Readers Respond

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Letters to the Pilot

Fire survivor thanks helpers

To the editor:

I Viengthong Thammavong, and the family whose house was burned down on July 28, 2004, which took all of our belongings so quick, are sad of what happened to my home. My family and I survived the dramatic fire without pain, although I knew at that moment I would die. Thank God there was help all over for us from neighbors, the community and the Lao association group. Thank you to those who cared about us, and everyone in the world who came and helped us, supported us, gave us some comfort during emergency needs, such as clothes and food, all mandatory and valuable things when we needed them.

My family and I have ben comforted by the ones who care. I have a strong heart not to think about the past suffering, and always think about my life now until the end. My family and I will remember those who have taken good care of my family in this lifetime.

My family and I have no other way to thank you, but only this letter to thank you all who helped us and who have taken care about us. Best wishes, and may all the bad things go away from you. I wish you the best... Thank you.

- Viengthong Thammavong, Storm Lake

Strong support for Awaysis

To the editor:

For the benefit of all those who oppose the Awaysis project being proposed and supported by influential people, our city government, Tom Vilsack, both of our U.S. senators, Mike Blouin, State Department of Economic Development, State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, Jeff Vonk, Iowa DNR and the Vision Iowa Board chairman (all are in favor and support it and believe it will be a good thing for Storm Lake. Vision Iowa is to grant us $8 million to help get the plan started.) With all these people supporting us and believing it is a good thing for Storm Lake what reason could we possibly have to object to going through with it?

But to start the project the City must raise $3.5 million by issuing a general obligation bond. We must pass this if we are to receive the $8 million. Do you want to throw the $8 million away and forget the whole thing? I certainly do not want to. In the 50 years my family and I have lived here we have enjoyed all of the wonderful improvements that have been made to Storm Lake, a new high school, a new middle school, a new fire station, a new police station, an improved city hall and a tremendously improved hospital facility. There have also been many improvements and additions in the private sector. BVU has made many new buildings and facilities, Methodist Manor has done likewise. All these things have made Storm Lake a better place to live and they were made possible by positive thinking people - not by negative thinkers. So I strongly urge all of you to think positive and vote yes on February 8 when the vote on the bond issue is just before you. Let's all move Storm Lake forward to the future.

- Verne Campbell, Storm Lake

To the editor:

Project Awaysis promises to greatly enhance Storm Lake's economy. Projections include 490 full-time equivalent jobs and 27 new businesses.

New jobs and increased retail sales will mean increased tax collections that go to improve our city and our schools.

Help make the Awaysis dream come true, join us in voting yes on February 8th.

- Nancy and Craig Fratzke, Storm Lake

To the editor:

Project Awaysis is a big step forward for Storm Lake. My partners and our wives own the Sail Inn Motel. Being down by the lake, we've been able to see the quality and use of the lake improve. The dredging, buffer strips, and other environmental practices have had an impact. Awaysis builds on that beginning. There are many parts of the project ranging from improved beaches, parks, to the Lodge and Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Center. There's something for everyone.

The bond we need to pass reminds me of the original Siebens gift to BVU. For every dollar raised, the gift gave $2. The state will give $8 million for Awaysis if we raise $3.5 million from the bond. I see that as great use of our money. And it starts the $30 million self-sustaining total Awaysis Project. Even the most conservative projections show it works. With the drive and efforts that our community has shown in the 25 years that I've lived here, I know it will far surpass our goals.

Awaysis goes a long ways toward us continuing to earn our moniker - "The City Beautiful". Please vote yes in the upcoming bond issue.

- Clark Fort, Storm Lake

To the editor:

On February 8, the voters of Storm Lake will have the opportunity to make a huge impact on what Storm Lake will look like in the years to come.

During my 16 years in the Iowa Legislature, I was asked many times why Des Moines and eastern Iowa always got the state money for roads and economic development projects. Well, a large group of local volunteers got behind an idea for a Destination Park and convinced the right people in Des Moines that this community was serious about moving this city forward with improving the economy and the quality of life here. They were convincing enough that we were awarded $8 million, with the stipulation that we also contribute financially to the project.

Now, it is up to the citizens of Storm Lake to step forward and provide our share of the financial commitment that will make this tremendous project a reality. If we don't pass this bond issue, that $8 million will probably go to some project in Des Moines or eastern Iowa. It won't come to Storm Lake, and we will be stuck with a swimming pool that needs expensive repair or replacement.

Come on Storm Lakers, lets get behind Awaysis Project and bring back a positive image to Storm Lake. The rest of Iowa is watching us. Vote yes on February 8. You will be glad you did.

- Russell Eddie, Storm Lake

To the editor:

Although we live outside the city limits of Storm Lake, and will not be able to vote on the $3.5 million Awaysis bond issue, we still feel bonded to Storm Lake. As former business owners and residents of Storm Lake, we continue to own business properties in the downtown, so we will be liable to pay taxes to support the bond issue for Awaysis.

We are 100 percent for this project! For Storm Lake to grow and prosper, we must enhance our image as an aggressive and growing community - a great place to live and raise our families. We are so proud of this younger generation who have chosen to help our hometown become great.

Please vote yes,

- Mr. and Mrs. Roy W. Clough, Storm Lake

To the editor:

In my work with schools in northwest Iowa, it is very clear that the area is losing population. A check with AEA 8 (Storm Lake's AEA) shows that this area lost hundreds of students last year alone. What's my point? Without new people moving to the area, home values will not appreciate. Enter Awaysis. We need residents capable of owning property to come to Storm Lake and the surrounding area. Readers worrying about a slight increase in property tax to pay for a pool we need anyway should stop and think of what it would mean to them if their home only worth half of what they think because there are no buyers. Storm Lake has built very few homes in the recent past. If not Awaysis -what? To me, Awaysis makes the most sense.

- Denny Vaudt, Storm Lake

Voting, and it will be against Awaysis

To the editor:

Who is this Marvin Molitor that is telling seniors not to vote. And shame on the Pilot Tribune for running this on the front page. I thought in elections everyone is urged to vote. I hope there are enough people in Storm Lake who will vote against this fiasco. Vote no.

- Jim Wilson, Storm Lake

Editor's note: Mr. Molitor, head of the Buena Vista Council on Aging, did not tell seniors not to vote. In a published quote, he said that seniors hoping for a new senior center in the Awaysis Project would have to hope that opponents of the Awaysis project would be the ones not to go to the polls.

Return to the sidewalk goals

To the editor:

I wholeheartedly agree with Andriette Wickstrom [letter to the editor, Jan. 18] about the inaccessibility of many parts of our fair city to pedestrians. We live on College Street - north of the railroad tracks. And we applaud the city for finally working with the railroad to get pedestrian crosswalks across the tracks - since the railroad took out both street and pedestrian crossings on many streets.

However, once we get across the tracks, we find no connecting sidewalks across 5th Street - hence no snow removal. I challenge anyone to start at our house, and walk to the University, Otsego Place, or Grand Central Coffee Station on cement other than on the street.

When we were new residents of Storm Lake a few years ago, we were impressed with the promise by the city to make all parts of this town accessible to all its residents either by foot or bicycle. Has that goal been forgotten? We feel like we have been demoted to "the wrong side of the tracks".

- Ruth Anderson, Storm Lake