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Letters to the Editor

Thank you Jerry!


As the 2017 slow pitch softball season gets underway at Hatfield Park, the New Richmond Softball Association will be without the services of Jerry Frey for the first time since 1983. Due to health concerns, Jerry has decided after 34 years to step away from the sport that he helped bring to New Richmond and has so passionately supported.

In the fall of 1983, Jerry began his commitment to New Richmond softball as a volunteer member of a citizens committee, tasked with bringing slow pitch to the area. This committee spent many hours planning and designing, and were instrumental in helping make the decisions as to how Hatfield Park would be developed. During this process, Jerry also helped the committee do research how best manage a slow pitch league, from recruiting teams, to scheduling to managing a concession stand.

When league play began in 1986, Jerry became one of the founding members of the New Richmond Softball board of directors. Serving in different capacities, his primary role was as the treasurer while also being the point of contact between the city and the association. Jerry also volunteered his time throughout the years helping to manage the concession stand, placing beer orders and stocking supplies. There weren't many days during the summers when you wouldn't see his vehicle parked near the concession stands, always finding something to do on a daily basis.

He's become an iconic figure at the fields and has probably shared a beer with about every softball player to play at Hatfield. We hope he continues to stop by and continue his tradition. We no longer have Blatz Light, but the Miller 64's are always cold and your chair is still in the concession stand. We sincerely thank you for all you've done for the association and for what you've meant for New Richmond Softball. I know we speak on behalf of many others when we say you'll be missed.

New Richmond Softball Association Board of Directors

Fair and affordable health care for all


Rather than repeal we should replace Obamacare. When President Obama campaigned for his first presidential election, he said that he wanted to give the American people the same kind of health insurance that he enjoyed as a U.S. Senator. That insurance was the Federal Employees Health Insurance Program. He was unable to accomplish this goal because of the relentless opposition of the Republicans and had to settle for Obamacare, which allowed the health insurance industry to have control of the purse strings.

The failure of Trump's Health Insurance Law now gives us an opportunity to make the Federal Employee Health Insurance Program available to all U.S. citizens. This federal insurance was government created, is government administrated, and 72 percent government paid for. It has many of the features dear to conservative hearts. For instance: competition, and free choice of vendors.

The government contracts with about 250 different health insurance companies, and policyholders can choose among a number of different policies, ranging from very basic services with low premiums to more expensive policies where policyholders are free to choose any doctor or hospital they wish without prior referral required. We taxpayers have been paying for part of the 72 percent the government pays for this Federal Health Insurance Policy of members of Congress, so we too should be able to use this Federal Health Insurance program as a replacement for the Obamacare program.

Opponents may claim that such a program would be much too expensive. If we made Medicare, the VA's health insurance program, and similar independent insurance plans part of this Federal Insurance program we would add enough policyholders for the insurance companies to keep premiums low, and solve the Medicare problem that nobody wants to talk about, namely Medicare running out of funds in the not too distant future. Being on Medicare is not free. The cost of premiums for Part B, Part D, and the annual Part B deductible is a little over $200 per month. A policy from the federal program should cost a lot less.

I hope that congress will choose a replacement for Obamacare that will be fair and affordable for all of us.

Ingrid Kizen

New Richmond

Improve ACA instead of repeal


Dear Legislators,

If republicans repeal ACA and establish high risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, will funding be guaranteed to keep pools solvent?

How are costs for high risk pools for pre-existing conditions any cheaper than pooling all insurers together?

How will any replacement plan guarantee affordable premiums and low deductibles compared to the current ACA?

Wouldn't a one payer system with everyone in the same pool be as fiscally responsible as any plan which offers coverage for everyone?

If young people are not required to join in health insurance pools, premiums will inherently be much higher. The ACA penalty for not having insurance is important to help fund any government healthcare program. Young people never think they will need expensive care. People not insured use emergency rooms for care and many times default on their payments causing all premiums to rise.

Will no cost preventive care be part of any new republican plan? If not, has anyone considered the cost of not providing preventive care? Without no cost preventive care, all premiums would increase due to expensive surgeries and hospital stays.

Will mental health coverage be included in a replacement plan? Like it or not mental health affects physical health also and should be treated with the same importance.

Will any replacement plan include maternity and newborn care, pediatric services, including oral and vision care, prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, laboratory services, ambulatory services or many other common healthcare needs?

So many questions. Wouldn't it be less expensive and less complicated to improve the ACA instead of repealing it? If republicans are bound to start from scratch, I hope they seriously consider Medicare for all.

Kurt Zemke

Rice Lake

We want Planned Parenthood


"President Trump signed legislation on Thursday [April 13] aimed at cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform abortions, a move cheered by conservatives who have clamored to impose curbs on reproductive rights." —The New York Times, April 13

We support the continued public funding of Planned Parenthood, and want Rep. Sean Duffy, Sen. Ron Johnson, and Sen.Tammy Baldwin to oppose any legislation that defunds it.

For 2.5 million women and men every year, Planned Parenthood provides access to sexual and reproductive health services, cancer screening, and screening and treatment for STDs.

Eighty percent of their clients get birth control services to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

They also do screening for anemia, diabetes, and high blood pressure, provide sports and employment physicals, help to quit smoking, and tetanus and flu vaccines to men and women.

Planned Parenthood does not use federal funding to perform abortions. They do not condone selling or sell fetus tissue, as has been alleged by some groups.

In this time of continued threats to public access to health care, do we really want to give up Planned Parenthood's services to families and public health? Call Rep. Duffy's, Sen. Johnson's and Sen. Baldwin's Washington offices to make your voice heard.

Michele Riedel, New Richmond

Jennifer Struss, New Richmond

Nel Medchill, New Richmond

Carol Jones, New Richmond

Bev Krumm, New Richmond

Research tobacco use


As early as 1912, research linked tobacco with cancer. Over the years, results became ever more conclusive, and in 1953 new research linked cigarette tar to cancer.

Tobacco company leaders joined forces to save their industry. They hired public relations firm Hill & Knowlton (H&K), who set out a strategy that proved to be very successful. They established the Tobacco Industry Research Committee (TIRC), which publicized scientific views holding there was no proof that smoking caused cancer; conducted ad campaigns to cast doubt on scientific consensus that smoking causes cancer; convinced the media that there were two sides to the story about the risks of smoking, and that each side should be given equal credence; and hired former American Cancer Society director Dr. Clarence Cook Little as spokesperson for their disinformation campaign. Sowing seeds of doubt upon science and smearing the reputations of their critics by spreading lies worked, and big tobacco continued to rake in profits.

In 1964 cancer research became so undeniable that the surgeon general required health risk warnings printed on cigarette packages. The TIRC then became the Council for Tobacco Research, which continued spreading disinformation on the harmful effects of smoking until 1998.

The book "Lies, Incorporated — The World of Post-Truth Politics," by Ari Rabin-Havt and Media Matters, explains how PR firms have adopted H&K's tobacco campaign strategies to numerous other policy debates on behalf of clients who have an economic or ideological interest in maintaining the status quo, including climate change on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

Ask your library for "Lies, Incorporated" or buy a copy to read and learn more about the influential network of special interest groups who have initiated coordinated attacks on the truth to shape government policy. Then ask your congressional representatives to read it, too.

Jeanne Larson


Taxation is extortion, more


My name is Nate Gall, a Libertarian "associate" of Mr Burke's, back from enjoying our liberty in the mud. Taxation is in fact theft and so much more.

Taxation is also extortion, because if you hold a license for your occupation the government will threaten your livelihood by revoking you ability to work.

Taxation is also bribery, because politicians take our tax money and buy political supporters like corporations and unions.

Taxation is also coercion, because it is used to influence citizens buying choices such as solar panels, smart cars, tax incremental finance districts, the list goes on.

Taxation is also slavery, because no matter how hard you try to pay off your house and own it you must always work to pay the property tax bill and can never stop paying. Slavery.

Finally, taxation is also morally wrong. Regardless of how many people vote for it, violence, aggression, and the implicit threat of force are the tools government uses to achieve its agenda. The thing separating our state assembly, senate, and governor from the rest of the population is the belief that theft, extortion, coercion, and bribery is a acceptable behavior, but only if they do it.

Radical Libertarians reject your violent model. We reject the fear you create in society.

Taxation is indeed theft, and so much more.

Nate Gall