Opinions

Wed
12
Mar

Little Suamico leadership questioned

To the editor:

The town of Little Suamico needs to strongly consider a part-time administrator. Little Suamico is the largest municipality in Oconto County. With the poor leadership that we have in Little Suamico and its lack of knowledge and/or completely ignoring Wisconsin statutes, we need to look for the future of our town.

As recently as fall 2013, we noticed our chairman and town board’s failure to follow specific statutes in regards to bidding the shouldering of South Chase Road and giving it to a local company without properly bidding it out, even though the bill was almost $14,000. As stated specifically under Wisconsin statutes, Chapter 60.47 (2) a), no town may enter into a public contract with an estimated cost of more than $5,000, but not more than $25,000 unless the town board … gives a class 1 notice. No notice was given.

Wed
05
Mar

Get the message across with proper grammar

Do you hate grammar?

I was an English teacher for 37 years, and I always hated having to teach grammar. At least, I hated teaching what most people seem to think grammar is. You know, parts of speech, subjects and predicates, direct and indirect objects, punctuation, all that stuff. I much preferred to work that stuff into teaching composition. That is not to say I dislike grammar. I don’t. I love grammar.

Grammar is the structural foundation of our ability to express ourselves. The more we are aware of how grammar works, the more we can monitor the meaning and effectiveness of the way we use our language.

Grammar can help to foster precision, to detect ambiguity and to exploit the richness of expression available in English. And it can help everyone—not only teachers of English, but teachers of anything, for all teaching is ultimately a matter of getting to grips with meaning.

Wed
05
Mar

The arts and sports share March Madness spotlight

For those enjoying the beautiful weather on the path around the Falls, March Madness can come in a number of forms. This year’s madness includes Old Man Winter refusing to retreat to the land with the maple leaf flag.

Seriously, the days are getting longer. The coming weekend’s start of daylight saving time encourages people to anticipate that we will soon come to the end of what has been “The Winter of Our Discontent” for school decision-makers watching heating and snow removal budgets.

Student data drives much of what we do. Temperature data may not affect student achievement, but when school superintendents review the 2013-14 school budgets, we suspect that more than a few will throw in statistics in that category to explain potential overruns.

Wed
26
Feb

Winter weather continues to surprise us

Just when you thought you heard it all about weather-related complications along the path around Falls, a new situation crops up. Such was the case on Friday.

Midweek predictions had been that Thursday was going to be a rough morning with freezing rain and significant snowfall. The storm was a little slow in developing, with later forecasts indicating the precipitation would start midday. Finally, the precipitation started midafternoon as a rain/snow combination. Based on the radar, the heavy snow was going to be in northwest Wisconsin, as had been forecast. A ballgame for that evening had been canceled.

Wed
26
Feb

Olympic performances are amazing, but crazy

Watching the Winter Olympics made me realize what a wimp I must be!

Slopestyle snowboarding and freestyle skiing are crazy. Those sports are so extreme they must take some special brand of guts that I’m positive I don’t possess. I can’t see myself flying down the steep side of a mountain at 50 mph doing huge triple and quadruple flips 70 feet in the air and coming down right-side-up with no broken bones.

I kept trying to decide if the young practitioners of those sports were courageous or just plain crazy. I mean, I love roller coasters that do loops and twists, but come on, I’m fastened into the car with unbreakable safety belts as I scream through the coaster’s gyrations!

The downhill skiers, the slaloms, the super G, whatever — 70 miles per hour down an incredibly steep run without any body armor. Are they nuts?

Wed
19
Feb

Shortest month is long on importance

Those who live along the path around the Falls and are somewhat obsessed with the calendar know there are critical markers as we wind our way through each year. Even though February is the shortest month, it has a number of important markers.

Friday was Valentine’s Day, one of those special days creating high levels of stress at flower shops, where the delivery list most likely is longer than any other day in the year. In some situations that stress transfers to those members of the male gender who fail to have their significant other’s name and address on that list of deliveries from the flower shop.

Each year multiple deliveries are made to our school offices, creating lots of smiles, curiosity about the intended recipients and occasional blushes.

Wed
19
Feb

It’s all according to Hoyle

I play golf pretty regularly with some guys who also play poker on a fairly regular basis. They play every week; it’s hard to be more regular than that. I don’t join them because I know very little about poker. They’d probably like me to play, though, because I would surely lose a lot of money.

Regardless of my ignorance of the game, I am aware of many poker terms that have sneaked into our everyday language. Poker lingo such as “calling your bluff,” “ace in the hole” and “poker face,” are often used in daily speech. Many people wouldn’t even think about these terms as poker expressions, but their origins are clearly in poker.

Take “calling your bluff,” for example. In poker, a player might add money to the pot when he doesn’t have a hand to back it. That means he’s bluffing. To call this bluff, an opponent simply stays in for the showdown instead of folding.

Wed
19
Feb

Retirement crisis is brewing

To the editor:

Tagline seen in a Maxine cartoon: “I’m going to live off savings when I retire. What I’ll do for money the second week, I have no idea.”

This might evoke a chuckle until you learn how many future seniors will be walking in Maxine’s ugly orthopedic slippers. A retirement crisis is brewing in America, and reliable experts agree the fallout will be catastrophic. Not only will most Americans not be able to retire with dignity, they will have to work well into old age or live out their “golden” years in poverty.

Stagnating wages, loss of good-paying jobs, companies defaulting on pensions, rising health care costs and inadequate personal savings have all taken a toll.

Wed
12
Feb

2 Northwoods retailers leave behind powerful legacies

To the editor:

At the beginning of a new year, the media spends much time reviewing major events of the previous one. Most of these stories are on a national/international level, such as the death of significant individuals like Nelson Mandela. But 2013 saw the loss of two leaders at the local level, men who are not going to garner much media attention but are no less important to us.

I belong to a writers group, Up North Authors Circle, facilitated by Kathleen Marsh, of Townsend. We meet at the public library in Lakewood, which is my hometown. Both Kathleen and I have written local history books about our communities.

Wed
12
Feb

Beatles connected the world with their music

One hundred eighty-seven years after the colonies broke away from the Mother Country, viewers in the homes bordering the path around the Falls were able to witness an amazing bridge-building effort that spanned the Atlantic Ocean. The event was the live broadcast of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which 50 years ago this week first featured a British group called the Beatles. The relationship between the two countries was forever changed.

Sullivan was known for great Sunday night family entertainment and sometimes pushed the edge. The 1956 guest appearance on national television of Elvis Presley forever changed the way people think about hound dogs and the appropriateness of hip motion, but that is a story for another time and place.

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