Readers Speak

The old days

Dear Editor,

Ah, readers, would that we could live “old school again… that lovely memory in which mom did not have to work five days a week, just to maintain a decent standard of living… in home with father… a dad as a role model; kids that played outdoors in the evening after supper and loved music… featuring in one way or another, love or puppy love; classroom respect, technology with emphasis on learning; drug use confined in the main, to tobacco and beer; regular church attendance, and participation in civic events; political focus on citizen help and betterment; ah yes, bring this all back this great and wonderful pipe dream. But as the oft quoted truism offered “we can’t go home again”.

So we must accept the present with all it’s faults and follies, integrity and truth have largely flown. Money rules Democracy once fairly practiced is largely gone, replaced by gerrymandering, and voter restriction. So what’s the answer? Well first consider: more than four hundred people shot since Sandy Hook. We control gun violence through politics, not individual bills (divide and conquer). Consider: only New York, California and Washington D.C., and five additional states (all blue), have their own assault weapons ban…which leads one to believe, a state by state attack may be more fruitful than a federal effort. The GOP and red states by in large resist efforts to control guns…they are prime supporters of the N.R.A. The midterm elections should focus on the lack of gun control…not Trump. This is a violent subject, but a state effort coupled with heavy emphasis on the culpability of the GOP and N.R.A Link, can I believe be a powerful issue.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael R. Olson

P.S. Ah, but for the “old days”

The forgotten man

Dear Editor,

Democrats of yesteryear used to be good people. They stood for the people, Capitalism, and the Constitution. Today they stand to destroy, to achieve socialism (Anti-American), intoxicated on self-righteous, even criminal, means, to justify the end. The sky is not falling. They are pulling it down.

How beautiful (cute) the strategy you should occasionally look at the results; a better view: read Winston Churchill:

1. “The main vice of capitalism is the uneven distribution of prosperity. The main vice of socialism is the even distribution of misery from failure, ignorance, envy.”

2. “You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.”

3. If you are not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.

A nation who forgets its history has no future. You can see why P.C. Obama sent the bust of Winston Churchill back to England, an overt act of inward operations; stealthy acts to remove Americans (what made America great) to bring about its failure.

So, to drink or not to drink?

Always a choice,

John L. Erickson,


P.S. Jim Dines, “Try your best to drink upstream from the herd.”

A good location: Americans for prosperity: David Koch

A solution?

Dear Editor,

When we were Americans, despite our diversity differences of opinion, etc., our strength came from an underlying shared belief in national unity. That, that belief no longer exists, is the real issue. The 2016 campaign and election were never about Americans choosing among Republican, Democrat and Independent candidates. It was almost one group of Americans, who were proud of their country and being Americans and knew that, ‘wants and all“, they lived in the greatest country on earth vs. a group of Americans who were disillusioned, thought the country was terrible, going down the tubes and “something has to be done to change it.”

Since the latter group yelled the loudest, the only result was a reversal of groups. The latter are now all happy, proud and optimistic. The other group are now ashamed of their country, embarrassed to be American and feel the country is terrible and going down the tubes.

Nobody won anything. WE ALL LOST! The 2016 great schism drove the events.

I believe the only reason this country did not break out into full blown Civil War was because, unlike the last one, where the foes were constantly located in one geographic area, the foes now are scattered border to border. They are our neighbors, co-workers and relatives.

It was irrelevant who was elected. The schism was/is there. Half of Americans now feel distrustful of and malevolent toward the other half.

No longer having that shared belief in national unity, American already went down the tubes. The “heart and soul” of the nation is dead.

Unqualified, hateful and angry ranting, finger-pointing and name-calling now seem to be the norm. A simplistic solution would be to just change all the letter head from USA to DSA (Divided States of America), change the stars in the flags to bi-colored ones and change the motto from “e pluribus unum” to “Land of People with an inflated Sense of Entitlement.”

Perpetually being outraged and appalled isn’t going to improve the future. It may even lead to an actual end. Countries come. Countries go. Just because America is no longer “us”, but is “them” and “us” doesn’t mean a way cannot be found to co-exist civilly. The phrase “We agree to disagree”, if used often and sincerely, could be a good place to start. That phrase, at least, re-introduces the word “we” into our communications.

All the Kings horses,

All the Kings men…

Susan Dileck,


Sensible gun control

Dear Editor,

A sure-fire way to decrease gun violence in America and not infringe on the 2nd Amendment is to make it age and “cost prohibitive” to buy and own certain types of weapons. The money raised by an expensive annual license that one would need to purchase the weapon could also be used for an extensive background check. There would also have to be a severe penalty for those caught without a license for that weapon! This will NOT prevent all school and work place shootings, but it will decrease the number of perpetrators.

This is my view of a realistic approach. Extremist at both ends need to give up something if they truly want change!

Allan L. Gustafson,


P.S. Assault rifles are items of pleasure, just as motorcycles, jet-skis, airplanes, etc. and should require licensing and certification that the owner is capable so as to prevent injury to himself and others!


Dear Editor,

I would like to congratulate President Trump and his administration for saving us from a popular immigrant college chemistry professor who has been living in the United States for years. He has broken no law. He has been paying taxes, raising his American born children, and educating our youth. He was arrested in front of his family for the purpose of deporting him. ICE even threatened to arrest his children if they tried to hug him good-by.

I only wish our president would make our schools and students safer. I am tired of popular platitudes like “our thoughts and prayers are with you” and “it’s too soon to talk about policy. Let’s bury the dead and grieve first.” There is never enough time between shootings to grieve adequately. Talk is cheap.

In response to this shooting tragedy, our president did not mention guns. He said we need to focus on mental health. I would like to remind (or inform) his supporters that one year ago Trump signed a bill that would make it easier for the mentally ill to purchase guns. Those of us who are waiting for this administration to help make our school children safe will be waiting forever.

Elaine M. Wiehagen,


Needed service

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my concern regarding individuals who utilize electric carts at Walmart and other establishments that provide their patrons with the service that is so beneficial to those of us who need them.

I am a patron of businesses that provide these carts and use them frequently during the winter months. I am a polio survivor and use my own electric chair during the summer months but I am unable to use it in the cold winter months.

I am grateful to Walmart and other establishments that care enough to provide this service, however, it seems like it is not appreciated by some of the people who utilize these carts. I find it not only distressing after walking from my car into Walmart only to find that there are only three electric carts available but NOT one has been plugged back in. It should NOT be the responsibility of the stores employees to plug in the cart you just used but failed to be courteous enough to plug back in for the next person who needs it.

We as a community have a large population of elderly people including myself who have physical challenges that keep us from being able to shop without the use of these carts.Two weeks ago I went to Walmart in the earl a.m. and found three carts setting outside in 9 degree weather, all three of the, with dead batteries. This is a frequent occurrence. I fail to understand why the people using them did not care about the next person who would need them. I was fortunate enough that the one remaining cart in the store was fully charged and I was gratefully able to complete my shopping.

I have not only discussed this with the local Walmart management but also at the corporate level of Walmart requesting that signs be posted to please plug in carts when you are finished using them. Both our local Walmart and the corporate Walmart have made every effort that signs are posted to return the, to the inside of the store and plug them in. however, some people using them do not feel it applies to them.

Being physically challenged does not make us privileged or entitled. Being able to comfortably shop is a service that stores like Walmart and Tops provide to us. It should be valued and appreciated. If you can walk into the store and have an electric cart available for your use, you most certainly can return the cart and plug it back in for the next person who is in need of this service. If there is a situation that you are unable to do so, please ask someone else to do that for you. How sad is it that we who use this service can also be the people who do not care enough to consider the needs of others.

Jean Engstrom,


18th shooting

Dear Editor,

The 18th school shooting this year has occurred in Florida. I am not naive enough to believe this could not happen in my small corner of NWPA.

I am a Second Amendment supporter. I own guns, my husband owns guns, my friends own guns, yet there is no argument for the average citizen to be able to buy semi-automatic or automatic weapons in our country.

If as Marco Rubio says, “it is too early” to discuss legislation, at what point is it ok? Five years after Sandy Hook? Eleven years after VA Tech? Nineteen years after Columbine?

As a senior in high school when the Columbine shooting occurred, this discussion is 19 years too late.

It is our duty to see that our children WILL be educated in a SAFE environment. This is not a case for armed guards in school settings. This is not a case for arming teachers. I have worked in mental health and school settings since 2001.

Arming more people is not the answer, restricting easy access to high capacity killing machines is. This polls overwhelmingly well. If it has not yet come to debate, if you do not call for action, you are in the pockets of the NRA and blood is on your hands. You are human beings and parents.

How can anyone say it’s too soon or simply publicly offer thoughts and prayers without action?

Enough sycophantic dribble, it is time to lead.

We ask our children to be fearless in the pursuit of education, I know this as I was educated in this time period, yet our government is afraid of the NRA running opposition ads in their home state.

If I, as a parent, must tell my preschooler to be brave, to not allow fear conquer her or dissuade her from achieving her fullest potential, then you must lead fearlessly as well. Call for action. Call for legislation ending the gun show loophole.

Create legislation that is fearless in limiting high-capacity magazines and kits which turn semiautomatic weapons into automatic killing machines, and legislation that empowers professionals to red flag individuals who are unstable in buying weapons. Our society expects greater courage of five-year-olds and their parents than that of our legislators. It is time to lead.

Jess Sabella,


Midtown parking

Dear Editor,

While it’s not the crime of the century, I am writing to ask for assistance from the City of Police and Parking Enforcement regarding a situation at the Midtown parking lot that continues to get worse. Throughout the day, people feel the need to park in the no-parking area, specifically right outside the door for Darling’s Pharmacy. While I’m sure this is a fire-lane hazard, it also causes a one-lane situation for people driving through when it should be two lines. Many times people will just sit and wait, blocking the lane while others can’t get through or wait for one of those illegal spaces to open up so they can park there.

The City has a nice system with the pay stations as well as a convenient app. I think the main problem here is laziness as the majority of people doing this aren’t the elderly or disabled although they contribute to the problem as well. The rest of us have to find a spot and either pay for parking at the kiosk or enter our information for the free half hour, they should too. I believe the pharmacy offers free delivery for those in need.

I’m asking for the City Police to assist in this matter as a safety issue. I would recommend concrete buckets with signs stating no parking as well as enforcement followed up and tickets issued. I appreciate the hard work of the parking enforcement and police and hope this issue can be resolved. Thank you for your time.


Douglas Buchanan,



Dear Editor,

Just a quick thought on one serious attempt to bring our country together over one of the most serious threats we face. I call on all NRA members who read this letter to immediately look into volunteering to protect our schools and to contact any state or national administrators they know in order to start a national campaign to the same and help protect our kids. Retired military, law enforcement, and educators legally registered should also be included. Just one of many steps we should take NOW. It’s a WIN-WIN for all.

Jeffrey L. Carlson,

38-year educator,


P.S. I volunteer 4-8 hours a week.

Looking beyond

Dear Editor,

Our “Greatest Generation” pulled together during and after WWII despite inequalities and discrimination. Americans had hope for a better future. They had trust in the government and they worked hard. Opportunities were not equally shared but there were opportunities — our many factories were hiring. growing up in the 1950’s was “The Donna Reed Show” and the “Father Knows Best Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Political protests marked the 1960’s. Hope and patience had faded; Viet Nam, Watergate, generational division, cynicism, assassinations, cultural conventions were discarded- it was a time of turmoil.

The “Baby Boomers” came of age during the 1970’s. It was the “Me” decade. Seeking fulfillment-finding myself, the 1960’s hope of reform gave way to individual quests.

Since America has moved into a Post Industrial Revolution Era wherin a service economy has replaced our manufacturing economy; our economy is now based mainly on knowledge and research, information, and technology.

Americans are struggling with the changes resulting from our economy’s transformation. Our educated youth flock to metropolitan areas. Rural areas and towns struggle. The swirl of technology and change permeate every aspect of life. At times, it feels like we are strangers in our home country.

The comfortable world was exploded — the huge gap between wealthy and poor is increasing, globalization, world markets, 24-hour partisan cable TV, addictions are increasing, white Americans will soon be a plurality, ten year olds are more tech savvy than their grandparents, tribal politics incapacitate state and federal government, repugnant behavior of leaders seems rampant, a socioeconomic caste system has developed, climate change is a reality, small towns are shrinking: school enrollment is declining, stores are closing, decent paying jobs are scarce, service groups are wanting members and church attendance is waning.

I understand why people from these areas voted in mass for “disruption” and the campaign promise to bring back the 1950’s.

The status quo or a return to the 1950’s are not viable solutions for the majority of Americans, the poor and the working poor, in this new world in which we live. Americans need to look beyond the current President and his cronies and the calculating Clintons.

Don Scott,