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Letters to The Platteville Journal for Feb. 25
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Kendall vs. Amish

The Amish settled in southwest Wisconsin in the mid-1960s to 1970s. They are noted for simple living, dressing plain and agrarian life without modern technology. They  believe they can practice their religious beliefs without oppression or discrimination. As a measure of their helpfulness, often they can be found giving aid at disaster sites.

However Town of Kendall Amish have a much more difficult time living out their lifestyle, and a disaster-in-the-making visited an Amish farm a few months ago.

This farm had a driveway adjacent to a sink hole, which had been there for many years. Kendall officials took it upon themselves Dec. 4, 2013 to cut through the driveway, resulting in disruption of milk collection.

Officials defended their action with a “driveway ordinance” that was enacted Dec. 9, 2013.

Where is the Wisconsin statute that allows a governmental body to disrupt access to  private property and derail a resident’s income?

This controversial action will doubtless arise at the March 5 debate (March 12 alternate date) between officials Micah Bahr, Jackie Steffes and Don Christensen and  challengers Don Schultz and Joe Flogel.

This exploit also raises numerous questions, including:
•    Did this action violate the ex post facto law? To do so (a retroactive punishment) would be unconstitutional.
•    Was a geological study done to determine the effect on adjacent water supply?
•    Did the action resolve the sink hole issue?

It’s a moral and legal violation of private property rights to cut a driveway and make it inaccessible from the roadway. It also smacks of discrimination. Do we want to continue supporting officials who stood idly by while a farmer’s income was jeopardized?

The only sink hole worth noting is the one into which Kendall officials sank when executing this shameful action.

Don Schultz
Mineral Point

Support for Bradley

In this time of partisan divide, we join together in our support of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. We share her commitment to maintaining a Wisconsin Supreme Court that is fair, neutral and non-partisan.

Each of us comes from a different background. We belong to different political parties. But we all know and respect Justice Bradley. She is intelligent, she has enormous integrity and she believes to her core that our courts must remain free of outside special interest influences in order to fulfill their role in America’s democratic system.

We also know Justice Bradley has deep Wisconsin roots. A native of Richland Center, she and her husband raised their four children in Wausau where they still live. She cares deeply about our state and shares the values we hold dear: hard work, family, community and service to others.

Justice Bradley has served the people of Wisconsin with distinction for 20 years, making tough but fair decisions based on the law and the facts. She is a Wisconsin leader of retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s non-partisan effort to enhance civics education and has worked tirelessly to increase understanding of how our courts work.

Justice Bradley has taken leadership roles in organizations working nationally and around the world to promote the rule of law. That’s exactly the kind of Justice we want — and deserve — on our state’s highest court.

Sue Ann Thompson
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind
(D–La Crosse)
Former Sen. Dale Schultz
(R–Richland Center)
Former Sen. Tim Cullen

Walker’s budget

The proposed 2015–17 budget will probably require the closing of our UW two-year schools, which now provide the ability to study while living at home, getting a head start on a four-year degree at our of our four year campuses. Goodbye easy on-ramp to college, Wisconsinites!

At those four-year campuses the massive budget cuts will require the firing of many adjunct teachers (think “part time” teachers) as well as many non-tenure-track (think “full-time,” but no job security), and possibly even tenured teachers (imagine if you walked into work tomorrow and the boss said “pack your things”). Fewer teachers means fewer classes, but this is already a problem in the system, as an existing shortage of teachers means students cannot currently get the classes they need to graduate in four years (further ballooning their student loans).  

Walker's plan will prove to be self-correcting, however, as many students will be forced to abandon their studies (and our collective brighter futures) because student loan repayment is delayed until graduation -- or until the student fails to take a full schedule of classes. Expect a sort of “land rush” as students attempt to get into any classes they can just to fill their schedules.

Many UW students are first-generation college students, which simply means their families have no first-hand experience with college, and these students are financing their education 100 percent with student loans, getting little or no financial support from their strapped families. Many students also work, nearly full-time in many cases, demonstrating that they are already on a thin financial margin — hard working Wisconsin residents struggling for a better life, and a better future for all of us.

Those who are unwilling to quit their studies will be forced to transfer out of state or return home and begin repaying student loans, unlikely to ever return to college. Class shortage problem solved; new roads (and a stadium?) financed — and as a bonus, Wisconsin will have more workers to fill the lowest-paying jobs. Of course few will be likely, in Wisconsin or out, to recommend college candidates attend Wisconsin schools well into the foreseeable future.

Would you buy a long-term service contract with a company you knew was having financial difficulty, or had been unable (or unwilling) to fulfill their basic contractual obligations in the past? No, of course not, because you›re no fool. Walker’s UW budget plan will also mean more menial jobs and lower housing costs as our bright young people move away to study, unlikely to return to Wisconsin as productive residents — not paying taxes here, starting businesses, creating jobs, not having families (or far smaller families) and generally not contributing to the Wisconsin we love.

Sadly, when the citizens of this state realize the problem they have allowed to be created, it will be a long road to recovering the UW as it is today. The hiring process is long and tedious; the UW isn’t like a company where a qualified candidate can walk in and be hired. Several faculty spend a couple hundred hours reviewing each and every applicant’s submitted package and the entire process can take a year, assuming a qualified candidate is even found. Do you seriously believe highly qualified candidates will be flocking to a place where so many teachers are fired without notice? On a governor’s whim, with no public discussion?

Will your grandchildren understand when they learn you did nothing to stop this from happening ? Let’s hope they can’t read and never find out.

Marc Luscher

Next, the election

I am writing to express my gratitude for the show of support for my candidacy in the Feb. 17 primary election as I run for a seat on the Platteville School Board.

In recent weeks I have read that some individuals have implied that the need for having a primary election is a cause of concern. Personally, I believe the above normal interest in serving as a school board member stems from the very important decisions facing the school district’s leadership teams.

As all stakeholders, from students and parents to teachers and community members, prepare for the collaborative work ahead on student assessment, the building referendum and teacher effectiveness mentoring, all constituents are going to need to identify and support the school board candidates that can be thoughtful and respectful while advocating fairly and passionately for students, families, teachers, and administrators, to maintain our schools’ educational excellence under trying fiscal conditions.

I am excited to continue my campaign and I look forward to sharing my skills, ideas, and experience to support the educational leadership which resides in our current staff and administration to help our K-12 students thrive by building a robust set of 21st-century skills.

I would like to encourage any resident of the district to feel free to contact me to discuss my qualifications or questions they may have on my positions on current or future district initiatives or needs.

Colleen McCabe

The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.