Letters to the editor, May 26, 2021
For Natalie Slack
Leaving Minnesota to take the position as Artistic Director for Black Hills Community Theatre meant taking a leap of faith into an area I knew had long fought for arts and culture inclusion alongside agriculture, tourism, and athletics.
The last few years have reminded me the importance of community involvement in arts and education - that when we support expression, young and old, we move towards a more robust community of diversity and creativity.
Natalie Slack has served on the Board of BHCT and as chair of our Marketing department. Her passion for creating equity and opportunity for local young people was evident as I saw her name pop up in local news stories about so many dynamic events and initiatives in the Hills.
I've met very few people who are as busy and as impactful as Natalie. Her intentions are of the very best kind: to give South Dakota's young people the type of education, affirmation, and opportunity that quite literally can save lives.
Natalie is the sort of person who has dedicated her life to doing her best thing right here, right now. She's exactly who Rapid City needs on the School Board.
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Zach Curtis, Rapid City
Vote for common sense
Vote for common sense leadership for our school board! This past year has taught us many things but more than ever, it has taught us that we need school board leaders with common sense and a heart for the students. We need leaders who will stand up and vote for and work with parents, not send out a survey and then disregard the parent’s and staff's wishes.
We need leaders that will get our kids back to normal and that have their best interest at heart. We need leaders that want our children to grow and learn so that they can achieve the best in life, not rewrite history and teach critical race theory. We need leaders who will meet our kids where they are and work to give every one of them the best education possible to prepare them for life.
We need leaders like Deb Baker in Area 1, Breanna Funke in Area 2, Gabe Doney in Area 3, and Kate Thomas in Area 7. They will bring much needed change to our school board. They will take back responsibility and put students first. Please vote June 8th for Deb Baker, Breanna Funke, Gabe Doney, and Kate Thomas.
Kirstin Mitzel, Rapid City
For Natalie Slack
I am writing today to show my support for Area 1 School Board candidate Natalie Slack. I have the pleasure to work on the staff of Black Hills Community Theatre where Natalie has been serving as a Board Member for the past year. Natalie's passion and enthusiasm for everything she works on is unmatched.
She is constantly showing support by either asking how she can help or by contributing new ideas and suggestions that help the project move forward. At every meeting she showcases her positivity, intelligence and compassion. Outside of her work for BHCT, I can tell she is also a committed community member, supportive partner and caring parent. If these above characteristics are not what you want to see in a member of our school board, I'm not sure what you are looking for. If you get the chance to vote for Natalie, please do.
Ryan Puffer, Rapid City
Non-partisan but always political
School board elections may be non-partisan but the candidates are always political, and public record is open to public scrutiny.
All four of the candidates endorsed by the Rapid City Education Association (RCEA), the local arm of the radical National Education Association (NEA), are registered Democrats. A search of FEC campaign finance records reveals that some of the RCEA’s endorsed candidates have made substantial donations to Biden for President, other leftist candidates, and that they give regularly to dark money organizations like ActBlue. The RCEA knows this; they are counting on their chosen candidates to help them advance the social agenda of their national organization. The RCEA wants to negotiate contracts and terms behind closed doors with these candidates.
The RCEA-endorsed candidate for school board in Area 1 has been hiding from her public social media posts, but she is learning that the internet is forever. Her statements and views would be inappropriate to print here because they are vulgar, political, and explicitly pornographic. The RCEA won’t mention this, but public posts on her blog and social media pages reveal a person who is unsuitable for school board, despite her press. Area 1 voters, choose wisely.
Tonchi Weaver, Rapid City
For Natalie Slack
I’m writing in support of Natalie LaFrance Slack to represent area one on the Rapid City School Board. In a recent vote our board decided that students continue masking for the few remaining days of school. This was a difficult decision which brought them criticism but likely prevented at least a few more covid transmissions and, in any case, hurt nothing.
Thankfully, all of us simply can not vote on every single issue. We elect strong, smart, sensible people to represent us, and then we give them the benefit of the doubt. Natalie is the right person for this important job. She has done, and continues to do, many good things for our community.
She works well with others, is consistently positive, always thoughtful and fair, and she is well-spoken. I trust her to do what’s best for her kids, for all our kids, and for our community. I also know she is strong enough to do what’s right—especially when it’s hard. Please take a few minutes on the 8th to vote for Natalie Slack.
Steve Martinez, Rapid City
Four excellent candidates
As a parent of a public school student, I am glad to see we have four excellent candidates who are putting the students first and listening to the concerns of parents. Deb Baker in Area 1, Breanna Funke in Area 2, Gabe Doney in Area 3, and incumbent Kate Thomas in Area 7 are the superior choices for school board. They want to bring real education back to the schools and promote academics and independent thinking. They support a five-day week in the classroom. They want to create ways to open communication between students, parents, school board and administration.
Each of them has spoken about the use of audits to make sure money and property are being used properly and not diverted to other purposes. They favor in-person attendance at school board meetings. Most of the current board and the Superintendent have silenced the public for too long. I encourage every voter in these school district areas to vote for Deb Baker, Breanna Funke, Gabe Doney, and Kate Thomas to represent the morals and values of our community and ensure that students graduate with the good education they deserve.
Jodie Frye, Rapid City
For Natalie Slack
I support Natalie Slack running for Area 1 School Board because I would support Natalie Slack running for anything. She is the most authentic person I've met in a long time. She dreams, and then she does. She listens, and then she helps. She shows respect to everyone equally because she truly believes all humans deserve a fair chance at this game of life we're all playing. That's just the person she is. How does that personality translate to a School Board member?
Natalie is going to listen to the concerns of school teachers and administration with her hands on the heartbeats of our youth, which I believe everyone can agree is our number one purpose: CHILDREN -- mine, yours, theirs. All of them. Because they all matter. Because that's community. What children gain from community support, specifically through whole education, creates positive rippling effects. Natalie breathes this belief and embodies it through endless community projects she's either spearheaded or volunteered for many years. Her commitment to community, including her three sons' schools, proves her heart-centric approach to this campaign.
The world is evolving, and our youth are keeping up. Natalie is too. It's time we all do.
Chasity Marcus, Rapid City
Don't forget the bike path
Vision Fund is looking for ideas to spend money on future projects within Rapid City. I know there was some talk awhile back about creating a bike path from Rapid down to Caputa. Perhaps those effort’s could be put on the fast track with additional funding.
Also, the renovations at Fitzgerald Stadium are awesome, however, it makes neighboring fields look even more dilapidated. Couldn’t some of the Vision Fund’s be allocated to make improvements at these venues?
Neil Zetah, Rapid City
For Natalie Slack
I wanted to write to you in order to voice my support for Natalie Slack for Area 1 School Board. Natalie is an upstanding member of the Rapid City community and she is the best candidate for this position. As a teenager, I did not have community members voicing their support for LGBTQ+ students. I often felt that those who were in powerful positions in the city did not care to engage with or show support for queer youth. One of the reasons I no longer reside in Rapid City is because of my negative experiences throughout middle and high school where I felt like an outsider or dealt with bullying. With someone like Natalie on the Rapid City School Board, I believe all different types of students will feel that they have someone looking out for their best interests.
Natalie is tremendously involved in Rapid City as a parent of three boys, as a small business owner, and as a community member. She supports and encourages those around her while still engaging with those who may disagree with her opinions. Natalie wants to make Rapid City’s schools safer, more accessible, and to promote kindness and understanding both in and out of the classroom. I feel that Natalie will make an upstanding Rapid City School Board member who will look out for all students, no matter what type of path they may be walking.
Andrew LaFrance, Sacramento, CA
Biden wants high taxes
The Biden administration requires our attention. John Kerry consulting with enemies during the Trump administration, Hunter Biden in business with China so China would get access to the White House. The southern border crisis caused by Biden allowing illegals, drugs and terrorists into the country. Biden shut down the XL pipeline, 15,000 out of work and tells Russia that they can open their pipeline and sell to the Europeans.
The socialists want to take away our free speech and our guns. As they speak, they cannot form a sentence without the word racism. The Supreme Court failed to look at the true election results.
The FBI withholding evidence on Hunter Biden that could bring down the sitting president. The 2020 election was fraudulent. The six states that used dominion voting machines was never inspected for tampering. MIT and Yale computer professors who are democrats said it was mathematically impossible for Trump to lose when he's leading by such a large margin at midnight and then two hours latter starts losing after a shutdown. America is in grave danger with the socialists in power. In just 120 days fuel, food and lumber prices are sky rocketing.
Biden wants high taxes.
Rick Lewis, Spearfish
For Natalie Slack
During the past couple of years it has been a pleasure to see the development of new arts programs and venues for young people and youth in Rapid City. Always behind the scenes of these new venues has been Natalie Slacks’ involvement. She gets involved and gets things done. Good things, good for our youth, good for our diverse culture, good for Rapid City. She supports the arts and sees them as an important part of our children’s education. That is why I wholeheartedly support Natalie Slack in her candidacy for School Board, Area 1.
Natalie has three teenagers in Rapid City Schools, which in itself requires a lot of thinking outside the box. She’s a wonderful person, respectful of diversity, a lover of the arts, and indeed a wonderful candidate for our School Board.
Jay Pond, Rapid City
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-Journal Editorial Board