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Editorial: Winter holidays can only mean...

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This probably isn't what anyone had in mind, but starting Tuesday, Dec. 1, is when local people could file as candidates for school board, city council, county board and, in one case, town board.

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For people with any kind of interest in public service at the local level, you've got a little over a month to make a commitment. The filing deadline is just days after the New Year's holiday on Jan. 5.

Starting with Thanksgiving, this five-week holiday-laden period is one of the worst calendar stretches to ask people to run for public office. Be that as it may, that's the way election rules are in Wisconsin, so we just have to accept matters and move on.

And let's face it, these are tough times -- whether at the federal, state or local level -- to become a candidate. Money is scarce. Budgets are frozen or shrinking, and there are layoffs and program cuts looming everywhere.

While this is not an easy time to be in public office, such trying circumstances require the skills, courage, creativity and focus of civic-minded citizens. Unfortunately, there are few benefits -- the pay is minimal and the feedback is often negative since constituents will harshly criticize difficult decisions and rarely praise them.

Those who come forward as local candidates do so for the good of their community, the place we call home. If elected, they make decisions here, not in Madison or Washington, and those decisions have local repercussions.

Are you ready to make a difference locally? Can you handle criticism that goes with decision making and not take it personally, knowing your unrecognized efforts are still important?

Let's hope there will again be people among us, friends and neighbors, willing to make this commitment.

To run for school board, stop in for information at the school district central office at 852 E. Division St., or call Darlene MacBride at 425-1800, ext. 1104.

For the City Council, drop by at the new City Hall, 222 Lewis St., call Lu Ann Hecht at 426-3408 or e-mail her at lhecht@rfcity.org.

For the Kinnickinnic Town Board, call Lola Higgins at 1-715-821-0382.

For county board candidate information, either stop in at the Pierce County Courthouse in Ellsworth or the St. Croix County Courthouse in Hudson. Phone inquiries can be made to the county clerk offices: St. Croix, 381-4400; Pierce, 273-6744.

Candidate forms and instructions are also available online. Go to http://elections.state.wi.us/ and click on "Candidate Registration" on the left side.

Online Poll: Animal center: A resounding 'yes'

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: St. Croix Animal Friends is proposing to locate and build an animal adoption center in the town of Kinnickinnic. Do we need such a shelter?

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, the response was:

  • Yes, since the Pierce County Humane Society shelter closed, there is no place close to take in stray dogs and cats, 90.9%
  • No, there are other facilities within driving distance, and housing such animals is bound to lead to noise and sanitary complaints, 9.1%

    To vote, go to www.riverfallsjournal.com.

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