Youth center needed

To the editor:

I believe a youth activity center is needed in the Vermillion area and I am wondering if others feel this same way.

The realization came to me when last Friday night my 5-year-old son and I went on a "special night out." We were excited to find something fun to do, possibly at the Cosmoz Family Recreation Center. Lo and behold, it is now closed. What a loss! So, we went to see if the library was still open, but it wasn't. I thought about swimming at the Comfort Inn, but we had not brought our bathing suits with us. We ended up eating at McDonald's, renting a movie from Hollywood Video, and called it a night. On the drive home my son said, "Next time let's bring our fishing poles and I'll teach you how to fish, Mom." I thought to myself, that'll be great when it's spring and not January!

I realize the city owns and operates a golf course for adults. I think that is wonderful! We need something for the kids! In the cities of Madison, Spearfish and Yankton, they joined forces with other entities and formed wonderful family-oriented facilities. Vermillion needs something similar.

Maybe, we could work with the past owner of Cosmoz, or the Heart and Soul Fitness Center, or the Armory to create this kind of opportunity for kids. I believe the university would like to be a part of it because of the benefit to their employees' families. I don't know what happened with the skateboard park that tried and failed here, but that was a really fun and exciting place to go with kids of all ages. I'm sure there are many possibilities out there.

I hope there is already dialog in the community about this, and I hope it continues until we can find something for the youth. Thank you for your time!


L. Grace and Harrison Freeman


Student concerned with HB 1176

To the Editor

Hello, my name is Patrick Morrison, and I am a junior in High School at Wakonda in northwest Clay County. The reason I am writing you is to express my concern for HB 1176.

HB 1176, as I am sure you are aware, is a bill aimed to close small schools in South Dakota that do not have an enrollment of 100 children in high school and that are close to other high schools. This bill would not only FORCE consolidation, but it would destroy rural areas and communities, from which many South Dakotans hail.

My high school is currently in negotiations with Irene to consolidate, and a forced consolidation, no matter what the school or in what area, would cause serious educational and economic problems that would hurt the education of our young people.

Also, take a look at the NCLB test scores from across the state, and you will notice that schools under 100 students dominate the list. No matter what the assessment or test, small schools always test the highest in the state, so why stop what's working? In fact, Wakonda continues to have some of the highest scores in the state, so why not allow us to continue to educate our most valuable resource.

In conclusion, the supporters of HB 1176 are mainly from Sioux Falls and Rapid City, some of whom could care less what happens to rural South Dakota. Please help protect our educational system and our rural way of life.


Patrick Morrison


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