Letters Local United Way committed to recovery

To the editor:

As United Way of Vermillion prepares to launch its 2002 fund-raising campaign, the world watched in horror as four commercial airliners hijacked by terrorists plowed into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. People everywhere asked what they could do to help the families and communities torn apart by the devastation. Here is one possible answer.

Cuba Wadlington Jr., executive vice president of Williams, and president and CEO of Williams Gas Pipeline, announced on Tuesday, Sept. 11, that Williams had made a gift of $1 million to start a United Way National Response Fund.

The devastating events of Sept. 11 will have a lasting effect on people and communities across the country. The 1,400-member United Way Movement, of which United Way of Vermillion is a part, is committed to leading the country's caring people and organizations through recovery and rebuilding process, community by community.

As a result of the Williams donation and the contributions that have been added to the initial amount by other corporations and individuals, a collaboration of United Ways and the Council of Foundations has created a single fund as a collective national response to Tuesday's disaster called the September 11th Fund. Although the fund will be coordinated through United Way of New York City, it is a national fund-raising effort to raise money for people affected by the disaster in all parts of the United States.

United Way of Vermillion encourages all area residents to do whatever they can to help during this time of need. Donations to the September 11th Fund will be accepted at any time. Donations may be sent to United Way of Vermillion, P.O. Box 216, Vermillion, SD 57069.

In addition those who attend the 2002 United Way of Vermillion "Taste of Vermillion" campaign kick off event on Sept. 25 (see article elsewhere in Plain Talk) will be given the opportunity to make donations during the evening should they wish to do so. All donations will be forwarded to the United Way of America September 11th Fund.

Through a united fund-raising appeal and a careful allocation of the funds collected, United Way is able to maximize the effectiveness of donations. Though United Way rarely provides direct disaster services, it is a significant funder of the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other disaster relief organizations. United Way is identifying urgent needs and gaps as well as the most appropriate resources to satisfy them.

The fund raising and allocations processes will consider the experiences of United Ways that have dealt with crises, including those in Denver (Columbine), Miami (natural disasters), and Oklahoma City (bombing of the Murrah Federal Building).

United Way is a living, breathing part of the communities directly affected by the terrorist activities. Long after the rescue teams have dispersed, with the help of people from all over the United States, United Way will be there to heal lives, families, and shattered communities.

Barbara Campbell

Executive Director

United Way of Vermillion

Editors note: Mayor Roger Kozak recently received the following correspondence from Armand and Arlo Lohof, Billings, MT, and requested we share it with our readers.

Dear Mayor,

Just a note to let you know how wonderful the people in your town are. Our car broke down in the construction on the interstate. The people at Rasmussen Motors got us right in and got us going again in a most friendly and concerned way.

We then went to Pizza Hut to eat. They were just ready to take down their buffet, but left it up for us so we could have plenty to eat. They were also very kind.

Thank you for your friendly, caring people.

God bless you all.

Armand and Arlo Lohof

Billings, MT

Editors note: Mayor Roger Kozak received the following letter from the mayor of Ratingen, Germany, Vermillion's sister city.

Dear Mr. Mayor:

With horror and indignation we witnessed the terrorist attacks upon the lives and souls of our American friends.

The citizens of the city of Ratingen condemn these terrorist attacks and mourn with you, the victims of these contemptible human acts.

During these difficult hours and days ahead we stand by all our American friends just as we stand by our friends of our sister city, Vermillion, SD.

We express our condolences to the American people.

We shall always remember that the freedom and unity for our land that we enjoy today we owe to America and our American friends.

We shall never forget it.

Wolfgang Diedrich


What rights do property owners have?

To the editor:

What rights as a taxpayer and property owner do we have? How free are we really? I asked a police officer and a code enforcement officer and they didn't answer me. "But the city has rules and ordinances," the police officer said. "Yes," I said, "I believe there has to be some rules as I do in my home."

On the other hand, we all work very hard for our earnings. We buy property, build a home, pay taxes on that property, then we're told to move objects on our property to a specific area. We're told it's called a nuisance.

"What's the definition of a nuisance?" I asked that question to the code enforcement officer. He was looking it up in the booklet for the definition. He couldn't find it. On page nine, nuisances are defined as garbage, rubbish, refuse or waste materials.

I had a wood box filled with decorative rock sitting on my driveway. It weathered the rain and heat. It did not break or fall apart. It is still intact. I was issued a violation of ref: junk and debris, pallet of wood. I called and said it's decorative rock. I was told it was a nuisance and it needs to be moved to the garage.

"Why can't it be in the backyard? We have a privacy fence," I said.

"For safety purposes it needs to be under cover. You can't put it in the backyard because if we get a complaint, we will issue you another violation," replied the code officer. I also asked about bikes, and was told to put those under cover also unless you are riding them.

Again, I wonder what rights does our tax money give us? Why do we work hard to buy a dream home? Then we're told specifically where to move articles of purchase, or what we can and cannot have.

Code enforcement talks about safety. I see a business building on stilts for weeks on the corner of Cherry and Cottage. Is that safe?

Business construction has shabby fences or none at all to keep kids out. A large saw was left out for months when building the fire station. Why wasn't that stored inside? I was told that kind of construction has a different set of rules.

My point is, I'm told where to place things on my property or it's a nuisance. To specify where things are to go is a violation of my right to own. I do believe to keep yards cleaned up and/or picked up.

Those are my feelings and thanks for listening.

Lois J. Getzin


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