Paid 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:
I am proud to have been a part of change to the City Council over the past four terms. When I was first elected, the Council was all male from the three oldest generations; silent, baby boomers, and X. We now have our first millennial alderperson on the Council and a woman, although she hasn’t been the first. I think it’s important that an elected body looks like and represents those they serve.
I don’t think it’s the intent of our federal and state constitution to have career politicians or a majority representing one generation. Furthermore, I don’t think one person should be elected for two or more positions in different levels of government. This allows for conflict of interest in a democratic environment. We currently have a Commander in Chief with dementia running for a second term, recent deaths of sitting Senators, median age of 66 in U.S. Senate, and a Governor who is 72 years old.
The interests of all generations should be considered by all elected officials while they serve in term. That isn’t the case today at any level of government, and I think history shows us change starts at the local level. It wasn’t long ago that Merrill elected its youngest mayor ever.
We need an injection of youth in our governing bodies to balance the agenda, and more diverse candidates to fairly represent those segments of our population. I’m so happy to see all the women running in the spring election! We need more representation from our younger generations X, millennial, and Z. God willing they will be on this earth longer and should have some say in our future.
For these reasons, I am endorsing and support Andrew Caylor to replace me as the First District Alderperson. It has been an honor serving you and the City for the past eight years, but change is constant.

-Paul Russell, outgoing First Ward Alderperson
Merrill, Wis.

To the Editor:
In the March 7 issue of the Foto News, a letter by Larry Simon asks questions about the budgeting woes of the Lincoln Co landfill. A short answer to this is the progressive liberals previously in control of the County Board. Unfortunately, the same sort of people are in charge of budgeting for Wisconsin’s public schools. When the question is asked, how much does it take to run a public school … the answer is usually, “How much do you have?” That’s just not going to work anymore.
Our County is facing many challenges. The full economic effects of the government-propagated pandemic are still manifesting upon us. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing. Inflation causes high prices on everything we want or need and fuel is steadily climbing. The unusually warm, dry winter, with virtually no recreational activities … a huge economic boon to central and northern Wisconsin, adds even more to the burden. Tony Evers (the education governor) vetoes every attempt the legislature makes to pass much-needed tax relief for lower and middle class residents. The disastrous immigration policies of the Biden administration will only add more misery, even as far away as Wisconsin. To say we’ve got problems would be an understatement.
I applaud the proposed attempts of the MAPS administrators to cut costs … but they can do much better. It’s long past time to ditch the antiquated baseline budgeting process that encourages unaccountable spending. We should not approve a single cent more until they switch to a zero balance budgeting model … the type used by EVERY responsible citizen, homeowner, farmer, and legitimate business in the private sector. Late last year many property owners already got a big hike of their property taxes. A mandatory County re-assessment of property is being conducted right now. We’re likely to see some shocking increases in property taxes. The schools are going to get more money, whether the referendum passes or not. With that in mind, let’s do the responsible thing on April 2nd and vote against the MAPS referendum.

– Jeffrey Krall
Merrill, Wis.

To the Editor:
Vote Yes on MAPS Referendum

Although my children are all in their 40’s, I hope that the public will vote to approve the MAPS referendum on April 2. The plan to relocate Pine River School for Young Learners, Bridges Virtual Academy, and the Northern Achievement Center to the Jefferson building is a wise and economical use of funds. That move will allow the sale of the Pine River School, create room in the high school for the District Office staff, and allow the old Northern Achievement Center and District Office buildings to be demolished. Those buildings were meant to be temporary and need significant repairs. In the long run, it is more economical to relocate and demolish rather than repair those structures. The current maintenance building was also meant to be a temporary structure and requires significant repairs to remain functional. Building a new maintenance building and demolishing the current building is the best plan of action. Vote Yes on April 2.

– Terry Fondow
Town of Pine River, Wis.

To the Editor:
The spring election is April 2 and the citizens of Lincoln County have a decision to make. The basic question is simply this, as a citizen of the County are you better off now then you were two years ago?
My answer is definitely not. In 2022 the Republican Party ran a partisan slate of candidates in a non-partisan election which was well funded and included expert help from the party. Board members who ran as individuals because they cared for the County were overwhelmed by the Republican machine and they took control of the Board. Now lets take a look at what has happened since. One of the first things they did was repeal the $20 wheel tax that we were paying if we owned a car. I don’t know about you, but I never heard anyone complain about it and it certainly did not improve my standard of living. What it did do was create a $500,000 hole in the budget. This problem was immediately fixed by eliminating the University of Wisconsin Extension program which means that Lincoln County is only one of two counties in the state that does not have the program. There was a large backlash about the 4-H program and it was reinstated. The University made it very clear that if the County wanted back in to the program there might well be no money available as it would be given to other counties. The University matched the County funds dollar for dollar giving us a big bang for our bucks. Next they decided to sell our nursing home and have gone ahead and done so in the face of serious opposition and refusing to hold a referendum on the issue. There are many unanswered questions surrounding this sale and, on the face of it, one wonders why it was not more transparent. I believe all of these issues have hurt the County and makes one wonder why anyone would choose to live here. Lincoln County continues to lose population while the state as a whole is growing, even though deaths outnumber births. I believe policies that this Republican Board have adopted do not help this situation.
I believe it is up to each individual to decide who best can serve the County and do not endorse any particular candidate. That said, I do think serious thought should be given and you should know as much about the candidate that you choose to vote for as you possibly can,

-Walter B, Hobbs III
Tomahawk, Wis.

To the Editor:
We would like to endorse Christine Vorpagel for District 9 of the Lincoln County Board. Both of us ran two separate retail stores in downtown Tomahawk, one for over 35 years and the other for 20 years. During that time, we worked with the other downtown businesses and applied for and received a Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce Main Street Community designation. That was a big step in helping Tomahawk maintain a vibrant downtown. Both of us served on the Tomahawk Main St. Board of Directors for years. Before Christine was hired, we had a series of Directors come and go, so we knew a good one when we saw it.
Christine was by far one of the best Directors we had hired. She was able to turn around our struggling organization and made us financially viable. She is extremely good with budgets, fundraising, and was meticulous with keeping track of every dollar we raised and spent. She was frugal, (some would say cheap) with our hard-earned dollars. She understands hard work, small businesses, and bringing people together to compromise. She is media savvy and knew how to get our messages out to a broad audience. She was not afraid to work outside the box and brought many good fundraisers and events into our downtown.
Christine can work with all kinds of people and will respect your opinion regardless of what that might be. Her sincere approach to our needs was evident and was a theme throughout her time with us. She understands how the County Board and Township Governments work. She is an incredibly hard worker and puts 100% plus … into whatever she takes on. We believe Christine will bring these same values to her work representing the citizens of the 9th District. Vote Christine Vorpagel, April 2.

Jim Wise and Pam Theiler Wise
Irma, Wis.

The cost for Paid Letters to the Editor is $40.00 per letter of up to 250 words, plus $10.00 per additional 50 words, and must be prepaid prior to printing.

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