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‘Presidential Facts’ brought a smile

I'm writing to thank the Journal for the "Presidential Facts & Firsts" page in the Presidents' Day Journal. I'm the proud holder of a 2010 BHSU history degree. While I enjoy reading about the serious issues confronting our nation's presidents, over time I also enjoy reading about the lighter side of our national leaders.

Many years ago I lived in the Washington, D.C., area. I interviewed Gerald Ford for a high school senior class project and a few years later served as an elected Ford for President delegate to the Virginia State GOP convention. I smiled when I read in the Journal article that Ford and his girlfriend had been on a 1942 cover of Cosmopolitan as models.

Thanks again for the "Presidential Facts & Firsts" page in the Journal. I learned something new and got a good laugh.

David Nickel

Rapid City

Don’t demonize over abortion

With Roe vs Wade under threat of overturn, there is outrage about states that favor passing legislation preserving women’s control of their own wombs until a fetus can survive, and their right to decide with their doctors, not state legislators or other people’s clergy, which awful path to take at the end of pregnancy if their baby cannot survive regardless of hopes and prayers, or if the woman is in danger herself.

When legislation is propagandized as evil — legislators, devious doctors and wicked women conspiring for mysterious reasons to murder babies — of course people believing that propaganda are outraged. However, since the outrage for most people stops at slurring Democrats, I suspect in their hearts they acknowledge that abortion to protect the life and health of mothers means exactly that, understanding no one is eagerly awaiting opportunities to perform abortions at the end of pregnancy for frivolous reasons. Instead of aborting, when a healthy fetus needs to be delivered late in pregnancy to protect the mother prior to natural delivery, most often labor can be induced, or a C-section performed, with a well baby going home with happy parents.

Women should not be demonized when that happy outcome can’t happen.

Peter Hasby

Rapid City

Glad Masons met in Rapid City

I read the article in the Rapid City Journal: "Conference of Grand Masters of Masons meet in the Black Hills" (Feb. 12). I am a life member of a Masonic lodge in Kansas, although I live in Texas. I'm a fifth generation Freemason, having joined the fraternity at age 18, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I enjoy meeting gentlemen from all walks of life who exhibit good moral ethics, and they may range in age from 18 to age 104, so it's refreshing to see fine men who believe in a fraternity described as "The brotherhood of man, under the fatherhood of almighty God." I have attended historic Deadwood Lodge No. 7 three separate times, but I must say that each occasion was during summer.

I am glad that grand masters of the various states, Canadian provinces, Mexican states and other places attended the conference. Each U.S. state is a sovereign "jurisdiction" when it comes to Masonry. Yet, it's nice to see discussion of new ideas built on ancient honorable landmarks. I encourage any man of good moral character to join Masonry.

James A. Marples

Longview, Texas

Material things are a dead end

Awhile ago, the Journal published an article in the Compass edition titled, “Africa: Journey of healing for Ellsworth chaplain” by Christina Bennett, telling the story of Air Force chaplain (Capt.) Benjamin Quintanilla. It is an excellent example of one man’s journey through trauma and the healing process he continues to go through after a deployment to Bagram in 2016. His journey took him to Africa and a group called Tutapona that deals with refugees and trauma rehabilitation.

The key word in this article is community and the coming together to heal each other. What Quintanilla points out is that even people with the most traumatic experiences in their lives can come to healing when supported by community. This trip refocused his priorities, “I want to be a good follower of my God; I want to be a good husband, a good father; and I want to take care of airmen. “

In many respects this nation needs healing and a refocusing on our priorities. We can do this through coming together as community. Spiritually or not we must all come to the realization that chasing happiness through material things is a dead end. We need each other.

John Newland

Rapid City

Blessed to live in Hot Springs

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Hot Springs residents at their finest. A routine trip to the post office took a turn when my car got stuck in the snow. A gentleman got a snow shovel out to help dig under my tires, and a woman driving by came back with some kitty litter to put under the tires.

The car next to me also needed help, so another gentleman stood in the street to direct traffic coming around the corner. Three other people helped push my car to get it past the troublesome area where I could get traction. I did not know any of these people, but they jumped in to help both cars without hesitation.

I have lived in six other states, and nowhere have I found a town filled with so many people willing to help. I have often come home from work to find my driveway and sidewalks already cleared by a friendly neighbor, just because they knew it would help. I feel truly blessed to be part of such a loving, giving community. Thank you to everyone who makes Hot Springs a wonderful place to live.

Bonnie Wanzer

Hot Springs

Pre-K would benefit lawmakers

All I can do is laugh, but it really isn’t funny. Our South Dakota Republican lawmakers just killed a bill (HB 1175) to establish an Early Learning Activity Council aimed at studying the advantages to South Dakota of pre-K education, and the possible sources of funding for these programs.

My wry laughter arises from a couple of things. First, although I was born and live here in Rapid City, I thank God that my grandchildren are in New York City, which has universal pre-K. My children are able to work, and my grandchildren are getting a head start in the world. Research on pre-K education agrees that it, like primary, secondary or tertiary education, is beneficial all around.

My second reason for laughing is that the Republicans killed pre-K education because, according to House Speaker Rep. Steven Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls), it will lead to a “socialist agenda,” and that education should teach “morals and intelligence.” I guess that means that public education is now “socialist” and that the Democrats are the party of education?

Speaker Haugaard might have benefited from pre-K since he seems to lack the two things that he thinks education should teach.

Geoffrey Wiggin

Rapid City

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