Letters Poll should have provided more facts

To the editor:

A quote from the "1960s," don't remember who. "Statistics are like a bikini, they reveal a lot, but usually hide some essential details." A good example of this is your poll in last week's Plain Talk. You state 83 percent of the voters were against the new fire station. Was that 10 people, 100 people, 1,000 or 10,000 who voted? Knowing how many people were involved gives your poll validity ? or not!

It's great to see a newspaper get interested in our city again. It's too bad you were a year late on DTG. Don't fall into the government trap of using statistics to prove a point, then purposely forget to provide all the essential facts!

Cliff Deverell


Local volunteers did outstanding job

To the editor:

Vermillion can once again be proud of its citizen volunteers. On Saturday, Aug. 19 a hardy group showed up � in the rain � for a Vermillion Beautiful project to help beautify Main Street. Volunteers planted and mulched 50 mums along the commercial area, and dug out and hauled away 11 bags of weeds and trash!

Our grateful thanks to Vermillion Beautiful board members Todd Brevik for planning and supervising the project, and to Jerry and Donna Schafer for arranging the ordering and pickup of the mums from Hy-Vee, and the refreshments.

We also appreciate the business owners on Main Street who on the days before the cleanup had employees weed and tidy their properties. That was a great help to the workers Saturday.

Thanks most of all to the great volunteers, both groups like 4-H, and individuals, who showed up on a rainy Saturday morning to do an outstanding job for their community.

Many thanks,

Judy Clark, president

Vermillion Beautiful, Inc.

Firefighters need training room

To the editor:

My comments reported in the Aug. 26 edition of the Plain Talk related solely to the need for a training room in the new fire station. While I did not vote in favor of the new fire station, I do believe that the volunteer firefighters need a training room. They are required by law to participate in annual training to maintain their certifications. Training is regarded as so important that if an individual firefighter misses three sessions in a row, he is dropped from the fire department because safety is too important to presume. They do a lot of training locally in an effort to minimize costs. After the training room was deleted from the bid, the fire department unanimously agreed to expend their own limited resources to pay for the training room. That told me that the training room was very important to them.

It is noteworthy that the volunteer firefighters collectively donated 5,019 hours of their own time in training and fighting fires last year. At only $5 per hour, less than the minimum wage, that amounts to an annual donation of more than $25,000 in free services to our community in 1999 alone. I think their service is worth a lot more than $5 an hour because it protects our community from fire and reduces the cost of fire insurance for all property owners. And, to the victims of fire, the value of the firefighters' service is without measure. They are willing to drop everything to fight a fire, even if it occurs on Thanksgiving evening (as happened in my neighborhood last year). Indeed, our firefighters would be willing to enter a burning building to save a life. The volunteer firefighters need and deserve a training room. That's the reason that the council voted unanimously to add the training room back into the bid on Aug. 21.

There has been a lot of hyperbole expressed over the new fire station. Be that as it may, I hope that we never say or do anything that could be mistaken for a lack of appreciation for our volunteer firefighters. For if we ever make that mistake, we could harm the spirit and the willingness of our volunteer firefighters to serve our community. That would be a mistake for which we would all pay dearly.

Frank Slagle

Alderman, SE Ward

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