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Letters to The Platteville Journal for May 21
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Damage before mining

On April 7, a containment breach occurred after rains at the Pattison Sand Bridgeport frac sand mine. It appears sediment runoff flowed onto a neighboring property and not the Wisconsin River.

The Department of Natural Resources did an onsite inspection a week later. This breach happening, before full mining operations begin, points to the inherent risks of industrial mining so close to an environmentally sensitive and highly valued resource, the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. With Town of Bridgeport officials allowing mining with virtually no permit conditions and limited oversight by the DNR, many serious concerns remain.

Thousands of people enjoy the Riverway for a wide variety of recreational activities. It contains rare species, historical and archeological sites, and provides necessary wildlife habitat. In August the Riverway board denied the Pattison Sand permits for frac sand mining within its boundaries, seeking to uphold their mission of protecting this most valuable resource. Pattison Sand and the four landowners are seeking to overturn the board’s decision. The court hearing on this lawsuit is scheduled for the Grant County Courthouse in Lancaster June 10 at 2:30 p.m.

In the meantime, the Riverway board requested a state legislative rule change to eliminate any loopholes that seemingly open the door to industrial frac sand mining within the Riverway. I strongly encourage you to contact your state officials and ask them to support this Riverway rule change.

With the Riverway celebrating its 25th anniversary we must ensure this precious gem and beautiful river continues to be protected for future generations.

Kathy Byrne
Co-Coordinator, Crawford Stewardship Project

‘Fanatic U.S. citizens’

The U.S. gained independence through revolution. Canada became independent through negotiation. Is it any wonder then that fanatic U.S. citizens will die to defend their right to carry weapons everywhere and guns are not an issue in Canada?

Civil war held a fractured United States together. The U.S. persists in looking to war for solutions to problems. Canada continues to support peaceful resolution to problems.

Russia in the post-Czar state was born of revolution and continues to foment conflict. Postwar Germany formed with a constitution that promises to contribute to peaceful solutions rather than war.

Recently German chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Premier Vladimir Putin agreed to support negotiations leading to greater autonomy for the three countries within an independent state of Ukraine. The U.S. has not joined efforts to encourage efforts to negotiate a solution to the unrest in the Ukraine.

The Ukraine presents the latest challenge to world peace. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart negotiated terms for a peaceful solution to the present conflict, but there has been little success in starting negotiation.

Has U.S. history contributed to lack of a peaceful solution in Ukraine? U.S. representatives continue to portray Putin as a crazy warmonger and do not follow up on his efforts toward peace. Perhaps the answer lies with U.S. citizens. We have not insisted that our leaders work diligently for a peaceful solution in the Ukraine.

John Hempstead
La Crosse

Letter-carriers and dogs

A dog might be a man’s best friend, but is it a letter carrier’s?

Warmer temperatures mean children playing, letter carriers delivering, and dogs barking. Most dogs are safely behind a fence or on a lease. However, there are some situations when a dog can be potentially dangerous.

Several of our letter carriers know first-hand about the prevention and pain of animal attacks, and we want to help educate the community — especially during National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

More than 4.5 million people are bitten annually by dogs. Last year, 5,600 postal employees were victimized by dogs across the country. And more than 2 million children receive dog bite injuries each year. Small children, the elderly and letter carriers, in that order, are the most frequent victims of dog bites.

Dog attacks are the most commonly reported childhood public health problem in the U.S. Dog bite victims account for up to 5 percent of emergency room visits.

So what can you do to avoid being bitten? Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you. If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, and then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.

What can a responsible dog owner do to keep the community safe? Take your dog to obedience training. It can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation. When the letter carrier comes to your home, please keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room, or on a leash.

To learn more about National Dog Bite Prevention Week, ask your letter carrier, contact your local post office, or visit

Johnny O’Shea
Platteville postmaster

Special Saturday

Something special happened at Smith Park on Saturday afternoon. A group of high school students got together and had a party in the park. But there were a few unexpected twists to this particular party.

They played basketball; they played music; they ate brats, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. They invited the nearby residents of Park Place to join them in a game of bingo. They had a Dilly Bar eating contest. And they conducted a silent auction featuring art and pottery created by high school students along with items donated by area businesses.

This wasn’t your typical party in the park with teenagers. These Platteville High School students organized this event with the goal of raising money for college scholarships for their fellow PHS students.

The students belong to a group called “Headfakes.” With Josh Inglett, a UW–Platteville engineering student, at the helm, these students have met weekly to have “guided conversations,” explore their passions and collectively dream big. Early on, they hit on the idea of creating this fundraiser. They planned the event; they outlined criteria for the scholarship; they promoted and executed the event; they selected the scholarship recipients and presented the scholarships at the PHS awards ceremony on Monday.

A “head fake” can be described as “indirect learning.” Sometimes the best way to teach somebody something is to have them think they’re learning something else. It can be an unexpected outcome. As I witnessed these students sharing their talents and passions via this “Party in the Park.” I was so impressed. For these students to dedicate the time to create an event to benefit their peers, to enable his or her dreams, is so inspiring. My guess is they learned a few things about marketing, event planning and fundraising too … well, that’s the head fake.

For more information about Head Fakes, visit their Facebook page or email Josh at  And plan now to attend next year’s Headfakes Party in the Park!

Kathy Neumeister

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.