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Letters to the editor, Oct. 29, 2021

Letters to the editor, Oct. 29, 2021

 Housing and hairdressers

I am writing to offer a simple solution to the housing shortage in our community. In short, we need more hairdressers. At first blush, hairdressers and housing don’t seem connected, but in truth the meaningful conversations had in the chair can make significant impacts in our community. Recently this was demonstrated when a local couple donated their home on Birch Ave. to Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity after receiving a trim from Habitat homeowner and stylist, Nicole McNaught.

This simple exchange between snips led the couple to make one of the largest donations in local Habitat history. Be like your hairdresser; let the conversation about issues in our community flow. You never know if the person sitting in your chair has a solution you have been looking for.

Alecia Colombe, Rapid City

RCAS leaving ASBSD

At its November 2 meeting, the RCAS school board will debate a resolution that would pull our district out of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota (ASBSD) because some board members are not satisfied with the ASBSD’s response to a controversial letter sent to the Biden administration by the National School Board Association, of which the ASBSD is a member. This begs the question – What would we be giving up to make this political statement?

The ASBSD researches and drafts school policies and consults with local boards regarding proposed policies. A concrete example was the medical marijuana policy just passed by the RCAS board – that policy was written by the ASBSD. Pulling out means losing access to that policy research and drafting expertise – and possibly have to pay more to someone else, like legal counsel, to help fill that void.

The ASBSD also keeps tabs on proposed legislation, legal decisions, and social trends impacting schools and provides members with data and information to guide decision making. One such trend is the nationwide teacher and substitute shortage, which is hitting our district particularly hard. Grandview elementary just had to be closed due to a shortage of healthy staff.

The ASBSD also provides training and educational materials to school board members to help them understand things like the state funding formula and their responsibilities regarding hiring and evaluating a superintendent.

Some of our board members seem willing to throw away a lot of useful services just to make their political statement.

Kyle Krause, Rapid City

McGovern ahead of his time

October 21 marked the tenth anniversary of the passing of 1972 losing Democratic Party Presidential candidate South Dakota Senator George McGovern who was ahead of his time in his race against Republican President Richard Nixon. McGovern's platform included ending the Vietnam War. It also called for spending the billions wasted on the war to rebuild America, along with saving lives by bringing the troops home. McGovern was too proud to emphasis his military experience as a decorated World War II bomber pilot. Nixon attempted to portray him as soft on national defense. Since 2001.

We have spent $6,4 trillion (Source: November 2019 report, Brown University Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs) between our involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan wars. There was also the loss of seven thousand American military along additional private military contractors employed to assist in the fighting. Thousands more suffer day to day with permanent physical injuries. Many more civilians lost lives and suffered permanent physical injuries. Was it worth spending the dollars and lives? What we have gotten in return?

Larry Penner, Great Neck, New York

Lack of confidence

Some fear social studies courses they believe either define America by its worst moral failures, or else treat kids as if they will hate our homeland unless, as the old song says we “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”

Fearing realism and balance displays lack of confidence. A more realistic threat is that while Democrats continue to pursue politics in a more or less traditional manner, slowly grinding out policy responses to current problems, displaying a range of values, Republicans escalate their Gingrich-inspired burn-down-the house, no-prisoners politics toward overthrow of our checked and balanced government, in favor of a bizarre demagogue, refusing election results, allowing state legislatures to reject results if so inclined.

It’s perhaps fortunate the demagogue we face in this test is ridiculous, his own minions describing him as “11 year old child” (Steve Bannon), “morally unfit” (FBI chief Comey), “moron” (Secretary of State Tillerson), “idiot surrounded by clowns” (economic advisor Cohn). While national security advisor Bolton observed his boss lacked the knowledge, attention span, and personal loyalty in leadership positions to orchestrate a coup, he still damages America with his sole talent of self-promotion. There are real, honest conservatives to support, if conservatism is your thing.

Peter Hasby, Rapid City

Clean Energy Week

Many thanks to Governor Noem for her support for clean energy development with her recent proclamation recognizing September 20-24 as Clean Energy Week in South Dakota.

South Dakota has long been a leader in clean energy generation. In fact, 83 percent of our utility-scale net power generation is from hydro and wind power—2.5 times greater than just 12 years ago. Furthermore, South Dakota ranked fourth in the nation in ethanol production capacity in 2020.

Governor Noem has long been an advocate for clean energy saying in her proclamation, “wind power has contributed over $2.2 billion in capital investment... which supports over 2,000 good-paying jobs.”

I am pleased to see that our Governor recognizes the importance of reducing carbon emissions while promoting American energy security and competitiveness, economic development, and the job creation that comes with clean energy industries.

I know most South Dakotans support her efforts to that end. Thank you, Governor Noem, for standing up for American jobs and energy independence.

Jason Ershman, Spearfish

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