Thanks to the Vermillion PTA

To the editor:

The SD PTA Board of Managers would like to thank the Vermillion PTA for hosting the 2007 State PTA Convention that was held on April 14.

We appreciate the hospitality and warmness of your community. The citizens of Vermillion should be proud of their PTA, as they are doing many wonderful things for our children. The workshops at the convention centered on child safety, the arts, and PTA basics. The Reflections Award Ceremony was held at the National Museum of Music.

I would like to thank the Vermillion Boy Scouts, Troop 66, for our opening ceremonies, Mister Smith's Bakery and Caf� for the fabulous food, Vermillion School District, Vermillion Chamber of Commerce, and the many volunteers who helped make this convention a success.

One of the purposes of PTA is to promote the welfare of the children and youth in home, school, community and place of worship. If you are not a member of PTA, please join today. Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in the education of our children. You do not need to have a child in school to be a member. Please contact me at sd_pres@pta.org or the state office at sd_office@ pta.org for more information.


Bobbie Wirth

SD State PTA President

Hopes of having a keepsake

To the editor:

I purchased a Plain Talk this week in the hopes of having a keepsake for my daughter, who graduated from Vermillion High School May 27. I thought it may list the graduates' names, number in the class, songs that were sung, even name the teacher who got the award.

Instead, the article was about Mike Roche and the girls' basketball team, much like his address on Sunday. I hope other families of the graduating class of 2007 made their grads feel as important as Mike Roche thinks of his family. I know I am very proud of my daughter. The entire class should have been made to feel special by at least listing their names and achievements in the June 1 issue along with the speakers from the 2007 graduating class and other noted dignitaries. One can only hope you keep this in mind for next year's graduating high school class.Sincerely,

Linda Sorensen


Editor's note: Thanks to the support of local advertisers, a special supplement featuring a photo of every member of the Vermillion High School Class of 2007, the honors they received, the complete program of the May 27 graduation exercises, and a listing of the class motto, the senior class officers, the class representatives and their advisors was created. The supplement was inserted in the May 22 Broadcaster and the May 25 Vermillion Plain Talk.

Strive to preserve freedom

To the editor:

The sleeping giant awakens as the citizens find their voices. Their keepers are nervous that the sedation is wearing off. Questions about the facts and truth are being asked in light of what is reported. Citizens remember that they have every right to expect integrity and respect from those who assume trusted positions as "public servants." The questions bother some who have become lax in their duties. They prefer to address inquiry with a curt dismissal that aims to deflect, diminish and divide the served. Hmmmm … divide and conquer. It seems to me that's a well-worn phrase.

Recent Letters to the Editor have pulsed with citizen energy, and I applaud the Vermillion Plain Talk for respecting its readership by providing balance in its presentation.

Related to the behavior of law enforcement, I want to share that, over the past year or so, I have experienced personally a serious change in local demeanor. The problem is that officers in direct action are not always given correct and objective information or proper direction. The responsibility goes back to leadership, and whether or not those positions are executed with skill and integrity. I believe we as local citizens need to become concerned. We must evaluate carefully the pictures that are emerging.

I've already spoken about my battles, and they rage on. There is a determined effort to destroy my credibility, damage my social structure, deprive me of my developing property, and alienate me from other good citizens. Why, you must ask? Because I demonstrate an unwillingness to roll over, be cheated (again!), be marginalized, exist in silence and be well-controlled. A larger agenda that I question has some powerful influences behind it.

Somehow I retained the mistaken notion that I live in America, land of the free and home of the brave. I returned to live in the state my grandparents homesteaded and helped develop into a wonderful place to reside. I resist the hidden monopolizations that threaten all of us. They demonstrate utter disregard for our ability and prerogative to give input into citizen-related concerns by limiting the information available to us. What you don't know can hurt you. Knowledge is a precious commodity and truth must be upheld by balanced examination of issues.

I appreciate other citizens' well-articulated views about quality of life and respect for individuals. We must be willing to stand up and participate with other citizens who strive to preserve freedom and our quality of life under the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Ask questions, refuse to be silenced, contribute to the effort with the best of your God-given talents and abilities. Don't judge until you know all the facts. Work hard with other everyday citizens to find the best answers to the questions that are raised. Recognize that the motives of those with substantial interests to gain or maintain could be skewed at times by blinding greed. Study carefully to resist the guise of charlatans and crooks. Realize that we must all resort to becoming lifelong learners.

When necessary, as responsible citizens, we must gently but firmly remind our governance and judiciary, our corporate leadership and their financial beneficiaries that there are inherent principles to hold firm. Integrity must not be compromised! Wherever it exists, corruption must be decreased and corrected through careful examination of the big picture that is based on learning facts and applying objective analysis.

Everything this country has ever stood for is at stake. This is the season that highlights our patriotic history together, and our celebrations center on the gifts of freedom. Our ancestors defended those gifts with all they had, leaving us a proud legacy to protect.

I am launching a local chapter of a national organization that seeks to respect and preserve constitutional values and citizen awareness. Our heritage was built on citizen education, voter expression of preference, and the expectation that those we select for leadership act appropriately. Citizens all over the country have many of the same concerns we have here. When the local chapter launch is scheduled, I will notify fellow citizens by advertising in local media.

I will be describing my journey and resistance to the untoward attacks against me through the responsible use of journalism. It is the tool we still have to achieve balance in the world that is too often confused by its preoccupation with money at any cost. We must remember that, in a just and ethical society, the end does not justify the means when untoward effect befalls innocent lives. Those basic Ten Commandments, and especially the Golden Rule that views others as deserving as ourselves, will continue to guide good citizens of a great land.

One quick correction: For the Record on May 25 recorded an inaccurate date about the incident inflicted on me. I was taken in front of Judge Rusch on Friday, April 27, part of a quite strange experience about which you should know. It relates to county law enforcement and the conditions within our jail. It informs you about how certain levels operate here to intimidate and "muddy the waters" when they want to emphasize prowess. The experience will be described in a future article, made available to local media.

Judith I. Grant


Visioning works both ways

To the editor:

I recently had an opportunity to be a volunteer on the first design:SD team. The team consisted of architects, engineers, planners and rural developers and was the result of collaboration between the Rural Learning Center, the South Dakota chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and others. The community selected was Corsica, population about 650. The team of twelve spent nearly three days in Corsica living with host families. We learned about the community one day, drew up visioning ideas the second day, presenting them to the community the third. I think the townspeople were very pleased with the results.

The most surprising part of the exercise was what I learned. I am unarguably citified but have spent a fair amount of time visiting many of the communities in South Dakota. I thought I knew this state pretty well. Boy, was I wrong! My vision of rural South Dakota was completely blown away. Here�s what I learned:

Rural folks are not �stuck in their ways.� I saw recent innovations in agriculture and learned new terms like value added agriculture, no-till farming and anaerobic digester. We visited a hog farm that was powered by the methane from the waste. Hog farmers are fanatical about cleanliness and disease control. A change of clothes is required going from one building to another. They don�t even smell bad.

Farmers care about the environment. I was under the impression that farm chemicals were a huge problem in rural areas. I learned that all of the chemicals required to keep my city grass green is probably a bigger polluter. Farmers in Douglas County work hard to protect the land and use natural products when possible.

Every place is some place special. A family in Corsica has accumulated one of the largest collections of vintage automobiles and antique farm equipment in the country. They are all in pristine condition and can be viewed for the asking. Corsica is home to a large horse sale barn that draws people from around the world. As many as 400-500 people visit every month on sale weekend. There is a great recreational lake with a nine-hole golf course where you can play all day for $10. Astonishing stuff.

Rural economy is not hurting (at least here). Corsica is very prosperous. Sure, they would like to do better and want managed growth, but the unemployment rate is low and the community is clean and well-kept. Businesses come and go, just like everywhere else, but there seems to be at least one of everything. The schools are terrific.

I was proud to be part of the design:SD team and I think we did help Corsica to envision a better community, but our vision of rural South Dakota will be forever changed. Visioning certainly works both ways. Hopefully, there will be more.

Sandra Lea Dickenson, AIA Architect


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