Blei was an original
Norb Blei, the Chicago-reared writer who wrote a profile on my great-uncle Gust Klenke for the Milwaukee Journal in the 1970s, died Tuesday. While claiming to love Door County and despising people and developments that undermined his concept of the Peninsula, his writing did more than the chamber of commerce to get people here.
Also, in spite of the teaser, his screed and rants on the Aggravate and Door Behinder and local politics never got banned in Door County. Norb and his 17 books had a tremendous impact on area writers, readers, his sources and subjects.
He was a terrific writer, debater and competitor; he will be missed.
Distressed in peace
The death of Norbert Blei was recently announced and all of Door County will mourn his passing. He was a steadfast champion of "preserve and protect" and the enemy of unnecessary development and "improvement."
He was the author of the essay, "Death of a Country Road" which, ironically, referred to Isle View Road. He was a poet with a mission. He will be rolling over in his grave.
During his lifetime battles, he published numerous satiric and inflammatory essays in the Door County papers under the name, "Coyote" and wrote letters to editors and others which sizzled, all in defense of the ideals for which he became revered. Ultimately, he was banned from publishing his Coyote pieces due to pressure from advertisers in the papers. He then published a book of Coyote essays and the history of their suppression.
For those who ask, "Why can't we all just get along?" Blei would point to the the sprawl of condos and the "death of country roads." Although he was a quiet and friendly person and chronicler of beloved characters, it will not be because of a desire to get along that we will gather together to mourn his death. His legacy, in part, will be that of a passionate and eloquent troublemaker in behalf of the cause we all, with varying degrees of apathy and hypocrisy, pretend to uphold.
He will not be ready to rest in peace.
Reply to Rep. Bies
State Rep. Garey Bies makes some rather dubious claims in his recent editorial regarding funding for the technical college system. The very first sentence of his column reads, "Wisconsin's economy is headed in the right direction, but we continue to hear from Wisconsin businesses that they struggle to find qualified workers to fill vacant positions."
Leaving aside how Wisconsin is slumping in job growth, exports and other economic indicators compared to our neighbors, if Rep. Bies is hearing from business owners struggling to find qualified workers, perhaps he should NOT have voted for such massive cuts to education in our state.
A high-quality work force depends on a well-educated and well-trained work force, yet Rep. Bies has voted numerous times to slash funding for public schools, slash funding for public colleges, while at the same time, give away hundreds of millions of dollars of tax cuts and corporate welfare to the corporations and business in this state.
Perhaps if Rep. Bies wishes to reduce property taxes while at the same time funding our technical college system, he should introduce a bill to repeal all the corporate welfare giveaways that he has helped enact in this state, rather than burden low-income taxpayers with an increased sales tax. Aren't businesses and corporations the ones asking for a skilled work force? Shouldn't they help create such a work force?
The most puzzling claim made by Rep. Bies is his claim that he fundamentally believes that there should not be taxation without representation. However, his actions seem to indicate the exact opposite: Ignore the voices of his constituents, while representing the interests of out-of-state business interests and corporations who pay little or no taxes in Wisconsin. That seems to be representation without taxation.
Lions Rose Sale a success, thanks to you
The Sturgeon Bay Lions would again like to thank everyone who participated in our recent Rose Sale. We always hope the people who bought and received the roses enjoyed them as much as we enjoy seeing all the smiling faces when we deliver them. This is our biggest fundraiser each year and helps us help many people in need.
The Lions' primary goal is sight conservation and blindness prevention. Toward this end, Lions assist Door County residents to obtain eye examinations and glasses, screen children in area schools for vision problems, and support programs such as Leader Dog for the Blind. We collect glasses and hearing aids which are then given by health professionals to people in developing countries.
A significant portion of our donations go to the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt. This camp, the envy of Lions throughout the country, gives both children and adults with disabilities a quality camping experience. The camp is free to Wisconsin residents.
The funds donated to us by our neighbors also go to local organizations which include the Sunshine House, Help of Door County, Feed My People, Boys Baseball, Door Cancer and the Kimberly House to name a few. Your rose purchase provides the money to help make these programs possible.
Lion Greg Virlee
Rose Sale chairman