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Platteville Journal Letters to the Editor for Aug. 29
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‘Uninformed’ on bars    

As an entrepreneur and local tavern owner, I have been deeply disturbed by the articles in The Platteville Journal in August regarding the change in Grant County sheriff.

In the Aug. 15 Journal, retiring Sheriff Keith Govier mentions that he began the practice of applying for alcohol patrol grants. Sheriff Govier then gives that credit for being one of the things that has reduced traffic fatalities in Grant County during his tenure. Nowhere in the article is any other possible factor mentioned, such as the vast improvements in the quality of road design and the exponentially safer design of cars, both of which are prevalent today.

The obvious implication that most all traffic fatalities are caused by the consumption of alcohol I consider irresponsible. Such statements are similar to the coverage of traffic accidents in this and other papers. If a traffic accident occurs, but the cause is unknown, news coverage makes a point to list that “alcohol has not been ruled out as a factor.”

News coverage does not mention other things, such as: texting while driving, improper tire inflation, weather conditions, or wildlife that may also have not been ruled out as a factor. Also, later if alcohol is ruled out as a factor, no retraction of the earlier comment is ever printed.

Later in the article, Sheriff Govier is also quoted as saying that “Grant County has had a culture that the thing to do is run to the bars on a Friday.” This would also seem to heavily imply that most traffic accidents are caused by people consuming at on-premise retailers or that going to a bar is somehow wrong. I personally find such an attitude, no matter the context or meaning, to be insulting and uninformed.

There is nothing wrong with running, walking or driving to a bar on Friday or any other day. People who do not do so miss out on many of life’s better things. Local bars are a great place to keep in touch with neighbors and neighborhood news. Local bars are a fantastic place to meet people from out of town that are visiting. Local bars are a wonderful place to meet people passing through town and learn about the history of where they came from while also sharing the history of the local community. Local bars are a superb place for people who have just moved into a community to get to know their new neighbors and prospective friends. To discourage people from going to a bar on Friday or any other day is irresponsible and encourages them to miss out on many of the best things in life.

Local bars are known to support services such as Saferide and Road Crew to serve their patrons and keep them safe. Perhaps our Sheriff’s Department should spend more time supporting those services; and that opportunity will be available at the Grant County fair.

In the Aug. 1 Journal, Grant County’s next sheriff, Nate Dreckman, also mentioned that drunk driving was a problem and that “officers on patrol are actively looking for impaired drivers.”

I strongly agree that drunk driving is wrong. I have met no person who would not agree. I have met no bar owner, worker, or patron who is not quick to support the end of drunk driving.

In the same article, Mr. Dreckman is also quoted as saying that as a department “we don’t actively go out and look for people possessing marijuana for their own use.” These people, it turns out, may also drive or commit crime later and are more dangerous than most people who test at the legal limit of .08 BAC.

I work very hard in the business I run. I spend time doing community service to improve where I live. I pay income and sales tax on my business. The Grant–Iowa Tavern League gave $484,000 to more than 800 local charities last year. The Wisconsin Tavern League and its members gave $9,216,529 to 10,313 charities last year. (Curiously, I wonder how much the marijuana smokers and/or their organization donated.)

If our county sheriff’s office thinks it is more important to keep people from “running to bars on a Friday,” where they can consume a legal product, in a legal fashion, at a legal time while supporting local charities, but do not “actively go out and look for” people smoking marijuana that are not taxed and don’t spend time and money supporting local charities and communities, perhaps it is time for our county sheriffs office to re-evaluate their priorities.

Kevin Conley
Burton Tavern

Stop for bus red lights

I have been driving a school bus for nearly 10 years now and I am alarmed that so many drivers fail to stop for my red flashing lights.

I am concerned because many drivers do not know the rules for driving as outlined in the May 2010 Motorist’s Handbook published by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:

You must stop a minimum of 20 feet from a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing. You must stop whether the school bus is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road or at an intersection that you are approaching. After the school bus red lights have stopped flashing, watch for children along the side of the road. Do not go until they have completely left the roadway.

I know that most people think that the stop sign has to be out and this is not true. On my bus, the stop sign does not extend out until I flip the switch to open the door. This is too late to stop because the bus driver is busy watching all traffic and the children on the bus who are preparing to depart.

This past year I have written far too many reports for drivers not stopping. If I can get your license number there is a $326 fine, court costs, and possibly a loss of points. I am bound by law to report this offense and I know that I have made a few enemies in the past. I am sorry, but ignorance of the law is no excuse to endanger the lives of our school children.

This past year I had a police officer follow me almost daily on my route and he has written many tickets. A couple of years ago, in Iowa, a little girl was run over and killed because a hit-and-run pickup driver did not stop for the red flashing lights. He was later caught.

Common sense should tell you, red flashing lights mean stop or at least attempt to stop. So please, slow down and watch out for school buses and their passengers.

David W. Splinter
Potosi School District bus driver

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.The northern portion of Grant County has its large characters from Thomas Barnett (Burnett County) to William Hamilt