9-14 letters

Letter to the Editor:

We would like to thank the organizers of the Merrill Labor Day Parade for a fine event that allowed the entire community to come together and celebrate all the great workers of the area. Parents put aside their personal differences with their neighbors, allowing the children to smile and enjoy the candy thrown their way.

Throughout the trying period leading up to the parade, Congressman Sean Duffy and State Representative Tom Tiffany have stayed above the fray. They did not take the easy route of attacking those who differ with them, but choose the harder route of calling for people to come together and work within the system to solve the problems we all face. While others became angry, they remained calm. They showed leadership at a time when it is in short supply.

We hope that now adults will stop acting like children and work on the real problems facing us in the Northwoods. The biggest of these problems being jobs for our neighbors who do not have one. It will take all of us working together create jobs. Now is not the time to be exclusive, but rather inclusive and tolerant of all ideas.

Kevin Stevenson


Dear Editor,

We have been hearing and seeing it reported that Merrill High School’s graduating class of 2011 had the highest ACT test scores in the school’s history, with a composite score of 23.3 when the state average is 22.2. While it is great to point out the positives and applaud this accomplishment, is there more to the story that hasn’t been told?

According to the MAPS “State of the District Report” printed for 2010-11, on page 27, there is a 14-year history, 1997-2010, of the ACT test results. The scores from the 2011 class were not available when this report was printed, however, they were printed on the front page of a local paper. Taking the numbers from the district report and the 2011 results reported in the paper, the average percentage of students who took the ACT over the last 15 years was 46.9%. While our State Superintendent is reporting how well Wisconsin is doing in comparison to the rest of the country, with the average participation rates at 71% in 2011 and 69% in 2010, wouldn’t a better view of how well our stidents are doing is to test 100%? A couple reasons not all students participate may be because they are not planning on going to college or because of the fee to take the test.

Considering other options for our children’s education, we found that an area parochial school, for the 2009 year, (which was their most complete comparison with area public schools) showed 96% of their students took the ACT with a composite score of 24.1. This parochial school has about the same number of students as the public high schools of each Athens, Edgar, Spencer and Stratford and yet, all of the public schools scored lower even with, only an average of, 55.9% of their students taking the test.

While technological advances have been phenomenal, have we lost sight of the cognitive, the teaching of how to think and reason? For four centuries the proven elements of a sound American education have been religion, morality and knowledge. We have benefitted tremendously from the scriptural promise “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” Proverbs 1:7. This philosophy resulted in individuals like, Charles Carroll, who entered college at age 10 and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Fisher Ames, who entered Harvard at the age of 12 and helped frame the Bill of Rights; John Trumbull, a law student under John Quincy Adams (Sixth US President) and Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, who at 7 1/2 years old, passed the entrance exam to Yale University. His parents held him back until he was 13 so he could attend college with his peers. There are many more examples showing these results were the norm at a time when the academics were harder then, than they are today. This philosophy carried into the early 1900s.

In recent decades, however, the secularization of education, removing God and prayer for example, by Judicial Activism, has been the new order and the results have proven to be dismal. It is no secret that, today, in American public schools, illiteracy is skyrocketing, ACT scores have plummeted and in recent International Academic Competitions (the truest test of how well we are doing) American High School students are regularly in the bottom half, near the last or last in both math and science, when only a century ago, America was at the top. Lowering the bar, by altering tests, has become standard practice, where today, most adults cannot answer questions to what a fourth grade elementary student would have to answer in a basic mental math test in the late 1800s.

Being aware and acknowledgingg the whole truth, admitting there is a problem and we are not exempt, is the first step in addressing this, as anything less is self deceiving and ultimately destructive; the second step is deciding whether or not we will do something about it. It is our responsibility as citizens to do everything we can to, not only protect the proven educational philosophy that has made and has kept America great, but to also transmit this successful educational philosophy to future generations.


Karen Cournaya


To The Editor:

It is my sincere belief the City Council, and all citizens of the City of Merrill, will be best served by maintaining the position of City Administrator and moving with urgency to the process of filling that position. The City, as an entity, is an almost $14,000,000 business. Any organization which must manage a $14,000,000 budget, especially with the complexities of a municipal government, must have professional, experienced leadership in order to efficiently allocate scarce human and financial capital in a way which serves to maximize what it provides to its citizen customers.

Well run businesses and organizations generally do not use volunteers to fill their CEO and leadership positions. They hire professional managers with documented success in leading organizations. As a City, we should too. In a corporation or other organizations, the leader reports to different sets of constituents which may be one, or a small number of shareholders, maybe a large number of shareholders through public ownership. In the case of city government, we are all the constituents to whom the City, as an organization, owes clarity, efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness. As a community we must demand the organizational structure which provides the highest probability of success. I believe that structure should include, and be led by, a professional City Administrator.

The fact the Council recently determined Tony Chladek was no longer the person they wanted in the position does not invalidate the logic of the position’s existence. I encourage you and the council to move earnestly to fill the position as it stands so the greatest number of Merrill citizens will be properly and professionally served.

Christopher Malm


To the Editor,

Looking through the list of parade “floats” registered for the Merrill Labor Day Parade their seems to be one glaring exception. ORGANIZED LABOR! Only ONE union local was registered to be in the parade. ONE! That is truly pathetic. We already have Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day and before you get your patriotic heart rates out-of-control, I am a veteran, and an IUOE member.

This day is supposed to be about thanking the people who sacrificed so much, even their lives, so that you all can enjoy your cushy three-day-weekend, 40 hour workweek, 8 hour work day, vacations, overtime, safer work environments, job security and many other things that we now take for granted. Ask your Grandparents what it was like for it wasn’t that long ago that these things did not exist. How many of you even know what the Hay market “riots” were about? Did you know that Chicago will not even allow a commemorative statue to be placed there? Did you know that the Mayor of Wausau was going to drop the bill for the entire parade, even police protection, on the Labor Council unless they allowed the anti-union politicians to be in the parade? The Labor Council gave in so that the young people who look forward to being in the parade would not have to be caught in the middle of something like this.

Our beloved politicians have taken over yet another sacred event to bolster their shamelessly prolific positions and we turn out in droves to applaud them. We honor the men and women who sacrificed so much by standing up for what is right and speaking out for fair treatment by sitting down, shutting up and going along with whatever is fed to us.

If we teach our children the true meaning of things, they will understand why it’s not right to hold a political rally under the guise of celebrating organized labor. If we learn to speak out for our rights and stand true to ourselves and our convictions, we can make things better for all of us. Just like the “heroes” we supposedly celebrate.

Todd Kufahl


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