Let’s be thankful

From my family to yours, we would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are a few good news stories from around the district that we all can be thankful for.
2015 has been a very good year for hospitality businesses in the Northwoods. If you get a chance, say thanks to our local Chambers of Commerce for their dedication in providing a warm welcome to visitors of Northern Wisconsin. Patiently answering the same question for the hundredth time is what sets us apart in the tourism business!
Florence County Chair, Jeanette Bomberg, recently highlighted the opening of new businesses in the county after years of economic struggles. “We have a lot to be thankful for,” said Bomberg. The Florence County schools also just announced the opening of a Fabrication Lab in its school. Fab Labs are a 21st century innovation to give our kids the opportunity to learn skills necessary to compete for the next generation of jobs.
Timber revenue from our county forests has been an under-reported good news story in northern Wisconsin. Counties manage over two million acres of forest land for multiple uses in Wisconsin. With proper management and favorable wood prices the revenue from county forests are helping keep county budgets in the black.
Antigo is reporting good news with the expansion of two local businesses, Hydratight and Karl’s Transport. Karl’s will be repurposing the former All Car facility on the south side of Antigo for its large fleet of trucks. Hydratight is preparing for a 2016 expansion that is expected to add about a dozen positions.
The City of Merrill has undergone a facelift in portions of the city over the last few years with significant infrastructure improvements. As many communities seek to entice new businesses, they understand good infrastructure is a must to appeal to visitors and new investment alike. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the ribbon-cutting of the new Highway 22 in Oconto Falls. With the help of the state and county, Oconto Falls replaced its aging sewer and water utilities, as well as the curb and gutter. The improvements are a welcoming sight to the city.
Finally, my wife, Chris, and I would like to say thank you to our children’s teachers and to teachers across the district. While attending parent teacher conferences recently, we were impressed with the rapport they have developed with our kids and we appreciate the diligence with which they do their jobs. Not to mention, test scores and graduation rates are up across the state. Thank you for your dedication to teaching!
Thank you for the privilege of representing you in Madison. I hope you will take the time to count your blessings this Thanksgiving.
Senator Tom Tiffany, Hazelhurst

The common good of local control

The “common good,” we have heard that phrase a few times from Pope Francis recently. The second President of the United States, founding father, John Adams, also used it. He stated:
“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. . .”
The dictionary defines common good as, the advantage or benefit of all people in society or in a group. The common good is not being honored in the area of education in this State. Most school districts in our area have lost state aid in various amounts; whereas, taxpayer funded voucher schools in the southern part of our state have seen their State aid rise.
Education in our state is no longer for the common good of all of our children. Public schools are controlled by our local school board. We elect those board members and they are accountable to us. If we do not approve of their actions, we vote them out. Our schools are the centers of our communities and we control them.
Voucher schools are private. They are not under local control and are not accountable to those that live in the area. There is no local control because they are a private entity. Once the voucher money has been dispersed to these schools it is theirs.
Since 2004 fifty plus voucher schools in the Milwaukee area have closed and we taxpayers have lost $139,671,701.
Do you realize that a portion of that money came out of the budgets of the schools in your area? If those schools, received just a portion of that money lost, it would ease their situations greatly.
Vote for Representatives and Senators who are thinking of the common good of the children in your area. Don’t vote for those who would reduce funding to local public schools and increase funding for taxpayer funded voucher schools in southern Wisconsin. Your children will lose and children are our future.
Elections matter. Vote for those supporting local control and the common good of your children and your schools.
Dee Taylor, Rice Lake

Say no to bottling plant in Presque Isle

All Inhabitants were enriched with dominion over the land. We must protect our water rights. Many states have learned that with unpredictable climate change one day we can drink, swim and fish in water and the next we are inhaling the dust of drought and the smoke of fire. It is meant for the survival of the living on earth and not meant to quench the thirst of greed and profit. We cannot ignore the welfare of our neighbors. The water of the earth is meant to sustain life naturally and we all are to be gratfull for its beneficial uses. Just say NO and protect our future and the environment we live in for future generations in the Northwoods. If we chose to live in Gods country, we can let our voice be heard to protect it.
Food for thought.
Craig M. Strid, Rhinelander



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