Posted 6/30/21

Have a safe Independence Day. We should all share the joy that we are a democracy. “Home of the brave and land of the free!” Happy 4th. Pat and I will be spending part of our holiday weekend …

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Have a safe Independence Day. We should all share the joy that we are a democracy. “Home of the brave and land of the free!” Happy 4th. Pat and I will be spending part of our holiday weekend working at the historical society museum on Saturday, July 3 from 1-4 pm. Come visit us and see the new exhibits. We would be happy to show you around. The museum will also be open Sunday July 4 from 1- 4 pm.

*** On Monday, June 21 and Tuesday, June 22, we spent a few days away from our daily routine. An overnight trip took us to Duluth, Superior, Bayfield, Ashland and Hayward. The weather

was seasonably cool for even Northern Wisconsin. Long pants felt good! We found out that others seem to be equally anxious to get

out and travel, as the Duluth Canal Zone, Bayfield, and Hayward Streets were filled with tourists, or who seemed to be tourists!

Hayward was the worst – you had to search for a parking space in the vicinity of Main Street, the sidewalks were crowded with people, there were no benches available for this old guy, as they were full of other old guys, and worst of all, we had to stand in line to get some fudge at the candy store. +++ The highest price we saw for gas was $3.04.9 per gal and that was in Minnesota.

Gas prices along our Wisconsin route were generally $2.89 to $2.99, with $2.99 being the most prevalent. With the 4th of July holiday coming, I would expect we will see the price increase even more. I hope I’m wrong! +++ A few of our experiences: Best breakfast Norske Nook in Rice Lake. Best shopping and browsing was in the Duluth Canal Zone. Best dinner Black Wood Bar and Grill in Duluth, which overlooks Lake Superior.

Best lunch was at the South Shore Brewery in Ashland – good food and great atmosphere in the dining area. Best non-shopping experience – Maritime Museum in Bayfield. After trying to visit this museum on two previous visits to Bayfield, we finally found it open. The docent working told us that volunteers are hard to come by and if they don’t have volunteers, they can’t open.

Makes me appreciate all the more the Stanley Area Historical Society volunteers who help us be open on all weekends during June, July, August and September. This museum houses some interesting boats and the fishing history of the community. One

of the early developers of the Maritime Museum was Gilman native Dave Strozk, who I attended college with in Eau Claire.

On the way home we visited briefly with Nate Solie, who was at

his usual spot at the crossroads of Highway 27 and Highway 8 in Ladysmith selling strawberries. This has been a summer activity of Nate’s for the past 18 years.

*** As any regular reader of this column knows I am a fan/ supporter of the Feed My People Food Bank headquartered in Eau Claire and serving all local food pantries in Western Wisconsin.

Here are some statistics I gleamed from the organization’s annual report. Monetary support comes in the form of 71% contributions (donations), 18% grants, 7% agency share (what a local food pantry pays for the food it receives), and 4% other sources. 96% of donations went to program services, 2% went to management and general and 2% went to fundraising. Thus, you can see that the vast majority of funds received go towards what donors intended it for. +++ The turbulent times we experienced in 2020 resulted in many more households seeking help from food pantries. The work done out of the headquarters is amazing when you consider all the food pantries served together — there were 289,580 household visits that came from Western Wisconsin people in need. 8,359,886 pounds of food was distributed. 40% of those served were first time visitors. 140 Pop-Up drive thru

food pantry events took place in 2020. 1,056,968 pounds of food

were distributed through Pop-Up pantries, which have as their

focus rural communities. Pop-up food pantries are a means of supplementing partner pantries, in other words an extra boost to those in need.

*** There are efforts underway to re-open the Verso Paper Mill in Wisconsin Rapids, by the newly formed Timber Professional Cooperative. This is an organization made up of timber producers and forest owners affiliated with the Wisconsin

County Forests Association. They are seeking to acquire the mill in order to secure a market for mainly low-grade mixed hardwood. The importance of this effort can be seen in the fact that forest products are the second largest industry in Wisconsin, supporting more than 64,000 jobs and contributing $24 billion to the state’s economy. The legislative effort in AB 367, calls for a $50 million loan through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, combined with private funding and a loan through the Bureau of Commissioners of Public Land and federal stimulus funding. The stake for the County Forest Association is that Wisconsin county forests cover a combined 2.4 million acres of land. The source for selling low-grade timber from county lands was severely hit since the closure of the Wisconsin Rapids Mill.

*** Have you seen any martins lately? Martins use to be in great numbers in our area. As early spring arrivals, their sweet song was an easy listen. And they were known as a bird that ate many insects as a part of their diet, especially mosquitoes.

I recently, passed a Mennonite farm that had a large birdhouse and I saw martins there. Perhaps, if someone were to construct a new martin house, to replace the decrepit one in the deer park, we could again have these birds at least populate our beautiful Chapman Park. Maybe a project for an Industrial Arts Class if they have such an offering any more?

*** Smile time. Should we re-open the country? Here is the debate that took place in the medical community. The Allergists were in favor of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves. The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve. Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. Many Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!” While Pediatricians said, “Oh, grow up!”

Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow. The Plastic Surgeons opined that the proposal would, “put a whole new face on the matter.”

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists

were peed off at the whole idea. Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas and those lofty Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no. In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the politicians in Washington.