1-30-13 Letters

Merrill High School Graduation Celebration Needs Your Help!
Merrill High School has enjoyed a long tradition of offering our graduating seniors a safe, alcohol free, and fun party on graduation night as a way to celebrate their accomplishments with their friends and classmates. The party theme is carried throughout the high school with exciting decorations. This year’s theme is “Bon Voyage.” Plenty of food is offered, as well as dancing, games, door prizes and a grand finale….usually a ventriloquist! Over the years this post-graduation celebration has grown in popularity with our seniors, and students continually tell us how fun it was and how thankful they are to have had such an opportunity at MHS.
Putting together such a party is no small task however, and it takes many parent, teacher and grandparent volunteers to make it successful. The practice at MHS has been to have parents of under-classmen help organize and run the post-graduation party so that when their own children are seniors, they can enjoy the night as parents, spending time with family from out of town and getting ready for their own graduation celebrations.
To continue offering a successful and fun graduation celebration for our students, we need your help! Volunteers are needed to perform a wide variety of functions and there is something for everyone to do. This year we have a few significant positions to be filled so the party can continue to be a strong tradition at Merrill High. Please step up to help so that this party will still be a tradition to look forward to when your children are seniors! Don’t wait to be invited to help! (And your kids don’t have to be in high school for you to help.) Please call Brenda Jonas at 715-539-1121. There is a job to match your skills! Thanks!
The Graduation
To All Merrill School District Voters:
It is with respect, that I am asking you to VOTE to RE-ELECT me, LIN Kautza, for three “more” years, on the MERRILL SCHOOL BOARD. It has been a personal honor to be able to “give back” to my hometown, Merrill, where I learned my value system for a good life, and to my Alma Mater, Merrill High School, where I received a strong foundation for my meaningful and rewarding career.
For me, these last three years have been interesting and satisfying: working on issues that have come before us on our school board, dealing with the latest challenges from Madison, and learning a lot from working with my fellow board members. I am hoping to earn your vote, enabling me to continue to maintain the legacy of our district, and build upon its successes. I am proud to be from Merrill, and proud to be a graduate of Merrill High School!
Those of you who know me, know my passion for education, and how much I value it. I believe that “Education is Empowerment” and all children are entitled to have one. That strong conviction is the SOLE REASON I am currently on the MERRILL SCHOOL BOARD. I HAVE NO PERSONAL AGENDA to cloud my direction or decisions. My intentions are pure and open, not tarnished by a mindset of revenge or regret in regard to past decisions made and not agreed with. My philosophy is that education is the base on which everything is built. It is of the utmost importance in one’s life. SCHOOL BOARDS, I feel, are better when they share similar philosophies and beliefs, and an awareness of how they fit into the big picture, the picture every parent has for their child. A School Board exists for them, to help them make that “picture” a reality.
When I vote with the taxpayer in mind, I personally have a different slant on “taxpayers first.” I look at it this way… I think how wasteful that required school tax we all pay to support the schools would be, if it was being thrown away on a “sub-par district,” one not kept current, one that was allowed to depreciate, one unable to attract the most highly qualified teachers, to teach what is needed to our students for them to compete in the workplace. In my mind, and as a SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, I feel I would be disrespectful and inconsiderate to our tax-paying residents, (myself included) to offer up to them, an educational experience for our children that is second rate. We don’t pay taxes to get “second rate”! No one likes throwing money into an outdated, unreliable car or truck that can’t promise to get you where you want to go… Same idea! When we give money in the form of taxes, even though mandated, we need to see something exceptional for our time and efforts. The taxpayer’s mandated “investment” in the schools should produce higher than average returns on that investment.
Offering a First Class Education, in a First Class Educational Environment, using First Class Learning Experiences, delivered by First Class Staff, to produce First Class graduates, is costly! But, it is far more costly to saddle our children with a “second rate chance” at getting a First Class Education! I believe “You Get What You Pay For!” I just don’t believe it should be at the expense (or not) of our children!
So, I am asking you to please spread the word to your friends and relatives, that I am once again a candidate for the MERRILL SCHOOL BOARD and would be grateful for your (and their) VOTE on Feb. 19 and April 2.
Thank you for your support and confidence in me! I appreciate YOU; My Hometown, Merrill; and the Merrill School District!
LIN Kautza
To Merrill
Just a note about our “Open Hands Soup Kitchen” held each Tuesday at Saint Francis Xavier cafeteria. For the last several years Tammy Cohrs with her many volunteers doing the Lord’s work has overseen this operation including planning each weekly meal, shopping for the ingredients, preparing the meal, cooking the meal, directing all the great volunteers, serving the meal and making sure the kitchen is ready for the next day. She has decided to step back from operating the Open Hands Soup Kitchen. The Open Hands Soup Kitchen will continue to serve the Merrill Community with Dave Raddenbach and all the great volunteers. Please join us for a healthful dinner and meeting your neighbors from the Merrill community.
I hope everyone will thank Tammy Cohrs for all her dedication to our community and everyone in Merrill and surrounding areas.
Ray Lefferts
MAPS area residents,
On February 19th, there will be a primary election for MAPS school board. This is a very critical time for Wisconsin public schools, and MAPS in particular. We will be searching for and working with a new District Superintendent. We are still trying to sort out all the details of Act 10 and what it really means for our teachers, and for our budget. We are trying to assimilate the emotional and physical changes associated with the closure of Pine River and the relocation of Head Start, both implemented just last year. We have two charter schools and a robust virtual school with unique opportunities and challenges when compared to our traditional core schools. Most importantly, we are responsible for the education of 3,000 of our children, all of whom deserve the very best without unduly burdening our taxpayers. There are people who say you can’t have both quality and fiscal responsibility, but I believe that with creativity, hard work, and working together, we can. Some people choose to focus on being negative and making personal attacks. I prefer to stay positive; focusing on what is good and working hard to make it even better.
With such a diverse district in addition to all the competing needs and views, MAPS needs leaders with diverse backgrounds and skills, plus a passion for excellence and a willingness to listen. I have a strong set of business and leadership skills combined with three years serving as your BOE President, making me uniquely qualified to serve on your board. I am asking for your vote on February 19 and again on April 2 to be part of the team that truly delivers excellence in our great district!
Jeff Verdoorn
MAPS School Board Candidate
My name is Norbert “Nubs” Ashbeck. I am one of seven candidates for MAPS Board. I was raised on a dairy farm half-way between Stevens Point and Marshfield. From first grade until twelfth, I attended three small rural schools in and around Auburndale. In the last few years, two of those three closed. We were told it was to save money, similar to what is now occurring in Merrill. Budget shortfalls are a challenge to all schools right now.
In 1968, after serving in the army, I was offered a job in Radiology at the Merrill hospital. Even then, Merrill was well known to my friends back home as “the town with the great school system.” Now those same friends ask me, “What is going on in Merrill?”
After arriving in Merrill, I quickly fell in love with the community and my work. The people made me feel welcome and I was able to make friends easily. I met my wife, Anne (Dirkx), who blessed me with three healthy children. Merrill has given me everything I ever dreamed: a family that I love, a great job that I enjoyed, countless neighbors and friends and a place to call home. Now that I am retired, I want to give back to the community that has given me so much, which is why I want to be elected to the School Board.
A number of people have asked me, “What can Nubs bring to the Board?” It would be niave to believe that one person can solve the challenges faced by our current School Board. The School Board must work collectively with each other, administration, teachers, and the community to move together positively to provide the best education for our youth. So here is what I have to offer:
1. 25 years of experience managing a department with a multi-million dollar budget.
2. A history of working collaboratively in Directors meetings making decisions, sometimes difficult ones. During those meetings I learned that solutions require shared sacrifice, creative thinking, and healthy disagreements. Those disagreements, though, cannot result in lack of forward movement or hostility.
3. Someone who values quality education and opportunities to pursue a higher education.
4. Someone who is concerned about the community, but who is also on a fixed income and recognizes the need to balance the responsibilities of limited spending while still valuing our educators.
5. Someone who recognizes the fast-paced, technological developments of today’s world and the need to provide our students up-to-date education using today’s technology to compete in the work force.
In closing I would like to thank the other candidates for their courage to run and willingness to put their time and efforts into this endeavor. If I had one with regarding this election, it would be that it begins the process of healing our community’s anger, hurt and disagreements. We need to unite in a solid, positive, and sustainable direction.
Norbert Ashbeck
School Board
To the Merrill School District Voters:
Our school board is supposed to work for the taxpayers, but it’s wrong when they ignore the will of the people as I witnessed during the Pine River Elementary debate. As the parents of Pine River were pleading to keep their school open, they were ignored by some board members whos minds were already made up and who would not even look at them. It’s very sad. They didn’t just close a school but actually hurt an entire community because the board’s decision didn’t just affect Pine River, but impacted elementary kids from all over Merrill.
The closing of Pine River was disruptive not just to families of Pine River, but all other families in the district whose children were also moved. The result of Pine River closing is overcrowding of the remaining elementary schools. What I’m concerned about is that with all the overcrowding in the elementary schools, are some people hoping this would give them a good excuse to build a new school???
I have no personal agenda because I have no family or friends that are employed by the school district. I’m just a regular person. I only want to do the right thing for the children and taxpayers. Our children’s education is our future. Making sure our graduates have the basic ability to read, write and do math in addition to computer skills is critical to their future success.
Vote Vicki Lindstrom for the Merrill School Board. I’ll be one taxpayer looking out for the other taxpayers and our children and grandchildren’s future.
Vicki Lindstrom
To the Editor:
Yesterday I was with people who were younger than I, and I reflected on the fact that they were born after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. Is he just “history” to this younger generation, something that happened long ago, or have we kept his message and witness alive for them?
Do they know this black man, a giant in spirit, faith and deed, courage and truth?
Martin Luther King Jr. knew all too well about gun violence and his message and actions were clear. According to his faith (and a faith that many of us also claim as ours) he knew that injustice could not be solved with a gun, nor with retribution, vengeance or violence. Even though he knew that his life was often in danger, he did not protect himself with a weapon and ultimately lost his life. A fool for Christ? A fool for his brothers and sisters?
If we follow his message, if we learn from his witness, we keep him alive to future generations and hopefully humanity will be transformed and guns will be obsolete.
Susanna M. Juon-Gilk
Dear Letters-to-the-Editor,
The short notice of last Wednesday’s hearing for the reintroduction of a new mining bill was no surprise. That it came on a Friday afternoon, prior to a three-day weekend fulfills Gov. Walker’s promise that he would fast track the bill.
The hearing took place in Madison, of course. It was very convenient for legislators pushing this piece of work and their mining campaign contributors, but not for the residents of northern Wisconsin who will eventually live with the results.
Was the rush because the fast majority of registrants, (937 of 1160), spoke in opposition to passage of the original bill at the last three hearings?
Consider some of the numbers. The Flambeau mine pit in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, was 35 acres in size and produced 1.9 million tons of ore during its 3.5 years of operation.
Estimated open pit size of the proposed mine in Ashland and Iron Counties is between 3800 to 4200 acres, with an additional 3500 acres for the waste and mill sites. After 35 years of operation, the mine could produce 280 million tons of taconite pellets and leave behind 560 million tons of tailing with an additional 350 million tons of waste rock that will require management forever. Compare that to the Jackson County Iron Mine, which produced 9 million tons of ore in its 13 years of operation and left behind 18-20 million tons of waste on approximately 1300 acres.
If developed as proposed, Phase One of Gogebic Taconite’s open pit alone would be larger than the largest taconite mine anywhere.
Although mining interests often cite the Flambeau Mine, now landscaped with grass and shrubbery, as an example of a reclaimed metallic sulfide mine, it is not.
In July 0f 2012, a U.S. district Court ruled that the mine has repeatedly, over several years, violated the Clean Water Act by discharging toxic pollutants into a tributary of the Flambeau River. Kennecott and Rio Tinto Flambeau Mining Company are appealing that ruling, but the numbers do not lie.
Gogebic Taconite maintains that the ore coming out of their proposed site in northern Wisconsin will not contain environmentally damaging sulfides, but it will not release the data to confirm their claims. Survey data from adjacent areas indicated that they may have to remove tremendous amounts of sulfide-bearing rock just to get at the ore. That waste or overburden could produce sulfuric acid mine drainage into surrounding water supplies for decades if not centuries.
Originally drafted by Gogebic Taconite and the Walker Administration, AB426 proposed a new regulatory program that would gut many protections in existing mining regulations. Remember, current mining law addresses and provides for iron mining in the state.
Taconite mining is the second largest regional source of mercury emissions after coal-fired power plants. Although Gogebic Taconite has never mined iron ore before, its owner, the Cline Group, operates coal mines in Illinois and has been cited 25 times for exceeding water quality standards. All Michigan and Minnesota taconite mines have operating violations and fines since 2004.
Ask Senator Tom Tiffany why he is helping to rush this trough Wisconsin.
Diana C. Smith

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