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Letters to the Editor: July 17, 2014

Thank you to the emergency responders

To the Editor:

Thank you to all of the emergency responders from the New Richmond, Roberts and Somerset fire departments, along with the police and ambulance crews from New Richmond. This past Wednesday night I gained a tremendous amount of respect for the outstanding work and coordination that was put forward to suppress the fire in one of our buildings (Balsam Millwork at 524 St. Croix Ave. in New Richmond) and the effort to save the two adjacent buildings.

When I arrived at 11:30 p.m. many emergency personnel had already been fighting the fire, which had already fully engulfed the building. As the fire burned on, many volunteers from all three communities continued to arrive and help with the intense battle. I do not know how many were here, but there must have been 40 to 50 volunteers. Jim Vander Wyst, the fire chief from New Richmond, did a great job coordinating the well-trained crews for hours in order to put out the fire.

The building that burned was a total loss, but our family and our employees want to express our thanks to everyone who worked so hard to save our main building from heat and flames. Without your efforts there would have been a much greater loss for all of us. Thank you for your commitment, your sacrifice of time and the training you have all put in to be ready to assist when someone is in need. We would also like to say a special thank you to the bystanders who provided water and snacks for all of those fighting the fire as well.

Greg Nelson, President and owner of Balsam Millwork


Firefighters saved businesses

To the Editor

I’d like to express our heartfelt thanks to the New Richmond, Roberts and Somerset fire departments for the outstanding job they did saving our building (511 Wisconsin Dr. in New Richmond) Thursday morning.

There is damage to our and Balsam Millwork’s main buildings, but we both still have functioning business es thanks to the swift and professional work of the firefighters. Best of all, no lives were lost. I can’t say enough about the quality of the job they did.

Summer Seidenkranz, Owner, National Refund & Marketing Services


Brilliant letter

To the Editor:

I do not know Susan Olson, however, I would like to publicly and gratefully thank her for her brilliant letter to the editor in last week’s News.

Each of her points were spot on. As many of we business people in New Richmond know, the Chamber of Commerce does little for New Richmond. It’s always about them making bucks for the Chamber.

They have taken Fun Fest from the core of the city and destroyed it. And now they have stuck their feet in their mouths once again by turning their backs on a man who would have given this city a stellar move in the right direction — for once.

Mari Driscoll, New Richmond


A food shelf thank you

To the Editor:

Thank you so much to the New Richmond Area Community Foundation! Five Loaves Food and Clothing Center was recently awarded $1,538 to be used to purchase milk for our Happy Kids Backpack Program. Over 80 needy kids in the New Richmond School District carry backpacks filled with food home for the weekend during the school year. Together with the local VFW post and the Salvation Army, the NRACF helped ensure that all of these New Richmond-area children receive milk through Christmas 2014! We want to thank all of these area groups for making such a big difference in the lives of many.

Heidi Herron , Fundraising Coordinator at Five Loaves Food and Clothing Center New Richmond


1926 building would make good library

To the Editor:

The cows are not happy in response to the “Our View: Commons site holds great opportunity.” It may be time for the new editor to change grains. New Richmond has always been a community of recycle, reuse, repurpose, which is evidenced by the tenacious spirit which enabled our ancestors to rebuild the city and school (on the 1926 site) not once, but twice.

Every farmer knows that maintaining and preserving equipment and buildings is good for the bottom line. Farming is a gamble that even Vegas won’t make odds on, but the odds of creating a multipurpose destination from the 1926 structure and commons are darn good, one might even say great.

We have an opportunity to preserve a solid structure which holds a great history, architecturally, historically and educationally. It is time to not only think outside the box; it is time to remove the box. It is true the building is a bunker and what better place to safeguard our library collection as well as the organizations that serve to preserve our humanity.

Yes sir, that is a mighty fine building. With new technology, advances in building materials and systems there is no reason that the 1926 structure and commons could not be the next environmental winner in the green awards as well as a magnificent destination, creating tourism dollars in the community. If we were to build a library based on what has been raised in the last 15 years (excluding impact fees) we would have to buy a deck of cards for building materials.

Now some of the paint may have yellowed on the 1926 building, but not as much as the New Richmond News. Every time I read the paper these days I feel as though I am sliding down the slippery slope. Does that mean the writing might be slanted? So when the cows start tilting I check their hooves to make sure there is no manure causing an issue, because I know the barn floor is level. Maybe the editor should check his desk and be sure it is level.

Mark Jackelen, New Richmond


Rumor and innuendo

To the Editor:

I was watching the movie station on the tube the other day and “Peyton Place” was on, again. This novel was written by Grace Metalious about a small town in New Hampshire and I lived near one of the small towns that Grace used as a model for the book. The book was written in the 1950s and I lived there during the 1980s. Now I live in New Richmond and it seems nothing has changed.

I was in a sandwich shop on Saturday in North Saint Paul and I noticed someone I had known casually from here. His brother still lives in the area and I made a joke about having to commute so far for a job he could get downtown. We talked about things and then he asked if I had heard that one of NR’s finest lost his job on Friday? Of course this gave rise to what the police officer had done and of course without any facts you can imagine the innuendo that sprouted up. For those who don’t know what innuendo means its definition is basically unfriendly hint.

There’s a scene in “Peyton Place” where Allison Mackenzie is at an awards ceremony in New York and her significant other gets a phone call saying the school principal has lost his job and nobody knows why. Of course the book is to blame because it’s about the lives of the people who live in Peyton Place.

Then there’s the plot about a young man who tries for a job in town that he’s always wanted and has worked hard to get, gets the job and later loses it because some unknown person has written a nasty letter. What could have been in that letter we probably won’t ever know simply because in small towns the truth is as elusive as the wind. This by the way did a heck of a job wrecking Fun Fest this year and I still can’t understand why you can’t take a child into a bar but you can take them to a beer tent.

In living here over the years I have heard numerous stories about city hall who is always trying to make changes nobody wants. Then there are the employees who misbehave, which are then exploited by others for their own wants. Suddenly there’s new offices that nobody knew were going in until they saw the sign being put up. Businesses come and go and shops you thought should have died long ago are still puttering along. You have to wonder if money laundering is keeping the doors open because it sure ain’t the food.

On the flip side of life people leave and still others come back, which is odd in a way because they weren’t from here to begin with. Kids still graduate and are the young lions of tomorrow while still others take pride in just being able to fix a car. And boy are they good at it.

Robert Pike, Town of Stanton


Cops aren’t always bad guys

To the Editor:

I haven’t written to you in awhile, but recent news said “it’s time again!”

The story showed a California Highway Patrol officer hitting a woman. The announcer commented that it was going viral, but it didn’t show the whole story of what happened in the beginning. Too often, the police are made to look like the bad guys. If they want to send something viral, I have something for them.

How about the officer that gets a call on a bad car accident. When he or she gets to the scene, they find a dead child in a car seat that is crushed. It seemed someone ran a red light and hit the vehicle broadside where the child was sitting. The driver was operating while intoxicated.

An officer gets a domestic call (some family members fighting) and finds out later that there was someone in the house with a rifle with a scope aimed at his head.

The family of a Sheriff’s deputy on New Year’s morning finds out his wife rode along that night. A drunken driver hit their full-size patrol car head on and killed her and severely wounded him.

Police have other sides also. My daughter and her husband are foster parents in North Dakota. Their doorbell can ring in the middle of the night with an officer looking to shelter some children taken from abusive parents. The children have been beaten and abused.

I know I sound biased. Back in the 70s, I joined the Air Force to be a security police officer. I had to agree to give it at least three years before I could cross train out. I did last three and a half years, then cross trained out. I felt I was not good enough. I didn’t have what it takes.

I do think we are too quick to point out the bad and not give equal time to the good. Here in New Richmond, we are very fortunate to have the police department that we have. I know of no other civilian job that when the bullets start flying, they run toward them instead of away from them.

Before we convict the Highway Patrol, the Sheriff’s department and the local police, walk a mile in their shoes!

Rex DeSmith, New Richmond


It’s time for trickle-up economics

To the Editor:

You’ve heard the story. The rich are getting richer, and average folks are slipping lower. Inequality is a fact of life on this side of heaven, but inequality in America is now at historically high levels and getting worse. The middle class is disappearing. Americans need to wake up to this self-defeating slide into economic inequality. It is totally avoidable.

We could learn a great deal from the example of Henry Ford. He realized that the guys building the Model T were not only laborers but consumers. He paid his Michigan autoworkers an above-average living wage so that they could afford to buy his cars. Generous? Yes, but also profitable. The truth we must all grasp is that an economy that is good for middle class folks is also good for rich folks.

Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican majority in the legislature are disciples of supply-side economics, otherwise known as trickle-down economics. The general idea is that tax breaks and other economic benefits such as deregulation given to businesses and upper income people will trickle down to benefit the low and middle income citizens of the state. But history shows that trickle-down economics simply doesn’t work, and the fact that Wisconsin’s economy is lagging behind most other states is evidence of its failure.

Let’s grasp the wisdom of trickle-up economics. If middle and lower class workers have more money to spend, businesses will have more customers. Working class people, not businesses, are the real job creators. When America’s middle class is thriving, America will be prosperous. Well-paid workers create rich people, not the other way around.

Harlen Menk, Ellsworth


Restorative response

To the Editor:

I am writing to give voice to those whose grief causes pain and silence. I’m the director of the St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program (SCVRJP). In that capacity, our agency has been serving those harmed by crime and conflict, while also serving those that caused the harm. We bring community to these parties and try to repair the harm, and promote accountability and healing. This is the process of Restorative Justice.

In 2010, after a number of suicide deaths in our community, we began a program called Restorative Response. This program has provided guides to families following a tragic death. Tragic deaths that are sudden, unexpected, and preventable create complex grief and trauma for the family and loved ones. SCVRJP provides support by engaging volunteers, hosting Circles, training professionals, and working 1:1 with people impacted by suicide, homicide, traffic fatality, or drug overdose.

In providing these services, our agency is aware of the amount of pain, confusion, loss and heartbreak that tragic death brings. Healing doesn’t happen in isolation, so community helps create the space for support. Survivors need to feel the connection to community, and to know their loved one is remembered for how they lived. Raising awareness to the social issues and promoting prevention has a healing impact. The opportunity for the public to support this programming is on Aug. 9, at the White Kinnickinnic Pathway. The fifth annual Walk for Awareness is the event to raise awareness, support survivors and raise funds for SCVRJP.

Maybe you know someone whose life was impacted by suicide, homicide, traffic fatality or drug overdose. You could extend the offer to bring the person to the walk, share our materials, or have a memory board at the event. SCVRJP is a nonprofit organization, and financial support from our community is essential to continue offering programs and services. We are looking for people to attend the walk or donate items for the raffle. Perhaps your congregation, club or family could host an event or mini-fundraiser for SCVRJP. Every cent of your support goes directly into programming for Restorative Justice.

For the first time, I will be unable to attend the Walk for Awareness. I made the decision to accept a training contract, so I will be doing fundraising for SCVRJP out of state. It was a difficult decision. I am asking you to come fill in for me. Please offer your presence to others hurting from harm while supporting a cause that works to both repair and prevent it.

Kris Miner, St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program


Why I run for office

To the Editor:

My name is Travis Schachtner and I am a candidate for Assembly District 28. I am often asked why I am running for office. As a veteran I believe that it is an honor for any representative to be the voice of the people at any level of government. Because of this, I was shocked and disappointed when I heard our current Assembly Representative, Republican Erik Severson, say at a Polk County GOP event, “I’ve got a great job that I really enjoy; this is just another extra thing that I’m doing.” Part time representation at full time pay, rural Wisconsin needs better?

My opponent, the lawyer Adam Jarchow, is promising more of the same. He disregards the lack of active, full-time rural representation by declaring that Severson has “done a great job in moving Wisconsin in the right direction.” Really? What about attempts to roadblock legislation to require testing of newborns for heart defects? Imposing levy limits on local governments so that they are required to go into debt just to meet their basic needs? How about cutting state funding for public schools, a necessity to maintain a thriving rural community’s future?

We create success by focusing on creating opportunities in rural Wisconsin. Opportunity is created by focusing on developing small businesses within the state and stop trying to poach already established corporations in other states. It is created by funding public schools while pushing for an expansion of technical schools that offer curriculums addressing current market needs while developing a market for the future. Finally by empowering, not undermining, local governments and giving them the ability to dictate how their communities grow.

We have had enough part-time politics and should demand the active, full-time rural representation we deserve. I am Travis Schachtner and I think Madison has enough lawyers already, so on Nov. 4, vote for a veteran.

Travis Schachtner, candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly, Town of Somerset


Bring troops home to guard borders

To the Editor:

The other day, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said that the National Guard should be sent to the Mexican border to stop illegal immigrants from crossing into the U.S. I have a much better idea.

Pull every American soldier out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan and Germany. Do not discharge them as we have too much unemployment already. Instead, send them to the southern border. There are three good reasons to do this:

— Iraq and Afghanistan are total wastes of human lives and up to $4 trillion in national treasure. It is also time for Japan and Germany to protect themselves.

— I have read that the cost to support each soldier overseas is in excess of $500,000 per year. On home soil the cost would be half that figure.

— I believe most Americans have had it with our trying to be protectors of the world. The trillions of dollars we have wasted doing this could have rebuilt the failing infrastructure of America.

Marvin L. Nelson, Town of Troy