Letters to the Editor: March 27, 2024

Letters to the Editor published in the March 27, 2024 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.

That’s a fact, Jack

Are you aware, once an individual is sworn in as President of the United States, there is little Constitutionally or legally to prevent him or her from serving in the position for life if he or she chooses to?

That’s a fact, Jack; not a political statement.

Curtis Powell


Which world do you want to live in?

What is the Western view of land as it relates to the Line 5 pipeline? For or against, discussion often sounds like a math equation; if Line 5 blank the result is $blank. There is little thought of what we owe the land. 

What if we took the Indigenous view – that land is not separate, but our neighbor, teacher, doctor, and provider? The Western view sees land as a resource – a commodity used for gain without repayment or planning for future generations.

In a recent talk, author Robin Wall Kimmerer asked, “What does the earth ask of us?” Maybe it wants respect in return for its gifts. We use the land without asking permission, or replacing what we take – if we did that at our Aunt’s house it would be called stealing. In contrast, what we “pay” for oil taken from the land goes to a corporation.

Take plants/trees as an example. What can we learn from them? Well, plants use water, light and soil to provide food, medicine and materials. When we give them space and don’t plow them under or build over them, they continue to give their gifts. They are 100% solar powered; a free renewable resource. They take carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it in the ground; a perfect cycle of renewal. 

In contrast, Line 5 fossil fuel threatens the atmosphere, soil, and water that feeds plants. Its extraction leaves a barren landscape. And is not renewable. Once burned, it’s gone and can’t be reproduced for thousands of years. Eventually it will run out and destroy the earth as it is used up, killing many in the process. This sounds extreme – but it is true. We must find another way

I conclude the earth has rights, and deserves respect and reciprocity. Regarding Line 5, consequences of its operation include oil spills, aquifer breaches ground water heating, and effects of CO2 causing wildfires, floods and drought. The need has never been greater to change our view.

Which world do you want to live in?

Yvonne Besyk

Salem, Wis.

NOTE: The following are paid Letters to the Editor, per policy.

Public offices are already complicated enough

Dear Lincoln County Voters and especially those in District 19, which includes the Townships of Birch, Skanawan and the southern portion of King, primarily south of Lake Alice:

Two candidates are running for county board in District 19, Joseph Dorava and Dan Friske, both are residents of Skanawan. With this letter I want to draw your attention to the fact that one candidate, Dan Friske is the brother of Don Friske, the current chairman of the Lincoln County Board.

Although there are no legal restrictions to family members serving together on county boards, there certainly is an appearance of a conflict of interest with this arrangement. Especially when one family member has a leadership role on the board which can influence decisions.

In my opinion, Dan Friske should withdraw from running for the county board to prevent an appearance of a conflict, or Don Friske should decline the role as county board chairman to reduce any potential conflicts.

Public offices are already complicated enough without introducing additional controversies.

Julie Allen


District 19

It is up to each individual to decide who best can serve the county

The spring election is April 2 and the citizens of Lincoln County have a decision to make. The basic question is simply this, as a citizen of the county are you better off now then you were two years ago?

My answer is definitely not. In 2022 the republican party ran a partisan slate of candidates in a non-partisan election which was well funded and included expert help from the party. Board members who ran as individuals because they cared for the county were overwhelmed by the republican machine and they took control of the board.

Now lets take a look at what has happened since. One of the first things they did was repeal the $20.00 wheel tax that we were paying if we owned a car. I don’t know about you but I never heard anyone complain about it and it certainly did not improve my standard of living, what it did do was create a $500,000.00 dollar hole in the budget. This problem was immediately fixed by eliminating the University of Wisconsin extension program which means that Lincoln county is only one of two counties in the state that does not have the program. There was a large backlash about the 4-H program and it was reinstated. The university made it very clear that if the county wanted back in to the program there might well be no money available as it would be given to other counties. The University matched the county funds dollar for dollar giving us a big bang for our bucks.

Next they decided to sell our nursing home and have gone ahead and done so in the face of serious opposition and refusing to hold a referendum on the issue, there are many unanswered questions surrounding this sale and on the face of it one wonders why it was not more transparent.

I believe all of these issues have hurt the county and makes one wonder why anyone would choose to live here. Lincoln County continues to lose population while the state as a whole is growing even though deaths outnumber births. I believe policies that this republican board have adopted do not help this situation.

 I believe it is up to each individual to decide who best can serve the county and do not endorse any particular candidate, that said I do think serious thought should be given and you should know as much about the candidate that you choose to vote for as you possibly can.

Walter B. Hobbs III


Your vote matters

All elections are important and there is another one coming up on April 2nd. Presidential ballots, primary or general, always generate the largest turnouts, and justifiably so. We should not, however, ignore the as-important state and local contests because they often have a more significant impact on our daily lives.

On this spring ballot all seats of the Lincoln County Board are up for election. It is worth recalling what our elected officials have or have not accomplished while in office in order to aid us in our ballot choices for the next two-year term of county board supervisors. Some county services were aided by additional outside state and federal funding, but other services were discontinued.

The current county board of supervisors managed, in the past two years, to: substantially increase the individual powers of the county board chair; eliminate the important income-generating wheel tax that directly benefited the county highway department; eliminate most UW-Extension services; prevent a county-wide referendum on the question of selling the county-owned nursing home – multiple times; and ultimately sold Pine Crest Nursing Home despite intense public opposition.  None of these decisions were unanimous, but a majority of the supervisors, many of whom were new to the county board, voted to do so.

Also critical to our electoral access are two questions on two proposed constitutional amendments. The first wants to prohibit any level of government in the state from applying for or accepting non-governmental funds, grants or equipment and supplies for the administration of elections, without providing alternative resources of funding to ensure that our elections are fully funded. 

The second amendment, which Common Cause opposes, proposes that only election officials designated by law may perform tasks in the conduct of primaries, elections and referendums. Wisconsin statutes already provide comprehensive and rigorous requirements for election officials. It is unclear how this provision would enhance current laws, especially since the Legislature has not identified specific need for this constitutional amendment. If enacted, the potential exists to stifle current practices that enhance voter participation.

The ACLU of Wisconsin, All Voting is Local Action Wisconsin, The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Conservation Voters and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign oppose both amendments.

Your vote matters.

Diana C. Smith


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