Letters to the Editor

We welcome letters to the Editor, a chance for members of the community to comment on issues of concern to them. All letters must be original, not duplications of letters addressed to public officials or written by others. The views and opinions expressed are those of the letter writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication, its publishers, Editor, or staff.

To the Editor:
Every two years we have an election. Every two years we have the frustrating, demoralizing experience of watching the political ads that bombard our television screens. These temporary prima donnas campaigning for some political office don’t spend their time discussing the issues confronting everyday Americans. Rather, they spend their time ridiculing and bashing their opponent with twisted exaggerated lies. Some are so vulgar and so poor it’s not something we would want our young children to watch or hear. Imagine the impression we provide our youth. Fox news voices their opinions to support those on the right. CNN twists their views to support the candidates on the left. The media doesn’t focus on issues confronting us, but rather, on counting seats in the House and Senate for those on the right and on the left to determine who’s in the majority. They do so because, as we all know, those in power will vote along party lines regardless of how the issue may affect you and I. It gets increasingly worse every election. It has become so bad and divided that the words “Civil War” are on the lips of many. I hope, for the sake of all those who gave their lives, for the sake of this country and the free world, that the madness stops before it’s too late. Nikita Kruschev once stated to his communist supporters ”not to concern themselves with America for we will destroy ourselves from within.” We are busy fulfilling his prophecy.

– Mike Closser
Merrill, Wis.

To the Editor:
I read an article WXPR.org published August 19, 2022, in which Superintendent of MAPS, Shannon Murray, stated that due to federal monies, “We’ve created some positions based on those” and “we’ve done some different things based on that money.”
One of the reasons for the proposed referendum is to cover the costs of these created positions and different things when, as Shannon Murray stated, “those federal monies go away.”
In other words, the taxpayer is being asked to fund (over and above their typical taxes) in order to keep afloat, “created positions” and “different things” because federal monies will dry up.
Since late 1990’s/early 2000’s to today, MAPS has a staggering number of less students and building closures, yet the school budget ballooned from about $28,000,000 back then to now almost $50,000,000.
One must be asking if the district is utilizing the taxpayer monies they have been entrusted with wisely.

– Karen Cournaya
Merrill, Wis.

To the Editor:
The State requires an annual count of students attending class on the third Friday of September, which is used to determine the per pupil funding schools are eligible to receive. September 2022 data was released on October 19 at the MAPS Board meeting and is publicly available at the Administration office.
The “Third Friday Count” report includes: PK special-ed at Head Start and Early Childhood; 4K children attending New Testament; Parkside Preschool, St. Francis, and Head Start 4K; Bridges Virtual Academy; and MADA. However, none of these students physically attend the district’s K-12 school facilities.
Let’s compare MAPS “Third Friday Count” data from the 2022-2023 and 2012-2013 school years just for K-12 students actually attending classes at district buildings:
K-4 elementary: 2012-2013 – 875; 2022-2023 – 604
5-8th grades: 2012-2013 – 739; 2022-2023 – 594
9-12th grades: 2012-2013 – 1,004; 2022-2023 – 801
Totals: 2012-2013 – 2,618; 2022-2023 – 1,999
Over the past decade, MAPS lost 619 students in K-12 classrooms, a decrease of 24%.
Peak enrollment was 3,473 in 1999 and has steadily declined. MAPS had a loss of 1,474 students since then, yet, even with elementary building closures, we are funding the heating, upkeep, maintenance, and staffing of buildings designed to hold 3,742 students.
Is this a wise use of limited resources?
How much will the proposed referendum cost you? At the bottom of your 2021 real estate tax bill, look at “Merrill School – Total Additional Taxes Applied to Property.”

– Loretta Baughan
Merrill, Wis.

To the Editor:

In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day, calling on the nation to “solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting and enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
Now more than ever, our veterans and their families need our support. That’s why this year, Lincoln County is launching Operation Green Light for Veterans, a National initiative designed to shine a light on the service of our veterans.
As part of Operation Green Light for Veterans, Lincoln County is illuminating County buildings in green, beginning on Nov. 7th, 2022, to remind the veterans and their families in our community that we are here for them.
We encourage individuals and businesses to join us by changing one light bulb in the entryway of your home or business to a green bulb. By shining a green light, you let veterans know that they are seen, appreciated, and supported. While this event is focused on the week of Veterans Day (Nov. 7-13), we encourage individuals to continue to shine the light year-round.
This Veterans Day, join us in shining a light of hope and support for over 2,700 veterans who call Lincoln County home. Join Operation Green Light and let’s turn Lincoln County green this Veterans Day.

–John Olson, Veterans Services Office
Merrill, Wis.

Letters To The Editor Policy:
*Letters must be 250 words or less. (There will be no exceptions to this. Any letter longer than 250 words will not be printed.)
*The writer must include their full name, complete address, and a phone number where he/she can be easily reached for verification. Phone numbers and street addresses will not be published, but will be used for verification purposes, if necessary. Letters must be signed and the name, city, and state will be printed.
*Letters may be edited for style, grammar, and length. Form letters or those we determine to be libelous or slanderous will not be accepted. Any letter deemed derogatory, inflammatory, or involving vulgar language will not be published. We reserve all rights to reject material submitted to this publication.
*Letters will be published on a “first come, first served” basis. Any letters which we are unable to publish in the printed newspaper may be run online at www.merrillfotonews.com and/or may be printed in the paper at a later date.
*In fairness to all, and due to space constraints, there is a limit of two letters per year from an individual writer. Additional letters may be submitted to our Paid Letters to the Editor column and will require payment in full prior to publication at the same rate as Political Letters to the Editor (see policy below).
Political Letters To The Editor Policy:
All letters submitted as an endorsement for a political candidate, referendum, or political agenda will carry the same guidelines as above; however, they will be charged $40.00 per letter of up to 250 words in length. Longer political letters will be accepted but will be charged $10.00 per additional 50 words. All political letters must be prepaid prior to printing. Letters to the Editor will not be accepted from candidates running for election or representatives of an organization endorsing their own referendum, as these are clearly advertisements and not opinion letters; those submissions will be referred to our Advertising Department to be run as paid ads.

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