Letters

Letters Thanks for generous response

To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed food items on May 8. Your generous response has made this the biggest and best area Postal Drive yet! Vermillion letter carriers picked up 4,473 pounds of food.

My thanks to the Letter Carriers Union, who worked so hard collecting and delivering all that food to the pantry and to Larry Madsen for all his planning for this event. Thanks to Boy Scout Troop #66, advisor Tony Nelson, Annie and Joe Eastmond, Mary Hansen, Dan Sterns, Amber Berglin and Scott Klein who helped sort all that food!

We appreciate your support! Thanks.

Mary Berglin

executive director

Vermillion Food Pantry

We must join together to fight crime

To the editor:

The tragic school shooting that recently occurred in Littleton, CO, reminded us all of the need to pull together when people are in pain. If it is possible for an ounce of good to stem from the senseless violence that took so many innocent lives at Columbine High School, it is that we are finally beginning our long-overdue national discussion on how to shape a thoughtful national response to the problem of violence in our schools and our communities.

One of the most integral components of that response will be the selfless effort of our law enforcement personnel. Here in South Dakota, we are lucky to have some of the most dedicated and professional law enforcement officers in the nation, whose efforts have been instrumental in reducing crime rates in every major category over the last couple of years.

May 9 through the 15 was National Police Week, and I would like to take this opportunity to commend law enforcement officers in South Dakota for their efforts in making our communities safe. National Police Week offered us all an opportunity to reflect on the many contributions that our law enforcement officers make on a daily basis, as well as to ask ourselves what we can do to help their efforts.

Despite the recent reduction in crime rates in our state, there are still many challenges confronting us that will require local, state and federal cooperation to ensure the safety of our streets, schools and neighborhoods. Rural areas, in particular, face funding and personnel shortfalls that hamper their crime-fighting efforts. For that reason, I strongly support the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which has helped put more than 270 officers on the beat in South Dakota communities.

Crime won't just disappear on its own. It takes determination, hard work and persistent effort to make sure that our streets are safe for our children. No one knows that better than law enforcement officers. They should not be asked to achieve this goal on their own. The dedication and courage of our law enforcement officers that we honor should serve as an example to us all as we join together to win the fight against crime.

Sincerely,

Tom Daschle

United States Senate

We need to cherish our children

To the editor:

It's been nearly a month since the unthinkable happened in Littleton, CO, and people are still asking themselves how this could have happened. When did our schools cease to be safe places to send our children and become war zones?

So many factors seem to have contributed to what happened: violence, easy access to weapons, drugs, movies, TV, music and video games. And yet, no one wants to accept the responsibility � not the movie and TV studios, not the record companies and makers of video games, not even the parents of those two boys who claim they had no idea they had been making bombs right in their own garage. The movie and TV industries, along with makers of video games and music companies are, after all, only producing what they say the public wants.

But who is allowing our children to watch violent television programs and movies? Who is allowing them to listen to music lyrics filled with violence and hate? And who is allowing them to buy and play video games that can virtually train children to become killers? We can't deny that some of these images have an influence on children.

When we become parents, we are given the awesome privilege and responsibility of caring for our children, teaching them values, manners and yes, responsibility for their actions. We can't and shouldn't expect the schools to teach them what should be taught at home. The schools have been forced to add this to the curriculum.

Above all, our children need our love and attention. That includes knowing what they're doing in school and with their friends, supporting them and encouraging them in their interests, simple talking with them and keeping the lines of communication open; spending time with them. We have them with us for such a short time. But while we do, they are learning from our example to be the kind of persons they will one day become. Our jobs and our own interests just can't be more important than our children.

When our children are small, don't we do everything we can to ensure their safety and well-being? That responsibility doesn't end when they become teenagers. They need and want guidance, love and discipline from us as parents. Instead of "giving them their space," we need to make space in our lives for them.

We shouldn't have to pray for our children's safety each day as they go off to school. Everyone needs to take responsibility, not just the movie industry, or just the gun manufacturers or just the parents. As parents, we need to take responsibility and teach responsibility. We need to cherish our children, and maybe even someone else's children. They are our precious hope for the future.

Mary Hanson

Meckling, SD

Please deliver furniture to Civic Council

To the editor:

As manager of the Civic Council, I am writing to thank everyone for their contributions. But I do need to say if you have furniture that you would like to donate, please make sure it is something that will sell. Also, please bring it to the store. Do not leave it at the drop boxes or trailers. There are several reasons for this.

1. Weather � If it rains or snows, it gets ruined.

2. Transportation � We have a hard time getting it hauled down to the store.

3. Theft � Inevitably some person comes along and steals it. If it is a good piece we never see it.

I also need to say if anyone sees someone going through our drop boxes or trailers, taking things out, please get the license plate number of the vehicle and call us or the police station.

I would also like to thank everyone who shops with us. We enjoy your business. Remember "One person's junk is another's treasure."

Roxan Brown

Vermillion

Farms, ranches can't survive 'death taxes'

To the editor:

The South Dakota State Inheritance tax is costing us more than money. Most farms, ranches and small businesses do not survive death taxes. The demise of small town South Dakota is directly related to the loss of farms and ranches. In this day and age, when business and companies are merging and getting bigger, our state and federal governments are actively engaged in social plans to disperse the wealth with a law that in fact consolidates wealth.

The fact that the truly wealthy can avoid most of the tax does not seem to impress anyone in government. If we have a tax that impacts the state's largest industry to the extent that the existing farms and businesses can not remain viable units because of the tax, we have a negative blight on the entire state economy.

The only wealth in the nation, which is not in control of some conglomerate, is the land. If we continue on the same course the Ted Turners will own it all. If we have a law that some can avoid with careful planning, why have the law?

It is the money of course, our money, our children's money. If you can not move the land or the business to a tax free state, you are stuck.

Get your plan or help us get rid of the tax. Carry a petition.

Gladys Babcock

Congratulations for Plain Talk's honors

To Bill Willroth and Dave Lias:

I just returned to the Foundation offices Tuesday after being on a trip to the Black Hills since last Wednesday. One of the first things to greet me was last week's Plain Talk informing your readers of the high honors received by your publication in the 1999 South Dakota Newspaper Association awards.

Congratulations to both of you and to Jill Sundstrom for bringing honor to both the Plain Talk and to the Vermillion community. As Dave knows, I am a relative newcomer to Vermillion, but I very much enjoy the paper each week and think you are richly deserving of the recognition you have received from the SDNA.

My memories of the Plain Talk go back to one semester in my junior year at USD when I was editor of the Volante. I enjoyed working with Bill Gibson and the rest of the Plain Talk folks of that era, who helped me publish the student newspaper each week. Obviously the legacy of a really great community newspaper here is still very much alive.

Keep up the good work. I will be looking forward to future announcements of Plain Talk honors in SDNA competition.

Sincerely,

Kent Scribner

Vice President

USD Foundation

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