This week’s Viewpoint letters
Long live Rhinelander
Being a lifelong resident of Rhinelander I have a special interest in the affairs of our city and area in general. I have witnessed good times and bad times. I want to say here and now that the town you see today in no way is the town we saw just a few decades ago. In those days Rhinelander was a thriving community. Tourists filled our streets in the summertime. We took pride in our town. It was a lively place. A fun place to live.
Presently we are experiencing a face lifting like we’ve never seen before. As residents, we’ve been inconvenienced way beyond our expectations and our merchants have gone through hardships you and I can’t imagine. When the project is finished downtown we’ll have a beautiful streets and sidewalks and other amenities we’ll be able to enjoy. That’s all well and good! We deserve to feel good for a change, but when I look around I also see so many empty stores, run-down buildings and just plain “eyesores.” The truth is and I hate to say it, we have a little “dumpy town” on our hands. I say to myself why should this be?
My reasoning tells me that we called in for help from Main Street USA and Downtown Rhinelander, Inc., but didn’t follow through on their suggestions. Our city fathers were in over their heads and should have hired a qualified and bona fide city administrator years ago, but failed to do so. We need strong leadership so badly in this town. As a consequence we have a mess in our town.
Needless to say, we have not kept pace with towns like Tomahawk, Eagle River, Minocqua and even little Three Lakes, which was named by NBC as the “Best Little Town in the USA” a couple years ago. We all know Minocqua always has tourists filling their sidewalks in the summer. Our leadership doesn’t seem to realize we’re in competition with our neighbors. If we are to survive we have to direct our attention to the tourist business. Presently we have very few types of stores that will attract tourists!
Rhinelander was once considered the “Gateway to the North.” But we let all of that slip thru our fingers. We have a great location with endless possibilities. Lakes and rivers abound! What we need is a meeting of the minds. We should be a “tourist destination” and not a pass thru town. With a good attitude and determination we can succeed once again. I believe it’s our destiny, our future! A town we can take pride in once again. That has to be our goal and we have to stick to it!
Buck Reed, Rhinelander
Where are the role models?
Being a veteran and watching recent football games where the players do not stand up or kneel during the National Anthem increasingly troubles and irritates me. When in Navy boot camp at Great Lakes I remember looking out the window of the barracks and there below me was the stockade. It was a simple block building on a slab surrounded by cyclone fence which was topped by barbed wire. Marines stood guard. I thought about it and believed that the stockade contained men who did not show honor or respect to their country.
I was at the flag ceremony at Okinawa when the American flag was lowered and replaced with the Japanese flag. For a young sailor it was a disruption which changed immediately as the American flag was lowered. I felt it in my heart.
I recall when stepping aboard ship the tradition and formality of saluting the flag at the rear of the ship and then saluting the assigned deck commander as I stepped onto the deck. It was the St. Louis 116. I remember being 50 miles of the coast of North Vietnam and could feel the repeated concussions from the carpet bombing shaking the ship’s hull. I remember going out on deck and seeing the loud orange balls that light up the horizon and wondering how anybody could live through that.
When I got home it was automatic for my right arm to display a salute as the lead flag of the parade was carried by a proud fellow veteran passed in review.
Then when I worked football and basketball games in police uniform I would salute the flag as the National Anthem was played. My eyes would scan the crowd to see people talking with hats on, arms to their side and talking to one another. I would think that they were unaware of the disrespect that they displayed but that I felt.
The flag is not just a piece of cloth and the National Anthem is not just a song. They are symbols of our defended freedom and the lives sacrificed to protect it.
I can only say that no veteran who served his country honorably would kneel or not get up for the National Anthem. They will remove their hats, salute, put their hand on their hearts and stand at attention, for they know the honor, respect and sacrifices made to have their feet on American soil. They know what allegiance to the flag means. They have sacrificed a part of their life in service. In the end some fly home changed, some are wounded or disabled and some come home with the finality of all military honors, in a flag draped casket.
A role model in the public eye must stand tall for all to see.
Craig Strid, Rhinelander
Schools in the 34th need Swearingen’s help
Rob Swearingen went to Madison on the promise to lower taxes, and on that, Rob has been a complete failure. In each budget, the southern politicians pulled the wool over Rob. Each year Rob has been in Madison he voted to cut state money for our schools in the north, but, budgets in other areas of the state have actually gone up each year!
In the last budget, each and every school district in the 34th Assembly District saw budget cuts. Rhinelander lost over $500,000 and Eagle River lost 20 percent. But other school districts in the south saw their budgets go up; some as much as 18 percent. Rob, why do the people of the north have to always get their school budgets cut but not other areas of the state? Have you heard of sharing the pain? Aren’t you supposed to stand up for the people you represent? Everyone knows to keep the school doors open schools are forced to go to referendum which draws money only from the area, not from the bigger pool of the entire state as southern districts do, which keeps their taxes low. YOU make our taxes go UP.
Rob, what are you doing? By the way, being on my third tire alignment this year, can you actually do something to fix our roads? Since the billionaires in the state pay no tax, please ask them. We are paying for your mistakes already. I would like to also point out that you did vote on one measure to bring money to the north; you voted for an increase to your own per diem by 56 percent. That doesn’t help the rest of us.
John Terzynski, Rhinelander