Learn about candidates
Elections present voters with important choices. Whether it’s a local race that will affect your community or a national election that could change the direction of the country, it’s a time to consider the issues you care about and to also decide which candidates you’ll vote for.
Even if you’re under 18-years-old, election campaigns offer an excellent way to learn about the people and issues that affect your future. How do voters compare and evaluate candidates?
Find out who’s running by using the League of Women Voter’s online election resource, VOTE411.org. At VOTE411.org, you’ll also find information about their positions. It’s easy to compare their answers side by side. I’ll be carefully considering candidates and using VOTE411.org to help me. I hope you will too. Every vote counts.
Jane Banning, town of Crescent
Writer: Families need assistance during pandemic
The CDC announced today that COVID-19 cases in Vilas and Oneida counties continue to rise; the activity level is HIGH. Tom Tiffany and Ron Johnson continue to do nothing to assist families suffering from the side effects of the pandemic. Nothing to give aid to small business owners, nothing to extend unemployment to those struggling to put food on the table, much less pay all their bills. Why aren’t our representatives helping our workers during this pandemic? Where are the relief bills and leadership to assist our hospitals in finding more protective equipment? Where are the relief bills extending the $600 unemployment benefit? Is it because the Republican rationale is that the unemployed will be getting so much money that they won’t want to go back to work? Tom Tiffany now earns $174,000 a year. Shouldn’t he be busy working on a relief package that would give the unemployed and small businesses some relief from the economic disaster that is the pandemic? Tiffany gets his money no matter if he works for us or not.
Instead they are spending their time reviewing Supreme Court candidates, so that the week after the election, when the Supreme Court meets, the court will be packed by those who want to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Almost 20% of our families do not have health care. The ACA gives us protections to guarantee we will be able to get insurance even though we have a pre-existing condition. It says we can keep our children on our insurance while they are in school or job training until they are 26 years old. The Republicans claim that they have a plan, but since 2008, there has been no plan. Their only goal is to tear down the protections we do have, because they are beholden to big insurance companies who want to do away with these new protections. Write to Ron Johnson and Tom Tiffany and tell them to get to work to aid and protect all of our families, not just the super PACs that keep them elected.
Linda Pils, Land O’Lakes
Protect citizens from PFAS
Oneida County faces a crisis: water contaminated with toxic PFAS chemicals. PFAS are industrial chemicals linked to various cancers, low birth weights, thyroid disease, and increased cholesterol levels. Two city wells have been shut down because of this pollution, and if another is impaired, Rhinelander residents and businesses will face a shortage of clean water.
34th Assembly District Representative Rob Swearingen has failed the people of the Northwoods in this emergency. The Republican-controlled Assembly refused to pass meaningful legislation that creates comprehensive regulations and legally enforceable standards for the toxic PFAS compounds. Currently, Wisconsin has no regulations regarding PFAS, while states like Michigan and Minnesota have adopted and are implementing programs to address PFAS chemicals in the environment.
Democratic Senator Dave Hansen worked with Assembly Republican John Nygren to create a compromise bill called the CLEAR Act, which would have contained comprehensive PFAS protections. But even this compromise bipartisan bill was not brought to a vote and died in the Assembly. Swearingen could have endorsed and co-sponsored the legislation with his Republican colleague from Marinette. However, he failed his constituents.
The compromise legislation would have provided $5 million in grant funding to assist communities like Rhinelander and Marinette to address PFAS chemicals in their water. So far Rhinelander has spent $30,000 dollars to identify the problem and sample an old landfill. Additionally, city funds have been used to sample all the wells to assure the residents that the water is safe to drink. Ultimately, the city faces a multi-million-dollar bill to replace the two contaminated wells. And there may be other contaminated sites in our area.
Only one bill that regulates one sector, firefighting foam, passed both houses of the legislature this last session. Much more work is needed to address what is the tip of the iceberg. A legislator’s job on important issues like human health is to help pass legislation that protects the citizens. Rob Swearingen did not do that. His opponent in the election, Kirk Bangstad, will.
Phyllis Schuit, Hazelhurst
America, the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” That little phrase says nothing about wisdom! At the beginning, over 240 years ago, when this country was new, it was all about freedom; freedom of religion and freedom from England’s harsh taxes. And with the American Revolutionary War we became the United States of America; a free country!
What happened during those 244 years? What has freedom become? In today’s America many citizens believe that every individual has the right to do whatever they want because this is a free country. They also believe they have the right to disregard another person’s well-being or rights because after all, this is a free country.
Let’s examine freedom of expression, of speech, and the freedom to peaceably protest. Today those freedoms are strongly linked to the freedom of destroying property and even murder while in a protest; freedom to not wear a mask during this dangerous outbreak of the coronavirus, and the freedom to ingest dangerous and unhealthy substances for recreational purposes. We also have the freedom to destroy human life while he or she is still in the process of development. That is a legal right we can all be thankful our grandparents didn’t have at the time our parents were born.
A lot of today’s freedoms seem to focus on destruction, death and harm to ourselves and other Americans around us; all for the sole purpose of doing whatever we want to do as individuals! Because this is a free country! We have now become a country filled with millions of individual free countries, each ignoring what the American standing next to them needs or wants. Over time the word UNITED has been rubbed out of the phrase, The United States of America. It is unknown to me who coined the phrase, “Those who destroy and cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But that phrase is applicable in today’s world.
Belief in God and his written word has always been a choice given to us by God himself. Even if someone does not believe in God, they can still look to God’s word for wisdom on how to get along with each other and be happy. A good example would be Phil.2:3.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.”
If pondered and acted on that verse would solve just about any problem the world has today. We need to love and to put away selfish behavior if this country is to survive. We need to put UNITED back in the United States of America.
Mary P. Cahala, Rhinelander
Facemasks and science
Here in Wisconsin when I take my boat out of a lake I inspect and remove any weeds on it so as to not spread invasive species to other lakes. I do not, am not allowed to, take minnows out of the waters of one lake and transfer them to a different lake. The purpose of this law is to prevent the spread of invasive species.
I do not cut trees down between April 15 and July 15 because it is against the law. It is against the law because cutting trees at that time of year causes the spread of oak wilt, a disease that spreads and is killing oak trees. Our state timber sales are set up the same way. Loggers are not allowed to cut trees during those three months to control the spread of the disease.
If a Whitetail Deer is found to have chronic wasting disease (CWD) somewhere, restrictions are set up into law that puts restrictions on how we deal with the deer herd in and around that place. These restrictions are put into place to help control the spread of CWD.
We do these things. I’d like to think that almost all of us do these things religiously because we know that invasive species and oak wilt and chronic wasting are bad things and that they harm the things that matter to us.
Enter COVID-19, a disease that makes us sick and is capable of killing us and many of us think that wearing a mask to slow the spread is too much of an inconvenience. If the things that matter to us are important enough to change the way we do things then why is it that we, ourselves, are not important enough to change the way we do things?
If you don’t want to wear a mask because you don’t believe the science then let me ask, do you believe the science behind how oak wilt spreads, or chronic wasting? Do you believe that a tiny fragment from a milfoil plant can be placed in a new environment and grow into a huge new colony?
David Groh, St. Germain
A fond farewell
Friends of Rhinelander Animal Shelter (FRAS) organized 38 years ago to raise funds for a new animal shelter in Rhinelander. We engaged in many fundraisers and received a tremendous amount of support from the community. Our dream became a reality when we received a large monetary donation.
We also expanded our humane mission by donating pet food and miscellaneous pet items to our local food pantry. We provided medical care and spaying and neutering assistance for food pantry pets.
We are now blessed to have a beautiful shelter that provides outstanding care for our homeless animals. Thanks to Oneida County Humane Society (OCHS) and generous donors.
The time has come to close the books. We would like to thank all who have helped us on our humane journey. Thanks to all who have donated funds, pet items, services, merchandise for sales, pet food, advertising, medical care, and those who helped at sales. We could not have done it without you. Remaining funds will be donated to OCHS.
Thank you and God bless! Take care of your furry angels, feathered friends and also yourself!
Marilyn Tober, Rhinelander