It's been said that a computer keyboard and a degree of anonymity can be a volatile mix. There's a term for making offensive comments over the internet that one wouldn't do in person: keyboard courage. A few years ago we joined other publications in our parent company as well as newspapers around the country and around the world in removing the comment section from our websites. But the conversations continued on Facebook, where we routinely share links to stories.
If you have the "Charlie Brown Christmas" music handy, turn it on now and select "Skating." The Vince Guaraldi Trio's light, joyful tune evokes emotions of how outdoor winter fun is supposed to be ... glide, spin and do it again. And while you perhaps reminisce, resolve to talk with children in your life about ice safety. Ice thickness varies greatly on lakes, ponds and rivers throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Some bodies of water have no ice, others have a thin glaze, and "up north" the ice may appear firmly solid — but ice is never 100 percent safe.
Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving (for most of us) without turkey. Oh, the trimmings and fixings make the meal special and enrich the tradition, but the foundation of the meal is turkey. The Midwest goes a long way in making that possible across the nation. The University of Wisconsin invites you to think twice as you carve the turkey this Thanksgiving, because you can thank University of Wisconsin alum Wallace Jerome, in particular.
Dear Hunter, The outdoors beckon as the Minnesota firearm deer season continues and Wisconsin's begins on Saturday. The air is crisp — just as you like it — and the snowfall should make tracking deer easier. Farmers have nearly completed their harvest, clearing the fields. Sounds as though conditions are just about perfect.
Manufacturing is in a pretty good state in both our states. The one thing almost every local manufacturer needs, however, is workers. Manufacturing accounts for more than 18 percent of Wisconsin's gross domestic product. That adds up to $56 billion annually, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Industry employed more than 461,000 people two years ago and continues to grow.
The United States, Mexico and Canada took a decisive step Sunday toward a new trade deal. The North American Free Trade Agreement, that 1994 contract that governed some $1.2 trillion in trade among the three nations and that President Donald Trump reviled, is effectively gone. Instead of the acronym NAFTA, people eventually will have USMCA — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — provided, of course, if everyone from top leaders to U.S. Congress, the Canadian Parliamentary System and Mexico's Congreso de la Unión signs. And the agreement won't start until 2020.
The list seems like "must-reads" for a literature class and a personal bucket list. In fact, these books share another distinction: They have been challenged and sometimes actually banned — some from specific U.S. school districts and others from entire countries. In this 21st century world in which writers — including reporters — are continually under attack for telling people's stories, the 2018 theme for Banned Books Week seems especially broad and meaningful: "Banning Books Silences Stories."
State governments have a plethora of services and information available online. People want it. They need it. Pew Research finds that approximately one-third of U.S. adults reported using an app or the internet to access information provided by their state government in the past 12 months. Availability isn't enough, however, and people too often can't get to the information or services easily, based on a new report by Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The conclusion is that citizens deserve better.
Students are heading back to school. Take a deep breath and it's a heart-warming moment — snapping of first-day photos, meeting new teachers, seeing friends again. Then exhale and fears creep in — being bullied on the bus, being approached by strangers, worrying about school violence and specifically school shootings. No place is completely safe, but schools are the safest place overall for children to be when not at home with a caring, responsible adult. National statistics support this statement. Consider a few findings from two recent, related reports:
Pulitzer Prizes for 2018 will be announced Aug. 16. The awards — 13 each year — recognize achievements in American journalism as well as literature and music. This year's announcement day also will mark a concerted effort by numerous editorial boards across the nation to draw attention to the vital role the free press (i.e. newspapers like this one) plays in our nation.