Letter to the Editor:

Vilas County, what year is this, 1920 or 2020?

— A man walks his dog in Conover clothed in a Ku Klux Klan white sheet gown and hood.

— A man allegedly shoots at Native Americans legally exercising their rights to spear fish on Little St. Germain Lake.

— Confederate flags are flying in yards and placed on vehicles.

— Vilas County board members consist of 85% men and 15% women.

— June 23, the Vilas County board votes 13-5 (three members absent) to eliminate the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Extension partnership after 100 years. 

The process to eliminate this program disregarded public notification and participation of UW representatives. Interesting how the resolution was added to the board agenda prior to passing committee.  

At the county board meeting, one member asked the chair how many employees will lose their jobs. The board chair’s response was belligerent and callous “I don’t  know — (another statement very cruel that I will not repeat) — it’s not my job to create jobs.”

Then, to top it off, only one UW representative was allowed to speak and was told by the chair to limit it to no more than two minutes!

Six UW employees will lose their jobs in some or all of their capacity. There will be no further negotiations after the fact as also reported July 1, since UW was not provided an invitation to discuss prior to the board’s decision. 

After the 60-day notice from Vilas County given June 23, UW-Extension will exit Vilas County Aug. 23. The entire process violated the First Amendment and county protocol requirements were improper throughout.

Vilas is now the only county of 72 in Wisconsin without a partnership with the university. June 19, Tommy Thompson, former Republican governor of Wisconsin and the only four-term governor for the state, was appointed as interim-UW System president. Upon acceptance, he stated “The University of Wisconsin System is the state’s most valuable asset, and I will be its biggest advocate and its toughest evaluator. No other institution in the state can do more to improve lives, communities and the Wisconsin economy.”

Yes, discrimination, racism, hate, sexism, ignorance, (speech, education and community suppression) is still prevalent in Vilas County after 100 years.

When you see or experience any of these acts of oppression and atrocities, it is your right and responsibility to speak up and stand up for righteousness.

By conscientiously working together, we can bring about change and lead Vilas County into the 21st century.

Nicolet Michiel

Eagle River