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Letters to the Editor: June 5, 2014

Neither side should have majority

To the Editor:

I saw an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently, saying we could get rid of gridlock in our politics by simply voting for Republicans. Why didn’t I think of that? Our troubles would be over, wouldn’t they?

A solid GOP/Tea Party majority would be able to smash programs they feel put unnecessary burdens on the job creators, such as social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, welfare, unemployment and workers compensation. You know, those programs that make us dependent on the government, and tend to make us lazy and prone to laying around the house watching that big screen TV that we bought with the equally big welfare check.

How about other rights we could lose through one-party rule? What if they passed a law that only landowners could vote, or that U.S. senators should be chosen not by popular vote, but whatever party rules our state’s legislature?

I’m not saying any of this would happen, but why take a chance? We’ve already tried trickle down economics, and it don’t work. The job creators don’t need any more tax breaks until they show us they have created anything other than wealth for themselves and more hardship for the rest of us.

George Richard, New Richmond


Remember when?

To the Editor:

We are in an interesting time right now. The world is gone beyond turmoil and is maxed out on the credit cards, or should I say its governments are near or at bankruptcy levels. The seniors of the world are just waiting for the last bus out of town and the kids can’t wait until they own the world, or what’s going to be left of it. What’s bad is, when the kids do own the world they’re suddenly going to be struck by the fact that their parents were right after all.

Before, in the ancient past, like 50 years ago, kids grew up thinking they don’t need an education because they can just do what their fathers were doing. Work in the coal mines in Virginia, the steel mills in Pittsburgh, the car plants in Detroit and all the little businesses that sprang up around these major industries.

Anyone could get a job in construction; my brother-in-law followed his dad who was a plumber by trade. Later, his dad got a job with the Air Force teaching something technical to which he retired and lived a nice life until the end. But in no way did anyone think all of that could go away.

In my brother-in-law’s case, he had a partner in his plumbing business who absconded with all the money, leaving my brother-in-law holding the bag. Debts put him into bankruptcy court, and in a small town the reputation he had built up was also destroyed. So he went to work for Chrysler as a steamfitter and made enough money to pay back everyone and even the mortgage. After five years he was granted full retirement benefits, but at eight years he had an accident at work, which left him handicapped. So he collects SSI, Workman’s Comp and full retirement ,and he, too, is living nicely until the end.

Here’s the problem. While all these major industries were in their prime and money flowed like rivers, one generation could dovetail onto the other without too much change to the nature of their work. But as the money slowed and no one took the time to re-educate themselves, restrictions became necessary because productivity and perfection demanded it. Look at the car world — can anyone ever remember 19 million recalls so far this year alone? And that’s just one manufacturer. But there was one place you could go to work and they didn’t care if you knew anything or not, they would train you in. It was called the government.

What got everyone’s attention was the same great unions promising the same great retirement. Over the years, millions went to work and everyone became complacent because they knew what to expect at the end. But when the money quits coming in because the economy is ruined, then sooner or later there are going to be plenty of layoffs, and how will you train yourself for something that doesn’t exist?

Robert Pike, Town of Stanton


More training needed

To the Editor:

New Richmond has an inordinately high population of persons with serious mental illness in comparison with other communities. It may be because St. Croix County Behavioral Health Services is located here … 50 percent of its clients live within 10 miles of New Richmond.

That fact means that our police department is encountering persons with special mental health issues often — either through welfare checks, domestic calls or transportation to inpatient mental health facilities or court. They lack appropriate training to deal with most of these clients — and because of their training, and often temperaments, involved in criminal work — are ill-prepared to deal with the realities of mentally ill clients. The huge majority of persons with a mental health diagnosis are not violent. A simple example is the city requirement to handcuff all mentally ill clients while being transported. Wisconsin state law makes it optional. Can you imagine the additional trauma this imposes on an already fragile, depressed person? The state also requires police to make the call where a person is a danger to themselves or others in conjunction with a master’s prepared person. It’s called emergency detention. A doctor can’t even make that call in Wisconsin.

I’m suggesting that we find a way to get Crisis Intervention Training for our officers. This is a trauma-informed approach that helps to de-escalate situations through the words and actions of the responding officer. It’s about physical and emotional safety for both the officer and the person he or she is responding to. It costs up to $2,000 per officer and requires 40 hours of training. There are training programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Four St. Croix County Sheriff’s department officers received the training in neighboring Washington County last fall. Pierce County has at least one fully trained officer and is in the process of having all its officers exposed to a mini CIT training. The hang-ups are the cost and the time — the overtime.

We as citizens need to find a way to support efforts to have our New Richmond Police trained. Changing the budget? Obtaining grants? Providing CEUs? Can we work with NAMI-St. Croix Valley? Our local mental health agencies and professionals? Let’s get something going. I believe the more information and training you have, the better it will be for all involved.

Ninette Nolen, New Richmond


Just look at all the signs

To the Editor:

Traveling west on I-94 into Minnesota there are several large billboards in Woodbury and some taller signs near White Bear Avenue. Noticeably, these are small in number. What is more striking is the visibility of building architecture in Woodbury and continuing through St. Paul into Minneapolis and then south on I-35 to Lakeville. Along the interstates and major highways in Eagan, Burnsville, Savage and Shakopee, and several other Minnesota communities, sign height is primarily kept below tree level.

Traveling east on I-94 from Minnesota into Wisconsin across the St. Croix River the Fleet Farm sign is visible. Then, at the top of the hill, more signs catch the eye before building architecture is noticed. This type of “sight blight” is visible in Hudson, Roberts and Baldwin.

The public hearing on Thursday, June 5, at 6:30 p.m., at the Roberts Village Hall deals with amendments to Zoning Code Chapter 70, Sections 70-222 through 70-232, regarding signs and graphics.

A zoned residential property, for example, will be allowed, without needing a permit, to have an unlimited number of 10-foot-high by 2-square-feet (sf) no trespassing signs. The same property at the same time could have four 10-foot-high by 5-sf private information signs,and four 5-foot-high by 5-sf election signs on the property 45 days before the election, and one 10-feet-high by 32-sf temporary sign erected for 48 hours, and with a permit one 10-foot-high by 10-sf home occupation sign would be allowed.

Each village property could have two, 20-foot-high by 100-sf signs.

Business properties along I-94 could have one 150-foot-high sign, as is the Flying J and McDonald’s sign, and, additionally, a 1,200-sf sign or billboard 500 foot distant from any other sign.

Comments for or against these amendments will be welcome at the public hearing or delivered to the Roberts Village Trustees.

Peter Tharp, Roberts


Hold Bergdahl accountable

To the Editor:

Let’s set the record straight on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl right now.

Bergdahl was not a prisoner of war. He voluntarily abandoned his military unit in Afghanistan. He is a deserter!

The many searches for Bergdahl that followed his desertion resulted in the deaths of six soldiers. Six heroes. Six brave men! Men who gave their lives to save his and for what? For cowardice!

For nothing.

Don’t let President Barack Hussein Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel fool you on this one too. Obama again ignored our Constitution and our Congress. Apparently Obama and Hagel believe the likes of people like deserter Bowe Bergdahl and traitor Bradley Manning are more important than our honorably discharged veterans. The VA scandal is more proof of that. Veterans are dying because of the lack of health care while Washington is trying to figure out how to transfer Manning to a civilian prison so he can get a sex change operation!

Bergdahl is a deserter, and he needs to be held accountable!

The five enemy combatant terrorists traded for his life will soon be back in the field and attacking and killing Americans around the world. How many more lives will this foolish trade cost us? Will the media ever expose the incompetence of the Obama Administration for what it really is?

Thomas Wulf, New Richmond