Entries Tagged 'Veterans Day' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council to receive information on a Veterans Housing Project

During the 4 PM informational on Tuesday the city council will hear this presentation;

Veteran’s Community Project Presentation

As I understand it from my moles this is a tiny house housing project that is tied in with the city’s affordable housing funds. It is in the Axtel Park area. I think the city already bought the land but I don’t know a lot more about funding.

While I am all for helping veterans with housing, I still get a little worried when we are spending local tax dollars on these projects like we did with the cemetery. Veterans affairs should be a Federal issue and come from the Federal coffers. Yes, we do receive Federal affordable housing money and that is a pass through, but when we are spending property and sales taxes on these projects when it should be going to infrastructure for all of us, then I get concerned.

I guess we will await the details from this non-transparent city government.

Thank You Veterans!

I’m going to do this a little different, and if there is anyone I forgot, please tell me, you have all been important in my life;

Grandpa’s Laddie & Mel (WW2)

Uncle Jr. (Korean War)

Uncle Duane, Stepdad Roger (Army)

Friends Dave & Dan (Vietnam)

Brother & Dr. Kermit Staggers (Air Force)

Friend Dave (Navy)

Friend Brion (Army)

Thank you for your service! I think about your sacrifices more than you can even imagine! Our Freedom is FREE because of you!

Sioux Falls VA believes in Religious Freedom, as long as you are Christian

The Missing Man display at the Sioux Falls VA initially featured an oversized Bible, disrespecting the sacrifices of countless non-Christian servicemembers since the Revolutionary War. Image from: Military Religious Freedom Foundation

You would think a story this big that someone in our local media or even the local ACLU would be all over this;

The VA hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has a serious problem. Not with health-care—they’re one of the best in the nation—but with the US Constitution that the veterans they serve risked their lives to defend. And with the veterans whose rights they are trampling on. And the dead they are disrespecting.

A POW/MIA Missing Man display in the main lobby features a Christian Bible, despite a slew of complaints which the VA has not simply ignored, but made a mockery of, by replacing one Bible with another, thus pretending to “resolve your concerns,” in an email to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which is representing 21 VA patients who have contacted them with complaints.

As is normally the case, the majority of MRFF’s clients are Christian, while the totality includes a wide variety of faiths, as well as non-believers.

“Of the 21, 14 are Christians—so two thirds are Roman Catholic or Protestants,” MRFF founder and President Mikey Weinstein told Crooks and Liars. “The other seven are Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Native American and then atheist/agnostic.”

It reminds me of Steve, a veteran who shows up to city council meetings almost weekly and contends the VA has discriminated against him because he is atheist (among other things). We have to remember, many people who have fought for our country are of many different religious stripes or none at all. That is one thing that separates our country from others, religious freedom. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Veterans: Discounts and Sales Tax (H/T – Daily Spin)

Honorably discharged veterans now qualify for shopping online at military exchanges (retail & some services).  Active duty and National Guard already use this shopping.  The full service started November 11, 2017.  If you’re a vet, go to VetVerify.org.  There’s typically a 20 percent DISCOUNT with special arrangements for major purchases (appliances/furniture).  Prices are not posted until you’re logged in securely.  NO SALES TAX.

Given South Dakota government is principally supported by sales tax, there’s significant budget repercussion.  The state is 900K with 70K veterans.  Veteran dependents can use the service such that there is potential for more than 120K total customers.  Retail sales could decline 10% or more at first with awareness potential for 15% by 2020.  This is exempt interstate sales that are not reported to state or local government.  Some shopping sites let you fill in false information and make purchases.





Sales volume is focused on the two major cities in South Dakota.  Internet sales is why there are so many empty store fronts.  Sioux Falls has had and will continue having revenue short falls.  It’s more than just Amazon and other tax free online purchases.  There are signs the booming economy is over.  It will be harder to make bond payments on the half billion in debt.  This is not a time for play places, admin buildings, or parking garages.  It’s important to amend the charter so there’s no strong mayor veto power and no council overrides.  Take away the mayors’ credit card and put him on an allowance.  There will be tax increases.  Veterans can keep their quality of life with on line tax free sales.

Sioux Falls is NO PLACE FOR A VETERANS CEMETERY.  It has been proven in SD Supreme Court that the city is not democracy.  Circuit court cases decided that Strong Mayor Charter denies due process.  A cemetery must be on solemn federal ground.  The usual city scheme is to acquire undeveloped land then rezone for development.  The federal government does a magnificent job of maintaining cemeteries.  For the city it would be just another inferior golf contract.

State Veterans Cemetery

Before we get in the weeds on this, for full disclosure I support ANYTHING that helps veterans.

So a veterans group has been trying to get a STATE veterans cemetery on the East side of the state for awhile. I think it is a great idea;

First, land needs to be bought or donated for the project. Council leaders said they’re confident the city of Sioux Falls will be willing to work with them.

While the Feds would possibly cover or reimburse the state up to $6 million dollars, there are a couple of sticking points. The state could possibly be on the hook to maintain the cemetery and the city could donate the land.

I’ll just say it. While I understand Federally funding war memorials and cemeteries, I have often argued for every dollar spent on war memorials we should spend the same amount on peace memorials.

I also think if we are going to spend money on veterans it should be on living ones for healthcare. Our country spends almost 3x more than our closest competitor in military spending, yet we have to have bake sales when it comes to healthcare for veterans or burial. It’s sad. I actually think veterans healthcare could be improved if we implemented a nation wide single payer system for ALL citizens, but that’s an argument for another day.

While I don’t take issue with a ‘partial’ donation of the city owned property or a reduced price, I don’t think we should give a 100% donation on such valuable property (Slip Up Creek area). I look at the Glory House land deal and how we had them pay a reduced price. While I disagreed with making them pay, since their services save taxpayers oodles of money, I also see the argument that ‘nothing is really free’.

I also see this with the city owned property. We have choices in the matter, we could certainly donate 100%, but we could also seek payment from the Feds or the State (which is really our money anyway) or we could say NO all together and sell it at a premium.

I think we should appraise the land, and sell it at a discount for the cemetery, but we shouldn’t just hand it over.

As we often like to say, ‘Freedom isn’t Free’ and neither is land.

Veterans: Discounts and Sales Tax

Guest Post – Dan Daily

Honorably discharged veterans now qualify for shopping online at military exchanges (retail & some services). Active duty and National Guard already use this shopping. The full service starts November 11 but there’s ‘beta tests’ at present. If you’re a vet, go to VetVerify.org. There’s typically a 20 percent DISCOUNT with special arrangements for major purchases (appliances/cars). Prices are not posted until you’re logged in securely. NO SALES TAX.

Given South Dakota government is principally supported by sales tax, there’s significant budget repercussion. The state is 860K with 68K veterans. Veteran dependents can use the service such that there is potential for more than 100K total customers. Retail sales could decline 10% or more at first with awareness potential for 15% by 2020. Reporting is exempt. Some shopping sites let you fill in false information and make purchases.




Sales were focused more on the two major cities in the state. Internet sales is why there are so many empty store fronts.

Sioux Falls has had and (because of this) will continue having revenue short falls. It’s more than just Amazon and other tax free online purchases. There are signs the booming economy is over. It will be harder to make bond payments on the half billion in debt. This is not a time for play places, admin buildings, or parking garages. It’s important to amend the charter so there’s no strong mayor veto power and no council overrides. Take away the mayors’ credit card and put him on an allowance.

Thank you South Dacola for this blog site. This information doesn’t get reported by the media and certainly not as a local government public service announcement.

I told you so? One of the main reasons why the indoor aquatic center was built in a bad location

We said it during the campaign, the location will cause issues with expansion (of the pool) and parking. And while I was not totally opposed to a public indoor pool (I think a partnership with Sanford at the sports complex would have been best) the parking situation is going to get very, very interesting;

Construction of the Primary Care addition on the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Sioux Falls is nearly complete, and expected to be open in October. However, other phases of the project are far from finished, and it’s affecting patient care.

“My biggest limiting factor for care, is space,” said VA Health Care System Director, Darwin Goodspeed.

The VA Hospital treats more than 27,000 patients in east river every year, and the number of patients continues to rise. So, the need to expand the current building for more care comes with a price tag of $20 million.

“We’re doing some expansion, specifically to add square footage to our clinical spaces so that we can have more space available to see more veterans – more patient care.”

You also have to factor in the ‘quit claim deed’. Will the VA eventually start chipping away at the green space of Spellerberg for more parking? This location spelled trouble from the beginning, not just because of parking issues and expansion but it is built on a heavily traveled two-lane arterial (Western Avenue), that I nicknamed years ago ‘the parade route’.

Let the parking wars begin.

War has it’s price

Whenever I see the above hat, shivers go down my spine. I know a lot of Vietnam vets, and they never have very happy stories about the war. However I find them to be deep in character, brotherhood and patriots when it comes to our country.

Honor all of those who have served their country.

A big shout-out to Billy Bob, Dan and Laddie. I’m glad to know you.

Veteran’s Day post of the day

(SD) The Volante

Nation at a crossroads this Veterans Day

By LeighAnn Dunn • November 11, 2009

Before the Iraq War, our nation had a policy of not striking a potential enemy unless our interests were clearly endangered of imminent attack.

The Iraqi invasion changed that policy.

This “first strike” standard also obligates our nation to another standard, which is to take extraordinary steps to prevent wars our leaders can see developing in the future. One threat we clearly see and can prevent is further damage from climate change. The U.S. Department of Defense, the CIA, the State Department and the National Intelligence Council see this threat and are all incorporating man-made climate change as a security threat into their long-term planning. Here are some climate change scenarios our nation’s top military minds are looking at:

• Climate change dries up water and creates famine. Nations panic. Wars erupt. American troops get deployed.

• Climate change makes sea levels rise, creating tens of millions of refugees. Refugee camps are ripe recruiting grounds for terrorist organizations.

• Climate change fuels radical storms to occur more frequently. This stretches military resources from their primary mission: defending America against our enemies.

Top military and intelligence authorities are working on strategies to respond:

•  In February the Pentagon and State Department will include a climate section in their next respective Quadrennial Review.

•  Last year, the National Intelligence Council said “global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. National security interests over the next 20 years.”

• This fall, the CIA launches a center on climate change to examine security risks.

This year’s Veterans Day finds our nation at a crossroads clouded by political wrangling. Lobbyists for oil and coal companies want to kill climate change legislation in Congress right now, because their clients get rich keeping things the way they are, even though our military and intelligence leaders know climate change will create a series of wars around the world.

Our nation spends $1 billion per day on crude oil from other countries, some of which are unstable or hostile to America’s security. American consumers are forced to help fund both sides of the war against terrorism. Add to the monetary costs the lives of American soldiers, like those who served with me in Iraq. Since 1973, we’ve known America remains threatened as long as we depend on foreign oil.

Our nation has a stronger obligation than ever before to avoid wars that can be prevented to preserve our national interests. I can think of no better response than to pass the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act in Congress, and put our nation in the leadership position to end this threat now.

LeighAnn Dunn

USD Graduate Student and member of the S.D. National Guard