Cash-strapped agencies are doing all sorts of things to cut costs these days.
In northern California, astronomers at the SETI Institute are shutting down their powerful radio dishes designed to probe the galaxy for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Before they do that, we would beg them to train their devices toward Holmen to help us understand the decades-long fascination with fluoride and its impact on human life forms.
The village has grown to more than 9,000 residents who enjoy its progressive atmosphere, excellent schools, wonderful parks and welcoming people.
But, for whatever reason, the issue of whether to add recommended levels of fluoride to the water has become amazingly contentious and drawn-out.
Whether you think fluoride is a communist plot or the cause of 9/11 or E.T.’s way of phoning home, you don’t need to search the galaxy to find scientific evidence that it has healthy advantages.
In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services just sent a letter to Holmen village trustees recommending that communities administer 0.7 mg of fluoride in drinking water.
But never mind the letter or the facts. In fact, never mind a 2008 referendum – an allegedly binding referendum, we might add.
That’s right, in November 2008, 53 percent of village voters approved a measure to add fluoride to village water.
Since then, the village has spent more than $80,000 to modify its well houses and obtain equipment needed to add fluoride to its water. Last week, at last, Holmen began adding fluoride.
That was last week.
As we discovered this week, such trivial matters as the vote of the people and the findings of science are of little consequence to the Holmen Village Board.
The three new members of the village board – one who was elected with 18 write-in votes – joined with a fourth member to order that the village suspend its weeklong plot to add fluoride while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency review fluoridation standards and report back later this year.
Village Trustee Ryan Olson readily concedes that he supported the vote for fluoridation in 2008 – but that the issue has become far larger.
“I feel it’s an issue of the law,” Olson said during Tuesday’s Village Board meeting, at which the delay was approved on a 4-2 vote. “At this point, it’s not up to us. We are putting the village at risk by not following the will of the people.”
New Trustee Tony Horvath said Tuesday night that suspending fluoridation was “prudent, responsible and reasonable” in light of these new studies that might result in different standards.
Sadly, it is none of the above.
Of course, there are plenty of things we don’t understand – including the birther issue.
Now that the place of President Barack Obama’s birth finally has been put to rest, maybe there’s hope that Holmen will finally sink its teeth into something besides fluoride phobia.
Copyright 2011 lacrossetribune.com.
Reprinted with permission.