Viewpoint letters focus on upcoming elections
Reader supports write-in Bertsch for school board
I am endorsing Callie Bertsch, write-in candidate, for Rhinelander School Board
I have known Callie and her husband, Scott Kirby, for the entire time that I’ve lived in Rhinelander and know that she will work hard to properly represent those all throughout the district. She is a knowledgeable, hardworking person who deeply cares for the Rhinelander area. Callie is very well versed in and passionate about special needs issues and special needs inclusion as her young son, Elton, has Down Syndrome. She also wants to help support students with behavioral health issues, be a positive advocate for teachers, and connect with and keep all constituents well-informed.
Please remember to write in Callie Bertsch for Rhinelander School Board in the April 5 election.
Her website is: www.callie4kids.com.
Ben Roskoskey, Crescent
Sorenson supports Harris for county board
Thank you to the voters in Pine Lake District 9. It was a privilege to serve you on the Oneida County Board of Supervisors for ten years. It is time for me to retire and pass the privilege of serving you to a new individual.
I highly recommend and endorse Diana Harris for my replacement on the Oneida County Board of Supervisors. Diana has many of my conservative values. Most importantly, Diana knows the need for transparency in elected officials and respects both the Open Meetings and Open Records Laws of Wisconsin.
Please vote for Diana Harris on April 5.
Jack Sorenson, Rhinelander
‘The rest of the story’
Paul Harvey was famous for saying, “And now for the rest of the story!”
In a recent editorial Karl Fate suggests when I, along with fourteen other county board supervisors, voted in favor of Resolution 48-2018 Ordinance Amendment Section 9.61 Metallic Exploration, Bulk Sampling, and Mining, the vote was against protecting county water resources and local control.
Now the “rest of the story!” Mr. Fate clearly lacks an understanding of county government authority and his concerns would be more appropriately addressed at the state legislative level.
At the start of my third term as a county board supervisor, I took an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin and to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties to the best of my ability.
In 2017 the State of Wisconsin passed Act 134 which made changes to nonferrous metallic mining regulations and administration effective July 1, 2018. County ordinances must align with Wisconsin State Statutes and regulate within statutory authority. Any local control remains subject to the Constitution and any enactment of the Legislature.
The County Board of Supervisors hired outside legal counsel to identify deficiencies with the current ordinance and to draft a new ordinance. The County’s new ordinance was aligned with Act 134 and included a required “local agreement.” This requires the formation of a “mining/local impact committee” and county board approval of any local agreement.
If the county board of supervisors did not approve a revised mining ordinance on or before July 1, 2018, all control would have been at the state level.
Oddly enough Mr. Fate failed to inform readers that I, along with 18 other county board supervisors, voted in support of Resolution #50-2018 at the same meeting. This resolution placed on the November ballot an advisory referendum whether Oneida County should allow leasing of County land in the Town of Lynne for the purpose of metallic metal, mineral exploration, prospecting, bulk sampling and mining.
As Election Day draws near, I ask those voicing their opinions to base their positions on facts and the entire story. I encourage all my constituents to go to www.RobbJensen.com should they have a specific question and for more information on the issues facing Oneida County.
Robb W. Jensen, Rhinelander
Reader supports O’Marro for Vilas County Judge
I met Meg O’Marro on her second day of employment in Vilas County. I must admit her small stature set me back wondering how impressive she would be in a court room. The next three-and-a-half years left no doubt it was considerable.
Ms. O’Marro hit the ground running and I soon found that staff and supervisors alike found her to be capable, accurate, and made everything easily understandable to those of us who have little background in regulation or law. As the chairman of committees like zoning and land and water it is so necessary to have the committee, staff, public, parties appearing before the committee and the press all having a clear understanding.
As to her residence in Vilas County from the time she worked here to the present, I know she held residence, registered to vote, registered a car, and still holds that residence today.
Her success here as a litigator and/or advisor are impeccable. I am confident that as a judge she will balance the evidence presented by all sides and maintain a fair and concise verdict for the citizens of the county.
Vilas County Board Supervisor, District 5
Hold county board to ‘ethical standards’
As we near the April 5 elections for County Supervisor, we should well remember which supervisors are for ethical standards of behavior and which ones are not. It was one year ago that the county board voted to abandon the County’s Code of Conduct for Supervisors. The county had hired an attorney to review other codes of conduct around the state and make recommendations for adoption. In 2012, the Oneida County Code of Conduct was adopted.
In February 2021, the Administration Committee was to review the code and make recommendations for updating. Around this time complaints were lodged by citizens against supervisors claiming violations of the code. These were dismissed out of hand since there was no mechanism to investigate these claims made by citizens. Only other supervisors could lodge a complaint. After this, the county board suddenly decided to recommend that the Code of Conduct be abandoned. The rationale? It was too restrictive and the Code of Ethics under Wisconsin State Statue 19.59 was sufficient.
The Code of Ethics under this statute is limited in scope. However, ss.19.59(2) and 19.59(3) allow a county to create a Code of Ethics, or Code of Conduct, that may further define unacceptable behavior and actions within the limits set by these statutes. This is what the Oneida County Code of Conduct had done back in 2012.
Virtually overnight, a revision to the Code of Conduct became a search and destroy mission. It seems the county supervisors should not be bound by ethical standards it set for itself back in 2012. On April 20, 2021, the county board considered Resolution #46-2021 offered by Billy Fried to repeal the Code of Conduct. It was seconded by supervisor Timmons. The resolution passed 12 to 7 with two absent. Those voting to no longer hold themselves accountable to ethical standards included supervisors Kelly, Liebert, Fried, Ives, Roach, Almekinder, Paszak, Timmons, Holewinski, Sorensen, Oettinger and Hintz. Those with a moral conscience who voted against repeal were supervisors Winkler, Schreier, Krolczyk, Cushing, Mott, VanRaalte and Thome.
Remember these 12 people on April 5. Many are running for re-election. Do you really want to vote for someone who does not believe they should be held accountable to ethical standards that the county had set just nine years earlier? When faced with complaints, these 12 believed it was easier to abandon a Code of Conduct than actually investigate themselves. They did not believe anyone would notice or care. Show them you care.
Dan Butkus, Waunakee and town of Crescent
Bertsch announces write-in for school board
On April 5, we have the opportunity to exercise our right to make our voices heard through the process of public elections. I am joining the race for Rhinelander School Board as an official WRITE-IN candidate and hope to make my voice heard as well. My voice will be unique on the board in that I am the proud mom of a three year old who will be a part of the special needs education system. It is my hope that having a student currently in the school district will bring a fresh perspective on how the board can function to provide the best for our students.
I was raised in the Northwoods and have spent the last eight years working with private landowners to improve wildlife habitat on their property through the use of sound forestry practices. I have taught children environmental education both here, on home soil, and while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. I’ve worked for non-profits and for the government. I believe my vast experience make me a capable and good candidate for the Rhinelander School Board.
All of our students deserve more than just inclusion; they deserve a voice at the table. Check out my website at www.callie4kids.com or @callie4kids on Facebook for more on my thoughts on how we can improve the SDR and ways to contact me directly.
Furthermore, thank you Star Journal for the news you provide our community and the opportunity to have a voice here.
Callie Bertsch, Rhinelander
County board candidate says vote April 5
I am very excited about the upcoming April 5 elections. There is an influx of new candidates running, who are bringing renewed energy and insight into local government that hasn’t been seen in a long time. The Rhinelander mayoral race, the Rhinelander School Board and the Oneida County Board elections have new candidates that are well qualified and ready to bring their unique expertise and life experiences to their offices. It is also refreshing that these races are nonpartisan. The candidates are our friends and neighbors. We know them and we know that they will take good care of our needs and concerns while in office.
I am a candidate running for Oneida County Board in the sixth district. As a retired RN, I have had much experience dealing with many types of people and situations. There is also a business aspect to nursing that has to be considered, because if there is a wasteful, nonessential spending, there will be less money available to care for people in the best ways possible. The workings of the county are no different. I believe that the needs of our local economy can be balanced with the need to preserve the natural beauty of our area. In fact, a great deal of our economy depends on the maintenance of our natural beauty, our clean lakes and rivers and our unspoiled wilderness. We can have both a robust economy while maintaining our unique was of life here in the Northwoods.
But in the office of county board supervisor isn’t just about me. I am not representing myself on the county board, I am representing my constituents. It is about them. As a nurse I have always been a patient advocate, and given my patients a voice in their care. As a county board supervisor, I represent my constituents, and will do the same. After all, my constituents are also my neighbors, and their concerns are also my concerns.
Please mark your calendars for the April elections and vote for the candidates of your choice.
Pelican Township, District 6
Reader supports Overbey for Vilas judge
The April 5 election will give Vilas County a long overdue second Vilas County Circuit Court Judge. Daniel Overbey has been Vilas County Court Commissioner for nearly five years. A Court Commissioner is described as “one rung below an elected judge and appointed by a judge to help with the overburdened case load.”
In addition to all this courtroom experience, Daniel Overbey will also give us gender diversity on the bench in that new Branch 2 Courtroom as soon as it’s finished, while Judge Milanowski continues in the other courtroom.
Daniel spoke at our town board meeting and not only was I impressed with his appropriate courtroom demeanor but also his sincerity and honesty in describing the need to increase remote access for all when that drive to the Eagle River Courthouse is a burden in all kinds of weather and life situations.
Please vote Daniel Overbey on April 5 or by absentee ballot or in person with your clerk so he can move up that one rung and continue his excellent judicial work serving this county on a full time rather than the current part time.
Kay L. Hoff, Lac du Flambeau
Reader: Overbey well qualified
Vote April 5 for Vilas County Branch 2 Circuit Court judge. Daniel Overbey is well qualified for this position. As Vilas County Court Commissioner, he currently assists in judicial matters. Prior to obtaining a law degree and practicing family law, he spent 15 years in law enforcement. As a judge, Overbey will continue to work to reduce the revolving door of repeat offenders, bring more remote access to our rural areas and provide more services to our veterans.
Patricia Bielke, Land O’Lakes