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Letters to the editor: Discrimination with a smile; Support for local candidates

Discrimination with a smile


There is nothing worse than bigotry and discrimination hiding behind a smile of tolerance. We all know instances of this happening-- - a National Guard combat vet returns and is forced to beg for his job back from a "vet-friendly" company, an older guy with too much gray hair is tossed away like a crumpled-up tissue by his employer of 30+ years, a Jew or Muslim is forced to take vacation to observe their holiest of days, a trauma survivor with PTSD is ostracized by neighbors, a woman with skin too dark is told the job is filled when people are still interviewing for it. The list goes on and on.

What makes this worse than outright bigotry is the smile that goes with it, often accompanied by the words "Why, some of my best friends are..."

If you know of things like this happening, it's your responsibility as a human being to stand-up and say it's wrong. To be silent is to support it, and someday it just might be you.

Kim Solomon

River Falls

Meet John Calabrese


Let me introduce John Rocco Calabrese, a businessman from Dunn County who is a candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by Sheila Harsdorf.

John is a breath of fresh air in the current political climate. He states on his website, "The size of your bank account should not dictate how much free speech you have. We should all have the same amount of free speech. Our government is for sale to the highest bidder. It doesn't have to be this way. We can join our voices together and change this system now."

John is committed to not taking PAC money.

On Sunday, Dec. 10, from 3-4 at the River Falls Public Library board room, the public is invited to meet and speak with John Calabrese.

I feel we need a new perspective representing us in Madison and I think you will find it in John. Come hear for yourself on the 10th .

Maureen Ash

River Falls

Vote for Jarchow


Let me tell you why it is important for your readers to get out and vote on Dec. 19 for Rep. Adam Jarchow to fill Sheila Harsdorf's open Senate seat.

I know from personal experience that Adam gets things done. He is hard-working and full of passion for helping the citizens of his district. He is a great listener, a problem-solver, and is very much in touch with what is on the minds of his constituents.

My family struggled in the courts for over 10 years to fight for our property rights. We kept losing our battles because the laws, as written, were not strong enough or clear enough to protect our property rights. After losing our case at the United States Supreme Court last June, Adam immediately sprang into action to fix the laws in Wisconsin. Adam Jarchow introduced legislation last summer known as the "Homeowners Bill of Rights." It passed the Senate and

Assembly with bi-partisan support in early November, and Gov. Walker signed it into law on Nov. 27. It still amazes me that Adam was able to get this legislation passed in less than four months. Like I said, he gets things done!

Since he was first elected to the Assembly in 2014 to represent the 28th District, Adam has had a dozen of his bills passed into law. He is not afraid to stick his neck out, and is willing to take on the hard issues.

The "off-cycle" election in December to pick the Republican candidate is a bit unusual, and perhaps is why it is so important for people to get out and vote on Dec. 19. While Adam Jarchow's opponent, Shannon Zimmerman, is doing a great job in the Assembly, he does not have the necessary experience and, to-date, has not had any bills passed.

If you want to make sure your property rights are protected, and you want great representation by an energetic, passionate legislator, you will vote for Adam Jarchow for Senate, and leave Shannon Zimmerman in the Assembly. These two, together, make a great team for this district.

Donna Murr

Eau Claire

Hudson summer resident

Support for Patty


I encourage everyone to vote for Patty Schachtner for State Senator in the Dec. 19 primary. A few years back, I had the great fortune to watch Patty in action when she saw we needed a resource guide to help those struggling with addiction and mental health issues find access to care, and she brought community leaders together to get it done.

She reached out to our local hospital boards and clinics, made her case for the need for the guide, got commitments for funding the initiative, and had this multi-page, full color guide printed and mailed to every household in St. Croix County without using a single penny of taxpayer money. She accomplished this task within two months, from beginning to end.

The resource guide was titled "We Are All In This Together," and that's exactly how Patty feels about everyone she meets—and those she hasn't yet met.

Patty has the right priorities and talent to be the voice of our communities. When she sees a need, she finds a way to bring people together to meet it. We need her working on our behalf in the state legislature. Please vote for Patty Schachtner on Dec. 19.

Barry Urbas


Our Kinnickinnic River


Our Kinnickinnic River is a unique natural resource to be cherished. Personally, the river has offered me respite and reconnection to the natural world while hiking, kayaking and resting along her banks.

It is now in our hands to do what is best for the river. The lower river's temperature has increased by 5 degrees due to the impoundments created by the dams.

It's enough to threaten the health of the trout and other organisms dependent on the river. It's enough to cause Lake George and Louise to become eutrophic, increasing dense algae growth while decreasing oxygen levels. Restoring the river through dam removal is the healthiest choice for our Kinni.

As Robert Frost simply stated, "We love the things we love what they are." I look forward to seeing the Kinni for what she is meant to be — free flowing and clean.

Sarah Hall

River Falls

Yard signs vandalized and stolen


It is unfortunate that Mr. Gilbertson's yard sign has been vandalized, however, to jump to conclusions and accuse the "Free the Kinni Group" of this act of vandalism is not tolerable nor permissible when the intent and identity of the vandals is clearly unknown.

The Friends of the Kinni organization has had to replace 87 of our "FREE THE KINNI" and "Put the FALLS Back in River Falls" signs to date in our supporters' yards due to vandalism and theft.

The sign in one yard alone has had to be replaced over 20 times. This sign is currently screwed into place and yet it continues to be routinely destroyed and stolen by vandals.

With all of the vandalism we and our supporters have experienced, we have not jumped to conclusions nor accused any individual or group of perpetrating these crimes.

I am not telling you about this now to complain, but rather to bring into perspective Mr. Gilbertson's concerns regarding the vandalism he has experienced.

It is my hope that with having shared our experiences here he can take some condolence in knowing he is not alone in having been the victim of such vandalism. I further hope that those perpetrating these crimes will come to their senses and start respecting their neighbors' property!

Come to think of it, if your yard sign has been stolen please send us an e-mail at and we will get you a new sign.

My recommendation to the City Council is to surrender our dam license and restore the Kinnickinnic River through dam removal.

The Kinnickinnic River is our community's greatest natural resource which has far greater utility beyond its current industrial use as a marginal hydroelectric facility.

The Kinni's greatest possible public use is simply as a free-flowing river, for all to enjoy, as it should be.

Michael Page

River Falls

10th District election


Why are only two of the ten individuals running in the 10th district getting all the press in the River Falls Journal? You make it sound like we have two Republicans from which to choose, completely ignoring the three Democrats and one Libertarian who are also on the ballot. They are:

• John Calabrese, owner of a woodworking business and campaign finance reform advocate from Glenwood City

• Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner from Somerset

• Reuben Herfindahl of River Falls, CEO of the IT service firm Digital Brigade

• Brian Corriea of Wilson

I would like to see information on all of the Democrat and Republican contenders ahead of our primary election on the 19th, and then more information including Brian Corriea head of our Jan. 16 election.

Editor's notes: Candidate Q&A's will be published in the Dec. 14 edition.

Mel Bowman

River Falls

Vote for Zimmerman


On Tuesday, Dec. 19 there will be a very important Republican primary election for the 10th State Senate seat vacated by State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf. Our current State Assembly Rep. Shannon Zimmerman has the background, experience and vision that we need in our next State Senator.

As a businessman, Shannon and his wife Angel grew their business Sajan over the last 20 years in River Falls, providing hundreds of good paying jobs for local residents. Shannon is cognizant of the need for solid education for our upcoming workforce, a tax environment that draws companies to our state, and the need for fiscal responsibility in Madison.

I am proud to support Shannon Zimmerman in the election for our next State Senator District 10.

Lori Bernard

Former Hudson City Council and St. Croix County Board member

Knudson for Jarchow


I strongly support State Rep. Adam Jarchow to replace Sheila Harsdorf in the Wisconsin State Senate. Jarchow has proven to be a strong advocate for northwestern Wisconsin. In our hyper-partisan era, Jarchow has shown he is willing to buck the establishment in Madison to stand up for his district. He is bright and principled, with a record of accomplishment in Madison, but what sets Adam apart is his political courage. Join me in voting for Adam Jarchow on Dec. 19.

Dean Knudson

former state representative


Murtha for Jarchow


It was a true honor and sincere pleasure to represent the people of the 29th Assembly District. During my tenure, the Legislature had many accomplishments. We stuck to our conservative principles, we created an environment for small businesses to grow, and we have been seeing many positive results.

I am proud of the work we accomplished in the Legislature, but there is always more work to be done. Thank you for putting your trust in me. Now I am asking you to place your trust in Adam Jarchow.

Adam is running to replace Sheila Harsdorf in the State Senate. I served with Adam in the State Assembly and I believe he is the best person to fill our State Senate seat. Adam is hard working, dedicated, and isn't afraid to tackle the tough issues. Adam currently represents the 28th Assembly District, just north of the 29th Assembly District. He is a true conservative who believes in limited government and individual liberty. He was excellent to work with while I was in office, and the people of the 10th Senate District would be lucky to have Adam represent them in Madison.

Outside of the Legislature, Adam is a small business attorney, a small-business owner, and a volunteer firefighter. He lives with his wife Barbara and their set of twins just outside of Balsam Lake. He truly represents what it means to be a citizen legislator.

On Tuesday, Dec. 19 please join me in voting Adam Jarchow for State Senate.

John Murtha

Former Rep. 29 th Assembly District


Money for votes


Political ads are back with black and white pictures in unflattering poses. "Look Daddy, there are grey people with poor camera resolution!" I am not fooled nor influenced by these ads. I hate their intrusion and I hate that most aren't honest.

Seek my votes but give me the facts.

The Constitution assures one vote for each American. It is the great equalizer.

Billionaire Ted Perkins questions this practice, stating that only people who pay taxes should get to vote and feels that people who pay more taxes should get more votes (CNN). One woman told me that only people that own land should get to vote.

Would owning an inch of desert qualify or should you get more votes for lots of land? One person, one vote assures that select people can't make the rules to suit their own needs nor get special opportunities.

Some people feel that they have more of a "right" to vote. In 2000, the election cost about $1.7 billion. In 2012, the election costs rose to $4.2 billion (CNN). Since each American gets one vote, perhaps we could make everyone happy by being able to sell our vote. A voter could ask for $1 million for a vote and a rich person could get more votes. The rich and entitled could purchase votes; the less fortunate could become millionaires. The super pacs and ads would go away. It would truly reflect the American "trickle down" style of economics. It's illegal but it might be more honest than our current election efforts to disenfranchise certain Americans. It might actually afford the less fortunate some leverage.

Deborah Monicken

North Hudson

Vote Calabrese for Senate


Dec. 19! State Senate District 10 primary vote! I support John Calabrese for the Democratic ticket, and here's why: he has spent the last several years working with legislators in Madison to get money out of politics. John is an anti-corruption activist, and the first step in this anti-corruption campaign is to make campaign finance reform happen, indeed it is the only way to "drain the swamp."

John also powerfully supports wilderness conservation, clean air, clean water, equitable financing for public schools as well as maintaining healthy infrastructure.

We can begin right now to change the face of politics by voting for candidates who will be the voice of the people. Your voice! If you live in State Senate District 10 then I'm asking you to vote for John Calabrese on Dec. 19.

Stephanie May


Children and abuse


I am too young to speak for myself. My dad has abused us. He is so normal in public situations that no one would believe what he does at home. If my mom and sister were to say what he does to us, you would think they were mentally ill, but they are telling the truth.

How do we get the court system to trust the words of the deeds hidden at home? How do we get the Guardian Ad Litems to trust the words that seem totally unbelievable, but in truth, happen?

The trauma the children go through is horrendous when the legal system grants 50/50 placement. Abusers should not get the automatic benefit of 50/50. With the severe abuse, sometimes the placement should only be for the abuser to get professionally supervised visitation. This allows for much less trauma for everyone. When a child is made to go back to the abuser, the trauma they experience goes on far longer than the time period they have with that parent.

Everyone else suffers — the child and the parent who has to deal with the fallout of that encounter that lasts for days and sometimes weeks — and they get revictimized again for having to spend time with the abuser. These victims, adult and child alike, need a personal advocate, not more condemnation from the legal system. When you see someone that seems to be hurting in an abusive relationship, they probably are. Are you a safe enough person for them to tell the truth to?

Darlene Bochman


Upcoming Special Election

The wellspring of Wisconsin politics is poisoned; the poison is corporate money. The waters have been flowing backward, actually — dammed up by policies that break up unions, diminish our schools, degrade our environment, cut development deals with corporate business, disenfranchise voters, and generally turn the "Forward" of the Wisconsin flag into "Backward."

Tenth District representatives, Assembly rep's included, have been serving the corporate agenda for a long time.

This special election gives us an opportunity to clear the waters and get back to Wisconsin's historic direction. John Rocco Calabrese should be the next state Senator from this District. His election would work against corporate dominance.

John and his wife, Simone Perrin and their two sons, Homer and Nelson, reside near Glenwood City. He is a professional woodworker (Big River Woodworks). He has voluntarily headed up Wolf PAC, dedicated to getting money out of Wisconsin politics. He knows his way around the capitol, has familiarity with the law-making process, and understands the issues affecting citizens and the environment.

The schedule for election of a new Senator is on "fast track," to say the least. Nomination signatures for candidates had to be filed on/before Nov. 21. The primary is set for Dec. 19, the election for Jan. 16, 2018.

This schedule favors incumbent assembly members and virtually excludes college students (and "snowbirds") from voting.

John is a progressive. He is passionate about issues of justice, environmental protection/climate change, civil rights, gender equity, clean elections — all linked to his foundational issue of getting money out of Wisconsin politics. He compares to Bernie Sanders.

He is a remarkably thoughtful, compassionate, congenial person. And he listens! He is the kind of person we want to be our Senator.

Learn more about him on his website ( or his Facebook page. On the website, you can engage with the campaign and/or contribute.

Please support John Calabrese.

He is ready to reverse the flow to "Forward" and to be "your voice" in Wisconsin politics.

Patrick and Jan Pesek-Herriges


Dementia strikes every 6 seconds


Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease every 6 seconds in America. That number includes more than 1,200 residents of St. Croix County who are living with dementia and that number does not include those yet to be diagnosed.

Along with that are the thousands more who are living with, working with and caring for those with the disease.

More than 90 caregivers, professionals and volunteers recently participated in the Virtual Dementia Tour in Hudson. The tour is the creation of Second Wind Dreams and is based on 20 years of research into dementia. The tour gave participants the chance to experience what living with dementia and memory loss is like and insight into some of the difficult behaviors that result from the disease.

The tour also included a chance for participants to discuss their tour experience with St. Croix County Dementia Care Specialist Nancy Abrahamson. The National Association of Elder Abuse and Neglect states that caregivers educated about how to provide good care are less likely to physically or emotionally abuse or neglect the person in their care.

WCCO television filmed a report from the tour that can be seen at searching Liz Collin/Alzheimer's dementia. The tour was the result of collaboration between St. Croix County Adult Protection and the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), Azura Memory Care, Christian Community Home, Comfort Keepers, Comforts of Home, Woodland Hills, Red

Cedar Canyon and the YMCA and the First Presbyterian Church of Hudson.

There are plans to present the Virtual Dementia Tour in other communities around the county. Information about dementia and memory loss is available county-wide from Dementia Care Specialist Abrahamson through the ADRC where a wide variety of services are available. St. Croix County Adult Protective Services also work in connection with Abrahamson to insure that anyone at risk with dementia receives help. Abuse and neglect may be preventable if families and those diagnosed with dementia seek information and support. For assistance, contact Abrahamson at 715-381-4411.

In addition, Western Wisconsin Journal is airing a series of interviews called Living with Dementia on the River Channel, channel 15, in the Hudson area. The series features interviews with several family caregivers, an elder law specialist, the medical director from an area memory care unit and a dementia care specialist.

Bonnie Edlund and Jo Anne Friedell

St. Croix County Adult Protection Workers