Maintaining character in our community


This year I had the privilege of being a Rotary Reader at Westside Elementary School and as I was there at the beginning of the day I had an extra bonus of learning about the school's character education.

I have followed the progress of the Character Education initiative over the years, but what a treat to experience it in action. The principal, Chris Kamrath, does a fantastic job of announcing the character trait of the month at the beginning of each day and providing a little example of it. Seeing the children absorbing the information and dear Stacia Johnson's endorsement of it almost brings tears to my eyes. I truly looked forward to hearing about the character trait and thinking about how I can improve my character in this area.

And somehow my mind wandered - as it likes to do! - to thinking about the character of our community. Our local government, business and university leaders have had the courage to work cooperatively to develop a state-of-the-art Business Innovation Center that encourages businesses to come to our area and supports those that are here. I am constantly impressed by UWRF Chancellor, Dr. Dean VanGalen's, perseverance in promoting the university during some of the most difficult times I have known. His gentle grace is remarkable.

The many charitable endeavors are a true testament to our compassion for others as we strive to be respectful to all our neighbors. And there has been honest dialog when we feel we have fallen short.

Opportunities abound for us to be good citizens. We raise a lot of money for charities that support those less fortunate than ourselves, we work at these charities, we provide additional funds for teachers who are innovative, we maintain the corner gardens, we sing in our choirs, and so much more.

We aren't perfect but I would happily award our community an A for character. It is a very, very good place to live. It is incumbent upon all of us to take the responsibility to maintain this lovely character with a positive attitude and strive to make it even better.

Thank you everyone for making my place in the world a better place to live.

Carole Mottaz

River Falls

Democracy demands facts


In the May 9 issue of the River Falls Journal, Stephanie Brown attempted to defend D. M. Okeefe's April 25 opinion piece which was countered by four Letters to the Editor on May 2.

I found no complaint from any of the four May 2 Letters to the Editor, that D. M. Okeefe did not have legal expertise. To my knowledge the four authors also had no legal expertise.

Pointing out flaws in D. M. Okeefe's opinion piece is not political grandstanding. It is an attempt to correct fictitious information presented to the public.

Ms. Brown wonders why other columnists don't draw as many complaints. The answer is that there is a difference between expressing your opinion about the interpretation of ACTUAL FACTS and just making stuff up. Okeefe's opinion piece expressed fiction not facts and that is why it drew four different Letters to the Editor against it.

Democracy requires that citizens are informed with real FACTS. It is dangerous to democracy and to the United States of America when someone attempts to influence citizens' opinions with fictitious information.

Cheryl Maplethorpe

Town of Clifton


'The River is Life' is a hit


Thank you and the staff of RiverTown Multimedia for your extra insert in this week's paper. "The River is Life etc." is an engaging, historic and comprehensive publication well worthy of an award. Very well done.

LaVonne McCombie


Poppy Day coming soon


Each year, American Legion Auxiliary volunteers distribute millions of red crepe paper poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. The veterans who make the flowers are able to earn a small wage, which helps to supplement their incomes and makes them feel more self-sufficient. The physical and mental activity provides many therapeutic benefits for the veteran. The poppy has become a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is worn by Americans to honor those who served and died for their country.

Our objective is to provide disabled veterans with an income and rehabilitation activity, and to remind Americans of the sacrifices of their veterans over the years. Donations received by Auxiliary volunteers for the poppies are used exclusively to assist and support veterans and their families.

In 1923, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion Family in memory of the soldiers who fought on the battlefields during World War I.

The poppy was the famous wartime poem "In Flanders Fields" by Lt. Col. John McCrae.

Poppies will be offered May 16 at Family Fresh and May 17 at Dicks IGA.

They will also be offered on Memorial Day at St Bridget's Cemetery and at Greenwood. Poppy cans have been placed around town to provide a convenient place to donate.

Thank you for your generosity.

Jeanne Williams

Poppy Chairman

Moving forward on climate


"I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I have an idea for sorting through the many competing voices on climate change.

Fifty-eight former U.S. national security leaders, including 35 admirals and generals, sent a letter on climate change to President Donald Trump. This extraordinary letter states: "Climate change is real, it is happening now, it is driven by humans, and it is accelerating." These senior military and national security leaders also assert that "climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States," and that addressing it should be seen "as a threat reduction issue, not a political one."

Over 3,500 economists, including 27 Nobel Prize-winners and top economic advisers to presidents of both parties, have endorsed a plan to fight climate change. Their "Economists' Statement on Carbon Dividends" advocates putting a consistently rising price on carbon dioxide emissions and returning the money to the American people.

This statement concludes that the price signal will encourage technological innovation and steer our economy toward a low-carbon future. Returning the revenue to households will shield consumers from rising energy prices, and "the majority of families, including the most vulnerable, will benefit financially." A border carbon adjustment would protect U.S. competitiveness and encourage other nations to adopt their own carbon pricing systems.

A bipartisan bill embracing these principles has been introduced in the House of Representatives - the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

Let's go with the admirals and generals and the Nobel Prize-winning economists.

Terry Hansen

Hales Corners