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Letters to the Editor

Funding needed in national parks


As we celebrate National Park Week, April 21-29 and the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act which helped established the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, it's worth noting the benefits national parks bring to our state and local communities, but also the challenges they face.

Nearly 1 million people visit Minnesota's five national parks sites every year — and visitor spending in communities like Stillwater, according to the National Park Service, is $56 million! Minnesotans love their national parks and are concerned about providing long term efforts to properly maintain them for generations to come. Minnesota's national park sites need $17.8 million in maintenance to crumbling buildings, trails, boat landing and recreation areas.

Fortunately, there is some good news in this regard. Congress recently appropriated, with the support of Rep. Betty McCollum who serves on the Appropriations Committee, an additional $160 million to help address deferred maintenance needs in our national parks. While a dedicated funding stream is needed to address the complete backlog of deferred maintenance long-term, Rep. McCollum's support in increased funding is a positive and appreciated step forward.

Gilbert Gragert


Chronic Wasting Disease


Are you aware there's disease that has an almost 100 percent mortality rate and is widespread in our state? Do you know this disease could eventually wipe out an entire species in Wisconsin and could potentially mutate to impact other animals, even humans? It's all true and the disease is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Unfortunately, it's already widespread in Wisconsin. There are some people who refuse to believe or accept the dangers of this disease. People with this mindset might not want to believe in dangers of CWD because believing it and taking steps to prevent it might be a hassle, or it might be expensive for them.

CWD has no cure. This disease impacts deer, elk, and moose. Recent studies have shown the disease can mutate and affect humans. Everyone who appreciates nature and the precious animals in Wisconsin should listen closely to what the science community has to say about CWD. We can be more proactive in protecting our state's resources and ourselves from this disease. Please value our deer, elk, and moose populations more than you value some inconvenience and expense. Please learn more about CWD. Tell your representatives you want them to help protect our priceless resources in Wisconsin.

Tessa Heeren


What is human trafficking?


What is Human Trafficking? According to the United Nations and Fierce Freedom (

"... Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. ..."

Please join us May 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hudson House, Hudson, Wisconsin, (doors open at 6 p.m.) to listen to Aynaz Anni Cyrus. Citizens for the St. Croix Valley (www.citizensforthestcroixvalley) is sponsoring this event. Anni grew up in Iran. As a young child, she was forced to marry. Beaten and raped, she went to the courts but was told to go back to her husband and obey him. With the help of her grandmother, Aynaz managed to escape and spent three years as a refugee on her own in Turkey. After gaining US citizenship in 2010, safety and the freedom to be herself finally became a reality. The sense of relief and joy of living freely would not last, though. Now, with the poorly vetted refugee program, she finds the same dangerous ideology has begun seeding itself in the United States. As an apostate of Islam, once again she lives in fear as TEN fatwas have been placed on her. Join us and hear her story. Learn how Iran has changed and what life is like for women living under sharia. Understand how and why sharia still threatens her today. "To be free as a human is to be free from Islamic laws." Anni Cyrus.

Darla Meyers

Town of St. Joseph