Street would enhance safety of all citizens

To the editor:

I am writing in regard to the Crawford Road project which has created a rift in this community which should never have occurred had leadership of this community stepped up to their responsibility of leading the citizens into the future, instead of deferring it to a citizen polarization.

There are just three issues and they are: SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY for all Vermillion community citizens. We must have a road for all emergency medical responders, fire trucks and police to all citizens who live and or travel below the bluffs, and surrounding Clay and Union County.

If an accident happens on the Burbank Road all responders must head for University Street. Do all citizens know this is routing fire trucks, ambulances, and police on the same street as an elementary school?

What do they do as buses and parents are loading or unloading children? They must stop and or be very careful as they are traveling through an area where small children could become victims of this increased traffic. This increases the potential of accidents involving children.

The opposition to a road on Crawford Street are implying a statement if emergencies occur below the bluff, that is not of their concern as they have preserved their backyards. However, these claimed backyards were not all theirs when they purchased their property as easements were attached to their deeds for a future street.

If a child or person dies because of a delay in getting to emergency medical services, the opponents can state, "See, we saved a few trees." Wow, what a trade-off that is for that child's or person's life. How comforting that will be to survivors at the funeral.

To expand the above safety issue further, without a street we are saying to all people who live in the country southeast of Vermillion if you have a medical emergency hold off your problem because you are going to have to go west to University Street and take it easy because we have an elementary school you must drive by before you can turn back east to get to the emergency services at Sioux Valley Hospital.

There have been many prior city planners and councils who have recognized the above issue for the past number of years, and so noted that a street must be built for the benefit for all citizens of Vermillion and the surrounding area.

Vote Yes for Measure A, and vote No to Measure B.

Harlan F. Schott


An apology

To the editor:

We at the Black Student Union have come to a consensus to submit this response as a formal apology to the constituents of the USD campus and the people of the Vermillion community. We apologize for the actions that were displayed at the Dakota Days Parade.

There should have been more thought put into the process of participating, instead of heading in blind and bullheaded without consideration for every contributing aspect, including music, that could potentially affect the perceptions received from the people in the parade, and for that we apologize. In addition to this apology we would like to guarantee a better and more respectable showing for next years D-Days Parade.

We would also like to take this opportunity to ask the campus and community to not define us off of this one single event. We are sure that everyone has made mistakes in their past and have had to overcome those mistakes and would not like to be judged or labeled because of them; we ask for the same respect.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to make aware to the community and campus what we at the Black Student Union are really about. We uphold three foundational basic purposes. First of which is to heighten the awareness and appreciation for diversity on campus. Second is to discourage and abate all institutional and individual acts and symbols of racism, as well as to value the concept of equality. Third is to be actively involved and encourage friendships among races.

The Black Student Union is open to all students; it is not limited to only African American students. We have been actively operating since August of this year and have successfully hosted a number of events. We held an All Student Welcome Back Picnic, sponsored the Clash Bash during Dakota Days and was just a part of the University's Diversity Week Festivities.

We plan to keep operating and functioning and appreciate the letters that were submitted. We will take the opinions of others into consideration as we continue to host events around this campus and community. It is encouraged that all questions, concerns, and complaints be sent to bsu@usd.edu. We also hold General Body Meetings every other Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Newman Center.

Terry Liggins

President of the BSU


Thinking out loud

To the editor:

City voters of Vermillion:

Have you been paying attention to the ads in our local news media by individuals or personal groups trying to defeat the Crawford Road Project?

I can't help but giggle over the notions of these individuals trying to defeat a proposed road that can only help develop the infrastructure of our community. From what I understand, this road was promised to the developer if the area below the bluffs would be developed.

Does the word integrity mean anything any more?

I can not imagine using tax dollars of $50,000 or more to put in a nature path, only to defeat the Crawford Road project.

My question to these individuals is "who will use this so-called nature path?"

I suggest that these individuals who wish to replace the Crawford Road with a nature path practice on working on bike riding up and down University or Dakota Street, or maybe utilize the bike and walking path along the Vermillion River. When was the last time you saw someone use these nature accomodations?

This whole nature baloney reminds me of the school opt out election, and the property owners know what happened on that outcome. Oops, we found some additional monies, but thank you for your concern and your tax increases.

My whole point of this letter is to point out that the citizens of our community must make a decision on future growth and development, or vote for a nature path that was only proposed to stop the Crawford Road project.

Think about your vote on Nov. 7, and let good judgement help you make a wise decision.

Just thinking out loud.

Dave Raabe


Don't take away choice

To the editor:

It seems that in regard to the abortion bill the Plain Talk editor has printed several "YES" letters but has really lagged on the "NO"letters. I know there have been several "NO" letters sent but not printed.

I thought the newspaper editor was suppose to printboth sides of the picture and all of the letters that people send in.

In regard to the abortion, I have a few things to say. According to the physicians, the morning after pill was "invented" for the girls and women that were raped and for incest. So why all of a sudden is the pill being used for general birth control, according to the "yes" people. WRONG!

Also the pill is not always in the pharmacy. Sometimes it has to be ordered, so there goes the time limit the pill can be taken to be effective. I also get a hoot out of the people that are against abortion but want the morning after pill – do you realize the morning pill is also a form of abortion??? Also not every pharmacist will give out the morning after pill!

For their own various reasons – usually having to do with their religion – yes folks, those old attitudes are still around. It also seems a lot of the people that are against abortion are the ones that stick their nose in the air at single mothers.

When people ask me if I am for or against abortion I tell them it is up to the mother. I don't feel all the old men sitting in the politicians' boxes have the right to tell a woman what to do.

I also say that I believe in "CHOICES." We have lost a lot of choices over the past few years and if women lose the choice about abortion then what is next????? I really think women should give that a lot of thought before they go to the polls. South Dakota will start to go backwards when choices are taken away.

Sherryl Koob


Condemnation prohibited

To the editor:

While I do not live on Crawford Road, my wife Susan and I share the broadly-held concern about widening and extending a road that will change a residential neighborhood remarkably. The city council recognized that the proposal to extend Crawford Road made in 1965 had been overcome by events – the development of residential housing along Crawford Road did not exist back then, as the aerial photograph shown at both the City Zoning Board and city council meetings reflect.

As a consequence, the city council twice voted to remove the road extension from the City Comprehensive Plan. Undaunted by the city council's decision after extensive debate, real estate developer Dave Hertz seeks to overrule this democratic decision through his sponsored initiative to obtain what he characterized at one of the public hearings as "my road."

This is Dave Hertz's right. Like any citizen dissatisfied with a decision by the majority, he is seeking to vindicate his economic right to develop his residential and commercial project below the bluff.

Condemning private land, however, for private economic purposes resulting in an increase in the tax base has been specifically prohibited by the South Dakota legislature, another democratic institution that would appear to oppose Mr. Hertz's proposal.

In reaction to growing concerns about cities condemning private land for the benefit of developers and a city's tax base, during the 2005 legislative session, the South Dakota Legislature passed House Bill 1080, now SDCL � 11-7-22.1, 22.2 to prevent the abuse of eminent domain that has occurred elsewhere in the United States.

Eminent domain cannot be used to enhance tax revenues.

Subsection two of SDCL � 11-7-22.1 prevents cities from acquiring property by use of eminent domain for the primary purpose of enhancing tax revenues. The proposed extension of Crawford Road by a real estate developer to his subdivision on Burbank Road violates subsection two.

The primary reason given for the expansion of Crawford Road is to support the future development of Hertz's subdivision. If passed, the city of Vermillion would then, through use of eminent domain, take property of at least five families who would be impacted by the new road. When the city takes the property, they are doing so primarily to aid in the development of the subdivision and thus, the enhancement of local tax revenues, which is prohibited under South Dakota law.

If there were no real estate development below the bluff, there would be no initiative to extend Crawford Road. Not only does the proposed expansion of the Crawford Road force our community to add an unnecessary road twice removed by the city council from the city's Comprehensive Transportation Plan, but also forces our community to violate South Dakota law.

Gregory M. Huckabee


Appreciate input

To the editor and citizens of Vermillion:

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who took the time in September to visit with me about the recreation and wellness needs of the Vermillion community.

During my visit, I enjoyed meeting concerned citizens of Vermillion, a group of bright high school students, PTA members, school board representatives, teachers and coaches, city council members, Vermillion Recreation staff, representatives of the USD community, staff representatives of the Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center and others.

From our discussions, two facts seem clear. The Vermillion community and the university desperately need more outlets for healthful and wholesome recreational activity and better facilities to support the programs that deliver those services.

After more than 30 years of change in recreational interests and remarkable growth in the university's (particularly in women's) athletic programs, the DakotaDome is no longer able to adequately serve the diverse recreational needs of the USD students or the many other interest groups in Vermillion who need indoor activity space.

Our assignment is to craft a strategic plan for potential facility solutions to these challenges, but in the meantime; I offer a few suggestions for moving forward. We need to consider that health, fitness and fun for all are some of the desired outcomes of this endeavor. Creating new opportunities for individual

and family recreational activities is an important and worthwhile objective to be addressed.

Many Vermillionites seem to believe that a "wellness center" is a medical care facility, so we must find a more

descriptive name for the project. In the end, we may agree that cardiac rehabilitation or similar health care services could be offered in a new facility, but we also discussed the urgent need for banquet and meeting spaces, after-school youth programs, summer recreational programs, expanded senior citizen programs and so much more.

For other communities that have built recreational activity centers in recent years, those facilities have become sources of community pride and identity. They provide space for art fairs, holiday and birthday parties, child care, scout meetings and cooking classes. In many cases, they provide a vital and energetic setting for social interaction among the generations.

The city of Vermillion, the school district and the medical center, working in partnership with the university, could do much more for the entire Vermillion community than any of the constituents could hope to achieve working independently. Talk with your neighbors and your civic leaders about the possibilities. Thank you all again for your hospitality and for participating in the planning process.

This is an exciting time for your community, and we are proud to be involved.

Joel Leider

SportsPLAN Studio

Kansas City, MO

Vote no on #6

To the editor:

I had an abortion in the summer of 1998. I was a college student: poor, working two jobs, living in a broken down old trailer with holes in the floor and windows that wouldn't shut, no vehicle.

My boyfriend and I had to borrow a friend's truck to get to Sioux Falls for the procedure. The women at the clinic were friendly and caring, much different than the protesters holding bloody signs outside the clinic and screaming angrily.

No one wants to have an abortion; no one is pro-abortion. But I knew that my decision to have the abortion and to get my life back on track was the right thing to do.

I have since finished school, have a good job and my own business, and I have a happy and healthy 4-year-old son and a positive relationship with a good man.

I know a lot of women with similar stories. Keeping abortion safe and legal helps many, many more women than it harms. Those who claim that abortion hurts women and their ban will protect women – those people would disempower women and take away women's own right to protect themselves and make their own life decisions.

That, and my personal experience, are the reasons I strongly oppose the extreme abortion ban. Vote NO on Referred Law 6!

Rebecca M. Terk


Care and compassion

To the editor:

Rape and incest are both terrible and evil crimes. The victims of these crimes would be even further traumatized by aborting their babies. The mother ending the life of her baby adds to the injury of her body, mind, and spirit.

Remember that the manner in which the child is conceived does not change the fact that the child's distinctive characteristics and genetic make-up are in fact one-half of its mother.

Abortion destroys pregnancies that would alert authorities of sexual abuse, and allows the perpetrators to continue to abuse girls and women. It also sends an unspoken message to the victims that they should hide or cover up the violence committed against them, as if they should be ashamed or feel guilt over an act which they were not responsible for.

As my grandparents taught me over the years, my rights end where the next person's nose begins. The woman does have a right to decide what to do with her own body, but once conception takes place, it is a separate human being with different DNA, as well as its own nervous and muscular system.

Did you realize that a baby's heart develops early on, and begins beating at day 21? Not to mention it is a creation of God that has a soul? Both a pregnant mother and her unborn child each possess a natural and unalienable right to life.

Referred Law 6 provides victims of sex crimes with the medical care, compassion, and justice they deserve. Please Vote Yes on Nov. 7.

Sharon Haas


Elect Bjorkman

To the editor:

We are retired law enforcement officers and have served with Tim Bjorkman on the SD Board of Pardons and Paroles. We encourage you to vote for Tim for First Circuit Judge in the upcoming election.

First, let us tell you who we are. Jim Sheridan retired in 2006 serving 33 years as a Beadle County deputy sheriff. Jim is a longtime member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and its past chairman. Denny Kaemingk retired in 2000, as captain of detectives, Mitchell PD. Denny currently serves as Parole Board Chairman.

Tim has the attributes necessary to serve our state well as a judge: integrity, common sense, a good work ethic, and great communication skills. Tim values the opinion of others possess a great intellect and understanding of the law.

Tim is fair, but he also had the ability to see through excuses for poor behavior and a lack of personal responsibility. Tim took his service on the Parole Board very seriously and we learned a great deal from the hearings that we held with him. When it came to pardons, Tim had a very high standard that the person making the application had to meet for him to give a positive recommendation.

Tim has a great sense of community and civic duty, and has instilled in his family the sense of patriotism and duty. Tim's two oldest sons are currently in the military. James recently graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and John just returned with Charlie Battery from service in Baghdad.

Tim has the experience and common sense necessary to handle the responsibilities of such an important position. We ask that you vote for Tim Bjorkman, and tell others of his qualifications to serve as our judge. Thank you.

Denny Kaemingk

Jim Sheridan

Community wakes up

To the editor:

I have been employed in Vermillion for the past 11 years, and except for a few months of commuting, I have lived in the city all of that time. I have enjoyed watching the community grow and gradually wake up from a long slumber, both economically and culturally. The Nebraska bridge, a number of sizeable new employment opportunities and the downtown streetscape improvements ��not to mention the enrollment and fund-raising success at the university ��have made the city a more viable place both for permanent citizens and for students.

It seems obvious to me that most of Vermillion's growth is gravitating toward the Hwy. 50 bypass, with a secondary surge on East Main near the Bluffs. Almost nothing is happening south of town below the bluff. This is probably because most of the city wants to be where our city fathers moved the town in 1871 after the disastrous Missouri River flood – on the high ground where there is more space. So, I'm having a hard time understanding why some people want to throw away $1.5 million to build a road to nowhere, and in the process reward one developer and one small development that is apparently succeeding without Crawford Road.

The past several years, a lot of my quality time in Vermillion has been spent walking on the bike trail down Dakota Street, along the river and up University Street I've often wondered what those two ravines must have looked like before the two streets were built. Now here to stay, Dakota and University offer enough access to any developments along Burbank Road without ruining the last natural ravine within the city and without sending heavy traffic along a street zoned residential. A better alternative, if in fact a new connecting street is needed to the south, would be one of the county roads east of the city where zoning could be done correctly, beginning now.

If Vermillion is really intent on continued growth as a desirable home town also embraced by university students, it should spend $1.5 million on street improvements where development is really headed and not on the Crawford Road extension. Regardless of where you live in Vermillion, vote yes for the very low-cost alternative envisioned by the Crawford Woods Path and Nature Preserve. This would open up a priceless nature area to bikers and pedestrians, and preserve it as a unique amenity for the entire city.

Some folks once scoffed at the Spirit Mound, too, until a determined group of local citizens made it happen. Now Vermillion residents and hundreds of visitors each year enjoy the four seasons and abundant wildlife on the Spirit Mound Trail, which the local Chamber of Commerce proudly advertises and the city of Vermillion features on its Web site. Right here in town, Crawford Woods could also attract attention and add to our quality of life.

Please vote yes on Municipal Initiate Measure B and no on Municipal Initiated Measure A. The Crawford Woods alternative (B) makes far more sense over the long haul than the Crawford Road extension (A). There are no photos of roads in Chamber literature or on the city's Web site.

Kent Scribner


Join me

To the editor:

The 1st Judicial Circuit covers 13 counties in the southeast corner of South Dakota and has six circuit court judges. Judge Ron Miller is retiring and Tim Bjorkman, a lawyer from Canistota, is running for his open seat.

I have known Tim for 28 years, and he possesses outstanding credentials and qualifications to serve as one of our six judges. We are fortunate to have excellent judges in our circuit, and I hope that you will join me in voting for Tim Bjorkman and adding to our impressive team of judges in the 1st Circuit.

Craig Thompson

Vermillion Attorney

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