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Corps takes flood control seriously

To the Editor:

Heavy rain and melting mountain snow have caused flooding along the Missouri River and many of its tributaries in much of Missouri, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. The pain and financial loss of individual families and businesses is wrenching.

The federal levees along the river are performing well, with 6 feet or more of freeboard common throughout the system. However, many non-federal levees with lower levels of protection are facing risk of overtopping; some have recently overtopped or breached.

In addition to dispatching teams of experts, several million sandbags and pumps throughout the basin to support local flood fighting efforts, the Army Corps of Engineers has adjusted releases from its reservoirs to store millions of acre feet of water, preventing it from adding to the high river. Without the reservoirs, downstream flows in recent weeks would have been approximately 80,000 to 100,000 cfs higher and river stages 4 to 6 feet higher. The system is operating as designed.

To be prepared for the next flood event, water must be evacuated as soon as downstream conditions permit.

Last week, heavy upstream rain rapidly filled the flood zones of both Gavins Point and Fort Randall reservoirs. On June 14, the Gavins Point level was approaching the top of the emergency spillway gates, so releases were gradually increased to 33,000 cfs while those from Fort Randall were cut significantly. The higher releases halted the rise in Gavins Point reservoir just 4 inches from the top of the spillway gates. This was the third highest pool on record and the highest in nearly 50 years.

We are continually monitoring the situation on the Missouri River and its tributaries as well as weather forecasts to make timely adjustments to the flows within our ability to control them and in accordance with our statutory responsibilities. Precipitation forecasts continue to show significant rainfall, particularly in the lower basin. Our real time operations will continue to take the best available information into account and make adjustments to system flows accordingly.

The Army Corps of Engineers takes its flood reduction responsibilities very seriously and will do everything within its ability to manage the flows from its reservoirs to reduce the risk from current and future high-water events throughout the system.

Brig. Gen. John McMahon, Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb.

Explore Christianity, gain understanding

To the Editor:

To (past letter-writer) Mr. Nase: It saddens me that you have not been given the opportunity to learn of the breadth and diversity of Christian thought and tradition. Your expression of following God through Jesus is only one strand of belief within Christianity. Many will say that it is the only or "right" way, but I would differ with them. Christianity is a very diverse tradition and it has been since its inception. Your understanding is based on the doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement, which came about through St. Anselm in 1097 A.D. and, for some, does tend to bring an image of an angry or violent God taking out divine wrath upon Jesus.

While the scope of Christianity is way beyond a "letter to the editor," I would like to offer you a different idea in very simplistic language. Some scholars believe that Jesus did not "have to die for human sins." In other words, God did not predestine Jesus' death. Rather, Jesus died because of humans' sinfulness. In other words, Jesus was a radical and he was speaking against a comfortable relationship between the Roman Empire and the Temple, which by and large was exploitative, and when one spoke against the "powers that be" one was removed. Hence, the sinfulness of humanity. So, Jesus' death was the result of a political move and not a divinely ordained move. Of course, thinking about this opens up several questions and implications and, again, it is way beyond what can be discussed in this medium.

However, if you are curious about this line of thought held in reputable Christian circles, I recommend a book titled "The Last Week" by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan. Borg is hundere distinguished professor of religion and culture at Oregon State University and authors many more books about Jesus, as well as Christianity. Crossan was an ordained priest and then taught at DePaul University in Chicago. He is regarded as one of the leading scholars of the historical Jesus and has additionally authored many books on the topic at hand. I encourage you to explore Christianity more fully because I believe that you might be able to gain a much more gracious understanding of God through the life of Jesus.

The Rev. Kristi McLaughlin, Mitchell

Are you sure you are headed for Heaven?

To the Editor:

Having been made in the image of God makes mankind the glory of His creation, which is one reason why we should honor the sanctity of life. We are also the only creatures who have the ability to communicate with language.

People these days no longer embrace life as the valuable gift it is. Abortion was once seldom done, but now Planned Parenthood has made it over a billion-dollar business. Unfortunately, it takes this experience to waken many women (and often the men they're involved with) to the reality of what they have done.

We've aborted some 52 million babies throughout 37 years. If we had allowed them to live, most would have grown and entered the workforce, thus contributing needed funds these many years. No wonder Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy. Congress should never have been allowed to take funds from this in exchange for IOUs.

Since abortion has blanketed much of the earth and since abortion (murder) violates the Sixth Commandment, there are consequences. One is several nations are now experiencing population shrinkage, aka demographic winter. At this rate, these will eventually become extinct.

Muslims are replacing these lost populations, a convenient way to further their determination to conquer the world for Islam. These comprise one-fifth of the worlds' population, as Muslims do not practice birth control. We need to pray for these who live in such darkness.

Unless one is born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Are you 100 percent sure that when you die you'll go to heaven? All of us will live somewhere eternally -- heaven or hell? We must see our depravity before the holy, omniscient God of the universe. We must confess our sin, repent and hold on to the Gospel, believing completely in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sandie Rice, Mitchell

How fast will we lose liberties, freedoms?

To the Editor:

The United States may well be the largest developer of criminal records known to modern man. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world and searching today with technology is much easier for a hundred million or whatever. These types of lists were much more difficult for Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, Castro and others.

The federal government is busy with hearings, political fights and failed terrorist catchers, so they used driver's licenses as vehicles to gain confidential information. All these maiden names, spellings, Social Security, birth certificates, etc., are for legal lists -- why else? If everyone is treated as a terrorist, there must be some there.

For some federal money, the states receive the duty of obtaining this information at license time for the federal government. No bribe is implied.

Everyone should check their "criminal record," because you may not even know what is there for your lifetime. You receive no notice. Even some event just charged and dropped would be on the government's list. The hostage is the license.

Your clerk of courts may provide your list without charge.

A quote is "When you give up liberty for security, you end up without either."

Ask your grandparents how fast we are losing liberties or freedoms.

Rex Alberts, Yankton

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