This week’s ‘Viewpoint’ letters
More broadband investment needed
How’s your internet connection? If you live in rural Wisconsin, it’s probably not very good.
Yet virtually everyone agrees high speed broadband internet connection is important. Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission (PSC) notes how good broadband brings money into local economies and helps home sales and property values. With Wisconsin’s continued foot dragging in this important economic area, our rural communities will continue to lose our young people, and we will not be creating the kind of small businesses we need to stay current and connected with the larger economy.
Broadband internet is also more important than ever in providing health care to families in rural areas.
Our state PSC also states that broadband deployment is below national and regional averages. There are various comparisons of Wisconsin’s internet access to other Midwestern states, and in all of them we are below average for coverage and download speed. One example: a recent report showed that in download speed for mobile devices, Minnesota is #1 in the country, Michigan is #2. Wisconsin? We are #36.
That’s not surprising, because Wisconsin’s state government has chosen to not invest sufficiently and strategically in this essential service in rural areas. The PSC notes that for fiscal years 2014-2018, our state pledged $3.9 million, and only $1.4 million have been paid out. By comparison, the Minnesota legislature budgeted $20 million for broadband expansion in 2017 alone.
The Republican majority, which has had complete control of our government for seven years, presents itself as having supported broadband in rural areas. But actions speak louder than words. They clearly have been ignoring the interests of our rural communities. Now, in an election year, they are trying to play catch up. But it is too little too late. There is every indication that the so-called broadband “network” under construction will be obsolete by the time it is finally finished. If it is ever finished.
We need a state government that really supports the development of our rural communities. We’ve had enough of politicians who merely pay lip service to investing in the people of Wisconsin, and who seek to spin this unsatisfactory situation with photo-ops and press releases. We need to elect people who believe our rural areas really matter.
David Barnhill, Hazelhurst
Hodag Country Fest benefits the community
The Rhinelander Lions Club congratulates and gives thanks to the Hodag Country Fest for another very successful year. The fest is a huge boost to the greater Rhinelander area and surrounding communities. There are many non-profit organizations that benefit significantly by having the opportunity to help or be a vendor at the festival. There are also many businesses that likewise benefit by providing products and services at this unique event. The Rhinelander Lions also thank the Rhinelander and Pine lake residents for their patience contending with the increased traffic during this venue. It is great to see an event of this magnitude run by a private venture bring so much value to the community. Looking forward to Hodag Country Fest 2019.
Milagros Rappley, Rhinelander Lions Club
What are teen athletes eating?
Do our Hodag athletes get instruction on performance nutrition and diet?
I know as students they have general heath classes, but when they participate in sports or training are they told what to eat so they are in the plus rather than in a depreciative state. I wanted to know what they needed to know for top performance and stamina so I ordered a book. It covered most advantageous foods for athletes to eat. What to eat the night before the game. What to eat and not to eat before a game? What to eat and drink on the bus. What to eat and how much to eat after games.
Places to eat at when on the road. You can answer the same question I had. If an adolescent that’s growing physically and is lifting weights and isn’t focused on nutrition and not getting enough sleep; what’s left for the game, let alone peak performance in the classroom.
This book was written for athletes, parents and coaches. The book emphasis is the team. Nutrition is an all for one; one for all winning focus for ultimate performance and endurance. It’s during the second half of the game when nutrition rules.
Food for thought.
Craig Strid, Rhinelander
Reader says governor has improved education
Gov. Walker has done so much to improve education in Wisconsin. This year he increased his record actual dollar investment by $200 per student this past school year and $204 more per student in the fall.
He also increased sparsity aid for small school districts from $300 to $400 per student.
His reforms under Act 10 ensure that our best educators are compensated for their ability. Don’t our children deserve this?
He has frozen UW system tuition increases for six years to make college more affordable. We were experiencing annual increases.
Gov. Walker opened the first fab lab in Wisconsin. We are one of the national leaders in fab labs for public schools. We are a top 10 state in graduation rates and ACT scores where all students are tested.
The governor has been a top supporter of fab labs, apprenticeships and early college credit.
The local complaints by the Democrats over the governor using the Three Lakes fab lab for a commercial is amusing. If it weren’t for the governor there would not be a fab lab. They complain of politics in the school. Who are they kidding? It’s been there for years. Most often by those complaining.
Charlie Gullan, Eagle River
Health care system needs a change
During WWII, the government imposed wage and price controls in an attempt to control inflation. Increasing wages could not be used to attract much-needed employees so employers offered fringe benefits, primarily medical insurance, instead. The end of the War brought an end to wage and price controls, but the employer-based medical insurance system continued. Other countries moved to single payer, or government sponsored medical care in many different forms. For many reasons, we chose our current system. This seemed like a great idea at the time and over the years many flaws and difficulties have been revealed. One issue that gets little attention is the burden our system places on employers.
Companies large and small spend huge amounts of time and money on their medical plans. Sometimes to the great detriment of the relationship between the employer and employee, to say nothing of the difficulty this presents for individuals not covered by an employer plan. I wonder what our country would do if the resources that companies now devoted to medical insurance were shifted to development of new and improved products or services.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “If it weren’t for health insurance, I’d quit my job today,” or something similar. I wonder how many disgruntled but adequately performing employees would move on to other opportunities that suited them better. If business could be relieved of the burden of medical insurance, would they be more able to compete with goods and services marketed by companies who don’t carry that financial burden? With this in mind it seems to me to be a “no brainer” to change our health care system. You’ll have a better chance of seeing this happen if you vote for Tammy Baldwin and keep her in the U.S. Senate.
Jim Leschke, Rhinelander