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: We should all be in favor of additional choices for young people to take part in healthy activities that don’t revolve around video games and cellphones.
That’s why we should be applauding the Boy Scouts of America opening its programs to girls. It appears west-central Wisconsin parents agree, as the Chippewa Valley Council of the Scouts now has more than 100 girls enrolled in Scouting. “This just happened naturally without any recruitment,” Tim Molepske, CEO of the Eau Claire regional council, told the Leader-Telegram’s Eric Lindquist. “Our families were asking for it.”
Some believe girls are better off in Girl Scouts, where all-girl activities are led by female role models. If the all-girl environment is what parents want for their daughters, Girls Scouts is the place to be. But if parents want the option of having their daughters mix with boys — including their own brothers — in Scouting activities, they should be able to do that as well. The more choices the better, especially when it gets kids outside and active.
• • •
Thumbs down: A reduced number of short-term visas for immigrants is hurting the economy in Wisconsin and the entire country.
News reports this week informed us that businesses are unable to fill thousands of seasonal jobs because fewer immigrants are being issued H-2B visas to get into the country. These are the people who clean resorts in Door County and Wisconsin Dells, and landscape homes and businesses throughout the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The cap on H-2B visas, which allow people to stay in the country for a year, has prompted some Door County businesses to shut down one or two days during the week because there were no workers to clean rooms.
In west-central Wisconsin, farmers worry about finding hired hands for the physically demanding work in the agriculture industry. The government needs to get immigration issues figured out so businesses can survive and thrive.
• • •
Thumbs up: The Menomonie City Council is showing leadership by taking up the topic of an astonishing 116 alcohol-related citations, including 45 for underage drinking, at a single tavern on a single night last month.
“We are taking this issue very seriously,” Mayor Randy Knaack told the Leader-Telegram’s Julian Emerson.
Knaack said the bar, the Rehab, hasn’t had a history of alcohol-related violations so the mayor thinks the citations are an isolated situation. Nevertheless, when the number hits triple digits it’s worth city leaders discussing the issue and the overarching theme of happy hours and excessive drinking in a college town. And UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer deserves credit for making this a public issue and demanding that the community do better.