Pole vault story rekindles memories

Noah Zastrow (a standout UW-Stout pole vaulter recently featured in the Leader-Telegram) will get a kick out of this bit of history: When I was a high school senior half-miler in 1943 I went with my pole-vaulter friend (who won many events with 12-foot jumps) to the Chicago Relays at Chicago Stadium.

Cornelius Warmerdam, who already held the world outdoor record of 15 feet, 7¾ inches was going to try to be the first to vault over 15 feet indoors. We were thrilled to see him clear 15 feet by 8½ inches with his 15-foot long bamboo pole. That stood as the world record for 11 years.

The introduction of carbon fiber and fiberglass poles quickly and decisively erased all vault records with their catapult-like action.

Birney Dibble

Eau Claire

History fuels question: What if?

We wrote to the VOP in the fall 2016 of the need to not just win the election for Hillary Clinton, but for a landslide repudiation of Donald Trump and what he represented.

As is usual, for me, my political instincts were wrong and I was as surprised as I was dismayed by the result. Since then, I’ve often thought, “What was so wrong with Hillary Clinton?” She had accomplished a lot in her life, served admirably in civil offices, had connections all over the place with people (including her husband) who knew how to get stuff done and had the demeanor of an adult. And after having elected our first black president (with a grandma living in the White House), we could have had our first woman in that office (who was a grandma). It would have been perfect.

We would have had a fully staffed emergency team when COVID struck, with a president who would console rather than inflame, our alliances would be intact, an Asian American would still be able to walk our streets without fear of battery and that murderous, un-American insurrection of Jan. 6 would never have occurred.

Dan and Mary Fisher

Eau Claire

Commercials show times are changing

Have you noticed how many commercials currently feature interracial dating and mixed households, reflecting one of several cultural shifts?

America’s complexion is changing. Marketers see that as opportunity. But defenders of the old order, those who aren’t buying into the inevitable, are banding together in legislatures for one last stand to reverse the course of destiny.

But the liberating forces of progressive thought, atop the wheel that’s turning, celebrate the inexorable, declaring, as did the songwriter a century ago, when our rural doughboys returned home from wider cultural exposure: “How you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?”

Michael Doran

Ladysmith

Local help sought for global cause

Lions through the years have been known for recycling eyeglasses. In Wisconsin, a grant from Lions Club International was approved in 1990 to create a Wisconsin eyeglass recycling center in Rosholt, where the Lions camp for handicapped young people is. In the entire world there are only 18 centers, and Wisconsin is one of 12 in the United States.

In an average year over 800,000 pairs of glasses are recycled, coming from numerous states in the U.S. and over half are then sent to 49 countries on “eye missions” held throughout the world.

We serve our communities by screening children in our schools with eye charts and spot vision screeners. We continue to look for more children to screen so we may better serve our communities and in turn create a more prosperous life for our children by enabling them to see and learn at a young age.

So if you have used eyeglasses that are no longer used, please give them to a Lions member or put them in one of our collection containers.

Paul Halverson

Arcadia

Marsy’s Law subject of great deal of discussion

Marsy’s Law has been the subject of a great deal of discussion for advocates lately, and for good reason. Marsy’s Law provides equal rights for crime victims in a way we have not seen. As a mobile sexual assault victim advocate, I immediately approached the amendment in terms of the survivors I serve every day.

Marsy’s Law affords the right to “timely disposition of the case free from unreasonable delay.” As further described in state statute, this right is crucial for victims “in order to minimize the length of time they must endure the stress of their responsibilities in connection with the matter”.

What is important here is that victims are afforded the chance to begin a healing process that is free from repeated victimization and re-traumatization — as are often found in case proceedings. However, there is another part of this statute that is less discussed but still incredibly important.

At Bolton Refuge House, we see firsthand the incredible stress put on victims. They have had the right to their body taken away from them. Then, they participate in what many clients have told me is a process “more traumatic than the incident of sexual violence.” Their background is often brought up, their past is questioned and assumptions are made about them both in and out of the courtroom. By beginning to recognize the trauma of the victim, we can begin to support the victim.

As the State Bar of Wisconsin stated in its recent article about Marsy’s Law, “perhaps most significantly, Marsy’s Law has increased the attention paid to victims’ rights laws in Wisconsin. Law develops when people pay attention to it.” As advocates, Marsy’s Law has provided the opportunity to begin discussions about and for survivors. And that discussion is just starting.

Katelyn Wonderlin

Eau Claire