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Letters to the Editor 3-23-2022

To the Editor,

In this season of Lent, Christians remember how Jesus suffered and died for our sins. We do this in a variety of ways, including raising the cross.

We in Whitehall are proud of our Cross, lit at njght, high on a hill. We light a star in the same location Christmas.

Each year, we read of some city where an individual takes issue with the beautiful Christian traditions, mostly out of ignorance.

As Bishop Fulton Sheen,” Bishop of the Diocese of LaCrosse said many years ago, “Why are those who are notoriously undisciplined and immoral also most contemptuous of religion and morality? They are trying to solace their own unhappy lives by pulling the happy down to their own abysmal depths. Broad-mindedness, when it means indifference to right and wrong, eventually ends in a hatred of what is right. If you do not worship God, you worship something, and nine times out of ten, it will be yourself.”

If you’re searching for total inclusiveness, you will never find it on this earth, or even in Heaven. Not everyone chooses to go there.

Deanne Sczepanski

To the Editor:

Please see the letter below from the President of LeadingAge addressing  the recent rhetoric about “cracking down” on nursing homes.  Glenhaven Inc. is a member of LeadingAge an advocacy group for nonprofit organizations that provide care, services and supports to older adults, their families, and the community at large.

Sherry Goodmen

Glenhaven Administrator

Dear residents and families,

The past two years have been an extraordinary time for people across this country—perhaps none more than the families like yours who are part of nursing home communities. The historic COVID-19 pandemic brought with it real fear and danger for older adults, families and caregiving professionals, as well as powerful moments of compassion, connection and commitment to a brighter future.

As the President of LeadingAge, my organization represents nonprofit, mission-driven nursing homes, including yours. I’m incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment communities like yours have shown during the pandemic. Never in my long career in this field have I seen people come together to get each other through a crisis as I have seen during this pandemic.

A spotlight has been shone on all nursing home communities during this time, bringing new attention to some of the bad apples allowed to grow by our nation’s patchwork care system.

You may have seen news stories about specific nursing homes falling down on the job or heard the President mention his intention to crack down on bad actors.

Rest assured that your nursing home and the thousands of others that are part of LeadingAge have no tolerance for bad care. Bad performers must improve and there must be accountability for wrongdoing. We believe that every nursing home should strive for excellence everyday.

You have seen that excellence in action. Your nursing home is committed to quality of care and quality of life for older adults—and that will never change.

Thank you for placing your trust in us. We are grateful for the privilege of being a part of your lives, and you can count on us today and into the future.

Sincerely,

Katie Smith Sloan

President, LeadingAge

To the Editor:

Farmers care for our land and water

As dairy farmers, caring for the natural resources is an inherent part of what my family and I do each day.

Our aim is to bring benefit to the whole community while preserving family farming as a way of life.

This is why I’ve chosen to lead local farmers with a similar goal to use research, collaboration and financial resources to promote best farming practices that keep soil healthy and water clean.

Western Wisconsin Conservation Council (WWCC) is a farmer-led non-profit group of farmers dedicated to promoting water conservation, environmentally sound agricultural practices and community engagement. The group is composed of grain, dairy and livestock member farms in the Kinnickinnic, Rush and Willow River watersheds in Barron, Dunn, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties.

Our community is starting to notice that there are fewer bare/dirt fields year-round. This is because we are utilizing a conservation practice of planting cover crops through the winter months to help hold soil and nutrients in our fields. From 2019 to 2021, WWCC members increased cover crop acres from 28,259 to 43,401 acres. That equates to more than 57,000 football fields. Nearly three quarters of the acres my farm manages is planted with cover crops, and we plan to increase that amount.

We always have the goal of being good neighbors. It’s a shared commitment that’s evident in the farmers in our conservation group. On National Ag Day this month, and every day, we are committed to being stewards of the land and water in our care and look forward to bringing in more practices that allow us to do just that.

Todd Doornink

Baldwin

To the Editor:

Remember when Pres. Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline project on his first day in office with an executive order.  He claimed that the pipeline did not serve the U.S. national interest and was bad for the climate.  

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers introduced Bill HR 6858, “American Energy Independence from Russia Act.”  She explained why:  “America’s energy dominance is our strongest weapon against Putin. Today, we are introducing the American Energy Independence from Russia Act that would require President Biden to make an energy security plan within 30 days and take action to unleash America’s oil and natural gas production to offset Russian imports.  The American Energy Independence from Russia Act will immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline, unleash U.S. LNG exports to boost natural gas production, restart oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, and protect energy and mineral development from attacks by the Biden administration.”  

Bill HR 6858 had the potential of unleashing the US oil and natural gas production and to restart the Keystone XL Pipeline project in order to ensure America’s energy independence amidst skyrocketing fuel prices.  House Republicans sought to open floor debate on the bill, but once again it was shuffled back into committee by House Democrats.

Alexis Martinez Johnson, an environmental engineer and a Republican candidate for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, criticized this shuffling by stating, “We could be powering the nation, creating high-paying jobs where they are desperately needed, and reinforcing our national security all through our abundant resources, instead, we are being drowned in high gas prices while the world becomes less stable every day. It’s unconscionable.”

This bill has the potential to strengthen the US and weaken Russia – and yet it goes back into committee instead of being debated on the House floor.

JoAnn Utphall

Boyceville

To the Editor,

After thirty-five years teaching in the School District of Glenwood City, I retired in 2018. I am currently substitute teaching in a long term position in the GC Middle School.  My husband is a graduate of GC.  Although I no longer live in the school district, I did so for fifteen years and I still care very much about the community and the school.  Some of the recent Letters to the Editor have concerned me enough to write this letter.

One recent letter stated that “when I was younger, … curriculum was standard and varied little from one school to another.”  This is not true.  When I started teaching in GC in 1983, there were teaching objectives listed in textbooks and teachers decided which of those objectives they taught.  That was it.  About fifteen years ago, curriculum maps for each subject area were written by the GC teachers, based on state standards. This was a large undertaking by the district, requiring much time and effort and the district now has documents to show what is taught in each class, how it is assessed and how to tell which students have mastered each concept.  The documents are not secretive. To help master the objectives, students are taught how to be organized, how to study and be responsible.  Because they are in a social situation, they are also taught how to work with others and be good people.  State test results have gone up since the curriculum maps were created.  GC used to score lower than most area schools but is now consistently one of the top scorers.  Tim Johnson, current superintendent, led this entire process.  He had the vision and knowledge to make it happen and was supportive of the teaching staff throughout the several year process.  

Students in Glenwood City are not taught critical race theory, they are not taught to choose their gender identity, and school bathrooms still have “boys” and “girls” signs.  Some teachers are part of the teachers’ union, some are not, but all teachers that I know work for the common good of the students and are not there only for the money.  The staff works hard.  They have been through much in the last couple of years with a pandemic and staff turnover but when I walk the halls as a substitute teacher now, I see staff members helping the new people, I see staff members taking care of kids and I feel like I’m in a really positive place.  

Residents of the School District of Glenwood City have the opportunity to vote on April 5 for three school board members.  Some of the recent letters make it seem like Mr. Johnson is on the ballot instead.  After working with Mr. Johnson for several years when he was principal and superintendent, I’d like the district residents to know that he is a good leader, very supportive of his staff and is always working for the good of the students.  Mr. Johnson is the best boss I’ve ever worked for and I believe that Glenwood City is fortunate to have him.  When voters decide who to select in the school board election, I encourage you to select people that will work well with Mr. Johnson, will support the staff and help the students of Glenwood City continue to score academically at the top of the area schools.

Diane Nelson

Dear Reader,

As a twenty-eight year veteran of the Dunn County Board of Supervisors, I would like to share some of my concerns about the up-coming Supervisors’ election.

Throughout my service I saw a group of citizens coming together to do the peoples’ business in a consensus driven manner. A large board of 29 supervisors is a strength allowing a diversity of opinion. More importantly is the willingness of the supervisors to listen to and respect one another’s opinion and, in the end, come to consensus.

Supervisors are elected on a non-partisan basis. Issues considered include expanding broadband, repairing and maintaining county roads, clean ground and surface water, serving our disabled and elderly neighbors and veterans, maintaining and funding our judicial system and sheriff’s department, and helping farmers access technical assistance and program services.

Unfortunately, some of the hot button issues advocated by challengers in this election deal with issues that are outside the authority of county government.

Incumbents seeking reelection know this, and understand the hard work needed to find practical solutions for our citizens.

Four of the incumbents serve in positions of leadership now. Continuity and experience are valuable assets in guiding the County forward.

I wholeheartedly endorse County Board Chair Dave Bartlett, committee chairs Tom Quinn, Diane Morehouse, Chuck Maves, as well as experienced  supervisors Sheila Stori and Don Kuether for reelection.

Steve Rasmussen

Boyceville

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