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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From our readers

Editor:

Throughout the past two years, I have worked to reform the way state government

operates. While the main focus has been on reforms to our state budget, my colleagues and I have also addressed badly need changes in state agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In the next legislative session, I believe there should be serious consideration given to moving the Division of Forestry in the DNR to Northern Wisconsin. Over the past 50 years, there has been a consolidation of control over the administrative functions of state government in Madison.

However, it seems to me that it would be logical to locate the Division of Forestry in the part of the state that contains the majority of our forestland northern Wisconsin.

As the Vice-Chair of the Forestry Committee in the State Assembly, I see firsthand how underappreciated the forest products industry is in Wisconsin. Without a new approach to the industry, it may continue to wither—e.g., the sawmill and paper mill closures of the last decade.

On a recent field trip to the Tomahawk area with some of the leaders of the DNR, it became apparent that divisions in the DNR were not effectively communicating with staff around the state. In one case, a spring break-up project was needlessly delayed because of a lack of communication between Madison and the DNR field personnel. This delay impacted the logging community, costing them both time and money. Having the Forestry Division leadership closest to the “action” will increase responsiveness.

Some might argue that the divisions within the DNR should be located in Madison to foster communication among leadership officials. However, with current technology, divisions are able to interact easily through phone calls, e-mails, and teleconferences. The above example highlights the need for division leaders to be present in the field instead of the marble buildings in Madison.

In addition, the Division of Forestry should strongly consider implementing a Young Forests Initiative. Right now, the age mix of our forests is out of balance. There needs to be more emphasis on new growth.

Since the Cutover, Wisconsin has been a world leader in reforestation. There have been a myriad of benefits that have resulted from the reforestation: business growth, a diverse menu of opportunities for sportsmen, a solid tax base for schools, and the most important benefit—jobs. In the last 20 years we have begun to slip due to the lack of management for healthy, young forests.

Aspen (popple) and other early successional species not only are a prime source for paper mills, but also are the preferred habitat for many wildlife species. The push for “old growth” is actually creating problems for some species like the golden winged warbler, which thrive in an early successional habitat.

Wisconsin’s forestlands are all too important to our state—the environment and economy depend on them. Therefore, it is essential that the Division of Forestry manage our forestlands effectively. I look forward to working with the DNR on these proposals over the coming months.

Tom Tiffany,

State Representative

35th Assembly District



To the Editor:

There is a wealth of information in your paper. On the front page of the Aug. 1 issue one headline said it all: “Marinette County Employee Health Care Costs Twice Midwest Average.” The article did not mention that this cost is down considerably from a year or so ago when the county was self insured!

An article about the County Board read: “After hearing some explanations, the board approved Finance and Personnel Committee recommendations to eliminate a vacant Programmer/Analyst position in the Information Services Department and replace it with a Network Coordinator position, at an annual cost of $102,439 with salary of $61,283 per year and all benefits.” It makes me wonder how many $100 K+ per year employees there are working for Marinette County? I wonder if this is for 35 or 40 hours per week?

Also in the same article was the following: “Board Chair Vilas Schroeder was one of a handful of supervisors “playing with computers” at the meeting. He said they were not really playing, but instead were “trying to learn how technology can improve our lives.” There are some tentative plans to have all County Board members equipped with laptop computers and agendas, meeting minutes, etc. distributed via computer rather than by snail mail and paper in the relatively near future.”

I’ve read that many current County Board members don’t know how to operate a computer or have Internet access. I wonder what this will cost us taxpayers? They will all need computers, internet access, training, printers, ink, paper, etc. but there will be a savings in postage perhaps? If the board members don’t know about technology should they be even on the board?

Then we have an article on New Shoreland Rules. State mandated “rules” that will cost the local taxpayers more money to monitor and enforce over and above what we are spending already enforcing rules that many times are silly.

Thank you for the information. Now somehow we need to get more people’s attention and action before it is too late, or is it already?

Sincerely,

Pete Pfankuch,

Crivitz



Letter to Editor:

I would like to write to all of the customers of CenturyLink (formerly CenturyTel) who have dial-up Internet. I have been trying for SIX years to get High Speed Internet out where I live, but they keep coming up with the EXCUSE that I’m not close enough to a tower. There is a tower not even 7 miles from me and I know they made it stronger and I still can’t get High-Speed. (Come on now!)

I call all the time to see when I can get it, but it still is the same dumb excuse.

I thought it came through our telephone line, at least that is what we were told.

Once when I called, the gal I was talking to said when I have $10,000,000 they would put it up. NOW HOW STUPID IS THAT!!!

I would like all the customers that have dial-up to start calling CenturyLink all the time and really start complaining about the lousy service we get. The number is 715-856-9109 in Wausaukee or 1-800-201-4099 Residential - Installation & Service.

Maybe this will help ALL of us. Thank you!

Carole Bangert,

Athelstane


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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