Your letters: March 12

6:58 PM, Mar. 11, 2014  |  Comments
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Thank you, Bay Pharmacy

We would like to thank Tom and Barb Voegele and the Bay Pharmacy staff for the generous supplies they donated for the recent mission trip we were on to Nicaragua. The needs in the community we traveled to were great, but the supplies sent by Bay Pharmacy will certainly help to fill gaps.

Of particular appreciation were nebulizer machines that will be beneficial for breathing treatments. The joy expressed on the face of Sister Patrona was priceless when she took possession of this equipment. The Door County community is privileged to have such generous and socially conscious individuals, such as Tom and Barb Voegle and the staff at Bay Pharmacy.

Thank you so very much,

Ellen Knipfer

and Susan Johnson

Sturgeon Bay

Hold GOP accountable for deaths

Scott Walker and Wisconsin's Republican legislature changed Medicaid coverage by removing those poor at the top of the Medicaid rolls and pointing them toward the insurance exchanges. However, the insurance exchanges are predicated on Medicaid expansion, not contraction. Result: a whole group of poor Wisconsinites are stranded between Medicaid and the exchanges with no health coverage whatsoever.

A recent study by researchers at Harvard University and City University New York found as many as 17,000 Americans could die directly because of lack of Medicaid expansion in the 25 opt-out states, including Wisconsin. Who is responsible for these deaths - almost six times those killed in the 9/11 tragedy? Who are the domestic terrorists here?

Republicans control opt-out red states with nearly 5 million remaining uninsured. And this, despite the fact that the federal government agreed to pick up the tab. What else than an act of domestic terrorism can you call letting 17,000 human souls die for political reasons? Are these the kinds of people we want running our government?

Let's use the 2014 midterm elections to replace Scott Walker and his cronies with candidates who have some sense of human decency. Apparently those currently running our state have none.

Edith Valentine

Green Bay

Benefit or bane?

A recent article in a local publication displayed data from the Census Bureau that showed, of the all the lakeshore counties north of Milwaukee through Door, Door County had the highest poverty rate. The article praised the economic safety nets available in Door County, because, among other things, the "million-dollar tourism industry in Door County would not continue to grow if poverty were more visible here."

But why are we, in our wonderland of natural world-class beauty, more likely to be poor than our neighbors in, say, Kewaunee County? And is it possible that our hallowed tourist industry might have something to do with that?

True, many Kewaunee County residents commute to relatively high-paying jobs in Green Bay. But lots of us in Southern Door do that, too. So what does Kewaunee County, without a fraction of our God-given natural blessings, do that we don't do?

First of all, they have no county sales tax. A minor thing maybe, but, unlike us, they are not taking extra money out of the pockets of their poor. Then their lack of a room tax - the one that the DC tourist professionals rammed down our throats. No big deal? Well, it is a real annoyance if you want to rent a room in your own county. More money out of your pocket so that the hotel doesn't have to pay for its own publicity.

Then, Kewaunee embraced the energy industry. Their cash-producing wind turbines are visible from much of Southern Door. Then their nuclear power. Where else can a blue-collar technician make six figures? And how about Big Agriculture? Kewaunee looks for eco-friendly, common-sense ways to make it happen, rather than excuses to shut it down.

Of course, none of the above is politically possible in Door County. We might upset the tourists. My gosh, we can't even have a Subway sandwich shop in Sister Bay! In Southern Door, our cash-strapped farmers can't even erect a billboard on their property adjacent to Wisconsin 57, to bring in a needed couple hundred a month. There's no such nonsense in Kewaunee County.

We in Door County may have become so indoctrinated by the tourist industry hype that we no longer know what is good for ourselves. Does tourism create jobs? Sure! Chambermaids, waiters, busboys, bartenders, handymen, lawn mowers, etc. Low-paying seasonal jobs. And in a county with double-digit unemployment, now that our "safety nets" are in place, we seem to need to import seasonal workers from Eastern Europe to fill these wonderful summer positions.

It's too bad. Our bright young kids and young couples recognize that there's no future in our county, and look elsewhere for the good life. Public school enrollment is dwindling. There are no good jobs, and real estate prices have been inflated to "out-of-reach" by the "summer people." Those of us natives who are left, are old.

Peterson Builders is gone. They used to provide family-supporting jobs for a thousand men. Replaced by a few "big box" condos. We'll never get another good-job-producing shipyard in Door County. The environmental impact statement would take 12 years to complete, and then, in the unlikely scenario that new construction would be approved, the endless lawsuits would begin. I'm sure that some Dane County judge would block any construction.

And anyone in Sturgeon Bay that doesn't think that we overly cater to the summeristas, should look at all those permanent boat slips near the downtown bridges that now deny access to an attractive part of the bay that used to be accessible to every boater.

The poor in other tourist areas, like Florida and Nevada, enjoy living in an area that levies no state income tax, so they benefit from tourism in that regard. Not so much us in Door County. We not only have state sales tax, we pile on with an optional county tax, and now a county room tax.

So does our tourist industry prevent poverty, or create it?

Tom Felhofer


Treatment crew saved the day

On March 8, we discovered that our sewage line had frozen and that water and sewage were flowing into the crawl space under our house. After checking with our plumber, he referred us to Don Prust, head of the Baileys Harbor Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Don wasted no time in rushing to our aid. He and his crew spent two days in frigid temperatures, thawing the lines that had frozen under the road leading to our house. Don, Bert Sawyer, Eric Williams, Jeff Kita, Ryan Weisgerber and Gary Nelson had to dig tunnels in 5 feet of snow to locate stand pipes, pour boiling water down the pipes and defrost the ice that blocked the lines.

It was a miserable job, but they did it so willingly and cheerfully that we felt much better about the mess that we were dealing with. We are so grateful to this dedicated crew and we thank you all for helping us during this very tough winter.

Sue and Mike Spitz

Baileys Harbor

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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