Opinions

Wed
28
Jun

Little Suamico board shuts down dialogue

To the editor:

Now that the town of Little Suamico has removed the three-minute public comment from the town’s agenda this month because board members do not want to be transparent, I will outline a few items that all citizens should know about.

In 2015, Little Suamico hired R&R Assessing out of Oconto Falls for three years to do a maintenance assessment. When the first-year maintenance assessment was done, over 490 properties were assessed, and R&R left off 69 properties with major improvements and did not increase their property taxes, throwing off the town’s equalization. We found this out after requesting a list from R&R of the properties that he did assessments on.

Wed
28
Jun

A 60-year milestone

To the editor:

After graduating from Lena High School in May 1957, I joined the Navy on June 28, 1957. The Navy recruiters for Northeastern Wisconsin had set up what they called a Packerland Company. They signed up almost a full boot camp company.

On the 28th of June, 1957, we had a noon luncheon in Green Bay where we were sworn in. Later in the afternoon we boarded a train for Great Lakes Naval Station. The train stopped that evening near the front gate, and we walked in.

Other local enlistees of the Packerland Company included J.A. Couillard, Ronald Funk and James Walls from Oconto, Daniel Voelker and Ronald Skarda from Coleman, Dale Brehmer and Joseph Koebach from Oconto Falls, and Clyde Tucker Jr. from Carter.

I enlisted on what was known as the kiddie cruise. If you entered while you were 17 years old, you got out the day before you were 21. You were also guaranteed a service school.

Wed
28
Jun

Ooooo! Aaaaah! Wow!

This is the season for fireworks. The night sky comes alive with a rainbow spray of sparks. The flower-shaped boomers scatter their hot seeds to the breeze and cast a special and beautiful magic only they can do. The graceful arching rockets that silently explode like brilliant dandelion heads illuminate the clouds of smoke from previous shells and reflect off the dark waters of the lake.

The crowds of viewers oooo and aaaah. Children shriek in delight.

Scenes like that are repeated in thousands of cities across the nation every Fourth of July. It says something about our psyches, I think, that we enjoy these incendiary pleasures. Our national anthem could easily be referring to modern-day pyrotechnic displays: “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air …” (Don’t tell me you didn’t sing that last sentence.) (You did, didn’t you?)

Tue
20
Jun

Hearts are everywhere we turn

Did you know that in California you can get a heart on your license plate? You know, as in “I (heart) my dog.”

Ten years ago, our son TJ was married to a wonderful girl in California, so the heart motif was pretty prevalent. It did my heart good to be part of such a heartwarming and heartfelt event. (Can you see where this is going?)

I happened to notice quite a few cars with the heart on the license plates as we traveled the freeways of the Bay area near San Francisco. That got me thinking about why we do that. Why do we use the symbol of a stylized heart to represent love – and other emotions? You see it everywhere, don’t you? – bumper stickers, keychains, tattoos, valentines, necklaces, rings, earrings – everywhere.

Wed
14
Jun

I’ve been having bad cases of hiccoughs

One of the goofiest side effects of some of the cancer medications I’m taking is that I get some really loud, painful hiccups. By loud, I mean LOUD. When I hiccup, I scare the birds, rabbits, and squirrels in the yard. It’s ridiculous, and unfortunately, none of my doctors seems to be able to explain why it happens.

Oh, I’ve had hiccups often in my life, but they were just run-of-the-mill, ordinary hiccups. They were nothing like this. And I’ve found that almost everyone has a “cure” for those ordinary hiccups: like holding your breath, drinking water, drinking through a handkerchief, and Marilyn’s favorite – “I’ll give you a dollar if you hiccup again.”

Wed
07
Jun

Recalling the joy of smelt-dipping

It doesn’t take much of a nudge to make the DVR in my brain slip into triple-rewind and bring back some amazingly clear pictures of stuff that happened when I was a kid. For example, in the process of looking for some information about something (I can’t even remember now what it was; how’s that for a memory problem?), I saw a church ad for a spring “smelt fry” somewhere in the Upper Peninsula.

Wow! A smelt fry! Have you ever been to a smelt fry? Or have you ever gone dipping smelt?

Wed
31
May

Recalling Oconto Falls of past Memorial Days

We’ve just gone through the Memorial Day weekend. When I was a kid, it was called “Decoration Day,” but that weekend was one of the highlights of the year in my little hometown.

In addition to the “regular” Memorial Day observance – the serious cemetery commemorations for the soldiers who had died in war, the parade and, at least for a couple of years, the airplane flying low over the river and dropping a floral cross – there was a carnival at the grounds near the football field.

The Meverden family, long-time Oconto Falls residents, ran Meverden Amusements, a carnival company, and they traveled all over, but one of their big weekends obviously was the hometown celebration for Memorial Day. It was kind of their kickoff to the summer carnival season, a test run for all the rides.

Wed
24
May

On lunches, free and otherwise

When did “all you can eat” become “all you care to eat”? And is there a difference?

The idea of buffets has caught on big time. You pay once, serve yourself, and help yourself to as much as you can eat – or “as much as you care to eat” – in a single meal. Sorry, no doggy bags at the buffet!

I wonder where the idea of such feasts started. When I was a kid, I often heard my mom talk about “smorgasbords,” but we didn’t go out to eat very often, so I never saw such a thing until I was much older – out of college probably. I looked it up and found out that the smörgåsbord (which literally means table of sandwiches) is a traditional form of buffet in Sweden.

Wed
17
May

Professionals, friends prove therapeutic value of humor

Mark Twain wrote: “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”

He also wrote: “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

Many years ago — I don’t remember how long, 30 years, maybe — I read an article about a famous author (Norman Cousins, perhaps?) who was dying of cancer. The point of his article had to do with the healing power of laughter.

His treatment of choice was to laugh. He gathered a collection of Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Marx Brothers films and spent hours every day watching them and laughing at their silliness. He was convinced of the efficacy of humor as medicine. It didn’t cure his cancer, but it made him feel better, I think.

Wed
10
May

Here I go, belly-aching again

A couple of my favorite beefs about stuff.

I know I’ve written about this topic a number of times in the past, but it sometimes irks me when I see what preposterous salaries some people make for what to me seem like not very important jobs. I’ve complained a number of times about the ridiculous paychecks that athletes get.

Would it surprise you to know that the two most highly paid athletes in the world are soccer players? Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi make $88 million and $81.4 million, respectively. Lebron James makes $77 million, but only $23 million is salary; the rest is endorsements. Ronaldo makes $56 million in salary; the rest is endorsements. Messi’s salary is $53 million; $28 million is product endorsements.

Who do you think is the highest paid NFL quarterback? Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? Can Newton? Eli Manning? Nope. Joe Flacco.

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