Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news.
THUMBS UP: A photo of Madalyn Zwiefelhofer’s smiling family on Tuesday’s front page said it all.
The Chippewa Falls girl is out of the hospital and home after surviving the horrific crash that killed three Girl Scouts and an adult last month as they picked up trash along a Chippewa County road, according to a story by the Leader-Telegram’s Chris Vetter. Madalyn suffered a long list of medical issues — including two broken legs and internal injuries — but the 10-year-old is a fighter, a survivor of the tragedy that has gripped the region and beyond.
Madalyn’s survival is a bright light from a dark event, as evidenced by the nearly $100,000 raised to help offset her medical bills.
• • •
THUMBS DOWN: Wedding barns have become so successful that they must be threatening the competition.
Outgoing Attorney General Brad Schimel recently opined — after a request from a lawmaker who is a former Wisconsin Tavern League president — that barns that host events like weddings may be subject to the state’s liquor license laws, a development that barn owners say could reduce their business or force them to close. The cost of such a license would be prohibitive, barn owners say. And the uncertainty of whether barns could allow liquor could turn some potential customers away.
State Rep. Kathleen Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, told the Leader-Telegram’s Vetter that destination weddings like those in barns are good for rural economies. “My concern is if we are too restrictive, they will go to Minnesota or Iowa, where they can do it,” she said.
• • •
THUMBS UP: Emma Perry is a gem. The Altoona resident said she was “thankful for everything” as she celebrated her 103rd birthday this week.
That’s the key, she told the Leader-Telegram’s Samantha West, to be thankful each and every day for life and all it brings. Sound words to live by. Too often we complain about what’s wrong in the world. We all need to try looking on the bright side of life more often and not be consumed by all the negativity in the world.
Emma’s life certainly has had its ups and downs — living through the Great Depression and seeing her new husband go off to war — yet she’s thankful every day. We can learn a lot from her.
— Gary Johnson, editor