Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news during the past week.
Thumbs up: The Arneberg boys are a committed bunch. All four sons of Chippewa Falls residents Tom and Beth Arneberg attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor given by the Boy Scouts of America.
The youngest Arneberg son, Simon, is a 17-year-old senior at Chippewa Falls High School who was awarded his Eagle Scout this week during a ceremony that included brothers Ben, Jasper and David, and his sister, Alison. Their father has been a Scoutmaster since 2006 and led the troop as his four sons worked toward their top honor. “It’s a very proud moment,” Tom said of the ceremony that included all his children.
The quest to become an Eagle Scout is a long and winding road, especially when boys reach high school, which is filled with extracurricular activities that take away time from Scouting. Those who attain the designation show they are committed individuals who lead by example.
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Thumbs down: It’s bad public policy to keep secrets about federal and state lawmakers accused of sexual harassment and assault.
With the daily revelations about those in power committing sexual misconduct, it’s troubling that both the Wisconsin Legislature and Congress continue to keep secret any allegations against their members. State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Madison are opposed to releasing results of any investigations into sexual harassment claims, arguing the need to protect the rights of victims is paramount. Open records requests for the information from state newspapers have been denied.
In Washington, Congress actually uses federally-financed payments to settle allegations against members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The secret practice keeps victims silent and the names of lawmakers out of the news. And it’s our tax dollars that pay for the silence.
There are ways — such as redactions of victims’ names — to both protect victims and shed light on transgressions of elected officials. Anti-harassment training is a great idea, but transparency is the best way to ensure lawmakers are doing their jobs and nothing more. Lawmakers at all levels should be held accountable.
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Thumbs up: The Third Ward neighborhood has spoken and many members want to keep Jefferson Street open for motorists on the Harding Avenue hill.
About 75 percent of respondents to a city survey — many from the Third Ward — said Jefferson Street shouldn’t be closed off from Harding Avenue, an opinion that makes sense to anyone who uses that section of road to go to and from downtown. A story by the Leader-Telegram’s Elizabeth Dohms indicated that closing access to Harding would add 200 vehicles an hour to the 1,400 that already make their way through the intersection of South Farwell and Washington streets during the busiest times of day.
The city should go ahead and replace pavement on Harding Avenue while keeping access to arterial roads open.