No mowing roadsides


As I think most of you know, I am a wildlife biologist and have worked most of my career trying to conserve wild places that are home to both rare and common species of plants and animals. I have lived just outside of Ellsworth for 24 years and in recent years have noticed a disturbing trend to mow all of the roadsides. I used to see nesting red-winged blackbirds, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, sparrow hawks and various other species using these areas. Now they are, in my opinion, green deserts.

I try to understand the appeal of highly manicured lawns, but I cannot bring myself to believe that the same level of "management" should carry over to the public rights-of-way. This is especially true today when many of our important pollinators such as Monarch butterflies and honeybees are considered to be endangered or threatened. If your land is all farmed and there are no longer any fencerows, roadsides or "natural areas," then you are not providing habitat for any of these species. Please do what you can to share the land with our non-human neighbors. We all pay taxes on these areas. I would like to see them remain un-mowed, at least from May-September. Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss.

Lisa Mueller


Brexit and Ireland


My pastor, the Reverend Amy Kosari, has asked me to share with your readers a letter I wrote to the Sunday Times of London. I got back a reply which congratulated me on what I said, and the brevity and wit with which I said it. Unfortunately, they added, we cannot publish it! Here is approximately what I wrote, a hundred percent in favor of Brexit while apologizing for the harm that will do to Ireland.

As follows. Dear Sirs, May I as an American put words into the mouth of the man of England? Let him say to that stupid European Union in the words of Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty or give me death." And let him say to the Irishman whom he has treated so badly for hundreds of years, "Johnny, we hardly knew ye."

Vincent Shaw


Soul searching needed


According to new analysis of data obtained by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Wisconsin has the FIFTH most sex offenders per capita as compared to the other 45 states. Put another way, Wisconsin is among the leaders of states with the most sex offenders in the nation.

As a mother with kids, I feel this statistic in the pit of my stomach. Few would disagree with the seriousness and irreparable level of trauma and harm that comes with sexual assault. Spend any amount of time on social media and the sentiment that sexual predators should hang from trees is alive and well in Wisconsin. So, what gives?

My two cents, for whatever it's worth: it's a combination of two things. One, our state's very liberal and reckless culture on alcohol, and two, the shockingly softball approach we take to policing, prosecuting and sentencing sexual predators. Every time we reduce a felony rape to a misdemeanor for probation, diversion or a fine, instead of sending a message that acting on inappropriate sexual power and control urges will quite literally ruin your life, we say "meh, it's not so bad." Every time we tell a rape survivor she has to co-parent with her rapist, we send a powerful message implicitly condoning sexual assault as not really such a big deal. We substitute inconvenience for sexual predators rather than game changing consequences that ensure that they never hurt anyone else again.

Diamonds aren't created through easy conditions. No one changes for the better or faces their demons, that of which they're ashamed because it's fun, easy or convenient. By not being stronger on sexual assault from our laws down to their enforcement we create a scenario by which the path of least resistance for someone inclined to sexually assault is to do nothing until eventually they act on it.

Wisconsin's culture on alcohol is the kerosene to the flame.

Option 1: continue on with a sense of learned helplessness, throw up our hands and falsely believe that's just the way life has to be.

Option 2: demand better from our elected officials, look to other states that have grown past these problems and learn, be willing to try something else. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. We're better than this.

Sarah Yacoub