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Why Colby should be Wisconsin’s state cheese

To the editor: On Nov. 6, I gave testimony at the public hearing for Bill 572: Making Colby cheese the state cheese, in front of the Assembly Committee of Agriculture. You can view my speech on social platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, but in case you have not seen/heard what I said, I present it to you below: Bill 572 is legislation to make Colby the official state cheese. But that bewilders me, because how’s Colby Cheese not already the state cheese? This isn’t right, and I am here to tell you why we need to get this settled.

Let me break it down for you.

Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland, and for good reason — our number-one output of all dairy products is cheese. Furthermore, our state is the nation’s top producer of cheese, not just currently, but since 1910. Our cheese is world class. No one makes it better than Wisconsin. That’s probably why the nation calls us cheese-heads, right?

There are four cities and towns in Wisconsin that have a cheese theme or nickname, but there is only one that bears the name of an actual cheese, and that is the city and town of Colby.

But what makes Colby Cheese so special? Colby is Wisconsin’s only native cheese: that’s right, it’s our own original recipe. All the other cheeses we produce so well, and so much of, were someone else’s idea.

Colby is the only cheese that Wisconsin came up with on its own, and it was from my little hometown. Joseph F. Steinwand, back in the late 1880s, came up with the cheese. He wanted to have the robust flavor like cheddar but without the dry texture of cheddar, and that’s what he made: a cheese that was soft, moist, and flavorful. And that is what made Colby cheese so popular. Like what we say back up in Colby, it’s betterthan- cheddar.

A little over a mile north of our family farm is where Steinwand established the Colby Cheese Factory, which operated for decades, up until the 1990s. My dad, the town chairman of Colby, still remembers being 15 years old in 1968, lifting and loading milk after chores into a pickup truck and hauling it up to the cheese factory. On the corner of Hiline and Colby Cheese Factory Road is the hallowed ground of Wisconsin dairy history, and in downtown Colby a state historical marker immortalizes the story of how Colby changed the cheese game.

You can’t get any more “Wisconsin” than Colby cheese.

The best state deserves the best representation — an original representation. So many official state items are often duplicated, and have no originality. For instance, did you know the American Robin is shared by three states, including Wisconsin? This is an opportunity to have an icon, a symbol that no other state will ever have.

If I come off passionate over something seemingly small in importance, such as cheese, it’s because of my enduring love of and pride for my hometown, and of our beloved state.

Colby cheese is more than just cheese, it is a representation of all that is best about being a Wisconsinite. The cheese came from a small community, just like those that dot the state’s landscape, from border to border, a community that was built by the calloused hands and strong backs of dairy farmers, and built by those who dared to dream bigger than their city borders.

That’s what this is all about. With this bill you are building an identity, solidifying our culture and heritage of being America’s Dairyland, and recognizing those who Move Forward, like our state motto. This is about having pride in our state of Wisconsin. Having state pride develops great citizens, leaders, and businesses. People can be proud of this great state that shaped who they are.

Please take action and declare Colby cheese as an official state symbol that is 100 percent authentic Wisconsin — for our farmers, leaders, communities, and future generations.

Thank you so much for taking the time to hear my testimony, God bless Wisconsin, and I will be happy to take any questions at this time.

Matt Oehmichen


Gov. Evers should leave Christmas tree alone

To the editor: Christmas and Christianity is once again under attack, this time by Governor Evers. Last week he declared that the Christmas Tree at the state capital will be called a “holiday tree.” To add injury to insult, he requested that the tree ornaments be based on a science theme, because of how “important science is to our education.”

Excuse me? This tree is not a secular science fair but a symbol in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Political correctness has run amok in this country and I am sick of it. When it comes to religion, the PC police are working overtime. One of their favorite themes is the so-called separation of church and state.

To be clear, saying Merry Christmas or calling the tree a Christmas Tree does not violate the Constitution. (You do remember the Constitution, our founding document.) In fact, the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution. That phrase was in a letter from President Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association, assuring them that the government was not going to establish a state religion and they would have the freedom to worship as they pleased.

Here is the exact wording of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”

Funny how the PC police seem to conveniently forget about someone’s right to freely express their Christianity. Having a Christmas Tree at the state capital is well within the boundaries of the Constitution.

Call the governor’s office at 608266-1212 and express your outrage.

Keep Christ in Christmas.

Pamela Jaffke Owen

Some healthy eating tips for the holidays

To the Editor: Hot chocolate, caramel apples, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie are all tasty treats during the holidays, but putting the right foods in your body during the holiday season has never been so important. A study done by Cornell University revealed that Americans gain the most weight between mid-October and the end of December. To avoid those extra pounds throughout this exciting season, here are some tips.

Portion Size. By now everyone’s heard about the importance of eating small portions, but making sure to take a smaller first plate allows your body to not become overfilled. If you’re not full, there’s always seconds.

Reach for the veggies. Try to make at least half your plate vegetables and eat them first. Mapleglazed carrots and roasted brussels sprouts are almost as good as a piece of apple crisp.

Eat slowly. Take your time while you’re eating and make sure that you’re not overfilled. The slower you eat, the quicker your body let’s you know you’re full.

Eat dessert. It’s a little unrealistic to try and avoid all the desserts around the holidays. Eat away, but make sure you’re not already full and that your portion isn’t too large.

Get up and move. It’s so easy to relax after eating a big meal, but walking around afterwards for a few minutes helps with digestion. Walking in general during the holidays is a great way to help your body prepare for eating heavier meals.

Using these tips can help you avoid gaining extra weight during the holiday season. So reach for the pumpkin pie, after those tasty roasted veggies. Let’s try for a healthy holiday season.

Megan Vitort Athens