Belated thanks

To the editor:

I want to say a belated thanks for the support everyone provided to the Salvation Army Bell Ringing Campaign. We raised just over $3,400 this year. Ninety percent of this money will help meet the emergency needs of families and individuals in our community.

Please continue to think of us and if you wish to donate please send it to Salvation Army, 10 Linden Avenue, Vermillion, SD.

Big thanks to the churches and community groups that helped bell ring: St. Paul's, Trinity, Cornerstone, Faith Fellowship, St. Agnes Christian Education Ministries, Knights of Columbus, Awana's, Luther Center, 4-H, 4-H Jolley Juniors, USD Serve, Lions Club, Rotary, Sanford Hospital, Vermillion High School students, and Wal-Mart employees,.

Also to the fraternities and sororities of USD Kappa Alpha Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Phi.

Finally thanks to Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee and Jones' Food Center for allowing us to use their business to do the bell ringing.

If you would like to be apart of the planning and implementation of this crucial community fund for next year, please call 624-8809 or email djd117@msn.com


Pastor Devon Davoux

Repair, don't sell

To the editor:

Recently, the Vermillion Area Arts Council Board of Directors moved, without the authorization of its membership, to secure a non-refundable $500 six-month purchase option on another building and has raised the question of selling the existing Washington Street Arts Center and Community Garden lot in order to fund this purchase.

In December of 2006, a Building Needs Assessment for the Historic 1906 Washington Street Arts Center was completed by Ciavarella Design of Mitchell. This needs assessment was funded by a $5,000 contribution from the City of Vermillion.

The current VAAC Board leadership is using this document as a basis for their claim that the historic Washington Street Arts Center and adjoining property should be sold.

However, this report's conclusions state that, "Due to … higher replacement cost and the strong overall character and presence of the existing arts center, renovation and continued maintenance of the existing building are recommended." Further the report finds that "the Art Center should retain [the adjoining Community Garden] property for as long as possible for potential growth and parking."

The current VAAC Board leadership has pointed solely to the report's construction cost estimates as evidence for selling the property, while ignoring the overall findings of the report. A closer look at these repairs and costs shows that many of the estimates are much higher than the actual cost of those repairs is likely to be.

In truth, many of the repair and maintenance projects outlined by the report could easily be done with volunteer labor and donated or high-quality salvaged supplies. The report comments favorably on many of the repairs made to the premises in the past, and many of those repairs were made in exactly this way.

I urge members of the arts council, the city of Vermillion, and all Vermillion taxpayers who funded this report, to read the report in its entirety, and to consider all of its recommendations. If the current VAAC Board leadership chooses to ignore the recommendations of a thorough report paid for by the city, the city should cut off funding for the Arts Council until that board is replaced.

The full needs assessment report can be found on the arts council's Web site: http://www.vaac.org/.


Rebecca M. Terk

It's about time

To the editor:

The lead article in last week's Plain Talk was somewhat confusing, but it seems that Councilman Roger Jeck and Mayor Dan Christopherson were being chastised for asking questions of the Chamber/VDC Board. Taxpayer money is missing. And it's not the first time. I think it's about time someone asked some hard questions. Thank you Mr. Jeck and Mr. Christopherson.

Jeanette Williams


To the editor:

I have been wanting to write a letter which would reflect my dismay at the loss of Lisa Ketcham's expertise, personality and work ethic from the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and the Vermillion Development Corporation. Thanks to Dr. Bill Bergman for speaking so eloquently to that very subject – he said so well what I, and I hope many, many others have been thinking for many weeks.

I envy the employer who will be lucky enough to add Lisa to their staff. Vermillion is losing a greatly talented person.


Maxine Johnson

Dismayed by reporting

To the editor:

I have lived in the Vermillion area for two years now and have been dismayed at the journalism found in the Plain Talk. Up to this point I have remained quiet, but the paper's latest printing has pushed me to voice an opinion.

It is astounding that the lead article of the "news" paper is not much different than those found in the Opinion section. Mr. Lias seems to honor his own views more than accurate or thorough reporting.

The false statements in his "Mystery, Confusion, Frustration" article could have easily be clarified with one or two phone calls, if one was able to look past their own opinions to try and write objectively. The reader doesn't have to guess where Mr. Lias stands on the issue.

His reporting, for example, on the importance of rushing the process to find a replacement for Lisa Ketcham leaves one to question why individuals who think differently (i.e. that there is obvious damage to the structure of the department that allowed thousands upon thousands of citizens' money to disappear, which, logically, would call for more thorough research than if it were merely turnover in staff) are painted so poorly.

His articles are so steeped with his own opinions and it is passed off as journalism. That is not the kind of news I want to read.

And please, it has been enough to endure, now for the third time, his blasting of Councilman Jeck. If there is an axe to grind, fine, keep it in the editorials, but repeatedly using the front page of the paper to publicly attempt to disgrace someone only disgraces the paper itself and, unfortunately, the town that it represents.


Jill Caraway

Editor's note: The Plain Talk recognizes that Ms. Caraway is entitled to an opinion on this issue. To avoid confusion, however, it must be noted that she wasn't present at the special city council meeting on Jan. 28. The Plain Talk's front page report of that meeting contains no false statements; all are attributed to individuals who participated in the special assembly of the city council. The circumstances of the event also were verified by viewing e-mail correspondence that wasn't available to the public when the meeting started.


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