Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news.
Law enforcement in Eau Claire County shot and killed a man around noon a week ago today between Augusta and Fairchild. Authorities released no information about the death to the public until more than two days later on Monday afternoon.
It took another two days to find out the identity of the dead man and the officers involved.
Why did it take 50 hours to release that information? Sheriff Ron Cramer said all information about the incident, including the names of those involved, had to come from the state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.
The Monday news release from DCI reported that the man was shot after an altercation with an Eau Claire County sheriff’s office deputy and an Augusta police officer. The incident occurred on Kempten Road.
The public could have, and should have, been told that on Saturday, not two days later. It wouldn’t have jeopardized any investigation for authorities to report there was a death in an officer-involved shooting in eastern Eau Claire County. Straight-forward and informative. That’s not too much to ask.
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Bob Meyer has been an engaging, thoughtful chancellor for the past five years at UW-Stout, and his announcement this week that he is retiring in August is a loss for the Menomonie university.
The chancellor was readily available to talk about issues affecting the university where he worked for three decades and the UW System. He didn’t hide in his office. He was a regular at campus meetings talking with faculty, staff and students. He visited students’ off-campus houses to welcome them and remind them that with their college-days independence came extreme responsibility, especially when it came to alcohol use.
Meyer was outspoken in his criticism of a downtown bar frequented by students that hosted all-you-can drink specials. After the Rehab bar was cited for 45 underage drinking infractions and other citations, Meyer urged the Menomonie City Council to “make a strong statement” and deny the bar a liquor license. The business no longer sells alcohol.
That strength to take on tough issues and a willingness to listen are traits UW-Stout will miss when Meyer leaves this fall.
— Gary Johnson, editor