State report offers insights on rural life

Posted May 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm

By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

I was killing time the other day, reading customer reviews of local hotels on the Web, when I came across several that made me chuckle. In every instance, the writer was simply appalled at the offerings available to a visitor to a small town. And they weren’t even in Ontario or Kendall; they were in Tomah and Sparta. They may be urban centers of sorts for us, but to these writers, towns of that size were beneath contempt. Without exception, they said they would never return.

Though 26 percent of the nation’s population lives in rural areas, we are very much forgotten in the media and in popular culture. Unless Congress is battling over a farm bill or some lunatic fringe rancher refuses to pay grazing fees for federal lands,

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    Wisconsin GOP needs to review history of secession attempts

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    Those darn Republicans: They certainly know how to ruin journalists’ dreams. Last week at their state convention, they voted down a resolution to retain the right to secede from the United States under “extreme circumstances.” Then, to add insult to injury, they also rejected the part of the resolution calling for the state to nullify federal law and possibly even arrest federal employees attempting to enforce the law.

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    Dog's Kickapoo River misadventure ends in happy reunion

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    At my house, the forsythia has burst into bloom, and under the birdfeeder, a Baltimore oriole has been frantically scratching through the sunflower hulls in search of a tasty bug. Orioles are not keen on birdseed, much preferring lunch that is fresh on the hoof. Though, considering their love for grape jelly or oranges, it’s surprising they aren’t all diabetic. But if you flapped your wings all of the way from Central America and weighed just a bit over 1 ounce, you

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    Rural crime appears to be on the rise

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    Here at the County Line, we have accumulated quite an archive of local history. Folks clean out the attic, bundle up the stuff that is hogging space but is too good for the landfill, and deposit it here. And we also have stuff that I collect all on my own: old newspaper clippings, photographs, bits of memorabilia I find at auctions (why did I buy that?) — well, you know how it

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    Anonymous comments can ruin lives

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    The newspaper business has no shortage of annoyances, but right up at the top of the list are the anonymous letter writers. They come in the mail, and, at times, we get a call first asking if we will print a letter about this or that but “don’t use my name.”

    The short answer is that my name can be found every week and if I

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    NCAA has trademarks on the commonplace

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    No one would characterize me as a devoted sports fan, but even I watched the last minutes of the matchup between Wisconsin and Kentucky and felt a pang of sadness when the Badgers lost by one lousy point.

    Of course, I can’t really tell you where the game was played. Some say it was the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, and others refer to it as the AT&T Stadium. Most people would refer to it as being in

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    AWOL County Line issue arrives on April Fools Day

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    To rephrase an old Kingston Trio folk song,

    And did they ever return,

    No they never returned

    And their fate is still unlearned

    In the song’s case, it was a “he” who was condemned to ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston on the MTA.

    In our case, it was

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    Medical crises pose range of pitfalls

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    First, a mea culpa: I am the reason this space has been empty the last few weeks. But I am NOT, repeat, NOT, the reason your papers are arriving late. The reason rests with the United States Postal Service, which evidently is on a quest to run every second-class newspaper in the country out of business by offering the most inefficient, tardy delivery service imaginable.

    But back to me, my favorite subject lately. This is as good an opportunity as

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    Say farewell to Avalanche. Maybe.

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    Vernon County is littered with unincorporated towns. Wikipedia lists 23, some of them familiar to most of us, such as Rockton, Bloomingdale and my all-time favorite, Bud. Others like Folsom, Fargo and Purdy are less familiar. Still others, such as Oden, have come and gone so long ago they don’t even make the list.

    I am fond of Avalanche. Whenever one of my “take the back roads” urges strike, I often myself meandering down County Highway S and into Avalanche.

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    Assumptions lead us down a dangerous path

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    “About Time” is a cute British movie about a young fellow who learns he can travel back in time. As an awkward teenager he attempts to seduce his sister’s friend and fails miserably. Several years later, he encounters her at a London social event. She introduces her companion as a “girlfriend.”

    Oh, he tells her, now he does not feel bad that his love overtures were rejected. She’s gay!

    No, she tells him, in

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