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:
Regarding the possible sale of the Lincoln County nursing home, I am including from an 8/24/2023 City Pages article the following paragraph:
“Marathon County faced a similar dilemma when it considered whether or not to keep its nursing home in the face of mounting financial troubles. The county hired Clifton Allen Larson, which evaluated the nursing home and its finances and gave recommendations in order to turn around the facility’s finances. North Central Health Care staff implemented those strategies and soon the home was operating in the black.”
I have sent a copy of this Letter to the Editor to Don Friske, Lincoln County Board Chairman. I am asking Mr. Friske to contact Clifton Allen Larson to see if he would be willing to look at our nursing home finances to see if he thinks they could be similarly turned around.

– Bill Ritter
Merrill, Wis.

To the Editor:
Lincoln County Citizens,
Listening to the Pine Crest discussion during the August County Board meeting was painful. My concerns are the few options being considered and the short timeframe for the decision. Political biases and predetermined solutions are clouding our judgment. There are more options available.
Let’s look at the Pine Crest asset and see it for what it is. It’s a large building, with great location and infrastructure, operating below capacity. This should be an opportunity instead of a burden. Let’s use the space to its full capacity, alongside elderly care, and help meet additional County needs:
● Housing
● Daycare
● Labor
Using a multipurpose approach to the Pine Crest Complex, including quality elderly care, will make it viable. It will be a benefit for the County. Income generated with this approach could be spent on infrastructure. If not, it could be used as a property tax credit.
More options need to be evaluated before Pine Crest is sold. It is less expensive to repurpose a building than build new. There may be grant money available to address affordable housing and daycare, due to the major need throughout the country. Why not try to bring grant money into Lincoln County to help fulfill our needs?
We need to reevaluate the sale and listen to citizens’ input. Selling is the easy answer, but there are other options. Let’s consider other options. Let’s work together and find solutions that will most benefit the people of Lincoln County.

– Brian Hanson
Town of Harrison, Wis.

To the Editor:
Please read the 158-page report (dated March 21, 2023) by the Ad-Hoc Committee on Pine Crest on the Lincoln County Board website! The Ad-Hoc committee did a very complete, investigative report on Pine Crest. The layout of the Pine Crest campus shows the situation, with closed halls, number of beds, etc. Some facts:
Many of you have not read this report; if you had, you’d know that Clifton, Larson, Allen Wealth Advisors did perform a study on Pine Crest.
NCHC also manages the Marathon County-owned nursing home, Mount View. Judy Woller was on the Lincoln County Board when Resolution 2021-11-50 was passed unanimously to reduce number of bed licenses at Pine Crest.
Further, $85 per $100,000 of valuation equates to $170.00 per tax bill, per year, for a $200,000 valuation.
Many actions were taken by County Board since 2015 in attempts to bring Pine Crest operations into the black. It doesn’t have to make a profit; it just needs to break even. In conclusion, eight years later, it is in worse condition now in 2023 than it was in 2015.
Further, our habits have changed as stated in the 2021 survey. When we cannot live alone any longer, we do not feel Pine Crest is the place for us. We look at in-home care, senior living apartment with help from ADRC, meals on wheels, assisted living, possibly hospice care (which is NOT offered at Pine Crest). Yes, one can go on Medicaid and continue to live at assisted living.

– Leona Vander Sanden
Gleason, 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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