Freshman Kristin Johnson arrived on campus at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point around 3 p.m. on Thursday and was still unpacking her personal belongings into the evening.
Welcome back, students! Move-in days at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point started Thursday, and the familiar circus of students and their parents toting furniture, milk crates and electronics up to the residence halls was in full effect here.
It will make for some temporary traffic snarls around the university, but we always enjoy the energy that comes from the infusion each fall of hundreds of new students. So, welcome to all who've moved in already or who will be returning this weekend. We're glad you're here.
Group fights climate change on local level
Climate change is a big, difficult issue, in part because the way we're used to thinking about it is as if there is always necessarily a tension between economic growth and doing something to address the issue.
There is something to that understanding, but it is not always such a simple, zero-sum choice - grow the economy or address climate change.
The Central Wisconsin Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, a newly formed group of activists in Stevens Point, argues that we can clean up our air and grow our economy at the same time by shifting incentives toward clean energy. And the group, headed by Ned Grossnickle and Dan Dieterich, argues that a carbon tax would help to move the U.S. economy toward renewable energy that would be less expensive and less polluting than fossil fuels - but that would still employ lots of people.
Whether or not you agree with the idea of a carbon tax, the Citizens Climate Lobby is doing something important: They're getting people involved. Members of the group, which spoke recently with the Stevens Point Journal Media Editorial Board, have traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby their elected leaders with carefully calibrated, politically astute messages intended to nudge even those members of Congress who might not be inclined in their direction to soften their stances on whether we ought to be concerned about climate change.
The group's goal, Dieterich and Grossnickle said, is to build political capital for making policy changes that would benefit the environment. We're glad to see citizens getting involved. For more information, call Dieterich at 715-344-1063 or visit www.citizensclimatelobby.org.
Parlez-vous English, Rep. Jacque?
We are not the first to observe that the guy who is proposing that Wisconsin make English its official language has a suspiciously foreign-sounding name. State Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, announced plans this week to reintroduce the English-only bill, which would require all state and local government documents to be written in English.
We're well aware that English is the de facto official language of Wisconsin, and in fact we strongly agree that new immigrants should attempt to learn the language. It's important when that's what the great majority of people here speak.
But not so long ago, Wisconsin was populated by German and Scandavian farmers, French fur traders in from the U.P. - and the languages spoken here reflected that. One hundred years ago, "English only" would have been seen as an anti-German initiative. These days we'd observe that even those irascible, self-segregated German immigrants seem to have managed to assimilate.
There's no reason to think today's immigrants will be any different. An "English only" bill would only serve to needlessly exclude.