Editorials, Columns, Letters to the Editor and Community Discussions

Editorial Policy: On certain topics in areas of great community interest, the editors of the Valley Sentinel may take positions they believe best represent and serve the interests of the community. Any opinions or positions taken by the editorial board are separate and distinct in labeling and substance from the community journalism that appears in the rest of the publication and does not affect the integrity and impartiality of our reporting.

Column Policy: Editors may feature opinion columns written by public figures, members of the public or other publication staff. Columns reflect the opinions of the individual contributors and do not represent positions of the publication. Guest columns of an anticipated length more than 500 words should seek prior editor authorization.

Letter to the Editor Policy: Letters submitted for consideration are subject to fact-checking and editing for space and clarity. Submissions must have a compelling local community interest. Letters to the editor must fit within a 500-word limit, and include name, city and phone number. Phone numbers are for office use only and will not be published. Letters of a political nature, without chance of rebuttal, will not be published the week before an election.

Community Discussions Policy: From time to time the editorial board may select letters to the editor of a particular compelling community interest where a public figure or accountable public action is the recipient of criticism and allow, in the same issue, the subject of the criticism chance for rebuttal, with expounded independent input. The format shall be point, counterpoint and expert analysis. This community discussion shall serve as a moderated dialogue that presents multiple views of important community topics.

Driftless Grace — this week: seeing double

I just made a short visit to a place three degrees of latitude farther north. That’s not much for seasoned travelers, but it served to remind me that my home is only halfway to the equator. The farther north you go, the more the spring is compressed into a few fleeting days. (We had our share of frosty weather last month, but at least we don’t have a Great Lake messing with our temperature.)

Rep. Dave Considine

Rep. Dave Considine column: Shifting to a restorative model

Over the past twenty years, Wisconsin’s prison population has grown twenty percent. This growing prison population puts a strain on our budget and the people of Wisconsin. Instead of heavily funding prisons we need to fund restorative programs like the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) program. Wisconsin’s TAD program allows District Attorneys or judges to offer off enders the opportunity to enter into voluntary substance abuse treatment, case management, or another risk reduction program as a safe alternative to jail or prison. TAD was implemented in 2005 in Wisconsin and has had a positive impact on many lives. As a member of the Committee on Mental Health, I recognize the trauma that many off enders have faced in their life that led them down the wrong path. I commend Governor Evers’ proposed investment in TAD so we can continue to more towards a restorative criminal justice system.

Letter to the Editor: Inspiring Hope through Healing

The year 2021 was a unique year for Sauk County Rural Safety Days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was held virtually. We had nearly 1,100 third and fourth graders (last year’s third grade who missed the event due to COVID-19) participate this year. This event would not have been possible without the generous donations and support from our numerous sponsors. We believe that prevention is the best medicine and are so thankful for their support.

Guest Column: Driftless Grace—Familiar rhythms return to the Valley

I had a busy April, but most of that was one-on-one activities with friends (or events with a defined endpoint where I couldn’t linger). Recently, though, I had the pleasure of going to a real live Event. It came complete with kids running across the lawn, adults from outside my “bubble”, delightful vintage items for sale, and lunch served by a local business. It was my new community in miniature, and the energy was infectious.

David Armiak

Wisconsin Watch—Officials use digital dodges to hide records

In March, The Washington Post reported that University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank sought to move a conversation around the COVID-19 pandemic and students returning to campus in the fall to a private portal used by presidents and chancellors of the 14 Big Ten universities.

Karissa Niehof

More Officials, Better Fan Behavior Needed in High School Sports

After months of working with state government, education and health leaders, schools in all 50 states have been given the go-ahead to resume high school sports at some level of competition. Schools in the District of Columbia were the last to receive the green light on April 1. This is great news and signals that a return to normalcy may be on the horizon by the time schools begin sports and activities this fall.

Valley Sentinel

EDITORIAL: Shutdown for two weeks now—or forfeit the school year

Occasionally, when perhaps a devil’s advocate is needed or more circumstances should be considered, we find ourselves at odds with our readers in our very unscientific weekly (okay, okay, it’s semi-regular at best) social media poll. This is one of those occasions.

Letter to the Editor: Inspiring Hope through Healing

The Richland community has much to celebrate during this National Hospital Week, May 9-15. The staff at the Richland Hospital, along with the County Public Health and Emergency Response teams, took the lead in addressing the Covid pandemic from early on. During those first few months, adapting to the newly reorganized clinic and hospital structure added challenges.

A view of Festge County Park in Cross Plains. Photo by Grace Vosen

Driftless Grace Column: The Outlook — observing life

“Fearsome” isn’t a word that people would use to describe me. But it fit the other day when a squirrel, attempting to perch outside my window, became paralyzed with fear by a glimpse of my giant’s face. Not long after, a mourning dove suffered a similar fate. Although I live on the second floor and at the same level as these denizens, I doubt they’ll ever accept me into their community.

Rep. Dave Considine

Considine: Governor Nelson, Milli Zantow, and Earth Day

Wisconsin’s former Governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a day for Americans to speak out about preserving the environment and the crises that our fragile environment faces. This year as we’re beginning to return to “normal” from COVID-19 I encourage you to observe and participate in an Earth Day celebration. This may include a masked and socially distanced park clean up, planting something in your garden, taking a walk to discover native plants, or learning about recycling.

Letter to the Editor: No, We Should Not Legalize Marijuana

As a father and grandfather, I am very upset by the news that Governor Evers is advocating for the legalization of marijuana in the upcoming Wisconsin Budget. However, this does not surprise me as Democrats are promoting this at the federal level also.

A photo of the antique pellet gun that broke into two pieces during a fight in Muscoda. Photo via Bill Schramm, Muscoda Police Department

RV High School students involved in fight serves as reminder against rumor mill

Late last week, we started hearing various rumors about a major fight that occurred involving at least two River Valley High School students, which I’m sure many of you have heard various versions of by now.


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