Opinions

Wed
05
Feb

Convention provides valuable interaction, inspiration

Exactly what the ground hogs whose burrows border the path around the Falls may have seen Saturday was not reported in the local media. Perhaps the snow depth prevented any sunlight from meeting the entrance to the ground hog’s den.

On Sunday night we had a report from one part-time resident from the north shore of Kelly Lake. After he parked in a neighbor’s drive, he walked to his house in snow up to his (bleep) to get to his front door. Clearly, ground hogs have it tough this year.

As we slowly crawl out of what seemed like a record cold January, we have the opportunity for a little reflection about things other than temperature, not the least of which was an outstanding Joint State Education Convention experience in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. We were impressed with the high quality presentations, expanded representation of vendors, and the many opportunities to network with old and new friends.

Wed
05
Feb

A tribute to some entrepreneurial kids

This will not be news to anyone in our part of the state: This has been a crummy winter.

Instead of the much-beloved “snow days,” a day off from school because of snow accumulation or drifting snow road conditions, schools were closed for several days because of the severe cold. It was too darned cold for the kids to even go sledding or snowboarding on the hill across the street.

However, on one of those bitterly cold days, after an overnight snowfall of about 5 or 6 inches, our doorbell rang. I went to see who was there and found three young guys, middle school maybe or early high school, all bundled up and carrying snow shovels. It was well below zero, and the wind was whipping off the lake and piling drifts in the driveway, but there they were, looking to make a few bucks by shoveling my snow.

Wed
29
Jan

Trees add vibrancy to construction project

With the deepest part of the deep-freeze winter settling on the path around the Falls this week, the construction season seems a long way off. Even so, there is evidence that some work continues, and plans for other work must be undergoing finalizing details.

The most noticeable work, because of its massive scale, is along Highway 41 in Green Bay. There was a time when people used to say, “Wisconsin has two seasons, winter and road construction.” Given modern techniques, the two seasons are not mutually exclusive. The large orange barrels used to direct traffic are evidence of that.

Anyone passing through Green Bay in recent days could travel through sections of the roadway where the barrels were strewn in roadside ditches or crushed tightly in a bank of snow next to concrete lane barriers. Snow plows seem to have little respect for those barrels.

Wed
29
Jan

Gender-neutral phrase: harmless or irritating?

We don’t eat out a lot, but when we do, it’s always interesting to see how our server will greet us. Will she say, “How are you all doing today?” Or, “What can I get you folks to drink?” Nope, more often than not, we hear: “Hi, my name is Mavis, and I’ll be taking care of you guys today.”

“You guys.” When did “you guys” become gender-neutral?

A couple of weeks ago, while we were sitting at our table at breakfast, a friend stopped and said, “You know what you should write about? Write about using ‘you guys’ to refer to both men and women. I still wear a bra; I’m not a guy!” And almost immediately after she left, our server, a young woman, came up and said, “Hi, what can I get you guys to drink?”

It’s hard not to notice how often men and women use the phrase “you guys” to refer to both sexes. I know I use it. Lots of my friends say it. Oprah says it!

Wed
22
Jan

Inspiring others to serve, as MLK Jr. proposed

Monday’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a bit subdued on the path around the Falls. Schools were in session. The U.S. Postal Service and a number of other government agencies, including all Wisconsin government offices, were closed, but in general there were no parades or speeches.

In some states, the day is a statewide holiday for all schools. Illinois schools are particularly patriotic and cancel classes for two presidents, a Revolutionary War general, the guy who is credited for discovering America, all veterans and Martin Luther King Jr.

King’s most famous speech was his “I have a dream” speech given in Washington, D.C., at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963. It called for an end to racism and served as a major energizer for the Civil Rights Movement.

Wed
22
Jan

Getting the dirt about ‘The pottery that grows’

If there were ever a competition for the world’s worst shopper, I’d probably win. Or if not the worst, at least the least enthusiastic. When Marilyn wants to go shopping, I usually take along a book and sit in the car or at the food court and read, content to just carry her purchases to the car when she’s finished.

There’s one sort of minor exception, though. When she goes to Costco, I usually tag along and do the manly pushing-of-the-cart chore. Marilyn says it’s just because they offer lots of food samples at Costco! I mean, where else can you go to help your wife shop and take her out to lunch all at the same time!

Well, on one of our recent excursions through the wonderland of Costco, I noticed a lot of products which featured “chia.” All my previous experience with chia was in the form of those ridiculous ads on TV for “Chia Pets.” “Ch-ch-ch-Chia!”

Wed
15
Jan

Board candidates display interest in public service

If we ever questioned whether Mother Nature can be fickle about how she treats those on the path around the Falls, that should have been cleared up this week. On Jan. 8 the F-150’s digital reading of outside temperature briefly flirted with minus 24 F. Monday at midday was 37 F, a swing of 61 degrees.

For people who have experienced a number of Wisconsin winters, that doesn’t seem too unusual. But to put it in perspective, imagine a morning in July when the temperature at sunrise might be 50 degrees, but less than a week later, the thermometer hits 111. That’s the extreme change we just experienced in a few short days.

The cold weather has made for some great ice conditions. Reports from this weekend’s ice fishing derby at Kelly Lake hinted at two feet of ice before that tip-up line could be dropped. That didn’t seem to stop the crowds, as Saturday’s more reasonable temperatures brought many residents and visitors looking for a little cabin fever relief.

Wed
15
Jan

Feeling wistful over boots, other holiday remnants

What are the ramifications of having 13 extra people coming into your house over the holidays, all of whom expect to do a lot of sledding on the Girl Scout Hill or playing in the snow-shrouded playground in the park across the street? One answer is “boots!” Lots of ‘em. So we had soggy snow clothes and boots to boot!

Every time I came into the mudroom, I had the feeling that there had been a population explosion in the boot kingdom: boots from the smallest I’ve ever seen to our 16-year-old grandson’s, which are bigger than mine, lined the boot trays and rugs in the room.

It made me think of the matryoshka dolls we had seen when we visited Russia about 10 years ago. Also known as Russian nesting dolls, these were sets of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. Those boots in the mudroom would have taken a lot less floor space if we could have nested the smaller ones inside larger ones!

Wed
15
Jan

Volunteers, donations critical to Spruce School plan

To the editor:

As you may know from the Times Herald’s coverage of the Oconto Falls School Board’s November meeting, the Heritage Center has expressed an interest in obtaining Spruce School, moving it to Oconto Falls and locating it on the former Jefferson School property. When this comes to fruition, the school will become the source of history for Oconto Falls and the surrounding area.

The Heritage Center members have taken on the project to move the school. As in any undertaking such as this, both money and volunteers or new members are needed to make this project a success.

Wed
08
Jan

Cold weather extends schools’ winter break

The bout of the coldest weather in 18 years that settled on the path around the Falls on Monday morning gave people something to talk about other than the less-than-Cinderella-story ending to the Packers’ season. The Sunday night loss by three points was not unexpected. There had been hope for a different result, given the cold weather.

Given the many warnings, fans dressed for the weather. Hopefully, some of those 49ers fans from California dropped a little cash in Green Bay as they got outfitted with new, cold weather gear for the game. Estimates varied as to the financial impact of hosting this postseason game but most were close to $12 million.

Regardless of the actual number, that was a great start to the year for the bottom line of a number of businesses in the area.

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