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Letters to the Editor (April 20, 2017)

Volunteers are vital

TO THE EDITOR

It is time to celebrate the River Falls School District volunteers! The week of April 23-29 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. We are thankful for our volunteers every day, but this week serves as formal recognition for their time and efforts.

Volunteers play a vital role in the success of our schools. Volunteers provide a tremendous amount of help throughout the year copying papers, laminating, chaperoning field trips, preparing materials for the classroom, assisting with reading groups, hanging artwork, coordinating and running fundraisers, helping with projects that are just too big for one person....and the list goes on.

The time our volunteers commit to the schools allows our teachers and staff to spend more time in the classroom and less time in the workroom. It also creates an opportunity for them to engage directly with our students in many ways.

We would like to use this week to celebrate our volunteers, to offer our sincerest appreciation for all they do, and to spotlight the impact that they have on our schools.

Our volunteers include parents, grandparents, community members, community groups, Big Brothers Big Sisters and students from Meyer Middle School, River Falls High School, Renaissance Academy and UWRF. There are those directly connected to a particular school and those that help across the district.

We are lucky to have so many who inspire our students and staff by their actions. On behalf of the district, we would like to thank everyone who has helped to make a difference in our district and in the lives of our children! Please know that you have made a lasting impact in the lives of many!

Monique Squire, Director of Community Education and Communications

Tara Albores, Volunteer Coordinator

River Falls School District

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Excellent return for my taxes

I can't agree with Robert Burke's letter equating taxation with theft. I do think that our tax code is unbelievably complex, the paperwork required unnecessarily time-consuming, and many tax dollars are wasted or used on activities with which I disagree.

However, I also look at taxes as a personal expenditure that helps get me many things I could not obtain otherwise. This includes protection provided by the many dedicated people in our armed services, national guard and police. It assures me of getting clean food and medicines. It gives me wonderful national, state and local parks. It gives me a share of an awesome space program that has revealed much about our planet and cosmos. It funds important scientific research in health and an array of other sciences. It helps support our schools and their fine teachers. It protects our borders. It provides help from the State Department for those suffering from the many natural and humanitarian catastrophes plaguing our world. It helps funds the arts and public broadcasting. I could go on.

All in all, what I get for my taxes is a stable, safe and generally prosperous society. I think that an excellent return for my taxes, so will not participate in the Libertarian protest (while defending their right to protest). But I am amused that the protest is on a tax payer funded bridge over a federally funded Interstate Highway.

William S. Cordua

River Falls

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Earth Day: Participate

TO THE EDITOR

As Wisconsinites, we can count the founding of Earth Day in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson as one of the finest gifts our state has given to the nation.

Sen. Nelson launched Earth Day in a year of great constructive change that included President Richard Nixon¹s signing of the Clean Air Act and establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. In his State of the Union address, President Nixon declared the 1970s as "a historic period when, by conscious choice [we] transform our land into what we want it to become."

Our present hyper-politicized divisions can make us nostalgic for those days when a general bipartisan agreement to do what was best for the environment created landmark legislation.

The government initiatives of 1970 responded to health and environmental crises faced by the United States. Today's crisis is far more widespread, threatening the entire world. Present projections indicate that by the end of this century atmospheric CO2 levels could reach their highest concentration in 50 million years, resulting in environmental and social chaos.

It seems our peculiar misfortune that some of America's most powerful leaders deny the threat that climate change poses to the environment and to the stability of civilization as we know it.

Robinson Meyer, who covers environmental issues for The Atlantic Monthly, has noted that in no other country on earth does a major right-center political party take a position of denial and inaction on climate change. The politicization of environmental issues in America is irresponsible and immoral.

Now, 47 years after its founding, another Earth Day approaches.

An overwhelming majority of Americans support a healthy environment. Find a local event to participate in and let your elected representatives know you expect them to put partisanship aside and work for the good of the whole planet.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

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Mongrels and taxes

TO THE EDITOR

On April 15, I wanted to march to protest President Trump withholding his taxes from the American public.

My three rescued terriers thought I said "Texas" and were ready for a road trip. I re-explained and Tico, the min-pin, said, "Weird. Bloomberg Poll found 53 percent of voters want him to release his returns because transparency is relevant to his job; 24 states have introduced bills to have him and all presidents to do so."

"Yeah," said Chupi, the Silkie,"Even Nixon, who was under audit, released his --and every president has since!"

Sofi, the rat terrier added, "But he also needs to show us his IRS 106, his partnership income, his 1120, his corporate income and network of liability to corporations, his 8825, for rental/real estate income and expenses, and his 114, his foreign bank and financial accounts so we know where he's stashing his money outside the U.S. and to what extent those foreign entities

have leverage over him."

Chupi shook her head. "He is one emolument accident waiting to happen, Ma. He's pushing policies and armed conflicts that are going to make him and his donors rich. He doesn't want to be a statesman. He just wants to be CEO of America."

Tico ended the conversation with "Ma, we are good judges of humans. He is not releasing his taxes because he is hiding something BAD."

We decided we would write our representatives in support of the Presidential Transparency Act (HR 305, S26) and go to Texas anyway. It's looking like things are going south with North Korea and Russia, so we may as well go South, too.

Linda M. Alvarez

River Falls

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Taxation is not theft!

TO THE EDITOR

I found it ironic that Robert Burke and the local Libertarian Party chose a taxpayer-funded bridge above a taxpayer-funded highway as the location for their protest last Saturday.

Taxation, regardless of how many times one asserts that it is stealing, is the price that we pay to live in a civil society. Taxation without representation was deemed tyranny by the founders of our nation, but the provision of services for the public good was not.

I for one appreciate having public roads, potable water, sanitary sewers, and especially schools, police and fire services provided and view the costs of such services as a significant benefit to me, my family and my fellow citizens.

If taxation is theft, then Mr. Burke and his associates should avoid using all taxpayer funded public services as they sit in the mud and enjoy their liberty.

Brian Miller

River Falls

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