Get ready for peace and quiet

Get ready for peace and quiet By Editorial South Dakotans and people in virtually every other state in the nation are fed up with having their dinners/Minnesota Twins viewing/soothing bubble baths interrupted by relentless pests.

No, we aren�t talking about West Nile-laden mosquitoes.

They�re telemarketers.

We know South Dakotans don�t like them. That�s why, hopefully, the calls have come to an end this week.

The AARP conducted a survey of our state�s residents last year. Findings from this survey showed strong support among AARP members for state legislation creating a �do not call� list to keep telemarketers from phoning them.

Specifically, the survey found:

? 81 percent of South Dakota members strongly and another 13 percent somewhat supporting such legislation.

? 44 percent of members strongly opposed and 14 percent somewhat opposed to permitting solicitations from companies with whom consumers have an existing business relationship if their name is on a �do not call� list.

? 61 percent of members saying they are very likely to take advantage of a �do not call� law by placing their names on the statewide list and 19 percent reporting that they are somewhat likely to do so.

This random mail survey (notice it wasn�t done by phone) of 1,377 AARP members in South Dakota was conducted in June 2002. Mildred DePallo, Ph.D., prepared the report.

There�s presently an overload of confusion sweeping the nation on the true status of �do not call� lists.

We hope it will be cleared up soon.

In the latest twist, federal officials scrambled a day before enforcement was to start Oct. 1 to rework a system that handles complaints about telemarketers.

For now, officials are directing consumers who registered phone numbers on the list to send complaints to the Federal Communications Commission by visiting its Web site or calling 1-888-225-5322.

The list contains more than 50 million home and cell phone numbers. Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines each time they call a registered number.

Redirecting all complaints to the FCC was a last-minute change. The potential for more confusion remained, since outdated instructions for filing complaints were still on government phone messages and Web sites late Tuesday.

The list was intended to block about 80 percent of telemarketing calls. Exemptions include calls from charities and pollsters and on behalf of politicians.

A company also may call a person on the no-call list if that person has bought, leased or rented from the company within the past 18 months or has inquired about or applied for something during the past three months.

We hope that eventually the confusion will end and the status of no call lists will be as clear as the ringing bells we no longer will be hearing quite so often.

Editorial

by the Plain Talk

The right approach

Kudos to the Clay County Sheriff�s Department, and specifically Deputy Sheriff Dallas Schnack, who also serves as the Vermillion Public School District�s resource officer.

He told the Vermillion School Board Sept. 22 that a drug dog from the South Dakota Highway Patrol will be making a sweep through one of the schools sometime in the near future.

The notion of having a canine trained to sniff out drugs roaming through your school can be a bit disconcerting.

Schnack is taking steps to make sure students know what to expect when the dog arrives.

He has prepared a lesson plan, and already presented it to several classes in the district.

�We talk about search and seizure, and Fourth Amendment rights,� Schnack said. �We work all the way from your house and to what the school policy is. I�m getting a lot of feedback.� Schnack�s goal appears to support cutting drug use through education, rather than launching a frightening, surprise raid.

We welcome this approach.

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