The North Woods region of Vilas and northeastern Oneida counties is one mighty special place to live — a grand community of caring, compassionate people — evidenced by the generosity that helped the News-Review reach its $80,000 fundraising goal for this year’s Warm The Children program.

Thank you! We are merely the administrators of a great program that was suggested by friends in the newspaper industry, a program that would not be possible without our generous readers, more than three dozen volunteer shoppers and coordinator Jacki Risjord of the News-Review’s production staff.

We couldn’t do it without the retail power and cooperation of Shopko Hometown and Glik’s. Both stores are part of this nationally acclaimed, award-winning community service project and both offer significant discounts for program purchases.

This year, the program provided basic winter clothing to 591 children from impoverished families. Purchases totaling up to $150 for each recipient were limited to coats, footwear, mittens, scarves, sweaters, snowpants and other winter basics. When you consider the discounts provided by the stores, the value of the clothing exceeds $200.

It’s important that donors know that every penny they gave went toward the purchase of winter clothing for the children. Thousands of dollars in administrative fees, bank fees, postage costs, promotion and others costs associated with the management of the program are borne by this newspaper. 

It wouldn’t be nearly as successful without help from the Eagle River Rotary Club Foundation, to which Warm The Children donations can be designated and makes them fully tax-deductible because of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit status of the organization.

Now in its 22nd year, the Warm The Children program has truly been embraced by the community as a worthwhile annual project. The volunteer hours and the money given to this cause over a three-month period is both mind-boggling and heartwarming. For that support, we are forever grateful.

State’s new governor needs to lift gag order

As governor-elect Tony Evers prepares to take over the executive branch of our state government, we are hopeful as a community newspaper that the politically-motivated gag order on state agencies will be lifted.

Gov. Scott Walker imposed this gag order in 2011, preventing experts in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other agencies from testifying on legislation or speaking to reporters without express permission. As an example, significant legislation on chronic wasting disease management went to a committee hearing without any scientific view being expressed by the DNR.

What the policy did was prevent some of the most educated, most experienced staffers from being heard. That policy hurt the legislative and rule-making process, basically furthering a closed-government attitude. And it hampered public awareness, through the media, on many important topics.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

   Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Doug Etten.