Between the Lines

Between the Lines by David Lias Dr. James D. Watson, the director of the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory, has been locked in a lifelong struggle to find a cure for cancer.

Is that his only goal? Of course not. That would be too discouraging for anyone to bear. Watson has laid out a series of incremental goals for himself and his laboratory colleagues, goals they are meeting on their way to an ultimate cure.

"There are so many different cancers," said Watson, who won a Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA. "We're going to cure some of them. Hopefully, we'll cure all of them.

"But you've got to pick interim goals," he said. "The goal is not to kill the colon cancer tomorrow. It's to understand the disease. And there are many different steps. No one wants to be led to defeat. You get your happiness one small goal at a time."

That's the way it works. Set little goals. Meet them. Set new, slightly larger goals. Meet them. Succeed.

It's a distinct form of leadership, a method of obtaining success that has been used well not only in a scientific laboratory, but in small communities like Vermillion.

Just glance through the planning documents of the Vermillion City Council or the Vermillion School Board, and it doesn't take long to realize that local leaders have many goals they'd like to accomplish in both the city and the school district.

Guess what? You can be part of the process.

There's been so much attention focused on South Dakota's general election this past year, and on the recent inauguration of our new governor, that we've practically forgotten that it soon will be time to prepare for local elections.

One may argue that holding an office on the school board or city council doesn't carry all the rank and privileges enjoyed by members of Congress or the South Dakota Legislature.

The actions of elected officials in those higher levels of government do have an impact on our lives. In many ways, however, it's our local office holders on the school board and city council that absorb much of that impact that rains down on us from state and federal government levels.

When Pierre doesn't adequately fund education, our local school board is left struggling to find ways to balance the budget.

Should the city want to build a new street, or repair an existing one, it must follow a long laundry list of state and federal guidelines.

The jobs of school board and city council members aren't easy. But they're vital to the future survival of the Vermillion community.

You can be part of the process by circulating nominating petitions and gathering signatures to become a candidate for election to the school board or city council.

The combined city and school election is April 8. Nominating petitions can be obtained at city hall and the school administration office, and can be circulated starting Feb. 14.

City council petitions must be filed with City Finance Officer Mike Carlson and must be filed in the City Finance Office by 5 p.m. on March 14.

When the petition is filed the candidate must also complete a Statement of Financial Interest.

The following city council offices will be vacant due to the expiration of the present term of office:

Alderman Central Ward (Drake Olson is incumbent).

Alderman Northeast Ward (Kevin Annis is incumbent).

Alderman Northwest Ward (Joe Grause is incumbent).

Alderman Southeast Ward (Dennis Zimmerman is incumbent).

Grause has indicated that he won't be seeking re-election in April.

City council petitions will need to be signed by 50 registered voters from the ward nominating the candidate. Ward boundary maps are available at the finance office or on the city Web page.

More information about circulating a nominating petition can be obtained by contacting Carlson.

The terms of school board members Tom Craig and Mark Bottolfson also are about to expire.

School board petitions need to be signed by 25 registered voters in the Vermillion School District, according to Superintendent Bob Mayer. The school board nominating petitions must be filed with the school administration office by March 14.

When election time rolls around, we hope there are a minimum of two candidates for every race.

We know we're setting our hopes high � often incumbents serve on the city council and school board without a challenge at election time.

That makes it easy to forget one of the benefits of the election process.

Local campaigns provide a healthy debate of school and city issues.

If you have an interest in local government, now is your opportunity to get involved, share your ideas, and, most importantly, help the city and school district set goals and meet them.

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