to the Editor

Posted 3/15/22

LETTERS to the Editor Dependable advocate To the editor, Growing up on a small dairy farm east of River Falls, I felt fortunate. My parents, Ed and Betty Hanson, were exemplary people. But so were …

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to the Editor


LETTERS to the Editor

Dependable advocate

To the editor,

Growing up on a small dairy farm east of River Falls, I felt fortunate. My parents, Ed and Betty Hanson, were exemplary people. But so were many of our neighbors. The Bergsengs, for example, also modeled kindness, hard work, thrift, and community service.

Dean Bergseng is my representative on the Pierce County Board. He’s been advocating for land conservation, agriculture, veterans, our county fair, and our county highways, for years. Currently he is also actively advocating for expanded broadband. His quiet, dependable, open-minded approach to public service benefits all of us and I hope you will join me in voting for him on April 5.

Siri Smith Town of River Falls

Vote ‘yes’ for Prescott referendum

To the editor,

I walked into Miss Nugent’s room in August 1958, first grade. I retired from teaching and the Tech Director position with the Prescott School District in 2017. In between I spent nearly three decades inside our school buildings and worked on several referendums and upgrades. Time does not stand still and our buildings age, whether we admit it or not. The district is asking a $15 million referendum to address concerns in three of our district buildings. I have been in every single square foot of space in our district. It's time, before it gets even more costly, and it will if we look at history.

I know from my tech position that our buildings need an electrical upgrade; at one time we had so many power strips deployed that it made our Fire Department nervous. It has improved but still is not where it needs to be in a modern school. I have been on every roof multiple times and they are in need of repairs; if we don’t, they will leak, guaranteed. And the repair costs will go up.

We go from air-conditioned homes, to air-conditioned cars, to air-conditioned stores, restaurants, and workplaces. But we feel that our children can sit in a steamy 95-degree classroom all day and actually learn something? I well remember those days of sweat dripping from my nose in a classroom, that should be no more, they were not the Good Ole Days.

We have had failed referendums in the past. Each and every time, we had to go back and have another referendum for the problems, though ignored, did not go away. Each and every time the costs have gone up. We failed in 1998, and then had to do a nearly $8 million upgrade of our now Middle School. For health reasons it was closed and we bused our kids to Ellsworth for a year. That referendum might have closed that building, had it passed, saving nearly $8 million. A costly mistake.

There was a failed referendum for a new high school that would have included the school, an auditorium, and an Olympic size swimming pool for nearly $24 million. When we finally passed the much-needed plan, we spent nearly $32 million and lost the swimming pool entirely. Now we send our kids to Ellsworth and River Falls for swimming lessons. Good money after bad?

How much have we spent on portable classrooms since 2000? We have had at least 24 that I know of, for I had to run network wiring into every single room. We paid the setup cost. Installed projectors and white boards, sound systems, bells and alarms. Put the plumbing in. Bought handicap ramps and more to make these classrooms work. My guess is we wasted around $2 million or more on these portables. More good money after bad?

The laws of Wisconsin do not allow a district to save up enough money to address needs of this size. An inconvenient fact. School taxes are projected to stay the same, even if the referendum passes. Schools are one of the only things a taxpayer can make a spending decision on, the money stays in our town. Our kids deserve it, our community needs it, and to not pass it will only lead to even greater costs in the future, you can bet on it. So please vote yes on April 5.

Dallas Eggers Prescott Former student, janitor, teacher, and Technical Director for Prescott Schools

Be an informed voter

To the editor,

Heading to the polls on April 5, 2022? It’s local election time. We get to vote for our school board members, as well as our city council, town, and county board representatives. Our local elected officials do the hard work and make the decisions that affect our everyday lives. Who we elect to these positions matters. Who are you going to vote for? lists the candidates. But to be an informed voter, you need to dig a bit to be sure you know who you are voting for. These are nonpartisan elections, so voting along a party line is not an option.

I’m going to check to see if the candidates responded to questions there. I’ll check my local paper for information. I’ll google the candidates to see what experience and background they have.

I want my vote to be meaningful. I want to know who I am voting for.

Kiki Augustin Town of Martell

We the people need a change

To the editor,

My husband and I moved to this community just shy of five years ago. Way before our government seems to have started falling apart. It is not just our national government, but now it seems that our local government is starting to fail us also. By this I mean, they are pushing things through on their agenda without really listening to “The People” or even considering what we have to say about issues they are discussing. This is why local elections are very important and the upcoming county board election really matters!

I feel the mask mandate has been used as a cloak to keep us out of meetings. They use zoom and say you can log on there, but on zoom you can be muted if they are uncomfortable with what you are saying. They used Covid as an excuse for why the meetings are closed. If we can go to work, go to the grocery stores, banks and our kids can go to school with masks, then why can’t we go to the meetings with masks? I don’t feel like we are being heard or represented anymore.

Sheila Lorentz is running for County Board in District 16 of Pierce County. She has jumped full force into running for District 16. I met Sheila Lorentz, about three years ago. She has a small farm and two wonderful boys who are always willing to help anyone. Sheila is going into this with fresh eyes and is learning about how and what she can do to help our community. We started talking about how our local government doesn’t seem to be representing our views or the community’s views on issues. She is passionate about what she can do for this county, and I stand behind her. She has the values that I/we believe in, and I feel she could be the positive change we need. Sheila believes in listening to us, researching the issue, asking the hard questions and thinking outside the box. She supports personal responsibility and freedom. Sheila also supports our local law enforcement. But mostly she will represent US along with the constitution and she pledges to be totally transparent.

Sheila and her teams will be knocking on doors, visiting with people face to face, and making calls to remind everyone to vote on April 5.

We value our local leaders and all that they do for us past and present, but now it is time for a change. Vote April 5 for Sheila Lorentz, District 16, for County Board.

Debra Hohl Ellsworth

Building maintenance isn’t going away

To the editor,

As a former Prescott school employee, I questioned why a referendum was needed for building maintenance. I was invited to serve on the facilities committee to help form a plan. I joined the committee because I had doubts of the cost and scope of the facilities referendum, and it it was really needed. I discovered that the school board had surveyed the public regarding this issue and a few years ago had taken the time to use local resources and consultants to do a detailed study of our facilities.

As part of the committee, we decided to focus on the most basic needs, such as protecting the building envelope, roof, windows and outside walls along with some much needed electrical and air handling needs. I was surprised how much costs have risen since we had the 2004 referendum to make improvements to the middle and high school; the roof replacement alone is estimated at over $1,000,000.

Most of the maintenance issues are at the Intermediate School, which is over 50 years old and Malone Elementary, which was originally built in 1963, or almost 60 years ago. The district has spent money each year for building maintenance. The maintenance budget is like putting a finger in the dike due to the revenue constraints Wisconsin schools are under.

I commend the school board for taking a comprehensive longrange approach to our facility needs. I’m told this referendum will not increase school taxes due to financial decisions made in the past. Even if it did increase taxes, it would be a worthy investment to keep our school facilities safe and healthy. I remember all too well what happened when the middle school was closed in 2002 due to mold caused by moisture entering the building. As is said, “Pay me now or pay me more later.”

The schools belong to the entire community, it is up to us to protect our schools. I urge you to learn more by viewing the school’s web site,, or attending the Community Referendum Session on March 31. The facility maintenance needs are not going away. Please be an informed voter on April 5.

Roger Hulne Prescott