, which is part of the Ukraine on the Black Sea. Yes, this is the same place where the Charge of the Light Brigade lost 600 men, and Florence Nightingale became popular as the Lady with the Lamp.

It’s also the place where the Soviet fleet has a nuclear submarine base near Sevastopol and letting that fall into the hands of a third-world country that also produces secret terrorist organizations is not a good thing. Moreover, what’s really going on there? The Ukraine is undergoing cash flow problems and social unrest, which is the breeding ground for terrorist groups. Putin is only keeping his stockpiles of nuclear weapons protected from rogue forces taking advantage of the civil strife. Remember, the Ukrainian Army has weapons, just no bullets and the U.S. is partly responsible for that.

Yet the idiots in Washington think this is an invasion and are making as much out of it as possible to keep your attention away from what’s going on in the Capital City.

But what about China? Have they thrown in with Russia? The answer is no. They have a policy to never intervene in other countries’ politics. Look at North Korea, India and Tibet, which all have created problems along their borders. Also, China has a huge business relationship with the Ukraine with respect to arms shipments and a 5 percent national agricultural deal for land there. If they intervened, the relationship with Russia would be threatened.

I wonder what the Russians would say if we invaded Grenada to stop the Cubans from taking over and setting up Russian missile bases pointed toward Florida. But wait, didn’t we do that? In fact didn’t they make a movie out of it called “Heartbreak Ridge” with Clint Eastwood?

Washington is always talking, not doing the right thing. The occupant of the White House thinks placing sanctions on Russia would halt them from doing the right thing, which is saving us from a greater disaster. But did you know that sanctions on Russia wouldn’t work?

For example, Ford Motor Company has several plants in Russia building Russian trucks not for export. They’re nicknamed Fordinskis. And did you know that everything from blue jeans to cell phones to CDs to McDonalds not to mention Exxon is already there? So what exactly would the Russians be missing from us?

I used to get the Soviet newspaper TASS, or Pravda. Not that I’m a communist, I just wanted to read what they didn’t say about world events that I was a small part of. It was amazing how they twisted the news to suit their political goals. In fact, it was a lot like our major newspapers and TV news today. The old saying the truth is between the lines doesn’t exist in our major media outlets.

Robert Pike, Town of Stanton