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Sunday, March 1, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 20.0° F  Fair
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Mom approves!; Cycle of violence; False prophets

Mom approves!

Thanks to Josh Wimmer, who wrote the article about my son, the magician Matthew Teague ("The Grand Illusionist," 1/18/2013). His excellent communication skills drew me into a story I happen to be close to in a way that few contemporary writers can. To those who want to know how to raise an artist such as Josh or Matthew: Support them, see their dreams. No matter how fast the sleight of hand or the music of the word, art brings feelings, joy, sorrow - always emotion.

Patricia Teague, Dexter, N.M.

Cycle of violence

I know what physical abuse is, as I've been a victim of it while I was with my boyfriend, who is now in prison for an unrelated charge ("'I Loved Him So Much,'" 1/18/2013). However, the reasons for me enduring and staying with him go well beyond the fact that "I still love him so much" - I think it all started with a skewed relationship with my mother, who used to physically punish me as a child, sometimes pretty violently. After a point, I found that something inside me went haywire, and I actually started to like the physical violence toward me and, perhaps unconsciously, was seeking it in my subsequent relationships. I am still that way and not sure if I will ever change.

Ace Kvit

False prophets

Open-pit mining is catastrophic ("Mining Bill Is Widely Misunderstood," 1/18/2013). In place of the Penokee Range, one of the most pristine wild landscapes remaining in Wisconsin, mining and reclamation would leave us with a massive, smoothed-over, infertile, 21,000-acre gouge in the hide of Mother Earth covered with seeded, non-native grasses in substandard density and, later, a population of self-sown trembling aspen.

Anyone who says that mining can be done without environmental damage is a false prophet who distorts the truth in order to induce us to part with something valuable. Yes, maybe some subsequent downstream pollution can be prevented through laws, but by then the local environment, the physical surroundings and the living things inhabiting those surroundings will be gone forever.

Passage of the "new" open-pit mining bill will provide an economic upsurge for Mellen, Hurley and nearby smaller communities for a few decades, but we will all be settling for a lower quality of life.

Theodore Cochrane, Senior Academic Curator, University of Wisconsin-Madison Herbarium

A recent study (July 31, 2012) prepared for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission suggests caution before accepting the embrace of mining enthusiasts and corporate authors of Assembly Bill 426. Among various technical details, the following points stand out.

  • 1) Historic mines in the Gogebic area were small, primarily underground operations which avoided excavation.
  • 2) The volume and composition of waste rock excavation from a large open-pit mine in the Gogebic Range would be entirely different.
  • 3) The resulting waste rock has very high acid generation potential and requires careful identification and isolation.
  • 4) The mine area Tyler and Ironwood formations have surprisingly high phosphate concentrations and could lead to eutrophication of water bodies.
  • 5) The 200-300-meter-deep open-pit mine would have a very large surface area and require an immense volume of waste rock.
  • 6) Although the economic target mineral in the Ironwood formation is an iron oxide (magnetite), the overburden rock that would be stockpiled as waste contains significant amounts of reduced iron as sulfide, which can react with oxygen to generate acid mine drainage.

Frederick M. Arnold

If the mining bill passes, citizens may not file suits against companies violating mining laws or against the DNR if it fails to uphold those laws. It prevents citizens from contesting mining company reports during the permitting process. This bill protects corporations, not the truth.

Gov. Walker brings attention to the mining symbol on our flag to justify the bill. Early mines were radically different from the one proposed. Our state and national flags hold greater symbolism - that of "WE the PEOPLE" democracy. When corporations were accepted as "people" allowing the manipulative influence of a wealthy few, a terrible blow was dealt to democracy.

Many of these culprits continue to manipulate our government. In the name of providing desperately needed jobs, they railroad legislation that allows them to make profits with only the facade of accountability.

Desperate times don't just call for desperate measures. They call for creativity and wisdom. We need to make a New Deal for our time, like FDR did, creating jobs that protect the environment and citizen rights.

Deb Biechler, Middleton

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