Our Readers Respond

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Letters to the Pilot

Being a happy tourist in your own home county


No need to wait for our Destination Park to be completed. You can be an enthusiastic tourist right now in your very own country. Pack up the camera and binoculars and head north to the Little Sioux River.

Soon, the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce will introduce the brand new county tourism map. Pick one up as soon as you can and start planning your very own two-hour tour. I like calling it the incredible adventure - because it is! You've seen the lake, now it's time to see the other side of the county. Slowly drive the south and north river roads from Linn Grove to Peterson and back east to Sioux Rapids. Wow! It's truly beautiful scenery, and the wildlife is awesome, too.

Look for the bald eagles, they just might be hanging out at their nest (their home). Take the drive at dusk and count how many deer you see. We counted 82 last time out. We've taken this drive many times and it's always like a mini-vacation. Every Buena Vista County resident should take this tour, and when friends and relatives come to visit, you can be their tour guide. Tourism is a fantastic opportunity for Buena Vista County and we should all be proud that we have so much to offer.

I am very pleased to see the Storm Lake and Buena Vista County working together to promote it. Let's all promote tourism locally. It will help bring us all closer together.

Take a drive, be a tourist!

- Randy Harrington, Storm Lake

All BVRMC sold off was its dialysis patients


Four score and seven years ago, all men were created equal. I'm not so sure. Lincoln freed the slaves. No more was man to be sold, no matter the color of his or her skin. So what happened at BVRMC? We in dialysis sure wonder.

The people who bought us did not want our machines, as the board told us they will trash them. So what did they buy? Well it doesn't take much to brain matter to know it was the patients. I know now how the black men felt. After all these years, why? I guess what goes around comes around again. The $300,000 was to be paid. That is $18,750 per patient. Strange, that is just what they need for the helicopter pad. Sure is interesting.

- Ruby Rose Piercy, Storm Lake

ADA worth celebrating


This month, Americans celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted into law on July 26, 1990. As the author of ADA, I remember the day as one of the proudest in my entire legislative career. Over the ensuing 14 years, America has made enormous strides in breaking down barriers - both physical and attitudinal - to people with disabilities. But let's not kid ourselves. We still have a long way to go before we have truly opened up the doors of opportunity to everyone.

One Iowan who brilliantly illustrates the human potential unleased by the Americans with Disabilities Act is Cheri Blauwet, from Larchwood. Cheri lost the use of her legs in a tractor accident when she was just 16 months old. Today, she is a true Renaissance woman: A Rhodes Scholar finalist, a student at Stanford University School of Medicine, and a world-class athlete. This year, she won the Los Angeles and New York City marathons for athletes using wheelchairs, was named to the 2004 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Team to compete in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. And Cheri recently won another hard-earned honor: she was one of just four nominees for the 2004 ESPY Award for the Best Athlete with a Disability.

Cheri said, "I don't think that a lot of people with disabilities realize their own potential." And she has worked tirelessly to change these attitudes. She mentors people with disabilities. And she educates fellow students and physicians to understand that disability is a normal aspect of the human condition, and that it should not limit one's hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Let me tell you, you can immediately recognize her determination, intellect, and indomitable spirit. And that's why I say that she illustrates all that we hoped to accomplish when we passed ADA. This law is about removing the social, attitudinal and architectural barriers that prevent people with disabilities from making full use of their gifts and talents.

So, on this anniversary, we congratulate Cheri for her achievements. And it is a good time to look into our own hearts and minds. Let's rededicate ourselves to removing the remaining physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent people with disabilities from becoming fully participating members of our communities.

- Iowa Senator Tom Harkin

United States Senator