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Letters to the Editor

Rivard's editorial lacking

To the Editor:

Accurate reporting and remaining unbiased are a few of the hallmarks of a newspaper editor.

You may know Mr. Raymond Rivard as the editor of the New Richmond News.

The need to inform and communicate are the fuel that makes newspapers "fly."

It's based on honesty and taking a balanced approach that takes into account all sides before forming an opinion.

Neither can be found coming from Mr. Rivard's editorial opinion in last week's paper.

His opinion article on Congressman Duffy's albeit hastily-arranged "town hall" meeting did not tell the reader whether the unhappy crowd, which "was surly as a bear waking from its winter nap," were unhappy because of the hastily-called (less than 24-hour notice) meeting or whether most of the unhappy crowd voted for the party that lost the last election and are now up in arms on what has happened, and the biggest worry of many — what might happen.

The article by Rebecca Mariscal indicated most were unhappy with the results and subsequent antics of the winner of the last presidential election.

Calling Congressman Duffy's staff "minions" certainly shows Mr. Rivard's leaning on the political spectrum ... Mr. Rivard, is the person who answers the phone or the one who is first to greet a visitor at the New Richmond News office to be considered your minion?

Doing your bidding as instructed or as they thought best for the moment?

In the past I have called your office and was told you were not available at the time ... should I have been outraged that my timetable did not get addressed immediately and was "minioned" to call back or leave a message?

If Mr. Rivard has issue, as there should be, with Mr. Duffy's hastily-called meeting, tell us about that. But using the word "minions" indicates Mr. Rivard has a certain amount of disdain and political dislike for Mr. Duffy and his staff.

In this new age of fake news, if there is a segment of our population that should abide by the need to be accurate and non-partisan, it is the reporters of The News in our 21st century media. Neither accuracy — why was the crowd unhappy? — nor non-partisanship could be found in Mr. Rivard's opinion piece.

This type of editorial opinion doesn't digest well and readers deserve better.

The above words were mostly from Mr. Rivard's opinion article — they were changed to protect the innocent readers and integrity at the New Richmond News.

Most who voted for Mr. Duffy and Mr. Johnson are not going to show up at a meeting to congratulate or ask questions ... they have to work and days off are not for political town hall meetings ... their guy won and part of their guy's job as a politician is meeting with those who may be unhappy with the current administration and the politician may have to take some flak. Ask Russ Feingold if he ever faced "uncomfortable" crowds of the opposite political bent. People in Wisconsin know that is part of the job for a person elected to political office.

Congressman Duffy needs to listen to everyone. But everyone must be polite. They are not always that way. Voters think shouting and interrupting is their First Amendment right. Nothing gets done when sinking to that level, yet we see it again and again from those who do it and those who accept it and they still can't fathom why they are tuned out by many or why they lost the last election.

For the record, I voted for the idiot who didn't know what/where Allepo was and could not name one foreign leader, but when looking at the first two names on the ballot, if we ever needed a third political party, it's now ... and surely next time someone more qualified will run as an alternative to the choices we had ...

David A. Kramer

New Richmond

The backbone of the country

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my concern with an upcoming federal education bill.

House Bill 610 would both transfer funds from public schools to private schools and home schools, and would eliminate ESEA, which was passed during Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty some years ago.

His goal was to offer fair and equal opportunities for all students to receive an exceptional education. Since that time there have been amendments related to handicapped children and bilingual education. This is also the act that created Title 1, which provides funding for students with low income, immigrants, neglected or abused youth, and for the prevention of dropouts and the improvement of schools. In addition, it addresses internet access for all students, nutritional standards for school lunches, and programs for gifted students, fine arts, physical education, and good mental health.

I am concerned about so many issues related to the education of our children. I am very open to people's choice of a private school or home schooling. However, I don't approve of the effort to take money from public schools to fund private and home schools. Public schools accept all students and are required to meet high expectations of their teachers, curriculum, and students.

Bill 610 makes no mention of criteria or standards that need to be met by private and home schools and doesn't require any amount of student progress in order to receive money. On the other hand, public schools must meet certain standards and must show student progress. That doesn't seem right to me.

I also am upset that teachers were attacked as they were with Act 10. Walker's administration didn't just insist that teachers have their pay and benefits adjusted. They were demonized, as if they were evil people who don't care about children, demanding more than they were entitled to.

What many people don't realize is that teachers took less pay in order to have benefits. Now they have less of both. We are fortunate that many of our teachers are maintaining a high level of excellence because they care deeply about our kids. At the same time, accountability is at the highest level ever. What people don't realize is that young people have turned away from a career in teaching because they don't want to be paid a low wage with high expectations and little respect.

We are now experiencing a teacher shortage.

No surprise.

What would I like to see? I would like to see renewed support of our public schools and teachers.

I would like to retain the provisions of the ESEA act. I would also like to see equal regulation of private and home schools, especially if they receive state money. I think it is essential that our legislators support our public schools and return money that has been taken away. Wisconsin has had a great reputation for education. I would hate to lose that.

The children of our community are our future. I want the best for them. There are understandably people who prefer to educate their children in private or home schools, but please don't take away the support of our public schools.

They are the backbone of our country.

Kay Brooks

New Richmond

Why protect Trump?

To the Editor:

We attended Sean Duffy's Monday, Feb. 27, town hall meeting in New Richmond.

We were lucky to find out about it the night before (thanks, Facebook!) since Rep. Duffy no longer announces these meetings on his website or through our local papers, nor notifies those who have signed up on his website to receive such notification.

Duffy fielded questions from audience members on a variety of topics. We were particularly interested in his response to a question about the need for an independent investigation into alleged inappropriate communications between Trump's campaign staff and agents of the Russian government.

"I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe that there's been any connection or any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia," Duffy told the audience before quickly moving on to another question.

Wait a minute — didn't President Trump just relieve Michael Flynn of his role as national security adviser precisely because he lied about his inappropriate conversations — which happened while President Obama was still in office — with the Russian ambassador?

Both houses of Congress have active investigations under way on the question of whether and to what extent Russia has attempted to influence our elections, including whether there was any inappropriate or illegal contact between Russian agents and members of Trump's campaign team.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, has called for an independent investigation of these same issues. Republican former President George W. Bush said much the same thing on the Today show. Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for a special prosecutor. Republican senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Marco Rubio have all agreed with the need to get to the bottom of this issue.

Why is Sean Duffy protecting Donald Trump?

Don't Americans deserve to know the truth about the extent of Russian interference in our elections?

Duffy was insistent that Hillary Clinton be thoroughly (and repeatedly) investigated for her role in the Benghazi affair and her private email server.

Why shouldn't Donald Trump undergo the same level of scrutiny?

Kate Curnow, Cumberland

Kathryn Kienholz, Milltown

Kari Larson, Balsam Lake

Oppose this bill

To the Editor:

The state Assembly Committee on Local Government were scheduled to hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 8, on a bill that would give local governments the option to stop publishing a summary of their actions in your newspaper.

Assembly Bill 70 would allow local municipalities to post meeting minutes on their websites instead.

This is bad public policy under the guise of saving taxpayer dollars that would create considerable disruption for government transparency. Supporters of Assembly Bill 70 suggest local government websites are sufficient to notify the public of their actions and that publishing meeting minutes in the newspaper limits access only to newspaper subscribers.

The fact is, however, that all legal notices published throughout the state since 2005 are already available for free to the public through WisconsinPublicNotices.org.

This comprehensive, searchable website hosted by the Wisconsin newspaper industry brings together ink-on-paper notices into one online location. This service is provided at no cost to local municipalities.

The goal of WisconsinPublicNotices.org is to enhance government's distribution of public information and assist citizens who want to know more about the actions of their local, county and state representatives. This permanent, third-party documentation — unalterable and independent of government itself — ensures the protection of "your right to know" for each and every citizen.

For years, this relationship between newspapers, local municipalities and WisconsinPublicNotices.org has successfully provided easy access to government information for all citizens, whether they seek it in print or online.

Removing existing publication requirements would create holes in this invaluable statewide database while also neglecting the needs of those who lack adequate computer and internet access.

Please tell your legislators to oppose this unnecessary barrier to government transparency.

Beth Bennett

Executive Director

Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Time for constitutional carry

To the Editor:

It is time for Wisconsin to join 10 other states and allow our citizens to carry a concealed weapon without the need for a government-issued permit.

Under current law, any law-abiding citizen is allowed to carry a gun as long as it is in open view — such as in a holster on their hip. But if a person decides to put their gun in a purse or throws on a jacket that covers up the gun, then they would be in violation of Wisconsin's outdated concealed carry law.

Wisconsin has now had a concealed carry law for almost six years. I think we can all agree that it has been everything that proponents said it would be, while none of the fears raised by opponents to the law have come true.

There is not more violence in the streets involving concealed carry permit holders. There have not been more accidents involving permit holders. There have not been incidents stemming from inadequate training.

Instead the 2011 law allowed thousands of Wisconsin voters and taxpayers to carry a concealed weapon as their choice — for personal safety or for whatever reason they decide — with no recognized downside.

However, in order to enjoy this constitutionally-protected right, they are unfortunately required by state law to submit to a bureaucratic tangle of requirements.

It's time to end the red tape. If it is my right to carry openly, it is equally my right to carry concealed. If I can carry concealed by paying the state a fee, the constitution should be followed and I should be able to carry concealed without paying a fee.

The argument we sometimes hear is, "well what about background checks and criminals carrying guns?"

Guess what? Criminals already carry guns. As they can't pass a background check, they just ignore the current law and carry anyway — concealed or openly. Nothing about constitutional carry would change that in any way. Those prohibited by current law from possessing a firearm — such as convicted felons — will still be prohibited from carrying.

The vast majority of Wisconsin's five million-plus citizens are law-abiding folks. They are our neighbors, our friends, the guy who works at the convenience store, the woman who works late at the local grocery.

Some of them might want or need to carry a firearm from time-to-time. It is not up to the government to deny them that right.

It's time for Wisconsin lawmakers to recognize our constitutional right and pass constitutional carry.

Mike Stewart

President of Wisconsin Firearm Owners

The NRA Chartered State Association

To the Editor:

I attended Rep. Duffy's Feb. 27 town hall in New Richmond.

While answering one of the many excellent questions posed during the meeting, he declared that Trump "should release his tax returns."

Yet, mere hours after this assertion, he voted to table the ruling (HR 101) that could've forced Trump to do just that. I see two potential reasons for this: either Rep. Duffy thinks this is not the correct method to force Trump's hand and has an alternate plan, or he lied.

The nation has overwhelmingly demanded to know what conflicts of interest and

potential foreign ties our president may be hiding in his returns. And one of the most basic tenets of our democracy is honest, transparent representatives who act in constituents' best interests, not their own. I urge Rep. Duffy to clarify his vote on this issue. How will he ensure Trump's returns are indeed released? Because if we can't trust our representatives to keep their word and to be our voice in Congress, then it's time for new representatives.

Jessica Fishman

Amery

Do the right thing

To the Editor:

Recently, there has been an all-out effort by Congressman Sean Duffy to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency. As a person who enjoys living in Wisconsin, I must say that I and many others are against this measure.

This is due to the impact that it will have on the health and well-being of the millions of people who live in this state.

Some people, including Congressman Duffy, see the EPA as an unnecessary government expense. I, on the other hand, disagree. I think part of the problem for those who side with the congressman is they do not really understand the role of the EPA in Wisconsin and what benefits they serve.

The EPA is responsible for a vast variety of items that affect each and every person living in the country. Not only does the EPA protect you and me with clean air and water requirements, but they also oversee all aspects in the mining industry to make sure pollutants do not make their way into our soils, which inevitably will affect our wildlife and our landscape.

They also play a vital role in controlling the wildlife population and ensuring endangered species will be around for future generations.

Another important piece of their existence is they oversee the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste. I can't speak for everyone reading this but I know that driving down the country roads, or any road for that matter, and seeing old stoves or stacks of tires is not a great way to see our beautiful state.

The last point I would like to share is the EPA protects the foods that we consume daily. They ensure that our foods are free from dangerous pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides.

The point of this is no matter what political side you fall on, we all need the EPA to ensure we and our children and grandchildren are free to enjoy life here in Wisconsin without fear of being poisoned by unnecessary man-made elements.

Congressman Duffy — you call yourself a lumberjack and an environmentalist — do the right thing for the many families in this state. Vote no to dissolving the EPA.

Mark A. Struble

Star Prairie

Pay your fair share

To the Editor:

It is important to remember as the evening news highlights the various anti-Trump protests around the country that eight years ago, without the help of George Soros's rent-a-mobs, the town halls were full of angry citizens opposing the planned destruction of this nation's health care system.

The town hall meetings were full of strident, yet respectful citizens voicing their opposition to one of the most poorly-crafted pieces of legislation to pass through what was then a Democrat-majority Congress.

It was so bad it had to be passed unread for fear that should the aspects of the bill be made available to the public those strident town hall meetings might actually influence otherwise disdainful Democrat senators and representatives to vote against it.

It became Obamacare, and even as it is falling apart under its own weight it is destroying our health care system.

As you listen today to the media's celebration of these protestors it is important to remember that the Democrat members of Congress, that news media and the liberal left didn't care an iota that Obamacare would skyrocket health care costs for those already paying high premiums, nor did they care that it would make permanent part-time employment the "new norm," nor that it would hamstring our economy as it has done these last eight years. The concerns of the people in those town hall meetings were not only ignored but they were looked on with disdain for their concern.

Unlike those town hall meetings, these protests resemble the rantings of a child refused a candy bar in the grocery store.

The "give-me-something-for-free crowd " is good at making a lot of noise when the they don't get the benefits they don't pay for, which is the ultimate irony since the primary reason Obamacare isn't working is that these people aren't paying for it and it is going broke.

The Democrats are demanding, in the name of the non-paying, that Obamacare be replaced with Trumpcare ... a new program providing health benefits they won't have to pay for.

It's been my experience that the "free-er " something the government provides is the most expensive means of providing it.

Let's hope this congress allows everyone to pay their fair share.

Jim Schroeder

McAllen, Texas/New Richmond

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