Mayor 'hijacks' sustainability plan Trump's indictment Harmful government: your letters (2023)

Her letters to the editor of April 9:

South Dakota's new tax cut is 'too optimistic'

The April 2 Argus article on the impact of the legislature's 3/10 percent sales tax cut estimated annual savings at $127 for a middle-income household. It seems like a paltry sum for such a much-touted tax cut. But I think even $127 is too optimistic. That would require a sales tax averaging $3,527 per month. How likely is that?

From an average income of $60,000 comes withholding taxes, then rent or mortgage, property taxes, then car payments, home and car insurance, autogas, medical insurance, water bills, childcare or after-school care. There may be a donation to charity or pension savings, a boat payment, a fishing license, a driver's license, school lunches, medicines,... After several non-sales taxes like this, you can imagine the average family staying less more than $3500/month left to spend on taxable things, although there are many.

Keep in mind that half of South Dakota households would benefit even less, because that means average income: half have more; half have less.

Many of us favored the proposal to exempt groceries from the state tax. So even groceries averaging $250/month would get a bigger tax cut than $127/year ($135 instead of $9). Many families, especially those with children, have significantly higher food costs. For a family of four eating at home, the USDA's "Thrifty Food Plan" costs $979/month [23. February]. This food, the cheapest of the USDA plans, gets an annual sales tax cut of just $35 next year. If the legislature had passed the food tax cut instead, they'd save $528.

- Cathy Brechtelsbauer, Sioux Falls

When it comes to social science standards, we can do better

A final vote on proposed social studies standards by the South Dakota Board of Educational Standards Commission will be on the agenda for the April 17 meeting in Pierre. This is the last of four statutory meetings required during the public comment process, and South Dakoto residents will still be able to have their say during this process. As a mother and school principal who served on the 2022 committee and is not happy with the final proposal, I would ask that you ask the Board of Educational Standards to send us back to committee room. We can do better for our students and faculty in South Dakota. Social studies education is important to all of us. The next generation of South Dakotans must know and understand the rights and responsibilities that come with being American citizens. In our South Dakota schools, the teachers and principals I work with every day tell a true and honest story about our Founding Fathers, both their sins and their victories. As directors, we do our job as education leaders to hold teachers accountable to government standards and deploy short-term brain research and corrective science to immediately improve student growth-enhancing practices in classrooms.

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Teachers, parents, and local school boards provided feedback on the proposed K-12 Social Studies Content Standards. Opposition concerns include, but are not limited to, the lack of educator involvement or transparency in the assessment process, the lack of developmental appropriateness of the content, the lack of South Dakota and Native American history at appropriate levels, and the exaggeration of the state government Involve local school board decisions, as standards are often detailed, such as a curriculum. In particular, the secondary standards would not allow students to take all personal development courses, such as: B. Agriculture courses required to enter the FFA and advanced welding or construction engineering courses in the CTE career clusters, where school districts are hard have worked to partner with local businesses to attract recent college graduates to South Dakota. What can concerned citizens do today? There is still time to submit comments to the SD Board of Educational Standards for consideration if you agree with the 940 concerned citizens who objected (87% of comments). and at least 27 locally elected public school boards, which have passed conflicting resolutions. First, visit the SD Department of Education website to view the proposal, contact your local teachers and ask about their current social studies hours, and submit your comments on the proposed social studies standards before the comment deadline expires on April 14. register to speak before the Board of Educational Standard in April by emailing the Executive Secretary after April 3, when the public comment period opens. If you do not wish to speak at the meeting, the public is invited to visit the Pierre-Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center on April 17. Finally, you can share this information with your friends and family and encourage them to participate often. forgotten and extremely important part of the political process. What is a solution for SOUTH DAKOTA? In the spirit of America's promise of compromise, I recommend that the South Dakota Board of Educational Standards direct the Secretary of Education to convene the Summer 2022 Commissioners along with the Summer 2021 Teachers Committee. Graves, we can reach a consensus given the overwhelming amount of public comment and testimony given at all four public hearings.

− Samantha Walder, 2023 South Dakota Elementary National Distinguished Principal, Sioux Falls

Free speech is under attack under Biden

When history looks back on Joe Biden, he will be remembered as the man who destroyed our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Last week, a former president was indicted, and half of the country that supports Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again agenda was labeled "extremists who threaten democracy." (The Hill, 11/13/22) These are NOT partisan issues and NOT Democratic tactics. The God-given rights, freedoms, and civil liberties that are trampled underfoot belong to all of us.

Last week, Biden twice publicly spoke disparagingly about the three children and three adults who were murdered at a Nashville Christian school. Last fall, the National School Boards Association called on the FBI to label as "domestic terrorists" parents who dared to speak out against teaching their children racism and inappropriate sexual material. (New York Post 10/25/21) The FBI and DOJ are now also considering "traditional" Catholics as radical extremists who may be connected to the "far-right white nationalist movement"/aka white supremacists. (New York Post, 16/2/23) Is what's happening in America any closer?

Edmund Burke said, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing." Contact your congressmen today! train your 1stChanging free speech before it disappears.

− Katherine Larson, Firenze

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Impeachment of Trump damages the balance between the governed and the government

Steven Heisinger's letter to the editor claims that Donald Trump is a serial adulterer. Last time I checked, that wasn't something that stopped anyone from running for president. John Kennedy comes to mind. Doesn't Steven trust voters to draw their own conclusions before voting? Steve's claims are not based on facts. Steve claims Daniels and Trump “had an affair during the 2016 campaign. Daniels claims he was threatened in 2011 to keep quiet about the alleged affair. Either Steve is not factual or Stormy is not. Three liberal lawyers, all registered Democrats, Alan Dershowitz, Jonathon Turley and Geraldo Rivera have all analyzed the case against Trump and are calling the prosecution a political stunt and based on Heisinger's letter, it will hit back at the Democrats and Washington elites who are promoting it. is an unethical businessman because he has filed for bankruptcy Isn't bankruptcy a commonplace in the business world It can be a sign of a failed business but when did it become "unethical" to liquidate a failed business and share its value with creditors, or to reschedule the debts of a troubled company?Heisinger is a typical Trump hater. It would appear from his letter that in this country he prefers selection over choice. Voters can decide whether or not Trump should return to the Oval Office when we count their votes. What the New York District Attorney is doing is extremely damaging to the desired balance between government and administration in this country. Trump will prevail in court, and these Democrat shenanigans could see him triumph in the next presidential election.

− Randy Amundson, Sioux Falls

government Noem's obsession with critical race theory.

For more than two years, right-wing think tanks and Fox News have been protesting the teaching of CRT in schools. Gov.-Noem jumped on the anti-CRT bandwagon in late 2021. Presumably, it was the presence of slavery narratives that prompted Gov.-Noem to scrap the first set of historical standards in 2021.

A proposed standard social studies package for South Dakota was developed by a small conservative college in Michigan, Hillsdale College. I am writing this because the Hillsdale product is of concern to many. The AHA (American History Association) wrote disturbing letters to the State Board of Education last fall. Gov.-Noem gives no indication that he takes these AHA concerns seriously. She insists that Hillsdale's curriculum will magically encourage patriotism. Does it refer to the same 131 page standards as the one I analyzed? I close differently.

According to letters received by the AHA last fall, the Hillsdale standards/curricula do not meet their requirements for teaching good history. The Hillsdale Standards deliberately omit all forms of historical research. Remembering red is Hillsdale's principle. With regard to the Hillsdale product, AHA points to students' inability to interpret contexts and relationships between historical events. The structure of Hillsdale's course is simply subject-subject-subject. Good history should flow by telling a series of compelling stories.

AHA notes the lengthy (2-year) political process of Gov. Call to acquire standards that have undermined the ability of South Dakota teachers to teach accurate history with professional integrity. Students have to view and process a lot of information. Will there be a need for more computer access throughout the state?

Governor Noem insists on spending tens of millions of dollars in taxpayers' money to buy the Hillsdale product. If approved by Pierre's SD Board, Hillsdale will be South Dakota's curriculum for many years to come. Hillsdale is Governor Noem's CRT obsession solution, but not a good curriculum for our youth.

David L. Wegner, Sioux Falls

Are political contributions more important than children's lives?

During a recent interview, Senator Rounds was publicly questioned about tackling gun control after the mass murder of children at her school in Nashville, Tennessee. He replied, "I think the things that have already been done have come as far as we go with gun control." I ask Senator Rounds why? These weapons are designed to kill on the battlefield. Why are they on the open market to the general public? Why can't we stop this crazy practice of making them available to turn schools into dead zones? In my opinion, the answer is that fundraising for reelection campaigns is more important than preventing children from being slaughtered by these guns in their schools. What country do we live in where political contributions are more important than the lives of children?

Jim Thompson, Colman

This month is all about volunteers

April is National Volunteer Month - a month dedicated to recognizing the importance of volunteering and celebrating the important contributions volunteers make by generously donating their time and talent to worthy causes. In a busy life it can be difficult to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous.

Volunteering provides vital assistance to those in need, charities and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right partner can help you make friends, connect with the community, learn new skills and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. It can relieve stress, fight depression, stimulate you mentally and instill a sense of purpose. While it's true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you'll experience, volunteering doesn't have to involve a long-term commitment or take up much of your busy day. Even by giving donations in simple ways, you can help those in need and improve your health and happiness. Find an activity that is close to your heart. Volunteering is best for everyone involved if you are doing something you enjoy. It's never too late to start. Whether you are working, just retired or in your later years, there is an opportunity for you. One way to get involved is with SCORE, a nationwide network of more than 250 chapters with more than 10,000 volunteers who mentor small businesses and educate nonprofits for free. We're looking for people of all backgrounds and experiences, regardless of age, to serve in a variety of roles - from expert mentors from business and non-profit organizations to advocates for local communities, small businesses and community organizations, SCORE is the place to be. Just go towww.score.organd click VOLUNTEER. Wherever you want to volunteer, find an activity that is close to your heart. Volunteering is best for everyone involved if you are doing something you enjoy. It's never too late to start. Winston Churchill said, “You live what you get. You live what you give.”-Del Carver, SCORE-district director for North Dakota, South Dakota and West Central Minnesota in Fargo, North Dakota

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Sioux Falls must do its part to help planet Earth

Planet Earth is in danger and cities, including Sioux Falls, must do their part, primarily to promote the sustainability of our resources. However, the Sioux Falls City Council and Mayor seem more concerned about their political future than the planet.

A committee with broad public participation developed specific sustainability recommendations at the mayor's request, but before the recommendations could even be discussed or made public, Mr. TenHaken's political adviser, Jenna Harris, hollowed out her work without a single word of refutation. the mayor himself.

City councilors dishonestly said they had not received all the information from the mayor and postponed hearing the matter until September, presumably hoping the row would subside. A letter from TenHaken sets out the original plan, and in it he said, "This plan prioritizes areas where we can take meaningful action."

Apparently he has changed his mind, the Argus Leader reported on March 16, 2023.

Specific recommendations and implementation strategies in the original plan related to energy and buildings (including recommendations that required an update of building codes); transport and land use (electric vehicles, sustainable development in urban ordinances); Natural systems (low impact development, native landscaping); material management and waste (reduce plastic, maximize recycling); Community Vitality and Sustainable Living (urban agriculture, food waste distribution); and sustainable economics (ways for companies to integrate sustainable practices).

Why on earth should we not start this effort now? The actions of our city leaders are a disservice to the public and harm our community and our world. They can't get away with that.

Henry Travers, Sioux Falls

The mayor's office hijacked Sioux Falls' sustainability plan

The mayor's political game to avoid a sensitive issue shows respect for some loud voices of self-interest, rather than continuing with the courage to do what is best for our city's future. The mayor's office hijacked a months-long, consensus-based public process, bypassing the experts at the Office of Sustainability and the 30-member community stakeholder committee who painstakingly crafted the Sustainable Sioux Falls Plan for nearly a year . The mayor's office unilaterally tossed the draft, which came about through hours of good faith negotiations between business executives, energy companies, affordable housing experts, environmental groups, educators, health care professionals and builders. Instead, the committee was presented with an unrecognizable "framework" without concrete measures. The commission's draft included meaningful accountability measures while eschewing mandates in favor of education and collaboration with the private sector and community organizations. It saved the city money on future energy bills, updated long-outdated energy codes for new municipal buildings, and improved the efficiency of existing buildings. It promoted the development of sustainable companies and employment to keep our city attractive to young talent. In contrast, the mayor's weak "cadres" abandons any claim to leadership or meaningful action, instead "considering" and "exploring" "potential" courses. Action. While calling for "evaluation", the "framework" ignores economic analysis and research, which the city has already paid for, and the examples of our neighbors. Cities like Des Moines, Rochester, Missoula and Fort Collins paved our way. This new "frame" not only signals the fear of positioning Sioux Falls as the frontrunner, but even tries to keep up with the crowd. Research shows: our citizens want more to be done to mitigate the impact of climate change on their daily lives. while the city leadership favors a misunderstood "political environment" and avoids serious action.

Deb Hagemeier, Sioux Falls

Implement the Sioux Falls Sustainability Plan

The community of Sioux Falls is grateful, or should be, to the 30-strong Sustainability Steering Committee that has devoted much thought, time, and energy to developing a plan to conserve our community's natural resources. This gift, though so abundant, is not endless.

We recently learned that the results of the committee's careful work plan appear to be going off the table due to complaints from certain sectors of the business community.

The science is clear; Our current treatment of Mother Earth and her mantle will make life as we know it unsustainable. If she were human, Mother Earth would be diagnosed with COPD because of our greenhouse gas emissions in her mantle. We are also rapidly eliminating their circulatory resources: their rainforests, their fauna, thousands of plant and animal species. Our pollution is poisoning the Earth's water systems and melting its glaciers, which are its cooling systems. Your oceans are already feverish. Just like a human being, the planet coughs and writhes, witness the many atypical storms. Do we understand "unsustainable"?

Science warns us. A flippant or well-written denial of climate change science and the use of superficial words like "wokism" won't change the sad facts.

In our better times, we seem to want to fix what we broke. However, we insist that the "repair" should be free, even make a profit! Too expensive to trade? How will we justify to our children the "sick" earth we leave them? Our rapidly growing national debt is shrinking at the expense of the unsustainable state of our planet.

The Sustainability Steering Committee recognizes that change should be gradual and a shared responsibility that includes discussion and community involvement. At the same time, recovery and recovery must happen now because, as science tells us, we are approaching the edge of the abyss.

We call on the mayor, the business community, the business community and all of us to participate in the sustainability plan and to work towards a sustainable future.

- Sister Lynn Marie Welbig, Sioux Falls

How to send a letter to the editor:

Letters should be no more than about 300 words and should include first and last name, address, city and title. Addresses are of course not published, but this way we can ensure that those submitting a letter are who they say they are.

The letters will be published in print and online on Sunday as we receive them. However, there may be times when we don't have one as we work to generate interest and actively rebuild this part of our coverage for readers.

You can email them to or use our online form to send them to News Director Shelly ConlonHere, which is also sent directly to the message director.


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