A month before hunters and trappers show up in Wisconsin state parks, Spencer Walts and his chocolate laborador retriever, Gus, enjoy a walk in Yahara Place Park in Madison, Wis. Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)
Updated: April 20, 2013 6:19AM
Many Illinoisans enjoy heading up north to “the Dairy State” for hiking, biking and kayaking in Wisconsin’s state parks and forests. However, some ugly legislative changes have taken place: Hunting and trapping are now allowed in Wisconsin state parks and forests!
Wisconsin politicians felt that opening up state parks to hunting would attract more people to take up the state’s hunting heritage. Gun and archery hunting, as well as trapping, now are allowed from April 1 through the Tuesday nearest May 3, as well as from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15.
Better wear your flak jacket if you’re considering a hiking trip. Beware of traps; although trapping is not allowed within 100 yards of any designated trail or other designated area, pet dogs have been killed by them. Oh, and you water sports lovers? Beware! Trappers sometimes place their deadly devices under water.
Wow! Let’s look at the bright side of this. Your trip could be a potentially thrilling vacation while you try to dodge hunters’ bullets and arrows.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has voiced support for gay marriage, revealing that his son is gay. Similarly, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a daughter who is openly lesbian, has spoken in favor of gay marriage. The Republican Party in general remains opposed to gay marriage. So it turns out some Republicans will at least speak up when the party’s position negatively affects them and their loved ones. Consider this in light of the current budget battles.
In the name of deficit reduction, Republicans are proposing major cuts that promise to harm the lives of most Americans over the long run, including cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Perhaps if some congressional Republicans perceived that they or their loved ones were actually going to need these social programs for survival, they might find a way to deal with the budget without harming so many typical Americans. Instead, they, their loved ones and their campaign contributors tend to be much wealthier than the average American, with better retirement benefits and health care. And they are far more concerned about lower taxes than they are about supporting these important programs.
David J. Roberts, Lincoln Park
On March 8, the Illinois Department of Aging notified providers that funding for the Community Care Program would lapse on March 15. Unless the Legislature acts to provide a supplemental appropriation to cover the remainder of the fiscal year, 80,000 Illinois seniors will be endangered. The Community Care Program allows recipients to live independently in their own homes and communities by providing home care workers to assist with household chores, shopping, and personal care. Without this necessary assistance, many of those currently receiving home care may be forced to move into Medicaid-funded nursing homes, at four or five times greater cost to the state. The personal cost of having to give up independence cannot be measured.
The Illinois Association of Community Care Program Homecare Providers has sent a letter to state legislators urging them to pass a supplemental appropriation to save CCP from financial ruin. They warn that without it many of their members will not be able to continue services. This will have drastic impact on the lives of our most vulnerable citizens and also the workers who are currently employed to care for them. The CCP has proven to be a very cost-effective program. It saves the state millions every year. The Legislature needs to act quickly.
Emily Byrd, Rogers Park