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Change your clocks, check smoke alarms

To the Editor:

The Mitchell Fire Division has a simple but powerful reminder for all members of our community this weekend. When you change your clocks for daylight-saving time, change and test the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and please remind your friends, family and neighbors to do the same.

Twenty-three years ago, Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) recognized a disturbing trend that many home fire fatalities were taking place in homes without working smoke alarms. So the "Change Your Clock Change Your Battery" program was developed to help reduce this number.

Along with thousands of fire departments nationwide, Energizer and the IAFC have been reminding communities to check and change their smoke alarm batteries and to make sure their smoke alarms are working when they set their clocks. Additionally, it is recommended to replace smoke alarms every 10 years and have a mix of both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms to alert you to all types of home fires.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fire structures in half. As a 20-year fire services veteran, I have witnessed first-hand the tragedy and devastation of home fires. It's even more heartbreaking when a young life is cut short. Thousands are injured and killed each year from home fires. Overall, roughly 66 percent of home fire deaths in this country occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Considering that residential fire deaths peak in winter months, it's critical to check and change your smoke alarm batteries each and every fall.

We hope you'll join our fire department, Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs in sharing this life-giving information with everyone and encourage them to make a difference in our city and across the country.

Paul Morris, fire chief, Mitchell Fire Division

Opt-out was not 'sneaked through'

To the Editor:

In regard to Mr. Rod Hall's opinion piece on the Mitchell School District opt-out, simply put, the opt-out that passed in 2002 was not "sneaked through." That would suggest that the voters in that April 2002 election were unaware that the opt-out was permanent. Mr. Hall has already admitted he knew of its permanence. He was clearly not the only one:

1. On 1/30/2002, The Daily Republic printed a front page article headlined "No Expiration Date on Opt-Out." It includes a quote from me on the opt-out's permanence.

2. In February, in an article headlined, "Legislative Panel Revises Opt-out," The Daily Republic referred to the fact that the opt-out under consideration had no time limit.

3. On 2/22/02, The Daily Republic printed an article headlined "New Opt-out Bill Clears House," referencing the fact that the opt-out under consideration in Mitchell was permanent.

4. On 3/9/02, the DR printed an article headlined "Opt-out Changes Divided Legislators" which highlighted proposed changes to the opt-out law, specifically noting that the current opt-out under consideration is permanent.

5. On 3/25/02, in a response to candidate questions in The Daily Republic when Mr. Hall was running for the school board, he clearly stated that the current opt-out under consideration was permanent.

6. On 4/4/02, The Daily Republic printed an article under the "Our View" section titled "Clearing up an opt-out question." It stated, "There's no time limit, no sunset provision for the opt-out. There will be after July 1 because the Legislature changed the law, but that will not affect the Mitchell board's resolution."

7. On 4/5/02, two letters to the editor referred to the permanence of the opt-out, arguing against its passage for that reason.

8. Finally, a brochure distributed all over town by the Kids First! Organization stated specifically that "...no time limit is in the opt-out ..."

If this opt-out was "sneaked through," it was one of the worst kept secrets in history. Oddly, Mr. Hall is now worried about the board collecting additional opt-out dollars even though in the past he has pushed for the board members to collect and spend more of these dollars than they have. It has, in fact, been the school board which has consistently decided to take less of these dollars than it could have each and every year since 2002 and taking none at all, $0, in calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Joe Graves, superintendent, Mitchell School District

Schools today are teaching ignorance

To the Editor:

Today's schools teach tolerance instead of truth, ignoring the fact that for no less than 150 years of our history, the Bible was our chief textbook. The 10 Commandments were the basis for our entire legal system and educational excellence was a worthy goal.

Now to depart from this, modernism taught that there is no reality in the supernatural, relying heavily on science for its answer. Of late, we have to deal with postmodernism that says we can't know absolute objective truth; truth is a matter of personal opinion. New Agers believe we find truth within ourselves.

Biblical truth, inerrant and absolute, is constant and fixed as opposed to the worldview with all its fads and philosophies, which is ever changing, never stable. You would think that people would find more comfort in the tried and true rather than the uncertainties devised by man's foolish wisdom and greed.

In the view of the above, our youth are being short-changed as they learn to be more and more tolerant since the need for critical thinking is being systematically eliminated. The dumbing down of America through the educational system is a deliberate effort to prevent people from learning to evaluate beliefs, ideas, thoughts, etc.

A thinking people would recognize that the youth are being prepared for a one-size-fits-all, robot-like existence in a global community, where individual thinking will not be welcome. We have not appreciated the tremendous blessings of God on this nation, thus we have turned our backs on him and literally spit on his face.

Can you think on one good reason why God should bless America? Our Lord Jesus Christ came into this world specifically to die for each of us. He gave His life for you. What will you give for Him?

Sandie Rice, Mitchell

Ordinances can aid towns against porn

To the Editor:Maxine Pulse, Lori Hanson, Salem

Unethical for pastor to write recent letter

To the Editor:

The Rev. Kristi McLaughlin wrote a letter published Oct. 14 titled "Pro-life should be about more than just abortion." Well, in a perfect world with a dash of Roe v. Wade, the reverend makes a compelling argument on specific issues that affect everyday American life.

There are differences between perfection and reality pertaining to her views in regard to education. A perfect world would breed students and faculty that would uniformly strive for utmost achievement, where everyone scores high in every academic category while earning a master's in their desired field. The real world is all about having the right attitude in conjunction with overall intelligence separating future generations of doers and those whose survival is all about doing for those who have already gotten it done.

A flawless universe would bring us a health-care system where we will always have the funds to support an ever-so-increasing aging population. Reality states that we are all diverse in our choices in life as well as our genetic pros and cons, while still having the choice to make wise and foolish decisions in regard to lifestyle and finance.

Only in heaven will we have an economy where everyone has everything that's needed to exist, even though you may have decided to do absolutely nothing for all eternity. No one has to worry about having to go through all the necessary channels to compete for patronage when providing goods and services through the principle of "supply and demand" while being driven by the will to succeed.

Also, where simple social physics are irrelevant, the scales of justice never need to be recalibrated by the principle of "your rights end where the rights of the next guy's begin." Virtue and consequence would be at peace with one another while all aspects of civilization remain intact without past experiences of ourselves and others standing in front of whatever urge is becoming all the more self-justified.

The only thing necessary for mention when it comes to abortion is that I was only inches close to the business end of that so-called "choice" back in 1974. Needless to say, it's a moot point in discussing that subject any further.

Breaking down such a rebuttal is quite simple: It's insane and unethical for a pulpit master to print such literary rubbish by word-wrangling the abortion issue with an agenda that's only effective following The Second Coming.

Heath Breaux, Mitchell

Noem: You won; can you walk the walk?

To the Editor:

OK, Kristi, it's now your turn. The state's 153,774 registered voters who listened to your campaign attack ads helped you get your foot in the door. You let the GOP and special interest groups talk the talk for you; now let's see if you can walk the walk. I'll be watching and will be here come 2014 to promote and advertise your voting record and the support you rendered through your first tenure.

By then, though, you too will be "out of touch" with South Dakota voters and found to vote along partisan party lines, much like you said your predecessor did.

Remember: Because D.C. is 1,500 miles away, the incumbent lost sight of and no longer understood South Dakota "values." Better put a note on your refrigerator door in that million-dollar house you're going to have to live in. Maybe you could see if Tom's house is still available; it was one of the more modest dwellings with a good location from the Capitol, unlike the other $5 million to $15 million homes in John's neighborhood.

Washington isn't South Dakota and as John can attest, a modest three-bedroom home sells for $5 million to $15 million. Rent, you say? Be prepared for $5,000-plus for a two-bedroom. But with all your children, you'll need more space than a drafty old apartment or townhouse.

Let's watch how you transform yourself to juggle family and politics and convince the other 46 percent of the registered voters who didn't drink the GOP Kool-Aid that you are worthy of their support.

Remember, if you're not giving 100 percent to our state, you will be likened to your predecessor, who just couldn't seem to get her affairs in order sufficiently to handle both either.

If this letter seems a little harsh, just remember how much you got away with slamming our state's previous representative, twisting the facts and setting her up with shirttail associations.

Welcome to Washington politics.

Rick Velin, Mitchell

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