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Thumbs Up and Down

5:41 PM, Jul. 5, 2013  |  Comments
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Thumbs up: To the communities and business partners that put on dazzling fireworks displays.

Independence Day fireworks truly bring community members together. They're the major family-friendly event of the year and they bring smiles to countless faces, both young and old.

Municipalities are increasingly seeking out sponsorships for their displays, which can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $30,000 or more. It's a wise decision to not burden taxpayers with the full bill.

VIDEO: FESTIVAL FOODS FIREWORKS IN APPLETON

Each town offers a unique display, but they're all a great reminder that our country is certainly something to celebrate.

Thumbs down: To Wisconsin's nonsensical fireworks laws.

Every Independence Day we're reminded that it's OK to buy fireworks, but it's not OK to set them off. As one Town of Menasha police office described it, "It's dumb."

Fireworks that leave the ground - including just about everything except sparklers and snakes - can't be blown up unless the users have a special permit. Most people don't bother to get one.

It's confusing for fireworks users who sometimes purchase items just down the street from their houses but are expected not to use them. And police say it's difficult to explain that when they catch people in the act of setting them off.

Fireworks complaint calls are so common that officers can't keep up this time of year.

Clearly, something has to change.

Thumbs down: To the doubled interest rate on Stafford loans for students.

Congress failed to stop the change, which drives the interest rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The increase affects about 159,000 borrowers in Wisconsin alone.

As tuition rates skyrocket, students - even the ones who work while taking classes - are having a difficult time keeping up. And, when they graduate, jobs aren't waiting for them like they were in previous decades, making it even more difficult to pay back loans.

Our elected officials have been warned so many times about the looming student loan crisis, which poses a real threat to our continued economic recovery. Yet they chose to not help students once again.

We're going down a bad path as a nation if we don't support that college and university students who will be the heart of our workforce in the near future.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
575 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1017 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports