Opinions

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.

Wed
31
Aug

Van Stippen passionate about government service

To the editor:

I was driving along Highway 32 a couple of weeks ago and noticed a really large sign. It said Van Stippen for Senate #12. I was impressed; this was pretty sharp as campaign signs go. However, I had no idea who Bryan Van Stippen was.

That evening I Googled him and was directed to his campaign website. Wow! This candidate has an impressive resume.

I read through the documents posted and came away very impressed. Of course, candidates can pay to look good online so I followed up by attending one of Bryan’s campaign events. (I rarely support candidates that I have not met, shaken hands with, heard speak and talked to personally).

Let me tell you, Bryan Van Stippen is the real deal. He’s knowledgeable about the issues and cares deeply about the people he wants to represent. Bryan is ambitious, but not for himself, for his future constituents. He’s a good listener and passionate about improving our lives through government service.

Wed
24
Aug

Progressiveness deserves praise

To the editor:

We, the people, once an all-inclusive identification, now find ourselves in a multi-class identification effort that tends to be used for the purpose of degrading individuals.

Now, instead of looking upward for inspiration where we find only greed and superegos, we have turned our eyes downward, where we are able to see those poor souls that we can blame for whatever we choose.

In this election, one party offers us a clear definition of a country that deserves our praise, not our chastisement. A party, with a history of progressive accomplishments, stands ready to do what we always do — make an already great country greater by doing great things for the good of the greater amount of the people.

Dennis J. Gaines,

Lakewood

Wed
24
Aug

OAHS doesn’t want to be a secret

To the editor:

We all hate them — those TV commercials by the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States. You know the ones I’m talking about; the commercials with the abused, cowering, “tied up in the cold” animals that pull at our heart strings.

Most people also hate thinking about animal shelters in general. People imagine rows of cages where animals spend their last dire months, hanging onto the slim hope of being adopted. It’s not a pretty image.

But, like everything else in life, all things are not created equal. No two animal shelters are the same. From a business aspect, the Oconto Area Humane Society is still a “new” shelter.

And although we are relatively young, we have gone through many changes over the years. We are not the shelter we were five years ago, and we have changed enormously since we first opened our doors in 2005.

Wed
17
Aug

Good-paying jobs needed for Gillett to survive

To the editor:

Mr. Carlson, if you had not taken my words out of context to fit your narrative and understood my point of view, you would not have had to write your letter is such a manner. What was said was if you continue to take money from the taxpayers without any lucrative businesses being brought into the city of Gillett, the school cannot and will not survive, nor will the city.

You choose to only see your side and not that of the land owner or retired citizens on a fixed income. Instead, the city promotes businesses that have no intention of employing anyone or are just there to take money offered. This also seems to be a problem at the county level as well; recent poor research and not checking thoroughly into these enterprises results in more empty buildings and less tax base for the city.

When you bring viable manufacturing back and provide good-paying jobs, then you can address school programs.

Wed
17
Aug

Writer proposes layoffs at Gillett schools

To the editor:

On Aug. 9, you, the taxpayers of the Gillett School District, voted no. To you who voted, I want to say good job.

To those of you who wrote a letter in opposition of the referendum, great job. I believe your letters made the difference.

As you well know, this thing is not over. Now we, the taxpayers, need to hold their feet to the fire. We need to be on them, the School Board, to make the changes at the top.

The administrator has said that programs will have to be cut. If it’s about the kids, why are you ready to punish the kids? Leave the kids alone, Mr. Administrator and School Board. You, the School Board, need to start at the top of the food chain, starting with administration. Starting with deep layoffs.

Also, make district employees pay 40 percent of their health insurance. Also, about retirement, I believe what should happen is that we should go to 401K, where they pay for their own retirement.

Wed
17
Aug

Notes from a well-seasoned political junkie

I try very hard to avoid controversy in this space. It’s not that I don’t have opinions on controversial issues, it’s just that I prefer not to foist them on others.

But, boy, it’s hard to not comment on the political circus that’s going to dominate our TVs this fall.

I’m something of a political junkie. I’ve had an abiding interest in politics ever since I was a teenager. When I turned 18 in 1957, Wisconsin was deep into a weird political situation. Sen. Joe McCarthy, whose anti-Communist tirades in the Senate were an embarrassment to most Wisconsinites, had died, and a special election was held to fill out his term.

So, in my first-ever national election, I helped Bill Proxmire to become the first Democrat to be elected to the Senate from Wisconsin in over 25 years. He beat former governor Republican Walter Kohler in that race and then won six more full terms in the Senate, always winning by very wide margins.

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