From our readers
Letter to Editor:
Re: The Old-Timer
Quite a few years ago my mother found a plaque similar to yours, so I will relay to you what I know. The style is typical of the turn of the century, but was popular for several decades after; it is actually lead with a thin coating of silver, If you look closely at the edges with a lens, you will observe where the two meet. These plaques were used primarily, as far as it is known to me, on wooden grave markers of the poor and also infants. This last possibility is most likely correct, based on the location of the find, (near a field edge) and the fact that the plaque has no name. In days gone by, infants who died in, after or sadly before full-term childbirth, were often buried close by the farmstead. In my immediate area there are two that are told of for sure, belonging to the King household. (As children we told each other stories of certain dark nights when one could here them wail.) So please take special care of what you have found, it is the very last memory of some familys pain, anguish and loss.
Antiquarian and local Historian
To the Editor:
It is obvious public schools are having budget problems that are likely to continue for many reasons and years. Wisconsin elected school officials are now unconstrained by union contracts thanks to Governor Scott Walker. However, the local school boards seem to be more concerned about operational issues with buildings, buses, personnel, etc. dominating their agendas while trying to slide past parents the cuts they are making to the teaching staff. The quality of education will suffer more with cuts to the teaching staff. Teaching in an older building will not have as much impact as cutting teachers.
School management is where cuts should be made first. These people are making more money (sometimes a lot more) and their benefits cost more in many cases. Salaries and benefits of these people can be found online as can salaries of other public employees. In Crivitz for example there are two full-time principals and one full-time administrator for less that 750 students. My wifes graduating class was bigger than that. No need for three here and two teachers or more could be saved by getting rid of one of them.
So why not make cuts to administration first and also start sharing resources between school districts? The same sharing of resources could be done by cities, villages, towns, county and maybe the state. By sharing I dont mean the county doing work for a village and then charging them for doing the work. The way they are doing it now the taxpayers are paying twice for the same work. How many times do you see a taxpayer owned county snow plow truck with the plow up driving over an unplowed village or town road? Not to mention that many of them own, maintain and insure many big pieces of equipment that only get used once in awhile. With some thought and planning, duplication of many of these items and many others could be eliminated saving taxpayers lots of money. Computers with good programmers can write programs to track use of equipment and personnel to better utilize and share both. Equipment, supplies, vehicles and even health benefits could be purchased jointly by school districts, cities, villages, towns and the county again saving lots of taxpayer money. Money that could be spent on educating our children who are the future of the US.
All this would require a lot of thinking and doing. Both of which are not being even mentioned by the people running the various taxpayer funded operations. Some private business has been sharing resources for many years. The first step is easy, cut down on management of schools. The additional steps need to be started quickly before our nation gets further behind and in debt.
Taxpayer & Voter,
Re: America: Guns & the 2nd Amendment
The mindless slaughter in an Aurora theater 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 & 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 & bear arms; that a well regulated militia, composed of the body of people trained to arms is the proper, natural, & safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, & therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the community will admit; & that in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, & governed by, the civil authority.
The line between a citizens right & 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 & submachine guns which can kill many in a few seconds. In fact, machine guns killed eight million young men in France during World War I. British, French & 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. Luckily, Holmes gun in the Aurora theater jammed, or the slaughter could have been greater.
Country Population Number of Gun Gun Death Rate deaths in 2007 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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