Letters to the Editor Hunting is part of our heritage
To the editor:
With duck and goose hunting underway, and the pheasant season around the corner, this is an exciting time of the year in South Dakota.
Aside from being an important part of our state's economy, hunting is also an important part of our South Dakota heritage. I can recall as a boy my father handing me a .410 for my first pheasant hunt, then getting together with friends to shoot tin cans with my .22. I remember the pride I had when I was old enough to hunt with a .12 gauge.
As a hunter and a gun owner, it is clear to me that hunting has been a key part of growing up for many men and women in our state, and it is a heritage we absolutely must preserve.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I've secured a key position to make sure that adequate funding is available for the CRP, the Wetlands Reserve Program, and wildlife preserves throughout our state. I also support hunting on public land � those lands belong to all the people, and responsible hunters ought to have access to public land.
Another part of keeping our heritage means protecting the gun rights of hunters. I support the Second Amendment and I am proud to have worked with South Dakota gun dealers to help streamline the National Instant Check System so that people who buy a gun from a licensed dealer can have the security issues taken care of instantly � as the NRA supports.
I am thankful to the nearly 400 South Dakotans who recently signed up for a group called Sportsmen for Johnson, as well as the support of Tony Dean. Looking forward, I'll continue to be a friend of hunting, I'll continue to be supportive of the Second Amendment, and I'll continue to promote the kind of habitat that our state needs to have if our hunting heritage is to be preserved for future generations.
Sen. Tim Johnson
If it ain't broke, don't fix it
To the editor:
U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson is one of the most honest men I know. I have known Tim for over 40 years.
He has not only been a very good U.S. Senator for South Dakota, he is a wonderful family man.
Folks, we have a legitimate good guy here; let's keep him.
On Nov. 5, vote for a winner for South Dakota. Vote for U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson.
Put experience to work in District 17
To the editor:
Per the letter from Mr. Nesselhuf, his clarification of the intent of the failed bill for campaign finance reform was important. I am glad he took a few minutes to explain his position on campaign finance reform. It is important that all members of a legislative district know exactly where their elected officials stand on issues.
I reiterate my concerns, however about the stance of Mr. Reedy, Mr. Nesselhuf and Mr. Richards when it comes to issues such as educational support, economic development and other issues absolutely critical to District 17. All of the other members of District 17 deserve to know what their plan is if re-elected. Much as I appreciate Mr. Nesselhuf's compassion for campaign finance reform, the more important issues must take a front seat to all others.
The average salary for a South Dakotan is $34,000 annually, well below that of the national average of $43,000. Every year that a student graduates from USD and leaves District 17, we feel the impact of not having enough jobs that employ people at a living wage. Our best and brightest talent with a great future must leave the area in order to be successful.
District 17 has a great agricultural base as well as a small business base that could be enhanced with guidance and assistance from the state; creating long term jobs with stability. This keeps families together. Faculty spouses from the colleges located in District 17 often end up not using their hard earned skills in part from the lack of jobs. This makes them less competitive should they choose to leave the area.
Health care. We have children whose parents do not make enough in salary to provide proper health care coverage. Some employers must choose between benefits to offer their employees based upon their bottom line. Farmers and ranchers have an especially difficult time in this area. All of this is tied directly to District 17 economic development.
Education. Our educators are the lowest paid in the nation. How can we keep the young teachers USD produces when they know they are one test away from a better salary in a state close by? There are curriculum challenges faced by the small districts. There are overworked teachers, oversized kindergarten classes and a myriad of problems that can be solved through joint efforts. We need legislators who respond to these issues, not party pressure.
Judy Clark has made a substantial sacrifice in order to see District 17 grow. Donna Schafer has spent a lifetime dedicated to education and knows its life cycle. Jere Chapman has invested himself, his time and considerable money into the District 17 community to enhance the quality of life for those who reside here. Let's put that combined scope of experience to work for District 17 and see our communities reap the results.
Chapman is proven leader
To the editor:
I met Jere Chapman 20 years ago when he came to Vermillion to start his first business. After visiting with Jere I immediately realized that he was a friendly, decent person and I really liked that.
Suddenly after a short time in business I noticed he was a very hard working individual and truly knew his business. his success really tells the whole story.
Just running for an office is one thing, but truly giving of himself like I know Jere will do will prove to you he is a leader and will do everything in his power to give the people of South Dakota better things for better living.
Another important reason for having Jere represent us in Pierre is that he will bring a common sense approach.
These are difficult times for the people of South Dakota with so many issues facing us. It is of great importance those representing us can do the job and I know Jere has the desire and ability to accomplish the challenges.
Please join me and vote for Jere Chapman for South Dakota House from District 17.
Long-time Vermillion business owner
Herseth will work for rural hospitals
To the editor:
Everybody knows that health care in South Dakota faces many challenges, and lots of political candidates are talking about it this year. There is one candidate, however, that is really getting to the heart of the problem. Stephanie Herseth understands that a significant hurdle to overcome, especially in our rural hospitals, is unequitable Medicare reimbursements. When hospitals don't get their fair share, they are forced to pass along the cost to consumers of health care � us!
Stephanie believes, as I do, that health care is just as important in South Dakota as anywhere else, and she will work to make sure that rural hospitals have the resources they need to stay open, and continue to be not only a source of quality health care in and across our state, but a principal source of jobs in rural areas.
Johnson agrees with radicals on environment
To the editor:
Is Sen. Tim Johnson concerned about the best interests of South Dakota forests? He voted to shut off debate on the fire management for U.S. forests � the inclusion of forest policy/wildland fire management reform to the FY 2003 Interior Appropriations bill. The cloture vote was, very fortunately, defeated, although both Sen. Daschle and Johnson voted for cloture.
The Senate will now consider some common sense amendments to forest management to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires; to avoid another fire season like we have endured this year.
Why did Sen. Johnson vote against this much needed amendment? Because he agrees with the radical environmentalists who support his candidacy. Just check the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters Web sites to understand what Sen. Johnson actually wants. We must watch what happens in Washington, DC; not just what he says in South Dakota.
Johnson is common sense moderate
To the editor:
Sen. Tim Johnson is a common sense moderate who works with both parties to get things done for South Dakota.
I'm sick and tired of Thune's ads which unfairly try to paint Johnson as "liberal" because I think Johnson's views are right in line with most South Dakotans. Tim knows neither party can always be right, and he works to find solutions, instead of trying to divide people.
Johnson is the definition of a statesman.
Tim Johnson voted for President Bush's tax cut. Tim Johnson stands up for seniors, and is fighting for a real prescription drug benefit; not just legislation that makes the big drug companies happy. He has promised to protect Social Security by signing a pledge saying he would never support risky privatization plans (Thune is unwilling to sign the same pledge).
Tim Johnson works for South Dakota families, and many times has put his career on the line to stand up for our state (the meat packer ban Tim got passed in the Senate is the perfect example).
I trust Tim Johnson to look out for my interests in Washington. Above all, Tim Johnson always puts South Dakota first.
Thanks for caring about Vermillion
To the editor:
It's so reassuring to know that even on an early, windy, cold, and cloudy Saturday morning, there are still some people who care enough about their community to come out and work on a Vermillion Beautiful project.
Two weeks ago some of the men of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and other volunteers planted trees and mulched and prepared our Memorial Walk trees for winter. Without such volunteers we'd never be able to make Vermillion beautiful.
Thank you for your dedication � Dustin Adams, Jaime Lundeby, Nick Lorensen, Aaron Roseland, Jeremiah Juso, Jonathan Guenthner, Aaron Kauer, Robbie Stapleton, Nick Hluchy, Justin Kopetsky from Phi Delta Theta, Ross and Amanda Dickenson, Ray Decker, Dwain and Delores Jorgenson, and Jere Chapman for bringing breakfast for the workers.
Judy Clark, president
Vermillion Beautiful, Inc.
Thanks to unsung heroes
To the editor:
There is a group of people in Vermillion, that to me, are unrecognized heroes and heroines. They are the volunteers from 19 civic and church organizations that deliver meals to shut-ins and home bound senior citizens. The meals are prepared at the Senior Citizens Center by the Nutrition Program.
The organizations providing home deliveries are: The Catholic Daughters of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Concordia Lutheran Church, Cornerstone Church, Eagles Auxiliary, Faith Fellowship Church, First Baptist Church, First Dakota National Bank, Hillside Community Church, Lions Club, Newman Center, Rotary, Saint Agnes Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, V.F.W. and V.F.W. Auxiliary.
Currently the number of home delivered meals is about 25 per day. The routes are divided into two routes: east and west parts of Vermillion city limits. The program as I know it, began in the mid 1980s from the Nutrition Program at the Senior Citizens Center, West Main St. There may have been home delivery service before that time.
Twice, in the past three years, I have been home bound for several weeks. The cheerful people who brought the meals brightened my day. More volunteers are welcome. Contact the Senior Center.
Bertha O. Johnson
Thune refuses to sign pledge
To the editor:
We are the co-chairs of the South Dakota Coalition Against the Privatization of Social Security. As an organization, our goal is to ensure that our elected representatives oppose plans to privatize Social Security.
Social Security is designed to be a guaranteed benefit available for all retirees. Investing Social Security in the market would risk benefits to the ups and downs of the economy, and the performances of corporations like Enron. Privatizing Social Security would risk the very safety net that the program is meant to ensure, and would likely cut almost in half the benefits that more than 150,000 South Dakotans depend on every month.
For this reason, because we believe that South Dakota seniors and Social Security recipients have to be protected, our coalition has asked South Dakota's federal candidates to sign a pledge promising to oppose plans to privatize Social Security. As the November election is now just weeks away, South Dakota voters should know:
Tim Johnson, Bill Janklow, and Stephanie Herseth have all signed our pledge.
John Thune has continually refused to sign our pledge to protect the seniors of South Dakota, for several months.
With our high population of older citizens in South Dakota, many of whom depend on Social Security, it is distressing that John Thune will not promise to protect Social Security from privatization plans.
As a candidate for Senate, if elected, Thune will be representing South Dakota for the next six years. For this reason, Thune's position on Social Security should be of major concern to all South Dakotans, and especially those who rely on Social Security as part of their income.
I would like to thank the other federal candidates for signing our pledge, and convey our disappointment with Thune's position on Social Security.
Time for GOP to show royalty
To the editor:
Yes, Republicans it's time we show our true colors and rally around our party on Nov. 5. There are 47,000 more of us (Republicans) in South Dakota than Democrats, so really if we mean what we stand for then our excellent list of Republican candidates shouldn't really have to be concerned.
But they are, especially when these groups come out "Republicans for Johnson," and "Teachers for Johnson" and the like.
You talk about false advertising, negative advertising, smoke screens, and the like ?
The one that really gets to me is the political advertisement "Teachers for Johnson." This gal in the advertisement must be a one person group and probably not even a teacher. I have visited with several teachers and they are not aware of any teacher organizations for Johnson. Smoke screen, you bet.
So Republicans, let's show where we stand and what for by giving our Republican candidates, John Thune, on down the ballot a resounding victory Nov. 5!
Vote for Herseth, move state forward
To the editor:
Forward forever, backward never, within ourselves our futures lies. South Dakota voters have the opportunity to move our state forward in November, by voting for Stephanie Herseth for Congress.
Herseth speaks with knowledge, concern and respect for the Constitution of the United States. She has visited with people in small and large communities. She has addressed members of many organizations. She has an abundance of energy. Herseth seeks no self gain, but extends her hand in service to others. She conveys her message fluently and clearly, not about how great she is, but rather what she would hope to do for the people of South Dakota.
Stephanie Herseth understands the trials and tribulations that tend to befall us at this present time. She has the personality that enables her to listen, cooperate and negotiate with others.
She speaks the truth and exemplifies all that is good and wholesome in our world today. Allowing Herseth to represent us in Congress will give us hope for a "new day" in our state. The members of Congress and the national news media will acknowledge that the voters of South Dakota have moved forward in the 21st century.
Why allow outsiders to influence campaigns?
To the editor:
I recited the Pledge of Allegiance many years before it was decided to add "Under God" to it. It broke the sentence cadence but few seriously objected to adding "Under God" to our nation's solemn pledge. It was not a Constitutional crisis then and could hardly be seen as one now. (Although we know we don't like others to speak for us, now I wonder if God appreciates some of the words and thoughts attributed to him).
However, our founding fathers did produce a remarkable Constitution which we have prospered under for over 200 years, causing us to present it to the world as the ultimate ideal � democracy.
Two ideas were accepted by all those nation builders. Each state should have two senators who would represent them equally in making the laws. Then, in their great wisdom they saw that heavily populated states might need more representatives to govern them than sparsely populated ones, and as one of their checks and balances they decided each state would have a proportionate number of representatives to population.
But � nowhere did they say that other states should help select them. Why have we allowed both parties to pour money into our states to try to influence their selection of candidates? They cannot know them as natives do, and may be persuaded to vote against their state's best interest. Nowhere is there any mention of buying votes, but we allow out of state wealth to pour into each state as though it belonged there.
Certainly the founders envisioned the president, once elected, to be the representative of all the people. Of course there will be important occasions in the states, and perhaps catastrophes also, when the president might legitimately visit the states. We all want him kept safe at all times.
But was it foreseen that he would use his very expensive private plane and large protective entourage to go to selected states to raise money to give to his selected candidates? How can this be accepted as carrying out the constitutional right of local selection? No one is allowed to vote unless a registered voter. Don't we have a right to assume they will vote their conscience and not be for sale?
Why should anyone be allowed to pay for political T.V. and other ads who is not a registered voter? But when we push democracy to foreign nations don't you think they perceive our democracy as for sale to the highest bidder, and money rules in our democracy just as it does for those we are condemning?
Sign vandalism a 'trashy' act
To the editor:
Last week, Brendyn Richards, one of our local Democratic candidates for the State House of Representatives had several of his campaign signs vandalized. One had been defaced in a most indecent manner � a manner which sunk to the lowest depth of shamefulness imaginable. Why Brendyn was singled out for this type of nasty treatment has left us shaking our heads. Brendyn is a most worthy candidate and is an excellent choice to be our representative. Indeed, if he is elected, we will be one of the best represented districts in the state!
Brendyn is a life-long resident of Clay County and the third generation of his family to live in this county. He is employed in Yankton as an investment banker and lives on University Road in the home his grandfather built. Brendyn has had campaign experience having worked on successful campaigns for both Sen. Daschle and Sen. Johnson.
In addition to the destruction and defacement of Brendyn's sign, it has also proven to be an embarrassment for our community and its citizens. A resident of Sioux Falls saw the sign, obtained Brendyn's number from the auditor's office, called him with the information, took pictures of the sign, and informed him about this despicable action. Furthermore, she is writing about the incident for the Sioux Falls paper. Really, isn't this community better than that?
We have been treated to constant inferences that "probably the Democrats are vandalizing the campaign signs" � well, this should put such conjectures to rest. If you're campaigning, you're too busy to bother with anyone else's signs; if you're not, leave the signs alone; they don't belong to you.
A reward is being offered by the Clay County Democrats for information leading to whoever is responsible for this trashy act. I don't think you have made your mother very proud!
Allen and Maxine Johnson
United Way thanks school board, others
To the editor:
On behalf of the United Way of Vermillion Board of Directors, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Vermillion School Board and Vermillion Superintendent of Schools, Bob Mayer, for allowing us to host "The Taste of Vermillion" 2003 United Way Campaign Kick-off at the high school cafeteria on Thursday, Oct. 3. It was an ideal place to hold the kick-off event.
Many people who attended the kick-off commented on what a perfect location it was. We would also like to extend our thanks to high school custodian, Don Donohoe, for his assistance and cheerful co-operation. From all of us to all of you, a great big thank you.
Much of the success of "The Taste of Vermillion" rests with the generous participation of Vermillion's restaurateurs and to Jon Robertson of the Cherry Street Grille for his excellent organization of the food for the evening. Another great big thank you goes out to Jon and his colleagues. Without them, there would be no event.
United Way of Vermillion
Give career politicians a rest
To the editor:
While listening to the bickering between the Democratic and Republican campaigns in our state's senatorial race, I have had to ask myself two questions:
1. "Does any of their finger pointing help the people of South Dakota?"
2. "Can we expect anything besides business-as-usual from either of these career politicians?"
The answer to both questions is "No!" and so I am asking the voters of South Dakota to support Mr. Kurt Evans, Libertarian, for the U.S. Senate.
Kurt is a life-long resident who has worked as a teacher on both sides of the river. He has witnessed how we have lost local control of our schools to the federal government and the problems this has created for both teachers and students.
When elected, his priority is returning control of our schools to where it belongs: with the hard working, tax-paying citizens of South Dakota. Our state's future lies in education and local people should bear that responsibility, not bureaucrats thousands of miles away in Washington, DC.
Send a real message by electing Kurt Evans and giving two career politicians some much needed rest. They've done enough for now.
Ron Leeper, chairman
Yankton Area Libertarians
10 reasons to vote for Thune
To the editor:
Top ten reasons to vote for John Thune on Nov. 5:
1. Ted Kennedy (D) Massachusetts
2. Hillary Clinton (D) New York
3. Charles Schumer (D) New York
4. Joseph Lieberman (D) Connecticut
5. Joseph Biden Jr. (D) Delaware
6. Patrick Leahy (D) Vermont
7. John Kerry (D) Massachusetts
8. Robert Torricelli (D) New Jersey
9. Dianne Feinstein (D) California
10. Barbara Boxer (D) California
These are not people who we would vote for in South Dakota and yet our junior senator from South Dakota votes with these people on a regular and consistent basis. These people have no idea what it means to be from the "heartland" of this nation and we do not need their influence in our state.
Veterans' health care is at stake
To the editor:
An important election is only days away, I urge all veterans to take the time to get out and vote and get your friends and family to vote also. Veterans health care is in a real transition today. There are those who think we give too much to the VA, that for some reason the promise made to veterans can be broken with no ramifications.
The facts speak volumes to the opposite view, the view that this country made a promise to those who fought the battles and that promise must be kept.
The average age of the World War II veterans is 85, the Korean veterans 74, the Vietnam veteran 53. Health care is a major part of World War II and Korean veterans' daily life. The current administration has done more to decimate the VA health care system than any administration in modern history.
The House of Representatives have turned their back on the VA. They are controlled by the far right of the Republican party and believe that the government needs to be shrunk. They do this by pushing tax cuts to the point of draining the treasury in spite of the fact that we have increased cost for the military and veterans' health.
The US Senate has time after time passed a VA budget that is greater than the administration's and the House of Representative's, only to have their budget reduced in conference committee.
Veterans cannot afford to lose Sen. Tim Johnson in the U.S. Senate. The health care of our country's veterans who gave so much is at stake.
Roger L. Andal