From our readersIssue Date: December 26, 2012
To the Editor:
Is Lake Michigan a Toxic Dump?
I ask the question after reading a news release concerning the Badger auto ferry which goes from Wisconsin to Lower Michigan. The Badger owners were given four years by the EPA to stop dumping coal ash (a toxic by-product produced by burning coal for power) into Lake Michigan. The Badger reportedly dumped 500 tons of coal ash per year or 5,000 tons in 10 years. The ferry was given an extension pushed through by Republican US House Representatives from Michigan and Wisconsin pending getting on the National Historic Registry.
This time round these same representatives, Rep. Bill Huizenga R-Mich. and Rep. Tom Petri R-Wisc., are seeking an amendment to the U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization bill that would allow the Badger to continue to dump toxic coal ash at a rate of about 500 tons per year into Lake Michigan for as long as the Badger floats. Under Wisconsin law, coal ash cannot be deposited in any area where the toxins can leach into any ground water supply or surface water reserve. It should also be noted that this is the only ferry in the country that is allowed this exemption.
It makes little sense to argue that the owners cannot retrofit the Badger power generating system to eliminate the dumping of coal ash in Lake Michigan. The does not run all year giving it the time to do the work, although that should not be a factor in the decision to do the retrofit. The financial planning for operating the ferry should include an allowance for power plant repairs and rebuilding if needed for the power generating plant, and the extent of the customer base is big enough to allow for minor limited surcharges to cover costs in excess of the built in maintenance costs in the budget. Because of the nature of the service, minor fare increases are not going to affect ridership numbers particularly if the customer understands it is to the preserve the quality of the Great Lakes.
This seems to leave greed, blatant disregard for the environmental health of the Great Lakes, and short-term profits as the owners motivation to seek a legal exemption. They appear to be acting in their immediate self-interests much like the West Virginia and Kentucky coal mine owners did prior to the health and safety regulations after in part deaths due to black lung disease.
What is the motivation for Republican legislators? Could it be greed, arrogance, campaign funds from the Badger owners, ignorance (not likely), even possible corruption (essentially have votes in the Congress for sale), or/and an absolute disregard and disrespect for the environment we will leave for coming generations? I dont know the answer but it seems clear to me the answer is somewhere in the above list. For at least these Republicans, the answer is that Lake Michigan is a toxic dump site. I also see no opposition coming from area House Reps, Republicans Benishek, Ribble or Duffy.
Winston Churchill said, You can trust the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.
On the gun issue, we have tried everything else. Its time to do the right thing!
On the fiscal cliff thing, Im afraid we havent tried everything yet, not even close.
Both parties seem to be pushing me over the cliff. Im glad I got me a hand glider.
P.S. Our hand glider is Social Security as it now exists.
Letter to Editor:
Marinette County is a great place to live. After reading the article in the Dec. 12 edition titled Allow Highway Heads To Take Vehicles Home I was shocked. I cannot believe that we taxpayers are allowing and paying not one but four highway department employees to drive back and forth to work. None of them live in Marinette County. One lives near Appleton!
It would seem to me that county employees should be required to live in Marinette County unless there are extreme circumstances. No matter what the circumstances are employees should have to live in Marinette County eventually or they should be fired.
I wonder if they are paying taxes on this benefit as the IRS considers a company vehicle a taxable benefit. They should also be billed for personal miles as every person that I know has a company vehicle is billed for personal use no matter what.
I wonder how many other Marinette County employees take taxpayer provided vehicles home? I understand why the Sheriff and his deputies would be taking county vehicles home but the highway department shop foreman? I believe that deputies have to live in Marinette County so why not everybody that works for the county? I wonder if the Marinette County Administrator has moved into Marinette County yet?
Once again we just need to get the old guard County Board to move into modern times with their thinking and actions. Time again to pick up the phone and tell them along with the Marinette County Highway Committee what you think and want to pay for. Marinette County is a great place to live but it is hard to know if you dont live here.
Marinette County Resident
Is it Santa or Jesus,
That you want to please?
Do you look up the chimney,
Or fall to your knees?
Are you looking for presents,
Or do you want to give?
Are you seeking for self,
Or a good life to live?
Do you want happiness for a moment,
Or true contentment each day?
For pleasures that last,
Or ones that soon fade away?
For Santa that appears,
Yet soon flies away.
Or Jesus Who is with you
Each hour of the day?
The choice now is yours,
For Christmas is here.
Is it Santa or Jesus,
That youll worship this year?
By Joyce Bedora
Formerly of Peshtigo
Christmas In A Small Town
Some might ask the question, what makes a small community great? Well, I know and Id like to share with you. An article was previously printed in the paper stating the generous donation by several individuals connected with the Wooden Shoe raffle for the 2012 Lena Christmas Adopt-A-Family.
Well, since that time, several other individuals from the small town of Lena came forth to make six different families in Lenas Christmas brighter with their generosity. On behalf of the six anonymous families in Lena, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their part in Lenas 2012 Adopt-A-Family program:
The Friends of the Lena Library donated a new book to each family member; Lenas Agriculture Department donated a poinsettia for each family; Mrs. Shannon Bishop, a Special Ed teacher, along with Mrs. Tracy Schwabe, a Lena Instructional Aide, made jewelry for each member; an anonymous Lena faculty member donated $50 worth of gift cards to McDonalds and $50 worth of gift cards to The Store.
Also, Lenas General Music Department donated fruit; many non-perishable food items were donated from area families; Mrs. Laurie Jensen, Lenas FACE/Health teacher along with her students, made each family a cookie tin full of cookies and candies; toys, clothes, household items were donated from anonymous individuals at a drop off location at Citizens Bank;
Personal Care items and baking products were donated by many Lena Staff members; an anonymous donor dropped off $100 towards the program; an anonymous family adopted a whole family for Christmas; and the National Honor Society Students wrapped all the presents.
As you can see from the list, I dont have to ask myself what makes a small community great? I know, and I wanted the rest of you to know as well.
Many warm wishes for peace for the Holiday Season and the New Year,
Counselor at Lena
To the Editor:
America: Guns & the 2nd Amendment
The mindless slaughter in a Connecticut school will lead to a predictable discussion of the 2nd Amendment, which states, A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA, BEING NECESSARY TO THE SAFETY OF A FREE STATE, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. [Approved by the Virginia Legislature in December, 1791]
Discussion of this amendment in the 18th century was based on our experience with British rule. We feared standing armies under the control of a remote imperial government in far off London, at least two months away. In seeking approval for the new national government, which would be weeks away from most citizens homes, a bill of rights was promised, limiting the reach of the new government.
Virginia had earlier adopted the Virginia Amendments on June 27, 1788, which stated that the right to bear arms was tied to being a member of the militia [National Guard]. Virginias proposed 17th Article stated That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and thereafter ought to be avoided, as far as the community will admit; and that in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil authority.
The line between a citizens right and the governments authority is not always clear. Farmers in western Pennsylvania revolted during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 because they did not want to pay a tax on whiskey. President Washington sent in an army to crush the tax rebellion. President Jefferson later reduced the army from 4,000 to 2,500 men. [He was less concerned about the fifth of American population made up of slaves since the Constitution considered slaves property] The world has changed.
In place of a single shot not particularly reliable musket, we now have machine guns and submachine guns which can kill many in a few seconds. In fact, machine guns killed eight million young men during World War I. British, French and German generals concluded that a machine gun could fire faster than infantrymen could run. Many Americans seem to believe that a submachine gun is similar to an 18th century musket.
Country Population Number of Gun Gun Death Rate deaths in 2006 per 100,000
Spain 43m 309 0.75
France 62m 2.964 4.93
Japan 123m 96 0.08
South Korea 47m 49 0.10
England/Wales 53m 159 0.31
United States 308m 29,645 10.08
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