Letter: Group in Park Ridge spreading misinformation about fire department

To the Editor-

Climate change has hit Park Ridge and we’re not talking about the weather. No, it’s the political climate in our once-friendly, undivided, independent, wonderful village.

For almost two years now, there has been much political theater purposely spreading disruption, confusion, mistrust among village residence by blurring the truth.

I had hoped we’d seen the last of these embarrassing letters about Park Ridge when another shows up in the Point/Plover Metro Wire on Jan. 27. It was interesting, amazing, and sad to see how one person can be so misinformed and misled regarding the status, workings, and operation of a volunteer fire dept., particularly the Park Ridge Fire Dept. in conjunction and cooperation with neighboring departments, also well known as Mutual Aid.

Other points show how ill-advised the writer is with a total disconnect of how well our volunteer fire dept. has performed in past years with well-maintained and reasonably modern fire engines and trucks. All of that with the complete support of the village government.

Currently and for the last 10-15 years, our men and women firefighters have had to put up with little-to-no support of any kind from 98 percent of past village boards. How sad for them. We have to give them a big hand for their perseverance and “hanging in there” while being unappreciated by VOID (Voices of Immense Disinformation) members. But have no fear. They have your six! Should there be a fire in Park Ridge, there are very adequate, well thought out plans of attack in place. All they need is updated fire trucks and an adequate parking and training facility. We are Park Ridge.

Then the writer states he’s wondering why Chief Lepper didn’t ask for assistance from the Stevens Point Fire Dept. regarding fire engine downtimes. Gosh, that’s an easy one but once again shows his lack of knowledge. Chief Lepper is required by law to report deficiency and concerns to the village board—not some other fire dept. You’re asking which laws? Talk to the chief.

Be assured that the chief is well aware of safety concerns for village residents and staff. If you would only speak with the chief, he would explain this to you much better than I can. The local dispatch alarms, as well as MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System), are in place for all levels of need. So not to worry about a back-up plan. Go speak to the chief, listen and learn. Give it a try. He will explain it in a more courteous, efficient way than I.

The last item addressed is scary. It’s just stunning how much total lack of knowledge can be packed in just one short sentence. Where have you gotten all this looney information from? Oh, but wait. As I read the last lines of the letter my question is answered. You mention several people. What a wealth of disinformation!

The vastness of misinformation, intentional misleading with half-truths, false claims, and inverted truths that these folks have orchestrated is the reason for all this division in Park Ridge. We know they have been working hard to do away with our volunteer fire dept. for years but are too chicken to come out and say it.

Rather, they pussyfoot around the issues avoiding any real progress either way. Seems like they’d rather bellyache, complain and have another referendum because they didn’t get their way in the last one. All the while the many band-aid fixes on our fire trucks are all blood-soaked, puddling on the floor, the last drips of life slowly slipping away.

If you’re so hell-bent on paying Stevens Point $75,000-$80,000 a year FOREVER, so be it. Please do something SOON. But put a muzzle on Mr. Renfert. He’s been planning and planning for 15 years and got little to nothing done regarding the fire dept. Now at the January board meeting, he says he wants to start planning all over again. And then a revelation right out of Bullhead Comic strips.

President [Steve] Menzel thinks it is a good idea if he and Renfert tour the fire station to assess the need. What rock has he been sleeping under for the last 15 years? Read your monthly packet and Chief Lepper’s quarterly fire reports!

We can upgrade and maintain the Park Ridge Fire Dept. at a much lower cost over the long run.

In closing, I would simply say: There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true…the other is to refuse to accept what is true. Learn what MABAS is all about and you can rest easy without having the Stevens Point Fire Dept. roaming the streets of Park Ridge in their million-and-a-half dollar tandem axle ladder truck which cost $1.4 million dollars. Extreme overkill for Park Ridge. The real kicker is that THIS Stevens Point fire engine will AUTOMATICALLY arrive in Park Ridge via Mutual Aid/MABAS any time needed.

So happy the writer of that Jan. 27th letter is forming new friendships, something that has been going on for years and years in our once friendly community. We, too, are hopeful for a good 2021.

Don Neuendorf
Park Ridge

Send your open letters to [email protected]