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August 22, 2019

7/22/2019 1:09:00 PM
We need to value water quality

Dear Editor:
I have recently become aware that some individuals in this area do not seem to value water quality. A local politician even claimed newcomers who weren't born in his county were unqualified to have their voices heard on the subject.
As somebody who was "born here," I am apparently qualified to voice my opinion. Let us think about our ancestors. Why did they come to this region? Mining was the first draw in the early 19th century. But as those resources dwindled, European immigrant "newcomers" still came to the Driftless area. Some say it was the next frontier, while others say the Driftless land resembled (on a small scale) the European mountains familiar to the settlers. 
However, it is documented that water quality was a big draw as well. Onun Bjorn Dahle specifically chose Perry Township because of water quality: "I thought the water was so good there and that in other respects it was a healthy place in which to be." He arrived 1853, as an early settler of a large Norwegian settlement that extended into Iowa, Lafayette, and Green counties. He stayed, excelled, raised a family, and a village named Daleyville grew around him. 
Health was a major concern of our ancestors. In letters sent to one another, wishing "good health" was a standard greeting. The Driftless area's abundance of spring water flowing from hillsides was valuable when Cholera was a prevalent disease contracted from stagnant water where the deadly bacteria could grow.
So, let us learn from our ancestors. Even though they were not "born here," they knew water was important. They knew water does not grow in plastic bottles on grocery store shelves. Our ancestors never would have thought it was ok to disregard a study of water contamination issues. I wish you good health.
Arlo Paust, Blanchardville, WI

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