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Weifenbach honest and hard working

I am writing to express my support for Ron Weifenbach in the upcoming election for Rapid City mayor.

I have known Ron for about 10 years, first in a business relationship, which eventually led to a friendship. Ron is one of the most honest, hard-working people I know, and it is quite obvious that city government is a passion with him.

Please join me in support of Ron and cast your ballot for him in the upcoming mayoral election.

BILL WEBER

Rapid City

Kooiker is ready to lead community

As a former long- term city councilman who has served with three of the four candidates for mayor, I strongly endorse Sam Kooiker.

Sam has grown as a council member and is ready to lead our community. Sam has the education and the experience to be a very effective and visionary mayor. Sam would address some long overdue changes needed at city hall and open up communications with council members, city employees and citizens.

Sam believes in transparent government. Sam will also work to bring quality jobs to Rapid City, grow our tourism industry and initiate smart growth principals as our community grows.

We all know Sam has a reputation for being very fiscally conservative and for asking good and tough questions, and Sam returns phone calls.

Mayor Hanks will be remembered mostly for leading a very nasty effort to censure Sam in an effort to eliminate someone he knew would likely run against him for mayor. He will also be remembered for not acting swiftly when given information about corruption at the landfill.

It is time to have a responsive mayor who is dedicated, thoughtful, honest and prepared to improve our community. It is time for Sam Kooiker.

TOM JOHNSON

Rapid City

Hadcock lashing out at opponent Nordstrom

It's the oldest trick in the political playbook. When incumbents can't defend their voting records, they lash out at their challengers with negative and misleading attacks. That's what incumbent Deb Hadcock is doing to candidate for City Council, Ritchie Nordstrom.

Nordstrom is being attacked because he is doing what every citizen has the right to do: challenge Hadcock's voting record.

Hadcock has a long history of cozying up to special interests. Instead of answering Nordstrom's questions about her dealings with special interests, Hadcock is attacking Ritchie for his 30-year service as a public servant. How shameful.

I urge voters to hold Hadcock accountable for her unfair attacks on Ritchie.

I urge voters to hold Hadcock accountable for the tax breaks she's given to special interests. A vote for Nordstrom is a vote to break the ties between incumbents and fat cats. A vote for Nordstrom is a vote to bring bright light and fresh air into the murky back rooms of city hall.

JUSTIN LENA

Rapid City

Hadcock proven leader who gets things done

Deb Hadcock is a proven leader who takes initiative and sees projects through to the end, whether it's city beautification, sewer and water infrastructure, downtown revitalization, or public safety.

Public service is her passion. Open, honest leadership is the tool she uses to get things done. She doesn't just talk about it. She listen then translates the message into results.

As a resident of Ward 2 and a friend of Deb's for six years, I can tell you she speaks from the heart and does it in a straightforward way. It may not be what you want to hear, but it's the truth. Deb loves helping people and does it with a joke and a smile.

She is a hard-working leader that works as part of a team to find solutions. If you don't know her by now, take a look at her and see how much she has accomplished for Ward 2 and Rapid City.

Don't forget to show your support for her on June 7.

BRENDA TANSGRUD

Rapid City

Billboard measures counterproductive

The billboard measures 1 and 2 will be extremely counterproductive to what Scenic Rapid City wants to accomplish and what has been happening in Rapid City since 2002.

About one third of the billboards have been taken down since 2002 but we have many more we would like to reduce or remove.

If these measures pass, we will be prohibited from continuing to enhance our scenic beauty.

I don't see why anyone would want to keep up the 600-plus square foot billboards in place of the new smaller 240 square foot digital billboards.

We can continue to help drive our local economy with fewer smaller billboards but not if these initiated measures pass.

Please vote no and help clean up our city.

DOUG RUMPCA

Rapid City

Billboard measures would lessen clutter

Vote yes on measures 1 and 2 on June 7, limiting future billboard proliferation in Rapid City.

Yes against further billboard blight in the beautiful Black Hills.

Yes against unsafe and distracted driving caused by too many billboards.

Yes against having four times as many billboards per person in Rapid City than in Denver.

Yes for a more beautiful place to call home and to invite tourists.

Yes for the common welfare and good of our citizens.

Yes for balancing the property rights of sign companies with the public welfare.

Yes for leaving the Black Hills more beautiful than we found them, with less visual clutter.

Yes for following the example of other tourist-driven economies in states like Hawaii, Vermont, Maine and Alaska, which have laws that prohibit billboards entirely.

Yes for South Dakota where "Under God, the people rule." (state motto)

ANDY AINSLIE

Rapid City

Billboards displeasing to newcomers

We moved to this community because of my duty assignment to Ellsworth and enjoy living within the community.

We found a church, attended community gatherings, service organizations and have attended city council meetings.

We love Rapid City, its friendly people and the beauty of nature found here.

However, having lived and traveled elsewhere, there is a glaring discrepancy in this otherwise amazing place.

What's with all the billboards?

Perhaps the city is under heavy pressure by people with vested financial interests in billboards who seem to get their way frequently?

There is a relatively good sign code in place so is this a case where the city has just gotten loose on its policies from death by a thousand cuts?

What about using the empty billboards so passersby see a beautiful picture of the Black Hills or post some art?

I'm glad to see citizens' initiative to change this by adding two initiatives on the ballot. Please support them by voting yes.

ADAM OSBORN

Box Elder

Wright an honest, fair professional

I have known Jerry Wright since 1974. I worked for him while attending South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, and he has been a personal friend throughout the years. Integrity, honesty, sense of fairness and professionalism come to mind when considering strong attributes of Jerry.

Jerry has chosen to run for a seat on the Rapid City Council from Ward 3, and I encourage all registered voters from Ward 3 to cast their votes for Jerry. Your vote for Jerry Wright will be a vote for stability and fairness on the Rapid City Council.

T.L. HUMPAL

Rapid City

Hanks' illusions better than David Copperfield

Watching Mayor Hanks campaign is like watching a David Copperfield TV special.

The illusions his campaign staff are trying to create leave me speechless. His latest claim about no increase in city property taxes being his idea - when state law limits increases to inflation and inflation was zero, therefore, no property tax increase - was the result of state law, not the mayor.

The fact is, only the city council can accept or reject the limits set by state statute, not the mayor.

His claim about revenue increasing 6.22 percent over the same time last year is way off. State figures show revenue up only 3.2 percent, still down from the previous quarter. Is the campaign staff mathematically challenged or exaggerating on purpose?

I would love to see the list of 1,400 plus new jobs Hanks is taking credit for. I wonder if that is after deducting the loss of hundreds of jobs at Samina and Merrilat. Don't be fooled by pot-hole hot lines and firing unpopular staff. Hanks is a negative, push-poll driven, politician. Let's take our civic center back. Those folks are out of control. Vote Sam for mayor

RICK KRIEBEL

Rapid City

Hanks, Rippentrop would serve us well

I write of two very positive, experienced people who have served us well as trustworthy and professional people working with the citizens of Rapid City.

Former Mayor Edward McLaughlin wrote of Mayor Hanks' positive relationship with his colleagues, the Rapid City Area Chamber, other South Dakota mayors, county officials, the state Legislature, our congressional delegation and federal agencies.

Ben Treadwell wrote a letter to the editor saying Hanks is a positive and proven leader, where Rapid City has prospered and continues to move forward under his leadership. Dennis Edwards wrote his letter to say he found Hanks to be an honest upright, fair and non-judgmental person, a dedicated and diligent individual who gets the job done.

Kay Rippentrop has the qualifications and experience to serve as an advocate for the concerns of the citizens of Rapid City of Ward 5, and the whole of Rapid City, wrote Cheryl Kulm.

I sincerely agree with these four people and know we will be well served by both Kay and Alan.

Please vote for both of these very well qualified people.

NORMA F. THOMSEN

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Rapid City

Hansen would ‘protect and serve' schools, too

I have known Jim Hansen for over 20 years as my husband was his training officer. He has always shown his capability of being respectful and caring to this community. Jim is especially concerned about the youth associated with this school system and as a liaison officer, has repeatedly chosen to "listen and resolve" before the situation got out of hand.

Jim has sworn to "protect and serve" as part of his career. That promise will go beyond law enforcement because as a board member he will protect the interests of all the students and general public and he will serve each and every one of you by taking your concerns to heart and working on solutions to benefit all.

I can't vote for Jim as I live out of the city, but our daughters attended school in this system - one is a teacher here - as do our grandchildren. Therefore, we care about who is on the board. They need to listen to the students, parents, staff, and make the right decisions. Please vote for Jim Hansen for Ward 4 on the Rapid City school board.

CHARLIE SCHOTT

Black Hawk

Teen court volunteers helped on way to camp

On behalf of the Pennington County Teen Court program, we would like to personally thank Eagle Sales of the Black Hills and Rapid City's Summer Nights each for their extremely generous $1,000 donations.

The donations are being used to send six Pennington County Teen Court volunteers to a teen leadership conference focused on undermining underage binge drinking.

The youth leaders will bring back new methods and training on how to dismantle unlawful use of alcohol amongst their peers.

Thank you Eagle Sales and Summer Nights for your commitment to making positive change in our community through youth courts and juvenile diversion programs.

KATY URBAN

CODY RATERMAN

SOPHIA YELLOW ROBE

Teen Court program

Summer Nights a booze festival

Soon the downtown booze festival will be in full swing. When one of the people involved in this fiasco was asked on TV what events are planned, the only thing he said was beer festivals.

This is wonderful. We now are showing our teens what adults do to have fun. They get together and drink and party. There are many teens downtown, and they see this. It's a shame it is even approved by the city council and mayor.

It is the community as a whole that should show teens drinking is bad. Don't believe me? Well the surgeon general says otherwise.

Here is one small example: The greatest influence on young people's decisions to begin drinking is the world they live in, which includes their families, friends, schools, the larger community, and society as a whole.

Most young people who start drinking before age 21 do so when they are about 13 to 14 years old.

The leaders of Rapid City should be ashamed for allowing this. They should be a positive influence for our teens. Where are MADD, SADD and the churches?

LARRY HALL

Rapid City

What will Hanks' camp come up with next?

Can Alan Hanks explain why in 2007 he sent a last-minute mailing to thousands of households calling Sam Kookier a "wing nut"?

What will he think of calling Sam next? (a) The fire breather," so focused on burning waste that Sam forgets to hand out taxpayer funded favors to his cronies? (b) The "flying insect," so busy buzzing around taking calls and listening to citizens that Sam won't have time for taxpayer funded trips to Washington to beg for congressional earmarks? (c) The "irritator," so focused on addressing the ignored Casey Petersen audit report that the Hanks camp calls Sam a micromanager because they simply do not understand that city hall is to work for the people, and not just the good ol' boy network? (d) The "pavement pounder," so stubborn and insistent on personal visits with Rapid City voters, Sam created new potholes for the Hanks administration to ignore? (e) None of the Above.

Alan learned from the "wing nut" mistake that voters do not appreciate irrelevant personal attacks. The best answer winner gets to play with Alan's $4,780 council discussion timer or an afternoon riding in his taxpayer funded $28,373 Tahoe.

KEITH CARLYLE

Rapid City

Beware of some new voting technology

I read about the use of electronic voting log books in a Sioux Falls election. I'm glad it made the voting process easier and that the machines seemed to work well.

While technology is used to improve our lives in many ways, we should be careful with further use of electronic voting technology. Our republic rests upon the sanctity of the vote.

As a software developer I can tell you that it is incredibly easy to inadvertently introduce bugs into software. Software systems can also be attacked by hackers. A clever programmer can intentionally add logic to software for corrupting purposes. All three of these can cause bad vote totals, and all three of these have been demonstrated in the real world on real electronic voting machines.

If we use electronic voting machines, they should be the kind that leave a paper trail and should use Open Source Software so that any citizen so inclined can ensure that bugs, security holes and malicious code are not present.

Anyone who supports buying closed-source systems from a voting machine company either doesn't understand the issues, or doesn't care about accurate vote totals and fair elections.

JASON JACKSON

Rapid City

Thune's office helps veteran with bill

In December I encountered an ordeal with the VA in Arizona. They sent me to the local hospital because they said I had a blood clot. In the emergency room, a secretary informed me the VA would not pay for my stay because they had a bed for me in a VA hospital 285 miles away.

I knew that this was no way to treat a veteran. I contacted Sen. John Thune's office and I am here to tell you after several months, his office succeeded in getting the VA to pay that bill. Thank you to Sen. Thune and his staff.

JON DAHLKE

Rapid City

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