4-11 letters

Letter to the Editor:

Thank you Mr. Lussenhop and Mr. Richardson for a wake-up call on the choice of words I used while running for the MAPS school board. The words “No value from our retired professional staff” should not have been used and are certainly not true. Every member of our community, whether you are a child, student, parent, worker, or retiree, is of value and important to our community.

I owe all of you an apology and I am sorry that I used the words “No value.” I will serve the Merrill School District to the best of my ability and will represent 100% of the people in this district.

Eugene Bondioli

Merrill School Board member


Dear Editor,

With everyone talking about gas prices at almost $4.00 I thought I would join in the discussion. To be upfront, you should know I have worked in the petroleum refining industry for many years and I am NOT a believer in our current president.

The actual economics behind world crude pricing and subsequently American gas prices are complicated – but the theory is really very simple. Oil is a commodity – its pricing is fundamentally a function of supply and demand. As a result, the most direct and effective method to lower gas prices is to increase supply or lower demand. Our President has focused on only half of the equation – driving down demand. While I wholeheartedly agree that dependence on oil needs to be part of the focus, the supply half of the equation needs to be addressed as well. In fact, it should be stressed more than demand because the production of oil in this country is a double win – production and economic growth. Consider the growth of the energy industry in North Dakota and its 3% unemployment.

Yes, the President will tell you that oil production is up in this country and he is right. But I would argue that it is due to production on private and state lands. What he won’t tell you is that under his watch, production in the Gulf is down 30%, leases in the Rockies are down 68%, and 85% of the US off-shore coast remains off-limits to exploration. In 2008, private companies invested $ 2.6 billion in 486 leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea and the federal government has not allowed one well to be drilled yet.

Like any commodity, speculation plays a role in the ultimate price. Speculation is simply investors making money on the uncertainty of supply. The President’s responses to speculators is to vilify them in the press and distract the public with hearings and press conferences, while at the same time making speculating easier by standing in the way of a large, stable crude supply from our friends to the North via the Keystone Pipeline.

Make no mistake; President Obama is all about hope and change. He hopes you don’t realize the disastrous changes he is making to the American energy industry which will undoubtedly damage your economic future.

Dean D. Diagostine



I am writing today to address many concerns I have about the closure of Pine River School and actions of the BOE.

First, I must mention what a coincidence it was that letters were sent out the day after the election, informing parents which school their children will be attending next year. These letters have left parents in the district with questions.

Children who live within walking distance of schools will have to be bused to a school across town to make room for Pine River students. How much will this additional bussing cost? How much money was spent on redrawing the entire district?

My second concern is that the BOE has no idea what it will cost to make Pine River safe for 3-4 year olds. Among the many items that need to be addressed with the current Pine River building are; placing toilets in all classrooms, lowering sinks in all classrooms, a new roof, remodeling current bathrooms, placing a fence around the entire playground, planting numerous trees and making the drop-off/pick-up area safer for 3-4 year olds. These are items I was told by a board member need to be addressed before next school year. I am also assuming the entire playground will need to be replaced as the current playground is suitable for children K-5, not 3-4 year olds.

And once again, the BOE have no figures on what this will cost. But, they have a $100,000 state grant that will be lost if they don’t use it, even if it costs the taxpayers an additional unknown amount of money. Is this the responsible thing to do?

This brings me to my next concern. It was brought to my attention by a board member that the $100,000 grant was approved last year to be used on the current Headstart building. What has changed in the last year that makes this no longer an option?

Finally, where is all of the additional money coming from? The BOE plans to put a tax levy on property taxes to pay the additional costs of the Pine River remodel, without telling the taxpayers of course.

I am a parent with children attending Pine River, so of course I do not want the school to be closed. If the school needed to be closed to save the budget, I would understand. The BOE is making irresponsible, hasty decisions in this matter, in my opinion. As each day passes, the costs of closing Pine River keep adding up. How is this helping the budget for next year, or the next 3-5 years?

I urge everyone who is affected, parents, grandparents, and taxpayers to contact the board members, especially the ones who want to close Pine River. Attend the BOE meetings. A good meeting to attend would be April 30. Regardless of what has happened thus far, it’s not too late to keep the school open. The BOE needs to know how the community feels. Thank you.

Rachel Gruett


Dear Editor,

Wal-Mart has finally beaten down Merrill to build a new super center. Citizens of Merrill believe the town does not have enough shops downtown now, the building of a Super Wal-Mart will only make it worse. The mayor says putting a super store at the intersection of Hwy. 51 and 64 is a good idea because this is the gateway to Merrill. I believe Merrill could be the gateway to the north woods.

As people travel up 39 to snowmobile, ski, hunt, or fish Merrill could be the spot to have a nice meal, shop in stores, pick up something they may have forgotten or get groceries. Wal-Mart Super store will have groceries – Merrill community has two grocery stores. Wal-Mart super store will have a pharmacy – we currently have 3 pharmacies; one in the current Wal-Mart store.

There is a super Wal-Mart in Antigo – look at their downtown. Rhinelander has a super Wal-Mart – look at their downtown. Small businesses cannot keep up with products made in China and sold for low prices. Merrill’s main street will more empty buildings than it is now. Merrill has great potential and I would at least ask you to go to www.youtube.com and watch the video “The High Cost of Low Prices” and think twice about being so excited to have this new store in our town.

Carolyn Householder


Dear MAPS:

I would like to start with saying I feel very sorry for the kids that are getting moved around from Pine River School now that the school is closing!

Now here is my complaint. I live four blocks from Kate Goodrich. When I bought my home that was a perk in buying it. My kids were within walking range of it. Now because of the new school zones they want me to ship my kids two miles away to another school. I understand something have to change but really four blocks?

I wasn’t one of the people that voted to close that school. I don’t understand why my kids have to suffer because one school is closing that we are not even in the area of and moved to another because of it. I would understand that we would have to move if I lived a little further away. But this seems stupid to me. I do feel bad for all the kids that this affects. I understand that change is hard. But why cause so much affect on everyone? Isn’t it gonna be hard enough for the Pine River kids?

Becky Holzem



I would like to thank everyone for their support on Election Day. I am looking forward to serving our school district for the next 3 years.


Brad Kanitz


Dear Editor,

I was riding with my mom when I saw litter by the high school. Don’t you big kids know not to throw litter? It can hurt animals and it’s ugly. Please stop throwing litter.

Hannah Kieliszewski

5 year old


Fellow Merrill Area Residents,

I want to thank William Jaeger for his willingness to serve on the MAPS Board of Education. Bill has served as the board’s president during the last year. Due to other obligations, Bill decided not to run for reelection in 2012. Bill’s last board meeting will be on April 11. His presence on the board will be sorely missed.

Bill has been a fantastic board member. He is the epitome of what a board member should be. Unlike one particular board member (who will go unnamed), Bill had no personal agenda to force feed the community. He had no Democratic agenda, no Republican agenda, no liberal agenda, and no conservative agenda. While a board member, Bill’s sole focus was to improve MAPS for the betterment of our children and community.

Evidence that Bill had no personal agenda while on the board was his vote to convert Pine River Elementary School to a Head Start/4-K facility. The decision to change the purpose of the Pine River facility was contrary to Bill’s own personal interest. As a child, Bill attended Pine River and his children currently attend Pine River. It would have been easy for Bill to vote to keep Pine River Elementary open. However, Bill considered the best interest of the school district as a whole instead of voting for his own personal interest. Although some may disagree with Bill’s vote on the issue, he should be applauded for considering the best interest of the entire community over his own personal interest.

With Bill’s departure, the board of education must select a new President. I strongly urge the new board to select Jen Seliger as the new President. Jen is a hard worker who has commonsense. Jen’s calm personality will go a long way toward unifying a board that too often in the past broke into bickering factions.

I wish the new Board of Education the best of luck in the future.

John Shull


Dear Editor,

On Tuesday March 6th, the 8th grade students at Prairie River Middle School competed in our 4th annual National History Day Fair. The National History Day project is a year-long project for all eighth grade students at our school. Through National History Day lessons, students learn how to define a historical question, locate primary and secondary source materials, take notes, summarize, analyze information, and present their original interpretations in one of four formats. Those formats include: a written paper, website, exhibit, and video documentary. Each year students research topics related to that year’s theme. This year’s theme was “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.” The following students won their respective categories and will have an opportunity to present their projects at the regional competition to be held at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point on Sunday, April 15.

Paper Category: 4. Anna Rasque, 3. Brady Loos, 2. Cole Severt, 1. Michelle Tlusty; Documentary: 2. McKenzie Broeking, 1. Morgan Pettit; Website: 5. Tyler Butler, 4. Morgan McAlister, 3. Zach Wayda, 2. Morgan Sondelski, 1. Mykala Alft; Exhibit: 5. Grace Huftal,

4. Tanner Pettit, 3. Kailey Schreiber, 2. Marissa Gutsch, 1. Haley Daigle.

In addition we would like to thank the following individuals for taking their time to judge the students’ projects: William Jeager, Pat Berg, Tom Berg, Bea Lebal, Mike Weckwerth, Ann Verdorn, Ruth DeJarlais, Brenda Mammer, Peggy Francour, Jodi Salzer, Jim Hostvedt, Jenny Eder, Anna Julson, and Mike Giese. Without their help we would not be able to have History Day. Student National History Day projects will also be on display at both T.B. Scott Library and the Merrill Historical Society. Please visit these locations to view these impressive projects.


Eric Heeren, Gina Hanson, Joelene Weix, Jean Nelessen, Scott Boesel, Mike Rindt, and Shelley Detert

Prairie River Middle School 8th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies Teachers


The “North Woodies” Ladies Ducks Unlimited, would like to say “Thank You” to the businesses, individuals that donated, as well as the volunteers and the Ladies that attended our banquet to make it a success!

“North Woodies” Committee

Dear Editor:

I felt I must take some time to offer a counter point to Mr. Bolder’s letter of April 4. His review of President Obama’s “zero effort” missed a few things.

It took a massive effort to pass Health Care Reform and brought coverage to 32 million Americans who would otherwise have forced the public to pay for their health care. He also expanded health coverage for children by signing the Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act.

President Obama’s revision of the Bush Bailout halted the death spiral our economy was in and, in spite of Republican obstructionism, has helped it to climb back up slowly. The private sector is now creating more jobs than they are losing.

He passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to help prevent the type of abuses that caused the Bush Recession.

He (and one tough seal team) ended the threat posed by Osama bin Laden.

He helped to turn around the American Auto industry which has added over 100,000 jobs.

He repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” and raised fuel efficiency standards.

He cooperated with (not bowed to) the G-20 nations to set up a fund to prevent a similar economic collapse that we saw in ’02 and ’03.

He cut payroll taxes and extended unemployment insurance for millions put out of work by the Bush Recession and increased support for veterans.

He tightened sanctions on Iran in an ongoing effort to prevent them from getting The Bomb.

He passed Credit Card reform and supported equal pay for women by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

He improved food safety by signing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and signed a new START treaty with Russia.

He expanded wilderness and watershed protection by signing the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act and invested heavily in renewable energy technology.

The President improved school nutrition by signing the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

He signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act to expand protections for victims of Hate crimes and got British Petroleum to pay up in short order for their catastrophic spill.

The President also cut military spending, began the drawdown in Afghanistan, ended the Iraq occupation, and expanded accessibility to and production of oil.

The important part to remember is that he accomplished all these things in the face of unprecedented obstructionism by the conservatives in the House and Senate. Minority leader Mitch McConnell stated that the Republican Party’s “number one priority” was assuring that Obama was a one term President. To that end, Republicans in the Senate have filibustered anything that might help the economy in the hope of hurting the President’s chances for re-election. Essentially, the Republicans are keeping millions out of work to put one man out of a job. Sad but true.

Doug Curtis


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