Letters to the Pilot

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Tough love for the Iowa smokers


Thanks to Dana Larsen for his recent editorial "Tough Love for Smokers." I'm sure everyone knows of friends or family members who just can't beat the habit.

Iowa's 36 cents per pack tax ranks 39th in the nation and is lower than that levied in most surrounding states. Only Missouri has a lower rate at 17 cents per pack. Twenty-two states raised taxes on tobacco in 2003. Iowa hasn't raised it's cigarette tax since June, 1991. It's time Iowa follows suit.

"We pay more for the treatment of smoking-related illnesses than we receive from those who smoke," Governor Vilsack said during his recent Condition of the State speech. "We need to correct this inequity by better balancing what we receive with what we spend."

In 2003, Iowa paid $794 million for treatment of smoking related illnesses. If the tax increase is approved, a few (smokers) will pay more to affect the costs paid by all of us today.

Pam Bogue, RNC

BV Co. Prevention Initiative

In need of a beautiful view


Thumbs up to Dale Olsen and his editorial regarding BVRMC in the January 15 issue.

First, let me reassure Dale, that he isn't the only one that from time-to-time isn't able to pay 100 percent of their bill(s) at one time. I, like him, do, however, have pride and I do make payments - or an effort - much more than I am sure a lot of people do.

It is quite ironic that his editorial appeared in the paper when it did. I was just in the process of trying to compose a letter pertaining to the exact same thing. His editorial of what happened was an instant replay of what has happened to me, except the collection agency hasn't come knocking yet - but according to Dale, it's just a matter of time.

I, too, through my medical problems, have come in contact with many health care facilities, some of the most recent being Mercy Medical Center, Spencer Hospital, Cardiovascular Associates (Sioux City), etc. They've been more than willing to work with me.

I agree with Dale. Perhaps when I need to choose where my next hospitalization or test needs to be done, I will choose one of the facilities that are willing to help me work through my hardships by accepting what payments I am able to make, in hopes that it will get better.

Patti J. Snyder,

Storm Lake

Christian presence in SL


I read recently in December, with interest, retired Pastor Richardson's column. I have the utmost respect for Pastor Richardson but I believe he needed to proofread what he wrote. I think maybe his attitude and perspective may have been worn down by the secular and commercialized perceptions of the way today's Christmas holiday is celebrated by some of America's families outside of church.

I give people benefit of the doubt most of the time. First of all, lumping together Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays is not accurate or correct as I was taught... Halloween was a pagan celebration in response to All Saints Day, neither of which are taught or celebrated in any Protestant Christian Church denominations I've attended.

In fact, often reasons to replace Halloween with a cultural community Christian Harvest Festival or Octoberfest are to educate, recognize and appreciate cultural roots in foods, clothing, and language.

Storm Lake is already a multicultural leader in Northwest Iowa.

Halloween tends to give permission or let children think that pranks and vandalism acts are traditionally OK when they are wrong. That the Harry Potter and associated cult phenomenon in media is OK when its not. That Halloween has value on the calendar in society when it doesn't . Second, Thanksgiving and Christmas are never second rate holidays in my house or in America, even if we have an inch thick of advertising in the Sunday newspaper.

Third: Giving to a charity and helping people who are struggling with meeting their needs is part of the Christian community effort. Working to provide more career and job opportunities also help people help themselves and others.

We each and all are in need, in someway, somehow, someplace, during the course of life, probably worse than once, for sure. No shame in asking for good honest help and providing good honest help.

With the dynamic changes in our economy today and less loyalty to the employees, Americans find themselves out of work, out of a career several times in their lifetime. I am on a health and career change sabbatical myself.

I would like to ask Pastor Richardson some questions about the status of progressive efforts of Christian ministry in the local Christian churches today in general summary in Storm Lake...

Do the major denomination Christian churches in Storm Lake have a vision and progressive attitude in meeting the Christian education needs of today's families and children for all ages and stages of life?

Would families moving into the community today find that churches in Storm Lake are taking a leadership role in reaching out evangelizing and educating the families today and have family building friendly communities and relationship building activities and programs available?

In short if I had some Christian friends with children and my family wanted to move to Storm Lake, would we find a strong and vital Christian family presence in middle class Storm Lake community? Is there economical cooperation between the major denominations and open joint discussions on community issues from a Christian perspective? Or, does Storm Lake need an evangelistic Christian revival with a festival of evangelist preachers, Christian musicians and Christian educators? I just came back from the Bible belt in a southern state on Christmas vacation and I'm amazed how openly comfortably and matter of factly Jesus is mentioned in most conversations by my extended family for giving up problems, concerns and finding solutions.

Only around some of my fundamental and evangelistic Christian friends does Jesus roll off their tongue so frequently, matter of factly and in practical everyday conversations.

I know we live in the stoic Midwest region but we have a strong, Christian denomination institution and small church heritage here.

I felt so encouraged personally in my Christian faith from that experience and I wonder if we do need a revival to break out in small town communities and cities in Iowa, between the major respected Christian denominations or communities of faith?

We have Promise Keepers, a mens evangelistic organization supporting Christian values and beliefs. We have focus on the family encouraging and supporting wholesome Christian value child raising and family development.

What is the trend and status of local churches in the role of community and family life today?

What areas of optimism and areas of improvement need attention today?

I noticed how the influence of the Christian church held families together, saved teenagers lives, encouraging them, into productive activities and made communities family friendly and safe especially in the contrast of the social upheaval and bad activities in protest during the 1960's.

We have different factors pulling on families, individuals and communities, today, as each decade of children and families face opportunities and challenges.

I know that Pastor Richardson is just one man, one voice, but I'm sure he is a reference book of experience, could he share about current Christian books, community, activities and opportunities for growth.

Brad Smith

Des Moines