Letters Museum offers the real thing

To the editor:

Thank you for the great coverage of the Lewis & Clark Festival and opening of the Learning Center at the W.H. Over Museum. We at the museum are grateful for all the volunteer help and community people who have taken an interest in what is developing at the museum. Though Jeff Freeman's magnificent and imaginative mural is complete, the computer center will continue to grow and change as the fall progresses.

One of the most important things will be the development of the program in relation to the touch screen monitor and the sound system. These two things will increase the diversity immensely. But like a concert on tape, or a travel log on wide screen movies, there is still nothing to compare with the REAL thing. This fall the Friends of the Museum are offering some real life experiences through the Saturday morning classes.

Last Saturday, we were treated to the experience of looking at warblers on the screen and then looking for warblers in the real � the Heritage Garden and Cottonwood Grove across from the museum. During the next few weeks those who come will experience the awesomeness of the prairie and other natural things and the why of preserving them, the magic of wax and color, and rope-making to name a few. In our little Lewis and Clark Flower Bed, you can see right now � the final glory of one of the many plants the Corps of Discovery saw, touched and identified. Truly, the pink, tall flowering cleome is putting out its final blossoms as is the more conservative growing butterfly milkweed.

Both were recorded in the Expedition's journals, but the cleome was found at the mouth of the Vermillion River (then called the White Stone River) on Aug. 25, 1804.

Since fall is definitely making an entrance, it's a last chance to take a look at these special plants. They are for REAL! You can touch them even as the season's final butterflies are touching them for the last of the nectar. The plants have produced lots of seeds as well.

If you want to try your hand at growing this heritage plant, we have put some seeds in little bags for you to take home. Just ask at the checkout counter in the gift shop. Perhaps, next year, you and the readers will be able to grow in the REAL earth a few of these spectacular plants. It's all part of our celebration of the wonder expressed in the various L & C journals nearly 200 years ago.

Finally, I hope to see you and the family Saturday morning 9:30 a.m. in the Discovery Room of the museum. This week Charles Johnson, retired MD of Sioux City, will talk to us about prairie preservation.

Who knows, it might inspire you to take a look at the REAL prairie which grows, thanks to Ted Van Bruggen, professor of botany at USD, in an expanse of land along the Bluff Road north and west of Vermillion.

Sincerely yours,

Dorothy Neuhaus


Callous act has devastating consequences

To the editor:

We are writing this letter on behalf of a 40-year-old man with developmental disabilities who lives and works in this community. On Thursday night, Sept. 14, his three-wheel bicycle was stolen from behind his apartment complex located on Elm Street. This was devastating to him. He worked and saved his money for five years to purchase this bike. This bike opened up his world. For the first time ever, he was able to travel to and from work independently.

Those of you who live in this community see him often. Those of you who are new to our town may not yet be familiar with him or Vermillion's diverse population. As life-long members of this community, we have occasionally seen things that shocked us. This incident was not only shocking and harmful to one man, but to our entire community.

His bike was stolen and mangled. The basket was damaged, one pedal ripped off, the frame was bent, and the bike was rendered unrideable. As if this was not enough, the bike was then put on top of Julian Hall and left for two nights and three days. Many people must have seen this callous display during that time and yet no one reported it to the Vermillion Police Department or USD Security. It was only when a friend heard about the loss that the bike was finally recovered.

Many of us have done crazy and insensitive things as youth. Most of us wake up the next day and feel a sense of remorse. This remorseful feeling often leads one to rectify the situation, or make some type of restitution. It is hard to believe in the course of those three days that no one cared enough to question what they saw. Bike theft is nothing new to Vermillion, but this was worse than theft.

Handicapped accessible three-wheeled bikes are not items stolen for profit. We recognize that the person(s) who did this may have thought they were engaging in a harmless prank. The fact of the matter is it was anything but harmless.

The police have informed us that there is nothing they can do at this time to help the situation. This man does not have the resources to repair his bike. He is not interested in people being punished, or taking any legal action. He simply wants to be able to ride his bike again.

If the person or persons involved are interested in rectifying the situation please contact Shelly Murphy at 624-4419 or Amy Sorensen at 624-6309. If no one comes forward to rectify the situation, at the very lease consider how your seemingly harmless actions have devastated this man's independence and quality of life.

Ann-Marie Amiotte

Shelly Murphy

Amy Sorensen


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