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E DITOR Another important day for the Colby cheese bill

To the editor: Fellow Wisconsinites and friends of Colby: Today marks another big day for Colby cheese.

The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology, and Consumer Protection will be holding a public hearing on SB519: to designate Colby as the state cheese of Wisconsin. As I type out this sentence I cannot help but feel the charge of excitement, because if you recall back to my last letter, the Senate committee hasn’t been the most enthusiastic about this bill. The worry then was this would be tabled and stay in committee.

However, the best case scenario has been presented: being given its second public hearing (first being from the Assembly committee), and early in the year. As I disclosed in my last letter, having public testimony given and having the committee discuss a non-controversial bill early on in the year, gives this a much better chance of being received with attention and then moved swiftly along to a floor vote. It’s kind of like: When is the best time to start a new workout regimen, in January after your New Year’s resolution, or in August when you have other things to do? Same idea; the earlier, the better.

The momentum is strong, and the second public hearing is poised to have many more testimonies given. But here comes the hard-sell: this will not be a cake walk. It is a small committee — five members, and the majority of the members were originally apathetic to the bill. They will not view “family farm” narratives or the history of Colby cheese with any kind of enthusiasm.

Providing samples of cheese for them would be fleeting; they rejected my previous offering in November so why would I do it again? They are on a time crunch; they want the main points, justifi ed, relevant, and why it should be important to them. It may not sound like a fun audience, but it is a challenge that I have been looking forward to. I cannot wait for them to ask me, “Why should we have another state symbol?” “So what about Colby? What is so special about it?” “How would this benefit the state?”

Providing a nostalgic stance isn’t easy against someone who titles themselves “practical” and stays with the facts. The thing is, though, life isn’t numbers and time management, it is about connections and identity, and what brings that together is symbolism and history.

If symbolism doesn’t matter then why do the Packers bother to have a “G” on their helmets or keep the same uniforms decade after decade? Why does your community have a “Welcome” sign with a slogan at the entrance? And, my God, what a waste of time to have our beautiful capital building constructed with bronzed badgers inside, red granite pillars, and a golden statue of Lady Forward on top… If you don’t find yourself connected to your surroundings, other people, to eons gone by, then you are living your life as a bee drone; only working, until you finally expire. At least bees stop to smell the flowers. This isn’t the finish line, and the work is far from over. Right now, though, we are one step closer for Colby to be designated the state cheese, to have a 100 percent authentic Wisconsin state symbol that is a reflection of our rural communities and our cultural heritage.

Please wish us good luck today. God Bless Colby, and On Wisconsin.

Matt Oehmichen


Energy bill is best hope for our grandchildren

To the editor: I am concerned about the climate crisis on several levels.

As a former biology teacher, I understand the reality and the seriousness of the problem. As a former resort owner, I am well aware of the climate change risks to the tourism industry in northern Wisconsin. A warming climate is bad for business. (The same is true for the timber industry.) As an admirer of God’s creation, I realize my responsibility to do my part to protect it. But my most compelling reason is love. Love for my three precious grandchildren. They and all children of this world are depending on us to ensure that they will have a livable world. When I consider the gravity of our situation, it scares me.

But there is hope. In January 2019, over 3,500 economists signed a letter in the Wall Street Journal with recommendations for addressing the climate crisis. Their recommendations are mirrored in a bipartisan bill in Congress called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

It gives me hope because this bill is: economically sound; effective, reducing CO2 emissions 90 percent by 2050; good for people’s health and the economy since less fossil fuel pollution means fewer trips to the doctor and ER, reduced asthma cases, and thousands fewer premature deaths per year from dirty air.

The Energy Innovation Act is also fair because every citizen receives an equal dividend check each month to protect them from higher energy costs, a key element for the economists. In this part of the state, where we have many lower income families, they will come out ahead with extra money in their pockets because they have a smaller carbon footprint. As we transition to renewable energy, our climate can stabilize, our environment heal, and the world become safer. There are so many good reasons to support the Energy Innovation Act. But the biggest reason: this legislation is the best hope for all grandchildren who deserve to inherit a healthy climate and safer world.

To learn more about this legislation and find answers to your questions, go to: Then click on ”Endorse the Bill” to send an email to your members of Congress, telling them that you want them to support this legislation!

Linda Herscher Birchwood