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Petition law defense baloney

Noel Hamiel’s commentary in defense of the petition law is baloney. Too many laws have been passed by South Dakota’s GOP supermajority all designed to interfere with the citizens’ ability to bring legislation to voters.

Conservatives beat their chests about out-of-state money influencing the state’s petition process, but where is the outrage about bills crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) specifically designed to influence state laws?

For example, the riot boosting bill came directly from ALEC’s legislative playbook. It has already been passed by multiple states and was obviously written by gas and oil lobbyists.

Phil Jensen’s “In God We Trust” law requiring the motto to be visible in all public schools came from the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, an out-of-state group.

Transgender bathroom bills, restrictions on petition circulators and the intellectual diversity law. Did they originate in S.D.? No.

I propose that legislators be required to add a notation to any bills they introduce stating where idea originated, and there needs to be a stiff penalty if the legislator omits or lies about this information. I would also suggest that legislators act on matters important to South Dakotans, not out of state big money interests.

Karen McGregor

Rapid City

Applauds Thune's red flag stance

I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. I was baptized in the same church as the perpetrator of last weekend's massacre. My mother taught the shooter's first victims — his sister and her companion — a few years before the shooter posted his "hit list" in Bellbrook High School. My father was the scoutmaster for one of the surviving victims, an Eagle Scout. When my brother attended the memorial vigil near his home, the people of Dayton chanted to the governor, "Do Something!"

Therefore, I was heartened to read Sen. Thune state his support for a Senate proposal for "Red Flag Laws." Such laws allow state courts, at the request of family members, to temporarily restrict access to firearms for a person who represents an imminent danger. This shooter clearly posed a threat of violence from a young age and should not have been entrusted with the lethal responsibility of firearm ownership.

I am a lifelong Democrat, and I rarely agree with Sen. Thune. On this, however, I am heartened that Sen. Thune will stand with Democrats, and with Daytonians: Do Something!

Evan Thomas

Rapid City

Where’s the support for Custer?

On Aug. 2, Custer had a 100-year flood from a very significant storm. Depending on location, there were stories of up to 9 inches of rain and even 5 inches of hail that contributed.

By early evening, warnings had been issued about Custer flooding. Local channels carried those warnings and the story that evening; videos were beginning to be posted as the danger increased. Some videos and stories were submitted to websites. This happened Friday afternoon and evening and into the night. The next day began the extraordinary response of our caring community ... which will continue until needs are met. That response is not unexpected in our community, yet it is still heartwarming and comforting to know and share.

Why am I writing all of this? Because I am disappointed and even angry that our community, which is integral to the Black Hills area, was apparently only worthy of one article on Sunday (not Saturday) even now a week later. This was a significant news story about one of your communities and your newspaper's response was and is regrettable and without compassion. My questions are why? How will you support Custer at this point?

Cozy Dorton

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Skeptical of climate change

The propaganda surrounding climate change is unproven. As a matter of fact, many credentialed scientists and climate experts are either skeptical of or flat out reject the claims of man-made climate change. Over 100 scientists and meteorologists have signed the Leipzig Declaration, a document challenging the findings of the United Nations Panel on Climate Change. Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder and Canadian ecologist testified before Congress stating, “There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.” Roy W. Spencer, former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA has criticized the data of NOAA because “it has never taken into account the phenomenon of urban heat island affect.” He points to Las Vegas and its 10 degree increase in nighttime temperature over the past 40 years and says, “a lot of the warming we are seeing in the thermometer record is just urban heat island affect.” Richard S. Linden, emeritus professor of meteorology at MIT has concluded “carbon dioxide levels are considerably below that necessary to generate disastrous climate change.” So much for the politicized “climate denier” label in use today.

Bruce S. Evans (Not the dentist)

Rapid City

Climate change threatens food

"Climate Change Threatens World Food Supply" is the headline wake-up alarm being sounded by leading newspapers. It was prompted by the release of a summary report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), staffed by more than 100 experts from 52 countries.

The report details how climate change threatens our world's food and water supplies — turning arable land to desert, degrading soil, and raising the frequency of devastating weather conditions, concluding that avoiding wholesale starvation and mass migrations requires fundamental changes in current animal agriculture and land management practices, accounting for 23 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

The conclusions of the IPCC report match Oxford University’s in 2017 and Chatham Houses in 2015. A 2010 UN report blames animal agriculture for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater use, and 38% of land use. All reports recommend a massive shift to plant-based eating.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources. Our next visit to the supermarket provides a superb starting point.

Ruben Myers

Rapid City

Raise funds for child education

Catholic sisters in Rochester, Minnesota, raised funds after a huge tornado caused severe injuries and damage on Aug. 21, 1883. Rochester St. Mary’s Hospital publication, “A Century of Caring 1889-1989,” relates how these sisters befriended and worked with Dr. William Mayo in his medical/surgical practice. Surgeries were often performed on farmhouse kitchen tables, assisted by his 12- and 8-year-old sons.

Likewise, those desiring additional South Dakota children in preschool should fund raise as these sisters did. Private – not government-funneled – funds for little children to attend their parents’ choice of private, church-based, or public preschool would be welcomed.

Our state already receives nearly $5 million in federal Child Care and Development Funds. Low-income parents must simply apply.

As for results from universal tax-funded preschool? There is little evidence to show that it is worth the investment. Rather, new evidence at Ed Liberty Watch shows that children “actually exhibit academic deterioration in later grades.”

Good things happen when private funds and hard work get together. The Rochester sisters in 1883 knew they simply had to convince Dr. Mayo that more could be done after he balked at their plan. They told him not to worry. And Mayo Clinic was born.

Cindy Flakoll

Leola

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