Letters to the Pilot

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Donors make a splash for youth


A great big thank you goes out to our community for the generous support given to the Storm Lake White Caps summer swim team during our annual can drive on July 9th. The support was overwhelming and enables over 100 young members of our community to participate in the lifelong sport of swimming.

Blue ribbons go to The Pilot-Tribune, The Times, The Advertising Guide, KAYL and KKIA for providing promotion for our fundraiser. A special thank you to Craig and Nancy Fratzke, Fratzke-Jensen Funeral Home, Osegaro Laundry, and Jeff and Jean Currie at Whelan and Bentley Heating and Cooling for their generous support of our team. We would also like to applaud everyone at the Genesis Work Development Center and thank them for accommodating our schedule and for their gracious assistance with our can drive. Everyone's support was greatly appreciated.

Storm Lake White Caps

Summer Swim Team

Jean Bral

A gamble


Those who claim that expanding the number of licensed gambling operations in Iowa would help the economy need to review crime statistics, which suggest bringing a casino to one's town also brings increased crime, including domestic abuse.

In Osceola, for example, statistics gathered from Iowa Department of Public Safety (IDPS) crime reports paint a dismal picture of escalating criminality and domestic violence since Lakeside Casino opened in 2000. A comparison of 1998-1999 versus 2001-2002 statistics indicates that crime in Osceola rose by 50 percent. Likewise, domestic violence jumped 50 percent from pre-casino days.

In Lee County, in 1994, Fort Madison became home to a riverboat casino. According to IDPS data, crime in that county jumped 98 percent from 1992-1993 to 1995-1996. IDPS data also shows an even more precipitous crime climb in Altoona, where Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino has operated since 1995. A comparison of 1993-1994 versus 1996-1997 indicates that crime rose 104 percent and domestic violence rose 111 percent in Altoona.

Cities attracted to the lure of jobs and tax base that casino operators offer need to balance that lure against the harsh reality of increased crime and loss of local business vitality. In my own legislative district, which includes Des Moines' central business area, the last thing most downtown residents and business owners want is a new casino. This data from IDPS gives additional cause for concern.

Ed Fallon,

Iowa State legislator