Letters to the Editor: May 4, 2022
Letters to the Editor published in the May 4, 2022 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.
Early 1970s girls sports history
The March 2 Leader feature on the school volleyball team history by Bob Skubal got me digging for yearbooks and memories.
The 70/71 school year I was a freshman oblivious to a nationwide shift to Title IX federal civil rights law specific to education. Title IX applied to athletics gender proportional participation, scholarship, program budgets, expenditures, and coaching salaries by gender. All taken for granted today in women’s sports.
Mrs. Dorothy Eisenman, our physical ed teacher (coach to be) advised the Girls Athletic Association (GAA), a program at the time to encourage sport/activity points toward “lettering.” The 70/71 year highlight was a GAA “Play Day.”
Girls competing in athletics was all new and my classmates were a pretty spirited group. We organized a first time powder puff football game and a first time bb game frosh/soph. Frosh won 44-18 with Bonnie Draeger (Kahn) high score with 20 pts.
Interscholastic track and field got underway that ‘71 spring – on the cinder track, ouch. A team formed for Speed-a-Way, a ridiculous type of soccer. An archery team also competed in conference matches.
The new reality of Title IX and girls sports was a stutter start. Which sports drew interest, what other schools were doing, no ready budgets for uniforms or buses, arguments over equal time in the gym. But in 71/72, my sophomore year, we did play our first interscholastic volleyball tourney. I recall four schools played in a round robin. Bonnie recalls we won and got a sad looking wooden “trophy” plaque.
The 72/73 school year saw growing participation so we had team tryouts for volleyball A and B squads. And according to the school newspaper “Hatchet-Highlights” dated 12-21-72, we won the All-Conference meet on 12-2. Organized as eight-minute running time matches in a three-net gym, the A and B squad wins were combined for total wins. Medford hosted Phillips, Lakeland, P. Falls, Mosinee, Ashland and Hurley (both new in conference), and Tomahawk. The ‘73 class yearbook shows the team photo with trophy. (No uniforms, we wore pinnys and gym suits) The March 2 Leader photo of the ‘73 A and B team shows that half were seniors and our first time in uniforms.
Thanks for the fun in going back. Very different times, but I’m proud of our part in the formative years for subsequent successful girls athletics.
THS Class of ‘74
Why Wolves 350 or less
Why does Wisconsin have the second highest number of wolves in the lower 48? Why does Wisconsin have the highest human density in wolf recovered areas of any location in this hemisphere? A key concept for wolf biologists is that wolves are best suited to areas where they have access to plenty of game and an absence of human persecution. The key number in wolf management is the management goal. That number drives all management decisions.
The 350 goal in the 1999/2007 wolf management plan came from studies done in the 1990’s. At that time, Wisconsin wolf scientists thought wolves would only live in the larger forested areas absent human presence. Analysis of those areas yielded a potential successful wolf population of 500 considering prey availability and 350 considering human tolerance. The NRB opted to choose the 350, both in 1999 and in 2007.
Does Wisconsin want wolves to live in areas that are optimal for their survival without human interference? Or are we content to have wolves live in close proximity to humans when forced into that circumstance by increasing numbers? Territorial animals defend their areas, so the current 45-65 square mile territories for wolves in Wisconsin limit the numbers in optimal habitat. Wolves have been forced, by lack of controls, to occupy substandard and unsuitable habitats in Wisconsin.
Because wolves obtain food in the easiest, least dangerous to themselves manner, due to evolution, their proximity to humans in Wisconsin has gotten them into trouble, and is giving them a bad reputation. The current population (minus this year’s pups) is around three times the 350 approved in the 1999/2007 wolf management plans.
This is why many hunters, trappers, farmers, rural folks who interact with wolves, and many local government entities have supported 350 or 350 for the wolf goal into the future. In the 2022 Spring Hearings vote on the wolf goal of 350 or less, 66 counties supported 350 or less for the future wolf management plan (draft soon to be released?). Combine that vote with the many farm and wildlife organizations that support the goal of 350 or 350 or less, there is no doubt that this number is an important consideration for the new wolf management plan.
Between 2010-2017, 36 county boards (1/2 all Wis. counties) passed resolutions in favor of a wolf goal of 350 or 350 or less. Since Dec. 26 counties have decided to send their previously approved county board resolution in favor of 350 or 350 or less wolves (nine) or have passed a new resolution (17) to inform the DNR that they favor this goal for the new plan. This 1/3 of all Wisconsin counties believe that wolf population control is a priority for the state, in order to reduce conflicts and build quality into a program that has only considered quantity as its goal.
The goal for the wolf management plan should be creating a quality program that is acceptable to the rural human population and benefits the wolves themselves. Quality over quantity. The wolf expansionists have only considered quantity as a measure of success, but ignored the high price the wolves and rural humans are paying for having such a large presence in a state that has few suitable large forested areas for wolves.