THE CELESTIAL CRUSTACEAN

 One of the official duties of the Chinese emperor around the end of the first millennium was to explain to his people any unusual occurrences in the heavens. To this end, he employed astronomers to observe the sky. In 1054 A.D., these astronomers reported to Emperor Renzong (1010 – 1063 A.D.) the appearance of a “guest star” in the constellation we call Taurus the Bull. “Guest star” was their term for any bright object that suddenly appeared in the sky and then disappeared after a relatively short time. This “guest star” was a supernova, which is a ...

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THINGS THAT MUST BE DONE

 “...If changes are to come, there are things that must be done...”  From the song “Somewhere to Begin” by T.R. Richie “...if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy....then it results in bad government and politics.” President Barack Obama Responsible democratic government depends on citizen participation. This year we must elect competent leaders who care about people and the issues that actually matter to most people.  A few years ago, ...

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SOMETHING STINKS AND IT’S NOT THE MILL

 This has been a devastating week for the Wisconsin Rapids area as Verso announced the closure of the paper mill. This mill produces clay-coated paper used for advertising. My father is among the roughly 800 workers in this area who will be losing their jobs. This is an appropriate time to express anger, sorrow, frustration, and empathy. It is an appropriate time to try to find solutions. But it is not the time for partisan scapegoating from an elected official. Yet that was how Representative Scott Krug chose to express himself. The ...

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THE BOBOLINKS ARE BACK

 The bobolinks came back in May. This is a really big deal because these amazing birds started on their super-long journey to their summer home, including our area, in February 2020. They had to take about three months to travel 5000 miles. Here is the clincher: much of their journey is right across the Gulf of Mexico, over endless stretches of water. They wintered in southern Brazil. When they arrive on our farm, they sing their cheerful “I made it again; I made it again” song. The cheer of their song is enough to dispel sadness. ...

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ENBRIDGE IS RE-ROUTING ITS PIPELINE IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN

 Enbridge (the Canadian company) runs a pipeline through northern Wisconsin and through the Bad River Reservation. The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe filed a lawsuit and won. Now Enbridge is planning to remove a 12-mile segment of its Line 5 from the Bad River Reservation and bypass the reservation with 42 miles of new pipe. Enbridge says the line transports an average 540,000 barrels a day between Superior and southwestern Ontario that is eventually used to supply propane to dealers in Wisconsin and Michigan. E...

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BUILDING UNITY IN NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN

 The Building Unity Tour is coming to your area! The Building Unity Tour is shared by many groups throughout Wisconsin working for peace, justice, sustainability and democracy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need creative ways to build excitement for justice, voter engagement and safety for our communities. The Building Unity Tour is partnering with groups all over Wisconsin and sharing the “Votemobile” as a backdrop for social media campaigns and events. This 34-foot mobile billboard is helping us build our ...

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AGING IN RURAL WISCONSIN

 Growing old is an inevitable part of life. When it comes to aging, we can’t help but wonder where we’ll live when we retire, the quality of life we’ll have and how we’ll stay healthy. While most of us want to remain in our homes for as long as possible, aging in place is almost a must for farmers in rural Wisconsin. Last week, I participated in a webinar about aging on the farm in rural Wisconsin. We learned about the unique challenges farmers face when it comes to aging, compared to older adults in other areas of the state. Fa...

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GET BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS

 On May 19, the Lafayette County Board unanimously approved a resolution saying that it is in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United that have given corporations an enormous sway over our political life. In doing so, Lafayette County became the 164th community in Wisconsin to approve such a sentiment. The Lafayette County Board resolution concluded: “BE IT RESOLVED, that ‘We the People’ of the County of LaFayette, State of Wisconsin, seek to prevent and reduce the ...

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CIVIC HEALTH IN WISCONSIN

 The UW-Madison Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies joins a coalition of nonpartisan Wisconsin-based organizations, in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, to release the first-ever report on Wisconsin’s civic health.With the publication of this report, “Civic Health in Wisconsin: Connectedness in Context,” Wisconsin joins 30 other U.S. states in measuring civic health, laying the groundwork for tracking changes and improvements.WIPPS is proud to be among the coalition members involved in this initiative, which includes these ...

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JUNETEENTH IS THE REAL INDEPENDENCE DAY

 (Artwork is by Jennifer Dolan) I see Juneteenth as the real Independence Day, but the promise of freedom from when emancipation was declared has not been kept. We need to do something to honor that promise. This is an opportunity to do that. I went on a cross country train trip in 2015. My significant other and I had breakfast with two fascinating older men; one black, one white, and both very progressive. The black gentleman talked about how his daughter was organizing the first Juneteenth celebration in the small town where she lived....

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