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Letters to the editor: Vile humor doesn't help; Yard sign vandalized

Ag Extension agent for Pierce County


November's Pierce County Board meeting had the most positive response to getting the Ag Extension position back in place to 20 to 50 percent but with no funding in the budget available it didn't happen.

Working with Pepin County to start out at 20 percent and go to 50 percent as soon as possible, with the majority of our farms in the western part of our county and next to Pepin County is the best way to work this out.

I have been in contact with Ag Extension Agent and the department head in Pepin County; they would like to work together to re-establish the Ag Extension position here.

Then get back to having field days, seminars, questions answered, help at our fair and many other ag events and soil loss nutrient management, etc.

The cost for this position for 20 percent is $9,000; for 50 percent it's $23,000.

Hopefully in January or February at our county board meeting we can get the Ag Extension approved and funded. Thank you for your support on this issue.

Dean Bergseng

County Board Supervisor

River Falls

Time is running out


Time is running out for people to sign up for Affordable Health Care. The deadline for Open Enrollment is Dec. 15. Our concern is for people who don't have insurance, run into a medical emergency, and lose all they have in order to pay for their medical bills. Insurance CAN be affordable and no longer are those with pre-existing conditions shut out of the system.

Unfortunately, it has been difficult to get the word out. Funding for advertising has been reduced by 90 percent and the time period to sign up has been cut in half, so we are trying to get information to people without health insurance as best we can.

So―what problems are there besides the fact that open enrollment is only until Dec. 15?

Where can you sign up? You can either call 1-800-318-2596 for help or can go online at Better yet, if you go to, there is a listing of local people who you can call to get help for free. They can tell you if you qualify and will walk you through the signup.

They can easily help you find the best and cheapest insurance you can get, plus obtain a subsidy for you if you need it; 84 percent of the people who get coverage through ACA in Wisconsin get subsidies, and there is still money left. The less money you make, the greater the subsidy will be.

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation and also a lack of information out there. Insurance can be affordable. What you can't afford is not to have it. First of all, there will be a fine next year if you don't have health insurance. More importantly, if you have even one significant medical emergency, you can potentially lose everything you have.

We strongly encourage anyone without insurance to give it a try. Check local agents, listed on will take the guess work out of the process. As an example, there is an agent in Hudson, specially trained in doing this work, that spends her entire day working with people to find affordable insurance for them. She won't turn anyone down and her services are free. There are a couple of agents who no longer have time to do it, but there ARE agents on the list who still help. If you are uninsured, be sure you get on the phone or a computer to sign up before Dec. 15. The final decision is yours. By trying, nothing is lost, and there is a lot to be gained.

Kay Brooks, New Richmond

Bev Krumm, New Richmond

Melissa Wittstock, New Richmond

Harsdorf does well for herself


Congratulation to Sheila Harsdorf in her new role as Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. As a Scott Walker loyalist and rigid adherent to his pro-business, anti-health care, anti-education agenda, no one is more deserving of such a wondrous prize of political patronage. To underscore this contention, consider that Ms. Harsdorf:

• Voted to insulate lead-paint manufacturers from prosecution when their product proved hazardous to children.

• Authored and passed a motion to cut $250 million from the UW System including $7.47 million and 110 jobs in her own district.

• Opposed the expansion of BadgerCare, resulting in a loss to Wisconsin taxpayers of $360 million.

• Voted to gut Wisconsin's open government laws and block access to public records.

• Opposed a motion that would have allowed Wisconsin residents to refinance their student loans at a lower rate.

While these actions might create some doubt as to just how well Ms. Harsdorf did for her constituents, there can be absolutely no ambiguity in determining that she sure did quite well for herself.

Anthony Pedriana

River Falls



If you want "Rumours" you go see Stevie Nicks. But if you want the truth, straight from the horse's mouth, then you go to the River Falls Journal.

Many of you may know that my name has not always been Jane Jorgensen. People at Ezekiel know me as Per Lindholm. People at UMC of RF know me as Peggy Foster Harris, the candidate who did NOT run for school board.

Many of you may know that the Jorgensen of Jane Jorgensen was my mother's maiden name, leading many to assume that I was a bastard, and Mom was a tart.

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in July of 2015. I met Gary Fosberg in March of 2016. As I usually do when I really like a guy very much, I legally changed my name to match him, that is, to Jane Fosberg.

We applied for a marriage license but, thinking better of it, changed our mind, and they gave us our money back. Gary and I can't live under the same roof, but it's been fun "playing house"...occasionally.

Jane Fosberg

River Falls

Vile humor doesn't help


A letter from Nov. 23, 2017 from Mr. James Anderson served to clearly articulate much of what is tearing the social fabric of our nation apart: an exceedingly poor sense of humor! Was he trying to be funny suggesting a calendar featuring Sen. Franken licking a plunger and former President Clinton inhaling the scent of a certain stained blue dress ... Not very funny.

How could he have left out the possibilities of vile humor in the adventures of Republicans such as Sen. Vitter, Judge Roy of Alabama, former President George H. W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, or of "Grab 'em by the pussy" Mr. Trump? I doubt that Mr. Anderson gets the point: casting aspersions on those whom we "judge" as "other" or "bad" — mostly because they have opinions or beliefs that are different from one's own — is neither funny nor at all helpful in mending our national wounds.

We should all be pondering and discussing why so many men — particularly white men of privilege and power — have a compelling need to sexually harass or abuse women?

Why is domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and violence against women so prevalent in America?

Why are so many men feeling that they have some sort of divine right to murder — and go on wild shooting sprees to harm as many people as possible?

Why do "entertainers" like Limbaugh earn millions of dollars to speak evil against other Americans?

Why do billionaires think they have a divine right as well, to buy both politicians and the political process?

Why are so many white folks so afraid of black or brown folks?

Why do a group of kids seek to lynch an 8-year-old boy (you would not be

reading about that in this paper)?

And why isn't Mr. Anderson "bigly embarrassed"?

Robert Daniel Smith

River Falls

Great choices in election


I can't remember how long I have wished for the opportunity to choose between highly qualified,

thoughtful, and dedicated people to represent us in Madison. The old saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for." So now in the 10 th Senate District, we have just such a choice in the Republican Primary. And now the reality of my wish is being realized.

I've known both Adam Jarchow and Shannon Zimmerman for a long time. I've worked with each in a variety of different ways and hold each in the highest regard.

What I know about each of them, that they both share equally, is this: Each is highly successful in their chosen profession. Each is dedicated to public service, not for personal gain or notoriety, but because of their desire to make things better for people. Each has a history of volunteering and contributing to their communities. Each cherishes their family and makes sure they devote themselves to that part of their life. Each has extensive experience in both small and large businesses. Each has had the fiscal responsibility for an income statement and the impact that it has on families. Each has collaborated in ways that bridge the differences between us instead of deepening the differences that divide us. Adam has served as my personal attorney and as counsel for companies that I've been involved with.

His advice has always been clear, straightforward, and ethical. I've been to fire department fundraisers where Adam was serving pancakes and coffee. And he has routinely met with me for discussions about policy and potential legislation in his search for the best possible solutions. Shannon and I have served on the chancellor's advisory committee at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls for many years. His passion for education and its impacts on people's lives has been clear from our first introduction. His diligence in building pathways in higher education to employment has resulted in many enduring partnerships that create opportunities for students, for employers, and for the university. Like Adam, he too has reached out to me to better understand my view on the education and the workforce landscape in Wisconsin.

These two gentlemen are very similar in their character, selflessness, and passion for improving the lives of the people around them. That being said, they differ in where they chose to focus their efforts on legislative issues. I view both as active legislators, meaning they get stuff done as opposed to just voting on what someone else proposes.

Back to my wish of having highly qualified, thoughtful, and dedicated candidates. It has come true, and now the challenge is choosing. Well, that will be a difficult decision, one that I'll reserve for now as I listen and read how they differentiate themselves from each other. In my mind, I know this; between these two candidates, there is not a bad choice, and I will be delighted to be voting "for" someone in this primary, instead of "against" someone.

S. Mark Tyler

President, OEM Fabricators, Inc.


Air quality regulations could be eliminated


As if the Trump administration's attacks on public health and the environment weren't enough, Wisconsin Public Radio reported on Nov. 21 that the Wisconsin State Assembly is considering a bill to eliminate all of our state's air quality regulations by the end of next year.

Wisconsin regulates 293 pollutants not covered by federal law, including 94 which have been found in Wisconsin's environment. Our legislators argue that the DNR can reintroduce regulations subject to approval by the legislature. Rep. Jimmy Anderson of Fitchburg objects, "It seems that we're sweeping away the entirety of the regulations that are above the federal level and asking the DNR to re-do the work."

Sarah Barry of Clean Wisconsin explains that the extra regulations are especially important in protecting Wisconsin residents from the emissions of smaller plants not regulated by the federal government, which may have the most damaging effects on health and the environment.

This irresponsible move on the part of the Assembly may reflect an alarming trend toward what some call "air pollution denialism" now influencing government policy. Professor Robert Phalen at the University of California at Irvine has mind-bogglingly claims that "Modern air is a little too clean for optimum health." He asserts that a certain level of pollution somehow immunizes us against dirty air. This man is a current nominee for science advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Meanwhile, the American Lung Association has joined with other organizations to sue the EPA for delaying the implementation of smog standards. The EPA's manifest neglect of its mission blows holes in any argument for trusting the agency to enforce even its minimal standards.

It appears that any policy in which Wisconsin has proudly led the nation is now threatened by powerful moneyed interests with a stake in undoing our laws.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

Yard sign vandalized


When I first heard talk about demolishing our community's two hydroelectric dams, I asked myself, "Why would we do that?" Then came the "Free the Kinni" yard signs, then picture signs promising waterfalls with heights and volumes of water that exceed reality.

I attended Tech Talks where people wearing Free the Kinni T-shirts monopolized the conversation, going so far as to claim the city administrator's financial numbers were wrong and making statements contrary to what the mayor had told the community.

Then came the $12 million cost figure. At that point I decided to make my own statement. I created my own yard sign.

My yard sign was not in opposition to an open discussion, but against what Free the Kinni had come to mean to me. I placed my sign on my own private property. I liked it, and got plenty of compliments on it. Compliments from people who agreed with me.

But on Nov. 17, someone took it upon themselves to vandalize my sign. Really? Has it gotten to this? Does this Free the Kinni group feel so entitled that they can target their neighbors and destroy personal property because it's in opposition to their own? So entitled that opposition voices should be publicly silenced?

My suggestion to the City Council is to begin the re-licensing process. Part of the process is to address environmental concerns. If FERC determines there are dam safety issues, habitat endangerment, or issues requiring exorbitant investment, then we can revisit the issue of dam removal. Until then, I believe our city administrator when he says that the dams are in good shape and financially stable. I believe the mayor that if we relicense the dams now, are free to remove them at a later date.

We're neighbors, let's respect the process.

Neal Gilbertson

River Falls