4-13 letters

Dear Merrill Area Voters,

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere gratitude to all who gave of their time and energy to help with my campaign, as well as each and every person who cast a vote for me. I truly appreciate the community’s support and this opportunity to continue representing our citizens on the MAPS Board of Education.

Congratulations to Brad Geiss and Keith Schmelling for a well-run race. I look forward to working together with the new board for the benefit of our students’ education and in partnership with parents, area businesses, taxpayers and MAPS employees.

Thank You and Kind Regards,

Loretta Baughan

Merrill School Board Member

Open Letter to the Foto News:

OTTS Garage Youth Center is truly a unique place in small community like Merrill! Independent and active, OTTS Garage is constantly looking for ways to better support and serve students, families and the community. Our newest program, the OASIS Study Program, literally has the potential to change this community!

We understand that students don’t necessarily like to do homework. But as we’ve talked to students, we’ve also realized that low grades are usually due to a lack of effort on homework. So OASIS is an opportunity for students to work hard, do well, and improve their grades.

But there’s a catch! We’re partnering with local area businesses to offer incentives to students who do their work here at OTTS Garage. Currently, we’ve received generous donations from Taco Bell, Culvers, First Street Coffee Station, and McDonalds. If a student logs time studying at OTTS Garage, they can earn gift certificates and prizes from these generous local businesses. So, in short, we’re pay students for doing homework!

Parents, we want to do everything we can to let you trust that we’re helping your students! We’ll respect any of your wishes, including who we release your child to, and how we help and support your student. But we know constantly encouraging your son or daughter to work on their homework is hard; this can definitely help!

OASIS is open on Tuesday and Thursdays, from 3-5:30 p.m. at OTTS Garage, which is next to the Cosmo. It’s free, and open to any students grades 6-12. There is supervision and support and standards. It’s a safe, encouraging, and supportive environment.

If you would like more information about OASIS, donating to the program or OTTS Garage, or if you’re interested in tutoring during OASIS hours, please call OTTS Garage at 715-539-3939.

Dave Bondeson

Director of OTTS Garage Youth Center

Admit Mistake and Correct Error:

Did you vote for Walker because he ran on “more jobs for WI” and did not mention his hidden agenda of destroying the working person’s collective bargaining rights? If you didn’t vote for him, you had more insight than many like me. Unfortunately, I did vote for him and I want to admit my mistake publicly. I have already signed up to participate in a recall next year. If you feel you made a mistake please consider doing the same!

Liars and manipulators do not belong in any office. The Republican Party should condemn his actions: plotting against voterse on the telephone, not negotiating, indifferent attitude toward workers and inability to see the whole picture.

Democrats don’t gloat. If your leadership had been effective, some Wisconsin voters wouldn’t have had to vote for him in the first place. Your party is also beholding to big corporate money. The Democratic legislators that left our state to stand up for workers are exceptional individuals that we, as workers, should vote for under any banner,

The workesr of Wisconsin must realize that unless we make millions of dollars a year we are not a part of either party. If was wonderful being with all of the worker representations in Madison: small business owners, factory workers, police officers, farmers, educators, scientists, firefighters, government employees, private sector workers, nurses, retired workers, etc. These are the working people by the way, who give the most to the poor people of the world. Without the middle class, the poor are also lost. We are in this together to help balance the power of giant corporations that buy crooked politicians and elections. Don’t let the powerful corporate types divide us!

Feingold, call your dprogressive “organization” a “party” and let’s move Wisconsin forward. If you don’t want to lead a third party there must be somebody out there that cares about the modest earning, hard working people of this state?

Karen Nocco



I want to take a few minutes to say “thank you” to all the county highway employees that keep our roads clear this winter.

They worked around the clock endless hours whenever we had a big snow storm, so people could get to work and school.

Some people complain but in the end they appreciate what the men are doing to keep the highways safe and clear.

Again, thanks to all and hang in there and keep plugging.

Phil Thompson


Dear Letters-to-the-Editor,

Since January 27, 2011, various stakeholders or users of the Lincoln County Fairgrounds have been meeting with UW-Extension to plan for future events and marketing of those events. The infrastructure of the aging facility is an obvious hindrance and ultimately the users will probably ask the county to do some upgrades or at least repairs. In the interim, the groups are working on use regulations and ideas to make the facility more user friendly.

Although leases ($1,475 in 2010) and storage fees ($9,188.50 in 2010) generate some income for the county, the balance of maintenance costs falls to the taxpayer. That amounted to $10,430.83 at the end of 2010 according to final figures provided by Lincoln County. Examination of Fairground lease agreements for 2008, 2009 and 2010 revealed that some user groups paid little, and in some cases, no lease fees whatsoever, while other lessees paid large fees for less time of use. There was no consistency in who paid what regardless of the length of time of use.

Consistent and impartial lease rates for use of the Fairgrounds based on actual duration of use, taking into account actual lessee income or profit from Fairgrounds use, could help close the gap between real lease revenues generated for the county and what maintenance costs fall back to the taxpayer. In a day and age when so many services and employees are facing cutbacks, it is irrational to expect less of this county service.

Diana C. Smith


Dear Editor:

In the March 30 issue of the Foto News, a frequent and prolific writer’s opinion letter makes the following claims regarding the efforts to recall Wisconsin democratic state senators:

1. That the Utah based “American Patriot Recall Coalition (APRC)” was the initiator of democratic state senatorial recall efforts in Wisconsin

2. That APRC has a corporate agenda promoted by these recalls, and it is using “sponsor” money to run its operations

I agree with the writer on one point. I resent outside interference in the affairs of Wisconsin at any level. Before I address this issue, let me respond to the claims:

1. APRC, also known as the American Recall Coalition (ARC), is an internet only based entity, a spin-off of the also internet only based Americans Against Immigration Amnesty (AAIA). Both groups are the brainchild of founder Dan Baltes, as I understand a Utah lawyer and internet talk show host. APRC was early on the scene filing recall petitions in all eight Wisconsin democratic senatorial recall efforts. It is unfortunately legal in Wisconsin for an outside interest to do this, as long as its filing papers contain the signature of one qualified district voter. APRC is registered by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) as the petitioner in only seven of the eight democratic senatorial recalls. In the 12th District, however, the only petitioner registered by GAB is the district based “Jim Holperin Recall Committee.” When those involved in the creation of this local committee discovered APRC was trying to involve itself in the 12th district recall, it asked it to simply butt out. APRC is not involved in any aspect of the effort to recall 12th district Senator Jim Holperin.

2. How it is organized and funded is key in ascertaining APRC motive and agenda. Its website states its only funding is from membership dues, that it is non-partisan, has no affiliation with any special interest group or political party, and does not accept money from any. Such claims need checking of course, and what better source to determine if there is corporate or political involvement lurking in the shadows of this sinister little group than liberal websites themselves. Surely, if there is any proof or reason to suspect APRC does indeed have such affiliations or funding sources, it would be published without delay by these websites. Not one of the numerous liberal websites having articles on APRC indicated in any way that there were any such affiliations or involvements. In fact, most treated APRC with condescension, disrespect, and dismissiveness. If you go to the APRC website and read it, it comes across as amateurish and unprofessional. My conclusion, and that of any reasonable person is that the only agenda of APRC is that of Dan Baltes, its founder and driving force, and that he is in total control of its actions and efforts.

Nowhere in his letter, not surprisingly, does the writer present the fact that out-of-state liberal organizations are openly engaging in recall efforts against Wisconsin Senate Republicans. They are. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) of Washington, DC, and Democracy for American (DFA, read Howard Dean) of Vermont, to name two, have joined forces and become actively involved. Both are national in scope, substantially larger than APRC, and well funded. On the PCCC website is an invitation to liberals nationwide to volunteer to help recall Republican Wisconsin state senators by donating money, by phone and internet campaigning, and by being “o n the ground” collecting signatures. The site is very clear that while only a citizen of Wisconsin can sign a petition, anyone from in- or out-of-state can circulate them. PCCC is also involved in robo-calling Wisconsin residents in this regard. APRC efforts pale in comparison.

Speaking of out-of-state intrusion into the affairs of Wisconsin, it is common knowledge by now that a substantial number of the organizers and protesters in Madison have been and are coming from out-of-state, including President Obama’s own Organizing for America, spotlight moths Jesse Jackson, Michael Moore, and Richard Trumpka, and bussed-in union members from Maine to California. The influence of these well-known, highly organized, heavily liberal funded extra-Wisconsin intruders into our affairs surely has been much greater than any internet fringe group like APRC. Our writer’s indignance regarding interference in the affairs of Wisconsin by outsiders seems bigoted.

A related aside to put some numbers in perspective. From the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development the following: total Wisconsin Civilian Workforce (12/10) – 3,050,100; total Wisconsin Public Sector Union Workforce (12/10) – 398,200; and total Wisconsin Private Sector Union Workforce (7/09) – 384,700. The math is easy. The squeaking wheel, regardless of size, really does get the grease.

Samuel Johnson said, “Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” In every sense of the word these recall efforts are war. From my perspective as a conservative independent, it has been liberals who seem consistently unable to make their case ethically and with truth. Rules exist, but only for the opposition. Their end goal justifies their means.

When “pick and choose” is played with the facts, only partial truths told, and emotional, inflammatory rhetoric used in their stead, the credibility of one’s opinion or argument should be lost, and that of future ones. If we want to know the truth, the whole unvarnished truth, we really must be discerning and critical readers of everything.

Bill Fehrmann


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