Byron McNutt - Vilas County News-Review
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  • ARE YOU ONE of the 43 million Americans saddled with student-loan debt? Maybe you owe $40,000 and your financial situation is such that you struggle just to pay the interest on the loan. In fact, you have other loans to pay and the burden is overwhelming.
    Now, let’s say the Joe Biden administration is
  • THE USE OF absentee ballots exploded during the pandemic. Does this foretell how we’re going to see state and national elections play out in the future? Should we expect this phenomenon to happen again in 2022 and ’24?
    More than
  • IT’S THAT TIME of year again to make your New Year’s resolutions. For those seeking a challenge, here are a few goals to set for yourself. Start 2021 by promising yourself:
    • To be strong, so that
  • IT WAS CHRISTMAS Eve day and poor Della Young counted her money. She had just $1.87 to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. Much of the money consisted of pennies she had scrimped and saved for months by skillfully dickering with the grocer, butcher and vegetable man. But it would clearly not be enough. Della was
  • ADOLESCENCE IS A mental illness when it happens to anybody but a teenager. In a 30-year-old, for instance, a state of adolescence is called a nervous breakdown. This was an observation made in 1982, by Bob Myers, the eccentric owner of The County Press in Lapeer, Mich. Myers wrote a column under the pen name of
  • IT HAS NOW been five weeks since the presidential election. Time to reflect and put things into perspective. Whether your candidates won or not, we should all want the new Joe Biden administration and our country in general to succeed. We need to believe the sun will shine again in America.
    President-elect Biden has
  • THERE COMES A time in everyone’s life when you know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions. I pulled off my 70th birthday Dec. 1. The crossing of that milestone was almost effortless and went amazingly fast. And as many birthdays prior to this one, it was basically uneventful.
    What do you consider milestone birthdays in your life? Was it 16, 21, 30, 50 or 65? Maybe it
  • SHOW YOUR GRATITUDE this Thanksgiving. Researchers say it is good for your health. Expressing gratitude improves cardiovascular strength, sleep quality and more, according to Robert Emmons, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis.
    “Gratitude enhances performance in
  • INCOME INEQUALITY CONTINUES to grow in many countries including 20 out of 29 advanced economies. Wealth is significantly more unevenly distributed than income worldwide. This has many people very concerned for the future of America.
    Recent events have reminded us that
  • THIS VETERANS DAY, we reflect on the sacrifices made by those who volunteered to defend the United States. But let’s also find time to consider that these sacrifices were undertaken to defend values that our “ruling class in waiting” seeks to undermine.
    Many students at elite colleges don’t
  • MORE THAN 90 MILLION Americans improve the quality of life for loved ones who have chronic conditions, disabilities, disease or the frailties of old age. They are our country’s unsung heroes. November is National Family Caregivers Month. Of family caregivers, 60% work full or part time.
    Caregivers can be
  • WHO WON’T BE relieved when this general election cycle is over? The year 2020 has been one for the history books. We all need some closure as our bitterly divided country braces for the Nov. 3 election. It’s critical for the survival of democracy that we trust the results.
    If 2020 has taught us anything, it is
  • GOD CREATED ONE race: the human race. Humans created racism. Because of that, celebrated educator Jane Elliott concluded that racism can be fixed. She has spent more than 50 years adapting the now famous “blue eyes/brown eyes exercise.”
    As a school teacher in the small town of
  • WE MUST TAKE all measures possible to ensure the integrity of our elections. Nov. 3 has been called one of the most important presidential elections in our nation’s recent history.
    What a shame it would be if
  • THIS WEEK, OCT. 4-10, is National Newspaper Week and it’s being celebrated for the 80th time. Famed journalist Jim Lehrer died earlier this year, Jan. 23, at the age of 85. Following are a select few of the rules Lehrer thought were important:
    • Cover, write and present every story with
  • WINDS CHANGE, TIDES rise and fall, political fortunes have a lot to do with momentum. You can be on top one day and on the bottom the next. In just a few weeks, an estimated 150 million Americans will vote in the most important national election in history. Some will vote in-person, some via absentee ballot and others by
  • THIS STORY IS a popular legend of unknown origin often attributed to the Cherokee people. The story, “Two Wolves,” is used to explain the inner conflicts we have between our good and bad thoughts.
    One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a
  • MAYBE IT’S TIME for us to step back from all the news that gives us fits. Do we really need news from social media sources every hour of every day? Do we need messages and alerts arriving on our computers and phones every minute?
    To let tomorrow’s worries overwhelm today’s joys is
  • ARE YOU AFRAID voting problems in November will create chaos and be a disaster for our confidence in democracy? Questions have been raised by leaders of both major parties, and the potential for fraud and logistical problems is a legitimate concern.
    First, we should
  • THE CIVIL EXCHANGE of ideas is under attack. Opinions are met with hostility and resistance. Divisive issues confound us. Frustrated people are intent on maximum disruption. These are crazy times.
    It’s hard to believe a majority of people, whether
  • THE LATE PIANIST and actor Oscar Levant once said “Happiness isn’t something you experience; it is something you remember.” But what is real happiness? In just a few minutes, I’ll share with you a story that uses coffee as an analogy to tell you the simplicity of life.
    But first, Frayda Levin, a
  • BACK IN 1932, J. Wellington Wimpy of Popeye fame made the now famous offer “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.” Wimpy was slightly ahead of his time.
    If Mr. Wimpy was to make that offer today, it might be “I’ll
  • WHAT IF YOU could see into the future and preview your life for the next five years? Would you really want to know what’s going to happen to you and your family in advance?
    Before you say yes, ask yourself if
  • I HAD AN interesting discussion with a young friend the other day as we observed a steady flow of people walking past our table at the local diner. That reminded me of an old essay tucked away in my files.
    A majority of the people were
  • THERE WAS A time not too long ago when Americans looked at themselves and the nation they had built with immense pride. Ask people all around the world where they would choose to live and a big majority would say America. No doubt about it.
    What happened? Look around and a big segment of the population is demanding that
  • LET’S SAY YOU are the human resource manager for a company and you are tasked with hiring several hundred, maybe even several thousand, new teammates to help build a growing organization. You can offer an excellent compensation package and the current workforce seems to love
  • PEOPLE ALL AROUND the world and all nationalities are united in their fascination with gadgets. We’re always looking for the next labor-saving widget, gizmo or doodad. A gadget is a small mechanical or electric device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one with a practical use.
    What would you consider the No. 1 gadget that
  • SUPPOSE CONGRESS WANTED to seize the moment and make real progress on police reform. No one should think federal reform will end all police abuses. In an act of bipartisan failure, Republican and Democrat leaders have decided to kick the can down the road for political purposes.
    The Democrats call their bill the
  • INDEPENDENCE DAY, COMMONLY known as the Fourth of July, commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress July 4, 1776. That was 244 years ago, this Saturday.
    This weekend reminds us that
  • WHAT WILL TOMORROW be like? Today’s innovators and dreamers think there is nothing we can’t do. There are no insurmountable obstacles. We just have to be creative and figure out a way to do the impossible.
    Today, we’re waiting breathlessly for
  • FOR THOUSANDS OF years, history has documented remarkable feats of building and manufacturing genius by engineers and architects. Ancient civilizations built memorials to empires. They knew no boundaries. They built mega structures and fortresses.
    We are constantly asking “How
  • MILLIONS OF PEOPLE have succumbed to the temptation to submit swabs to AncestryDNA®, 23andMe or MyHeritage™ expecting to discover a distant connection to royalty or celebrity. Some just wanted to fill in a few holes in their family’s tree.
    But what if the kit results reveal secrets that affect not just your own family, but
  • VOLTAIRE WARNED US in 1764 when he said “In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.”
    We will be heading to the polls in about five months to
  • DURING THESE PERPLEXING times, we have to wonder where our moral compass is. While tens of millions of people have stepped up when the country has needed them, there also have been millions of people who have succumbed to the temptation to game the system. Who can turn down
  • AS TENS OF millions of Americans prepare to commemorate another Memorial Day this weekend, it struck me that very few of them have any idea what it truly means to go to war.
    Most people know nothing of the separation, loss or
  • THERE IS SOMETHING deeply wrong in America when successful entrepreneurs have to apologize for creating new companies that employ thousands of people. The imperfect need becomes the enemy of the good.
    What we are learning during this crisis tells us
  • WITH FOOD SHELVES stocked at millions of locations, how is the ability to put food on the family table something tens of millions of Americans struggle with on a daily basis? Clearly, it is not a supply problem.
    I’ve been thinking a lot about the topics of
  • AS AMERICA DEBATES a return to work, we need to balance the benefits of restarting the economy too soon with precarious concerns about public health. Which is worse: disease or economic devastation.
    In these stressful times, it is comforting to realize that
  • PARAPHRASING A PASSAGE from Martin Luther King Jr. “I am coming to the conclusion that the people of ill will in our society are making a much better use of time than the people of good will and I fear that we should have regret, not just for the vitriolic words and deeds of bad people, but for the appalling silence from
  • THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has now affected more than 180 countries worldwide. It has been like taking a sledgehammer to the economy. Some economists wonder if we are prepared for a temporary collapse of economies. For the near term, it’s like the world is on fire. It could take time to recover.
    Opening the economy back up must be
  • “IT IS NOT the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again because
  • SQUARE; IT’S ANOTHER of those good old words that has gone the way of love, modesty and patriotism. Why is it something to be snickered over or outright laughed at?
    Some of our readers will
  • AS WE CONFRONT the deadly COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, there is an overall sense of fear and panic. It is truly a historic time in our lives. It also is a time for unity. We must come together to defeat this health crisis.
    In these trying times, we
  • WHY IS IT some people believe the only fair court is a liberal court? They seem to say it is impossible to have a fair court when the judges are perceived to be conservative. Aren’t courts supposed to be balanced and represent all people?
    The appointment of federal judges has come to be viewed as
  • BOOMING ECONOMIES USUALLY help annual federal deficits shrink, but instead, the Donald Trump administration and Congress have overseen a huge increase in deficits plus a significant hike in the federal debt load, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
    During this election year, this should be
  • SEVERAL WEEKS AGO, senior U.S. intelligence officials repeated a warning that Russia wants to sow discord in the American electorate to benefit the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. The officials admitted they had no solid proof, but they were certain it is happening.
    At the same time, it was reported in the national media that
  • SPORTSMANSHIP IS NOT an element of fair play confined to contemporary sports. In recent years, being a good sport has been missing in everything we do. We accept nothing less than outright victory.
    Sportsmanship matters because without it, sports and human interaction are
  • RAHM EMANUEL SAID “For the life of me, I cannot understand why our Democrat presidential candidates are failing to heed the lessons from 2018 and ’19 victories.”
    Emanuel is a former mayor of