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Letters to the Editor: June 12, 2014

Tribute to my dad

To the Editor:

My dad passed away when I was 11. There are a number of memories I have that have stayed with me my whole life. I thought I would share a few.

I remember being picked on in school because Dad had John Deere tractors and my classmates had Internationals. When we played with our toy tractors, John Deere sounds were putt putt, while International had more of a purr sound. My classmates said John Deere will be history and Internationals are here to stay. They were wrong; Dad was right. Dad was the first person in our area to buy a combine. My classmates said the combine will not make straw like the threshing machine. They were wrong; Dad was right. Dad was the first to buy a Meyers hay crusher in our area. My classmates said breaking up the hay like that will be bad and will hurt the cows. Once again, my classmates were wrong, and Dad was right. One knows my classmates were just echoing what they heard at home. I think my short years of knowing him has helped me more than anyone can and will ever know.

His willingness and foresight to go ahead and against the norm has given me the courage to push forward.

Dad always seemed to be ahead of his time. He certainly was when he passed away. I know it has been 51 years, but I still miss him. Treasure your moments with your dad, they are short.

Tony Huppert, Spring Valley


Blown away by Book Your Look

To the Editor:

I had the privilege of participating in the Book Your Look fashion show fundraiser benefiting the library building project. I was blown away by the amazingly talented organizers and volunteers who contributed to the event as well as the community support. The level of creativity and energy in New Richmond is truly something to be admired. Because of the hard work and dedication of organizers, the library building fund will receive over $1,000. Although I was backstage for most of the show, I have heard nothing but rave reviews from the individuals fortunate enough to be enjoying the fun from the audience.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped organize and sponsor the event, including: Ann and Pat Hall of Table 65, the New Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Edna Grotjahn Early, Carol Jones, and Barb Erickson from the Company of EB&C, Emily Osterbauer and Jessika Madison–Kennedy for their fabulous fashion creations, Kelle Monteith from a Casual Affair Boutique, Larry Gee for emceeing the event, Deena Neumann for taking photos, the staff of Table 65 and the many volunteer models.

It was fantastic to see a sold-out show and witness first hand the community support of the building project. Thank you to all of the individuals who came to watch the show on a beautiful summer day. Events likes these will bring us one step closer to realizing our dream of a new 21st century library for the New Richmond area. As a member of the library staff, I’m so grateful that I’ve been welcomed so warmly into a community that fosters creativity and education and embraces their library.

Kim Hennings, Director, C.A. Friday Memorial Library


Scott Walker good for Wisconsin

To the Editor:

In June 2009, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration oversaw a beleaguered Wisconsin economy. With gubernatorial Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke as his Secretary of Commerce, Doyle fiddled while Wisconsin’s economy burned. Our state had a $3.6 billion deficit. About 9.2 percent of our workforce was jobless. What was Doyle’s solution to our state’s mounting economic problems? Raid the state’s transportation fund to the tune of several hundred million dollars. Now there’s a slick tax increase never mentioned in an election campaign.

Fast forward to 2014. Scott Walker and the Republican majority in the state legislature have put Wisconsin’s economy back on solid ground. Their policies have erased the deficit and enabled a $500 million tax cut. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate in April was 5.8 percent with St. Croix and Pierce counties at 4.3 percent. Apparently if you want a job, you can now find one in Wisconsin.

Lee Brown, Hudson


Now they are in for it

To the Editor:

Recently it was noted that lawmakers have found all sorts of ways to penalize Veterans Affairs (VA) employees for the recent scandal involving extended waits for veterans seeking health care. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to make it easier to fire VA bosses, and a U.S. Senate committee cleared a measure to refuse bonuses for some agency workers. Best yet, President Obama promises to hold misbehaving employees accountable. And we all know he keeps his promises.

But now, a Republican senator wants to help veterans by introducing a bill to allow veterans to sue VA workers who tampered with health records. The bill would present no burden to the taxpayer as guilty federal employees would have to pay any damages out of pocket. But here’s the rub: no veteran can pay more than $1 to a lawyer to sue the government. This legislation was granted in the 1870s and a buck was a lot of money back then. It hasn’t been changed.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) who presented the legislation would also allow the department secretary to fire VA employees immediately and without the months of appeals and hearings that are mandated by civil service laws and union contracts. So the Democrats are just going to roll over and play dead, and if you fire all these employees do you really expect them to give evidence?

This bill to fire senior executives at the VA could face constitutional challenges, according to some legal experts familiar with federal employment law. Other legal experts however, have said the bill is unconstitutional on the grounds it violates due process protections. Additionally the House-backed bill violates a precedent established by the Supreme Court ruling in Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill, which has previously been applied to the federal workforce.

To give an example of how broken our system is, the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth and 14th amendments state that the U.S. government cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” The Supreme Court precedent in the Loudermill case defines a public sector job as the employee’s property, and therefore employees cannot be removed or demoted from such jobs without due process. But what about the vets who died? Do they get due process? And what about your job? Is it protected under the Constitution?

What is also noted are several technical issues with the way the bill is written. The legislation would amend Title 38, employment of uniformed services, while the federal statute that regulates senior executives is Title 5. It would also reform the performance provision of the employees’ protections. The accusations against VA executives who created fraudulent records relating to wait times at the hospitals or destroying them entirely represent misconduct, not poor performance.

Aha, so can that even be prosecuted when the executives did such a nice job of filing their reports. So much so they got a bonus, which means they did it right.

Robert Pike, Town of Stanton


Obamacare not working?

To the Editor:

Here is more evidence that Obamacare is not working. The percentage of those without insurance has fallen from 17.1 percent in the last quarter of 2013 to 13.4 percent in April. The numbers for our black and Latino citizens are even more horrific, they’ve fallen from 20.9 percent to 13.8 percent. If these numbers keep growing, will everybody be insured? Good grief, what then? Will Republicans start taking credit for it? After all it was one of their ideas (Romneycare), wasn’t it?

George Richard, New Richmond


Obama bypassed Congress

To the Editor:

Our historic president last week issued an edict calling for the EPA to begin enforcing restrictions on carbon dioxide, the stuff you exhale with each breath, in a roundabout effort to shut down America’s coal-fired power plants and the coal industry as well. With his pen and phone Mr. Historic bypassed the Congress, which by our Constitution is entrusted to initiate such law.

While most of the argument against Mr. Historic’s edict have focused on the economic ramifications, few have considered the political fallout. If he succeeds in making the inroads against the protections afforded by our Constitution and the courts let this patently unlawful edict stand, consider the consequences for the next president.

With a pen and phone the next president, most likely a Republican, and possibly a conservative Republican, will also be able to bypass congress. Will the next president, with the stroke of a pen and a phone call, ban abortion? Will the next president reverse gay marriage, and for that matter the gay agenda nationwide? Will the next president outlaw government unions and maybe private unions where they are an irritant? Will the next president decimate welfare payments to the 49 percent of Americans who now receive it? Will he or she gut the EPA? Will he or she gut the department of energy? Will the next president use the IRS and the FBI to harass his or her political opposition and the general population should they choose to oppose presidential edicts? Will the next president lower the minimum wage? Do you get my drift? What goes around comes around, and if Obama can get away ignoring the Constitution, so can the next guy.

Mr. Historic’s edict will certainly create economic havoc, just as all of his policies have done throughout his tenure. While most economic downturns last 18 months, Mr. Historic with his green energy efforts and crusade against affordable energy has managed to make this downturn last six years! If his edict stands, we can look forward to six, 10 maybe 20 years of economic downturn depending on which economist you listen to.

Mr. Historic is hoping to shut down 30 percent of our already stretched electricity production. He has nothing to replace it with since his renewable initiatives have failed to produce more than a couple percent of our total need for electricity. So, along with soaring price increases we are looking at brownouts (which burn up electrical appliances and equipment) and total blackouts when the electric grid gets overloaded. Imagine planning your day around the two or three hours of electricity you’ll get when it’s your community’s turn to have power this week. Think third world. Think California and Gray Davis. It has already happened here.

It would be poetic justice if Washington, D.C., was the first to have power cut when the blackouts start and the last to get it back.

Write or call your congressman and senators, especially if they are Democrats, and tell them to shut down their out-of-control president. And then vote them out of office this fall.

Jim Schroeder, Town of Somerset