Letters to the Editor, Feb. 2, 2020

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 2, 2020

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Water supply is at risk

To the editor,

Did you know that Pactola Lake and Rapid City's entire water supply could be at risk due to proposed gold exploration by a Minnesota company called F3 Gold?

Concerned citizens packed the room on January 16 at the Forest Service "scoping" meeting in which Barr Engineering (F3’s consultant) made a short presentation about the Environmental Assessment (EA) which they have been tasked to prepare. However, there was no group Q&A time for everyone in the room to hear the same thing. Instead, we were only allowed to mill about, find a FS or Barr employee to ask any questions individually – quite the divide and conquer approach!

If you missed this meeting, there is another chance to let your opinion be known. Written public comments may be sent to the Forest Service through February 5. E-mail your thoughts to: comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-mystic@usda.gov with "F3 Jenny Gulch exploration project" in the subject line. Or fax your comments to 605-343-7134. The scoping document is online at the Black Hills National Forest's website.

This is one of those rare moments when citizens of the Black Hills can speak out and make a difference to protect our water! Please take advantage of this opportunity and comment now.

Rick Bell, Rapid City

Land of the free?

To the editor,

South Dakota the land of the free? Hahaha so in a state with the State motto being “under God the people

Rule” you think we’d be about personal freedoms but with the state trying to first to ban CBD and now Kratom I beg to differ about those freedoms rather they are being stepped on by big state government getting in our lives and telling us what we can or can’t do with our own heath care choices, and what is next outlawing green tea? Kratom has no negative effects and can do much for many people sadly HB 1072 would ban a product I use daily to fight depression, anxiety and fight tiredness with the long hours I work. Now your results may very depending on style of kratom but my point is if I find good results in a federally legal product why should the state step in and stop the freemarket from selling me a good safe product? I shouldn’t have to be an overnight criminal having to order online or drive to the next state to get it. Please urge your representatives vote no on HB1072

Brian Colson, Rapid City

Support the bond issue

To the editor:

As a member of the facilities task force, a professional in the community, and a parent of two children who attend RCAS, I urge you to support the upcoming school bond. I have toured many schools in the district. We are in dire need of updated facilities. We examined an option of renovating our current schools and this option would have been more expensive than building new schools. Plus, this would not address our current and future capacity issues. The current plan does this in a solid, reasonable and financially responsible way. Voting no will not solve the current problem. Voting no will only cost us more down the road when construction costs and bond interest rates will go up. Voting no will create a real crisis when one of our facilities is not able to house students due to unsafe structural conditions. We have the opportunity to take responsibility to move our schools forward. The time is now. Vote yes on Feb. 25.

Respectfully,

Lynette R. Quast, Ph.D.

Sam old, same old

The state legislature is a good two weeks into its approximate 10-week session. Sadly, it appears that this year will follow the usual muddle of bills as some legislators are off to a mean start with the transgender bill (at least Mr. Deutsch has moved the proposal out of the bathrooms this year) and the inane ban on a ban of plastic bags.

Come on people!! This state needs to focus on the big deal stuff: increasing Medicaid, providing assistance for the rapidly growing list of nursing home closures, increasing pay for teachers and state employees, looking at alternate ways to provide income to the state such as legalizing sports gambling and hemp production, revamping the trust laws, and yes, just maybe calling for a small personal income tax and (gasp) corporate income tax. One can hope that during the next few weeks, some of this will be accomplished.

And we (that’s you and me, folks) can make a difference: get to the cracker barrel sessions (www.aclusd.org/en/news/2020-south-dakota-legislative-coffees-cracker-barrels), email your legislators, CALL your legislators (www.sdlegislature.gov/Legislators/). Let them know we will no longer abide legislators who idle away our tax dollars by squandering time on these waste makers.

Mary Richards, Spearfish

In favor of removal

To the Editor,

Some reasons supporting the removal of Donald John Trump from the office of our President that are personal, important to people.

Think of our embarrassment as Trump revealed his weakness for beautiful women and what he said he did to them.

Forget not, this President’s treatment of asylum seekers, their children, babies and cages. Recall the “Wall” forced on landowners on the border without a negotiated price, let alone the impact on communities.

Remember President’s distain and ignorance of our Constitution. He believes it gives him the right to do anything he wants. However, it describes the right of Congressional Oversight. Recall how fast his Advisers depart, how few are replaced. (Is this how to complete” the destruction of the administrative state”?)

Do you enjoy POTUS’s disrespect for our Generals, Civil Employees, and Congressional Leaders. Can we tolerate his love of dictators, his trusting Putin more than our Intelligence Agencies, labeling Climate Change a “hoax”? Do you believe: our news sources are” enemies of the people”, that he will protect people with pre-existing conditions?.

Please remove this man from our sight, our Office. We have suffered enough embarrassment, enough sorrow for our constitution.

Elaine Whittlesy, Custer

Veteran for Bernie

To the editor,

I’m a female Army veteran and strongly support Senator Bernie Sanders for President. In the Army Medical Specialist Corps, I cared for active duty military and their families, an honor of which I’m most proud. Military members don the uniform, in exchange for their lives, to defend our country. Thousands of military families have lost a loved one or have a loved one return from deployment who can no longer function as a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a significant other, due to war-related trauma. These tragedies are largely suffered by us, working-class families, the backbone of our military.

Our wounded return to find a VA understaffed and underfunded. As Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman, Senator Sanders worked with Senator McCain to expand VA hospitals, clinics and hire more doctors and nurses. He had sought much more funding and fought privatization, but was forced to compromise. If elected, Senator Sanders pledges to stop privatization, fill almost 50,000 job vacancies and allot $62 billion to rebuild the VA. In doing so, our veterans will get the quality care they deserve.

Senator Sanders will honor our military, during and after active service. I stand with Senator Sanders for President.

Mary Dugan, Hot Springs

Surprise medical billing

To the editor,

Surprise medical billing affects millions of Americans each year who need urgent care, but come to discover weeks or months later that their insurance company is sticking them with a back-breaking bill for their treatment. It is time to put an end to surprise medical billing, but it needs to be done the right way.

There are currently proposals in Congress to address surprise medical billing that are being backed by the health insurance industry to set artificially low reimbursement rates to health care providers, a process called “rate setting.” If such a policy were adopted into law, it would result in reduced access and care for those patients most in-need.

I am hopeful our Congressional delegation will support legislation that will include an independent dispute resolution process where patients are taken out of the middle in billing disputes between insurers and providers, and an objective, third-party mediator works to determine fair-market value for health care services provided. We have seen this system work in other states where there has been a reduction of thousands of surprise medical bills saving consumers millions. This should be a model for Congress to protect patients and preserve access to life-saving medical treatments.

Betty Pitz, Spearfish

Divorce law reform needed

To the editor,

Divorce law reform can be an emotional issue. It affects 50% of people in S.D. The division of property section is particularly archaic and unethical. This section was written decades ago, when most women did not work outside the home. In the distant past it protected women and children in the event a man should leave them without financial support. Today it grants as an unearned "entitlement" up to 50% of a life's work and pension to one person, solely because they were married to another. Because the law is archaic and hasn't been updated the S.D. Supreme Court arbitrarily decided years ago to consider work pensions and IRA's "marital property," most often with no regard for who contributed, who earned the pension, or if there was any real support given. Division of property rulings are permanent. Immoral persons take part of the pension of a former spouse, even if they remarry into great wealth, or win the lottery for example. Unscrupulous people may commit adultery, remarry the adulterous partner, yet the Court still lets them keep a pension for the rest of their life. Support HB1155. In regard to current law,"Just because it's legal, doesn't make it right."

Bruce Evans, Rapid City

Violating the law with time change?

To the editor

Is South Dakota another State to Ignore Federal Law? Federal law allows a state to stay on standard time year around. If a state wants to use Daylight Saving Time it must switch on federally mandated dates. What is not allowed is a state to stay on DST year around. So I ask again, is South Dakota another state that ignores federal law? Or is this just another example of ignorance at the state level?

David Johnston, Rapid City

Founding Fathers expected more

To the editor,

The founding fathers suspected that an evil tyrant could someday dupe enough voters into electing him president and then turn this country into the kind of European dictatorship they were trying to avoid in their new country. To prevent this from happening they created the impeachment process. They made a major miscalculation though. Being conscientious, honorable patriots themselves, they assumed that future public servant would be similar to themselves in that regard and put the best interests of the country above personal ambitions. They would have been horrified to know that 232 years later, senators from over half the states in the USA would shun their duty to the country, scorn the Constitution and swear allegiance to the very kind of evil tyrant they had in mind., thereby preventing any possibility of removing him from office no matter what his crimes or what evidence was brought against him. The founders expected basic integrity and respect for truth and our institutions from public officials---but they came from a different era.

Terry Painter, Rapid City

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