Opinions

Wed
09
Apr

Survey shows need to improve our health

To the editor:

Thank you very much for including the articles “Oconto among less healthy counties in state” and “County adopts health improvement plan” in the April 2 issue of the Times Herald. This kind of information is critical to every county resident, especially seeing that our county is doing poorly in so many categories.

Every individual from adolescent to elder has responsibility for his or her own health. The three most important aspects of that responsibility are eating sensibly, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular exercise.

Do you know how many calories you require per day? Do you know how many calories you eat in a day? Do you know what your weight should be? Do you exercise?

Three further points are the “do nots”: do not drink excessively (or at all if you are driving), do not take drugs that are not currently prescribed for you, and do not smoke, period.

Wed
09
Apr

Getting to the origin of March Madness

As I’m writing this, the Badgers are just heading into the Final Four of this year’s March Madness, so I can’t talk about how they did. (Let’s hope they won it all!) But a question started nagging me as I watched games: When did they start calling it March Madness? So, you know me, I did some digging for some answers.

I found one source that said sportscaster Brent Musburger is generally regarded as the guy who first used that phrase in conjunction with the college tournament, using it during CBS Sports’ coverage of the NCAA tourney back in 1982. But a number of other sources give the credit to a guy named Henry V. Porter, who wrote an essay for the Illinois High School Association’s newsletter, Illinois High School Athlete, in 1939.

Wed
02
Apr

Spring elections set course for school districts

It’s not just along the path around the Falls. In many places, tradition has it that practical jokes are played on April 1. Perhaps this time around Mother Nature and Old Man Winter teamed up to play a trick on all of us by keeping many parts of Wisconsin under a blanket of snow well beyond the first day of spring.

The first week of April will be a busy time for school people, and not just the athletic directors working the phones to reschedule games due to field conditions. The good news is that Monday morning a few grass sprouts could be seen poking through the snow on one of the pitcher’s mounds on the new softball fields north of the high school.

Wed
02
Apr

Sum it up: Math helps us think logically

A very wise man, Henry Brooks Adams, once wrote “A teacher affects eternity: she (he) can never know where her (his) influence stops.”

Every day for 24 years, I walked past a plaque at Wayland Academy that bore that inscription. I have never doubted its sagacity. And I often wonder if my students sometimes look back on their high school days and think about who influenced them.

When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to have several very good teachers, men and women who had a profound effect on my life. I have written several times about Marion Felix and Joyce Kilmer, English teachers who nurtured in me a love for words and written expression, an appreciation for drama and poetry. I became an English teacher because of their influence. I became an amateur actor because of them.

Wed
26
Mar

Pondering our visit to the big dance

Even though this particular big dance was some miles to the south of the path around the Falls, an estimated 1,000 fans made the trip to be part of the experience Friday morning. The Lady Panthers ran out of the locker room and onto the state tournament court in front of a cheering crowd decked out in orange and black.

It was the biggest crowd in the stands, no doubt due to the fact that classes in the district had been canceled to help facilitate attendance and to avoid a litany of issues that would have existed if classes would have been scheduled as usual on that very unusual day.

There was unprecedented media attention for this first-time appearance of the Oconto Falls High School girls basketball team at state, which set the stage for what was anticipated to be an exciting finish to the longest season an OFHS ladies team had ever experienced.

Wed
26
Mar

Spelling bee winners master our tricky language

“Due ewe sea watt eye dew - oar knot?”

“So, ewe sea, aye reed watt yew rite.”

I get some funny mail sometimes. The two sentences above were in a note I got from a reader a few weeks ago. In his note, he said, “I have a big problem with the English language. How you can defend it, I don’t understand. Think about all the strange spellings it has.”

Then he inserted the two sentences above and said, “See why I hated English and spelling in St. Pete’s back in the ’30s and ’40s?”

Well, yeah, Dick, I can see why you might have gotten discouraged with the complexities of our language when you were a kid. But your little spoof makes me think you don’t really dislike the language; you obviously see it as a challenge.

Ironically, I got Dick’s note the day before there was a big article in the State Journal about the citywide spelling bee in Madison. Think about the spelling challenges some of those kids face in their quest to become city champs.

Wed
19
Mar

Today’s baseball is not the game of my childhood

The baseball season is here. Spring training games are already being played. So a few things have been on my mind about baseball.

Stories in the paper about baseball trades and drug scandals are sad to me. It seems to me that when I was a kid, all my heroes spent their whole careers with one team, and there weren’t any stories about steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

I was a Cubs fan back then (I didn’t know any better!), and I thought Roy Smalley, Wayne Terwilliger and Hank Sauer had always been Cubs and would always be. And then in 1953, the Braves came to Milwaukee, and I had to adopt a whole new set of heroes: Bob Buhl, Lew Burdette, Warren Spahn, Del Crandall, Joe Adcock, Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews, Billy Bruton, Andy Pafko. And it seemed like they played there forever. The Braves were the Braves!

Mathews was No. 41, Burdette was 43, and Spahn was 21, and they always would be, and there were no scandals and very few trades.

Wed
19
Mar

Girls show grit along tourney trail

Although the official start of spring is Thursday, gritty Old Man Winter is digging in his fingernails and holding on for dear life. The forecast for midweek did not hint of spring; instead, just the opposite. On the other hand, there are some positive aspects of holding on to a winter thing or two.

For the first time in Oconto Falls High School history, the Lady Panthers’ winter basketball season has been extended to the state tournament. Their first game is set for Friday morning, the first full day of spring. To show support and to avoid a lot of complications, classes in all district schools will be canceled on Friday. This was not without controversy, but from the big-picture perspective, it made a lot of sense. One day will be added to the end of the school year, so there will be no loss of instructional time.

Wed
12
Mar

Break in weather a sign softball fields will open

Ice breakers have been called into service, both on the Great Lakes and on the path around the Falls.

On the Great Lakes they will be busy as the shipping season gets under way. The near-record ice cover on lakes Superior and Michigan, due to the polar vortex or an overly aggressive Old Man Winter, will mean that ice breakers have their work cut out for them, no pun intended.

Due to an improving economy, the total tonnage coming into Green Bay was up this past season, compared to a year ago. Perhaps one of the more critical commodities shipped was road salt. Even with that high volume, supplies are running low in some locations, prompting the road crews to use a salt/sand mix. Given depleted inventories, salt will be a high volume commodity this shipping season.

The quicker they can start moving cargo, the better off they will be. Ice breakers will be a key.

Wed
12
Mar

Former student makes medical discovery

There’s a very common tendency among people to take pride in any person from our community who “makes it big” in the world. If a local kid creates a new invention or strikes it rich in show business or the world of politics, whatever, we take pride in their accomplishments. It really doesn’t even have to be just our community, it can be anyone from Wisconsin. We like to claim them as one of us.

So you can imagine how some local people felt when they read, in the Jan. 28 edition of Newsweek, a story with this headline: “Exclusive: Why Next Year’s Super Bowl Could Be Much Safer.” When we got to the fifth paragraph, a name jumped off the page in this sentence: “A New York University neurosurgeon, Uzma Samadani, seems to have discovered a new way to track minute eye movements and correlate those results to brain injuries such as concussions.”

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