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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2002 2:50 pm 
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Tomahawk’s annual Venison Feed has been one of the most popular public relations tools the community has had. Generations of visiting hunters have stopped for the popular charcoal-cooked burgers made possible by donated venison, cooked by volunteer chefs.

It’s been no secret that, probably from Day One, the burgers were not all venison. The deer meat was mixed with beef and/or pork. It simply makes them taste better.

Now, we understand that there is a proposal to make the burgers ALL beef. The reason is the concern about chronic wasting disease, found to have hit some deer in southwestern Wisconsin.

Limiting the meal to beef puts out the wrong message. It defies tradition. It’s scary. Deer hunting season is an economic boon to the area. We need the hunters. Failing to serve deer meat would imply that there is an overall condemnation of Wisconsin’s deer herd. There isn’t. It could unnecessarily cut down on the hunt’s participants. How can there be a Venison Feed without venison?

At the least, let’s offer our visitors and local attendees a choice: Continue to put venison in the burgers, and serve up some beef-only sandwiches, too.

In short, let’s not take such a drastic step without study. Where’s the beef? It can be at our annual feed, but let’s make sure the namesake traditional venison is there, too.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 8:44 pm 
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Last edited by Dopey Dwarf on Mon May 25, 2009 4:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2002 4:58 pm 
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I am writing in response to your editorial on August 27, 2002, regarding the Chamber’s Venison Feed.

As I celebrate my second anniversary as the Chamber’s Executive Vice President, I remember my introduction to the Venison Feed. Some of the first guests I served were a family visiting from Manitowoc. There were three generations of hunters who were eager to greet opening weekend. I also had the pleasure of seeing many of my neighbors and Chamber Members at the event.

Last year, I recognized a few returning guests, and enjoyed serving to our visitors, the local nursing homes, students at the Tomahawk schools, and folks dropping in for lunch. The Venison Feed is a public relations campaign for visitors, but it is truly an event for our community.

As the Chamber reviewed its insurance for the 2002-2003 year, it came to our attention that insurance companies were concerned about us serving venison this year. One of the company's that quoted for us would not insure the event.

The Chamber was concerned as well. Since there is no conclusive information on chronic wasting disease, the Board discussed the possibility of not serving venison at this year’s feed.

The Chamber is responsible to our Members, who expect us to act prudently and in the best interests of the Membership and the community. While hosting the Venison Feed was never in doubt, serving meat that has not been guaranteed to be safe is.

The Venison Feed is a proud, historic event that the Chamber hosts for the benefit of the community. I am disappointed that you did not contact me to discuss the reasons why we may choose not to serve venison. I am also disappointed that you failed to recognize the safety of our neighbors and visitors as a priority that should not be tested over a burger.

We plan to continue the tradition of gathering and celebrating the coming of Opening Weekend. Whether its venison or beef, the grills will be smoking!

We look forward to seeing everyone on November 22nd.

Respectfully,

Kim Swisher, Executive Vice President
Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:13 pm 
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Editor’s note: Before our chamber executive chides us, she should recall that our sports reporter did contact her before last week’s editorial appeared. He was told that no decision had been made regarding this year’s Venison Feed and that a meeting to determine its fate was planned Sept. 5. Because we believe that replacing our Free Venison Feed with a Venison "Free" Feed could imply a local fear and potentially hurt the positive economic impact that hunting has in our area, we voiced our opinion – presumably before a decision had been made – in favor of at least continuing to offer venison as a choice. We believe those who come here to hunt have made their decision regarding the meat’s safety. Quite honestly, we had not considered that an insurance policy might take any decision out of the chamber or community’s hands, but, then again, we weren’t privy to that aspect. Our editorial was presented in what we consider as "the best interest" of the community. A Venison "Free" Feed will likely draw state and even national attention, and we believe it will have a negative spin.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2002 11:32 pm 
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They'd probably taste like chicken. (Or grouse, or cardinal, or pheasant, or oriole, etc.)

<small>[ September 05, 2002, 10:52 PM: Message edited by: Jeff Boettcher ]</small>

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