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Letters to the Editor -- May 18 Edition

Preventing dog bites


In April, the United States Postal Service promoted National Dog Bite Prevention Week. I am writing to ask our customers to extend their efforts and help make this "National Dog Bite Prevention Year."

Pet owners' efforts are critical when you consider the number of Postal Service employees attacked by dogs last year reached 6,755 — more than 200 higher than the year before.

Within the New Richmond Post Office, there have been three dog attacks since last year. My concern is not only for our employees, but with the general population as well. Here are three critical points to remember:

• If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors.

• Dog owners should keep the family pet secured. Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

• The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner's neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area's Post Office.

I am asking everyone to become a responsible pet owner during the coming summer in order to ensure the safety of all of our citizens. Together, we can safeguard all from unnecessary and potentially devastating dog attacks. Thank you for your help with this very important issue.

Kammy L. Brown


New Richmond

Supporting our troops


Ryancare/Trumpcare/Republicare/Obamacare 2.0, whatever you want to call it, stands to strip 7 million veterans of tax credits and place too many of them in high risk pools by classifying post-traumatic stress disorder as a "pre-existing condition." They will be priced out of healthcare for themselves and their family. While it is true that they cannot be denied coverage, insurance companies will be able to charge them higher premiums with no legal limit on that cost. Additionally, historically, those with "preexisting conditions" not only pay significantly more but get less coverage as insurance companies make every effort to limit their liability. This bill, like Obamacare, was written to ensure that insurance companies profit to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to the detriment of the American public.

I'm beginning to think that there is a special place not in Heaven for those who celebrate and brag about our troops for social and political capital or to get votes but then leave those men and women, their spouses and children, hanging when it matters most. For those of us who have family and loved ones who have fought and died for our country, for those of us who know and love veterans, may we think of them the next time our politicians, Rep. Sean Duffy and Sen. Ron Johnson, try to politicize our men and women in uniform, those whom they betrayed when they voted to yes to this disastrous healthcare bill.

Sarah Yacoub


Defend environmental regulations


The Trump Environmental Protection Agency seems hell-bent on totally subverting its stated mission. Trump has placed at the EPA's head Scott Pruitt, a man beholden to polluting energy interests, who has no apparent respect for the science that warns us of impending global climate disaster.

We urgently need to let our elected representatives know unequivocally that we expect them to defend environmental regulations that protect us.

Major polls by Gallup, the Pew Research Center and others reveal strong public support for a clean environment and the deep unpopularity of Trump's environmental policies.

It's also important to financially support environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the League of Conservation Voters, whose lawsuits may be decisive in putting the brakes on the worst destruction.

Protection of the environment is not, and should not be, a political issue. Just this past week, for example, three Republican Senators, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain, joined Democrats to block in a 51-49 vote the repeal of the so-called "methane rule," an Obama-era regulation capping the amount of climate-warming methane that oil and gas companies operating on public lands can pump into the atmosphere.

The fact that none of these three Republican Senators are major recipients of oil and gas industry campaign donations should tell us all we need to know about climate change denial: It's not about politics, it's about money.

Jerry Taylor of the Washington-based Niskanen Center, a libertarian climate activist, pointed out on the May 7 public radio program "On the Media" that McCain's 2008 GOP platform was tougher on climate change than Obama's Democratic platform in 2012. Ideology can change, and Republicans must join with Democrats to preserve a livable planet for those who come after us.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

No one should be hungry


Our belief at Five Loaves Food Shelf is that no one should be hungry.

My purpose in writing is to remind you that food insecurity is very real in New Richmond.

A recent study done by the United Way of Wisconsin showed that of the 3,206 households in New Richmond, 51percent of them struggle to afford basic needs. This number represents the families, friends and neighbors that get up each day and go to work but who aren't sure if they'll be able to put dinner on the table each night.

Of the essential items in a household budget, the grocery line is the most flexible. To make ends meet, families often cut corners on what they eat or, in some cases, even skip meals.

Five Loaves Food Shelf's work is to bridge the gap so that our neighbors have the food they need to live, work and lead healthy lives. We depend on community to do our work.

We are grateful for the donations and the volunteer help we receive but we need more to keep our doors open and to meet the demand for nutritious food. I am asking for you to do good - to make a difference in someone's life - to give what you would want for yourself. No financial gift is to small. Donations can be made to Five Loaves Food Shelf, P.O. Box 222, New Richmond, WI 54017. Thank you for taking care of our hungry neighbors.

Jean Needham

Executive Director

Five Loaves Food and Clothing

New Richmond

An open letter to Congressman Sean Duffy


Demons, everybody deals with them in their lifetime. Some demons show up in the form of alcoholism or drug abuse, some show up from infidelity and some show up because of other bad choices.

For you Congressman Duffy, yours will appear due to your support of the new healthcare law that will remove thousands upon thousands of hardworking Americans from their insurance plans. Many of these people have pre-existing conditions. You and your colleagues have decided to eliminate their healthcare. Mr. Duffy, these people that you feel do not deserve healthcare are veterans, senior citizens, cancer patients, people with disabilities, and many more medically dependent families. I want you to know that each and every one of the people you just voted to cut off from medical care are also voters. Remember that on election day when your demons come back to haunt you for your bad choices.

Mark Struble

Star Prairie

All St. Croix citizens need clean water


A statement on the St Croix County website declares: "Safe clean water is one of the most important substances in our lives-for drinking cooking, bathing and cleaning."

The county recommends getting private well water tested every year. If the water quality is "one of the most important substances in our lives," why is the county willing to risk contamination by permitting the Emerald Dairy to expand their operation to a colossal 8,804 cows? This action goes against the county's own principals.

Why should an out-of-state company with no vested interest in the local community be allowed to exploit the county's resources? Does an out-of-state company have more rights than the 90 homeowners surrounding Emerald Dairy, and more rights than the 84,000 St. Croix County residents in the watershed?

The farm would create more sewage than Minneapolis and St Paul combined! More than 40 diseases can be transferred to humans through manure polluted waterways. Countless animals and fish are at risk.

It may be argued that there are regulations to prevent contamination but these cannot be counted on. With recent cuts to the DNR, oversight is limited. The Legislative Audit Bureau found the DNR failed to send violation notices to 94 percent of the over 500 instances where policies indicated that fines should have been paid. Even if there were fines, the mammoth dairy corporation can afford to pay them. It's just a slap on the wrist, not a deterrent.

If someone buys a home in St Croix County, they expect to be able to use the water that comes out of their faucets. It is fundamentally irresponsible to allow a huge corporate farm to risk the county's clean water supply. The county will have to answer for and pay for inevitable contamination.

Beth Wood, New Richmond

Vicki Harmon, New Richmond

Kay Brooks, New Richmond

Melissa Wittstock, New Richmond

Mary Jane Bridge, New Richmond

Mary Campbell, New Richmond

Patty Van Nevel, New Richmond

Pete Stenske, New Richmond

Lu Jasperson, Glenwood City

Jan Marie Wall, Houlton