10-26 letters

To Editor:

This year, Merrill schools pupils will again collect for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, with their bright orange boxes.

The target country this year is Somalia, where conditions are desperate – especially for children and their mothers.

Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has had a bitter civil war, and an extremely severe and extended dry spell. Food and water are scarce or non-existent. Over 1.4 million children are in need of emergency aid, and 480,000 children are severely malnourished and are at risk of dying.

Those affected by the crisis are in danger of measles, dehydration and pneumonia.

UNICEF and its partners daily provide clean water to 250,000 displaced persons, and nutritional support to 100,000 children.

UNICEF needs $31.8 million in the next three months to carry on relief activities.

Merrill citizens have been very generous in the past. It has earned the reputation of being the leader in Wisconsin in per capita contributions to UNICEF. Last year, Merrill area children raised over $4,000. This year, let us all dig deeper and try to double that amount.

The US Fund for UNICEF has only 9.1% overhead, and top ratings from the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator. All donations to UNICEF make a big difference.

Jim Lewis

Past member, Merrill UNICEF Committee

Dear Community of MAPS,

Have you ever bought in to a movie because the trailer was so good, yet after watching the flick you were only deceived and utterly disappointed?

It’s no different with books. In a letter to the editor on Oct. 19, it is now being tauted that not one parent opted their child out of reading the adult rated book, Montana 1948, this fall semester. After reviewing the syllabus/the trailer, I wouldn’t have either. The trailer does state there are, “adult themes such as violence, inappropriate language, sexual abuse, and racial issues,” however, it does not include, for parents review, the 16 excerpts that were presented to the Board of Education (BoE) last May. The descriptions create mental images so inappropriate that three local papers would not, or could not, print them for you to read and the complainants were not allowed to quote them at the hearing held in September. In the name of transparency, why aren’t these excerpts part of the trailer?

Most deceiving about the trailer is it states, “These themes are present to create a realistic story, primarily used in character development.” Montana 1948 is written from the viewpoint of a 12 year old boy, who lusts after his Aunt; was sexually aroused thinking about a girl being raped by his Uncle; to release the tension built up inside him, he felt he had to kill something, so he did; and thought that his Uncle’s suicide solved the problem. Are we to believe that this is a “realistic” mindset of the 12 year old boys or the men in our community and helps our youth with character development?

Considering the amount of support coming from those in the education field, whom parents have trusted, much like a movie trailer, one can be deceived into thinking the material in our district is benign. What is most concerning is we are in a battle over the minds and souls of our children as evidenced in a letter submitted by an educator to the BoE at the special meeting held in May; where in the educator took the position that for parents/community members to have a “lack of trust” in the teachers “professionalism and judgment in this challenge is deplorable.” With that said, contrary to Mrs. Drew’s claim, not one complainant had to be “recruited” to enter into this battle.

Since exposing the community to this assault on pro family values, voters made it very clear in the last election, they support individuals who hold the virtue of the traditional family dear. THAT is the ultimate indicator of the public paradigm, not some parental opt out that was deceiving to begin with. Having gone public, we know where each BoE member, and some educators, stand on this issue. Moving forward, we have an opportunity to redeem, and return to MAPS, a quality and standard of education for our children and youth that best reflects the values and mores of this community.


Karen Cournaya


To Editor:

The Berlin-Hamburg Lions want to thank everyone that helped to make the 9th annual Oktoberfest at Pagel’s Pub and Grub and success.

Joyce Voigt

Berlin-Hamburg Lions Club

Dear Angie Drew:

In your October 19, 2011 letter to the editor you insinuate that some people who have complained about “Montana 1948” are uneducated, defamers, and liars. Attacking a person’s character (the age-old Ad Hominem fallacy) does not actually counter that person’s argument. Let’s use logic to debate the merits of this book, not personal attacks. As for the appeals to consensus, what if the majority of parents wanted the book banned? This debate is fundamentally about moral ideals, not merely about one book. In debating morality, we must appeal to the truth, not to consensus.

As for Sacred Scripture, the Bible is clear in matters of sexual perversion, whereas “Montana 1948” is not. The main characters of “Montana 1948” hide a child molester until he kills himself, which is touted as a resolution to their problems. (Please consider that suicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents.) In the Bible, Jesus Christ exposes sin and demands virtue and repentance in order to enter His Kingdom. I daresay it is beyond offensive to compare God’s Word to this morally ambiguous book.

Ironically, you quoted the anti-Christian philosopher, Voltaire, who also famously said: “If there was no God, man would have to make Him.” Voltaire’s philosophy inspired the instigators of the French Revolution, who agitated poor citizens into brutally and murderously overthrowing France’s national order, replacing it with one of the most violent regimes in history. Voltaire and his philosophy are quintessentially opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is compassion and Truth incarnate.

Johanna Miller


To the Editor,

Where are we headed here in America? How far from God will we get before He will say I have had enough? We take Him out of our schools and government but allow evolution and Halloween to take over. We see and hear about horrible real life murders. It is in all the video stores and on TV and we play the games. To hurt or kill someone you get upset with, for whatever reason, is becoming more frequent.

The adults in our society get a big kick out of blood and gore to the point where now even the Boy Scouts raise money displaying it for “fun.”

If you choose to believe it or not, Halloween has always been a “religious holiday” for satanic worshippers. And when we as Christians take part in its “fun” we are headed in the wrong direction. You want religion out of schools then have no part in Halloween either.

I know there are people who will read this that will say I’m a religious nut. That’s okay; I’m in good company. Many thought Jesus was in His day, too.

Candee Kuhn


Sharon Mondt



I read with great interest the opinion written by Kevin Stevenson in the Merrill Foto News on Oct. 12, 2011 as there is a serious debate about where this country is headed. It is interesting to note that most of the surveys I have read indicate that job creation is the number one priority of Americans. However, Mr. Stevenson seems to advocate for job killing rather than job creation. In addition, he offers no alternative plan other than the Republican agenda which has sunk this country into a deep recession if not depression.

In the 1980s under the Reagan administration, the Republicans came up with an economic plan dubbed “Trickle Down Economics.” The basic premise of this plan was to give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy as the money would eventually fall into the hands of the working and middle class. This would “create jobs.” This economic policy is a failed policy to which we now see the ramifications of such economic nonsense. This policy has not created any semblance of sustainable jobs but it most certainly has created a privileged class and has left the vast majority of Americans to struggle to make ends meet. Corporate profits are at an all-time high due to this “Trickle Down Economics.” At the same time the wealthy and corporations are living high off the hog, they are also slashing jobs and sending them overseas. The Bush tax cuts which coddle the wealthy also caused the inequitable distribution of wealth in this country. The deregulation of Wall Street has created an economic environment of excesses and risky speculation resulting in ordinary citizens seeing their investments bottom out. There is the 1% of this country who owns the vast majority of wealth and assets while the other 99% suffer. Republican economic policies have created this inequity.

The Jobs Creation Act creates jobs and creates jobs for improving our infrastructure so badly in need of repair. It only asks the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and help put Americans back to work. It is not too much to ask those who have received all the breaks over the last 30 years since the Reagan Administration. Mr. Stevenson reiterates the Republican mantra that an unregulated free market economy will magically create jobs. Moreover, his solution is to just throw money at the corporations and the wealthy who have created a country of the “haves” and the “have nots.” I believe it is self-explanatory who the haves are and who are the have nots. Instead of having a definitive plan to get this country back to work, Mr. Stevenson just goes to the Republican well and wants to throw money at corporations and the wealthy. He offers no alternative solution to our lack of jobs and getting people back to work. In the words of Mr. Stevenson in his article, I would call this the true definition of insanity.

John Spiegelhoff


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