Letters

Letters
Fund the state fair

To the editor:

Once again, news organizations and lawmakers are analyzing the S.D. State Fair and we want to join the discussion about this great annual event, because we believe facts are important.

The S.D. State Fair belongs in Huron where dozens of large special-purpose buildings, 1,200 campsites, and other infrastructure are in place on a 160-acre park. The price tag to re-create it somewhere else would be cost prohibitive.

The fairground facility is owned by the state of South Dakota and should be funded by state government, just like the hundreds of other state-owned buildings and facilities across the state. State parks and recreation areas, government offices, and virtually every other state-owned facility receives reasonable funding to operate.

Did you know that the state gives $3M per year to fund the state parks; the Office of History, which includes the Cultural Heritage Center, received $2.6M last session; and the Office of the Arts receives $500,000 per year? General fund dollars are spent each year to offer a variety of worthwhile facilities and services to the public.

So why is there such negative focus on one state-owned property � the fairgrounds? Who knows? The state fairground serves hundreds of thousands of state residents annually and, like other state programs, offers entertainment, recreation, education, economic, and cultural services.

Fairs are not designed to be moneymaking ventures � they are social events. The S.D. State Fair has required financial assistance since its inception � just like county fairs in the state that rely on yearly county support. Recently, the Nebraska fair was in financial trouble and a statewide vote was held to determine if the state should continue to fund it. The vote passed overwhelmingly and the legislature allocated $2M from lottery revenues to maintain the facility.

Many people are working quietly in the background to support the fair. Last year the city of Huron donated cash and services amounting to over $258,000. Beadle County donates manpower, equipment, and services. Huron's chamber and visitors' bureau provides marketing services and dollars in support of the State Fair.

Individuals from across the state donate to the Friends of the Fair Foundation. And the fair staff has secured grants and private donations to develop a master plan for the future of the state fair.

The state fair is an annual "snapshot" of South Dakota. It highlights our accomplishments and our way of life, reunites us with friends and family, showcases our youth, and celebrates agriculture as our number one industry. More importantly, it celebrates a tradition that brings together our citizens once a year from all across the state � East River, West River, urban and rural.

We firmly believe a majority of South Dakotans support the state fair and want to see it prosper. But without reasonable funding, it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to continue operation. Clearly the state fair needs reasonable yearly funding � not a crisis appropriation � to maintain the facility, just as the Legislature maintains all other state-owned property and programs in South Dakota.

Sincerely,

Mayor Mary A. Pearson

City Commissioner David McGirr

City Commissioner Jan Manolis

City Commissioner

Dale Schneider

City Commissioner Ron Volesky

Vote to confirm

To the editor:

I am writing today to strongly urge Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune to vote to confirm President George W. Bush's excellent choice for the Supreme Court, the Honorable Samuel Alito. Judge Alito's15 years of service on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals make him one of the most experienced and qualified men or women ever nominated to the court, and he deserves full consideration and unwavering confirmation.

During these confirmation hearings, our South Dakota senators must consider that Judge Alito has already twice been unanimously confirmed by our U.S. Senate to his two previous Senate confirmed posts. Both his Third Circuit Judgeship and his tenure as U. S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey required a vote from the full Senate, and both times, in totality, the U.S. Senate voted in the affirmative.

Judge Alito's entire career has been one of tremendous achievement. His is a record of brilliance and accomplished wisdom. He deserves to again be confirmed by the Senate, this time to be our next associate justice.

Senators, I am sure you acknowledge that Judge Alito is an eminently qualified man. He deserves your vote for confirmation. I sincerely hope you provide it when the time comes.

Drake Olson

Vermillion

Mehaffey honor

To the editor:

Sunday, Nov. 6, has been declared by Gov. Rounds to be Alexander Mehaffey day in honor of his dedication to the welfare of the W. H. Over Museum. The proclamation will be presented to Alex during the afternoon while we gather to commemorate the hours of time that Alex has devoted to building and repairing exhibits for the museum.

Alex has a long record of service to the museum. While the existence of the museum depends on volunteers and we have many who give selflessly of their time, we would like to especially honor his devotion in the name of all volunteers who help our museum in so many ways.

We would like to invite Alex's family, friends, colleagues and Friends of the Museum to come together to enjoy this afternoon.

With warm regards,

Maxine Johnson,

President

Friends of the

W. H. Over Museum

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