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CIVIL DISCOURSE: An Occasional Attempt To Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse

What appeared to be a record crowd at last week’s Shanty Days in Algoma proves organizers really know how to put on a great event.  From litter, traffic and crowd control to a well-organized parade, food and beer stands and music, the 2014 Shanty Days will go down as one of Algoma’s best efforts.

I had the good fortune of meeting Algoma’s famous outdoor writer, Kevin Naze, during the parade.  His frequent news stories about Lake Michigan fishing have helped put Algoma on the map.  My three-year-old granddaughter joined us for the parade.  The kindness from others along the parade route, sharing the tossed candy and making room for a small child, prove the slogan “Friendly Algoma” used by the Chamber of Commerce is truthful advertising.  My personal thanks to the generously kind people who watched the parade with us across from Tina Marie’s Boutique and shared their candy with my exit strategy, three-year-old  Harper Riley Goetz (the second most important woman in my life).



Organizers of Shanty Days should also be commended for the responsible consumption and control of alcohol on the event grounds.


Shanty Day's Parade - Crowd in front of Tina Marie's Boutique

Before taking our granddaughter to Shanty Days we enjoyed a few hours at Bay Beach Park in Green Bay on Friday.  Finding three rides at Bay Beach with roots in Door County reminded me what a significant contribution former owner of Thumb Fun Amusement Park in Fish Creek, Doug Butchart,  has made making Door County the destination it is today.  Thousands of families cherish memories of Thumb Fun. Doug is in the same category of Door County legends at Al Johnson, Arnie Richter and Gary Nault. All have contributed to the magnetic charm of the most beautiful county in America. Who knows what three rides at Bay Beach Park have roots in Fish Creek?

Tuesday’s primary election for the first district assembly seat puts two first-class candidates on the ballot in November.  Joel Kitchen’s stunning victory in the Republican primary means he’ll face Democrat Joe Majeski in November.  These guys appear to like and respect each other. Both project the more centrist common-sense style of leadership that was evident in first district state representatives dating back to Lary Swoboda, Dave Hutchison, and for the past 14 years, Garey Bies. This will be a race watched by legislative leaders from both parties. Madison Democrats are salivating at the prospect of picking up a seat.  Expect outside money on behalf of both candidates. With two first-class gentlemen running, you can also expect a clean, issue-oriented race. Door and Kewaunee County citizens will not lose with either Joel Kitchens or Joe Majeski.

Good news in Wisconsin’s race for Governor…. Neither Scott Walker nor Mary Burke is politicizing the issue of a deficit in the segregated highway fund that pays for road construction and maintenance. Walker and Burke have not made the difficult-to-retract commitments to NEVER raising the gas tax or vehicle registration fees. Roads and bridges are crumbling. Many have outlived their design life. It’s time to recognize that more efficient vehicles and fewer total miles being driven mean Wisconsin needs a better way to pay for highways. When you go to the polls in November you’ll have an opportunity to vote for a constitutional amendment that would prevent the legislature from raiding a fund that had been established to pay for highways, bridges and transportation. Vote YES and, if it passes, there will be no more raids on the highway fund to balance budgets.

Burnett County claims to be the Cheese Curd Capitol of Wisconsin.  It seems to me that’s a more rightful claim for Kewaunee County.  Cheese producers like Krohn’s Dairy and Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese , the much more content and productive Kewaunee County cows and the marketing efforts of the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee  should be able to counter any claim by a western Wisconsin County to be the cheese curd capitol of Wisconsin.  We’ll be sure and ask candidates for the legislature if they’ll work to get Kewaunee County the recognition it deserves. 


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