'Once in a lifetime' By David Lias Vermillion Mayor Dan Christopherson hopes that officials of state government, from Gov. Mike Rounds, his cabinet secretaries, and other staff members, will have learned something valuable as they return to Pierre after spending a busy day in Vermillion Wednesday, April 20.
�My goal is that they see that we�re a progressive and forward-thinking community,� Christopherson said. �I hope they see how well organized we are, and we want them to see all of the things they want to see.�
Gov. Rounds and his team will take state government to the people during Capital for a Day in Vermillion on April 20. The public is invited to join the activities starting at 3 p.m. at the Vermillion High School.
�Capital for a Day gives everyone who attends an opportunity to learn more about our state, and our government,� said Gov. Rounds. �I�m looking forward to visiting Vermillion to learn more about the community and to visit with people living in and around Clay County.�
In turn, city officials are planning a full day for the guests from Pierre. Before their 3 p.m. arrival at VHS Wednesday, employees of various departments, such as the state Department of Social Services, Department of Health, Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services, Department of Agriculture and other entities will tour several facilities throughout the community.
South Dakota Department of Public Safety representatives, along with Clay County and Vermillion public safety officials, will participate in a public safety round table April 20 on the University of South Dakota campus to discuss local public safety issues.
The event will be held at the Al Neuharth Center from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Round table participants include: South Dakota Public Safety Secretary Tom Dravland, Homeland Security Director John Berheim, Chief of Police Art Mabry, Sheriff Andy Howe, Denny Duin, USD Public Safety director, Fire Chief Doug Brunick, EMT Director Gary Myers, and Layne Stewart, Clay County emergency manager.
Discussion topics will include the state radio system,
homeland security funding and automated external defibrillators.
The media, students and the general public are invited to attend the public safety round table.
Christopherson stressed that the goal of Capital for a Day will be interaction between members of the public and state officials at Vermillion High School Wednesday afternoon.
As a sign of solidarity, the mayor encourages all
Vermillion citizens to wear red April 20.
�I would love it if people would do that,� Christopherson said. �I think it makes a real statement that is hard to ignore. It shows a lot of community pride and unity.
�I hope that state officials have plenty of contact with our citizens,� he said. �It is important for the public to participate. This is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity.�
Christopherson said stepping into Vermillion High School next Wednesday afternoon will be similar to visiting the state Capitol building.
�From 3 to 6 p.m., we will have booths set up in the high school,� he said. �My hope is that everyone will walk around and visit all of the representatives of each state department, even if it�s just to say hello.
Capital for a Day is designed to give citizens a chance to interact with Gov. Rounds, First Lady Jean Rounds, and individuals from the various state departments.
The day�s schedule of events is:
? 1 to 3 p.m. �Department meetings and tours, Vermillion community.
? 3 to 6 p.m. � Capital for a Day booths, Vermillion High School East Commons. Gov. Rounds and cabinet will be available to the public.
? 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. � First Lady�s Reach Out and Read, Vermillion High School Library. One of Jean Rounds� initiatives is to share the joys of reading with children starting at a young age. Children are invited to join her for story time at the library.
? 5 to 6:30 p.m. � Community dinner, Vermillion High School Gymnasium. The community is invited to eat with all Capital for a Day participants. The city of Vermillion is providing a discounted meal.
Christopherson said he is pleased that the Cherry Street Grille, Hy-Vee and Jone�s Foods are working together to cater Wednesday evening�s meals. The cost of the community dinner tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and children.
They must be purchased in advance. They are available at City Hall, Nook �n Cranny, Vermillion Chamber of Commerce, Cherry Street Grille, Hy-Vee, Jone�s Food Center and the Vermillion Public Library.
�I am hoping that parents will bring their kids to the events, especially the evening meal,� the mayor said. �We will be selecting a number of kids to sit at the governor�s table.�
? The evening will conclude with an address from Gov. Rounds, beginning at 6:30 p.m., in the VHS Performing Arts Auditorium.
�The governor will not only speak, he will also seek questions and comments from the public,� Christopherson said. �He likes to make that a major part of the Capital for a Day activities. He calls it a question and advice session.�
In 2005, Gov. and First Lady Rounds, cabinet secretaries, and various state agencies also plan to visit Sisseton in May, Martin in June, Canistota in July, Eureka in August, and Platte in September.
In the past two years, Gov. Rounds and his staff have traveled to Brookings, Sturgis, Wessington Springs, Lemmon, Aberdeen, Hot Springs, Yankton, Faith, Britton, Wall, and Chamberlain for Capital for a Day events.
Christopherson is confident that Vermillion will provide a memorable experience for state officials.
�We have people who are working very hard to make that happen,� he said. �Gloria Barnes and Donna Schafer are helping organize volunteers for greeting officials, for setting up and serving of the meals, and for cleanup afterwards.
�And, we�ll have lots of involvement from young people,� he said. �Grade school, middle school and high school and USD music groups will perform throughout the day.�
Organizers will be holding a dress rehearsal in the high school commons on Monday, April 18, beginning at 4 p.m.
�It will give us an idea of how best to set up the gym and commons, and how to manage traffic flow in the commons and to the auditorium.�