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Letters: Thank you for complete election information; When education manipulates

Thank you for complete election information


Thank you for your very complete and comprehensive interviews and articles about the candidates and the referenda which appeared in last week's paper. I found the articles and views of all candidates very worthwhile in learning about those who are elected to our local government positions. I hope that others found them as helpful. Thank you very much.

Carolyn Barrette


When education manipulates


How we go about defining or interpreting the meaning of a word can be different depending upon a person's frame of reference. For instance, many define the word educate to mean "providing of information on a particular subject", but to educate can also mean "to persuade or condition to believe, feel, or act in a desired way" (Merriam Webster). Citizens For the St. Croix Valley makes use of both definitions in their mission to educate their self-proclaimed "silent majority," who actually have no problem making their voices heard.

The survey written by CFTSCV and forwarded to candidates who participated in this week's election had many questions of special or particular interest to CVTSCV. I commend them for this initiative and support their every right to do these things. But given the nature of the questions (fiscal spending, pro-life, immigrants, Muslims, 2nd Amendment), I'll say once again that I think that CFTSCV's intentions have been to align themselves with candidates who share their beliefs and who can offer them a representative voice in our local government. Candidates who agree with their positions responded to the survey - Miller, Kraft, Niccum, Hanson, Sherley, and Reusch - and CFTSCV highlighted and/or promoted these candidates through public platforms; to endorse is to "approve openly, to express support or approval of publicly, or to recommend" (Merriam Webster), which is what CFTSCV did.

Here's a question from CFTSCV's survey, one example of why I believe most candidates did not respond to it. "Regarding Sharia Law (Shari Allah) please answer the following question with agree or disagree." "Pro-Sharia Law materials must be removed from our public schools and any Islamic content be objectively evaluated and created independently of pro-Sharia-Law special interest groups." First of all, the wording of this question assumes that public schools are proselytizing for Islam, and all need evaluation. Secondly, there's clearly no reason to learn a political candidate's view about this, especially when CFTSCV already dragged Hudson schools through that process last year. The definition of bigotry is "having or showing an attitude of hatred or intolerance toward members of a particular group," i.e. racial or ethnic group (Merriam Webster). I'm all for diversity in most things, including balance in government that enables everyone a voice, but not when racial prejudices and bigotry are clearly part of that package.

Eden Penn


The problem is not insurmountable


The problem looked insurmountable. The problem was that a huge percentage of the people smoked. Cancer was taking its toll. I myself was smoking a pack a day. I hated it. Every time I quite, I would start smoking more.

In the 80s, we lived outside the country. When we moved back to the U.S. permanently, the whole country had taken a different stance. It was unbelievable. Thousands, millions of people were quitting. Cigarettes were being banned in restaurants, government buildings, schools and colleges. The nation had changed. There was hope. Certainly not everyone quit, but a huge percentage of the population did. The nation wanted to be more healthy and lead fuller lives.

We are now faced with another horrendous national problem: that is, the proliferation of people owning semi-automatic guns. We are witnessing the death of hundreds, thousands of innocent people. It is so painful to see their pictures and pictures of people attending funerals. Furthermore, thousands of students in schools fear they may be next.

The NRA espouses the right to bear arms given to us by the 2nd Amendment. Yes, we should have the right to protect our property, home and our own life. We need to decide how we will do that: use fists, knives, a pistol, an automatic gun, a 50-caliber machine gun, a Howitzer, or an atomic weapon. We, as a nation, need to choose the weapon. What would the founding fathers choose in this present situation? Yes, people will always have a variety of guns; however, would it not be better to have fewer of them? Fewer people being harmed, dying? The problem seems overwhelming as did the smoking. The number automatic and semiautomatic guns is too great. The NRA seems too strong. Will there be an answer? We personally feel the odds are too great. However, the smoking problem was greatly reduced. Could it not happen with automatic weaponry?

Our generation has been incapable of finding an answer; maybe the young people of this country can. We hope so—sooner or later and preferably sooner.

Paul K. and Ann Martinson


Imagining inclusion


There has been a bit of conversation of late around the idea of inclusion, most prompted by an Inclusion Resolution brought to the Hudson City Council. For a moment set aside the groups that have generated a lot of reaction — GLBT, immigrants/refugees, and Muslims — and just consider one other group mentioned in the resolution — the aging.

Last fall, as the city was preparing plans to "re-do" Lakefront Park. I dropped off at City Hall a "Toolkit: Building Dementia-Friendly Communities." The toolkit came from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services under then-Secretary Kitty Rhoades. It is loaded with simple ideas that communities can easily implement, from planning walkways for parks to creating clear signage. This "tribe" called the aged doesn't generate fear or anxiety. Is it because "they" are "us?" The community we create for "them" is the community we imagine in our future. Remodeled parks and pathways created with older folks in mind — your parents, spouse or neighbors — are the pathways and parks we imagine for us — as are businesses, organizations, civic groups and libraries that are mindful of the needs of older citizens.

Now, imagine a welcoming community for "those" other groups. I see tangible manifestations of "welcome" because I want that community to be my community — the same way I want my community considerate of all age groups. The toolkit from the Department of Human Services provides ideas on what inclusion looks like for folks who are aging. Might it offers clues on what that might look like for other groups as we lift them up?

I hope someone in City Hall finds that Toolkit. It might just be a helpful model in many ways. You can access the document by going on the website for the Department of Health Services ( and searching for "Building Dementia-Friendly Communities Toolkit."

Judy Freund


National Crime Victims' Rights Week — Expand the Circle: Reach all victims


The St. Croix County District Attorney's Office, Victim/Witness Assistance Program is observing

National Crime Victims' Right Week, April 8—14, 2018. This week is designated to recognize crime victims and bring awareness to victims' rights and acknowledge those who assist victims of crime.

In 2017, there were 1,330 identified victims and 4,278 identified witnesses within the St. Croix County Criminal Justice System. According to the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics survey, victims experience more than five million violent crimes and nearly 15 million property victimizations a year.

This year's theme — Expand the Circle: Reach all Victims highlights how the investment of communities in crime victims expands the opportunity for victims to disclose their victimization, connect with services, and receive the support they need. The theme also acknowledges the many barriers facing victims of crime especially those with disabilities, LGBTQ victims, older adults, limited English proficiency and others from historically marginalized communities. These barriers keep victims from accessing the services and criminal justice systems that can help them recover from crime. We must make a dedicated effort to expand the circle of those prepared to respond to victims and link them to the resources that can help them recover.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week offers an opportunity to renew and strengthen our partnerships, and to highlight the collaborative approaches that are integral to reaching all populations and connecting all victims with services. We are thankful for the partnerships we have with area law enforcement agencies, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Corrections, Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence, St. Croix Valley Sexual Assault Response Team, St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice program and Biker's Against Child Abuse.

Resources and information will be displayed all week on the main level of the Government Center along with a representative from Turningpoint available on Thursday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (room 1406) to answer questions, provide information and resources or meet privately.

We resolve to reach out, listen and support victims as they recover. We are committed to making our services accessible and to building partnerships across the community so that we can truly Expand the Circle to Reach all Victims. This National Crime Victims' Rights Week, shows victims they are not alone. Please feel free to visit the Office of Victims of Crime website, for additional ideas on how to support victims of crime.

For additional information about the St. Croix County Victim/Witness Assistance Program, please contact our office at 715-386-4666.

Michael E. Nieskes, St. Croix County District Attorney

Pam Bellrichard, Coordinator — St. Croix County Victim Witness Assistance Program

Assault weapons vs. defense weapons


Here is a prime example, Jan. 8, 2011. Gabby Gifford and 18 others were shot, six people were killed including United States District Judge for the State of Arizona, many others in the crowd are still alive because the man had a pistol, he was tackled by a bystander while changing the clip in his handgun. Many more people would have been killed if the gunman had an assault rifle with a high capacity clip or other such weapon.

Assault weapons with high capacity magazines make mass murders easier, kills more people faster; they were designed and made for war.

Just that simple. In almost every situation when a shooter has an assault weapon he is far more dangerous to the public and to our police officers and anyone else in his vicinity. The argument against banning or strict regulations on these weapons because it won't stop mass murders is ludicrous; it's like arguing that we should remove all speed limits on our roads because even with speed limits we have thousands of people killed every year. Yes but how many lives does it save by having speed regulations?

What if one of the lives saves was your child, granddaughter or loved one? Doing nothing is not an alternative and never should have been.

Dennis Klinkhamer

Clear Lake