Ignore climate change at our peril
We just returned from a visit to Bayfield, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Superior. We love the area and know it well, having spent time there at every opportunity for over 30 years. These days we are clearly seeing the effects of a warming climate. Air conditioners are showing up in houses that never needed summer cooling before. Last winter, for the first time in its history, the ferry that travels between Bayfield and Madeline Island ran all winter for two years in a row because the water never froze.
I know there are many reading this letter who deny that there is such a thing as climate change caused by human activity. But let me ask you this. When you go to your doctor with a health issue, do you question his or her diagnosis and choose to ignore it because it’s not real? When you take your paperwork to your tax accountant each year do you question the final numbers because you know more than he or she does? Why do you trust these professionals to know what’s right but not the 97% of climate scientists who are convinced that human-induced climate change is real?
Just like your doctor or tax accountant, climate scientists have years of study (usually PhD level) and many years of experience in their area of expertise. Their professional lives are dedicated to their field of study. It is hard to ignore a conclusion that 97% of professionals in any given field have reached.
Please don’t dismiss this as a “liberal issue.” We ignore climate change at our peril. This year’s record-breaking number of hurricanes and West Coast fires make that clear.
Fairboard members do so much
Thank you for the advance coverage of the Friends of the St. Croix County Fairgrounds' Maytober under the title "Still renovating for next generation" in the Sept. 24 issue of the Star-Observer. The support of RiverTown is greatly appreciated.
I would like to underscore the tireless efforts of Fairboard members, particularly the building committee chairs, to develop the design, oversee construction, coordinate volunteer efforts and help secure significant in-kind donations. Their collective efforts have been a huge factor in the progress made in ensuring that the proud heritage of the St. Croix County Fair extends for generations to come.
Social Security vital to seniors
Many seniors depend on social security for basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. We have paid into the social security system for 20, 30, and even 40 years and consider these earned benefits not entitlements or hand-outs like some Republican politicians say on TV. I was recently alarmed to learn that the president’s budget proposes big cuts to social security payments to seniors. Then I heard him say he wanted to drop the payroll tax which provides the funding for the social security program. This is very threatening to the livelihood and welfare of many seniors. We have served this country as nurses, construction workers, teachers, farmers, police officers and many other vital occupations and it is disgusting to be treated this way. Seniors deserve to be treated better by their government.
Trust in our democracy
In a recent White House press conference, Donald Trump again declined to express support for a peaceful transfer of power after the election should he lose, saying “we’re going to have to see what happens.” This should have been a very easy question to answer, and the answer should have been “yes.” Trump then went on to spread doubt and lies about voting, saying “the ballots are a disaster.”
Everyone who wants to vote, should be able to vote -- that is democracy. Everyone should also be able to vote safely; this is a very reasonable expectation.
Sowing doubts about our election is irresponsible and this is yet another of the many times he has done this. I am very concerned about this, and I think every citizen should be, regardless of any party affiliation. No leader should say things like this. Spreading lies about the integrity of our elections is not a conservative value. Undermining democracy is not a conservative value.
I’m sure you share the same values as I do when it comes to our democracy, and we all need to stand up for them. We need to unite and trust each other and our democratic system.
Resolve the residency question
The issue of Rep. Shannon Zimmerman’s residency slips out of our consciousness each time another election passes, without ever being finally resolved.
In April, I wrote to Zimmerman asking where his primary residence is located. Zimmerman has not responded.
"I live in the district and I've kept my promise to the constituents," Zimmerman said in reference to his pledge to move within Assembly District 30 upon winning the 2016 election (Dec. 13, 2017, Star-Observer/RiverTowns.net)
Further, in the same Star-Observer report, Zimmerman states, “I live in the district. Everything I do is in the district” (i.e. District 30).
However, his winery business, Belle Vinez Vineyard and Winery, valued at $1.4 million, which opened in 2015, is built on real estate which is owned by him and his wife, contiguous to and possibly even encroaching upon what many consider to be his primary-residence acreage, all in District 93.
It is time. Constituents need an answer. Does Zimmerman reside in the lower/basement level of a twin home in District 30? Or does he live in the country home in District 93?
Turningpoint is here for abuse victims
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse or intimate partner violence, is defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse can be emotional, economic, verbal, psychological, coercion, sexual and physical. Domestic violence happens regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, education level or gender.
Domestic violence affects more than 12 million people per year
Domestic violence affects 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men.
1 in 4 to 1 in 3 LGB/Q individuals have experienced intimate partner violence.
1 in 3 to 1 in 2 trans folks have experienced intimate partner violence.
Turningpoint has a wide range of services that we offer to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Our services include:
A crisis line answered by trained advocates 24/7, 365 days a year
Temporary shelter in River Falls with eight rooms for families and individuals
Domestic violence and sexual assault support group for survivors
Pantry available for shelter and outreach clients stocked with food and hygiene products
Information about many other resources in Pierce and St. Croix counties ranging from housing, work, medical, counseling and more
Community education to schools and community groups
Legal advocacy and a free legal clinic
Outreach support to those experiencing domestic or sexual violence
Anyone can help prevent and stop domestic violence in our community. Start young by teaching children and talking to them about healthy relationships, consent, and safe/unsafe touches. Address victim-blaming statements or rape jokes when you hear them. In addition, let any survivors know in your life that you are there to listen, support and believe them.
As the spread of COVID-19 continues, people have been told to stay home to stay safe. For victims of abuse, home may not be a safe space. This could mean isolation from others, limited access to help, and increased abuse from a partner. If you are a victim of abuse and you are unsafe in your home during this time, we want you to know that you are not alone and help is available at Turningpoint.
Erica Boos is client services coordinator at Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence, based in River Falls and serving Pierce and St. Croix counties.