letters to the editor

Proposed water access could hurt ranchers

My grandparents are ranchers, so my family knows how important access to water can be, especially in tough years.

That's why I'm so worried about Powertech, Inc.'s proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine in Fall River County.

Powertech is applying to drain more than 9,000 gallons per minute from the Inyan Kara and Madison aquifers. Rapid City and neighboring communities depend on these aquifers for water. When SD farmers and ranchers are struggling through one of the worst droughts in recent memory, allowing a foreign corporation to drain our precious resources seems like a disaster in the making.

Moreover, according to a USA Today study (9/28/2012), water costs are rising all across the U.S. Sioux Falls has seen costs increase by 140 percent in the last 12 years! The average annual income for Pennington County is $18,938. For our West River neighbors earning less than $20,000, hikes like this might mean having to choose between running water or heat next winter.

Powertech's water permit hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5 in Pierre. Before that hearing takes place, let our legislators know that South Dakota can't afford this mine.

Tom Emanuel, Vermillion Executive Director of the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center

Sweet & Treats Cookie Walk is town treasure

Vermillion is a town rich in treasures, and it was about one year ago that I discovered yet another unique town treasure. Familiar with several of the well-known treasures – the National Music Museum, the W.H. Over Museum and the Austin Whittemore House – I wasn't expecting to find another town treasure when I arrived at the 2011 Clay County Historical Society's Sweet & Treats Cookie Walk. I expected to find the usual yummy bake sale goodies, but what I did find was more than a mere bake sale with its usual fare.

The first hint that I was onto something beyond the usual was the row of paper plates topped with generous stacks of the world's thinnest, tastiest and most brittle of peanut brittles. Trays on the next table were filled with tiers of the most crisp, delicious, perfectly-formed rosette cookies. And those were only the beginning of the walk.

There were varieties of every sweet and treat imaginable: Rolled cookies, pressed cookies, powdered cookies, cut-out cookies, drop cookies, filled cookies, decorated cookies, bar cookies with chips, nuts, jams and/or fruit bits, fudge with or without nuts, brownies, blondies, meringue cookies and macaroons. Treats without categorical headings, such as krumkake and almond bark-dipped pretzels also filled the tables.

All the cookies, sweets and treats I knew from childhood, plus more, appeared on these tables. It was an amazing sight to behold!

What is even more amazing is that all of these sweets, treats and cookies are made by the people of Vermillion, most by Clay County Historical Society members. In my thinking, this makes the Clay County Historical Society as much of a town treasure as the Sweet & Treats Walk they sponsor.

I saved this letter for a year to send so it could serve as a heads up to the townspeople of Vermillion to schedule the Sweet & Treats Cookie Walk into their holiday calendar. The 2012 Sweet & Treats Cookie Walk is being held Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Austin Whittemore House, 5 Austin St.

Go. You will be happy you did.

Kate Stewart

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