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

Letter to Editor:

I would like to thank everyone who attended the Peshtigo Blood Drive at Faith Baptist Church in Peshtigo on June 10.

Thank you to the American Red Cross staff, Peshtigo Woman’s Club members who baked and volunteered their time, and Faith Baptist Church members, especially Leslie Liesch and Red Thompson. Also, thanks to Culligan for the donation of water and to all the businesses who allowed us to put up signs and for supporting this very important event. We had two first-time donors and four volunteers who gave double units. We made over our goal and collected 30 units!

The next Peshtigo Woman’s Club sponsored blood drive is in December.

Cindy Hagert,

Coordinator



Dear Editor:

I would like to compliment all the people involved in the Breakfast on the Farm committee who worked so hard to make the annual event a huge success. I would especially like to thank Kevin and Kathie Carlson for hosting the event. This was the second breakfast I have attended. I was amazed at how the volunteers all worked together and were so pleasant to all those who attended. As a former chef, I understand the time and effort it takes to make an event like that so successful.

Being 89 years old, it was heartwarming to see the young people who transported many of the elderly - they were so polite and welcoming. I couldn’t ask for a nicer group of people. The food and friendship was absolutely excellent. I was born and raised on a farm and I truly appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into farming today.

I am already looking forward to next year’s breakfast and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the wonderful event. Hats off to all our farmers, they truly are the backbone of America.

Sincerely,

Felix (Phil) Orlando,

Wausaukee



To the Editor:

Are our US House Representatives Independent?

I ask this partially because the previous Representatives for the UP and Northern Wisconsin were. I did not always agree with them but they seem to have their own mind. I wondered if that was true for both Representative Ribble and Representative Benishek. To check this out I reviewed the voting records of both Representatives for the 112th Congress on major legislation. The first thing I noticed was that both voted exactly the same, and both never voted against their leadership. This suggests that the people representing Ohio, California, Virginia, and Southern Wisconsin have always done what is good for us. I find that a hard thing to believe.

The next issue is the positions that Representative Ribble and Representative Benishek supported. In the Defense area, both supported a Defense budget that had several million dollars in it that that military felt were unnecessary. This is at odds with the continual verbiage about deficits and expense cutting. They also supported taking military decisions with reference to both Afghanistan and Libya from the Commander and Chief and the military, and put it in the hands of the Congress. Congress already has some control through the war powers acts and funding control. This seems to me to be a bad idea given the ability of Congress to act and the political swings inherent in the system. There was predictably the defunding and repeal of the health care reform. Deregulation proposals and cutting of various housing program were also common themes for these Representatives. They voted to defund National Public Radio although its funding was small and important to the rural area we live in. It seemed like an effort to control the public dialogue. They also revised the voucher program that allows public money to go to private and religious schools in Washington, DC.

In the housing area, they voted to defund the Home Affordable Modification Program, and the FHA Refinance Program. These maybe could have been modified to work more efficiently but seem to me to be needed given the present housing market, and slow pace of the recovery. They also voted to terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Act along with the Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act. That cost Wisconsin $7.6 million and Michigan $57.5 million. These were funds coming to the states at times when the states are in desperate need of funding particularly coming into the local economies. They were also voting in this vote to deregulate Wall Street, a big part of how we got into this economic disaster.

The last area I will look at is Public Health. They voted to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund and passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 that contains this statement “The Administration may not promulgate any regulation concerning, take action relating to, or take into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change.” It seems to me that this does fit with the quality of the environment we are so proud of. In another bill, they voted against (it passed with a minority of Republican votes) including veterinary issues as part of food and public health issues. Food safety and public health as affected by animals I thought would be a concern for all.

Are the Representatives in this area independent? There appears to be no evidence other than their speeches to indicate that they are. Is that what we want?

Gilbert Engel,

Niagara



Letter to the Editor:

Several of the area school boards seem to be having problems and also have very strange methods of operation.

Marinette had a write-in candidate win a seat on the school board. A guidance counselor, he was soon to retire. Seems the board and their attorney felt that was a conflict of interest so he could not accept the position the voters felt he was qualified for. He also could not be appointed to the position after he retired in June. This same school board also had a person that was interested in being appointed to the vacant position but his wife was a teacher so that was also a big no - no. They finally appointed the guy that chose to not run for his former school board seat. Does this make sense to you?

Crivitz lost a school board member because he was out of the district often and too long for some years. He had been leaving for many years. So they are short one member. The Crivitz school board is being sued again by a former employee. A board member is also being sued individually along with the former part-time administrator. The same school board member that is being sued just got a contract to install a special air conditioning system for the school computer system. But I guess that is okay because his wife teaches part time in the Crivitz School System while his sister is a full-time teacher! This fits in well with another School Board member whose wife also works part time for the school district.

It seems to me two members are what is referred to as “incompatibility of office.” What this means is that a person who sits on the school board and holds a position is the ultimate supervisor over all the positions in the district. It should not matter that he may be permitted to abstain from voting in these areas or whether conflicts exist in all or a greater part of the functions of his office and position. It is sufficient that the substantial conflicts might exist that would be detrimental to the public. The Wisconsin Attorney General said this in a case involving the city of Green Bay.

I wonder if the local district attorney, who is an elected official, is paying any attention to these things.

I believe that the reason that we elected a new governor is to make changes. We also need to make changes locally. Perhaps the reason we have problems with the economy, employment, budgets and the like is because we are to busy to pay attention to things going on that directly affect us! Maybe people need to take the time to read the paper and pay attention to the local news so we voters can make informed decisions on election day and not have to fix everything later?

Sincerely,

Pete Pfankuch,

Crivitz



Dear Editor:

My father, Richard J. Hallen, was born in 1929 in Marinette, served in the Air Force, and died in Marinette in 1974.

My mother, Florence O. Forstrom, was also born in Marinette, in 1936, and supported my father through his military service. She died in Phoenix, Ariz. in 2005.

I am the oldest of their four children, along with Michael, Diana and James.

Our father was the son of Joseph Hallen and Gertrude Kahne/Koehn of Carney Boulevard, Marinette. The house that Great-Grandpa Godfrey Hallen built stood where the playground for the Lutheran School is now. I don't know of any living relatives in the area, except for Bette Becker in Peshtigo, my Grandma Gert's cousin.

Our mother was the daughter of Thure Forstrom of Sweden and Constance Peterson of Menekaunee. They lived at Wells and Logan. My Aunt Lucille (Forstrom) Konell still lives in Marinette, and so does her daughter Sandye (Konell) Lofman.

I have done a great deal of family history on my pioneer relatives in Marinette County. On both sides of my father's family, there are survivors of the Peshtigo Fire: Godfrey and Barbara (Bohman) Hallen on Grandpa Joe's side, and Joseph and Sophia (Schellk) Martin on Grandma Gert's side.

Great-Grandmother Barbara Bohman came from Austria in the 1860's, with her father Joseph and siblings. Mary Bohman married Matthew Tillman, and they had a boarding house in Marinette. Anna Bohman married Peter Thull, and there may still be Thull cousins in Marinette county. Michael Bohman married Maria Rauner, and he built a brewery in Menominee. Franziskca Bohman married Julius Plutchak, and they lived in Daggett, Mich.

Great-Grandfather Godfrey Hallen came from Germany in 1856 with his parents, Herman and Elizabeth, and his siblings. They settled in Waterford, Racine County, Wisconsin. His oldest half-brother was Henry Wink, who came to America first, in 1854. Henry was the baptismal sponsor for little Elisabeth (Lisel) Hallen, Godfrey and Barbara's first child, who went through the Fire with them on their way to Marinette in October 1871. Henry was a veteran of the Civil War, and the Cemetery Committee recently helped me restore his family grave plots at Forest Lawn.

Cynthia L. Hallen

Associate Professor,

Linguistics & English Language

Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah

Here is a children’s story about my German immigrant ancestors:

LISEL and LOKI

by Cynthia L. Hallen

This is a short story about a little girl named Lisel and her dog named Loki. They lived in Wisconsin a long time ago.

Lisel's Papa, Godfrey, came from Germany to Wisconsin in 1856. Lisel's Mama, Barbara, came from Austria to Wisconsin in 1867.

Godfrey and Barbara met at Auntie Tillman's boarding house in Marinette, Wisconsin. They got married in St. Mary's Cathedral at Green Bay in 1869.

They moved down south to Waterford, Wisconsin. They lived with Godfrey's parents, Herman and Elizabeth.

Godfrey and Barbara's first baby was born on January 31, 1870. They named their daughter Elizabeth, but they called her Lisel.

“She never walks, she dances!” said Mama Barbara.

When Lisel was a toddler, the family moved back to Marinette.

On the way up north, they were caught in the terrible Peshtigo Fire of October 1871. They had to go into the Peshtigo River to save their lives.

Papa Godfrey held Lisel on his shoulders, and Mama Barbara prayed for help.

When they came out of the river after the fire, they saw a lost dog. The dog wagged his long wet tail and panted a smile.

“He is a good dog,” said Papa Godfrey.

The dog followed them to Auntie Tillman's boarding house in Marinette. They named him Loki because he was lucky to survive the fire.

Godfrey built a log cabin in a large meadow. It became the first home on Carney Boulevard.

Barbara made Lisel a little rag doll with button eyes. Lisel named her dolly Mary, and she played with Loki.

But Lisel was still weak from the cold water of the river and the black smoke of the fire.

One day Lisel dropped her dolly, and Loki took it to the frame house wall that Godfrey was building.

When winter came, Lisel got sick with a bad fever, and she was crying for her dolly: “Mary! Mary!”

Godfrey and Barbara looked for the dolly, but they did not see it in the frame house wall.

Lisel died on a sad day in 1873, and Loki the dog disappeared. They found Loki dead on Lisel's grave three days later.

Godfrey and Barbara had other children who grew up and lived a long time: Michael, Anna, Barbara, Mary, Margaret, Kate, Elizabeth, Fred, and Joseph.

Godfrey and Barbara never told the other children about Lisel because they were too sad.

One day Elizabeth was helping her parents remodel the old frame house that Godfrey had built.

When Ewald the handyman found a rag doll inside the wall, Godfrey and Barbara hugged each and cried: “Mary! Mary!”

Elizabeth was surprised, so they told her about the fire and the fever and the dolly.

They told her about their first little child Lisel and her lucky dog Loki.

“She never walked, she danced!” said Mama Barbara.

“He was a good dog,” said Papa Godfrey.

(My Great Aunt Elizabeth Hallen Siebenthal told me this story when she was 90 years old. And now I am telling you this story from our family history.)


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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