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

To the Editor:

Re: Jail Issues Revisited

It was only 10 years ago when the Marinette County Board tried to solve the jail overcrowding problem by building a new jail. We now know that the jail problems still persist and overcrowding is again being discussed.

A little history that explains why these goals were not reached, and what the Board can learn from this experience, will be summarized below. The bottom line is that the Board disregarded input from their own consultants as well as from the grass roots concerned Citizens Group, which had stated that comprehensive planning was essential prior to any action that focused on the jail itself. This Citizens Group made many presentations to the Board, and also held countywide open meetings dealing with this topic.

The biggest expos this Citizens Group made was when they obtained a copy of a consultant’s report developed for the Board on jail overcrowding and related recommendations. It was titled “National Institute of Corrections Planning of New Institutions (the PONI Report). This is 180 pages long. The first 125 deals with system planning steps and recommendations related to overcrowding. The consultant’s emphasis was that planning should be comprehensive and systemwide, involving all resources, and not just focusing on the jail building itself.

They recommended that the first step to take was the development of a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (this was not done prior to the new jail being built). When the Citizens Group informed the Board of this PONI Report, and its importance, most of those present acted surprise, saying they were unaware of its existence. They then requested that the County Administrator obtain copies for them. The Board did not have time to read and discuss the PONI Report because within days of their request they voted for a new jail. The Citizens Group was never informed as to the cause of this serious communication breakdown.

The Citizens Group hired its own consultant for updates and to review the positions they had been taking. He strongly supported their positions. He said that the most difficult part to achieve goals was to change the attitudes of all those involved in this process. He said most counties have taken essentially obsolete positions on how to solve overcrowding, and many have focused on “brick and mortar” solutions. At a large public meeting he said over and over again, “You cannot build yourself out of overcrowding.”

Recently I called Washington and spoke to a specialist at the National Institute of Corrections. They still have consultants who work with counties in a range of ways. They sent me a two-page overview of services offered. Since they are federally funded, they state: “There is little or no cost to jurisdictions.” This is a valuable resource. Information can be obtained from Mike Jackson, a Correctional Program specialist for the National Institute of Corrections, 1-202-616-9565.

Another important resource is the County’s own Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. They have the potential to utilize the recommendations already made in the PONI Report addressed above. Much of this report is still current.

Ted Ver Haagh,

Marinette



Letter to Editor:

Marinette County Residents:

Last week at the County Board meeting the County Board Chairman and the County Executive asked Board members and department heads to try to come up with ways to reduce spending and waste in Marinette County.

Has any County Board member suggested the waste of money by the Highway Department on the Shore Drive project could be eliminated by listening to the people (300+) who use this road every day?

The residents on Shore Drive have paid high taxes because of the Bay property. Never has anyone complained about projects in other areas of the county.

The cost of this project will not only be borne by the Shore Drive residents but by all county property owners.

Please contact your Supervisor and suggest he or she submit a plan that can save the county one and a half million dollars in 2014 by rebuilding a road with an already 40 MPH speed limit to a plan that will keep the road from becoming a speedway (a plan submitted two years ago), adding a walking-bike lane.

Wayne Gerondale



Feb. 28

Dear Peshtigo Times:

Enclosed please find a letter that I had written as part of my victim impact assignment which is part of my AODA program. This is a 4 month residential program for inmates here at Chippewa Valley Treatment Facility in the Wisconsin Prison System. My instructor said that this was a good apology letter, so I am asking you if you could possibly print this letter in the Peshtigo Times. This is my apology to Marinette County.

Thank you for your time and assistance. I feel this is very important for the citizens to know how I truly feel about my crime.

“Apology Letter to Marinette County”

To the County of Marinette and the State of Wisconsin, I Lawrence Weiland want to apologize for my actions. One day in September 2011 I took it upon myself to get in my vehicle and drive. Knowing I was drunk, not only did I put the community at risk of seriously injuring someone, I also put myself at risk of injury. There was no reason for this.

I take full responsibility for what I have done. Not only did I leave my family and friends for three years, I also put a strain on the Court System and the prison population, which is becoming a serious problem in Wisconsin.

I would like to let the community know that I have been in AODA for three months now, I’m learning a lot about myself and what I have done. I would like to let the community of Marinette County know that when I get out of prison, they will not have to be afraid to drive on the streets or highways, and that I will not be on them driving drunk.

I would also like to reassure my family that this will be the last time I come to prison and leave them, because as of right now, I am willing to accept the fact that I am ready to stop drinking and breaking the law. I want to go on with my life sober and try to fix what I have broken. So once again, I apologize for any inconvenience that I have caused.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Weiland,

Chippewa Falls



Editor:

Our Governor is one of the 25 Republican Governors who rejected the Affordable Health Care Law's Expansion of Medicaid. Walker claims that turning down the federal aid will help states pay for expansion of Medicaid.

These are the facts: 83,000 poor childless adults could elect to go on Medicaid because of the cap on the number of the people who can be on the program BUT 77,000 are being tossed off of BadgerCare who have incomes above the poverty line which include families with children. Basically, a wash.

This move will cost Wisconsin taxpayers an additional $460 million through 2020, while if the State would accept federal help in expanding Medicare, Wisconsin would be money ahead. We could use that money to invest in Wisconsin's future not as a talking point for Walker's run for President in 2016.

Neighboring states: (Source: medicaid.gov)

Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed Medicaid expansion into law on July 22, 2013. Approximately 342,000 low-income Illinois residents will be newly insured under the expansion.

Minnesota: Gov. Mark Dayton (D) in February 2013 signed legislation that expanded Medicaid to an additional 35,000 childless, low-income adults in the state.

This Governor is bringing us further into debt, while accepting the Medicaid expansion funded by Federal dollars should be a no-brainer.

Kathleen Drews,

Pound



Letter to the Editor:

After reading your paper for many years and then seeing the article "County Looking At Ways To Cure Chronic Budget Deficit," I could not help but laugh.

The free spending County Administrator and County Board have for many years come up with a budget and then exceed it or "worked around it" on a regular basis so it is no wonder the budget deficit continues to grow.

Look at the County BB/Shore Drive mess, several lawsuits the county has lost, is facing or is appealing using outside law firms, big raises given to 35 hour per week employees, premium employee retirement and benefit packages, the "self funded" insurance plan of the past, tablet computers for the county board members, county employees using taxpayer provided vehicles to commute to/from home, empty old repairs needing county jail, new jail (10 years old actually) and courthouse needing lots of repairs, maintenance and upgrades, shuffling county offices from Marinette to Peshtigo, endless Twin County airport studies, many department heads not living in Marinette County, never ending new vehicles and equipment for the parks & highway departments, the list goes on forever....

The inexperienced County Administrator they hired a couple years ago and instructed to "cut the budget 10%" isn't doing this and does not seem to have a clue about how to do it. It comes as no surprise though as remember she has no experience as a County Administrator.

The sad thing is nothing will change as none of the county board member seats are challenged in the next election. One district does not even have a candidate! The old school County Board will just continue blindly down the path of increasing taxes and budget deficit as they follow the inexperienced County Administrator. Our taxes will continue to increase as much as they can without a voter/taxpayer referendum. They know if we voted on a tax increase it is not likely. Services will be cut and eventually the inexperienced County Administrator will even get her way and take money from Elderly Services.

Honestly I don't know what to suggest that you do as the people running Marinette County don't appear to listen, respond or act in the voter/tax payers best interests ever. Sad, isn't it?

Sincerely,

Pete Pfankuch,

Marinette County



To the Editor:

Re: Benefit of Employee Options

Why it is a bad thing that people may decide they don’t need a second or third part-time or full-time job? The question is important because the Congressional Budget Office (the official economic and financial non-partisan research and scoring experts for the U.S. Congress referring to Obama Care) noted that a large number of employees will not seek or continue with second and third jobs, causing a reported significant loss of reported jobs.

Continued on A-5

It should be noted that it is not the employers or companies cutting back jobs in the aggregate, it is the people saying that time spent in other areas is important also. It is important here to look at the overall picture, since it is easy to find an individual example to show whatever position you want.

What this job market change will do for the country wages is tend to push the marginal wages up, because companies and employers will have to make the lower end wages more attractive to fill those jobs. That will generally increase disposable income for a large group of workers who have little or no income not committed a minimal standard of living. In our market oriented economy, that creates demand that is sustainable. Tax breaks like the ones Wisconsin and other states are giving out this election year have never been shown to create jobs or sustain demand leading to jobs. It is also clear that those companies who base their profits on cheap labor will not be happy having to compete for labor like they do for upper management.

I have seen lots of studies and have some experience as many of others do to the effect of long work hours on family relationships, marriages, physical health and mental balance. This is a caring and compassionate thing to do for families feeling trapped working 2 and 3 jobs to trying to provide for health care along with other expenses by giving them a chance to better balance their lives. 

Gilbert Engel,

Niagara



Times Editor:

And God Created the Midwest

On the sixth day, God turned to Archangel Gabriel and said, “Today I am going to create an area of land called The Midwest. It will be a land of outstanding natural beauty. It shall have tall hills and rolling plains full of game and eagles, beautiful sparkling lakes bountiful with bass and streams full of trout, forests full of deer and turkeys, valleys with fertile soil with an abundance of nutrients to grow things, and rivers teeming with fish.”

God continued, “I shall make the land rich in resources so as to make the inhabitants prosper, I shall call these inhabitants Midwesterners, and they shall be known as the most friendly people on the earth.”

“But Lord,” asked Gabriel, “don’t you think you are being too generous to these Midwesterners?”

“Not really,” replied God. “Just wait and see the winters I am going to give them!”

Submitted by Jim Warner


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PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
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