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Letters to the Editor: Aug. 21, 2014

Be kind

To the Editor:

The Heritage Hillside Series featured The Elvis Show last week, and it was a perfect night all around. But besides the perfect weather, an outstanding show, free corn on the cob, frozen candy bars from WCU and the complete absence of mosquitoes, there was something else that added to the evening. Messes & Masterpieces was there as they have been for the last five years, providing an art project for the kids in the 550-plus audience.

The children made “random acts of kindness” with glue, markers, stickers, ribbon, notes, little drawings and hershey kisses. They could hand them to someone in the crowd or take them home to give to someone special. We were witness to two little sisters, Josie and Evie, as they got up the courage to give their “random acts” to strangers in the crowd. And then they gave one to me — it made my night. And someone gave one to Elvis. Hundreds of others in the audience watched it happen over and over again and everyone was smiling.

Thank you M&M for such a wonderful idea, and for being a part of The Heritage Hillside Series each year. Let’s all take a cue from Josie and Evie and pass along a random act of kindness at least once a day.

Sue Langford, New Richmond


Vote for Schachtner

To the Editor:

Travis Schachtner, candidate for Assembly District 28, knows that support of small business and the attainment of education is key to building a career that sustains a family and provides for a comfortable retirement.

Travis was unopposed in his last bid for county supervisor. His championing local government control, local county agricultural community services, the county funded nursing home and programs that support the mentally and physically disabled is why he has high approval from his constituents. He currently serves as the chairman of the St. Croix County Administration Committee, which forms the county budget and oversees the sale of major county assets.

Travis, a five-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, attained the rank of petty officer second class. He holds an associate industrial engineering degree, a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in leadership, is married to Dawn, and is the proud father of two.

Travis Schachtner is a family man, is pro-education, and strongly supports small business and agricultural entrepreneurship. Vote for Travis Schachtner, your best choice for State Representative.

Suzanne Van Mele, Town of Troy


Thanks to Rockin’ Jam volunteers

To the Editor:

The 2014 Ozzie’s Rockin’ Jam: Making Music Possible was a successful venture once again, raising over $3,000 for school music programs and celebrating what would have been the 40th birthday of Jason (Ozzie) Oswald in fine style! It could not have been as much of a success without the behind-the-scenes efforts of a number of people, including Jan Praschak, who set up the raffles and silent auctions, got donations and baskets for them, and even helped with band suggestions; and Theresa Koch, who reached out far and wide for donations. Cowboy Praschak kept everyone fed, cooking brats and hot dogs all day. Speaking of food, once again Jessica Larson’s talent had people asking “have you tried those beans? Wow, I’m taking some home!” Cindy Gibson did a lot of everything, from raffle baskets to raffle drawings to clean up. Volunteers Ann Lange, Heather Wirt and Sarah Lyles kept the raffle ticket sales booth running smoothly. Cindy Rice and Lory Gramberg gave service with smiles at the food booth. Suzie Rositski, Kristen Gedatus, Daisy Christenson and daughter Brooke gave our audience some rockin’ hair styles and colors. Debra Schmidt painted restless little faces, including a full-on Spiderman makeup job that had us doing double takes all day. We also want to thank everyone who donated items to the raffle and silent auction (an ad appears elsewhere in The News).

Tom Gibson was a terrific announcer and all-around go-to guy, Phillip (PJ) Johnson donated his time, stage, and sound equipment to make sure the bands sounded their best, and Rick Vogelpohl was a great stage manager, seeing that bands had help setting up.

We have to extend a huge thank you to the bands that donated their time with us, each of them entertaining in their own unique style: Steve Mireau, Raging Wood, Ten Mile Creek, Cattail Moon, Sunday’s Regret, and Bad Habits Brass, all extraordinarily talented and generous people! The No-Name jam bad at the end of the day wrapped up the music as the rain that had held off all day finally started to fall.

And finally, thanks to Linda Gibson and the staff at the Star Prairie Sports Bar for giving us a venue and putting in a lot of hard work before, during, and after the event.

Chris and Mary Hubbell, Town of Star Prairie


A second pair of eyes

To the Editor:

I’ve been thinking about Robin Williams. Someone commented: “he had all the money he needed to get any treatment he needed, but it still didn’t help.” The warm and wise response was “but it did help; he has lived all these years with these very serious conditions and in the process has contributed a great deal to the world.”

Andrew Kane, a psychologist states, “People who commit suicide feel helpless and hopeless, as well as depressed. Anything that helps the person feel less helpless and hopeless will decrease his or her suicidality. Every one of us has the potential to help someone. Part of the person’s problem is that he or she wears blinders, unable to see that the world beyond the blinders is better, and that tomorrow or the day after may be better, or that he or she isn’t seeing clearly through the fog of the emotional pain that envelops him or her. If you know someone who is depressed, help him or her see that there are alternatives, that he or she is not helpless or alone, and that there is hope. Be a second pair of eyes, seeing what that person can’t see at the moment. We can’t guarantee success, but each of us can try to help, and often that’s all that’s needed.”

There are free, local mental health resources, many peer based, that can offer support and be that second set of eyes. Although they aren’t a substitute for treatment and intervention services, they can help. Here is a list of some of them:

— NAMI - St. Croix Valley (National Alliance on Mental Illness) offers a Peer Support Group that meets at Luther Memorial Church in River Falls at 6:30 p.m. on bi-weekly Thursdays. A Family Support Group meets at the same time.

— There is a Mental Health Peer Support Group at The Centre, 428 Starr Ave., New Richmond, meeting from 1-3 p.m. every Wednesday.

— On the fourth Tuesday of every month area veterans meet at New Richmond VFW, 421 S. Green Ave., to discuss whatever might be on their minds that day. They call it the Band of Brothers and Sisters group (BOBS).

— The Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County and Mental Health Task Force of Polk County offer community education classes to help build crisis communication skills through local churches, schools, etc.

— Finally, if a crisis is imminent, call 911 or go to your local emergency room. There is a county-wide mobile crisis team that will help you come up with a plan.

Ninette Nolen, New Richmond


Racism is alive and well

To the Editor:

I would like to address some of the assumptions about me by Jim Schroeder in last week’s New Richmond News. First, Mr Schroeder assumes I support minimum wage increases. He is right. Guilty as charged. As minimum wages go up, so does demand for goods and services, this causes manufacturers to produce more, which leads to more jobs (not fewer). It’s simply a function of the oldest law of economics: supply and demand. If real wages fall (they don’t keep up with inflation) as they have for the last 34 years (a function of Reaganomics), demand falls.

Jim is right on again, when he says I support teachers’ unions. I support all unions. Without unions, our middle class (the economic engine of the country) would have stagnated in the so-called Golden Age of the robber barons. We would have built a plutocracy, not a democracy. I’m afraid with the help of the Supreme Court that the robber barons (the Kochs and Adelsons) trying to buy our democracy.

I don’t condone abortion, I do however support a woman’s right to control her own reproduction decisions, especially in cases of rape, incest and when her life is in jeopardy. I do wonder if Mr. Schroeder knows that less than 3 percent of Planned Parenthood resources are allocated for abortions, and government funding is not used. The rest of their resources go for women’s reproductive and health issues such as family planning, birth control, mammograms and cancer screenings. So I guess I’d have to say, whatever Planned Parenthood goals and business plans were a hundred or so years ago, they have morphed into an asset used by millions of women (mostly poor) to take care of their health and reproductive needs. And I think most Americans would agree, that is a good thing.

I think that Mr. Schroeder believes (like so many on the right) that racism is dead, or that we’re now suffering reverse racism. Nothing could be further from truth. When I hear cries of “He’s not American, he’s Kenyan, he’s the food stamp president.” When I hear the First Lady of our country called an ape, and their children little monkeys on right-wing websites and hate radio, all the code words for they really want to say, but don’t have the courage. That’s when I know it’s (racism) still alive and well.

Yes Mr. Schroeder, the Irish, Germans and Italians all faced prejudice along with the current immigrants, yet those that came had one thing going for them, they weren’t brought on slave ships and didn’t have to endure hundreds of years as slaves.

I said this before and I believe it still. There’s only one thing those on the right hate more than being called racists, and that’s black people.

George Richard, New Richmond


View from the highway

To the Editor:

So I’m driving down the interstate this week coming back from a business trip and I see a billboard for McDonald’s with a cup of hot coffee and a biscuit just ahead. As I get closer I notice the McDonald’s sits way back from the road and it looks like you have to make way too many turns to get to the drive through. I continue on.

Another 10 miles and I see another billboard advertising McDonald’s with the same cup of coffee and biscuit. Again it sits way back and the drive through is full. Then it comes to me, another million-dollar idea with the use of military hardware.

You’re driving along and you see the sign, at the bottom it says 10 miles ahead. So you take out your cell phone call the phone number on the sign and place your order for a cup of coffee and a biscuit. There is now a little swiper on the side of your phone so you run your credit card and voila, your order has been taken, paid for and is waiting for you.

Now you’re one mile away and you roll down your window and at the same time this little flat shelf comes out on the side of the window, and it’s attached to your door. A minute later you hear this high pitched noise and a second later your order is dropped on your little tray by a drone. So forget drive through, now we got drone through. Of course on rainy days everything’s in a plastic bag and a little parachute comes out of the bag if it misses the shelf because you’re driving too fast. Of course nothing like this would ever work in Chicago. In this scenario your order would be delivered by a laser guided bomb.

So I hit this long straightaway and I can see for miles front and rear. About three miles back this little blue car comes winging around the turn at light speed and it’s only by luck I can tell it’s blue. Far behind is another pack of traffic; you can tell it’s a pack, they all have Illinois plates. I suddenly start to think that the pack is after me and the little blue car is bait. It’s when the little blue car suddenly slams on its breaks and is right on my bumper that I know for sure.

So I turn off my cruise control and let the car slow gradually, thinking that this idiot will go around me. Nope, I’m at 55 in a 65 and that guy is inches off my tail. So I pull off the road and the idiot, who looks very much like Red Green complete with a Possum tail stuck to the radio aerial speeds up just as the pack gets there and the chase begins for some other poor guy just trying to get home.

Robert Pike, Town of Stanton