Opinions

Wed
05
Oct

Tiffany’s no longer working for Northwoods

To the editor:

Of all the misguided, reprehensible things Sen. Tom Tiffany has done, the most egregious is his treatment of veterans, especially those living at nursing homes like King. Tiffany serves on the legislature’s budget committee; his decision to raid over $30 million from these facilities is political malpractice.

Why did Tiffany do it? To fill the budget hole Republicans created by mismanaging state government and giving obscenely high tax cuts to the wealthiest Wisconsin taxpayers. What’s worse, these raids follow a string of Republican efforts to block state veteran funding, consolidate county veteran offices and deny justice for veterans suffering from asbestos exposure. Obviously, Tiffany cares far more about his rich friends and corporate donors than taking proper care of our heroes.

Wed
05
Oct

Time to vote Tiffany out of office

To the editor:

Supporters of Tom Tiffany cite his name recognition as a sign of political strength. Indeed. Let’s recognize him.

Tiffany’s the guy who railed about Madison not representing Northwoods interests … until he was elected. Now he votes like he lives in Waukesha County.

Tiffany’s the guy who secretly signed onto illegal redistricting, voted to gut the Open Records Law and enthusiastically supported eliminating the Government Accountability Board. No surprise there. He’s the guy who holds midnight hearings to ensure that no one testifies.

Tiffany’s the guy who takes dark money and uses dirty campaign tricks. When caught, he whines that he was “getting his message out” or acting as a “private citizen.”

Wed
05
Oct

The little house behind the house

If you’re a farm-raised kid about my age, you probably also have some pretty clear memories of those little duty houses. The outhouse was our “bathroom” (don’t you love euphemisms?), but there was no bathing done there. It was not an elegant room; decor was not a priority. It was all about functionality.

About 10 years ago, my sister told me about an incident that happened when my mom was in the hospital after suffering from two heart attacks. My mom, God rest her soul, was 90 at the time, and even though she was greatly distressed by the heart attacks, she was able to retain her sense of humor.

Because she was so weak, Mom asked my dad, also 90, to help her into the bathroom and to stay with her while she did her duty. So Dad took a chair into the bathroom and sat next to her. Mom said it reminded her of the old days of the “two-holer” out behind the old log house.

Wed
21
Sep

Punctuation gives sentences meaning

Sept. 24 is National Punctuation Day, a day to recognize and celebrate our friendly neighborhood commas, periods, hyphens, dashes, ellipses, quotation marks, question marks, exclamation marks, parentheses, colons, semicolons, brackets, apostrophes, slashes, em-dashes and ampersands.

It’s a day to protest the ever-increasing use of “emojies” or “emoticons” to replace the noble marks who’ve served us so well over the years.

Space constraints on social media platforms like Twitter have led to a reduction in the use of conventional punctuation, and emojies are being used to serve the same key purposes as punctuation marks. And while we used to have to make up our own emojie by creatively placing standard punctuation marks (like :) for a smile), now we can simply click on any number of cartoon-like images graciously supplied by our email servers.

Wed
14
Sep

Berry Lake reps helped to secure internet grant

To the editor:

Your Aug. 31 article “Berry Lake getting internet upgrade” did an excellent job of describing our recent success in expanding broadband internet service within Oconto County.

I would like to emphasize the critical role the Berry Lake area community played in obtaining the funding that will make their much needed internet upgrades possible. Three local organizations with a stake in Berry Lake (Berry Lake Association, Berry Lake Property Owners Association and Underhill Sportsmen’s Club) submitted letters of support and each made equal financial contributions that were matched by the town of Underhill.

Oconto County and the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation also provided letters of support and financial contributions.

Wed
14
Sep

King residents deserve better care

To the editor:

Wisconsin Republican scandal exposed: “State Raids Funds from Veteran’s Home” (Madison Capitol Times). That’s right. Scott Walker, aided and abetted by Republicans like Tom Tiffany, have been taking federal money meant to treat vets at King in Waupaca County and diverting it to the Wisconsin Veterans Trust Fund.

King residents are not receiving adequate care, even though Wisconsin brings in millions more each year than it spends on them.

How could this happen? In 2011, the state budget authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs to transfer funds from King to the VTF. In 2013, the Legislature made that authority permanent.

Question: Should the state be collecting federal money and diverting it from those who served and are now sick and disabled?

Wed
07
Sep

Here is what patriotism looks like

To the editor:

Summer is the time of year when patriotism is in full bloom. Red, white and blue are everywhere. There’s Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day. There are celebrations and parades.

Nonstop elections seem to be part of the mix. The candidates compete for whom seems the most patriotic.

Patriotism should be expressed as the coming together of everyone for the common good. And that everyone includes folks from all over the world with all different kinds of lifestyles. Those who have traveled beyond their own backyards know we are a pluralistic society full of great diversity, a diversity that has been and is good for our country.

Indeed, there are currently about as many legal minority citizens as there are European-Americans.

Wed
07
Sep

Impending move brings faded photos into focus

We’re in the process of getting ready to move to a smaller house. We’ve lived in our current house for almost 18 years, and we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff.

Besides holding a garage sale to get rid of some of it, Marilyn has also been taking down all of the framed pictures and artwork on our walls. I guess because we are used to all these things, we hardly ever really pay attention to them. And until all those framed things were all collected in one place, we didn’t realize how much there was.

We’ve walked by them every day for years and didn’t even really pay any attention to them, but seeing them in a different context makes us cognizant of what we have.

For example, in our downstairs office there were two framed photo montages, one of Marilyn’s family and one of mine. Some of the photos in those frames are very old; there are pictures of our grandparents, all of whom have been dead for many years. My Grandma VanHaren died before I was born.

Wed
07
Sep

Chinese lanterns provide lesson in good, evil

Every year about this time, I stick myself with a job I do not enjoy, but my efforts always seem to give others some happiness.

I’m talking about Chinese lanterns, also called Japanese lanterns. (Since we have daughters-in-law of both nationalities, I suppose I should call them “Asian lanterns,” huh?)

Anyway, do you know what they are? I think they’re basically weeds! They’re aggressively invasive plants that send runners underground as far as 15 feet. They’ll even push up through landscape barrier cloth and stones to take over an area. I have to mow them off all summer in areas where I don’t want them.

But these plants develop a gorgeous bright orange seed pod that looks like the paper lanterns of China and Japan. And ladies seem to love them as fall bouquets. Therein lies the “job”!

Wed
31
Aug

Legislators need to better support education

To the editor:

Here it is, back-to-school time once again. And as our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews head back to the classroom, it is time to renew our support for public education.

Over the last half decade, Wisconsin schools have experienced a devastating pattern of legislation — not only in budget cuts but also in regulations that limit the flexibility to deal with cuts.

Here in northeastern Wisconsin, every single school district has felt the effect of the legislation.

Student-to-teacher ratios have gone up, and the number of aides has gone down. Curriculum and materials have not been updated. Programs have been cut. And buses and other infrastructure are in need of repair, which only pushes the true effect of the policies a few years into the future.

But none of this had to happen! We Midwesterners are practical people; we know how to live within a budget and how to make things work.

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