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Letters to the editor: Water quality takes working together; Family court in child abuse case

Water quality takes working together


Pauline Goerdt of Somerset in a recent letter rightly called attention to the important issue of excess chemicals being used by homeowners on lawns. It's everyone's responsibility, urban and rural, to stop runoff from reaching our river. That was the thrust of the March 17 St. Croix Valley Master Gardener Garden University event in Hudson.

The session was organized to give attendees an opportunity to learn about this year's theme: water quality. The St. Croix River Association (SCRA) was tasked with giving an overview of the St. Croix Watershed, its health, and water quality impacts from land uses in the watershed. Other speakers were asked to address homeowners' practices.

In 2008, Lake St. Croix was designated by the Environmental Protection Agency together with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as impaired for excess nutrients. Phosphorus is the most significant driver for harmful algae growth in the river and agriculture is the largest source.

Fortunately, soil health building practices such as cover crops, managed rotational grazing and other conservation improvements can help farmers reduce expenses over the long haul and reduce the unintended runoff to the river.

Assisting farmers is part of an overall plan to achieve water quality goals by working with permitted point sources and other nonpoint sources such as homeowners. A 2010 study from the Earth Institute at Columbia University found that homeowners "...typically use 10 times the amount of pesticide and fertilizers per acre on their lawns as farmers do on crops." In the St

Croix catchment area, row crops and small grains acres are almost 23 times the 35,000 acres of urban land use, including residential or commercial lawns.

The St. Croix River Association wants to see more successful family farmers raising crops and livestock in ways that are economically viable for farmers and that protect water quality. To do so we have long worked in partnership with our local Natural Resource Conservation Service offices, county land and water conservation departments, soil and water conservation districts, and others to assist farmers adopt practical farming practices that protect our waters.

We know that most farmers and homeowners care greatly about their land and their communities and will make improvements if they can be shown it can be successful. That's the path the SCRA is pursuing with our partners to meet the phosphorus reduction goals for a clean and healthy St. Croix River.

George Boody

St. Croix River Association Board Member

Bridge jumpers


This is the biggest part of building this bridge (St. Croix Crossing) that bothered me. Between the two states it took 30 plus years and millions and millions of dollars extra to build this thing. I remember when they bought houses to start this thing in the early 80s. Then to not build a prevention on this for suicides is just stupid. Have they not seen the Golden Gate and what happens on bridges?

This is real common sense and I promise it would have been cheaper than a life. Now they again will eventually build this and it will cost a fortune just like California. All I can say is the public votes these people in and remember YOUR PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE IN OUR OFFICES ON THIS ONE.

They are as much to blame here. I would, and they will, sue the pants off of both states because of stupidity on both of our states. Way to go designers once again, you're killing people. WAKE UP, THIS WAS SO SIMPLE TO SEE COMING AND I AM SURPRISED MORE HAVE NOT DONE THIS ALREADY.

Have you seen how easy it is to do? How many jumpers from the other interstate near Hudson over the years? Don't think your family will not jump because all of us are touched by a form of depression and when it happens to the people who voted this contractor and bridge style in, well you should suffer a little more and not be able to sue the states especially if you were part of this choice. Way to go people another screw up, I am not the brightest bulb but some choices Hudson and the state has made kills me. Let's see what this costs us and add it into the track sitting there and others sitting there because of BAD BAD choices by the city. I would bet it is in the billions over the years and I bet taxpayers pay over 2-4 hundred a month extra for not doing what is right when we should have paid 100 less per month.

Ed Salava

Lakeland, Minn.

Family court in child abuse case


Last Tuesday, in St. Croix County, I sat in on an abuse case of a child held in Court Commissioner Stephen Dunlap's court with guardian ad litem Anne Schmiege. I was alarmed that the court commissioner was combative toward the attorney for the abusive child and would not consider the evidence that points to abuse.

Schmiege was not aware of the AODA assessment and should have been. She did not reach out to understand by asking questions toward the child's attorney or mother. There was no mention by her about her looking into child trauma or domestic abuse laws. It was all one-sided. The modification for the visitation was modified to overnights and no supervision and only taking a breath test three times a week for alcohol.

The law clearly states 767.41 (6) (g) 6 that there should be no overnights in a case of abuse and paid supervision for the visitation 767.41 (6) (g) 3, according to this law. In this case there was a breakdown of the law. We have laws in placed to protect the abused child from an abusive parent. This is the second time I have seen Commissioner Dunlap being combative and not really listening to the young child's attorney.

What has to be done to change this? Obviously education for both on abusiveness in family matters, but a change in attitude must happen. What is very concerning to me; is this going to be one of the "Me Too" cases down the road because the court and the guardian ad litem failed to take in all the evidences?

The child is already in counseling because of the trauma she has experienced and still is, and now she has no one to protect her when she is in the presence of the abusive father, as the stepsister has been taken out of the home now ordered by court in another county.

I want something done to stop this continual lack of EDUCATION, OBEYING the LAW and COMBATIVENESS in family court.

Kris Brekke


Please protect a child


St. Croix County is so fortunate to have Judge Waterman who can identify an abuser when he sees one, an abuser who abused his family and threatened to take his wife back to court for placement of their child.

Now this same abuser is trying to undermine Waterman by asking the court commissioner who originally gave 50/50 placement to hold a hearing granting him more unsupervised time with the young child and remove accountability for his alcoholism and abuse.

This young child needs protection from an abuser who is doing everything he can to have no checks and balances for his abuse and alcoholism. Wisconsin statutes say that an abuser shall not have unsupervised visitation with the child and certainly no overnight visitations. Judge Waterman has already labeled this man as an abuser. How much clearer can the Wisconsin statutes be? Please help protect a vulnerable young precious child.

Darlene Bochman


No concern for victim


There was a court hearing today that was heard in front of Court Commissioner Stephen Dunlap.

Just so you know there is also a guardian ad litem, Anne Schmiege.

This is a case about a 3-year-old who is being forced to spend time with her dad who has already abused her half sister many times over. He has been found guilty of abuse.

Dunlap refused to hear any testimony about domestic abuse. He did not care about the safety of this precious child.

Dunlap was combative when the facts presenting did not fit his decision.

Dunlap does all the family cases for St Croix County. This is dangerous for all those cases to have a court commissioner that does not care. He obviously has no clue what this child is placing with an abusive dad is going through and obviously doesn't care. When asked if there was corporal punishment and testimony was given that the abuser is using corporal punishment, that was ignored, even though it was court-ordered there would be no corporal punishment. You would think that the GAL would come prepared and talk to people that know about child abuse and Trauma.

Here is a list of the statues that should of made a big difference to the court.

• 767.41(6)(g)6 Prohibiting the party who committed the battery or abuse from having overnight physical placement with the child.

• 767.41(6)(g)3 Requiring the party who committed the battery or abuse to pay the costs of supervised physical placement.

Mary York


Appalling decision


I find it appalling that Court Commissioner Stephen Dunlap would order a young child to spend overnights with her father who Judge Waterman acknowledged as being an abuser. Dunlap would not allow any testimony as to the trauma the overnights have on this young child and actually seemed to not even care.

There is a young child out there that screams for 20 minutes upon finding out that she has to go stay with her dad even for a couple hours, but Dunlap did not even want to hear about that. This young child has nightmares after being with her father. Why does the father's rights as an abuser become more important than the emotional well being of a child?

Dunlap is the family court commissioner for St. Croix County. This should strike fear into the hearts of every victim of a domestic abuse situation out there. Even the Guardian ad Litem, Anne Schmiege — who acknowledged that the father was an abuser and had abused his oldest daughter multiple times, had a severe alcohol problem and emotionally, sexually, and scripturally abused his wife — advised that the child be with him multiple nights a week with no concern for the child's safety It just mattered that the abuser had time with his daughter. This is a sad state of our culture and for the county of St. Croix, Wisconsin.

Jeff Bochman