Letters to the Editor A message to sign thieves
To the editor:
This is a special note concerning the petty thieves who stole the "Rounds for Governor" sign from the corner of E. Cherry Street and Brooks Drive in Vermillion.
It was painstakingly hand-lettered and painted on a 4×4 sheet of plywood. The labor and materials were donated by friends of Mike Rounds who believe him to be the best qualified candidate.
Presumably some people in Vermillion disagreed with this premise because the sign was ripped off its heavy metal frame, carried away and destroyed!
Did those responsible for this know, or even care, that they were trespassing and defacing private property?
Do they sleep well now, knowing the sadness and disappointment they caused by their willful and malicious act of vandalism?
Do they really believe this type of behavior will win votes for their candidate?
Surely the answer to each of these questions is a resounding NO!
Give trick or treaters a break
To the editor:
We've all seen the public service announcements: Give your kid a flashlight for trick or treating. Make sure they wear brightly colored clothing. Inspect candy. Drive slowly. And so on. How about: Don't apply chemicals to your lawn right before kids go traipsing across it.
Parents need to know that lawn and garden chemicals (including chemical fertilizer) can cause reactions ranging from mild flu-like symptoms and rashes to chronic respiratory problems, and even cancer. Not only can these chemicals cause physical illness, they can impair a child's ability to learn. I have one child with autism who cannot function at school when these chemicals are present.
Pesticides impair the immune system. I do not find the outbreaks of mono and other afflictions, which often occur in he spring and fall, too surprising. Everyone is ditch, crop, and lawn spraying.
I would like to ask all homeowners to consider not spraying, or otherwise treating, their lawns before the trick or treaters hit the turf. They don't need the chemicals � 220,000 people can't be wrong, which is how many people die of pesticides a year.
To learn more about the chemicals you or others use, check out this Web site: www.safe2use.com. There are safe alternatives. As for me, I think I'll dress up as a big barrel of 2-4-D this year. What could be scarier than that?
Abbott puts no limit on generosity
To the editor:
On two different occasions recently, I heard one of our local Republican legislative candidates make the statement that "Jim Abbott must think that I'm doing a good job because he has contributed to my campaigns in the past." It is no secret that I am a Democrat, so you can imagine that this statement got my attention.
The first opportunity I had, I asked Jim about this and his answer was "? I gave some money after the campaign when the treasurer of that candidate's campaign requested a donation to 'clean up' the campaign debt."
In fact, his practice is to donate to any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, after the campaign is completed � provided they request a donation. Isn't it interesting how willingly Republicans, at all levels of government, turn to Democrats to bail them out after spending too much money!
All through this campaign and before, we have heard many accounts of Jim Abbott's generosity, and while I wish he hadn't donated anything at all, (and from his reaction, I think he feels the same way) I think it is just another example of his response to people who need financial help. What a wonderful trait for a public official to have.
Cast vote for Johnson
To the editor:
I'd like to encourage your readers to vote on Nov. 5. One of our greatest privileges as American citizens is our right to vote.
People who stay home from the polls are throwing it away. Some may think one vote doesn't make a difference; others may not feel well enough informed on candidates and issues; and another group thinks they are making a statement about a campaign atmosphere that they did not like. They are all wrong. They are throwing away their vote.
I recommend that the people of southeastern South Dakota support Sen. Johnson. The people of this area need to do their part to re-elect our hard-working, dedicated South Dakota senator. I advise potential voters to note that Johnson works with both parties and accomplishes a great deal that is good for South Dakota.
Tim Johnson is a man who prefers studying and writing policy to back slapping, being known as a "workhorse" rather than a "show horse," and he honestly would like to make the world a better place. He is a true South Dakota product.
Son of a teacher and grandson of a Lutheran pastor, this unassuming man has the work ethic and character traits formed by his early years in Centerville, Canton and Vermillion.
Bonnie L. Wirt
Chapman would be outstanding in Pierre
To the editor:
This letter is my endorsement of Jere Chapman of Vermillion who is running for the S.D. House of Representatives for District 17.
I have known Jere for 25 years. We became business partners in a couple of successful ventures.
After a few years, we eventually went our separate ways but always stayed in contact with each other. At this point in time, 25 years later, we are still business partners in a sense ? Jere, owning and operating several restaurants in the area, and myself, a sales manager for a food distribution company supplying most of the products to his restaurant operations. In dealing with many business owners every week, I can say Jere Chapman is a man of high integrity and morals. He is one of the most honest persons I have known.
He operates his business with an intense passion for success and leaves no stones unturned. Jere has proven to me over the years that with his leadership abilities and knowledge of the political agenda, he would be an outstanding representative for the people of District 17.
Consider cost, safety of Chestnut plan
To the editor:
On Nov. 5, Vermillion voters will be asked to vote for or against condemning private land for street repairs. At issue is the scope and cost of repairs on a four-block section of Chestnut Street. There is no doubt that Chestnut Street needs to be repaired. The issue before the voters is whether or not the city should condemn private land adjacent to Chestnut Street in order to do elaborate repairs that will cost the taxpayers of Vermillion $1.3 million, or whether the city should widen and pave the street with concrete and add curb and gutter, for a cost of approximately $300,000 (estimate the city's own outside engineer.)
There are serious safety concerns about the $1.3 million plan because it includes a 19 foot vertical concrete retaining wall that will be adjacent to the railroad tracks, yet the plan includes no provision for pedestrian or bicycle traffic on the street. Where do bikers, joggers or walkers go when met with traffic? They will have a steep bluff on one side and a sheer drop-off on the other. With the more modest repairs, the road will still have the ditch area that is there now. It is much safer. Land use in this area has changed since the more elaborate plan was devised almost 20 years ago. A new housing development is being built near these repairs, and there will soon be many children in this area. Our new bike path is in this area, also drawing many children. For safety reasons alone our city planners need to realize that bigger and more expensive is not always better.
Besides the serious safety issues, a major concern to taxpayers is, of course, the excessive cost for only four blocks of street repair. What could our city be thinking???
Vermillion's population has not grown in a decade. Jobs are difficult to find in Vermillion. Why? Could it be because city planners are looking to the past, to 20-year-old plans, and not to the future?
For example, at Monday night's city council meeting, the mayor, city manager, and council lamented the fact that we don't have the necessary infrastructure development in our industrial park to attract new industry and jobs. Vermillion has been approached by Holiday Inn Express. They want to build a motel in our industrial park, with possibly a convention center and restaurant to follow in the near future. But, as of right now, they may not come to Vermillion.
Why? Because we may not have the $380,000 for a needed sewer lift station and forced main that is badly needed in the industrial park. According to Jim Patrick, our city manager, "That's a limiting factor in our industrial park right now." We have also received a grant for a new spec building to go into the industrial park, but, again, we do not have the necessary infrastructure.
Mayor Kozak stated Monday night, "We've been trying for so long to assist developers north of the bypass and always it comes back to [that] we don't have the infrastructure there." That's sad, and it is crippling Vermillion's growth. I'm only 24 years old. I'd like to stay in Vermillion. I am the fifth generation of my family to live here. Will there be a future here?
On Monday night, Mayor Kozak stated, "We certainly are looking for a way to make this happen." Mr. Kozak, I'd certainly like to see it happen also. I believe that all of Vermillion's workers would like to see it happen. And ? you have the ability right now to make it happen. You already have the money ? you've had it all along. Spend $300,000 to widen and pave Chestnut Street, and use the left over $1 million to develop the needed infrastructure, repair more streets, and bring opportunity and jobs to Vermillion.
To this point, the city has been unwilling to look at alternatives on Chestnut Street, even though the landowners involved have offered to give the land to the city that would be necessary for the more modest repairs. Vote against condemnation on Nov. 5. Tell our city leaders that you want them to use a common sense approach to spending your property and sales tax dollars. A vote against condemnation tells them that you want to see them spread your tax dollars further than just four blocks.
Efforts will brighten interstate
To the editor:
Through the assistance of Bill Welk and Harold Holoch in the Vermillion city engineering department, the Vermillion City Council, Mayor Roger Kozak and State Rep. Judy Clark, arrangements have been made to have lights at Vermillion Exit 26 on Interstate 29 installed next spring.
Money has been budgeted for this in the state Department of Transportation budget. We look forward to the new lights providing more "visibility" and safety at the interstate exchange as a way to facilitate people traveling to and from all the many activities and their homes in Vermillion.
Thank you Department of Transportation, city officials and Judy!
President, Vermillion Area Development Company
Hemp offers new opportunities
To the editor:
There is much to consider in the upcoming weeks, as Election Day marches steadily ahead. Riding high on the ballot are those candidates whose publicity has swarmed our television sets and invaded our radios. Some of these ads help us determine where our "X's" will lie; for the most part, however, they do little but test our patience for politics. But as crooked political shenanigans should come as no surprise to anyone who's had the slightest media exposure, they are not the subjects of this letter.
My focus, rather, is on one particular issue that has not seen the forefront of public awareness, yet wields enormous potential to increase South Dakota's productivity while providing our state with a new source of revenue, creating an abundance of employment opportunities and expanding our agricultural diversity. This underdog sounds like a godsend, and is no less than that; it is hemp, and the bill is called the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Act.
There are scores of opportunities stemming from this newfound market that will flourish from the passing of the SDIHA. Industrial hemp offers so many benefits for those who participate in its manufacture that it is truly an impossible task to note them all, but to name a few, hemp provides the jobs for and the monies from clothing, fuels, detergents, lotions, heavy duty rope, particleboards and many food products. Even the hemp seed has a variety of uses, from something simple as birdseed to the extraction of fine oils. Hemp paper could be the only solution necessary to the growing problem of deforestation; The Declaration of Independence itself was written on such fibrous paper � ironic as that may be.
To properly ensure there is no misunderstanding about what it is we are voting for on Nov. 5, South Dakotans owe it to themselves and to future generations to become as informed as possible of the distinctions between marijuana the drug and marijuana the guru of manufacturability. The stimulating component in marijuana, TetraHydroCannibinol (THC), is found as the crystals and hairs of the plants and budding flowers. Intoxicating marijuana has a THC level of 5 to 7 percent, whereas the hemp plant to which this bill refers offers less than 1 percent, not nearly enough to produce anything more than a splitting headache.
In fact, one looking for a buzz would be happier with the results of smoking pencil shavings coated with fingernail polish. Perhaps the biggest misinterpretation about the legalization of hemp is the notion that it will allow potheads to smoke the herb openly on street corners, at your child's baseball game or on your doorstep, and this is simply not the case.
Will South Dakota rise as a leader in this impending market, or will we wait for other states to control the business and be forced to play catch-up? Already, three states have passed similar bills, and over 30 nations allow its manufacture and trade; in 2000 alone, more than $200 million in hemp products were imported by the US � much of which was trucked right past ablebodied South Dakota farms.
The answer to a great many problems lies in the passing of the Industrial Hemp Act, and the ability to solve them lies in the hands and hearts of this year's voters, you. So this Nov. 5, vote for the future of South Dakota's farmers, for they are truly all we have.
Herseth makes things happen
To the editor:
Few people have ever impressed me in the capacity and for the diversity of reasons Stephanie Herseth did when I first met her just over three years ago. Meeting Stephanie, one immediately notices her amazing zest for life and warmness as a human being.
To know Stephanie is to know an individual who has been given incredible talent, but beyond that, who has capitalized upon her natural gifts with a sense of purpose and drive that is unsurpassed. For those of you who have not met Stephanie, I urge you to do so prior to the election; she'll speak for herself.
The refreshing combination of grace and stamina she possesses would undeniably allow her to win the respect of her colleagues in the U.S. House and beyond. Further, the proactive vision and demanding standards she has applied to her own life serve as a testimonial of what she would expect herself to achieve for our state, if elected. Simply, she makes things happen.
Amazingly, she has risked the security and prestige of her prior legal position to apply her talent and her entire self for the opportunity to serve our state in Washington, DC. Her decision to do so speaks an absolute commitment to South Dakota and represents only a beginning of more to come, given the opportunity.
As a state, we cannot afford to risk losing the opportunity for us that she represents.
Melissa B. Nicholson
Janklow is proper choice for Congress
To the editor:
I have worked for, with and next to Bill Janklow for almost 16 years. He's definitely not cute or photogenic, but he is the best problem-solver and hardest-worker I've ever met.
According to the TV polls, Bill's biggest fault is that about 20 percent of people dislike him. I know it's just human nature for people to more easily remember the times they disagree with someone rather than the good things he's done for them.
But, whether people like Bill or not, I hope they will put aside their feelings for just one minute to think about the skills that Bill Janklow has and what we need in our new representative to Congress.
We live in a tough world with tough problems to be solved. Who knows us best? Who is a proven problem-solver? Who knows how to fight and how to negotiate, and also has the wisdom and experience to know the right tactic to use at the right time? Who gets things done for people? When I think about those questions, my answer is Bill.
However, if I never met Bill Janklow, I would still vote for him for reasons that are very personal to me. When my future son-in-law completes his Army Ranger training in a few months, he will be stationed overseas. I want him to have everything he needs to defend this great country and to defeat terrorism. I don't want him, my daughter, my wife, my future grandchildren or anyone else to die of smallpox or some other horrible disaster that our enemies are right now preparing for us and will use against us if we don't prevent it.
Therefore, I want our new Congressman to be someone who really cares about the future survival of South Dakota and America, not a politician whose opinion on this will shift from month to month. Bill Janklow is rock-solid on preventing terrorism. He is the best person to represent us at this time in the history of our state and nation.
Johnson leads, he doesn't follow
To the editor:
Once again I have held off writing as long as I could on the election issues and the distorted, half truth, and no truth comments that have been written, voiced on the radio, and displayed on TV against Sen. Tim Johnson. The Republican campaign machine has gone to the bottom of the barrel in trying to defeat one of the most effective and honorable politicians South Dakota has ever had.
Calling him a phony, trying to label him as a dishonest, non-effective, out of touch politician are just some of the pathetic attempts they are using to try to convince good South Dakotans to vote against him. Let's look at a few of the issues:
Sen. Johnson is not for privatizing Social Security; he is not pro-abortion; (If I recall correctly, abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court under Nixon. We can just continue to pray that it is soon reversed); Johnson is against partial-birth abortion; he has sponsored legislation not to allow human cloning; He has not spent taxpayers' money on vacations, or traveling to South Dakota to campaign; he has been forever leading successful efforts to get clean, safe water for all South Dakotans; he has not accepted any money from drug companies; his prescription drug plan covers all seniors; he spearheaded the all-important meat packer ban; he has increased funding for veterans health care and has introduced a bill for full funding of the VA budget.
He has helped secure money to fight the alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions that destroy so many families. Over the years he has been a leader in these and other significant issues, not a follower. These are just some examples of the work he has been doing. I have known Tim and his family for over 25 years, watched them grow in so many ways. The state would do well if we had more examples like this. They are extremely devoted to one another and to the people of South Dakota.
When it comes to political action, Tim is a South Dakotan, through and through. As I emphasized in a letter a year or so ago, with a Senate majority leader and Tim being on the all powerful Appropriations Committee, South Dakota is as well positioned as it has ever been or ever will be again. Why would (true) South Dakotans want to throw this away?
Reedy known by his deeds
To the editor:
Sen. John "Joe" Reedy is a true South Dakotan. On the Dakota plains, a man is measured more by what he does than by what he says. Sen. Reedy is known by his deeds. He has supported the Newcastle/Vermillion Missouri River Bridge project and its name from the beginning as a member of the South Dakota House of Representatives and through to completion on Nov. 10, 2001 as a member of the South Dakota Senate.
Sen. Reedy has served in the South Dakota Senate on the Education, Agriculture, Local Government and Health Care committees. Sen. Reedy supports the Patient's Bill of Rights and will reintroduce legislation for the Patient's Bill of Rights. The rights are:
1. All patients should be guaranteed the right to select the doctor of their choice.
2. All patients should be allowed to seek treatment from a specialist without being first referred to the specialist.
3. All individuals receive emergency care at the closest facility.
4. All patients should have the right to visit doctors outside their coverage network, at a minimal additional cost.
5. All patients should have the right to our courts to hold their HMO or PPO responsible for denial of services.
Sen. Reedy is a true South Dakota with South Dakota values. Vote for Sen. John "Joe" Reedy for his deeds, leadership and for the benefits of tomorrow's generation. Thank you for your support.
Jim Green, Co-Chairman,
Sub-Committee on Health
Rounds, Daugaard a great combination
To the editor:
In Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard we have a pair of men well qualified to lead South Dakota the next four years.
Mike has a personal interest in improving our universities and medical schools. Mike and his nine brothers and a sister hold degrees from South Dakota Universities. Mike believes in protecting those who can not protect themselves and provide for their future without taxing it away.
Dennis has the experience in the senate of caring for South Dakota children. His personal experiences working with people of disabilities make him a perfect addition to the team.
As a small business owner Mike has a great background working with business problems. Mike is also a land owner and worked with legislators and business people to establish permanent funding sources for rural water programs.
Ten years as a state senator provided Mike the opportunity to serve on the following committees: education, state affairs, commerce, taxation, local government and legislative procedure. One legislator called Mike the calming force that brought opposing sides together and made government work smoothly.
Mike wants to promote and expand our ethanol industry. Working together we will make South Dakota even better.
Thune is valued leader in Washington
To the editor:
The statements made recently by former Nebraska Sen. John Kerry vilifying John Thune confound me. Made at the behest of Tim Johnson, they were personal, unwarranted and completely false.
I know John as well as anyone outside his family. Knowing him since his childhood, he has been my employee and friend. His oldest daughter is my godchild. I know of no finer man than John. His character is beyond reproach.
John is a dedicated public servant and natural leader, and, in fact, was elected to the leadership committee in the U.S. House his freshman year.
During my career in the U.S. Congress, I was guided by South Dakota principles. Some of my colleagues, in my opinion, were less than forthright with their electorate. They voted one way in Washington and talked another when at home. That conduct may not have been a lie, but by my standards was deceitful. It was the politics of "say anything to get elected."
I am not going to repeat the shame of Mr. Kerry and call Tim Johnson a liar or dishonest. However, I have followed Johnson's voting record since he has been in the Senate. I consider him to be one of those who talks the talk that we want to hear at home, but does not walk that same walk back in the halls of Congress. His claimed support of the president's plan for a missile defense system is a classic example of that conduct.
For Johnson's friend, Kerry, now from New York, to come to South Dakota attempting to impugn the character of my friend John Thune is wrong and offensive. The South Dakota voter will, I hope, reject Senator Kerry's conduct.
I strongly urge all South Dakotans to support John in the upcoming election. He is a man with strong leadership skills, and deep and honest South Dakota values. He will become a leader for this state and nation in the 21st century, if we demonstrate the wisdom to elect him on Nov. 5.