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Letters: Look for rays of light in the rubble; park plan needs one more vote

Foam Bricks

A loved one once shared the following story: Pastor picks up what looks to be a brick and hurls it at the audience one Sunday morning. Churchgoers recoil in fear and look up at him with anger and confusion. Pastor smiles and says, "What? The brick is foam. It can't hurt you." To which, someone says, "Yes, but it looks real and our fear is real." Pastor goes on to explain that therein lies the workings of the devil: hurl foam bricks which by themselves can't hurt you but that elicit real reactions that not only give the brick power but stand to hurt others.

Coming out of an ugly political year leaves the impression that we're surrounded by rubble. How much of that rubble is just foam bricks? Look for the rays of light shining through the spaces. Even amidst a mountain of rubble, whether it is real or not, God is there shining through. It is easy to latch onto the bad and focus on all of the giant, seemingly insurmountable boulders at our feet. So, look up and look for the light. Trust that evil may win the battle but good, God, wins the war. Have faith that while we can't fathom being free of the rubble, hanging onto to those rays of light will pull us through the wreckage. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sarah Yacoub


A weekend of hope

Dear Editor,

Over the weekend I attended the OmTerra Psychedelic Outreach Symposium in Virquoa, Wis. For three days I heard speakers from universities and research programs around the world speak about breakthroughs in treatment for opioid addiction, depression, and alcoholism. These speakers came from research programs at University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Minnesota, Purdue University, and from as far away as The Imperial College of London. It was an impressive group who believe they have found a new way to treat very old problems.

Alcoholism has scarred too many innocent children and families all across Wisconsin. Depression has robbed whole families of the happiness that should fill the halls of a home. Addiction has trapped loved one after loved one in a cycle of substance abuse and left families feeling powerless. These issues are not ones that impact just our state; these impact people globally.

What I learned about this weekend were new treatments based on a different approach to the problem, ones that addressed the underlying thinking, the "psyche" behind the problem, in an effective way. One study for treatment of resistant depression found that 100 percent of the participants preferred the treatment to any other previous treatments, and all expressed lasting relief and benefit from these compounds. Similar results have been found with treatments for PTSD and alcoholism.

I'll be dedicating the full three hours from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Best Western River Falls Campus sharing the information. I'm not looking for much, but I am looking for people who have suffered and are suffering through these problems to join me in learning about these treatments.

Honestly, this weekend gave me a lot of hope. I'd like to share it.

Robert Burke

Town of Hudson

Only one more YES vote will pass

Dear Editor,

With the dam being removed at Willow River State Park, more people are turning to Perch Lake for their recreation. Many hopeful visitors had to be turned away due to lack of parking on multiple days this past summer, resulting in disappointment and lost revenue. Since a replacement dam is years away, this problem is expected to continue.

The original park plan called for additional parking lots around the prairie, but funds have yet to be approved. For the first time, the funding fell just one vote short of the number needed to pass. Supervisors voting no at the last vote were: Ryan Sicard (Town of Somerset Wards 1 and 2, Village of Somerset Wards 1-4), Ron Klese (City of New Richmond Wards 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12) Andy Brinkman (Town of Erin Prairie Ward 1, Town of Richmond Ward 4, 5, & Town of Warren Ward 1), Tom Coulter (Town of Hudson Ward 1, & North Hudson Wards 1-6) & Bob Long (Town of Hudson Ward 2 & Hudson Wards 5, 8, 11, 12).

Please lobby your Saint Croix County Supervisors.

Donna Mae Seim


Lies, lies, lies

Dear Editor,

Last week, new Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated obvious falsehoods regarding the size of Donald Trump's inaugural crowd, and when questioned later by a journalist about these lies, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway insisted that our press secretary had merely presented "alternative facts!" The concept rang a bell with me, as the dystopian novel entitled "1984" was required reading during my college years. About the totalitarian, manipulative government he envisioned, George Orwell wrote, "The Party told you to reject all evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." Forty years ago, I couldn't have imagined intelligent people accepting such a directive from their political party or government. Now every time I hear someone huff, "You can't trust any of the mainstream media!" I am dumbstruck. The rejection of overwhelming scientific evidence on such vital topics as vaccines or man's contribution to global warming affects me similarly.

Paranoid thinking about the mass media and modern science has now prepped many of us to swallow the biggest helping of outright lies ever served up by an American president. We tolerated repeated boasts, exaggerations, and lies during Donald Trump's candidacy. Perhaps we didn't realize how that rhetoric would sound coming from our White House. Probably the lies about crowd size are of minor importance. But lies about 3-5 million illegal votes being cast for Clinton — a lie Trump continues to repeat without any evidence — are not. They are dangerous.

Americans are feeling the stress of the radical changes our government is undergoing. Some of us must pick our battles, but none should disregard the importance of separating fiction and opinion from provable fact. As former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Truth matters.

Vicki Cobian

Town of River Falls

Sad day

Dear Editor,

Today, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, is my 75th birthday. It is a sad birthday indeed, as I contemplate the helpless entrapment of people from seven middle eastern countries caught up in Donald Trump's power net and detained at several American airports. While the rest of us may or may not be oblivious to the human misery in the offing, the net may soon expand to include more and more of us in ways we can scarcely imagine.

As I see it, Trump and his administration are ruining lives with complete disregard. He appears to lack the instinct for mature, steady and fair leadership. Paranoid prevarication is his preferred style, and he is so deeply flawed that he is running roughshod over human rights and decency.

What I am giving myself for my birthday is my voice calling for resistance to this presidency. I would not be on Earth if Canada had not welcomed my grandparents, fleeing persecution, to immigrate about a century ago.

Down with this American kakistocracy, government by the least qualified, most unprincipled citizens.

Phyllis Goldin

River Falls