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Platteville Journal Letters to the Editor for Oct. 31
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On the museum

Wow! A special interest group — the museum board — now controls the city budget process?

Mr. Fatzinger states in his letter Oct. 17 that the museum board can supersede Common Council decisions when it comes to reducing the funding for day-to-day operations of the museum. If the museum board wants to control the funding of the museum it should embrace the freedom becoming a nonprofit would bring. But they still want to keep taxpayers on the hook for $250,000!

What could the city do with a quarter of a million dollars in the 2013 budget? We could restore a 40-hour work week to our city employees who sustained furlough days in 2011 and a cut in hours in 2012. They are the ones who keep the city functioning effectively, serving taxpayers and performing services to maintain the upkeep and appearance of our city.

The museum appears to have the loyalty of three Common Council representatives. In my opinion, these three council representatives have misplaced their loyalty. They should be a champion for the taxpayers and the employees of the City of Platteville and not put taxpayers at the mercy of a special interest group.

All council members should be making voting decisions in a neutral manner, especially when it comes to spending taxpayer money. Fiscal responsibility isn’t an easy choice, but it’s time to make a hard decision for all the taxpayers of the City of Platteville — not just a special interest group. Make the Platteville museum a not-for-profit organization and have the museum fund itself. It is the correct fiscal decision for all Platteville taxpayers.

John Miller

Manufacturing Month

In Wisconsin, October is Manufacturing Month. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College salutes area manufacturing concerns and their employees. If you know a manufacturing worker, please thank them for their contributions to our economy, communities, and nation.

Manufacturing is important. In 2011, Wisconsin manufacturers paid a total of $22.8 billion in wages to 443,632 workers. This is 20.9 percent of all wages paid and one out of every six of Wisconsin’s 2.66 million workers. Locally in Crawford, Iowa, Grant, Lafayette and Richland counties, manufacturers paid $273 million in wages to 6,781 employees; 19.6 percent of total wages and 15.2 percent of the workforce. These percentages are lower than the statewide numbers, but do not include those living in Southwest Wisconsin and working in Illinois or Iowa.

Southwest Wisconsin manufacturers make a surprising diversity of products. Our lineup includes steel foundries, machining companies, tool and die makers, equipment manufacturers, cheese and yogurt makers, plastic molders, manufactured home builders, packaging companies, advanced electronics manufacturers, and automotive and motorcycle parts makers.

As we celebrate Manufacturing Month, we need to recognize the importance of keeping this sector humming. Unfortunately it is currently challenged by a “skills gap,” that is, a shortage of job seekers with the technical knowledge and skills needed to fill key openings.

Southwest Tech continues to partner with manufacturers across Southwest Wisconsin to promote education, training, and careers. But help is appreciated. I encourage you to support career and technical education in your schools, visit a local factory or the College to learn more about modern manufacturing, and ask others, especially job and career seekers, to do the same. Wonderful opportunities are available and our manufacturing economy cannot long suffer a skills gap.

Duane Ford
President, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Join 4-H today

As you may or may not know Oct. 7–13 was National 4-H week. I just want to let all the youth of Grant County know they should join a local club.

You don’t have to live in the country or have animals to belong. I show horses at the fair, and the rest of my projects are Home Environment, Photography, Shooting Sports, Foods and Nutrition, and Arts and Crafts. The club I belong to is the Blockhouse Builders in Platteville. My club is a lot of fun. There are a lot of young kids in our club, so the leaders plan fun activities every month. Here are some of the fun things we have done: July meeting at Dairy Queen, played bingo at Orchard Manor nursing home, bowling party, Fighting Saints Hockey, club tour, bean bags, cook outs, and lots and lots of crafts. Every year I get the chance to go to 4-H camp at Upham Woods, and I’m always meeting new people. 4-H is a lot of fun, and I look forward to the club meetings every month. So get out there and check it out!

Gracie Vesperman
Blockhouse Builders 4-H Club Treasurer and Past President

Compliance applauded

I read with interest the Compliance Check Committee’s ad, “Thank you, Retailers,” in the Oct. 17 Journal.  I, too, applaud the retailers for not selling to minors during the random compliance checks. Many student lives are saved from serious consequences, such as tragic car crashes, when the likelihood of youth access to alcohol and tobacco products is reduced.

According to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, “young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol problems later in life than those who begin drinking at age 21 or older.” Also, actual brain images taken by the AMEN clinic show that the brain is adversely affected when young people drink, which in turn causes memory loss and other dysfunctions. We now know that the brain does not fully develop in young people until they are in their mid- to late 20s. School is difficult enough without adding more unnecessary challenges.

I also noticed that the S.A.F.E. Grant County Coalition is a part of the Compliance Check Committee.  I am not surprised as they have greatly helped my community and no doubt many others in Grant County.  For example, I am aware that this coalition paid for a significant share of the permanent prescription drug drop-off box that is now located in Muscoda Community Center to make it more convenient for our citizens to dispose of their unused or expired prescription drugs. Now young children will be spared from taking these drugs accidentally, others will not have access to the Rx drugs so that they can be potentially abused, and our environment will not be polluted with these unwanted drugs.

I am also on the board for Riverway Communities of Hope and as such, I am aware that the S.A.F.E. Grant County Coalition graciously agreed to administer the Office of Justice Assistance grant that we received locally. School districts in Southwest Wisconsin referred 470 students for substance abuse and mental health services.

Bryce Bird
Administrator, Riverdale School District

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.