Letters to the Editor
To the editor,
Mary and I attended the meeting concerning the Riverfront Project. Prior to attending the meeting, we both would have voted against this project, mostly on impressions we got when listening to Patsy Woller and Bill Bialecki at the mayoral debate.
We both grew up in Merrill, and although I left in 1970, I happily returned to live in 2007. It appears to both of us that Merrill is in dire need of growth and direction. We favored development of the 51 corridor over the Riverfront, but now believe both are important to the sustenance and growth of Merrill.
The details of the project were enlightening. The “$20 million” amount was spoken of often, but as explained, does not mean that is what the cost to the city would be. The project would be an ongoing development of recreational and commercial properties along the river, over the next 20 or so years. Most money spent would be by the commercial interests and developers, with the city facilitating by helping secure grant monies and other financial incentives that the city government is in the position to apply for.
After 30 years away from Merrill, I can see the downhill slide Merrill has been on. Industries have closed, or left, buildings stand empty all over the city, many of the beautiful tree lined streets are bare or nearly so, unemployment is sky high, schools are struggling, etc.
Bringing business into Merrill will take time, work, and innovation. Developing our resources and making it a more desirable place to live, raise families and set up business should be a long range goal.
The Riverfront Project will not hold all the answers, but it is a good idea that could yield great results. People need a reason to come into Merrill. Once they drive into Merrill, what will they see? Empty buildings and lots? Buildings deteriorating? We need to get people to look at Merrill, and like what they see. We need to start the cycle. Businesses like the new Quirt/Edward Jones building, Culvers, Zastrow the Beer Man, etc are a good start. New business will bring new people and offer jobs to people here. New people will attract or build new business. More jobs mean more money in the community which will lead to more business. It grows and grows.
Mary and I wouldn’t have voted for the Riverfront Project before attending the meeting and reading the literature. We are a definite “YES” after. It just makes sense. Nothing will improve until we improve things.
Continue, we must.
I have been encouraged over the last few weeks by the significant support shown for Merrill’s Riverfront Revitalization Plan with signs hanging around town encouraging a YES vote, an editorial in the Wausau Daily Herald encouraging Merrill to continue the often long and slow process of a redevelopment plan, (which the City Council has approved and incorporated into the city’s Comprehensive Plan) and the many positive conversations among citizens as they continued to learn more of the plan’s specifics.
Among those specifics is the fact the estimated $20 million required to fund the plan would come mostly from state and federal sources, along with private investments by interested developers, as opposed to any significant amount of funding from the City itself. The City’s presence as the facilitator of the plan is what allows access to many of the public sector funds mostly not available to private property owners. Some community members have the impression the $20 million, in its entirety, would come from our local taxes. Not true. Costs to the city would be mostly infrastructure improvements which comes with any kind of growth no matter where. If the City were to take possession of any of the properties during the redevelopment process, it would only be with a purchase commitment from a developer on the other side of the transaction, after appropriate funding requests have been successfully completed, and the city’s common council has approved.
Thanks to the forward looking efforts of our city staff and common council, and the tireless work of many volunteer citizens who attended the project’s planning sessions, we have a bona fide and well documented plan. Our completed professional plan is both currency for federal and state funding and a strong signal to serious developer/investors, most from outside the community and who spend significant time seeking out only the communities most prepared and willing to be partners in progress, that we are prepared and serious. That we understand the Future of Merrill is staked in the forward looking, hard, and good work of today, and not something we can, or will, put off until a day deemed more convenient. Current budget constraints may prevent us from moving at the speed we prefer, but nothing should stop us from moving in the direction we must.
Please join me and vote YES for the Riverfront Revitalization Plan and the Future of Merrill.
To the Editor:
I often read Chuck Bolder’s letters to the editor. For one thing, with my poor eyesight, it’s possible to SEE the capitalized words Mr. Bolder frequently USES. That’s always HELPFUL.
But his last letter, regarding Social Security, is a real head-banger. First, he tells us the Social Security TRUST FUND has over $2.5 TRILLION in Treasury IOUs in its vault because Congress, over the decades, has raided the Social Security cookie jar and taken the actual money away.
I believe that’s true. Of course that also means that Social Security, if its funds had been left alone, would be flush with money and fully solvent for many decades to come. So far so good.
But Mr. Bolder then suddenly comes on strong for PRIVATIZATION of Social Security funds, saying (or at least implying) that candidates Tiffany, Duffy, Walker, and Johnson are the sorts of people who would HELP GET PRIVATIZATION in motion.
What puzzles me about Mr. Bolder’s point of view is that he makes no mention of the FINANCIAL DISASTER that popped in the fall of 2008, a disaster that had been building for YEARS, and that had at its core THE RELAXATION of federal regulation on banks and investment houses and the creation of elusive investment “instruments” so complicated and FULL OF MAKE-BELIEVE that when the whole thing began to collapse the federal government (first under Bush and then under Obama) bailed out the massive banks WHILE LITERALLY MILLIONS of people lost their jobs, their mortgaged homes, their pensions, savings and investments.
So, in light of all that, Mr. Bolder wants Social Security privatized?!
Now I do not have a high opinion of Congress, and it’s true that the federal debt is outrageous, but it’s the MILITARY BUDGET operating in behalf of American EMPIRE that’s SUCKING UP so enormously much of PUBLIC wealth and causing such a GIANT SINKHOLE of debt.
To advocate PRIVATIZATION of Social Security is to invite the UTTER IMPOVERISHMENT of our grandkids when they become as aged as we OLD GEEZERS are now.
That’s all the BIG WORDS I have time for today.
This Halloween season, Merrill area school pupils will again collect for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This is the 41st year they have done so; Merrill area collections began in 1969, at that time under the sponsorship of the Wausau Area United Nations Association.
UNICEF is credited with saving the lives of 7 million children each year. This is accomplished with innoculations to prevent measels (a major killer of children); also diptheria, tetanus, polio, TB and whooping cough.
Also, UNICEF has pioneered a treatment to prevent death from dehydration, another major killer of children. The treatment provides a mixture of salt and sugar in sterile water, which soothes the digestive tract. This allows the child to absorb water, and another life is saved, if the solution is provided in time.
UNICEF programs also include feeding desperately hungry children, providing safe water; education of children, especially girls; rebuilding schools, and providing children with treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria.
The target country for Merrill this year is Haiti, where the needs are still extreme. Julie Blackhaller, a former Merrill teacher, gave a moving slide show in Merrill’s Bible Presbyterian Church in early October, demonstrating the extremely devastating conditions there. Much remains to be done there, and UNICEF has been active since even before the earthquake.
Your donations will be safe and well-used. INICEF has twice been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and it has received a top 4-Star rating from Charity Navigators. And, 90 percent of your contributions will be used for programs in Haiti.
For more information, go to www.unicef.org.
James A. Lewis
Town of Maine
The letter from Lowell Howard Oct. 6 was full of assumptions, half truths, and outright falsehoods. I will accept his dare to Senator Feingold concerning surveys of scientists.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has 1,000 climate experts to write the IPCC reports and 2,500 experts to review any report before it is published. They represent a global consensus of the world’s climate change experts. They state the following:
1. Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.
2. There is new and stronger evidence that most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is attributed to human activities.
3. About three quarters of the human caused emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere during the last 50 years are due to fossil fuel burning.
The National Science Academies of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, Brazil, China and India published a statement saying: “There is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from such phenomena as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities.”
This is a worldwide consensus of climate scientists with accredited expertise in the field. It is a direct opposite of the study mentioned by Mr. Howard. The Oregon Institute Petition was originated by the Republican candidate for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, Arthur Robinson. There are 31,000 signatures on the petitions. Many names are duplicates, many have no scientific background and of those who do, their background is engineering or even veterinary science. The study has been disregarded and criticized by many publications including the Scientific American. The “very prominent scientists” mentioned in support of Candidate Ron Johnson’s “sunspot theory” are not from Wisconsin. Some are from overseas and most have ties to the fossil fuel industry and the conservative Searfe and Koch family foundations. The fraud mentioned by Mr. Howard dubbed “climate gate” has already been proven false and fabricated from stolen e-mails taken out of context. The claim of fraud in the investigation is only true to Glen Beck and other fanatics.
To rebut the rest of his letter would be easy but would