Off the Editor’s Desk – 1-25-2017

Good news came our way the Day before Inauguration!

A couple of items popped up on my computer last Thursday, that addressed the VA center at Tomah and the other is about keeping education decisions at the local level.

“School choice advocate Betsy DeVos has faced a hard hearing as President-elect (now President) Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, but while the Democrats harp on her supposed lack of federal education policy knowledge, they ignore where education really makes a difference: on the state and local level. As education Secretary DeVos must have one primary mission – to let the states regain control over their schools and parents a choice over their children’s education,” so says Natalia Castro, a contributing editor at Americans for Limited government.

Over the many years that I have been at the helm of this newspaper, I have watched the education of our children move from local control, then to the state and then to federal control. Whenever I look at the history of any small community, one of the first structures that a developing community built, was a schoolhouse. Local people knew the value of an education and saw to it that their children went to school.

Over the last half a century or so, the education of our children has moved first from local control, then to the county. Some of us remember the county superintendent. Then on to the state, then the federal government got their fingers into education. I could see the day when the United Nations or some other world group would control our educational system.

We have all heard the cry that our schools need more money. As long as I have been around, local schools have been in need of funds. But when the state and federal government got involved, I wish I could say education got better, it just got more expensive.

I have a five-year-old grandson in Kindergarten and looking at the cost of our school system, would I be out of line to suggest that by the time he graduates from high school, the local taxpayers will have spent close to a quarter million dollars on his education. We don’t need unfunded mandates from Madison or Washington D. C. We can do the job without their educational ideas. What might be good in one state may not fly in another.

Castro concluded her piece with, “Unlike Obama, Trump has remained true to the initiative of school choice and focusing on students’ needs. With assistance from DeVos and Republican legislatures across the country, Trump can return funding to critical programs such as D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) and showing the way for local communities to implement similar programs the way they know best.”

News coming out about the Tomah, Wisconsin VA Medical Center is that a ruling by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services stated that the “Candy Man” cannot practice medicine in Wisconsin ever again.

The following information came from the Wisconsin Watchdog:

“Dr. David Houlihan, the former chief of staff and acting medical director at the Tomah Veteran’s Medical Center was fired in November 2015 following multiple reports that he oversaw a staff that overprescribed opiates. The initial story broke following the death of a 35 year-old Marine veteran who died in August 2014 of a toxic cocktail of prescription medications while at the hospital.

Houlihan was known as the “Candy Man” in and around the hospital for his alleged opioid prescription practices.

In a deal announced January 18th, the Department of Safety and Professional Services ordered the mental health professional to permanently surrender his license and registration. Houlihan may not practice medicine in Wisconsin again and the ruling will be placed in a national physician database. In exchange, state regulators have agreed to drop their investigation into the doctor’s conduct.”

I hope that the center in Tomah can now be a welcome site for veterans that are in need of medical help.

Thanks for reading!       ~Carlton