Sunday, September 23, 2018


School safety needs to be discussed

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: Altoona school officials deserve credit for communicating with parents and community members this week about school shootings.

Police Chief Jesse James and school liaison officer Jon Lauscher discussed school safety after the tragic mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. “We wanted to give the parents a sense of confidence that we do take these things seriously and try to be proactive even in a reactive situation,” James said, according to a Leader-Telegram story by Eric Lindquist. 

Community members who attended appreciated the efforts of the school and police. One parent who attended said he’d like to bring his three school-age children to such a meeting. More communication is better. Other Chippewa Valley schools should consider doing the same.

• • •

Thumbs down: The story of the 83-year-old Eau Claire woman who lost $40,000 to a telephone scammer should make us all want to scream — and make sure it stops happening to our vulnerable populations.

According to a Leader-Telegram story by Dan Holtz, a caller told the woman she had won $2.5 million from Publishers Clearing House, but she needed to send money to complete the transaction. She went to a financial institution and authorized a $3,500 cashier’s check. The next day she went back for two more checks for $17,000 and $18,000. After the woman’s savings were gone, and she tried to take out a $10,000 loan to send to the scammer, the financial institution finally questioned her and cautioned she may be the victim of a scam. When she went to a bank, an employee there warned her she was being scammed. 

Police say education is the best way to combat such scams. We agree. Family members need to counsel their loved ones about not throwing away their life savings. And financial institutions need to ask more questions when someone comes in seeking large certified checks, especially if it’s more than once a day.    

• • •

Thumbs up: Two events in the past week again show that Chippewa Valley residents open their wallets for worthy causes.

Special Olympics Wisconsin raised more than $95,000 thanks to about 450 people who jumped into the freezing waters of Half Moon Lake. One jumper, Andrea Konecny, said Special Olympians should have the same opportunities as everyone else. “It’s a big deal and we think it’s awesome,” Konecny said of Special Olympics. 

Four days later, about 2,900 people turned out for the annual Feed My People Food Bank Empty Bowls event. About 2,200 bowls were donated for the event that raised $98,000 to feed the hungry in west-central Wisconsin.

Those numbers are staggering and show that this community supports the missions of many nonprofits. The events just keep getting bigger and bigger.    

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