Spoden violated public trust and should be censured

I commend Rock County Board member Rick Richard for submitting the resolution censuring Sheriff Robert Spoden’s attempts to interfere in the investigation of a serious injury that occurred during an August underage drinking party attended by the sheriff’s son. The resolution of censure says the sheriff violated the public trust and his office’s code of ethics for officers.

As we teach our children, just because an action is legal, it does not mean that action is a wise or morally sound decision. Spoden’s arrogant and defiant responses to concerns by his professional colleagues and the district attorney illustrate how Spoden views himself from his position of power. Whether he has always been able to rationalize his actions, or his years in office have convinced him that the rules do not apply to him, Robert Spoden’s current unethical behavior signals that it is time for him to step down.

Those leaders we most respect hold themselves to higher standards than required by their positions. They lead with integrity, putting the good of those they serve ahead of their own interests. I strongly urge his supervising entity, the county board, to send a message that violation of the public trust and use of positional power for any reason is unacceptable.



Teachers, watch out for this smoking device

We know that teachers are used to dealing with disruptions in the classroom on a daily basis: passing notes, using cellphones, talking out of turn, etc. Unfortunately, there is now an additional burden for teachers to carry, and it’s because of a new e-cigarette product called JUUL.

These products are small in size and resemble a USB flash drive. They can be charged in a computer just like a flash drive, so students could be using these in vaping devices in the classroom without a teacher even noticing. Because of the product being so small, it makes it easy to use discreetly.

JUUL comes in flavors such as cool mint, fruit medley and even crème brulee. Using flavors like these has been a successful strategy in getting youth to use this new product. The state Department of Health Services has noted that at least 80 percent of youth trying tobacco products for the first time are choosing these fruity-flavored products. That is an alarming statistic.

The state has recently launched a new campaign called Tobacco Is Changing to raise awareness of how candy flavors and deceptive packaging are successfully luring kids into a lifetime of addiction. Locally, Youth 2 Youth 4 Change has been taking steps to raise education and bring awareness to this growing trend in our local communities.

You can learn more about the Tobacco Is Changing campaign and local tobacco prevention efforts at Tobaccoischanging.com.


Beloit School District homeless liaison

and Youth 2 Youth Coalition chair

GOP vampire using tax bill to feed on ordinary folks

The wealthiest Americans nearly doubled their share of national income since 1980—from 11 percent to 20 percent. The rest of America hasn’t seen a decent raise since 1980, so inequality is soaring. Look at the stock market, where investors are raking in enormous profits. Does it look like the wealthy need help?

Most of We-the-People oppose tax cuts for the rich, but our voices are displaced by money, which former President Jimmy Carter calls “oligarchic bribes.” Our representatives safely ignore us and blithely lie that tax relief for ordinary folks is the focus of the bill. Every time the GOP takes charge, this trickle-down vampire revives. Not one time has it worked: Create more jobs, blah, blah, blah. Where are the deficit hawks that would prey on Democratic leaders if they proposed a tax bill that added $1.5 trillion to the deficit?

You can be certain Rep. Paul Ryan’s long-time dream of destroying through privatization every program that helps seniors or the needy will be next on the agenda. Cuts are already in the budget. “Billions for the rich, but not one cent for the needy” is the rallying cry of unregulated war-hawk capitalists as they sit comfortably in warm homes while the rest of us freeze, literally.



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