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 his publication, its publishers, Editor, or staff.

To the Editor:
Pine Crest Letter

We who sign this letter are Lincoln County residents. We believe this county has a moral obligation and the financial resources to keep Pine Crest Nursing Home in good operating condition, that Pine Crest should not be sold, shut down, or demolished.
As of this writing, 80% of Pine Crest residents are on Medicaid, which is the least generous of payer sources. That is to say, the vast majority of Pine Crest residents are poor. And since most privately-owned nursing facilities limit their Medicaid admissions to 10-20%, it’s obvious that Pine Crest, like other publicly owned nursing homes, is a refuge for the most vulnerable among us. Their care depends on public support. Responsibility for that care belongs to us.
The Lincoln County Board would have citizens believe that there is inadequate money available to save Pine Crest, that the lack of funds is strictly a county problem. There are, as of this writing, roughly $5 million of ARPA funds in County possession. (ARPA stands for American Rescue Plan Act, and the $5 million was allocated to the County by the federal government.) In addition, the County is in a position, with its 100,000 acres of County forest, to sell carbon credits for at least $5 million. That money may not be immediately available, but any agreement would be legally contractual. The current County Board has not explored or acted on that offer.
It’s true that the state legislature, over the last 15 years, more or less, has squeezed county revenues to the point of great stress (from highway maintenance to the nursing home), even as the legislature has roughly $7 billion–not million, billion, which is 7,000 million–as a “rainy day fund” that it has been unwilling to share with local governments.
The Marathon County Board met on April 25 and passed a resolution asking the state legislature to assist in the funding of both Marathon County’s Mount View and Lincoln County’s Pine Crest, and that resolution is to be on the agenda of the Lincoln County Board when it convenes on May 16 at 6:00 p.m. It is rational to anticipate a unanimous yes vote on that resolution.
In addition, various agencies of the federal government have all manner of grant programs available to local governing bodies. We recognize that researching those programs and submitting grant proposals takes time, and that an already barebones county administration is stretched for time. This is a catch-22, but a county with pressing need cannot afford to allow beneficial programs to slip away—or the money associated with those programs—for lack of creative initiative or political vision.
Keeping our most vulnerable people in good health, with high-quality care, is our collective moral responsibility. The County can afford it. We can’t afford not to afford it, for what that would say about our lack of compassion. Not caring until you need care might be better than never caring. But caring now is better for everyone concerned.

– Catherine Baratta & Bob Polesnak; Karleen & Gene Bebel; Hans & Katie Breitenmoser; Richard Brown &Cathy LeMay-Brown; Carol & Al Crevier; Sisters Carol Crosby, Celine Goessl, Pam Hodgson, Peggy Jackelen, Kathy Lange, Joelle Mauer, Dorothy Niemann, Linda Songy, Mary Anne Rose , Mary Michael Smits, & Kathy Wiesneski ; Todd & Renae Frederick; Kyle Galke; Joel Gilk; Paul Gilk & Susanna Juon-Gilk; Dick & Sue Hass; Walt & Cheryl Hobbs; Sarah & Don Litzer; Russ & Carol Mancl; Tim & Caroline Meehean; Irene & Mark Mehlos; Bob Richards & Virginia Jach-Richards; Robert & Diana Smith; Sandy Stoneman; Laurie Svetlik; Freida Swanson; Pat Voermans; Rita & Marty Webb; Carol & Bill Wendorf; Kevin Wendt; Judy & Ray Woller; and Tom & Lynn Zentner
Merrill & Tomahawk, 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 100 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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