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Letters to the editor: Bravo to the Phipps; Nativity scene denied

Bravo to the Phipps Center for the Arts!


Hudson's Phipps Center for the Arts was a beacon of light this fall.

A recent concert by the Rose Ensemble, who performed their program, Land of Three Faiths, brought music from the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Through vocals and traditional instrumentation, the Rose Ensemble highlighted the beauty and uniqueness of each faith's music. Music has a way of bringing people together, and music brought a full auditorium of people together at this concert.

I further applaud the commitment of the Phipps to offer community outreach and programming leading up to the concert, including a lecture, public forum, and gallery exhibitions inspired by these three faiths.

I hope that the Phipps continues to be a beacon of light for humanity by bringing inspiring, educational, and diverse programming to the Hudson community.

Jennifer J. Holt

North Hudson

A light came into the world


In reference a letter that appeared in last week's Star Observer. I get a little impatient with those who don't believe in the Bible and yet tell believers what is in the Bible.

In my Bible Leviticus 24:16 states, in part, "And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death." This is certainly different than uttering His name.

The Levitical Law is indeed a very hard set of laws to live by.

However, 2,000 years ago, a light came into the world that gives us hope and relieves us from the demands of Leviticus. For, by the shedding of blood we are forgiven.

In days past, God demanded that the Jews shed the blood of an unblemished lamb for the forgiveness of their sins. Jesus came into the world and became our sacrifice, our unblemished lamb, so that anyone who is willing to admit their sin, humble themselves before the Son of God, and believe, would have hope. As Paul says in Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." We take great joy in the gift of love and hope that has been given to the world.

Have a joyous and blessed Christmas season, as we celebrate the gift of the Son.

Steve Nielsen


Character counts


People vote for a specific candidate for variety of reasons. It may be as simple as a specific issue or party affiliation. However, in my mind the character of the candidate should not be overlooked.

In the time that Shannon Zimmerman has represented the 30th Assembly District he has demonstrated that he is a good person who cares deeply for "all" of the people he represents. We live in a unique and wonderful area of Wisconsin and Shannon will continue to represent us properly as State Senator of the 10th Senate District. Shannon is my choice in the upcoming Dec. 19 special election.

Frank Rhoades


Zimmerman: this guy is different!


Have you noticed these days, when you turn on the radio or TV, or pick up a paper it seems as if all we hear is one politician attacking another. The right vs. the left, the libs vs. the conservatives. It seems to me that these politicians are more concerned about antagonizing each other than doing what they are elected to do, which is serving the people.

Shannon Zimmerman who is running for the 10th Senate Senate, vacated with Sheila Harsdorf's recent appointment, is different. He is a businessman, NOT a politician. He knows that money doesn't grow on trees and understands you have to work for it. He has created and managed a number of successful business that have given our area of Wisconsin hundreds of jobs.

He also understands that for our economy to grow we need to have educated people that can fill the jobs when they are created. He knows that education, one of his most passionate causes, is a key to growing the people needed to fill jobs created. And not just education as many think, he believes in "hands on" education. Education that teaches our young workforce the trades that are so desperately needed in today's job market. In a recent conversation with Shannon, he emphasized, "good education is more that just sitting in a classroom. It's getting out into the business world, learning through internships, and getting your hands dirty." He is a vocal fighter when it comes to education.

And speaking of jobs, Shannon strongly supported Gov. Walker as he works to bring thousands of new jobs into Wisconsin while at the same time reducing our tax burden.

And finally the most important quality of all that Mr. Zimmerman has shown, "Family comes first." He is truly a sincere person, a man of values, who wants to move our state forward. So as I said earlier, "this guy is different."

Don't elect another politician. Vote for Shannon Zimmerman on Dec. 19.

Butch Schultz


I endorse Zimmerman


On Dec. 19 there is a Republican Primary election to determine which Republican candidate will be on the Jan. 16 ballot to replace Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, District 10. Sheila has taken a position in Gov. Walker's administration. For many years she has been an outstanding state Senator representing our interests in Madison. To fill her Senate seat I support Shannon Zimmerman in the primary election.

Zimmerman has started several very successful companies and created hundreds of jobs in our area. He supports smaller government, cutting taxes, controlling property taxes and tax reform. He is also a strong education advocate. He supports Gov. Walker's pro-jobs and pro-growth WI agenda.

Zimmerman is a Conservative local business leader who, as our Assemblyman, has successfully represented our interests in Madison. He will continue to serve us well if we send him to the Senate. I ask you to vote for Mr. Zimmerman in the Dec. 19 primary election and again on Jan 16 in the general election.

Sandy Gehrke


Zimmerman is my choice


There is a special election primary to fill the seat vacated by Sheila Harsdorf on Dec. 19. Shannon Zimmerman is my choice to fill that seat.

He is a successful businessman, an effective Assemblyperson for our district and a proven leader. He has demonstrated support for education and has proposed ways to keep our students in our state by internships during the last years of their studies. Please join my wife and I and vote for Shannon Zimmerman on Dec. 19.

Alan Burchill

Former Mayor of Hudson

Vote Patty for State Senate


I was so glad to learn that Patty Schachtner is running for the District 10 State Senate seat vacated by Sheila Harsdorf. I've known Patty for several years and have been impressed by the way she has championed mental health and addiction issues throughout Western Wisconsin. Her work as the St Croix County Medical Examiner puts her on the front line of these issues every day. She is also a tireless advocate for children and families, serving on the Turning Point Board of Directors and the Somerset School Board.

If Patty sees a problem, she works to solve it collaboratively. She recently worked with former Senator Sheila Harsdorf to develop legislation for hospice drug disposal (AB 444). This bill, which was just signed into law, will help to reduce abuse of opioids by helping to ensure prescription medications are properly disposed of after the death of an in-home hospice patient.

In addition to her proven track record on these issues, Patty was born and raised in St. Croix County. She's raised a family here and knows the everyday struggles we face. She has the temperament and common-sense leadership style that we need in Madison. She's not about partisan politics, but will be a champion for Western Wisconsin and help to solve the critical issues facing our state.

Please join me in voting for Patty Schachtner in the special election State Senate primary on Dec. 19.

Cathy Leaf


Nativity scene denied


Mrs. Les (Meredith) Berg, long-time resident of North Hudson, approached the Village of North Hudson Board to obtain permission to set up a Nativity scene in Pepper Fest Park. In less than 20 minutes, even with four citizens speaking in support of the display, the motion failed due to a tie vote. Mrs. Berg had agreed to pay for the purchase of the display, arrange for it to be placed in the park, and be responsible for any other costs incurred (i.e. electricity, etc.)

I understand that each vote by the president and the trustees was a reflection of what they perceived might be best for North Hudson and the community. Ba Humbug.

What were the reasons that Ted Head, Bryan Pike, and Cathy Leaf voted "NO?" They spoke of the separation of church and state (this involves the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause I believe); opening a can of worms as other groups might want to put up non-traditional displays; it may open the board up to the threat of a lawsuit; and they didn't want the board burdened unnecessarily. Attorney Terry Duenst (Bakke and Norman) from New Richmond also expressed similar feelings. He stated that the village does not have to allow any displays "if they don't want to."

I would like to thank the other three individuals who supported the motion. I praise their courage to want to try something unprecedented. They believed we should not run scared because of things that might happen. They welcomed diversity in the display and were of the conviction that freedom of religion is not freedom from religion.

2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and a sound mind." (KJV) Please pray that the North Hudson Village Board has a change of heart next year.

Pat Sabin


A massive give-away to the rich


Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the GOP tax "reform" bill in its House and Senate versions is basically a massive give-away to the richest Americans at the expense of everyone else.

Impervious to the warnings voiced by hundreds of economists, educators, health care professionals, and advocates for children and the poor, the Republican-controlled Congress appears hell-bent on ramming through a bill of potentially disastrous consequences that most of our representatives and senators will not even have read.

This is bad enough in itself, but even worse is the calculating animosity driving it. Stephen Moore of the conservative Heritage Foundation, President Trump's economic advisor, has approvingly called the tax bill "death to Democrats." Its provisions are intentionally designed to hurt more liberal areas of the country.

Moore says the tax cuts "go after state and local taxes, which weakens public employee unions. They go after university endowments, and universities have become play pens of the left. And getting rid of the mandate is to eventually dismantle Obamacare."

I would like to know when we stopped being "one nation indivisible" and when it became OK for one party to collectively punish the constituency that didn't vote for it. Under the 1949 Geneva Convention, collective punishment of an enemy is a war crime. How is the GOP's collective punishment of Democratic constituencies not a war crime against the American people?

In his Second Inaugural Address, an earlier Republican President spoke of "binding up the nation's wounds, with malice toward none, with charity for all." Our current President instead appears dedicated to tearing our wounded country apart.

GOP, the season of traditional "good will" and generosity toward others is upon us. Look into your hearts. Is this cruel new America the country you want and claim to love?

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

Misguided information begets fear


Saul Alinsky in "Rules for Radicals" laid out a framework for community organizing that's been adopted in one form or another by activist groups since the 1970s, both by liberals and conservatives alike. Since Ben Carson mentioned Alinsky while campaigning during the 2016 election, there's been a resurgence of public discussion on the topic and mention of his "rules" in past letters in this section. As these tactics have come into play here, it's important to understand Alinsky methods, in particular rule 13 - "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

The current debate over Islam in our community driven by Citizens for the St. Croix Valley is being waged via Alinsky methods. Simply laid out, Alinsky methods identify a group—for CFTSCV it's Jihadists and by extension Muslims—then freeze it. In other words, don't allow the group in question to define itself or defend itself. Whatever the community organizers of the CFTSCV says, that's the message. Next personalize by giving it a face. In this case, Muslims have the face of Islamic terrorists. Then polarize it by calling them all unlawful, immoral, harmful, disgraceful, and so on. And of course, mention anything to do with Nazis or the Third Reich while discussing them to create an evil image in the eyes of anyone listening.

Problems with the Alinsky method come from what it lacks, including reason, logic, and critical thinking. In place of rational thought you'll find groupthink and blind followers. Whatever their response, community organizers for Citizens for the St. Croix Valley haven't been interested in opposing dialog on the subject, as their desired outcome has already been predetermined. All Muslims are bad, no matter who, what or where. - When clearly it's not right to treat each and every one of them with contempt.

Eden Penn


Pay attention, this special election is important


I have lived in Hudson for a number of years now. This is a community that is growing, changing and very dynamic. It is a great place to live. For many, myself included, I commute into the Twin Cities for work. This is generally not my favorite time of day, but necessary for the professional job I have.

Looking at our community and watching business develop, it makes me wonder if new opportunities will begin to emerge for the many western Wisconsin commuters and give them local options for professional careers.

I've been following the Republican special election candidates over the past few weeks as they both seek to replace Sen. Sheila Harsdorf. One of the candidates stands out in my mind and is perhaps the best choice to help us realize greater professional careers in western Wisconsin. That candidate is our current district Representative and local businessman, Shannon Zimmerman.

Zimmerman's background is an interesting one. He and his wife started their first business from their home in River Falls. I see it now employs a lot of people locally and in countries around the world. Listening to him on Wisconsin Public Radio this week, he has a clear vision for tax reform which he said would benefit graduates to retirees. What I found most interesting was his points on how it also stimulates business for the State.

This is an important election that no one may be paying attention to because of its timing. However, the implications are substantial. My view is if we agree that western Wisconsin is growing and dynamic, wouldn't we want our elected leaders to be the same Leaders that are proven and know how to build things. Zimmerman will get my vote on Dec. 19.

Angela Mariani Strobel


Support for Patty


I am writing in support of the candidacy of Patty Schachtner for State Senate. One might ask why a Medical Examiner makes a good candidate for state office and here's why: Patty has unique insight into the lives of people from all walks of life throughout our County. She sees everyone and deals directly with several of the most pressing issues of our day such as access to good mental health services and substance abuse treatment, as well as the need for better transportation services and food insecurity.

Patty is a down-to-earth, accessible person who brings a breadth of understanding that only a lifetime resident of St. Croix County can bring. Patty will bring empathy and civility to Madison, she knows "us," she represents us all; I urge you to vote for Patty Schachtner in the primary coming up next week.

Peg Audley


Shannon Zimmerman for state Senate


I am writing in support of Assemblyman Shannon Zimmerman as he campaigns to succeed recently retired State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf. I have come to know Shannon over the past year. I respect him as a leader who is serious about addressing the issues that are important to us here in Hudson. Shannon is known as a successful businessman who knows what it takes to bring jobs to our community, a vital component of broadening our tax base that consequently results in lower taxes for our homeowners and subsequently renters.

In bringing city issues that need legislative action to Shannon's attention, I have found him to be thoughtful, understanding and helpful.

I believe we are fortunate to have the opportunity to vote for a candidate that will continue in the strong tradition of a long line of well-respected, productive and impactful leadership we have come to expect here in Hudson. Please join me in voting for Shannon Zimmerman.

Rich O'Connor

Hudson Mayor

Chance to get someone not loyal to a party only


In the last couple of weeks, Adam Jarchow's campaign for State Senate has boasted that he's the only one who voted to drug test applicants for public assistance. Other states have tried this. Taxpayers in many of those states had to foot the bill for the legal costs of defending (and losing) the policy being challenged as unconstitutional.

After all that, this is what they found: The percentage of drug use in those on public assistance is well below the drug use in the general population and the cost to taxpayers of implementing such a program is far higher than any savings it might provide. Adam Jarchow also says we should vote for him because he wants to "Limit food stamp recipients from buying junk food with taxpayer subsidies."

The sad fact is that the many food stamp beneficiaries are also taxpayers from the rapidly growing class of America's working poor. The USDA, in a 2014 national report, "Hunger in America," found that about 54 percent of the households that participated in its food banks and similar programs included at least one person who had worked within the past year. When it came to households with at least one child, that share was about 70 percent.

Additionally, a 2017 analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that SNAP's benefit structure is designed to reward earnings over unearned income, incentivizing participants to work, and to seek greater income through higher wages or more hours. Adam Jarchow's proposal is another thoughtless and horrible waste of money — a "sound bite" to appeal to people who may not take the time to look below the surface. Please, go to the USDA Food and Nutrition website and read the report, Implications of Restricting the use of Food Stamp Benefits to understand impossibility of such restrictions and the cost to all taxpayers of attempting such a program.

I have read the letters in support of Adam Jarchow and I am pleased to see that he got results for some of his constituents. But that is nothing extraordinary. That is, quite simply, just doing his job. I hope all our representatives can manage at least that. Sheila Harsdorf's departure will also open a seat on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. In light of Rep. Adam Jarchow's wasteful priorities for our tax money, I don't want him on our budget writing committee.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) will decide who gets that job and he will most likely just put Jarchow in Harsdorf's place should he win, because most of our representatives are more loyal to their party than they are to the people of Wisconsin.

We have an opportunity in this special election to look for someone who is not a party loyalist and will not just "go along" but will stand up and speak up for all of us in this district. Even for the low-wage-hard-working-poor taxpayers who may need a little help to feed their families.

Teresa Chandler


Children and abuse


I am too young to speak for myself. My dad has abused us. He is so normal in public situations that no one would believe what he does at home. If my mom and sister were to say what he does to us, you would think they were mentally ill, but they are telling the truth.

How do we get the court system to trust the words of the deeds hidden at home? How do we get the Guardian Ad Litems to trust the words that seem totally unbelievable, but in truth, happen?

The trauma the children go through is horrendous when the legal system grants 50/50 placement. Abusers should not get the automatic benefit of 50/50. With the severe abuse, sometimes the placement should only be for the abuser to get professionally supervised visitation. This allows for much less trauma for everyone. When a child is made to go back to the abuser, the trauma they experience goes on far longer than the time period they have with that parent.

Everyone else suffers — the child and the parent who has to deal with the fallout of that encounter that lasts for days and sometimes weeks — and they get revictimized again for having to spend time with the abuser. These victims, adult and child alike, need a personal advocate, not more condemnation from the legal system. When you see someone that seems to be hurting in an abusive relationship, they probably are. Are you a safe enough person for them to tell the truth to?

Darlene Bochman


If that's not love, I don't know what is


I am writing in response to the "Negative Stronghold on Hudson" letter in the Dec. 7 issue to correct some errors.

Leviticus 24:16 was cited in the letter but instead of it saying "Whoever utters the name of the Lord must be put to death." it rather says, "And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death." KJV.

That law was taken literally at that time but since Jesus came and paid the ultimate price for sin we no longer need to follow that Levitical law. Galatians 2:16 says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." And as for the abuse of women and asking parents to kill their children, there is no such thing if one does not take it out of context.

Many think that true Christians hate Muslims and other people groups but that simply is not true. Hate is directed at the sin not at the person, for Jesus said in Matthew 6:44, "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." God's hate is directed towards sin and that is what Jesus paid for (for any person who accepts his payment) because He loves each person He created and commands us to do so.

To truly love, one must also hate. Example: I love babies so I hate abortion. Without hate for evil one cannot truly love what is good.

Also it is indisputable that there are many individuals and missionaries all over the world who have left all to risk their lives (and many have given them) to share God's love with Muslims and many other people groups. If that is not love I don't know what it is.

Paula Olivares