Opinions

Tue
20
Nov

Column: Is it possible to give more than 100 percent?

There’s a commercial on TV in which a window manufacturer claims that its windows are 2,000 percent more airtight than their nearest competitors’ windows. Wow! 2,000 percent!

What is a 2,000 percent increase? I’m not a mathematician, but it seems to me that an increase of 100 percent in a quantity means that the final amount is 200 percent of the initial amount (100 percent of initial + 100 percent of increase = 200 percent of initial); in other words, the quantity has doubled. Does that make sense? So, for example, an increase of 800 percent means the final amount is nine times the original (100 percent + 800 percent = 900 percent = 9 times as large), right? So, if you agree with that, does it seem right that 2,000 percent means that the final number is 21 times the original (100 percent + 2,000 percent = 2,100 percent = 21 times as large)? Right?

Wed
14
Nov

Column: Generations of actors have delighted us

Last week, Marilyn and I had some opportunities to see a couple of performances which sent us back-pedaling into our memories of our own high school years.

The first show was an elaborate Madrigal Feast at Kettle Moraine High School, where our grandson Nolan is a sophomore. The “Feast” is an annual production of the high school, and it involves a number of choirs and a couple of hundred students who recreate a Renaissance dinner — complete with elaborate costumes, authentic music, a catered meal, a pillary, swordfights, a court jester, a short play and dances. Nolan was a member of the Madrigal Singers and one of the other big choirs, and he had a few lines in the short play.

When Marilyn was in high school, she was a four-year member of the Madrigal Singers at Oshkosh High School, so this fun evening was a pleasant trip down memory lane for her.

Wed
07
Nov

Column: It all started with a Hiawatha Luxury Liner

Until we experienced some health issues a few years ago, Marilyn and I did a lot of bike-riding. (I was going to say “cycling,” but that sounds way more serious than the kind of riding we did.) I consider myself lucky that I found a life partner who shared my love of riding.

I have liked bike-riding since I was a kid. When I was 10 years old, my parents bought my sister and me brand new Hiawatha bicycles from the hardware store in town. They must have made some big sacrifices to do that, because our family didn’t have much money in those days. I didn’t think about their sacrifices back then – I was only interested in me, I suppose – but I do think about it today, and I really appreciate it now.

Wed
31
Oct

Letters to the Editor

School Board asks for vote

To the Editor:

In less than one week, residents of the Gillett School District will be voting on a referendum where the district is asking for authorization to exceed the state-imposed revenue limits by $600,000 for each of the next three years.

As discussed at various meetings held to provide information to the residents as well as question-and-answer mailings, the state-imposed revenue limits do just that – limit the revenue Gillett can receive between state funding and local property taxes. These limits have been in effect since 1993, and Gillett has been a low revenue-limit school since that time, one of the lowest in the state. The state has recognized the funding issues and is beginning to slowly increase the revenue limits, but that will take time. In the meantime, schools must ask their taxpayers for additional funding.

Wed
31
Oct

Column: Why do the old songs sound better?

Last week we went to see a concert by Jeff Dayton, who for many years headed the backup band for Glen Campbell. This was a very quiet, easy concert featuring Jeff on guitar and singing 20 or 25 familiar songs, backed up by his friend Mark Bendickson on guitar. No drums, no bass, no keyboards, no horns – just two guitars and a pleasant voice.

We heard songs from Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Gene Autry, Jerry Reed, Vince Gill, the Kingston Trio, Gary Puckett, George Strait, Mack Davis and I don’t know how many others. He closed with a wonderful rendition of “Over the Rainbow” made famous by a native Hawaiian singer-songwriter and ukuleleist (Is that a word?) called “Braddah Iz.” I love that version.

Wed
17
Oct

Column: Memories are made of this

Note from the author: In a week filled with medical appointments and an amazing surprise joint birthday party engineered by our kids, I’m taking the lazy way out and re-running a column from April 30, 2005. — Roger VanHaren

In a stack of pictures in the basement, there are two pieces of original artwork. One is a pastel of my grandmother Christine VanHaren done many years ago by my cousin Larry VanHaren, a professional artist who lives in Dallas. I never met my grandmother because she died shortly before I was born, but I feel I know her when I look at that picture.

Wed
10
Oct

Column: Old-fashioned hardware stores were fun to explore

In the last couple of weeks, I have ventured into the past and written about the Oconto Falls I knew as a kid. I’ve gotten a number of responses from readers who have shared my recollections. So, today, I make one more trip into my kidhood, encouraged by a reader who wrote about her remembrances of Magnin’s Hardware in the Falls.

When I was a kid, I used to really love going to Porky and Chub’s hardware store on Main Street in Oconto Falls. Porky and my dad were good friends, and we’d often go there even if we didn’t need anything from the store. And I guess I’ve never really outgrown my fascination with such places. How could you not love a hardware store? Especially an old-fashioned one? I mean, I like modern hardware stores, too, but they’re just not the same.

Wed
03
Oct

Column: The importance of following 'porch rules'

Two years ago, Marilyn and I moved to very small house after having lived in a much bigger one for nearly 20 years. This was a reluctant admission on our parts that we were slowly moving toward our “sunset years” and that we needed to downsize.

We love our new place.

One of the most attractive parts of the house was a very small front porch, and we very soon established a practice of observing “porch time.” This was great until the mosquitoes and other insects starting butting in on our time. So we began to talk about having a screened porch built on the back of the house, and this past summer we hired a friend to build it for us.

“Porch time” became a wonderful part of our summer days. Often we’d sit out there until 10 o’clock in the evening, enjoying bug-free leisure, reading or just talking or thinking.

As part of our preparation for the advent of our new porch, we spent some time watching the sales for the right kind of furniture and accessories.

Wed
26
Sep

Guest column: A veterans memorial at Memorial Field?


DAVE POLASHEK

I appreciated reading Warren Bluhm’s recent effort to connect the community with one of the issues covered at the September meeting of the Oconto Falls School Board. The district does not operate in isolation, and connections with the community take many forms — one of the most recent was the potential location of a fitting memorial to local veterans on what is now a vacant portion of the Farm Road school property.

Just a bit of background on the 40-acre site: It was purchased (not without some controversy) just over 50 years ago, when it became obvious the existing high school was no longer adequate to serve the needs of the growing school population. Many felt the site was beyond legitimate size needs, but the school board made the hard decision to move forward with faith that unforeseen future needs might someday reinforce the idea that they made the right choice.

Wed
26
Sep

Column: The night the NBA came to Oconto

I’ve recently been struck by a wave of nostalgia, and memories of my childhood and teen years have resurfaced. And I’ve had some mail from readers who’ve approved of my trips back into my gray matter. So here’s another excursion down Memory Lane.

When I was kid growing up in Oconto Falls, some of our local heroes were the players on the Northern Lites basketball team. The Northern Lites was a semi-pro team sponsored by a local company, Beam Chemical, which manufactured a number of cleaning products.

Most of the players were local guys, former high school stars like the Lemirande twins and Chub Magnin. Our high school coach, Romie Kosnar, who was from nearby Lena and had been a star at St. Norbert, was a favorite. Two of the guys were from Green Bay and De Pere; Kelly Daanen was a lanky blonde about 6-6, and Joe Meeuwsen (whose daughter Terry became Miss America in 1973 and then became a host of the 700 Club on TV) was a rangy forward.

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