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Letters to the editor: A cause for hope; Control freak force

A cause for hope


We stand at the end of a year in which our government's ideological rejection of climate and environmental science has wrought long-term damage to public health and the earth, virtually guaranteeing that our children's and grandchildren's lives will be more difficult and dangerous than our own.

I watch the news and connect the dots.

In December the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a report on the accelerated melting of Arctic ice. Emily Osborne, a NOAA researcher, says, "This data shows that the magnitude and the sustained rate of warming of the sea ice decline is unprecedented over the last 1,500 years and likely longer."

The melting of the Greenland ice cap alone adds about 270 billion tons of ice and water to the ocean each year, contributing to sea level rise that threatens coastal areas worldwide.

Also in December came the new United Nations estimate that around 258 million migrants are now living outside their birth countries. This number includes the vast influx of refugees stressing the capacities of host countries to which they've fled. We can attribute a significant portion of these to geographical crises resulting from climate change such as the loss of coastal homeland and economic devastation of drought.

One bright light in this gloom is a New York Times report that German consumers are now sometimes being paid to use power instead of vice versa.

This is a dividend of Germany's far-sighted investment of $200 billion in cleaner electricity sources over recent decades.

Here at least is cause for hope, even in the time of Trump and his regressive promotion of harmful dirty energy sources. There is a way out of the pit we've dug for ourselves. Let's muster the political will to extricate ourselves from this trap in the year ahead.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

Control freak force


According to an article titled Amish, Anarchy, & Uncle Sam, author Eric Peters explains how ridiculous busybody government officials can get.

Peters writes "There is a kerfuffle in Wisconsin over threatened application of the law to the Amish. Up to now, they have successfully dodged Uncle Sam—been exempted on religious grounds from a great many busybodyisms, including laws requiring the presence and use of seat belts and child safety seats in all motor vehicles.

Their horse-drawn buggies don't have motors—of course—or seat belts, or child seats.

Government is force, and now backed up by police using military hardware. On the positive side, there were fewer police deaths in 2017 than the past 50 years. But you don't want to be on the business end of that hardware, with some newly emboldened official enforcing the fact that "You can't fight City Hall."

The Amish hold to that outdated notion that the founding documents ensured the principles of liberty and religious freedom, free speech, and the right to make your own decisions. They still believe in personal accountability, which is in strong contrast to our society at large, where we are all entitled victims now. If they make a decision to run a buggy without safety equipment and someone is hurt, they take care of it themselves, unlike our lawsuit addicted nation. They want to be left alone and leave others alone.

That is too much to ask of some control-freak officials with the full force of government, like Bill Winch, a member of the Wisconsin Rapids Board of Supervisors. He doesn't think that the Amish should be exempted from anything.

Winch proposed a law to save the Amish from themselves. He wants drivers licenses, insurance, 16 years old minimum driving age, and pushes for safety glass on buggies' front and sides. Besides being impractical, the costs are high and some issues are against their beliefs, like licensing. What's next? Airbags?

Like a proficient bird dog, the authoritarian control-freaks can sniff out the last vestiges of the free man and make his day a bad one.

Scott Thomson

Maiden Rock

Local unsung heroes


As we look forward to a new year, it is a good idea to reflect back on our previous year's accomplishments. I would like to tell you about the citizens of our community who have saved 1,024 lives this past year. This is only the count from the community drive and does not include the donations at the Ellsworth High School. How did they do this you ask? They took time out of their daily lives to donate blood. Every pint given has the potential of saving four lives.

I would like to recognize all the donors, but that would be too lengthy. So I will only tell you about those that have received gallon(s) recognition for their giving over the years.

Frank Falkofske 15,

Wayne Dodge 13,

Rodney Gampe 13,

Charles Conroy 13,

Mary Hines 12,

David Sowatze 11,

Steve Hamilton 11,

Douglas Sjostrom 11,

Lorin Bloomstrand 11,

Pamela Huppert 11,

Lemoine Baker 11,

June Gilbertson 9,

Pat Dodge 8,

Elaine Hines 7,

Eldon Huber 7,

Brad Johnson 7,

Sue Gulbranson 5,

Gordon Borner 4,

Trudy Young 4,

Jarod Traynor 2,

Donna Constant 2,

Dawn Benoy 1.

That represents 218 gallons of donated blood. Now if we multiply by eight we find out the number of pints that equals, that is 1,744, and then multiply by four for number of lives a pint can save we arrive at 6,976. The next time you see any of these donors, tell them thanks, because you have just met a local hero.

You can join this list by donating at the next drive on Jan. 15 at Zion Covenant Church anytime from noon until 6 p.m. You can make an appointment online by going to Redcross. org/ Give Blood Give Life, or by calling Pam at 715-273-0310. Walk-ins are welcome too. To save 15 minutes at the drive, on the day of the drive you can go to Pass-read the information, answer the questions and print the pass or email it to yourself and bring it with you.

Pam Enger

Ellsworth Community

Drive Coordinator



As we enter 2018 I've had people ask me what my New Year's wish was. I told them MACA, "Make America Care Again." I mean care about issues that matter. Not paybacks for being picked on at a dinner party four years ago, or if or not who's going to be invited to England's Harry's wedding. I mean, issues that aren't an embarrassment to the great country we live in. The mindset that your revenge is to be 10 times worse than you feel was done to you is all that matters, is lesser than childlike. I do not feel it is appropriate to offend any child with this comparison.

I think it is time that Washington politicians put on their "Big Boy Pants" and start to realize what they are doing to this country and the citizens that have to pay for their petty, childlike, asinine, do not give a crap attitude about anybody except their own financial gain at any expense, have to grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

Tony Huppert

Spring Valley