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:
Food For Kids is a program providing weekend meals for qualifying Merrill students. It was started in 2014 as an “act of faith” by Rev. Sue and Don Christian and, since 2017, has been administered by a committee from St. Stephens UCC with tremendous support from faithful individuals and organizations within the Merrill community.
The growth of the program has been dramatic. By the end of the 2022-23 school year, a total of 35,780 weekend meals were provided to 303 qualifying students at a total cost of $57,611.45–a lot of money by any standard. We assume the costs will be similar this year.
Financial support for the Food For Kids program has always depended on contributions from individuals, community groups, and business sponsorships, and an annual fundraising event by the Food For Kids committee. This year’s event is a “Love Your Neighbor” Fundraising Banquet being held on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, from 4 p.m. at Les & Jim’s in Merrill. Tickets include dinner, two drink tickets, and entry into the door prize and can be purchased from Food For Kids committee members and at Dave’s County Market, Park City Credit Union, and St. Stephens Church. The success for this year’s Food For Kids program depends entirely upon it. Thank you for your help … hope to see you there.

– Sincerely, Bill Weber
FFK Committee Member
Irma, Wis.

To the Editor:
The political divide in the United States has deepened significantly over recent decades, creating a chasm increasingly difficult to bridge. This schism involves a complex web of factors, including cultural, social, economic, and ideological elements.
One key driver of this divide is that people increasingly identify with their political affiliations as part of their core identity. This leads to a tribalistic mentality, where individuals are more likely to engage with and trust those who share their political beliefs while demonizing those on the other side.
Media fragmentation exacerbates the issue. The advent of cable news, social media, and online echo chambers means people can curate their information sources to align with their pre-existing beliefs. This has created separate realities, where people are exposed to vastly different narratives and facts, making it difficult to find common ground.
Economic disparity also factors in. As income inequality grows, so too the political divide. Many Americans feel the political system primarily serves the interests of the wealthy and corporations, leading to distrust in government institutions.
Furthermore, gerrymandering and the winner-takes-all electoral system perpetuate the divide, reinforcing the dominance of the two major parties and reducing the incentive for compromise.
To bridge this divide, it’s essential to promote dialogue, media literacy, and education that encourages critical thinking. Reforming the electoral system to encourage third-party participation and addressing economic inequalities are also crucial steps towards a less polarized political landscape. However, achieving unity will be an ongoing challenge that requires a collective effort from all Americans.

– Nickolas Bell
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 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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