11-9 letters

Letter to the Editor:

The Lincoln County United Christmas Spirit Appeal is a county wide effort to coordinate the joy of giving by individuals or groups to those less fortunate. Fulfilling this goal is accomplished with assistance from the Merrill Fire Department, Merrill Area United Way, Johnson Gifts & Home Dècor, St. Vincent de Paul, area churches, civic groups, businesses, schools and individuals. Lincoln County was very generous in meeting the need of the nearly 700 children who received gifts last year.

Christmas Spirit Request Forms can be picked up starting Nov. 4 at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, 1004 E. Main St., and the Community Care Center, 401 W. Main St. Completed request forms may also be dropped off at these sites, ONLY until Dec. 3.

Tags, with children’s first name, age and other pertinent information will be available at Johnson Gifts & Home Dècor and some local churches for those wishing to purchase gifts. Financial donations are appreciated and can be mailed to Lincoln County United Christmas Spirit Appeal, c/o St. Vincent de Paul Outreach, 401 W. Main St., Merrill, WI 54452.

If you have any questions or wish to purchase gifts for children please contact Freida or Lisa at 715-921-9773 or leave a message at the Outreach office, 715-539-2666.

Thank you for caring and sharing.

Freida Swanson

Lisa Carlson

Lincoln County United Christmas Spirit Appeal


Reading, listening and watching with bemusement as the Republican candidates for President debate, debase and cajole each other as they step farther to the right in their attempt to “out Christian” the other through their vicious, acrimonious not so “Christian” attacks on one another, I am reminded that people, especially the evangelical right now so entrenched in the Republican Party, tend to define social institutions, race, other religions or denominations, cultural differences, sexual orientation, economics, and politics in terms of their own narrow religious beliefs with little tolerance or acceptance for divergent opinions, beliefs or views.

This evangelical collection of bigoted and hypocritical conservative right-wingers, with support and encouragement from their Tea Party activists, seem determined, as a political and ideological goal, to cause the societal death of liberal/progressives and the entire nation by subjugating us, conquering our minds, destroying our beliefs and culture, and forcing us into accepting and living their conservative lifestyles through the purchase of the American political system (resulting from the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision) and their need to control the government.

These candidates uniformly proclaim government should not interfere in domestic economic or social affairs, business regulation slows progress, and public health and welfare programs simply harm people in the long run. This is Social Darwinism as promoted and developed by Herbert Spencer during the Victorian Age of the 1800s. Such decisions the Republican evangelicals must make: do they support pro-life and then cheer at executions; support Social Security themselves but oppose social programs for the poor; give more tax breaks to the rich and take more from the poor; denigrate immigrants and still hire undocumented workers to harvest their fruits and vegetables; support racial equality and sneer because there is a black man in the White House; preach the Golden Rule and shout obscenities at a Gay Rights demonstration? Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Evidently, the Republican right does not support the idea of “whatever you do for the least of us, you do for all of us.” Doesn’t quite sound like “love thy neighbor to me,’ but only time will tell. Should be an interesting election year since it very well may decide whether we want government of the people, by the people and for the people, or just for the evangelicals and the very wealthy.


Curtis G. Powell


Dear Letters-to-the-Editor,

On Oct. 20, 2011, the County’s Public Property Committee met. The agenda contained items specifically regarding the use of the Fairgrounds. One item was an introduction of a resolution to establish a Volunteer Fairground User Group Management Organization, and another addressed a policy for implementing lease agreements with various options.

Over the past couple of years, I have been asking this very committee why at least half of Fairground maintenance costs consistently fall back on to the tax levy when literally hundreds of thousands of dollars are generated by non-profits and other entities using the facility. In the process of asking this same question repeatedly, I also discovered that some user groups pay no lease fee for use of the grounds in spite of raising a great deal of money on site.

In an apparent response to that question and discovery, the County Clerk presented the Property Committee with a new lease agreement with multiple options for charging for use of the fairgrounds. Both the current and proposed options provide no exemptions from these fees without prior Public Property Committee approval. In spite of certain supervisor claims to the contrary, there are no written records of exemptions to these fees.

The proposed new lease agreement for the Fairgrounds offered multiple fee arrangements, including not charging anything for use of the facility. Since the committee just received these options, no action was taken on which, if any, provisions would be adopted. That fact did not stop a certain supervisor from making a motion to exempt the newly formed Fair Association from any lease fees. Since to agenda item was in place to discuss this action, no action could be taken. Characteristically, the motioning supervisor followed with a burst of theatrics.

This prompts me to make a couple of observations. That the county would be better served if certain supervisors dropped their pontificating on unrelated Washington partisan politics and concentrated instead on the business at hand. And that elected county officials are placed in office to serve the good of the county and not to do favors for certain friends.

Two points worth remembering are the facts that the county presently has two mechanisms in place for recouping Fairground maintenance costs – winter storage fees (currently the moneymaker) and lease agreements. And that enough money is generated by Fairground lessees to earn a substantial profit for lessees and cover maintenance costs.

The one agenda item that did follow through with a motion to go forward to the County Board was the resolution supporting the concept of a Volunteer Fairground User Group Management Organization. This could be a positive move on the part of the Fairground users considering that the Fairgrounds will need a considerable amount of renovation. I suggest, however, that the County Board seriously question a proposal that the very users of the facility might also administer the lease agreement for the county.

Diana C. Smith


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