Remember all those who help get us through winter’s cold

Jim Baumgart  Sheboygan County Supervisor

It costs money to live in a cold climate such as Wisconsin. In the Midwest, temperature swings, such as we’ve had recently, going from -6 degrees along the Lake Michigan shoreline to -15 to -20 degrees in the northwest part of the state. Winter is long, hard and costly.

Melting snows saturate the ground in the spring adding to the damage and costly repair of our town, county and state roadways. Winter requires plowing to keep our roads open for the public to travel and businesses to ship product to market by using highly expensive plowing equipment, labor and expensive fuel, salt and sand, as well as having law enforcement in force to handle increased accidents and other safety requirements.

Heating our homes, churches, businesses and public buildings, like schools, court house, jails, town, village, city and county buildings adds cost. Although it is hoped that each tries to keep those costs down by being conservation minded, insulating and promoting energy efficient systems, those costs need to be paid by the community or specific users.

Dressing in Florida during the winter is certainly not like dress- ing in Wisconsin during the same period. Good all weather boots, coats, head gear, and gloves require a solid investment. While you may need a lawnmower in Florida during our winter, running a snowblower through major drifts or opening up driveway closed by snow plows is not easy on equipment or inexpensive.

Why raise the issue of the cost of living in Wisconsin. It’s the Christmas season and maybe its good to remind ourselves we have a some great people living here. That working together is how past and present generations were able to get things done. We continue to do so, to grow ourcommunities, businesses and public services - something that benefits us all.

When the snow is blowing, heavy and we are huddled in our warm house (maybe by the fireplace), someone is out in the cold night plowing to insure our love ones are able to come home safely or allows emergency equipment and people are out to provide service if there is a problem and help is needed.

Area businesses work hard to keep their store or shops open, serving the public and providing needed products or services in most any weather or whatever the conditions - they are helping build a strong community. The snowblower our family purchased this fall was costly; but like most citizens in this part of the country, it is part of the cost of living here and a community responsibility to make sure our sidewalks are passable for everyone.

And, when we release our most valuable possession to our schools - our children, dedicated teachers are waiting to teach, and if need be, protect them in case of a major issues such as storms or worse. In the last year, far too many teachers have given their lives in the line of duty and a cost to their family that we can never fully be repaid

While it is always good for citizens to have concerns over living costs or that of their government, lets also remember others. Such as the many tens of thousands who will shortly be losing their extended unemployment benefits and the major problems that will cause those families at Christmas and beyond, the homeless (even found here in Sheboygan County), those working full time but still not earning a true living wage, elderly trying to save heating costs in this coldest of times and many others on the edge living within our community - some may be even living next door. It may be a good idea to look out the window, think of a friend or relative or maybe offer a helping hand as a volunteer. It’s cold outside.

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