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Letters: Eagle Scout rank not what it once was; Need for transit is real

Living under NAFTA

TO THE EDITOR

President Trump promised to be the "greatest jobs producing president in history." With NAFTA negotiations starting Aug. 16, it's time he puts his money where his mouth is.

In the years since the treaty first was signed into law, jobs and wages in our communities took a hit. NAFTA killed approximately 700,000 jobs nationwide, and also made it easier for corporations to offshore. A new trade plan should push corporations to foster good, family-sustaining workplaces and higher pay for working people across North America.

As trade representatives and Congressional leaders come together to rework this treaty, we can't hold our breath and hope for the best. We know what life has looked like living under NAFTA for nearly 25 years. A revised NAFTA must provide working families the freedom and opportunity to build better futures for themselves and our region. Anything less is a deal not worth taking.

Justin Knutesen

Eau Claire

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Eagle Scout rank not what it once was

TO THE EDITOR

In response to Keith Rodli's column about the Eagle Scout badge being used as political leverage, I no longer feel that the rank carries the same respect today as it once did. I say this as a fellow Boy Scout who was in the program from Tiger Cubs through being a leader in my early twenties.

When I was in Boy Scouts, the Eagle project had lasting community impact and generally sustained itself through the boy's or other arranged efforts. Now more projects are completed in a few hours with little effort and no community impact. It seems to me that more Eagles are being given out than before which tells me that the organization's standards as a whole have lessened, and thus the Eagle Rank on a resume no longer impresses me.

Isaac Grover

Town of Hudson

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Water protection needs to be revisited

TO THE EDITOR

There have been excellent articles recently in our local newspapers about industrial dairies and their effect on our rural landscape.

For those who think the DNR is fully capable to protect our clean drinking water, a recent study in Kewaunee County revealed 60 percent of tested wells were contaminated with bovine and human bacteria. La Crosse County recently discovered contamination in private wells near an industrial hog facility. The DNR said they did not notify the residents or the county because they didn't have a policy to do so. An audit report last year found the DNR failed to issue citations for violations by industrial producers 94 percent of the time!

In March, a massive manure spill that had gone unreported by the owners and undetected by authorities for at least three months was discovered at Emerald Sky Dairy in St. Croix County. The DNR is still conducting its investigation nearly five months later. In the meantime, some area residents have discovered ecoli in their well water. Is it related to the spill or its cleanup? We don't know.

And now, the Dairy Business Association has filed a lawsuit against the DNR seeking to remove all State oversight of industrial dairies' handling of manure. Unconscionable!

Enough is enough. Until such time as legislators in Madison get serious about protecting our clean drinking water, we should pause on the rapid-fire approval of industrial dairies. Current protections for groundwater need to be revisited (since they aren't working) and deeper dives into problems need to be done! Citizens have a human right to clean drinking water.

Please do your part to maintain clean drinking water. Visit www.SustainRuralWisconsin.org and sign the petition for a state-wide moratorium on new or expanding industrial dairies until the DNR can get control of the situation. Better yet, take the resolution to your township, city council, or county board and ask for their support.

Industrial dairies are not your family operated farm. Farming has changed of late....but our need for clean drinking water will not ever change!

Kim Dupre

Emerald

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How low will they go?

TO THE EDITOR

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson blamed Sen. John McCain's brain tumor for voting the way he did on the Obamacare repeal and replace bill.

How sad that Johnson would use McCain's health issues to question his ability to do his job.

McCain voted to not throw millions of people off their health insurance. McCain has a conscience which Ron Johnson seems to be lacking.

Senator Johnson and the Republican controlled congress could work to improve the ACA aka Obamacare but they would rather destroy it.

Faye Schlemmer

Hudson

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Grateful to live in Hudson

TO THE EDITOR

This has been a different and exciting summer at my home near the high school. Sounds and sights and sensations (my home vibrating!) of transformation as heavy machinery is delivering on a promise that taxpayers made to a school district and the students and families they serve.

The new stadium, practice fields, tennis courts and ample parking are pleasing to the eye. The remake of the auditorium that I cannot see is also exciting to one who regularly attends plays and attends concerts at Hudson High. I find our athletics and arts worthy of support. But these are just the icing on the cake.

Hudson schools offer an education that is second to none in public education; preparing its students for the next step. Carol and I are fortunate that all three of our sons were well served in their K-12 experience in the St. Croix Valley. They all moved on and (sadly) away building on the solid foundation offered by teachers, administrators, coaches, choir directors and a host of neighbors for which I will always be grateful. My family is most fortunate.

As Hudson School District starts its construction driven summer shortened academic year this week, I have every confidence that classroom after classroom of caring and competent teachers will not only be transferring data, but their very hearts throughout Hudson. All three A's are firing on all cylinders: academics, arts and athletics at Hudson High are healthy and one more reason I love calling Hudson home.

Larry Szyman

Hudson

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Read proposed inclusion resolution

TO THE EDITOR

Dear city council and citizens of Hudson,

Civilization is nothing less than a miracle. With all of our personal differences, I find myself amazed that we can even agree on what side of the road to drive.

At our last Hudson City Council meeting, we had a vigorous debate examining the merits of an inclusion resolution to support a more welcoming environment for cultural diversity. The inclusion opponents outnumbered the pro-inclusion group two-to-one. The room was packed, and we all had our turn at the microphone to voice a passionate opinion, just as our democracy intended.

Catherine Munkittrick, Hudson's City Attorney, also shared her opinion, but neglected to provide key facts. Her discussion implied that this resolution will cost thousands of dollars and create conflict with various city laws, but it will not. The specific question to ask is: what exactly does the inclusion resolution require? The design of the resolution is to inspire, not require any expenses or command new laws. We ask everyone to read the proposed Inclusion Resolution to fully understand that it's written as a value statement and makes no financial requirements or contradicts any laws. The city attorney's remarks were extrapolated beyond legal interpretation to support her more personal point of view.

Webster's Dictionary defines a resolution as "a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted by an official body or assembled group."

River Falls is proud of their Inclusion Resolution with signs at every entry point. They have regular city council readings of the document as a way to reinforce its guiding principles. It is important that we continue our discussions of inclusion within our own government, churches,

businesses, and homes. We are a civilization made up of agreements and have always made better communities one passionate step at a time.

Tony Bol

Hudson

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Need for transit is real

TO THE EDITOR

Thank you local business leaders, Kathy Ableidinger, operations director at Cardinal Health, Bill Rubin, St. Croix Economic Development Corporation Executive Director and Blake Fry, executive director of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau for speaking out and supporting the need for better access to transportation for our Hudson area workers to Congressman Sean Duffy and Rep. Shannon Zimmerman.

In my role as Executive Director for BRIDGE for Community Life, I have a front row seat viewing the challenges that youth and adults with disabilities have when it comes to employment. And it may come as a surprise to some that the number one barrier to employment for this group of job seekers is transportation to and from their jobs—just like the Cardinal Health hourly workers Ms. Ableidinger mentioned in her discussion with Duffy and Zimmerman.

It was this interest in securing transit for those with disabilities that led me to join the St. Croix County Transit Subcommittee over a year ago. This Subcommittee was formed in 2015 in response to transit alternative demands from residents across all demographic sectors—from millennials to aging baby boomers. The Transit Planning Subcommittee received a Federal Transit Administration planning grant and working consistently over 18 months, gathered public input to consider the feasibility of transit services for all residents within St. Croix County and between the County and frequented destinations in neighboring communities. The study uncovered a significant number of respondents who commute alone to work, 35 percent, would use public transit at least 2-3 times per week, with over 20 percent of that group responding that they would use public transit nearly every time they commuted to work.

Public transit not only would serve persons with disabilities and our elders with frail health, but is vital to building a strong and vibrant community where all can flourish in the business community, employment, education, health, recreation and faith based activities. Please join me in contacting our local officials and sharing your stories and interest in affordable public transit in Hudson and the surrounding communities.

Peg Gagnon

BRIDGE for Community Life, Inc.

Hudson

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