Letters to the Editor

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More businesses need to hire those with disabilities

TO THE EDITOR

To the community of New Richmond.

I am a person with disabilities and I know how hard it is to find a job. A month ago, I was watching the Channel 4 news at noon. There was a woman named Melissa "Mei Mei" Abdouch. Her daughter has autism. She wants to open a shop in River Falls and gear it toward people with disabilities. I know we have ESR and Plantables. They are both good places to work, but we need more businesses out there to gear towards people with disabilities and I was wondering if we could help her out. So she can open sooner. So that a lot of people can get jobs.

Mei Mei's Cookies and Creamery: minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/06/29/autism-bakery-river-falls/

Karen Langfeldt

New Richmond

More to the story

TO THE EDITOR

At Cody Carlson's sentencing they failed to include some pertinent facts. Cody had a very

difficult childhood. A single mother household with almost no contact with his father. His mother is an alcoholic. He grew up a fearful, abused child.

The judge's comment where was the family when these red flags appeared? As if none of us did anything to help Cody. We tried numerous times through social services to get protection for Cody and his sister. We were told the courts (judges) tend to rule in favor of the parents so hire a good lawyer. We didn't have that kind of money. We live in Appleton 3.5 hours away. We made

regular visits to see they had food, clothes and school supplies. We brought them for visits and took them on vacations. We drove the streets looking for our beloved grandson. Knocked on drug house doors but without a judge to declare him incompetent there was no way to take him.

Yes, there are treatment centers in Eau Claire if they have an open bed and they are not free.

Appleton had a treatment center that would take him but he was clean, he wanted help staying that way but his mother's insurance would not cover him if he wasn't on drugs at admittance time.

The judge threw out his hurtful, uninformed comment when we were not allowed to reply for fear of being in contempt of court. Cody was badly injured in the accident too. He was in shock and dealing with his addiction. We had taken a hard stand with him that we would help him but no drugs. He left the hospital in terrible pain. He was scared, felt helpless so he turned to drugs again to numb his pain and feelings.

A few weeks later was his birthday; he was alone on the streets. Then Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve found him living in a car in an abandoned gas station. The police found him there high on meth; even though he wasn't driving, in Wisconsin if you're in the vehicle you are a DUI. He went to jail.

It forced him to get clean. Once clean he called and asked for help and agreed to our rules. We brought him to Appleton. He chose to go back and face each court case against him. He took a full time job and made new friends, good friends. He asked to get a cat and we said yes. Eventually he took an apartment wiith friends and he stayed clean! It took almost a year for blood work taken at the accident to show drugs. He knew they were coming for him but he didn't run he took responsibility for his actions. I'm so proud of him.

Why don't judges send first drug offenders to rehab? Why don't high profile residents like judges and district attorneys take the lead in making this happen? Instead they have the criminal sign a signature bond time after time until the unthinkable happens, like a death. There is plenty of blame to go around. If I only share the whole truth with one person maybe things will change.

Eileen Felix

Appleton

Willow River Run appreciation

TO THE EDITOR

This was my first year serving as Race Director for the Willow River 5K Run/Walk. It was an exciting—albeit a little daunting—opportunity to take over such a successful annual event. I want to thank the entire New Richmond community (and beyond) for your support! We made some changes this year and were overwhelmed with the participant turnout (100 runners/walkers), volunteers (two dozen) willing to step forward to help, as well as businesses who donated generously to make this a fun event that will also be able to give back to The City Beautiful. Once all of the final numbers are crunched, we'll be sure to share via the New Richmond News the number of beautiful trail map kiosks that will be built and installed in the coming year along the pathways in town (with assistance from the City of New Richmond).

Additionally, I would like to make one final comment about how impressive our local youth are: We had quite a few participants in the 19 & under category; 11-year-old Kamryn Brodie volunteered to sing the National Anthem (it was flawless!); 2017 Willow River Run scholarship recipient Nora Stolley volunteered to work at the finish line; and 2016 Willow River Run scholarship recipient Bailey Wilson returned to run the 5k and was the overall winner!

Thank you, again, to all who gave of their time, talent and treasure to make the 2017 Willow River 5k Run/Walk a success! We look forward to seeing and working with you all in 2018!

Stephanie Hoff

Race Director, Willow River Run

Climate change serious as nuclear war

TO THE EDITOR

This past week, arguably the most significant world news event was the 120-mile-long section of the Larsen C ice shelf breaking off the Antarctic continent. The resulting trillion-ton iceberg is roughly the size of Delaware or seven times the size of New York City.

Scientists fear that the continuing loss of such large pieces of coastal ice may "uncork" the land ice they hold in place and cause catastrophic sea-level rise. Consequences include the devastation of densely populated coastal areas, the creation of millions of climate refugees, and massive destabilization of international political and economic systems.

Meanwhile, closer to home, every day brings new reports of destructive, life-threatening wildfires in the West and flooding, increasingly here in the Midwest. In more ways than one, we have generally come to accept disaster as the "new normal."

By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, the Trump Administration has signaled its indifference to a global threat galvanizing every other major nation on earth. We should be mobilizing America's ingenuity and resources to meet the environmental challenges that pose an existential threat to civilization and democracy worldwide. As U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in our neighboring state of Minnesota said recently, "The climate change issues that we face are as serious as the threat of nuclear war."

That our President and his administration have consistently ignored the crisis of climate change should cause us to consider what we have to lose and how we allowed our country to turn away from participation in global survival strategies.

The newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed guarded optimism in getting Trump to rethink the Paris Accord. Can he achieve what the collective clear heads of America have been unable to do and convince Trump to help "Make the planet great again?"

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

TO THE EDITOR

There is a small and mighty group of coordinators and a handful of volunteers who operate the Roberts/Hammond Food Pantry. This is no small task as they apply for grants, receive and distribute government shipments of food, go shopping for additionally needed supplies and more. All this to help our neighbors in need.

The Stewardship committee of Cross Lutheran Church recently had the opportunity to tour the Roberts/Hammond Food Pantry and speak with its organizers and volunteers. This visit opened our eyes to who utilizes this pantry, where the food and supplies comes from, what type of products are often needed, how we can make the most of our donations, and more!

The Roberts/Hammond Food Pantry is located within the Roberts Congregational UCC church, and offers assistance to anyone in need within the SCC school district. They serve approximately 50 clients per month that come from all backgrounds. Some are young single moms/dads; single/divorced/widowed seniors; families that have been financially hurt by job loss, divorce, death, long-term illness/disease, or disabilities; migrant workers and their families; and those that have experienced a temporary setback. Government regulations allow these people to visit the food pantry one time per month, and can take home two bags of groceries.

Groceries are not the only things needed. Did you know there are many "necessities" that are not covered by food stamps or government programs? These include toilet paper, soaps/shampoo, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. Food stamps and food supplementation programs only cover food items, yet all families need these non-food staples.

How can we make the most of our food pantry donations? Many of us think "bigger is better" when we purchase items to donate, but this is generally not the best. With 50+ families per month being served by our local pantry, smaller portions are much easier to distribute and allow more families to be able to have some much needed items. Instead of the extra-large jar of peanut butter, purchase four small jars so that more families can benefit.

This year during Lent, Cross Lutheran was able to collect 652 pounds of supplies, 36 Easter Celebration bags, and the women's group donated $500. Throughout the year the food pantry is blessed to also receive donations from the Lions Club, St. Croix Chamber, SCC, 4-H groups, Scouts, Post Office, County Market, and other businesses and organizations.

Thank you to the workers at the Roberts food pantry for opening our eyes to the workings of your organization, and for your service in helping our neighbors in need.

If you know a person or family in need, or you need help yourself, please call the Roberts/Hammond Food Pantry for an appointment. 715-749-3478; Roberts UCC church, 1001 Birch Dr., Roberts, WI 54023, or contact the food pantry in your community.

Cross Lutheran Church Stewardship Committee

Roberts