Letters to the Pilot

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Gambling and the lake environment


Local Storm Lake newspaper reports indicate that state funds for lake restoration may be cut back this year due to a potential loss of gambling money. Storm Lake was supposed to receive $200,000 this year to supplement other money from federal and local sources

to assist in the expanded lake restoration (dredging) project in Storm Lake. Loss of this $200,000 will apparently seriously curtail the restoration project. Efforts are currently being made to assure that this money goes to the expanded restoration project this year.

Let's hope those efforts succeed in restoring this state money so that our restoration project will not be curtailed.

I have mixed feelings regarding gambling money. The plus side of gambling is that it provides money for the environment in Iowa. The negative side is that it appears to be the primary source of environmental money from the state. This places all of the environmental eggs in one basket, so to speak. If state gambling money fails to provide environmental funds, then environmental improvements will be curtailed.

It appears that we need an additional source of state money for the environment. Such a source could come from a voluntary lake restoration check off on the Iowa state income tax. If approved, it could generate additional funds for lake restoration.

If gambling needs to be expanded to generate more income, then why not build a gambling boat and place it on Storm Lake? We could also turn Cobblestone into a gambling casino. Some proceeds would go to the restoration of Storm Lake.

One fact is for certain. If the state fails to provide money for Storm Lake and other lake restorations in Iowa, more lakes will end up on the EPA dirty water list. Remember that troubled waters from Iowa flow into the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. The fishermen down there are not very happy and blame us for contributing to the cause of the so called "dead zone" in the gulf.

If the EPA forces the state to clean up, then a lot more sources of money in addition to gambling will be needed. Many people may be forced to dig deeper in their pockets to pay the increased taxes for this clean up. Some may give up in disgust and move out of the state.

Let's settle the gambling money dispute and give Storm Lake the promised $200,000 so that we can continue to set an example of the right way to help clean up Iowa waters.

Mike Brecher,

Storm Lake

Innocent until proven guilty


My daughter went through the D.A.R.E. Program in school and Officer Pete Erickson did a wonderful job of teaching my daughter to stay off drugs as I enforced that at home as well. My daughter does not even smoke. Good job, Pete!

Anyway, this past Friday, March 21, at approximately 10:30 a.m. my daughter and her fiancee had their apartment searched by a lieutenant and two officers from the SLPD and a deputy. They retained a search warrant my daughter nor her fiancee ever saw. Over a tip from someone but the two that are in question don't even have a record of any kind. Why would they need to go through so much force and drastic action? Couldn't the law enforcement just politely come and knock on their door and ask them if they could search? Did they have to pull guns, cuff and start searching the apartment before even giving the kids their rights?

The kids at first thought they were being burglarized or it was a friend of theirs playing a joke with a bunch of other friends. They didn't think it was real and when they realized it was the police, they thought it was because of the simple parking ticket they haven't had the money to pay yet.

Also, since they might have thought it was a joke by a friend, what if these innocent kids did not drop to the floor when asked? What if these innocent kids did not allow themselves to be cuffed? Would these innocent kids have gotten shot for no reason, over a tipster's word? And NO they did not find any drugs in the apartment and had to let the kids go with a simple I'm sorry or thank you for your cooperation and a simple sorry for the inconvenience... Now, we do not know who this "tipster" is and the law has to protect the tipster's identity, so these innocent kids that were just violated on the 21st are still being violated... Maybe the law enforcement in this town needs to stop pointing their guns so eagerly and stop assuming guilt before innocence is proven? Isn't it supposed to be innocent before proven guilty? So much for them believing in their own D.A.R.E. program or their own officer teaching it!

I still believe in the program, my daughter still believes in Pete Erickson and Pete keep up the good work! It does work and I'm sure you will continue to reach the lives of these young kids in school for a lifetime.

Alice Lathan,

Storm Lake

'STIR' up Iowa future


Take a drive through Iowa and you see many positive things - from communities that are welcoming new ag-related businesses to new schools to safe neighborhoods that feature young people playing in parks.

Unfortunately, there aren't enough of these things. That's why Iowa legislators should carefully consider the STIR Iowa proposal.

The State Tax Increment Renewal plan is the right plan at the right time for Iowa. It will provide economic revitalization, long-term property tax relief and help restore equity in school infrastructure funding. These are all very important issues - issues that have been talked about a great deal the past few years.

Now, we have an opportunity to act. While there are many positive things happening in Iowa, we need to jump start the economy and improve the quality of life for all lowans.

The Iowa Farm Bureau, which developed the STIR Iowa Proposal, should be recognized for offering a bold, new initiative that can revolutionize the state and put us on solid footing for making the most of future opportunities.

I encourage legislators, citizens and local, county and state officials to discuss the plan and to see how we can make it work. Iowa's working families are asking for a new approach. That new approach is the STIR Iowa Plan.

Jeff Sievers,