Letters

Letters Scapegoat

To the editor (and the Vermillion City Council):

Aha! You have your scapegoat! In your story on pages one and 10, relating to the house at 104 N. University, you failed to mention the new roof, which is an improvement. And, I guess you would agree with Mr. Lias that there are several pieces of residential property here that, at best, can be defined as shacks.

Don't stop now! Why not run a survey of these properties and list them in the paper? Of course, in fairness to Mr. Boysen, you would have to name the owners of these shacks. You might be surprised!

Perhaps, seeing their names, they could identify each other and get together to form a nice little organization, and give themselves an important name which would make them eligible for grants and charitable contributions.

Think of the improvements that could be made! An even more beautiful Vermillion. There would be an increased demand for building materials, paint, landscaping, and on and on.

New jobs would be found! People would be put to work! There is a kernel of possibilities here. A new direction for your busy little minds!

Go for it!

Kay Wastlund

Vermillion

Whipping boy

To the editor:

Recently I read an article in the Wakonda Times about a young man who is remodeling a historic home in Vermillion. I am sure he is doing this as he can afford and has time.

I was appalled at a neighbor saying it is an eyesore! Really!!! I am in Vermillion enough to know there are a lot of homes that are eyesores but they don�t include the Boysen house.

If Mr. Boysen had a house in the country, no one would give him any trouble; not because we don�t care but the neighbors would join together and volunteer their help to finish the project � not sit in a stuffy room and find ways to create a problem.

If I were you, I would step back and take a good look at your own lives and open your eyes to new adventures.

Have you read the Whipping Boy? Check it out of the library, read it and then back off!

Betty Davis

Wakonda

Examine Medicare

To the editor:

Two years ago, President Bush signed into law the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), dramatically changing Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit. While there are some good aspects to this new law, I have concerns about how the program will be implemented and how it will impact the one in six South Dakotans who rely on the program. I want to make sure seniors have the information they need to make informed decisions.

The new law does provide some reimbursement improvements for rural providers, but it fails to ensure that seniors in South Dakota will receive the same benefits and quality of care as those in other states. This new law also fails to curb the growing costs of prescription drugs, even prohibiting the government from negotiating lower drug prices.

While I have concerns, I think it is important for seniors to examine this program closely and decide for themselves whether or not the new Medicare Part D drug benefit will be worthwhile to them.

Currently, the Social Security Administration is sending letters to all beneficiaries that may be eligible for extra help to pay for prescription drugs. These letters will be followed by applications this summer, and I encourage all eligible South Dakotans to apply.

Beginning Nov. 15, all seniors will receive paperwork and will have to select either a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or a prescription drug plan to receive drug coverage under the program. While this initial enrollment period is long and the program is voluntary, seniors will pay a penalty for late enrollment if they do not sign up during the initial period (which has yet to be determined).

To learn more, please contact my office or visit my Web site at www.johnson.senate.gov. In addition, you can learn about the program by calling the toll-free Medicare hotline at 1-866-456-8211.

Sincerely,

Tim Johnson

United States Senator

Time to teach respect

To the editor:

Being appalled and disgusted is only beginning to describe how I feel right now. I thought, that in today�s supposedly open-minded world, it would occur to people that apparently neutral words like �retard� and �gay� are used in a demeaning manner to offend and hurt.

Do you call that civilized behavior of the modern human race? When we were living in caves and eating berries we were probably more conscious of each other. Children everywhere are calling each other �retard� and �gay� without giving it a second thought, and no more have I witnessed it than in my former middle school.

With the exception of a few teachers I had during my middle school years, I learned almost nothing from them, morally speaking. I remember these hateful words being thrown around constantly. Yes, I did take part in the name-calling to some degree. I can recall two or three occasions when a teacher actually paid attention to what was said and tried to put an end to it. A pathetic amount, considering the thousands of times these words are uttered by students per year.

On the other hand, if a single swear word is so much as whispered, a teacher will swoop down on the student and send him/her to the office for punishment. That is probably the only time I saw my principal interact with a student: when he was contemplating the punishment. The principal ought to spend more time among the students instead of hiding in his office all day.

When will we begin to learn the difference between impersonal swearing and constant targeted jeering? Just because words like �retard� are not considered swears does not mean they are not hurtful.

Please do not take this problem lightly anymore. Schools have speech codes, but none of them include the words that are truly hurtful. During the school year, teachers talk to children more than their parents do, and they are responsible for much of their future.

Forget what you are teaching from the textbooks for once (we learn it all over again in high school anyway). Focus on teaching kids to be open-minded individuals who respect every race, gender, and religion. I have not seen this so far. I have been through middle school, so please don�t take my letter lightly; I do happen to know what I am talking about.

Katarina Gombocz,

age 16, junior, VHS

Vermillion

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