Readers Respond

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Letters to the Pilot

Real cost of a casino

To the Editor:

I am thankful that the "Don't Gamble with our Future" committee is working to inform citizens of the great risks in having a casino in Buena Vista County. I am learning why I will vote NO. If you want some facts, please visit www.DontGambleWithOurFuture.org.

Besides crime and economical problems for our county, I have learned that the SOCIAL COSTS can be extremely high.

Studies show that 10 percent of the population accounts for "two-thirds to 80% of gambling revenues." (Grinols & Mustard, Business Profitability versus Social Profitability, 2001, p.148) University of Illinois economist Earl Grinols stated before the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary in September, 1995, that more than half of a casino's revenue comes from problem and pathological gamblers. This simply shows us that while promoters of gambling (including the state) talk of helping people with gambling problems, they truly count on the problem gambler for their income! If there were not problem gamblers, there would be no profit. So, to make gambling profitable, we need to hope that people become addicted gamblers.

"2 to 5% of the population (where gambling is readily available) consists of problem and pathological gamblers, who suffer from compulsive gambling disorders." (Grinols & Mustard, 2001) If we have 10,000 people in Storm Lake, we can expect 200 to 500 of them to become problem gamblers.

Studies show that pathological gambling brings child abuse and neglect, marital problems, personal financial ruin, illness, and suicide. It also causes crimes, such as business embezzlement, and robbery. All of this leads to employment costs, family costs, higher insurance rates, and judicial and incarceration costs.

This doesn't sound like what we all want for our community. I will vote NO to a casino.

- Bo Brink, Storm Lake

A curtain call

To the Editor:

A huge thank-you from the BVCT Board is extended to you for the great coverage of our summer musical, "State Fair". We truly appreciate your willingness to promote the arts in B.V. County. The show was a big success, thanks, in part, to you.

- Therese Becker, Secretary, BVCT Board

Genesis policy change

To the Editor:

Beginning October 1st, Genesis Development will be reducing the hours of operation for its redemption center. Our current hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. -1 p.m. on Saturday.

Our new hours will be 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Saturday.

The primary reason for this change is that Genesis has developed other work projects for the people with disabilities that Genesis serves, including Silk Screen Ink in Storm Lake and Jack Links Distribution Center in Laurens. We feel it is our responsibility to provide a broad variety of job training experiences for people, in order to better meet their individual strengths and challenges. Genesis has made the decision to reduce the can and bottle redemption operations in order to manage the additional new production responsibilities.

A second reason is the frustrations and financial concerns with the Iowa Beverage Containers Control Law, otherwise known as the Bottle Bill. The law hasn't changed significantly since its inception in 1979, including the 1 cent per can handling fee. Labor costs, utilities and insurance have all risen significantly in the past 27 years, making this operation a money-loser - and causing some redemption centers all across the state to close. In addition, there are now nearly as many beverage containers available for sale that are not redeemable such as water, tea and juice, as those that are redeemable - which calls into question the effectiveness of this anti-litter law without significant updates.

We apologize in advance to those customers this may inconvenience. We recognize there are limited options in Storm Lake to redeem large quantities of nickel-deposit beverage containers. We recommend that citizens contact their state legislators and advocate for changes to the Bottle Bill, including an increased handling fee and an anti-litter solution that addresses the whole problem, not just a portion.

- Cindy Wiemold, Site Director

Genesis Development