There's still time | Steve Pearson
This letter is a paid endorsement
A letter to my fellow Democrats of all stripes ... sorry if I sound like a scold, but call me perplexed. I remember an evening back in February of 2017 when over 100 concerned citizens gathered at the Cafe Wren in Luck to try to chart a course forward in the wake of the 2016 election results. Maybe you were there. Though most of us were in the depths of despair that night, we found hope in our solidarity with each other, the good feeling that comes from knowing you’re not alone. Out of that night, something called Polk-Burnett Indivisible was born. And over the next year-plus, we turned out in large numbers at Rep. Sean Duffy’s town hall meetings, despite his infamous efforts to keep the time and place of those meetings a secret until the last minute.
I remember one such meeting in Spooner. Duffy was met with an avalanche of anger and frustration over his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He was on the defensive for over an hour. For those who had grown tired of his double-speak and equivocation about this issue, it was a hugely satisfying moment. It seemed that the tide was turning, that we might finally be on the path to representation in the 7th Congressional District that truly reflected the needs of the people living here.
But the 2018 election swept all that positive momentum away as Duffy won re-election by the same 60/40 margin he’d enjoyed in each of the last three elections despite getting crushed in the only debate he and his opponent, Margaret Engebretson, had. Not lost on anyone was the fact that the 7th Congressional District in Wisconsin is gerrymandered to the max, and overcoming that disadvantage might be a Sisyphean task. But, still, the numbers showed that fewer than 50% of those self-identifying as Democrats had voted in that election. So one could argue that there was still hope, that the odds were not insurmountable, that if somehow, we could take all the energy present that evening back in 2017 and turn it into a massive get-out-the-vote effort, we could still win.
Then, in late August of 2019, Duffy told a Fox News audience that he would be retiring to spend more time with his family. Both parties scrambled to come up with a nominee for the special election that will be held on Tuesday, May 12, just three weeks from now. For the Republicans, state Sen. Tom Tiffany won the primary in February. On the Democratic side, Tricia Zunker easily defeated her challenger in the primary. Zunker, the president of the Wausau School Board and an associate justice on the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court, has made access to affordable health care the centerpiece of her campaign in a district that has more ACA recipients than any other congressional district in Wisconsin. Tiffany, who recently said that private insurance could meet the health care needs of every citizen in the 7th if we’d just do away with government assistance, has been red-baiting his opponent as a “socialist” and has been the beneficiary of a ton of dark money from outside the district.
So there you have it, fellow Democrats. We have a highly qualified, personable candidate who has worked her tail off during these coronavirus times to get her message out, running against a Republican who has made a name for himself by taking away local control of environmental issues time and time again. And I have no doubt that most of us will take the time to vote absentee for Zunker, and some will even show up at the polls on the 12th to do the same. But where’s the fire we all felt in our bellies back on the cold February night in 2017? Why is it that the number of active, passionate, committed Democrats in the two-county area has dwindled to the usual suspects? And what does this say about Democrats’ chances in the fall when we have a chance to reclaim civility and decency in our government? Did we really mean all those things we said one long national nightmare ago?
This is my plea to each and every one of you to step outside your comfort zone – whatever that means for you – and do whatever you possibly can to elect Tricia Zunker and Joe Biden in these next critical months ahead. Do more than you’re doing now because you remember just how you felt back on the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, a feeling you swore you’d never forget. Start by getting in touch with your local Democratic Party and make it your own by your participation and your passion. Get involved and get creative. There’s still time, and the numbers are on our side if we act with the conviction we all once felt.
Steve Pearson
Thank you | Kevin L. Shetler
Thank you to the Siren School District voters for supporting the referendum. Your support of the school will benefit the students, staff and the school community for years to come. The administration and district office staff worked very hard to deliver information to the community. Consequently, it worked. We are so grateful for the school board, staff members, parents and the community for putting the children first. Thank you! Kevin L. Shetler District administrator Siren School District
Rezone Danger | Roger and Marilyn Belau
Danger! Alert!
Our vehicle is stopped at the intersection of Deer Lake/Bear Lake Road and Hwy. 77 to head out from our residence on Deer Lake Road to go shopping. It is Friday. The traffic on Hwy. 77 is heavy as cabin owners come for the weekend. We look to the east down the curving hill. There is a blind spot there. Then we look to the west, a short distance away is the crest of a hill. Cars drive at 60 mph through this scenic countryside. We look to our right and our left again. We pull out and check the rearview mirror to see what vehicle may suddenly be fast approaching us as we get up to speed.
A dangerous intersection!
The danger at this intersection is about to get worse. A business, North Camp Properties III, is applying for a rezone from residential to commercial in order to locate their business at this intersection. The Burnett County Board of Supervisors has the option of rejecting the rezone. In the quiet winter months the Burnett County Land Use and Information Committee approved the conditional use permit to allow North Camp Properties III to erect 103 storage units, 12 feet by 25 feet each, to allow outdoor space to store 75 watercraft, and also to build a sales/showroom, approximately 50 feet by 140 feet.
All this is dependent on rezoning this property to commercial use.
This storage/sales business will substantially increase the traffic hazard through this intersection.
A traffic accident study of this intersection by the Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation and Safety states: “ ... it is the case that injury crashes do make up a higher proportion of crashes (42%) in this area than they typically do in all statewide crashes (23%).” In the past 10 years there have been 12 accidents at this intersection.
If you travel Hwy. 77 and pass through this intersection or use Deer Lake Road/Bear Lake Road, email/call the Burnett County Board of Supervisors at, listed under government. Don Taylor is the chair. Webb Lake town supervisors are found at
Make sure to find out when the Burnett County Board of Supervisors meeting will be held. Encourage them to realize that the rezone for this business location will endanger us all. It is an opportunity to let our voices be heard in an effort to keep Wisconsin roads safe.
Roger Belau
Marilyn Belau
Webb Lake
Robbin K. Larson | My heroes
Today I pulled brush out of the woods, all the while listening to the radio. I heard the words social distancing at least a hundred times. The random acts of kindness told on the radio choked me up. The nice day outside was meant to be a “me” day but for the life of me I could not stop thinking about the sacrifices our health care workers are making for us. And the businesses staying open for our benefit at the risk of their exposure. It brought me back to when my son, Jase, was in the military.  It is what Jase signed up for when he enlisted, no sympathy for Jase or me, it’s his job. Strangers started thanking me for his service, they offered me prayers and hope. That is what got me through it. Now it’s my turn to step up to the plate. Only now it is a virus that is threatening the country I love. We have different soldiers fighting this war that are called health care workers. Like my son, they signed up to care for us, hoping a disaster would not happen but each and every department is hit by this virus in the hospital. And hearing that they may not have PPEs to protect themselves just sickens me. They deserve our utmost respect and prayers. It’s our job to give them support and hope! Some people called my son a hero. Today I call our health care workers my heroes. Please know I appreciate you all.  Thank you for your service Robbin K. Larson  Frederic 
Darrel Hansen | Negative talk of Democrats unnecessary
I thought maybe your editorial “stay in your vehicle” was an April Fools’ joke since it was published the first of April. You ridiculed the Democrats for disenfranchising voters and having a goofy caucus system and manipulative election process.  Negative talk about the Democrats wasn’t necessary since I hope the essence of the article was to make voting easier. I think Democrats would like to make it easier for everyone to vote in this country, just ask black voters in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, etc. You also printed a Joe Heller cartoon March 11, 2020, which stated: “All I’ve got left is vanilla and vanilla.” This hypocritical cartoon is another joke. President Obama, a black man, served eight years in the White House. According to The Conversation journal, the 116th Congress is the most racially diverse ever. Forty-one percent of Democrats in Congress are white men, 85% of Republicans are white men. In the Senate, 63% of Democrats are white men while 82% of Republicans are white men. The Democrats by far are the most racially diverse party. Maybe you should check your facts before you ridicule a political party. Darrel Hansen Luck
Sara Meaney | #HowWiHelp
Wisconsin is full of friendly, kind and compassionate people. That’s just who we are. And when we’re faced with challenges, our true colors shine even brighter.
Right now, across the entire state, Wisconsinites are lifting each other up and providing support to one another in unique ways. No doubt you have seen this in your own social feeds. People are volunteering, donating blood, food and other essentials, supporting restaurants through curbside pickups and donating their money and skills in ways we have never seen before. Businesses are finding ways to support people and healthcare workers in need, through mass product donation or meal deliveries. Families are putting color into the world with sidewalk chalk, hearts and rainbows in windows and signs of hope and encouragement. We want to lift these efforts even higher.
We’ve launched a grassroots movement to share the good-spirited things we’re seeing and doing in Wisconsin to help each other during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re asking all Wisconsinites to join in the movement on social media by sharing photos and news links, telling the stories of the many ways people, businesses and communities are helping one another and add the #HowWiHelp hashtag.
We have launched a landing page that serves as an inspiration gallery, pulling the hashtagged posts into one place for people to browse and share with anyone seeking ideas, inspiration, or hope:
Please join the #HowWiHelp Movement.
Share photos to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter of the many ways Wisconsin’s people, businesses and communities are helping one another.
Add the #HowWiHelp hashtag and tag @TravelWisconsin in your post.
If you’re sharing from your personal Facebook page, be sure to mark the post as public!
It’s a challenging time for us all. Let’s make it better by highlighting the helpers and sharing #HowWiHelp.
Sara Meaney
Wisconsin Department of Tourism
Russell B. Hanson | PBS Media Bias
Mr. Guanella, in a letter to the editor, claims that a Public Broadcasting System reporter asking Trump a question about the inconsistency of his past statements shows an anti-Trump bias and so PBS is biased.
Asking a question that begins by repeating a statement Trump made last week and if he still stands by it this week, is something that is certainly new to presidential coverage. In the past we never had a president who changed his mind daily and seems to have no memory of what he said yesterday, much less a week earlier. One who is completely estranged from truth at all levels.
I agree with the conservative Charles Koch Foundation: “ … our revolutionary forefathers knew that when the press examines the actions of government, the nation benefits. News organizations expose corruption and cover-ups, deceptions and deceits, illegal actions and unethical behavior—and they hold our leaders and our institutions accountable … ”
Do we really think unbiased news comes from media outlets that Guanella would likely approve, who until two weeks ago were telling us that Covid-19 was a mainstream media, Democrat hoax, and then on a Friday completely make a U-turn and begin praising Trump for his amazing work in preparing us for a tremendous epidemic? Or do we want independent media who ask probing questions for us? A media not beholden to advertisers!
Bias for Guanella, appears to be putting Trump on the spot by quoting his earlier statements that have sown confusion with Americans.
My own question would be to Trump and to his supporters like Guanella, “Do you owe the American public an apology for telling us the Covid-19 epidemic was a hoax for 2 months when our government should have been preparing us? Why were you fooled so easily? What are you doing to prevent being fooled in the future?”
Possibly watching PBS might prevent one from being so completely fooled on Covid-19 in the future too.
Russell B. Hanson
Gail Lando | Always press forward
Always press forward
Last week's Leader printed a letter calling for the end of public funding for the Public Broadcasting System because of bias.
The letter writer's complaint was that PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked the president three questions that were not complementary to the president.
The first question was about the president's own declaration at campaign rallies that he is a nationalist. She asked if these remarks could have emboldened white nationalists. She also asked about his refusal to take responsibility for the delay in response to the Covid -19 pandemic, after disbanding the White House pandemic office. Finally, she pointed out that at least one White House official referred to Covid-19 as "Kung Flu," a reference for the virus started in China. She simply asked if this language was acceptable to the president.
The president has a history of getting rid of people around him who tell him the truth. So in response to a journalist's questions, we should get rid of PBS? The president's words and actions have the power to inspire tremendous good, or not. All of us have a right to know where the President stands on issues that affect our lives, even if a journalist's questions offend the president and his followers. There are many news outlets that praise the president and extol conservatism, there needs to be a source that will ask the tough questions.
I quote Yamiche Alcindor: "President Trump today at the White House said to me: 'Be nice, don't be threatening.' I'm not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job. My take: Be steady, stay focused. Remember your purpose and always press forward."
This is why we need to continue public funding and our individual support for PBS.
Gail Lando
Arnie Carlson | Mayor's response
Mayor responds
I read Leif Bjornson’s letter to the editor in last week’s paper. Allow me to point out a few details that Leif may have overlooked.
1 - When Leif talks about the city “leadership” he is talking about the city council. The city council must approve all actions that take place in the city. Nothing happens unless the council authorizes it. The only power the Mayor has is the power of the veto which the Council overrode three times in the past year.
2 - For the record, I have served on the city council, off and on, since 2007, 13 years. In all that time I cannot recall that any of those Mayors’ ever vetoed any action of their councils. Three mayors, 13 city councils and at least 40 different aldermen. Since I became mayor, I have found it necessary to veto FIVE (5) council actions, two in my first year which the council accepted. Three vetoes were overridden by a three-member council, including council president, Kirk Anderson. In all five cases, my veto was based on a violation of a Federal or State statute, a legal contract with a supplier or a city ordinance.
3 - One of this mayor's vetoes could have resulted in some of the CDA/TIF money ($2,621,475) being used for the benefit of the downtown businesses and fixing some of our deteriorating infrastructure, in addition to renovating the Civic Auditorium. That would have required the Council to be willing to change the directions given to the CDA by the existing documents. That was, obviously, not something this Council wanted to do. They are not focused on the city resident’s wellbeing. Instead, they abolished the CDA.
4 - With regard to the “noose” incident: Leif, and quite a few others, seem to have forgotten the right of free speech given to us by the First Amendment of our Constitution. We may not like what people say or do but, they have every right to say or do it. “Hate Speech” is not a crime. The noose is not a symbol of racism. The hangman is a current method for capital punishment available in two States. It is blind to race, color, creed or sexual orientation. For the city to attempt to punish our residents smacks of actions attributable to someone like Adolph Hitler or any number of other dictators.
5 - Regarding the apparent lack of action on the city’s deteriorating infrastructure, the city has a list of items that need attention, known as the Capital Improvement Plan. This plan must be approved for implementation by the Board of Public Works, made up of three Aldermen (chaired by the council president) and the public works director. The mayor is not a member. The CIP has been in place, with minor additions, for the better part of four years. In spite of the public works director's hard work (and virtually pleading), no action has been taken by the Board.
Arnie Carlson, Mayor
City of St. Croix Falls
Dave Wilhelmy | Media reporters have become commentators
I no longer trust any of the alphabet media (ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN) or other sources. They no longer report the news. They now are all commentators. They feel they must report their personnel biases rather than fact. They only comment on things that their management approves.
As an example, their description of what was holding up the signing of the coronavirus bill. Not a single media source revealed that the major hold up was a 1,400-page addendum which Pelosi and Schumer put forward.
Issues such as the post office bailout, telling all airline passengers what the carbon footprint of the plane is, a host of infrastructure management windfalls, over $500 million for the arts, and a host of non-essential issues which have nothing to do with the Coronavirus. I just wish they could report facts instead of suppositions, speculations and personal biases.
They only comment on what they want you to believe rather than all the information. All of this information and other pork barrel politics can be reviewed on the National Review website.
Dave Wilhelmy
The Value of a Smile by anonymous
A contagious thing that makes you better when you
“catch it” and even happier when you “spread it around.”
A real smile is an outer reflection of an inner condition.
None are so rich they can get along without it, and
none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
Nobody needs a smile so much as those who have
none to give.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged,
sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.
It cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is
something that is no earthly good to anyone until it is given away.
Sam Wilson | We need a plan
Family caregivers need a plan for taking care of elders while staying safer at home
Dear Editor,
As cases of the COVID-19 continue to spread across Wisconsin, the nation and the world, health officials have made it clear that older adults and those with chronic health conditions are particularly susceptible to the effects of this dangerous respiratory illness.
Many of our most vulnerable older adults live in communities where diseases can spread quickly, such as nursing homes or assisted living. That’s why facilities are temporarily banning visitors in hopes of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and limiting residents’ exposure to anyone who may be infected with the virus.
At the same time, many seniors are at home and could be feeling isolated and anxious about how they can remain healthy and safe.
Currently there are nearly 600,000 unpaid family caregivers across Wisconsin who provide assistance to loved ones at home, and this number will increase with the spread of the virus. That’s why it’s so important that family caregivers have a plan in place in case they get sick and can’t care for those who are relying on them.
At AARP, we believe a caregiving plan should include:
• Pull Together a Team. Develop a list of family and friends who can perform caregiving tasks and identify local caregiving services and groups that can deliver essentials such as food or medications.
• Inventory Essential Items. Determine how much food, water, medication and basic supplies the person you’re caring for has on hand. We recommend a two-week supply.
• Get Medications in Order. Make sure you have a list of medications and medical contacts. If there are upcoming medical appointments, reschedule them or switch to a virtual visit. Having a 30-day supply of essential medications on hand is recommended.
• Stay Connected. To combat isolation, set up communication devices and other technology. Encourage people to send cards, letters, magazines, puzzles or other items to a loved one.
• Maintain Personal Safety and Self-Care. To be safe and stay healthy, limit contact with visitors, practice social distancing, stay inside as much as you can and continue to wash your hands. While most of us are very focused on the person we are caring for, it is essential to care for yourself.
AARP has a dedicated, toll-free family caregiving line for people taking care of a loved one. Agents are available to take calls M-F, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT at 877-333-5885. You can also find answers online at the AARP Caregiver Resource Center located at
At AARP, we’re committed to helping families during these extraordinary times. Now more than ever, family caregivers need all the help they can get.
Sam Wilson
State Director
Music Memo | Roger Johnson
I think if my family were to describe me, one of the things they would say is that I am a “barbershopper.” It’s being a part of a group or culture in that its members have common shared experiences. My daughter was in a vocal jazz ensemble in college. I “suggested” to her some things they could do to bring more life to their performance. I only shared what I have learned from hours of coaching to help bring our barbershop performances to life. Her choral instructor asked her where she got this insight. She replied “My dad is a barbershopper.” To which he replied, “Oh, that explains it.”
Almost all of my experiences in barbershop are emotional. The joy of singing, of ringing chords, sharing the music with folks outside our “barbershop” world, to see the smiles, the “Oh wow! That was awesome!” reactions. To most people, the barbershop sound is a novelty. Something about that ringing barbershop seventh chord, when done well, gets people’s attention in a pleasing way. To barbershoppers, it is a passion. The sum of the sound is greater than the parts producing it.
Barbershoppers come from all walks of life. To my knowledge, I sing with doctors, lawyers, teachers, college professors, retired nuclear engineers, funeral directors, welders, auto body repairmen, salesmen, mechanical engineers, retail store clerks, farmers, truck drivers, retired prison guards, photographers, bus drivers, nurses and accountants. The ages range from 16 to 83 years old. Singing can be a lifetime hobby. It has been for me.
Barbershoppers like to sing. To sing in the barbershop style you have to gather at least three others. Almost weekly, one group I sing with gathers at a local watering hole after rehearsal to sing, have a beer and share food and fellowship. Sometimes there are as few as nine and as many as 20 that attend. The establishment staff know we are coming and save us our usual spot. As a group, we must tip pretty good. I say that because our usual waitress just came back from a vacation in Hawaii! If you remember the TV show “Cheers,” when I walk in the door of this establishment the bartender may not “know my name,” but knows what beer I drink.
One evening, there was a party of about 12 eating near our area. It was a family from all over the States that attended a visitation for an elderly aunt that evening. The funeral service was the next day. We learned the departed’s last name was “Sullivan.” We sang “Wild Irish Rose” and “Irish Blessing” plus some others for them. They stayed to listen to us sing some more and we even had a couple of the men singing with us. It was fun and I think they forgot any troubles they had just for that short hour of song and fellowship we shared with each other. We said our goodbyes and wished each other well. A short time later, our waitress announced that up to that point, our tabs have been covered by that family. There were 18 of us!
Music is the most powerful gift God has given us. What the written or spoken word cannot convey, music can. The most awesome people I know and am friends with are the ones I have met through my involvement in singing barbershop harmony. If you have read this far, I strongly encourage you to find a group to sing with. The rewards are simple and tremendous.
Roger Johnson
Elections matter | Leif Bjornson
You can see on our Main Street (and some would say you can feel) what our current “leadership” has meant for our small city. Now our mayor is running for re-election. Fool me twice? I don’t think so! And his buddy, the guy who presented nooses to our city council (and said he thought it would be funny!) is now running for a seat on the council. Is this the kind of judgment we want in our leaders? Fortunately, we have a great guy running for mayor in Kirk Anderson. He is a firefighter, a first responder, a small-business owner, a husband and a parent to a bunch of stellar kids. He is currently our council president and is a calm and courageous leader. He will be an excellent mayor! In District 2 Craig Lien will represent us in the same way, with thoughtful, honest leadership. In District 1 we are blessed to have Joe Snyder step up. He too is a smart, calm and steady guy who will be a great member of the council. Be sure to write in Joe Snyder! These uncertain and challenging times will pass and we will move on. As we do we will either have leaders who drag us down and thwart progress or we will choose Kirk, Craig and Joe to lead us with the vision to move forward and get things done! Please call St. Croix Falls City Hall at 715-483-3929 to find out how you can safely vote. We are all in this together and more than ever we need courageous leadership. Call your friends, call your neighbors and please vote! Leif Bjornson Citizen and small-business owner St. Croix Falls
Support Amy Middleton for county supervisor | Sandra Ball
I started attending town meetings and county board meetings a few months ago because I finally have time now that I am retired. This is where I have seen both candidates for the county District 10 in action. Amy Middleton respectfully expresses concern for property values, clean water and air and protecting our rural character.  I have been very disappointed at the county board and committee meetings I’ve attended. The committees seem to do little to no research on the issues at hand. Amy has demonstrated thoughtful and level-headed leadership while serving on our town’s plan commission for the past 12 years. She is willing to do the work to research issues so she can make informed decisions on important issues for our county and our quality of life. This is more important than ever considering the uncertainty we are dealing with on a daily basis.  Please support Amy as county supervisor for thoughtful, level-headed leadership.  Sandra Ball Dresser
Vote* in the April 7 election | Kathryn Kienholz
Why should you bother to vote in the upcoming Supreme Court election on April 7? Because its results will affect Wisconsin for the next decade and not necessarily in a good way.   The U.S. census is going on right now, as you know. Next year state legislatures and redistricting commissions across the country will redraw their respective legislative maps. If not drawn fairly, if drawn to favor one party over the other, it will affect the way our states and our country are governed until 2031.  We in Wisconsin have been subject to unfair maps since our Republican-majority Legislature, behind closed doors and bound by nondisclosure agreements, drew some of the most gerrymandered maps in the country in 2011.  If Republicans maintain control of the Legislature, thanks to current gerrymandering, they will draw districts that allow legislators to pick their voters instead of the other way around. Those maps will be vetoed by Gov. Evers, and the issue will land in front of the state Supreme Court. Right now, the court is 5-2 with the 5 being conservative-leaning justices. The incumbent up for re-election, Dan Kelly, is a bought-and-paid-for justice; on Feb. 7 of this year, he received an $18,000 donation from Realtors PAC of Wisconsin. He has received donations from multiple county Republican parties. His campaign office is in the Republican state office. His interests clearly lie with his corporate donors. Kelly represented state Republicans in a federal trial over a lawsuit challenging the 2010 redrawing of legislative districts and has ties to the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which has helped defend Act 10. You can guess how he will rule when the new maps come before the court. Although I refer to Republicans in the preceding paragraphs, this is a nonpartisan issue. Gerrymandering has happened under both political parties. It must stop. Vote Jill Karofsky on April 7. Then the balance in the court will be as close to even as it can get, and we can hope that one of the conservative-leaning judges will find her/his integrity and ethics and vote for fair maps. * Vote absentee to avoid crowds. Go to to request a ballot from your municipal clerk. You can do this anytime before Thursday, April 2, but earlier is better. Stay healthy! Kathryn Kienholz Milltown
Time to end PBS | Terry Guanella  
It is time to end the public broadcasting system! We no longer need it with the internet. We have a wealth of educational information and news. The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 requires the CPB to operate with “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.” It also requires it to regularly review national programming for objectivity and balance, and to report on “its efforts to address concerns about objectivity and balance.” Clearly PBS is not balanced or objective. Simply look at the recent questions and comments from PBS White House reporter Yamiche Alcindor: Alcindor noted that the president called himself a nationalist on the campaign trail, saying, “Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists.” “My first question, you said you don’t take responsibility, but you did disband the White House pandemic office and the officials left this administration abruptly, what responsibility do you take to that and the officials who worked in this office; the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded?” “There are some, at least one White House official who used the term ‘Kung Flu,’ referring to the fact that virus started in China. Is that acceptable? Is it wrong?” She clearly has an anti-Trump bias! Also on a recent trip I listened to National Public Radio where the hosts simply ridiculed conservatives. Clearly these people have freedom of speech and can say what they want but I don’t have to pay for it. Not too long ago liberals complained of a conservative bias. Public broadcasting stations are funded by a combination of private donations from listeners and viewers, foundations and corporations. Funding for public television comes in roughly equal parts from government (at all levels) and the private sector. It is time to end all government funding of the public broadcasting system. No one’s tax dollars should be spent to counter their freedom of speech!   Terry Guanella Amery 
Sheriff Finch addresses citizens | Tracy Finch
Dear citizens and visitors of Burnett County, I feel the need to let all of you know that the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office staff is working diligently to form an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing all that we can to mitigate and reduce risks to our community. The drastic measures taken throughout the nation are to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our main concern is to maintain the physical health of our citizens and their families. This pandemic will not only affect people physically and emotionally, but also financially. We need to preserve the mental health of ourselves and others around us. Please look out for each other. Our community has a long track record of coming together in times of need and supporting each other. Let’s keep this going. The Burnett County Sheriff’s Office will be adjusting the way we provide services. Many more calls for service will be taken by telephone. We will still be responding to all necessary calls in person. We are asking that if a deputy comes to your house, if possible, meet them outside to conduct business. Also, please practice social distancing of 6 feet if possible. We do not want to expose any of you and do not want our deputies exposed to unnecessary illnesses. These changes will not affect enforcement of the law in Burnett County. Those who break the law will be held accountable. Burnett County Law Enforcement and Emergency Services need your help to protect our citizens and visitors. If you see or become aware of criminal activity, please report it to us. If possible, take photos or videos of what you are witnessing. Burnett County is a strong community and we will get through this. We have proven to have the grit to weather many storms. I am proud to have served as a law enforcement officer for this community for 31 years. I am honored to be your sheriff. Please know that I have your best interests at heart. Tracy Finch Burnett County Sheriff
Well done | Chuck Boutcher
I just got done reading the current edition of the Inter-County Leader and wanted to pass along my best compliments. With all that this week brought us in the advent of the coronavirus scare, you provided a great deal of valuable information as well as your normal local view on the news of the day. Your paper is one of the best regional newspapers that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. A job well done … Chuck Boutcher Frederic
A sobering week | Sarah Godewski
COVID-19 is here, and it has been a sobering week for Wisconsin. As schools close, sporting events cancel and grocery aisles go bare, there is a sense of uneasiness. In this time of need, communities across our state are coming together, whether it is the governor declaring a state of emergency or local school districts continuing to provide free meals for students. They are acting to protect the safety and well-being of Wisconsinites. And, that’s what the people of Wisconsin should expect of their elected officials, during a time in which we need all hands on deck. In our nation’s capital, there is a welcomed bipartisan effort as Republicans, Democrats and even President Donald Trump have come together in support of the Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 363-40. I would like to thank Reps. Mark Pocan, Ron Kind and Gwen Moore for their leadership in passing this legislation. It is critical that we take the necessary steps to contain the virus by addressing the financial insecurities facing many hardworking Wisconsinites. People across our state are being forced to make the difficult decision between going to work sick or staying home without pay. They fear getting other people sick but they also fear not being able to pay their utility bill or mortgage. While the Families First CoronaVirus Act is not perfect, it is the first step to providing the resources to protect the health and well-being of our citizens by providing two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of family medical leave, extending unemployment insurance, expanding food assistance and increasing Medicaid funding. This vital legislation is now with the Senate, and I urge Wisconsin Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin to support this bipartisan act. We need our federal representatives to lead in this time of uncertainty and advocate for resources that will help our people, their families, and our businesses. As Gov. Evers has stated, “this bipartisan effort to respond to the public health emergency that our nation faces is critical and must come quickly to ensure an appropriate public health and economic response.” As elected officials, protecting Wisconsinites should be our No. 1 priority. We simply do not have time for partisan politics. Coronavirus won’t wait, nor should we. Sen. Johnson and Sen. Baldwin, please support the Families First CoronaVirus Act. Sarah Godewski Wisconsin state treasurer Madison Note: This opinion was produced in cooperation with the Progressive Media Project, which is run by The Progressive magazine.
Census 2020: Why rural counts | Teresa Hoffman
By now, you have most likely received a postcard or letter in your mailbox inviting you to participate in the 2020 Census. Set forth as an effort to count everyone in the U.S., the data collected as part of the census impacts everyone who is, or is not, counted. Before your mailer filters to the bottom of your to-do stack, take a moment to recognize why completing the census is so important, especially for residents of rural communities and states. At its most basic level, data collected through the census ensures equal representation in government, the distribution of federal tax dollars back to states, and provides much-needed data and counts. With this data, policy- and decision-makers at all levels of government, as well as sectors of business, industry and services, can make informed decisions. Given the ever-increasing diversity of rural residents, an aging population and the disparities in access to services, from broadband to health care, counting every person living in a rural area is incredibly important. Unfortunately, our rural populations are often more difficult to count due to remoteness, limited broadband access, or other socioeconomic factors. That is where you play an important role in helping ensure that you and your rural neighbors are counted. First, complete the census for yourself and those living in your home—online, by mail, phone, or in-person interview. Second, encourage your neighbors, family members and friends to do the same. Don’t let April 1 come and go without being counted. For more information, visit Teresa Hoffman Policy communications associate, Center for Rural Affairs Lyons, Neb. Note: Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, nonprofit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic and environmental issues.
To our young voters | Susan Hansen
Dear young people, It is no secret that I believe your elders have failed you in so many ways. Your opportunity to take measures into your own hands at the voting polls is upon you, but you must first register to vote. You may register to vote now, online at, or in person if you will turn 18 before the November election. The same is true for the other two upcoming elections, the spring nonpartisan on April 7 for mayor, school board, etc., and the presidential preference, where you help choose which Democrat or Republican you want to vote in November, and May 12 to choose a new 7th Congressional District representative. If you wish to register at the county courthouse or county clerk’s office, you may do so until April 3. But it is best to register by March 16 when poll books are going to be printed.  To vote in Wisconsin you must first register to vote. You can start the registration process online at My Vote WI: You can also register in person at your local municipal clerk’s office, at your county clerk’s office, with a special registration deputy, or at the polling place on election day. All voters must submit proof of residence with their voter registration. Some civics teachers are taking their students on a field trip to their county courthouse to help students become empowered to exercise their voting voice. I’m sorry we adults have failed you and hope you take charge of your future. Susan Hansen Shell Lake
Do the research | Gene Peterson
It is mind-boggling to read screeds from someone who obviously has a very liberal mindset. Medicare for all and free college are estimated to cost $30 trillion - $40 trillion or more over 10 years and 160-plus million Americans will lose the health care we now have and access to the doctors of our choice. I sure don’t want someone in Washington telling me where I can get treatment and who from. The so-called evil rich now pay 90% or more of the taxes in this country. As for guns, it has been against the law in this country since the ‘30s for private citizens to own or use fully automatic weapons. It is patently untrue that NRA members (which I have been for decades) support allowing mentally ill people to have full gun rights. Take your own advice, Wayne Jensen, and do some research before you make statements that are so far out of whack. Don’t just get your talking points from the liberal mainstream media and Google. Gene Peterson Grantsburg
America a socialist country? Maybe | Mark Pettis
Could our great republic become a full socialist country? Many believe it would be easy to go from a capitalistic country to socialism and are campaigning on the idea. Socialism has been tried over and over again in country after country and it has always failed. Some here will say we are already a socialistic country because of all the entitlements we offer to so many. To name a few, Medicare, Medicaid, housing, day care, heating assistance, food allocations, primary and secondary education are among them. Full socialism that ruined many countries and empires such as Venezuela and the Roman Empire adopted the same idea. If America had never started these social programs it would be harder to convert to pure socialism but is gaining strength program by program. Once you move to the edge of a precipice it doesn’t take much to get tipped off the edge. Socialism is based on the theory “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” The principle refers to free access to and distribution of goods, capital and services made possible by the abundance of goods and services that a developed socialistic system will be capable to produce. The idea is that with the full development of socialism and unfettered productive forces there will be enough to satisfy everyone’s needs. Simply stated, in the beginning this could work because it’s our nature to better ourselves, but as more people are benefitting from achievers, the money taken will dry up because less will try to achieve. I could go on and on about this subject but I would run out of ink. This short letter is intended as food for thought. Mark Pettis Hertel
Spirit of our school is ailing, not its body | Raymond S. Baker
Spending such sums of money builds an illusion. The problems of the district cannot be remedied with the application of financial resources. A school is not bricks and mortar. Not desks and cabinets, nor gyms or auditoriums. If the “school” disappeared tomorrow the children would survive, thrive and learn.  Education is not tangible property. It is not something to be purchased. It exists irrespective. That the application of thought and reason is confined to walls is arrogance. The building is not nurturing the citizens of tomorrow. The gilded edifice is a distraction. Each and every educator within can impart the accumulated knowledge of humankind without. What teachers have to give our children cannot be bought. Reason is free, universal and profound. To tie such a timeless principle as education to real estate and chattels is to malign its core tenet. We are not masters of education, but servants. Money will not increase enrollment or the schools performance. Only a shift in fundamental values can. The answer is in our hearts, not our wallets.  If a school crumbles to the ground, the spirit of education will not be scattered to the winds. It is a spark, a fire within each of us. It was in a cave millennia ago. It lived in a hut on the Serengeti. It flourished in the monasteries of India, China and Japan. It dwelt in the teepees and wigwams of North America before any European set foot on these shores. Our test scores, declining enrollment and appalling state rankings are proof of this. The citizens asked to fund a golden calf are a generation or two removed from being educated in country schoolhouses. The essence of education is the relationship between teacher and student. Nurture, praise and revere the teacher. Foster the community of educators, build a family of staff. Their most important work is not quantified. The values they impart are immeasurable. They change lives. There is a temptation to hang these failures on our school and its governors. Our failure has grown as we’ve shirked our duties as families, friends and community. We choose to use economic success to hire out the education of youth to pursue our own goals. It is easier to make money than educate our own. We throw money at education to cover up our waning desire to serve our children.  The school system is not to blame, though it is a willing accomplice. Until we choose to stem the tide of attaching education to the edifices of schools, we will fail. To return to the fundamental concept of education is the only path out of our morass. I cannot conceive of how a school with eyes only on walls can nurture the contents within. The spirit of our school is ailing, not its body. Only an unadulterated application of collective altruism can heal these wounds. Raymond S. Baker Luck
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