This Week in History | A blast from the past: Messines Ridge in the first world war

RORY LARSON | larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

“Gentlemen, I do not know whether we shall change history tomorrow. But we shall certainly alter the geography,” were British Major General Charles Harington’s words hours before he and his soldiers set off the largest explosion the world had ever seen pre-Atomic bomb.

Fighting on the Western front in World War One was some of the bloodiest and most brutal combat ever seen in Europe prior to 1914. Although European countries had a long history of going to war with one another, none had ever been quite so global as WWI, otherwise known as the Great War, and was regarded as the war to end all wars. Unfortunately, as we now know, WWI was not where warring ended, but it was a universally important part of history and a milestone in modern warfare.

The battle’s beginnings

Beginning in June of 1917, Harington began planning the final stages of an attack of unprecedented proportions on the Germans near the town of Messines, Belgium. The fighting along Messines Ridge had been relentless and unforgiving, but for two years the British and the Australians had been digging a network of tunnels below the ridge where the Germans had the high ground. Within these tunnels, soldiers placed 22 landmines, planning to detonate them on June seventh in the early morning hours.

This tactic came after the allied command began to recognize a pattern of shortcomings in their attacks on the German army. Fighting during the war was often long and ended high casualties and few gains for either side. This was especially apparent in trench warfare, when fighting went on for months or years at a time in some places. Using landmines in such a way was a fresh idea in a stale war. Never had an attempt to implement landmines and detonate them on such a scale been used before.

The aftermath

The results of the blast at Messines Ridge were earth shattering, quite literally. Nineteen of the twenty-two landmines had detonated and the blast was so massive that it was heard and felt in London, and in some reports even further. The explosion wiped thousands of German soldiers off the face of the earth and stunned their remaining troops so that the Allies could push forward and take the ridge in the confusion. It was a huge allied victory.
The blast at Messines Ridge permanently altered the landscape and marked the largest man-made explosion before the beginning of the nuclear era. The landscape in Messines is now mostly flat, a small hiccup in the grass where the explosion took place nearly 101 years ago. The Allies had made a permanent and lasting mark in a war that would continue for another year, claiming hundreds of thousands more men’s lives in the process.

Community Connections | Learning and other disabilities and getting the help you need

KRYSTAL DODGE | thorn008@rangers.uwp.edu

A learning disability is a neurologically based problem that affects your ability to read, write, and do math. According to The National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2.4 million American public-school students are identified to have a learning disability. It is a common misconception that learning disabilities do not carry over into college, but they do.

As a student at UW-Parkside, there are resources that can help you excel. Accommodations and assistive technology available here; the UW-Parkside website has a lot of information on services provided. There is a step by step list of how to obtain services: “The staff works closely with the Disability Services office to coordinate services where appropriate for those in need. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the services offered to them under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”

Disability Services

UW-Parkside has a disability services department that will assist students with learning disabilities, as well as other disabilities. You can visit the Disability Coordinator, Renee Kirby, in the Disability Services office in Wylie Hall. If you find yourself struggling in school get evaluated, there are so many resources and tools available to help you succeed.

Department of vocational rehabilitation

The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (DVR) mission is to obtain, maintain and improve employment for people with disabilities by working with consumers, employers and other partners. They partner with other organizations, including UW system. They can offer a grant to assist in tuition costs, assistive technology, and assistance with internships.

To start the process of gaining assistance, you fill out a referral for services on their website. After accomplishing that  you will attend an orientation. You will then be place with a case worker, and they will develop a plan for success.

Social-emotional aspects

It is important to not try and hide your disability. The same disability can manifest differently in individuals. Things such as: educational, social, emotional, financial and health factors as they mature affect how your disability manifests.

A learning disability does not define you, and does not need to keep you from reaching your potential. It is not a reflection of one’s intelligence. Unfortunately, there is a negative stigma surrounding them, and this often deters people from seeking the help they need.

Just remember that just because a learning disability is life-long, it does not need to be a life sentence. The most important thing is that you stay positive, and that utilize the resources available to you.

The Conservative Ranger | Parkside does not limit free speech like other campuses

JIMMY GRAHAM | graha028@rangers.uwp.edu

For many conservative students, such as myself, it can feel like universities are hostile towards our points of view. I personally experienced this while attending my freshman year of college at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. This hostility started almost the moment that I stepped on the campus. On my first day, a student approached to sign a petition for a leftist cause. I simply said to him “no thank you, sir.” He then responded by calling me a “racist bigot” and walking away. I experienced many other instances like this throughout the year. Another example of this was when a professor directly stating to the class that “people who vote conservative are generally uneducated rednecks.” Overall, the school did not promote free speech whatsoever. The year I was there, DePaul’s College Republicans raised money to get conservative pundit, Gavin McInnes, to speak at the school. However, the administration cancelled the event because they claimed his views encouraged violence and had no place at the school.

 

Despite DePaul being a private school, it is not the only school that is silencing the voices of conservatives. In colleges across the country it is becoming seemingly more apparent that only one kind of thought will be tolerated. I am not saying that every professor and every college is biased. In many colleges even biased ones, there are fair teachers. However, generally, there are many colleges and professors that show this trend. Personally, I think it is unfortunate that many colleges are going along with this. Rather than promoting free thought and expression, they are pandering to one side and denying the other its freedom of speech. By being blatantly biased, universities are hurting their students intellectually because it shelters those with a liberal point of view from having their ideas challenged, and those with a conservative point of view are discouraged from sharing their ideas and perspectives in the classroom without facing ridicule.

 

Despite many colleges discouraging free speech, I have noticed in my short time at Parkside that the school has an environment that is fair to not only my views, but all of its student’s views, whether they are on the left or right. I was elected political director of the College Republicans and have helped bring in local conservatives such as State Senator Leah Vukmir and State Representative Samantha Kerkman. The school gave us no issues about bringing in these speakers and everyone at the event was respectful of them. Even interacting with students that have a different points of view than I do, I am able to have a civilized debate with them without any name calling. Overall, it seems to me that Parkside, unlike many other schools, is an institution that is open to free speech and expression for all of its students.

Jimmy Graham is a sophomore majoring in business management and is political director of College Republicans.

 

Wisconsin senate talks new immigration bill

WisconsinStateCapitol_senate_img_1001
The interior of the Wisconsin State Senate. Senate Bill 275 was introduced here on May 25. Photograph taken by Dori (dori@merr.info).

JESSICA DIAZ | diaz0034@rangers.uwp.eduSenate Bill 275 was introduced by Senator Nass (R-Whitewater), Stroebel (R-Saukville), Craig (R- Town of Vernon) and Vukmir (R-Brookfield) on May 25, 2017. Senate Bill 275 prohibits cities, villages, towns and counties from enacting policies that protect undocumented immigrants. Furthermore, the bill would require that local law enforcement cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Under the proposal, those in violation can face fines between $500.00 to $5,000.00 for each day.

There was a public hearing regarding this bill on Oct. 12 and Representative Nass indicated that this bill was aimed at “criminals”. Unfortunately, in some instances undocumented immigrants are often labeled as “criminals.” There was a crowd of about 500 people, and the majority opposed the bill.

On Nov. 3, the bill was referred to the Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform and Senators Nass, Wanggaard and Lasee voted for the bill to move forward and it will now go to the assembly.

There are several problems with Bill 275. For one, the bill is too open ended, and this can lead to negative repercussions. Additionally, the bill can increase racial profiling. It can cause immigrants without documents to become more vulnerable, and if they are victims of crimes, they will be afraid to report the crimes. If this bill were to pass and be signed into law, Wisconsin would meet the criteria to be considered “hostile” towards immigrants.

We must stop and look around us. We are all immigrants, and we live in a nation of opportunities. There is a need to be more inclusive and civil with others. It is time to tell our state representatives that Wisconsin does not want this type of legislation. We need to let them know that there is no room for hate, fear and separation in Wisconsin. I urge you to call your representatives in the Assembly and tell them to vote against Bill 275.

Jessica Diaz is a senior majoring in political science and is the President of PSG.

A Message from Nature | Mining law protecting our waters at stake

MenomineeRiver
The Menominee River, a sacred body of water to the Menominee Tribe, is threatened by risk of pollution by the Back Forty mine. Photograph taken by Ken Lund.

ADELANA AKINDES | akind001@rangers.uwp.edu

Wisconsin already faces a plethora of water issues, but a new threat is on the horizon, and it won’t be kept at bay for much longer. The reason no one hears about mining in Wisconsin is because it currently doesn’t exist. After a long history of mining that resulted in environmental hazards, the “Prove It First” law was passed in 1998 that helped prevent harmful mines from further operation. However, development company Aquila Resources has its sights set on mining in Wisconsin, and a slew of Wisconsin senators and legislators has successfully assisted them in eradicating this law.

The thing is, mining was never banned outright. In order to operate a mine, though, a company would need to prove it wouldn’t be detrimental to the surrounding environment. However, they couldn’t just give empty promises. A company interested in mining would need to give a real citation of a mine that has successfully operated and shut down without contamination. Since the law passed, no mining company has been able to find one such example.

Sulfide mines are especially harmful, and they’re what Aquila Resources, a company with no prior mining experience, is interested in. The company is looking to mine gold, copper and zinc. Three sites—Back Forty, Bend and Reef—are all being proposed, the latter two would be right in the middle of Wisconsin. Instead of citing a safe sulfide mine, they have wooed Wisconsin leaders to do away with the precautionary law altogether, and it worked. AB 499 and SB 395, bills created for the sole purpose of undoing the Prove It First law, were passed on November 7.

It’s virtually impossible to not cause harm to the environment with this kind of mining. Waste rock treated with harsh chemicals would be abundant compared to the metals being mined for, and their deposits are highly likely to leach into ground and surface waters. Harmful chemicals such as sulfuric acid would be a byproduct of this activity, and all life in its proximity would be in danger. The mines are around for a short period of time compared to its aftermath.

Out of the three proposed mines, the Back Forty Mine, set to be located in Michigan right near the Wisconsin border, is the most controversial. The Menominee Nation, the indigenous people of Wisconsin who have resided in the area for thousands of years, was never consulted about the mine. If they were consulted, perhaps Aquila Resources would have found out about the sacred burial sites in the proposed mining location. They may have learned about the Menominee creation story, which is within the mouth of the Menominee River itself. The sacred heritage of the Menominee people is at risk of irreversible desecration because of a short-term mining venture.

The people proposing the mining projects and the people who would benefit the most economically from its operation do not live where the mines reside. Even the senators of the Green Bay area, which is the area of Wisconsin closest to the Back Forty mine, have voted against the new bills. The people who live near the mines are going to suffer the most. Sulfide mines still remain a hazard to the environment, life, water, lands and people; a few measly bills do not change that fact.

Adelana Akindes is a junior majoring in environmental science and is treasurer of Parkside Environmental Club(PEC).