Letters 1

Letters 1 Thank you for caring about Grandpa

To the editor:

I just wanted to thank you for sending my hero out in such an honorable way.

Thank you for caring about him so much. I doubt he knew how many people loved him.

We are all so proud and honored to have had him in our lives.

A poem he liked about an Irish immigrant �

Oh the sails

They're all set

And the wind it blows fair

Oh he's gone

God be with him

He's the rambler

From Claire.

You see my grandpa's blood, it flowed red, white and blue, but his heart, it was emerald green.

Sincerely

Brandi Radigan

Spearfish

Residents support tougher code enforcement

To Vermillion citizens:

April 28 will mark an important step in cleaning up Vermillion.

Operation Pride, a group volunteers from the USD football team and the community, will be picking up debris in the neighborhood west of the USD campus. We encourage the residents of that area to take advantage of this free service. Another important step in improving our town will occur when Vermillion Beautiful undertakes its annual flower planting on May 19. We support these efforts and hope all Vermillion residents will join in the excitement of improving our city.

The City of Vermillion has a complaint-generated code enforcement system, but it is clearly not sufficient to keep our city clean. We need high community standards backed by tough enforcement and a city council committed to a more beautiful Vermillion. Piles of wood, old appliances, furniture in yards and on rooftops, and cars parked in front yards are not acceptable community standards and should be cleaned up!

If you see violations of city ordinances, call the city's code enforcement hotline at 677-7050 and report the violations. Please join us at the Vermillion City Council Meeting on May 21 to support tougher enforcement of Vermillion's ordinances.

Judy Clark

Jenny French

Carl Gutzman

Joseph Hoffman

Dwain Jorgensen

David Lias

Gene Lunn

Mike Marek

Tom Muenster

Jon Robertson

Betty Smith

Richard Van Den Hul

By itself, school will not save town

To the editor:

I am grateful for the character instilled in me by my parents and the good people of Wakonda, especially the Wakonda Methodist congregation. They are fine caring people.

Prior to about 1995 I believed that my Wakonda education had aided whatever success I had attained in life. After observing the opportunities that my own children enjoyed while attending Sioux Falls Washington High School, I realized what many rural students are likely not receiving; larger school districts have the resources to provide advanced curriculum in language, math and science that small schools cannot.

I do agree that my small school experience allowed me to participate in more extra-curricular activities like sports, but probably to the exclusion of my academics. I don't know if a different academic experience would have resulted in a different career experience or not, but I do think logically that on average a higher level of academic opportunity should provide for higher lifetime achievement than a lower level of academic opportunity otherwise would.

As you well know, technology and the mechanization of agriculture has led to a reduction of the number of people engaged in agriculture. It appears that this trend is continuing. Not all of the sons and daughters of present-day farmers will be able to remain on the land. My present employment actively engages me in economic development efforts in South Dakota. I am anxious to incite the next "Bill Gates" to bring the kind of intellectually challenging and financially rewarding kind of jobs that we all dream of for our grandchildren. Maximizing academic opportunity is a prerequisite for higher paying jobs and competing in the global marketplace.

Many people in small towns believe that the school is imperative to maintaining the economic vitality of the community. For a community like Wakonda, which is bereft of airport, railroad, and major highways, an economic development angel will be needed to bring new jobs to the community in order to salvage it long term. By itself, having a school will not save the town.

I admit that I now have a "Sioux Falls" perspective on the small school issue. Business people in Sioux Falls are willing to do what is necessary to support continued agricultural production across South Dakota and prevent the "Buffalo Commons." This willingness is constrained by a hesitancy to bleed ourselves in order to prop up extremely inefficient school systems that are also unwilling to consider consolidation. The fixed cost of operating any building has to be borne by someone. If there are not enough resources within the Wakonda School District, to adequately provide for a declining number of students, then consolidation seems the necessary choice. Even with the fond memories I hold from my school days, I believe that Wakonda is a clear example of a school district that could be reconfigured to fall within neighboring school districts more efficiently. This would also likely improve the academic opportunity for all of the students who happen to reside within the artificial political boundary of the school district.

Sincerely,

Jim Wilcox

Wakonda Class of 1972

Sioux Falls

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