Opinion: Letters to the EditorDisappointed with council’s decision To the Editor: I was at last night’s (Aug. 17) budget hearing at City Hall, representing the Dakota Discovery Museum, of which I am president of the board of directors. To say I am disappointed at the council’s decision to not fund Cornerstones, the Dakota Discovery Museum and the Prehistoric Indian Village is understating my concerns.
Disappointed with council’s decision
To the Editor:
I was at last night’s (Aug. 17) budget hearing at City Hall, representing the Dakota Discovery Museum, of which I am president of the board of directors.
To say I am disappointed at the council’s decision to not fund Cornerstones, the Dakota Discovery Museum and the Prehistoric Indian Village is understating my concerns.
I cannot help but feel that Mitchell is a city that does not wish to invest in its citizens. A $3,000 investment in Cornerstones would have a tremendous impact, not only on the lives of the individuals directly aided by Cornerstones, but on the community itself. High school dropouts who receive a GED through Cornerstones become more productive members of the community, buying homes, paying property taxes, able to purchase more within the community. Pulling themselves up by their bootstraps can be extremely difficult without agencies such as Cornerstones.
The Dakota Discovery Museum and the Prehistoric Indian Village are first-class tourist attractions in Mitchell. Mr. Houwman states that lack of marketing is contributing to the financial problems experienced by these organizations. Mr. Houwman wondered why the Dakota Discovery Museum dropped most of its advertising. Our choices were, to say the least, limited. The museum dropped two full-time employees, leaving one to do the work of all and then some. Should we have let everyone go and kept our advertising budget intact? Marketing is not the problem — the economic climate is the problem.
I am sure the same can be said for the Prehistoric Indian Village.
Perhaps if the Dakota Discovery Museum and the Prehistoric Indian Village erected basketball courts and exhibits touting the history of sports, the City Council would help.
The museum will survive — it won’t be easy — but it will survive with or without the City Council. It just would have been nice to have had support from the city.
Cindy Gregg, Letcher
Thune should show support for START
To the Editor:
The United States currently maintains a nuclear stockpile of roughly 2,000 deployed and ready-to-launch nuclear weapons. The Russian Federation has roughly equal capability. The total destructive force of either nation’s deployed arsenal could end all life on the planet several times over.
In 2009 the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), a bilateral agreement which capped each nation’s nuclear arsenal at roughly 2,000 deployed nuclear warheads, expired. Given limitations of the second START agreement and the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), this expiration eliminated the last legal barrier to arms buildups in either nation. This means that currently, Russia could begin a massive arms buildup with no fear of legal repercussion from the United States.
Fortunately, U.S. diplomats negotiated a replacement agreement in New START, which reduces the nuclear arsenals on both sides to 1,550 deployed warheads. This April, President Obama signed this treaty. It currently awaits ratification from the Senate.
Sen. Thune currently opposes this ratification due to minor issues of language. Failure to ratify this treaty would leave international arms control in a state of limbo for the foreseeable future and threaten both nations’ security. The treaty itself has a built in negotiation structure capable of resolving many of the senator’s concerns without endangering strategic stability.
For this reason, I encourage you to write Sen. Thune voicing your support for START. For more information on START, Sen. Thune’s position on this issue or a sample letter, please see the website SDforSTART.org.
Tom Friedenbach, Yankton
Baseball Bash is a local success story
To the Editor:
Sunday, Aug. 15, the Field of Dreams in Mitchell was filled with hope for honoring cancer survivors and in memory of those who have passed. It was the first You’ll Never Walk Alone Baseball Bash with 12-and-under teams including Parkston, the Mitchell Mustangs, Mitchell Thunder and Mitchell Renegades. Each player represented a loved one lost to cancer or a survivor.
Everyone enjoyed some great baseball along with a home run derby, knowing the proceeds were going to support the You’ll Never Walk Alone Foundation.
This great event was made possible by many sponsors, including Muth Electric, The Daily Republic, the Reginald Martin Agency, Blarney’s and Quiznos and many individuals.
Most importantly, Mitchell is very lucky to have Stacy Morgan and her family, who believe no one should ever have to walk alone when dealing with cancer.
The generosity of the Stacy Morgan Foundation has given hope to many families. We look forward to the second annual You’ll Never Walk Alone Baseball Bash in 2011 and hope you and your family will plan to attend.
Steve and Sonya Clark, Mitchell
Budget balanced, but with federal cash
To the Editor:
As I was reading the Rapid City Journal’s July 17 issue, I questioned why the governor would take pride in the fact that the state budget was balanced with $101 million of federal stimulus money.
Any first-year accounting major knows that a budget can only be balanced with ongoing revenues. One-time monies, such as the federal stimulus money, should be used for one-time expenses only, not to fund continuing programs that will require funding year after year.
The fact is the next governor will inherit a deficit of at least $101 million.
That deficit can be attributed to the fact that in eight years, the state has added 1,356 full-time equivalent employees, and the budget has grown from $2.5 billion to $3.9 billion, an increase of nearly 60 percent, or more than 7 percent per year.
That yearly increase is unsustainable and the next governor will have to either make drastic cuts or begin spending down the state’s reserve funds.
Interest from the reserve funds has been transferred, in the past, to fund the budget. Once the fund’s principal and interest are spent, there is nowhere to turn except to the taxpayers and their hard-earned dollars.
Jerry Apa, Lead
Coverage of recent drawing appreciated
To the Editor:
We are grateful for your coverage of our 50/50 Big Brothers Big Sisters drawing held Wednesday, Aug. 18, at the Bull Bash. We appreciate it very much.
I am sure Aysin, our “mentee,” feels like a star after seeing his picture in the paper and that is what our program is all about: building the self-esteem of your youth!
Jean Haley, Advisory Resource Council Chair, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mitchell Area, Mitchell
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