Thank you, Vermillion

Dear Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce & Development Company members, Vermillion City Council, City Staff, Clay County Commissioners, Clay County Staff, community members, and residents of the surrounding area:

As I depart from my employment with the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce & Development Company, I want to thank all of you for the opportunity to serve you, the Vermillion community, and the surrounding area over the past five years. I truly appreciate the overall confidence, support, and commitment that you have shown to me and to the organization.

The experiences that I have had in supporting, developing, and expanding membership and the relationships with our many partners; working on events and promotions; hosting visitors, prospective residents and businesses; as well as representing Vermillion on local, regional, state, and national boards have provided me with opportunities to interact with some of the finest people I have ever met.

This organization, the community, and the surrounding area have a lot to be proud of, as we reflect on our past accomplishments and all of the opportunities that lie ahead. I would like to encourage all of you to continue to support the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce & Development Company, and to believe in yourselves, the community, the region, and the state and all that we have to offer.

By building on our past and being open to new opportunities and the potential that exists, great things can happen.

Again, thank you for the invaluable experiences and opportunities that I have had during my tenure with the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce & Development Company. I wish all of you the very best in the future and hope that our paths will cross again.


Lisa Ketcham

All wrong

To the editor:

In regards to the campus gun bill (Press & Dakotan, Feb. 5), I totally disagree with HB1261 that passed the House by something like 63 to 3.

I told my representative last Saturday in Vermillion, I disagreed with him and he stated, he would attempt next year to change this bill that he had voted on.

When people use terms such as "like-minded liberals," "gun-free zones" and "protecting criminals", they are coined phrases from some people who never in their life had to face down a person who was holding a weapon directed at them.

Maybe if they were in combat in the service, and if they might have been a law enforcement officer … I know many citizens of this state who process a concealed weapons permit – so do I. But do I carry a weapon everywhere I go? Inside a bank, my church, maybe watching a basketball game at the high school, or senior citizens center? While seeing a friend in a hospital? Or even taking a class at USD or any campus in this state?

They mention the shooting at the church in Colorado, yes this young lady did her part, but remember she was a trained former officer from Minnesota before she pulled that trigger on that Sunday morning: the key word is "trained"; they had knowledge when firing a weapon in public where there are people present.

This bill is all wrong. I disagree with the people who introduced it and voted for the passing of it. I do know a little bit about this matter we are speaking about: I am the former chief of police of Vermillion from 1981 to the end of 1994; I had almost 30 years with this department.

Gary Wright

Limited interpretation

To the editor:

The Feb. 6 Plain Talk contained a letter from Ms. Rebecca Terk questioning the activities of the board of the Vermillion Area Arts Council with regard to the Washington Street Arts Center. The arts council has been in existence for 34 years and has occupied and used the Washington Street Arts Center as its home for 17 of those years.

The building has always been barely adequate as a home for the arts. In 2006 the Vermillion City Council generously funded a feasibility study of the building by an experienced historic architect. This study pointed out a number of deficiencies in the building and proposed some solutions with proposed costs attached.

The study encouraged the arts council board to examine a number of alternatives including but not limited to raising sufficient funds to cure the deficiencies which prevent optimal use of the building, sale of the adjoining lot or the stained glass windows or both to raise sufficient funds to start the rehabilitation process, or sale of the building and purchase of different building that could be reasonably rehabilitated using the proceeds of the sale of the Washington Street Arts Center.

This process commenced with discussion at the annual meeting of the membership in September of 2007.

Ms. Terk in her letter uses a selective and limited interpretation of the feasibility study to contend that the costs of repairing deficiencies outlined in the feasibility study are overstated with no evidence to show that this is true. She further states that many of the repair and maintenance projects could easily be done with volunteer labor and donated material.

The board in fact was able to construct a single classroom in the basement using dedicated volunteers and significant contributions from the Vermillion Community Foundation, five local civic groups and interested individuals. It is highly unlikely that volunteer labor and donated materials can be used to install an elevator for handicapped accessibility, handicapped bathrooms, asbestos removal, structural tower repair or air conditioning.

Lack of air conditioning severely limits use of the building in the summertime and has caused some classes to be canceled and others removed from the building. These major deficiencies have not changed in the 18 years that the Arts Council has owned the building.

Volunteers and contributions have courageously maintained the building in a barely acceptable state since the arts council acquired it.

The present board is interested in providing a comfortable and efficient home for an ever expanding series of art and music classes, art exhibitions, concerts and community outreach programming in the arts.

For updated information regarding the activities of the Vermillion Area Arts Council, please consult the official Arts Council Web site at Vaaconthemove.org

The Vermillion Area Arts Council would like to thank the community for their past support of the arts in Vermillion.


Vermillion Area Arts Council Board of Directors, Executive Committee
Helen Burton, president
Stephen Yarbrough, vice president
Jim Wilson, treasurer
Elizabeth Abbott, secretary

Boom or bust for Hyperion?

To the editor:

A recent letter emphasized that the probabilities of refinery explosions or major pipeline leaks increase tremendously when facilities get about 25 years old. What was not mentioned is that many oil companies abandon their expensive and dirty projects in a very short time. In 1981 there were 324 refineries in the U.S., today there are only 141. This is a boom and bust industry. There are many reasons to expect a very short boom.

Throughout the world oil companies are famous for profiteering, political interference (Teapot Dome) and environmental degradation (Exxon Valdez). As world wide sweet crude production peaked nations like Algeria have ejected big oil companies (Wall Street Journal, 1-28-2008). The companies need new sources of crude.

There are two major new sources for big oil: the ocean floor and Canada oil sands.

Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips are bidding for leasing rights from the U.S. government to drill for up to 15,000,000,000 barrels of recoverable oil in the Arctic Ocean. There are many other offshore options. Both of these huge companies own oil sands in Alberta. Hyperion does not.

Royal Dutch Shell has plans to build a 25-27 billion dollar refinery next to the oil sands. ConocoPhillips plans to pump 590,000 barrels/day through the TransCanada pipeline to existing and expanding refineries in Illinois and points south. Enbridge pipelines carry crude to Minnesota and Illinois. Last December they partnered with ExonMobil and plan to extend their pipelines to expanding Texas refineries. Massive quantities of sour crude are already coming to the U.S. Do we really need another pipeline for Hyperion? Hyperion refuses to make public where their pipelines will be located or identify their partners.

The Wall Street Journal (2-05-2008) reports that Alberta is finally putting restrictions on water use, and air and water pollution. Obtaining a barrel of crude from oil sands produces more than three times the greenhouse gases as conventional crude. Refining produces even more. The oil companies say they intend to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground. This is an unproven and expensive technology.

This year oil companies have made historical profits and we still give them tax breaks and other subsidies (National Review (Online) 1-17- 2007). Does this nation want to support big oil forever or should we move with haste to clean alternative energy sources and conservation? Do the people of Union County want to trade their safe and clean way of life for big oil and a quick affair with Texas based tycoons. Hyperion has never built a refinery. Are they involved in speculative hallucination?

James F. Heisinger

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