CPS handling of case is appalling


St. Croix County's CPS organization should be renamed. It should be called PTA (Protect The Abuser).

Earlier this summer, my grandson was violently pushed into a wall by his father, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and resulting neural damage as diagnosed by two physicians. He tells his doctors that dad pushed him because he wouldn't eat the tomatoes on his plate.

After visiting the child, the CPS intake worker - despite the physician's reports - decides there is no injury. She phones his father who tells her he didn't do anything and "that kids get concussions all the time." Strange his concern was not about his son, just that he wasn't guilty.

The intake worker decides that the child lied, completely disregards numerous other reports including one made by his pediatrician about inappropriate genital touching and a report of the father driving over 100 mph with his son in the vehicle which dad denies but, ironically, he receives a speeding ticket the next day with his son present and then threatens to "off" his son if he tells mom. All that evidence but the intake worker closes the nine-month investigation based on the testimony of a child she has seen once in a 15-minute interview.

She also ignores the father's extensive criminal history which includes five DWIs, a felony assault conviction, a child neglect charge for leaving his 9-month-old son alone while he went out drinking at topless bars and the lengthy time he has spent incarcerated.

Then the intake worker appears at a closed hearing, aligns herself with the father, and in response to the court commissioner's question about who was present, says "family members." The final straw is when CPS proposes that the abuser's wife, the woman guilty of failing to protect a child and the only other person present when the child injured, be the "supervisor" in the court-mandated supervised visits.

Why does this intake worker side with dad? My daughter is Hispanic - dad is Caucasian. Yet the CPS website explicitly explains its non-discrimination policy.

The bias and mismanagement of this case is appalling. Why is this caseworker not held accountable by her superiors? I guess a dead child means less work for her. The Wisconsin statute is very clear: "Whoever recklessly causes bodily harm to a child by conduct which creates a high probability of great bodily harm is guilty of a Class H felony." That CPS has chosen to ignore it is criminal.

Carole Rieg


The risk of climate change


So many of us have been taken by the uncertainty of climate change as an adequate reason for complacency. I know I have. The political backdrop for the issue has not helped either. With shots fired from both sides and inconsistencies in data provided by the media, it is much easier to discredit climate change and simply live our lives. However, I have been surprised to discover that more than 90 percent of scientists agree that climate change is human-caused, and will have devastating effects within the next 50 years.

But what effects? Well, from the hurricanes on the East coast, to the droughts on the West coast, and even Lyme disease right here in the Midwest can be attributed to climate change.

Can these events really be linked to climate change? To ask that is similar to asking if an infection can be linked to a lowered immune system.

The climate is changing. Greenhouse gases are warming the planet at an unprecedented rate, and there will be impacts. Ninety percent of the scientific community agree on this matter. I have only begun to learn about the earnestness of this issue, but I cannot help but wonder: How certain must we be to make choices in our day-to-day lives and, as a matter of risk analysis, isn't 90 percent enough certainty to take action against the risks of climate change?

Stephen Matz, Student

River Falls

AAUW book sale


The River Falls Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women ) will hold its annual book sale on Oct. 11, 12 and 13 and 18, 19 and 20 at 109A N. Main St., River Falls. This fundraising event has been held in the community for over 50 years and through the years has provided scholarships for students at River Falls High School, UWRF, Chippewa Valley Technical College, and to attend a special leadership conferences. Both traditional and non-traditional students have benefited.

This year the sale is made possible through the efforts of many, both in and out of our organization.

Thank you to all the community members who contributed books and will buy new ones. We appreciate Dick's Fresh Market and Family Fresh in River Falls and County Market in Hudson for their willingness to house donation barrels. Lorin Sather, the Lee family, Larry Peterson and Ron Zirbel assisted in site preparation. Finally, the Boles family was both generous and helpful; they provided the use of a lovely, spacious and convenient site on Main Street for the sale. Everyone's involvement is so appreciated and will ensure success for scholarship funding. We invite the community to attend this annual sale.

Jane Matthews, AAUW Book Sale Chair

Lorraine Davis, AAUW President

The world our grandchildren will inherit


Recently the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that if the world doesn't seriously address the threat of runaway climate change, we may lose our chance to avoid the worst consequences of our inaction. Guterres sees the window closing by 2020. Time is running out.

Meanwhile the Washington Post has just reported a jaw-dropping study by the Trump administration concluding that the world is headed toward "climate disaster²" by 2100.

Irony runs deep here. The 500-page report was released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) according to the Post, "to justify President Donald Trump's decision to freeze federal fuel standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020."

Though Trump himself has called climate change a hoax, his NHTSA predicts a worldwide rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century, in agreement with scientific consensus on the worst-case scenario should we fail to meet the challenge of climate change.

In essence the administration's study argues that nothing can be done to turn aside the disasters ahead, so let's further weaken environmental regulations to allow companies to make as much money as possible while they can.

This is a breathtaking betrayal of not only America but of a world that has already begun to face proliferating superstorms, wildfires, and the beginning of destabilizing climate-driven human migration.

It's time to hold every elected official accountable on the issue of climate change and vote all deniers and do-nothings out of office. We must elect leaders who care about and will pledge to protect the country and world our grandchildren will inherit.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

Tell your senators to vote NO on Kavanaugh


During my nearly four decades as an attorney in good standing, I have followed the Senate confirmation proceedings of many nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States, including those of Brett Kavanaugh.

Nominees have been rejected by the Senate because their record of political actions, legal writings and judicial opinions were considered too far out the mainstream (Robert Bork); have withdrawn from consideration because of revelations about long-prior personal actions, such as the recreational use of marijuana (Douglas Ginsburg); have withdrawn from consideration because of limited related professional experience (Harriet Miers); or have never had their nomination considered by the Senate at all (Merrick Garland).

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the SCOTUS have been deeply troubling.

It was alleged that he sexually assaulted a younger girl. The sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl by a 17-year-old boy is a crime-it is far outside of the category of high school high jinks.

The allegation is not that he toilet-papered her house, but that he tried to rape her.

In addition, there was his possible commitment of perjury resulting from his apparent misrepresentations about his previous behavior, made while he was under oath at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Remember, former President Bill Clinton faced impeachment not for his consensual sexual activities with an intern or a hairdresser, but for lying about it under oath.

But regardless of whether one comes to believe Christine Blasey Ford or Brett Kavanaugh, what this nominee most demonstrated by his words and behavior at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings is that he currently, as a 53-year-old, entirely lacks the judicial temperament required to serve on any court, let alone the SCOTUS.

Brett Kavanaugh now sits as a US Circuit Judge, and in that position he is subject to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. Its Canon 1 directs that a Judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the Judiciary, and its Canon 2 directs that a Judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. The Commentary to these Canons states that deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends on public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges. This nominee has lost that public confidence.

Celeste Koeberl

Town of Hudson

Mother Nature and the election


A second 500-year rain event within three years in Ashland and Bayfield counties; record rainfalls and flooding in southern Wisconsin; unprecedented wildfires in California and British Columbia; extreme drought and wildfires in northern Europe; record temperatures in many parts of the world; unprecedented rainfall and flooding in the Carolinas; and all of this within the past six months. Hmmm ... is Mother Nature trying to tell us something?

According to recent polling by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications, a substantial majority of Americans think so. Over 60 percent of U.S. adults have concluded that climate change is affecting our weather, are worried about it, and want Congress to take effective action to address it. So why isn't Congress doing so?

Certainly, part of the problem is that addressing climate change has become a victim of political tribalism, but recent polling also indicates that substantial majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all favor congressional action. Perhaps a better explanation is that all of us have not given high enough priority to the issue to insist that our congressional representatives address it without further delay. Climate change has routinely ranked well down the list of issues of importance to voters.

But now Mother Nature has slapped us in the face. In light of the suffering that has resulted, "Thanks, we needed that," is probably not an appropriate response, but we do need to urgently wake up and demand that those seeking to represent us in Congress commit to addressing this increasingly severe threat before it's too late. Business as usual is no longer an option.

Climate change has no business being a partisan issue. It impacts all of us regardless of party affiliation. And there are bipartisan proposals for effectively addressing it. At this critical time, we need political leaders with the courage to rise above tribal politics and embrace such bipartisan solutions.

Fortunately, this election season provides us with a timely opportunity to impress upon our prospective representatives the critical importance of addressing climate change in the next Congress. We need to raise the issue whenever possible, ask candidates what actions they're prepared to take, and let them know that in this election, Mother Nature's warnings will not be ignored. Then, for the sake of the one big tribe that we all belong to, we need to vote accordingly.

Bill Bussey