Opinions

Wed
06
Nov

State-title bid excites community

Monday morning’s return to the workplaces near the path around the Falls should have found people rested and ready to fire up for the work week. At least one might think so, given an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night due to the return to standard time.

However, for a good number of Panther fans who watched the Panthers take on the Warriors from Waupun, the adrenalin rush from watching Saturday’s volleyball game at Seymour may have kept that from happening. Cruising through the first two games and earning a comfortable lead in the third may have put the Panthers in a relaxed mode. The Warriors took advantage of that lull and came back strong to win the third game.

Wed
30
Oct

Searching for daylight in funding policy

That morning wake-up on the path around the Falls has been a little discouraging lately because of the later arrival of daylight. Given the fact that this past weekend was the last during daylight saving time, there will be a small reprieve starting Sunday when we return to standard time. Unfortunately, the morning reprieve will be offset by an earlier onset of darkness in the evening, which can be just as depressing.

Daylight does wonders for a person’s attitude. The concept of daylight and depression came into play for the last time in another situation Sunday night when the Vikings hosted the Packers at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The Viking fans were so depressed that many began leaving at the start of the fourth quarter. Once they exited the stadium, they were not greeted by daylight to brighten their attitude. Sometimes being a Vikings fan is a heavy load to carry.

Wed
30
Oct

Road sign’s clever verse made for amusing Sunday rides

You know how it is, right? You’re looking for something on the Internet, and suddenly something else appears and grabs your attention, right? A while back I was looking for some obscure verse that I was thinking of alluding to for a column idea, and when I typed in “verse,” one of the sources that came up was a book called “Verse by the Side of the Road” by Frank Rowsome. So I looked it up. Actually, the complete title is “Verse by the Side of the Road: The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs and Jingles.”

Wed
23
Oct

Peshtigo fire eclipses Chicago’s

“Late one night, when we were all in bed, Mrs. O’Leary lit a lantern in the shed. Her cow kicked it over, then winked her eye and said, ‘There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!’ ”

Those are lyrics of an old song referring to the famous Chicago fire of Oct. 8, 1871.

Interestingly, that was also the date of the Great Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin. For people like me who grew up in northeast Wisconsin, the Peshtigo fire is a much bigger deal than the Chicago fire.

Did Mrs. O’Leary’s cow start the Great Chicago Fire? And what started the Peshtigo fire? There are probably no definitive answers to those questions.

Wed
23
Oct

Start date aside, school calendar set locally

One would not have to wander too far off the path around the Falls to understand that public schools in Wisconsin have many different features. Even so, the Wisconsin Constitution requires that “The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable…”

Even with requirements for uniformity, Wisconsin has always prided itself on local control. Depending on the issue, districts can have local control and at other times, hands are tied pretty tightly. The state Legislature sometimes flutters in the wind, and like the currents in Lambeau Field, the wind can come from many different directions.

Thu
17
Oct

Letter: Common Core is advantageous for students

To the editor:

The Wisconsin State Teachers of the Year Network has a classroom perspective on the debate regarding Common Core State Standards. For us, this is neither a political issue nor a union issue. Our view is based on students’ needs.

These higher standards prepare students to be college- and career-ready by demanding students be able to read and understand complex text. They have to understand problems and use skills to innovate solutions.

The Common Core is a nonpartisan, grassroots effort by a wide collection of state educators, state superintendents and governors. We see this as an attempt to strengthen public education, the foundation of our democracy, economy and security.

Thu
17
Oct

A few tidbits about Spam for you to chew on

About 10 years ago, I wrote a column about Internet spam, the nasty, annoying junk that clutters up our email in-boxes. The term comes from a Monty Python television show in which one particular episode made so many references to the canned meat product that the rest of the show was overshadowed by the Spam motif. So, no matter how good our spam filters are, we spend time reading through them, deleting them, or trying to unsubscribe to them. I hate email spam.

But I saw an item on The Writers Almanac on July 5 that said, in part: “It was on this day in 1937 that Spam came onto the market. The canned meat product from Hormel Foods Corporation was given its name by a contest winner; the prize for his ingenuity was $100.”

So Spam is a year-and-a-half older than I am, and we ate a lot of it when I was a kid. Mom used to fry it in the same pan with fried eggs and served it with big chunks of homemade bread for breakfast!

Thu
17
Oct

Toned-down Columbus Day celebrated Monday

Monday morning’s U.S. post office mail was nonexistent to those living along the path around the Falls, and even email contact had been cut off from some regular early morning conversationalists. None of this had to do with the federal government shutdown, even though one might suspect that to be the case. The more apparent sparks for the communication breakdown had to do with the observance of Columbus Day.

Oct. 12 was the day Christopher Columbus made landfall on his first journey to the New World back in 1492. Since 1971, rather than celebrating on the 12th, the observance was moved to the second Monday in October, providing one of several three-day weekends for many government employees, along with a number of private-sector employees. Bank employees used to count themselves in that group, but as competition got more intense in the finance industry, paying tribute to Chris became a lower priority.

Fri
11
Oct

Smokey Bear endures for generations

“Grandpa, what’s Smokey’s middle name?”

“I don’t know, Ella, what is Smokey’s middle name?”

“It’s THE, silly! You know, Grandpa, Smokey the Bear!”

Uproarious giggling comes from 5-year-old Ella. She’s 13 now and probably doesn’t remember her joy at making me laugh way back then.

A couple of years ago, I started writing a column about Smokey the Bear, but never finished it. Then a few weeks ago, one of my readers (maybe my only one?), Heidi Freeby, emailed: “We were up in Marinette County this weekend and going through Oconto… made me think of you.

Fri
11
Oct

Friendly gesture lost on critics of academic standards

Monday morning’s commute to work along the path around the Falls wasn’t quite like getting hit with a ton of bricks but it did confirm that things are changing. Commuting to work is a part of life for just about every worker, except for people living and working only on the family farm, and those people are just about as rare as albino whitetail deer.

Commuters who work the same schedules will notice traffic patterns. Certain times of the trip may involve seeing a vehicle day after day at almost the same spot on the daily commute. Of course this is a lot easier if the commute is along two-lane blacktop rather than on the four-lane, divided highway.

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