Letters to the Editor, 03-20-13 edition
Dear Fellow Lincoln County Voters,
In a few short days, on April 2, you will vote who is to be your Circuit Court Judge for Branch 2 in Lincoln County. Having sat in that chair for more than 12 years, I have more than a passing interest in the election. I should also add, that I write this letter of endorsement without any solicitation from either candidate.
The candidates for this position are Robert Russell and John Yackel. Mr. Yackel was living and practicing law in Wausau when, after my retirement, he was appointed by Gov. Walker as your Lincoln County Judge on a temporary basis. I really can’t speak to Mr. Yackel’s qualifications to be your Judge since, in the many years before his appointment, I didn’t believe that he spend much, if any, time in Lincoln County or its Courts representing any of the citizens of Lincoln County. I can, on the other hand, certainly speak to the qualifications of Mr. Russell to be your Judge.
I have known Mr. Russell for at least the last 20 years, first as an adversary when we were both lawyers and then as an advocate representing the interest of Lincoln County residents in front of me in Branch 2 Circuit Court. His representation of his clients was always exemplary and his temperament well suited to the Courtroom. His 20 or more years of experience gave him a broad base of knowledge to utilize. I know that when asked, he has given much back to the community in his service on numerous boards for various public service organizations. He has administrative experience in running a business and managing employees. All of these things are skills and qualifications necessary for a Judge and are unique to Mr. Russell.
Most importantly, over the last 40+ years, Mr. Russell has been here, part of this community, immersed in its culture. He grew up with the values of this community. It think it is extremely important for a Judge to know the values of the community that they will be serving. One of the things that a Judge is called upon to do by his or her decisions is to allocate the scarce and expensive judicial resources of the community. Does the community want to support rehabilitation? Drug Courts? Veteran’s Courts? More jails? These will be considerations for a judge in this community, and it is almost essential that the judge have a detailed familiarity with the community and its values. Most assuredly, Mr. Russell does.
I urge you to vote for Mr. Russell for Circuit Court Judge, Br. 2 on April 2.
Glenn H. Hartley
To the citizens of Lincoln County,
I’m writing in support of Judge John Yackel for Lincoln County circuit court judge. If you have never talked to John, how can you judge him at the ballot box. He wouldn’t do that to you. Please, talk to John.
I have been reading the letters to the editor and it appears that many people in Lincoln County have known Rob Russell, both he and his father George, for most of their lives and think a lot of them. I hope this hasn’t come down to a popularity contest.
I believe the biggest quality a judge needs, is to be impartial. I’m concerned the people of Lincoln County, would question verdicts handed down by Rob Russell concerning people he knows. Even if the verdicts were just, their would still be questions. Trust your Lincoln County Sheriffs Deputies and put your trust in John Yackel.
I would also like to endorse change in our school board. Most people realize that are schools have been going downhill for decades. Please don’t protect or vote back in the status quo. Vote for Nubs Ashbeck, Linda Yingling and write in Vicki Lindstrom.
An important election is coming in April - an election which, unfortunately, many citizens of Lincoln County may choose to ignore, even though the results of that election could impact their friends or members of their families. We citizens are asked to choose our next circuit judge.
Recently, I read an article which mentioned “judicial temperament” and that brought me to considering how important that would be in a judge. Looking for a clear definition, I found long lists of qualities that only a saint could claim. Let me share just some of them:
- patience, openmindedness, courtesy, tact, firmness, understanding, compassion and humility
- an ability to deal with parties, counsel, jurors, and witnesses calmly and courteously
- the ability to be even-tempered, yet firm
- the ability to be open-minded, yet willing and able to reach a decision
- a willingness and ability to assimilate data outside his own experience
- an absence of arrogance, impatience, and arbitrariness.
I have known Rob Russell all his life and know his reputation as an attorney. I believe he has demonstrated many of these qualities both in his professional and personal life to a high degree.
One more thing: Rob is the great-grandson of Fred Smith - the first white child born in Lincoln County. While that does not in any way qualify him for the position he aspires to, it certainly shows that his roots are deep and his understanding of the people and workings of Lincoln County is genuine.
A vote for Russell is a vote for fairness and justice in Lincoln County.
Ann Wittman, SCSC
Letter to the Editor:
I am writing on behalf of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Local Lincoln County Association 438. In the past several months we have had the opportunity to work closely with and observe Judge John Yackel serve as Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge. In that time Judge Yackel has earned not only our endorsement but also our respect.
Judge Yackel has served with fairness and integrity. Judge Yackel has proven he is not beholden to anyone as he makes his decisions based on the facts of the case and the proper application of the law.
Judge Yackel exercises proper discretion when making decisions. In Judge Yackel’s courtroom those who need help, get help, those who need to be punished, are punished and those who need protection are protected. Judge Yackel serves responsibly with wisdom and accountability to the citizens of Lincoln County.
Judge Yackel is serving effectively and is doing his part to keep Lincoln County safe. Judge Yackel’s impact has already been felt throughout the law enforcement community. It is for these reasons the Lincoln County Local Chapter 438 of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association has voted to endorse Judge John Yackel for Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge.
To the voters of Lincoln County,
On Tuesday, April 2, Lincoln County voters will have the opportunity to choose the person they want to serve as their judge in Branch two of the Lincoln County Circuit Court.
Over the years that I spent on the circuit court bench I had the chance to get to know Robert Russell both as an attorney and as a person.
I believe that he has all of the qualities necessary to be a fine judge and that your trust in him would not be misplaced.
Michael J. Nolan
I write this letter in support of John Yackel for Lincoln County Circuit Court judge. My husband and I have known John and his wife, Traci, for over 10 years both personally and professionally. John is honest, open-minded, intelligent, personable, and actually just a “regular guy.” John Yackel is a lifelong resident of Northern Wisconsin. He has served Lincoln County well over the last six months and I highly recommend that we elect him to a full 6-year term as judge. As our judge I fully believe John Yackel would be unbiased, listen to all parties, and give careful consideration to each and every decision. Fairness, honesty, and thoughtfulness are what Lincoln County deserves from a judge. I will be voting for John Yackel on April 2nd and hope you will as well.
Dear Lincoln County voters,
The symbol for judges is typically a scale, as the job requires a careful, unbiased and objective view of the cases presented. In this regard, I would have as much concern over a judge who is in the sheriff department’s back pocket as one who is heavily favored by criminals. Having a “thumb on the scale” in EITHER direction means that objectivity is lost. This could easily lead to biased judging, and we citizens deserve more.
The election for Lincoln County judge is fast approaching, and political yard signs, newspaper ads, and radio spots are vying for your attention. Having known Rob Russell for 30 years, and having never met John Yackel, I am naturally biased toward Mr. Russell. But I feel it would be difficult to find a more honorable, steady, intelligent, and independent-thinking candidate for judge, and I urge you to make him your choice on April 2.
I am writing to express my support for Judge John Yackel. Since taking the bench last September, Judge Yackel has earned the respect of those in Lincoln County who care about the safety of our families. I have observed Judge Yackel make fair, unbiased and intelligent decisions. I have observed him run an efficient courtroom where all are treated with dignity and respect. It is apparent that he has the judicial temperament that Lincoln County needs and makes no distinction of people’s backgrounds. In my opinion, not only has justice been served, so has Lincoln County. Please vote for Judge Yackel on April 2nd.
My name is Rob Russell and I am a candidate for Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge in the election that will take place on April 2, 2013. I firmly believe that my experience, knowledge of the community and service to the community organizations make me the best candidate for Circuit Court Judge.
I am proud to say that I was born and raised in Merrill and am a Merrill High School graduate. I completed my schooling and in 1992 made the decision to return to Merrill and work in the law firm that my father, George Russell, started over 50 years ago. I have now been practicing law for over 20 years and have represented individuals, businesses, financial institutions, and non-profit organizations in Lincoln County during that time period. I have represented clients in the areas of criminal law, family law, collections, real estate, estate planning, probate and guardianships. I feel that my well-rounded legal experience will serve me well if elected judge. I am also currently serving as the Lincoln County Family Court Commissioner, where I preside over temporary hearings in divorce matters and make decisions regarding custody, child support, property division, and other family law-related matters.
I always felt a civic duty to volunteer in the community while working as an attorney in a small business, in a small community. I have been involved in several community organizations including the Good Samaritan Health Center Foundation, Merrill Historical Society, Merrill Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, and Merrill Area United Way. My community involvement began over 20 years ago, well before the current election campaign started.
I am a single parent raising two wonderful children, both attending Merrill High School. My children have enjoyed an outstanding educational experience in the Merrill schools. I take an active role in my children’s activities, and consider parenting as my most important job in life.
The position of Circuit Court Judge is a non-partisan position and I am not affiliated with any political party. I enjoy non-partisan support for my candidacy for Circuit Court Judge. I feel it is important for a judge to be fair and impartial, and not influenced by party politics.
I have been committed to Lincoln County for almost my entire life and will continue to do so beyond the April 2 election. Lincoln County is my home, and if elected judge I will do my very best to ensure that Lincoln County continues to be a safe and quiet place to raise a family. I feel that my real life experiences as a single parent, business owner, employer, and Lincoln County taxpayer will serve me well, as a judge is faced with real life experiences in the courtroom every day. It has been a privilege to practice law in Lincoln County for many years and it would be an honor to serve the Lincoln County residents as Circuit Court Judge. I would encourage you to vote on April 2, 2013.
Circuit Court Judge Candidate
My name is Traci Yackel and I am the wife of Judge John Yackel. I wanted to take this opportunity to ask you to vote for my husband on April 2nd. John is a hardworking, intelligent man and is kind to everyone he meets in and out of the courtroom. He has had such a wonderful impact on my life and on the lives of my sons, Jacob and Mitchel. I know that he is very humbled and honored to be able to serve the people of Lincoln County as Judge.
I cannot thank you enough for the warm reception that so many of you have given us. We feel very at home here because I grew up in the central part of the state and John is from the Northwoods. Lincoln County offers the best of both and ultimately the people here share the same values we do.
John and I have tried to meet as many people as we could over the last 7 months, but I am now limited to the amount of time I can spend in public due to my high risk pregnancy. I wish I could have met more of you, but look forward to continuing that once our baby boy is born sometime next month. We look forward to raising our family in this great community. Thank you again for all of the prayers and well wishes with our baby.
I’m writing this letter in regards to the April 2nd election for Judge in which I support Rob Russell. I met Rob some 50 years ago when my family and I moved into our new home next door to the Russell Family at which time Rob happened onto the scene. By the way, I was entering my terrible two’s . As Rob and I communicated in spits, burps, and farts back then, I wasn’t aware of the Russell history dating back to the town of Jenny, now Merrill, where Robs Great Grandfather was the first Caucasian born here. As time went on, I grew up witnessing the Russell law legacy unfolding to the present day. Rob and his late father George compiling approximately 75 years of legal service in Lincoln County, Rob himself, serving almost a quarter of a century. But before I go on about Rob, I would like to share a few thoughts on Robs opponent, John Yackel. As I see it, the facts speak for themselves. Mr. Yackel has no history in Lincoln County. He has only approximately 10 years of legal experience, which is less than half of Robs experience. Truth be told, he is related to State Congressman Sean Duffy. Mr. Yackel also is the former Chairman of the Marathon County Republican Party. I think you see were this is going. So it was no surprise when Governor Walker appointed Mr. Yackel to the temporary position. But back to Rob, who has two brothers, both of which have chosen to serve their country in the military. They are most definitely a source of pride for Rob, as he has been working to bring free legal services to support and assist our Veterans at no cost to the County. Rob spends his time helping the people of Lincoln County. In closing, I can only hope that the voters of Lincoln County will send a message as far as Madison that we want an impartial judge. We have the opportunity to put the right person on the bench. Someone who has strong character, exercises good judgment, and leads by example. And most importantly, someone who will be fair and impartially serve the people of Lincoln County because he wants to make a difference for all the right reasons, keeping the Men, Women, and Children of Lincoln County safe. Let’s keep the politicians out of the courtroom.
Attention Sixth District Voters:
I am writing this letter to tell you about Alderman Dave Sukow. Dave has always made informed decisions, always keeping in mind not only what is best for the Sixth District but for the whole city. Dave Sukow is a GREAT asset to the City Council, and takes whatever he is working on very seriously. Dave has great integrity, and puts forth great effort to make the City of Merrill a better place to live. He has served on numerous committees and has the knowledge and experience to help the City continue to make great strides. Please remember to VOTE April 2.
Steve J. Hass
Letter to the Editor,
With April 2 election soon upon us I want to remind everyone to get out and vote. Your vote is important!
My name is Charles Reinhardt and I am a candidate for supervisor in the Town of Scott. I am a lifelong resident of the township and with my wife Faye have raised three children there. Two still reside in the township. I also have seven grandchildren, five who also live in the township.
As a supervisor I have always had a strong sense of responsibility and accountability to do what’s best for the town’s people. My goals are for communication and productivity for the residents.
I would like to thank the people of Town of Scott for their support for the last fourteen years and for the opportunity to serve you. I hope you will consider me for your vote as your supervisor on April 2.
Town of Scott
To the Voters of the Town of Pine River,
Although the weather refuses to cooperate, there will be a “Spring” election on Tuesday, April 2. I encourage the voters of the Town of Pine River to continue their support for the team currently working on behalf of Pine River taxpayers. While as Chairman I am running unopposed, the incumbent supervisors David Breunig and Larry Langbecker do have an opponent. I heartily endorse the election of both Dave and Larry to continue on the town board. As one constituent recently stated, “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it!”
The Pine River Town Board has consistently kept town taxes low while frugally maintaining our roads in excellent condition. Our thanks go out to town employees Brian Opper and Patrick Sadowski who labor under difficult weather conditions, winter and summer, to serve the public.
In this past term the Town Board benefitted the taxpayer with a negotiated settlement on road damage. Town attorney and resident Randy Frokjer unselfishly worked on all town legal issues, particularly the mediation agreement. Donna Opper and Amy Duley continue doing a fine job in their elected positions of Treasurer and Clerk respectively. Town Constable Phil Sadowski deserves voter support for the thankless job of rounding up the stray critters in the town.
The town debt on the Pine River Fire Barn should be paid off in the next 2-3 years. The cost of paying the debt has not increased; the Town Board has negotiated two lower interest rates to benefit the taxpayers. Special thanks for the hard work and long hours dedicated to the town safety by the Pine River Volunteer Fire Department and First Responders. Chief John Uttech and all the volunteers can be rightly proud of their unselfish efforts.
Due to the many special elections in the past few years, our town poll workers were very busy, often working long hours, ensuring trusted voting on the local level. Although our Zoning and Planning Commission has not been as busy, due to the downturn in the economy, lenient town zoning continues to be popular with the taxpayers. The board thanks the commission and the zoning administrator and part-time snow plow driver Greg Metz.
While noting all these positive achievements in the Town of Pine River, I believe that the defense of our liberties is the most important reason to support your current town board. We take our oath to the Constitution seriously and will stand up for Pine River and America. Thank you and please vote for Bill, Dave and Larry.
Chairman, Town of Pine River
Closing of Pine River Elementary School “BIG MISTAKE”
Voters of Merrill Schools, it is time to take a look at the consequences of the decision to close Pine River Elementary. I attended several meetings of MAPS in early 2012. One meeting, in particular, the room was packed and overflowing with concerned citizens regarding the closure of Pine River School. In my opinion board members hastily made the decision to close Pine River Elementary, without any factual data to support this action. There was no cost analysis done, no one even seemed to know what the district would “save” or what would be the cost of renovation. There seemed to be no meaningful consideration given by this Board as to the impact of our student’s eduction, their families or to the taxpayers of MAPS.
There was no real opportunity provided for the full Board, parents, staff and our community to take time to discuss, solicit input and seriously look at any alternative options to be sure this was the best course of action for all. At the opportunity for the public to comment, all who spoke were against the idea of closing Pine River. It appears the Board’s mind was made up even before this meeting took place. Maple Grove Elementary was saved from being closed and their families given the opportunity to create a charter school. Why wasn’t Pine River families permitted the same opportunity? We were informed the Head Start building was not safe for these children to be in and that’s why Pine River was needed for them. Then this Board leased out the same Head Start building to a private day care center. Does this make sense? If it is not safe for the Head Start Program, then how could it be safe for children in a day care setting.
The budget “savings” connected to the closing of Pine River was continually changing. Estimates varied from $197,000 (1/23/2012 Board meeting) downward to $147,000 (5/3/2012 per then Interim Superintendant Bruce Anderson’s interview with WJFW channel 12 TV). Whatever the “savings” actually were, the district has already spent over $700,000 on remodeling Pine River. This is without even getting a new roof, new blacktop, a new sign, and there is still a need to install drop ceilings to cover ugly exposed wiring, plumbing and heating ductwork. This will all add to the cost. Between the money already spent on Pine River, remodeling at Jefferson to accommodate the influx of students caused by closing Pine River, plus work yet to be completed, I believe the closing of Pine River is close to a million dollar mistake, in addition to the disruption of students and their families throughout the district.
Being a team member and working together is important and is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, however, one should not vote just to get along, but rather vote in the best interest of our students and this community. Both the incumbents who are seeing re-election voted to close Pine River Elementary School, without having all the facts to do so.
I therefore can not support these board members in the upcoming elections and would encourage our community to vote for a fresh outlook by supporting, Norbert (Nubs) Ashbeck, Linda Yingling and write-in candidate Vicki Lindstrom for school board.
Obamacare for public education. One-size-fits-all national public education standards. Data mining of children’s lives by the federal government. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) education initiative is all of this, and it’s being implemented in every public school in the State of Wisconsin.
CCSS is a radical, calculated dumbing-down of American education standards being foisted upon states and public school districts. It has not been field tested, and will be costly for states to implement and maintain, with the ultimate burden falling again on taxpayers.
Promoted by Bill Gates, the National Governors Association, and national reform groups, CCSS has been advertised as the cure-all for a failing American education system. But, the veil has been lifted and it has been exposed as a vehicle for the federal government to begin asserting its control over public education.
Federal control and oversight of public education is prohibited. It is a state’s right. But if we believe this will deter the federal government from attempting to take it over, they’ll tell us another one. Federal Race To The Top stimulus fund grants were given to states that adopted CCSS, but states that did not got none. The smoking gun.
Forty-five states, including Wisconsin, adopted CCSS when stimulus money was offered to them if they did. Of these, eleven are actively working to rescind their involvement in CCSS through legislative action. It is expected more will follow suit.
Tony Evers is Superintendent of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and in June 2010 was responsible for Wisconsin adopting CCSS. His opponent in the April 2nd election is Don Pridemore. If we are to have any hope at all of getting CCSS out of Wisconsin and keeping public education in the hands of the State and the people, we must vote for Don Pridemore.
When the effort to rid Wisconsin of CCSS is undertaken, the backing of Wisconsin public school district boards and their members will be important. Two candidates for the Merrill Area Public Schools Board of Education (MAPS), Linda Yingling and write-in candidate Vicki Lindstrom, believe CCSS will be harmful to public education, and have stated their opposition to its implementation in Wisconsin. They will represent taxpayers and students, and work to bring overdue transparency to the management of MAPS. Both deserve our votes.
Letter to Editor:
To: Dear Son Scott Nowak
It’s coming up on the 18th of March now and I’m still waiting for your little green Ford Ranger to drive up the driveway, here in the Heart of God’s Country. Mom’s and my body have been so dehydrated from shedding tear and tear ever since you left us so unexpectedly. I know it wasn’t your fault that Jesus decided He needed you in Heaven more than we needed you on this temporary home called “earth.”
I knew last fall was going to be a “bummer” for me… losing my hunting buddy and best friend without any advanced warning of any loss. I’m sure you now that I didn’t do any hunting last fall. Oh, I could’ve gone as I purchased my deer hunting license the week before the season opened. I even had an extra deer tag for an antlerless deer but that didn’t even instill the desire that used to over-flood my anxiety for the past 63 years that I’ve been hunting.
You were approaching a number that was also a continuous flow of unmissed deer hunting years. Let me see, I think that was about 38 years if my math is correct.
I still have your picture in my digital camera of you and your mammoth buck that you harvested in 2011. You waited for 6 ½ hours and finally, here it came… down the deer path that you were so patiently watching. Scooter, I have a feeling that you knew there was going to be a big buck meandering your way on that opening day in 2011. And you had the patience to sit in your favorite deer stand and wait for him. That’s the true hunter that you are Scott, and I’m so very proud of you for being the hunter and son I had always hoped you would be.
You’ve succeeded in being an excellent hunter, fisherman, builder, friend, son, but especially an excellent follower of Christ our Savior. You’ve accomplished the long-time goal of attaining your Home in Heaven. I know that sometimes even you had doubts about reaching that goal just as I sometimes have doubts about myself. But I know I have one more objective in my lifetime and that’s meeting up with you in the “by and by” and searching for our friends and families whom we haven’t seen for a long, long time.
So Scott, my friend, my son, I hope this last year that you’ve so wisely used spent sitting at the feet of Jesus, is just a start of the best days of your life. May God forever Bless you. See you in Heaven.
With loads of love,
Dad & Mom
Richard T. & Carol J. Nowak
- 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