Letters Light the state with prayer

To the editor:

On Thursday, May 6, over 20,000 prayer events are expected to take place across our nation, coordinated by 40,000 volunteers. Millions of Americans will participate in the 48th annual National Day of Prayer. These observances will occur in churches, schools, court houses, prisons and a variety of other locations. Of course, one of the most visible gatherings will be held at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., where the National Day of Prayer Task Force will hold a prayer gathering in the Cannon House Office Building.

The theme for 1999 is "Light the Nation ? with Prayer" and is based on Matthew 5:14-14, where we read: "you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house" NIV.

"Our prayers can change the course of history," says Shirley Dobson, chairman of the National Day of Prayer. "If people of faith join together on the National Day of Prayer, I'm convinced our prayers will have a powerful impact on our country."

On May 5, 1988, the 100th Congress of the United States passed a bill, signed by President Ronald Reagan, to provide for setting aside the first Thursday in May as the date on which the National Day of Prayer is celebrated. Although the annual event was established by an act of Congress and President Truman in 1952, it did not begin to gain momentum until a specific day was set aside to observe it. Now, 11 years after President Reagan's amendment, participation in the National Day of Prayer continues to grow and become a vital part of our American heritage.

Gov. Bill Janklow has proclaimed May 6, 1999, as a day of prayer for the state of South Dakota. Many prayer observances are being planned throughout the state. We invite you to participate in the prayer gathering held in your area as the people of South Dakota light the state of South Dakota with prayer.

Clarence and LaVonne Grebner

Mike and Marilyn Hildreth

Harvey and Midge Mills

Dick and Eileen Shane,

South Dakota National Day of Prayer Committee


Song has timeless message

To the editor:

I sang this song at the Gayville United Methodist Church last Sunday and received an overwhelming response to its timeless message. It was suggested to me that I send it to the newspaper editors to be printed for everyone to read. It seems our nation is badly in need of the reminder that our country was founded on Christian principles, and we need to return to God as a nation.

The Lost Penny

As I was walkin' down the street

of a little country town,

I saw a rusty penny half buried in the ground.

As I reached down to pick it up,

I saw beneath the rust

These words, just barely visible, "In God We Trust".

I held it for a moment,

Then, suddenly, I knew

What God in all His wisdom would have me say and do.

He used this worthless penny

To help me understand

That life is not worth living without the Master's Hand.

O In God We Trust In God We Trust

We're lost just like this penny unless In God We Trust.

And then I heard a still small voice

Within me whisper clear,

"Be still and know that I am God";

"Let every nation hear".

"Go tell your world that I am strong";

"They are frail as dust".

"Lay down the sword; believe the Lord";

"And place in God your trust".

O In God We Trust In God We Trust

We're lost just like this penny unless In God We Trust.


Lois Thomas


Prepare for year 2000

To the editor:

The "Millennium Bug". Y2K. Whatever it's called, you've probably heard a lot about the Year 2000 computer problem and its potentially devastating effects. The SD Department of Revenue wants you to know that we are committed to ensuring that our tax system operates January 1, 2000 just like any other day. We have made achieving Year 2000 compliance a top priority in our department, and we know that you as a business owner are equally dedicated to this priority.

Simply put, the Year 2000 problem is related to the fact that computer programmers often used two digits rather than four to represent years, so the computer records 1999 as simply 99. As a result, some computer systems can't distinguish between 2000 and 1900 and could malfunction without programming changes. It's a small problem with some potentially big consequences.

Our goal is for the department's tax remittance system and its associated databases to be Year 2000 compliant by June 30, and we are well on our way to achieving this goal. All automation systems and programs have been tested, and any necessary programming and all computer hardware should be Y2K compliant by the target date. We are also examining and testing embedded technology in other office machines and equipment, and all non-Y2K machines will be replaced. We are working closely on this issue with the State Bureau of Information and Technology (BIT) and would refer you to the BIT website for more Y2K information at http://www.state.sd.us/bit/y2k.

However, the Department of Revenue alone cannot ensure that out tax remittance systems will continue to operate smoothly as we begin the new millennium. It is crucial that you as a business owner prepare for the change by updating your own computer systems to be Year 2000 compliant. If you have not already done so, we urge you to take the necessary steps as soon as possible. We suggest taking an inventory/analysis of your existing equipment, remediation of any problems identified and the testing of remediated issues. Additional useful information can be obtained from the U.S. Small Business Administration's web site at http://www.sba.gov/y2k/.

Despite the problems the Year 2000 situation may cause taxpayers will be expected to remit their tax payments in the same timely manner as they currently do.

It will take significant cooperation between the Department of Revenue and taxpayers such as yourself to address the Year 2000 problem. For this reason, we are writing to you to express our appreciation that you and your company are working diligently to ensure that your systems will function properly and experience no Year 2000 problems. By working together, we can master the Year 2000 problem.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.


Gary R. Viken, Secretary

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