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Letters to The Platteville Journal for May 13
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4-H and Dairy Days

After serving at the Dairy Days 4-H food stand for several years, four of the five local 4-H Clubs have decided to no longer participate in the organization and running of the main food stand. This decision comes after hours of discussion amongst the 4-H leaders, member families, and negotiations with the Dairy Days Committee Board. 

Dairy Days was established in 1947 as a family themed event that recognized the agricultural heritage of Platteville and the surrounding community. The weekend event is currently organized and run by a local board, which works hard raising funds, obtaining entertainment, and organizing vendors and activities. Just prior to the 2014 event, the board made the decision to implement a food ticket system for all the local food vendors. While 4-H leaders and members opposed this idea, they agreed to test it. The results appeared to cause a sizable decline in sales from the previous five years and adversely affected the fundraising efforts of the clubs.

4-H is a nonprofit organization whose mission is youth development and mentoring. Volunteers serve as leaders for 4-H members and their families who are involved in many diversified activities far outside the realm of agriculture. We strive to empower our young people, and teach them about the importance of family and community through service learning. Funds generated at the food stand are split evenly among the cooperating clubs who use the money to fund leadership programs, camps, community service work, international programs, education, and several other development and mentoring programs.

The core clubs have been involved with Dairy Days for a very long time. Our goal in organizing the food stand has always been community involvement while developing youth through work and service. We still want the event to be affordable and practical for families especially during this time of economic challenge. As per our contract with Dairy Days, the committee has always been entitled to a percentage of vendor earnings. In 2014, the calculation was altered along with the implementation of the ticket system. These changes forced 4-H to increase prices charged in order to cover our expenses. 

It is our belief, after hearing public comments and complaints, that the ticket system overcomplicated food purchases. Customers became frustrated when they stood in line for tickets and then had to stand in line again to purchase food. Customers often ended up with too many or not enough tickets for the items they wanted. In addition, while the tickets were nonrefundable, many overspent their budget. This system confused the customers and caused lost sales as many became frustrated and walked away. Additionally, families were spending more time in lines and less time enjoying the activities. 

4-H has a strong positive presence in the community and strives to maintain that. Customers who were angry about the ticket system lodged their complaints with 4-H members who were trying to serve them. We were put in a difficult position of being the vendor having to defend a currency system that we didn’t support. We voiced our concerns to the Dairy Days Board after the event and we felt our concerns were disregarded. 

We believe the direction of the Dairy Days Board, based on our meetings with the committee, has become more enterprising and we no longer share mutual goals. We appreciate the opportunity Dairy Days has given our clubs through the partnership of the food stand, but we feel that perhaps with the changing mission of both entities, it is time for us to step aside from our participation in Dairy Days and pursue other fundraising options for the benefit of our members. We would like to thank all those community members who have supported our efforts over the years by coming to get our sandwiches and being patient with our members as they learned. We ask for your continued support for the mission of 4-H in Platteville and Grant County.

BlockHouse Builders 4-H Club
Cornelia Badgers 4-H Club
Happy Clovers 4-H Club
Platteville Woodchucks 4-H Club

Prevailing politics

If I wish to build a house, the backhoe operator digging my foundation might get paid $25 an hour from his boss, but when he digs for the new library, he might get paid $75 an hour. A dump truck driver might make $20 an hour to gravel my driveway, but $60 an hour to put gravel on the road past my house. The dozer operator might get paid $35 an hour to backfill my basement, but $100 to level the new school parking lot.

Why the different pay scales? Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law, passed in 1931 during the Depression to prevent out-of-state companies from bidding on Wisconsin public projects, requires the high wages be paid on any state-funded project, such as schools, roads, and public buildings.

Contractors must include state-mandated wages in public project bids, which greatly increases the cost for roads and public buildings. But contractors are not paying their workers with company money. They are paying with your money.

Why hasn’t this outdated law been repealed? Campaign cash.

Campaign cash is the life-blood of politicians. Every public works project is a political decision, made by politicians. Public-works contractors are very generous campaign contributors, because their company’s fortunes depend on the actions of politicians to approve projects.

Wisconsin’s road fund is $300 million in the red. Many of our schools need remodeling and replacing.

Wisconsin has a choice. Pay more for gas, more for licenses, and more for schools, or repeal prevailing wage laws and cut politicians from one of their lucrative sources of campaign cash.

Dave Kuhle
Hazel Green


‘For your immortal soul’

I’m writing about your pieces about Bishop Robert Morlino’s visit to Platteville and the Nov. 26 Etc. column.

The Catholic Church is a kingdom, always and still is, and will continue. If you don’t understand that you don’t know anything about the church.

The people were blessed with the best Catholic priests in the world. Through the last 50 years of the falling away they don’t even realize that.

Every church member is there by the grace of Christ, who is so gentle changing his mind that they don’t even know it. That includes you. You want to be Protestants?

The bishop and his priests answer to Christ Almighty. I hope you would consider this for your immortal soul.

Kenneth R. Studinski

Sorry about Garth

On Friday morning, you may have seen on ABC’s Good Morning America Garth Brooks singing “Mom” to Mrs. Garrison at her farm in Darlington. Her daughter Brook (you may have seen her selling you baked goods at the Walker House) had entered her mom in the Good Morning America contest to have Garth Brooks sing to her for Mother’s Day. Well, she won, and so did the Walker House, though we need to apologize for it.

An advance TV crew stayed at the Walker House in mid-week and requested that we close the building to other guests. No word of Mrs. Garrison’s selection could leak out, because Garth Brooks and about a hundred other people were showing up at the farm unannounced Friday at 7 a.m. It was a surprise. We apologize for not letting you into the Walker House during the week. 

We also apologize for losing our chef and baker Lisa Govier for a few days. Someone had to feed the TV crew and Garth Brooks. Lisa prepared a full breakfast for 20 people at 3 a.m. Friday and a continental breakfast for 100 at 5 a.m. on the farm.  It takes a lot of people and energy to surprise a farm wife.

Finally, we apologize for not being able to describe the TV broadcast to you, or even how the Walker House vases of flowers were used in some background shots. You see, we have no TVs at the Walker House. But you can get an eyewitness account of the event from Lisa or Brook. They were there.

Kathy Vaillancourt
Walker House, Mineral Point


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 determines 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.