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Letters to the Editor: Jan. 15, 2015

Time to start doing

To the Editor:

Living in Hammond, Wis. for over ten years and hearing myself and other village residents complain about the unprofessional behavior of both the village board and the police department along with the lack of government transparency and nothing ever changing for the good, I decided it was time to stop complaining and to start doing.

So this past summer I started requesting public records from both the Village of Hammond and the Hammond Police Department at a personal cost of hundreds of dollars and through those requests I've learned many things. The complaints I'm sorry to say are true.

The unprofessional and dysfunctional behavior of our current local government/police department is an embarrassment to every single person living and doing business within this village and it needs to change. The people don't serve government, the government serves the people. If our government doesn't serve the people the way the people demand, then we the people not only have the power to change it, it is our duty.

Our local governments should first and foremost have the interest and welfare of every person who lives in this village in mind when making any and all decisions regarding this village. To encourage people to want to live here and to encourage existing residents to want to continue to live here. Second, our local governments should have the interests and welfare of all local businesses and their owners in mind and to encourage business owners to want to open their businesses in Hammond instead of stifling them and running them out of town. The same can be said for village events such as the Running of the Llamas and Heartland Days to name a couple.

We need a local government with integrity, that is open minded, honest and trustworthy. Not self serving and entitled, close minded, full of wasteful spending and certainly not a government that makes death threats against the people it serves. We need a government of individuals that will honor their oaths of office, to honor and defend the WI State and United States Constitutions.

So as I've said, instead of just talking, I'm doing! I've turned in my papers to the village and I'm running for Village of Hammond Board Trustee.

So please vote for me at the primary election on Feb. 17, 2015 and at the election on April 7, 2015.

Thank you and God Bless.

Tony Endres, Hammond

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Local bank card hacked

To the Editor:

Don’t panic, I’m the only idiot getting hacked! I have to admit I do excel at some things.

About three weeks ago I get a call from the fraud department of my bank saying there were a dozen charges on my card from a Target in California. Of course I can prove that I wasn’t in California when the charges occurred because I had other charges locally on the same day. So they refunded the charges and issued me another card. As I looked back on my charges I noticed that I had bought gas at a station in Minneapolis on Saturday and the charges to the Target were the next day. Once they posted on Monday morning I was contacted.

I have to point out that I was duly impressed by the quick response from the bank and guess what: I don’t have Life Lock to protect me, just Corporate America. Thank God it wasn’t the government.

So I get my new card and this past weekend I used it to buy gas at that same little station in Minneapolis on Saturday and again on Sunday there are over $1,500 in charges at a Target in Indianapolis, Ind. And again on Monday I was contacted and the system takes over and I’m fully refunded but this time they wanted to send me a new card and I said no. I’m going to wait a few months before getting another. It’s not a problem I have other cards.

After talking with my local banker about my problem which he was well aware of because I had him activate my new card when I got it, he was surprised that the new card was hacked so quickly. Again I brought up that little station I bought gas at and we broadly speculated as to what might be happening. He told me that US Bank had found these card readers inserted in several ATM machines around the city and they alerted my bank at the same time along with other banks in the network.

So who is getting damaged from all this? Well obviously it’s going to be me somewhere along the line, but so far it’s better than losing thousands of dollars in charges to my card. It wasn’t that long ago that the banks would have said “tough luck Charlie” and sent me packing with a lot more of my money in someone else’s pocket.

So are these thieves criminals or patriots? Yes they got a lot of money from Target which is out over $3,000 and I’m sure the insurance companies that have to reimburse Target for the theft are going to be raising rates. Not a problem Obama Care is doing that already. It seems when you put capitalism to the test and they start losing money they tend to react more positively.

But there is hope in the fact that a newer, harder to hack credit card is coming out, in about three months.

Robert Pike, Town of Stanton

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Bring back cannabis hearings

To the Editor:

Your recent editorial, "Our View: Not everyone is on board with marijuana enforcement," raises some very valid points.

When President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs in 1970, marijuana prohibition was a new thing. But 45 years later it has become an industry. We have become so conditioned to the negative indoctrination of almost five decades of anti-pot propaganda that we often blindly accept it.

In 1997 President Bill Clinton, responding to the legalization of medical cannabis in California, commissioned the Institute of Medicine Report on medical cannabis. This federal report was released in March 1999, and although heavily politicized, still acknowledged that cannabis had great medical value. It also debunked the so-called "gateway theory."

That law enforcement continues to frequently cite that discredited theory today as a St. Croix County Sheriff was quoted in the article, is evidence of how deep it runs.

In 2009, when Democrats controlled the state legislature, a public hearing was held on medical cannabis legislation. According to open records requests, when an attempt was made to secure unanimous opposition to the legislation by all state district attorneys, several instead spoke in favor in an email discussion.

One district attorney wrote, "My understanding is that this legislation would actually provide a relief to law enforcement and lessens prosecution caseloads for possession charges. Why is this bad? Shouldn't we be excited to have resources freed up to focus on more serious matters such as violent crime or drunk driving?"

An asst. D.A. opined, "How is enforcement of legal medical marijuana any different and different than enforcing prescription drugs?"

"Look at the carnage I deal with on a daily basis due to alcohol," wrote another district attorney. "And you can't understand why I am mystified as to the vehemence of objection to the very notion of a medical use for THC."

In 1975, the state of Wisconsin held a series of hearings on pot laws at eight locations across the state from Superior to Milwaukee. The result was the overwhelming majority favored full legalization with decriminalization coming in second. This was back at a time when there was little talk of medical use but there was not yet the saturation of anti-pot propaganda we see so ingrained today.

Unfortunately the panel's mandate was never carried out. Every attempt at statewide decriminalization in the legislature has failed so not only is there a patchwork of laws nationally but also across Wisconsin.

Perhaps it's time to go back to the people and reprise the 1975 hearings. Wisconsin does not exist in a bubble and the cannabis plant, once a source of so much income to Wisconsin as industrial hemp, offers a lot of hope as a job and business creators on a much greater scale today.

Gary Storck of Madison, co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY.org). He is also the cofounder and former president of the Madison & Wisconsin chapters of the National Organization for Marijuana Laws (NORML), Advisory Board Member of Patients Out of Time (medicalcannnabis.com) and a longtime advocate for cannabis law reform.

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Board stands behind Chief

To the Editor:

A couple months ago a Hammond village resident filed a complaint against Hammond Village Police Chief Rick Coltrain for unprofessional behavior and not performing his job adequately.

The Hammond village board members take all allegations of this nature very seriously. This complaint was addressed by the village police review board which is made up of five independent village residents who are not on the village board. The review board was assisted with the help of legal counsel as was Police Chief Rick Coltrain.

After all complaints were heard and the police chief had a chance to defend himself, the police review board found no evidence upon which to pursue any disciplinary action.

The Hammond Village Board stands behind the police review board’s decision and hopes this brings an end to this issue. For any more information about this issue, please contact the Village of Hammond clerk’s office.

Hammond Village Board: President – Tony Bibeau; Trustee – Wally Graf; Trustee – Lynn Pabst; Trustee- Mark Benton; Trustee – Laurie Gruber; Trustee – Stan Kolakowski; Trustee – Rob Ward

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