Shopko closing great loss to community


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While flipping through the Journal at the clinic, a patient greeted me, asking "And how are YOU?"

"Not so good. I'm just reading Shopko is going out of business."

We were both shocked. We had heard rumors, but hoped our one and only retail family store would make the cut. I thought about how that was the only place in town I could get clothing which was NOT "second hand," how many years I had used their pharmacy and optometry services, the household furnishings, presents and garden supplies I had purchased there, but mostly, the great service and friendliness of the staff.

"I hope Corporate realizes how important a store like that is to our community," he said. "And the job displacement this will cause. If I had unlimited money, I would make sure they all had $4,000 monthly retirement from there..."

I kind of wondered if the workers would get ANY compensation or workplace assistance at all. My old boss used to say, "Let no good deed go unpunished." Shopko was certainly a good deed for River Falls; they served us well and cheerfully for many years. It's a darn shame it is no longer going to be part of River Falls. A big thanks (and regrets) to all those wonderful employees. You and Shopko will be sorely missed.

Linda M. Alvarez

River Falls

Equal Pay Day


Tuesday April 2 is Equal Pay Day for the American white female (other dates are designated

for Native-American, African-American and Asian-American women). It's the date that symbolizes how many days into the year women must work to earn what men made in the previous year. With events on this day, we hope to raise awareness of the gap between men's earnings and the average woman's earnings in the U.S.

Women working full time are still paid only 80 cents for every dollar that a man is paid. This figure has changed less than a nickel over the past 100 years! The State of Wisconsin ranks 26th in the nation for pay equity, at 80 percent. Minnesota ranks 17th at 82 percent, and California, which has strong equal pay laws, ranks first in the nation at 89 percent pay equity for women.

The median earnings for a woman working full time are $41,977, while men are paid $52,146. This gap is also true in nursing and teaching, professions traditionally dominated by female

workers. The pay ratio gap for registered nurses stands at 92 percent, one of the smaller differences in equity, while the gap for female lawyers is 76 percent, and female physicians earn only 71 percent of what their male counterparts do.

Pay inequality is a family issue. Recent research shows that 42 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 are the family's primary or sole breadwinner. Wage discrimination limits a woman's choices and impairs her ability to buy a home or pay for a college education. Over a

lifetime, a woman's reduced earnings negatively impact her retirement savings and benefits.

A change for the better is happening as young women, ages 20- 24 are earning 90 percent as much as men. But at this pace, our great-great-great granddaughters might have equal pay.

The mission of AAUW, the American Association of University Women, is: Advancing equity for

women and girls through advocacy, education, and research.

We are helping to form the leaders of tomorrow today. Find out more about the River Falls

chapter of AAUW on Facebook at AAUW River Falls.

AAUW Equal Pay Day Committee

Ann Gustafson, Ruth Lee, Kendra Morgan, Gretchen Toman

River Falls

Who is a War Hero?


Is it possible for any American to imagine a moment in our history that a decorated war hero, a tortured and permanently maimed prisoner of war, would be demeaned as a non-hero by the commander-in-chief of the Armed Services because of a difference of opinion in a country that derives its strength from political diversity?

In theory, do we not send our young men and women into conflict to maintain that very principle? That our President, who did not serve in the military should demean a dead man who is not here to defend himself and to cause pain to his still grieving family simply because he did not like the way the man voted not only shows disrespect for all veterans but should cause all Americans from all parties and differences of opinions to recoil in disgust.

John McCain, war hero, was shot down over North Vietnam, his parachute barely opening causing fractures in his right leg and both arms. After nearly drowning he was pulled to shore by the enemy, stripped of his clothes, bayoneted in his foot and his shoulder crushed by the butt of a rifle. Only when the enemy learned that he was the son of an Admiral was he given minimal medical attention, setting his fractured arm without Novocain and being fed watery soup with four spoons of gristle while being slapped by his guard as he laid immobile in his hospital bed.

When the North Vietnamese offered to free him ahead of others that were imprisoned before him, as a point of honor he refused and the real torture began. At first, every three or four hours, then to a routine of a beating three or four days a week. McCain ended up spending nearly 5.5 years of his life in the most squalid conditions in a prison thousands of miles from home and family while defecating in wood buckets while others sat on gold toilets.

Regardless of one's political affiliation, I believe we all can and should agree on the definition of an American hero: John McCain.

Anders Nelson

River Falls

Requesting a credit freeze commentary


Back in October 2018, the paper ran an article with info about requesting the Free Credit Freeze and published phone numbers for the three main Credit Bureaus.

I tried on Oct. 24 and was totally exasperated. Experian phone number resulted in offers to purchase insurance or something and I just hung up and never succeeded in getting through to the others.

I tried again today (March 25) and had similar results. Transunion gives info so quickly it is difficult to interpret, something about 877 FastACT (Turns out from FTC site it is 877 FactAct). Experian again had four or five ads, one following another. The only option was 1 to accept the offer or # and I finally hung up after five different product offers that had nothing to do with either credit reports or credit freezes.

I decided to try online and was not sure which of the many options that came up was a legitimate link. So I tried a search for Federal Consumer Bureau and came up with the site. I recommend that site as SAFE to use.

Although when I used their links to the three credit bureaus for their online credit freeze requests, I encountered difficulties because our browser is too slow. Equifax was best in giving a message right upfront that we have version 9.0 and their system needs 10.0 or higher.

Experian phone number is one digit different than the one reported in your October article. 1-888-397-3742. And the best number for Transunion is to use the 877 FACTACT or 877-322-8228

I took the time to lodge a complaint with the FTC. It just should not be this cumbersome to request these FREE Credit Freezes.

Marilyn Owen

River Falls