"…The only thing to fear is, fear itself." -Franklin D. Roosevelt
This famous presidential quote came to mind as I've tried to follow the unfolding events of the City's negotiations with Walmart for a new Supercenter which is equally beneficial to Walmart and the citizens of Merrill. But it has been a little confusing to me to hear the Mayor state that "Walmart already owns the land, so the negotiations are over!" when public records confirm that's NOT correct. Both the land seller and Walmart's broker has also confirmed Walmart does not own the property, but has a contract with Park City Credit Union to purchase it contingent upon receiving all the necessary approvals. So far, Walmart has received no city or state approvals.
With those clarifications, the City should negotiate with confidence on a FAIR but FIRM basis to gain the kind of respect and attention which Walmart has given to other similar communities throughout Wisconsin. After working in the commercial real estate business throughout the midwest for over 30 years including being directly involved with several great Walmart-type projects, I'd hate to see my hometown miss out on such a great opportunity to do it the best way possible.
M-GO!, a local community group, gathered market data, case studies and conducted interviews about other new Walmart Supercenters around the state and supplied most of this information to the City. They've strongly encouraged the City to require Walmart to re-position their store on the site to allow for more commercial development plus build a beautiful and unique exterior design as Walmart did for Jefferson, Germantown, Sturgeon Bay and other Wisconsin communities. Great, more economic growth = more jobs and more tax revenue for Merrill!
Logically, we would have a more thriving commercial corridor in the city running from Big Eddy Road on the south and Highway G on the North. Great, economic growth = more jobs and more tax revenue for Merrill!
Even though the City wisely offered no upfront incentive money to Walmart to super-size, it didn't have to, because Walmart can't afford to leave Merrill. In fact, in other communities, Walmart is helping fund off-site public improvements up to a mile away from its front door. So it means the City should reasonably require Walmart to fund the cost impact on off-site roadways and utilities instead of the tax payers bearing the cost. In today's market, it is very common and more than FAIR but the City needs to be FIRM. The same goes for requiring Walmart to commit to an aggressive and open market re-leasing plan for the 74,000 square foot space they will vacate. In today's market, it is very common and more than FAIR but the City needs to be FIRM. In fact, most likely Walmart already expects Merrill to ask for this so why not require it.
The City is in a very strong position for making sure the entire Walmart Supercenter is completed at the highest quality level possible with a long range plan that supports the expansion for more economic growth which is what the City is required to do. It's all just so logical!
Letter to the Editor:
In a recent letter to the editor it was written, in regard to the iron mine, "Let them (legislators) know that the handful of temporary jobs the mine would create are not worth a forever destroyed unique landscape, polluted waters and polluted air."
Let's revisit this "handful of temporary jobs" statement. During the first two years of mine construction 3,100 jobs would have been in place; upon completion, 2,800 more jobs, both direct and indirect; 700 being direct mine jobs at about $60,000 per year, plus benefits, times 35 years. In addition 15,000 jobs across the state producing equipment used in mining. I have not even considered tax revenue benefits and the public sector job market.
Most of these workers are likely fishermen and hunters, people that do not want to see the environment destroyed. Why do we have the Wisconsin DNR, Army Corp of Engineers, State, Federal and Local law, not to mention water quality specialists and Federal Mine Inspectors, is it not their jobs to inspect and enforce environmental procedures and laws? Instead Democrats would rather vote down mining in Wisconsin, as we continue to import Russian Steel, Arab oil and Chinese goods.
Thirty years to build a mine is not an option anywhere in the world except the USA. Someone sold the "Chicken Little Story" to the Democrats.
The norm for many in Northern Wisconsin and around the United States is food stamps, unemployment, foreclosures and soup kitchens. Remember 16 Democrats and one Republican voted against the iron mining bill. It's as if the Democrats were saying, let's protect the unemployed from working at good paying union jobs! The last recall election didn't help the working men and women.
On Tuesday, June 5 think about that when you vote.
I am writing to ask a very simple question of the MAPS school board members who voted (twice) to close Pine River Elementary and turn it into a center for early childhood daycare and developmentally disabled children.
Where can I find the report detailing the cost savings of this plan?
I have repeatedly heard that the reason for the closing of Pine River is that it will save the district money. I would like to see some evidence to back this up, and as of yet I have not. Perhaps this is just because I haven't looked hard enough though.
Please just direct me to the city or school office that I can go to and pick up the hard numbers that prove what you say is true. Simple, right?
Additionally I wonder how much the quality of education and overall affect on the students has been considered in this decision. Next year, my son will be attending kindergarten at the same school that my wife once attended. Through the closing and consolidating of the elementary schools in the MAPS district over the last 20 years, this school will have over double the amount of students now that it did then. Are we supposed to believe that a school with 500 kids offers an equivalent learning environment for a five year old that the same school did when it had 200 kids? Personally I find that very hard to believe.
That is really an aside though, and one that everybody has heard before. Really I am writing to find out where I can go to get the numbers that prove that closing the elementary school and completely renovating it into a day care center and school for developmentally disabled children will actually save the area money.
Congratulations to the Merrill High School Class of 2012. I mean all of the class of 2012.
I would also like to thank the committee that put together the Gedo program at Merrill High School. There may be a few readers out there that have never heard of the Gedo program. Gedo is a program that a committee implemented seven years ago for students that struggle in the classroom for many different reasons. My son is one of those students.
Kristin VanDerGeest was on the committee to start the Gedo program and has been the teacher for that classroom all seven years. The number of students each year varies, but this year it was close to 30. Let's say there is an average of 25 students each year. That's 175 students in the last seven years that, without the program most likely would not have graduated. That's 175 students that would have fallen through the cracks without Gedo and Kristin VanDerGeest. We don't know what they will become, but at least they now have a better start to adulthood.
I don't know how anyone else in our community feels about our graduates, but I feel a need to thank Gedo and even more so, Kristin VanDerGeest. As I set here writing this, wanting to thank her for all that she has done for my son, it occurred to me, I have to thank her not only for my son and myself, but for all of her students and for our community.
MAPS is one of the best school districts in the state and the Gedo program makes our school and community even better.
I would like to take some time to set some facts straight. Mr. Bolder does not really have his facts straight about public employee retirement. The only thing in his article that had any truth was retirement at age 55, although true it does not qualify one for full retirement benefits. There is a large formula that the Wisconsin Retirement system uses to determine benefits. Also it should be noted that very few if any public employees receive full healthcare after retirement. For example, city of Merrill retirees may stay on the group plan but must pay 100% of their premium. As a city employee I personally will not be able to retire until 65 due to the formula used. Mr. Bolder needs to research his rantings a bit more before publishing them.
As far as the recall goes our state constitution allows for it. Last summer the Republicans didn't have a problem with trying to recall Senator Holperin. We the working class and public employees and all other Walker opponents are simply exercising our constitutional rights.
Mark C. Spoehr
Proud AFSCME member
What is your life worth? If a person is injured or killed in an accident this is usually the unenviable task of attorneys and courts… to determine the monetary value of a human life. But let's look at this a different way. What is your life worth to YOU? As human beings, the most undeniable truth of our existence is that we are here for a finite amount of time. Death is inevitable… so most people strive to make the most of their lives.
For those of us who are gainfully employed, we trade a large portion of the limited time we have in this world to receive payment in legal tender. With that money we hope to be able to make our existence in this world tolerable. We hopefully have some left over to enjoy some sort of recreation, and other things that enrich our lives. We also strive to help others less fortunate than us when we can.
We all understand that there are taxes to be paid that provide certain basic social standards. Some of us pay more, some pay less, depending on how successful we are. We want these taxes to be fair, and those in charge of administering them to be responsible and honest. But all is not fair. And many are not honest.
When government forces you to pay taxes that support benefits for a small group of people… benefits that you as the taxpayer will never enjoy, they are actually taking part of your life away. How do you feel when you have to work longer and harder so someone else who usually does not work nearly as hard as you can enjoy more pay, more time off, better healthcare and a fully funded retirement? I'll tell you one thing… it's not the feeling of freedom!
When Governor Scott Walker moved to limit collective bargaining for public sector employees, he was not only trying to fix our budget deficit, he began to level the playing field for all of us in the private sector who pay taxes. For those of you who want him recalled because of this… you should hand your heads in shame! You are not only asking, you are selfishly demanding the private sector working people of this state must give up part of their very lives so yours can be better. Nothing could be more insidious. The "entitled" ones will do anything to get rid of the man who dared to defy them!
So once again I ask you… what is your life worth? Look at your paycheck stub. Will you live your life for yourself and those who are dear to you? Or will you let a minority of "entitled" people take it away, hour by hour, dollar by dollar? If your time is important to you, use a few moments of it to vote for Scott Walker and Jerry Petrowski on June 5. The life you "save" may be your own! Thank you.
We would like to take this opportunity to let our community know about the extraordinary support provided by many of our local businesses to Special Education Students via the Work Study Program at Merrill High School.
Our local businesses provide guidance, training, and vocational education beyond classroom instruction. The dedication and cooperative effort between the school and businesses ensure that MAPS Special Education students are given the opportunity to gain valuable employability skills.
Through hands-on work study experiences the students begin to learn how to transfer what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real life situations. The expertise and employee expectations throughout these learning experiences have demonstrated improved attendance, attitudes, academic performance, increased acceptance of responsibility, and increased students' self-confidence and motivation. These experiences are beneficial to their future educational and career plans and provide business with opportunities to develop a highly skilled workforce from within the local high school population. The most rewarding part of this program is seeing our students who have struggled in the classroom for much of their lives meet success on the job site.
The time, guidance, patience, and partnership are truly invaluable to our students. We are immensely grateful for the continual support from the Merrill community. We urge you to support your local businesses, especially those who have given so much of their time and experience to our youth.
Our community partners this year are Pine Crest, Champ's Restaurant, Snow Shack, Rich's Discount, Dollar Tree, NAPA, Humane Society, Book World, Carquest, Center City Citgo, Walgreen's, E & H Automotive, Chism Trail Ranch, Bell Tower, Muffler & Brake Specialists, Pizza Hut, Kwik Trip, AmericInn, First Street Coffee Station, Reinhardt Farms, Helping Hands Thrift Store, Mid-West Trailers, Auto Jockey's, Gold Medal Trailers, Holy Cross Sisters, Schulz' Recycling, Ace Hardware, Skipper's Restaurant, Geiss Meat Service, McDonanld's, Koss Marine, Hardee's Restaurant, Courtside Furniture, Filmore Metal Crafters, Merrill Area Public Schools: Kate Goodrich, Washington Elementary Classrooms & Food Service, Head Start & Merrill High School Cafè, Office Staff, Library & Janitorial Staff.
Melissa Yuska, Craig Hoffman &
SPED Work Study Coordinators
- Merrill Community Forum Series continues
- Letters to the Editor, 5-15-13 edition
- Letters to the Editior, 5-8-13 edition
- Superintendent's Corner
- For the Love of Merrill
- Letters to the Editor, May 1, 2013 edition
- Letters to the Editor, 4-24-13 edition
- Letters to the Editor, 4-17-13 edition
- Letters to the Editor, 4-10-13 edition
- Fostering Lifelong Learning