Number 13Volume 107March 29, 2012
Toastmasters International a valuabletool in speaking and leadership skills
Getting up and speaking if frontof a crowd can bring on stagefreight, anxiety and pure terror toanyone. If you experience theseemotions and want to overcomethem how about joining Toastmas-ters International. Toastmasters isa world leader in communicationand leadership development. Theirmembership is 270,000 strong. Itsmembers improve their speakingand leadership skills by attendingone of the 13,000 clubs in 116 coun-tries that makeup their global net-work of meeting locations accord-ing to www.toastmasters.org.Their website also goes on to say,“Toastmasters has developed ameeting which is a learn-by-doingworkshop in which participantshone their speaking and leader-ship skills in a no-pressure atmos-phere. A typical group has 20 - 40members who meet weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. A meetinglasts from 60 - 90 minutes.There is no instructor in a Toast-masters meeting. Instead, mem-bers evaluate one another’s pre-sentations. This feedback processis a key part of the program’s suc-cess. Meeting participants alsogive impromptu talks on assignedtopics, conducts meetings and de-velop skills related to timekeeping,grammar and parliamentary pro-cedure.Members learn communicationskills by working in the CompetentCommunication manual, a seriesof 10 self-paced speaking assign-ments designed to instill a basicfoundation in public speaking.Members also learn leadershipskills by taking on various meetingroles and working the CompetentLeadership manual. In our learn-by-doing approach, membersaren’t lectured about leadershipskill, they are given responsibili-ties and mentoring to help. Theyare then asked to take the lead.”If anyone is interested in joiningToastmasters and improving theirspeaking and leadership skillsplease e-mail Jill Reinert at firstname.lastname@example.org.Testicular Cancer (TC) Aware-ness Week is the first week in April. John Covell felt this was anappropriate time to share the storyof his battle with this cancer withthe intent to inform young men of the symptoms and the need forearly diagnosis in the hope thatlives may be saved.John Covell and Lorinda Simonchose their wedding date to be07/07/2007; what better weddingdate could bring good luck to amarriage? One of John’s bestfriends even wrote a poem for themtitled “Jackpot Wedding” abouthow their wedding was a jackpot,not won by luck, but by love, sacri-fice and dedication.But just nine months later goodluck was not in their lives as John,at the age of 22, was diagnosedwith advanced testicular cancer al-ready in stage III; it had spread tohis lungs, liver, and lymph nodes.John’s immediate treatment wassurgery to remove the testicle.When it was discovered how rareand serious this particular casewas, the decision was made to getthe rest of his treatment at IndianaUniversity Hospital, a worldrenowned testicular cancer hospi-tal. Due to the extent of the growthand aggressiveness of his type of cancer, he had no time to waste.Less than two weeks after Johnwas diagnosed he was coughing upblood and about to startchemotherapy. The leading oncolo-gist at IU gave John a 50 percentchance of surviving. This informa-tion, though it was somber, did notdishearten John. With his wife andfamily supporting him, he wasready to do battle.John spent the next threemonths receiving chemo treatmentat the Indiana University Hospital.Upon completion of this treatmentit appeared the cancer was in re-mission. John returned to work andcontinued to have frequent check-ups.Less than six months after com-pleting treatment, a blood test re-vealed the cancer was back. Johnimmediately returned to Indiana toundergo high dose chemotherapyalong with a stem cell transplant.
The John Covell story
Cancer survivor John Covell pictured with son Chaos and wife Lorinda.
He spent about six weeks in Indi-ana and was able to return to worka few weeks after the transplant.This was in April 2009. John hasbeen cancer-free since with an ex-cellent prognosis.But John’s story does not endhere. Like all cancers, it is imper-ative that it is caught in the earlystages. TC caught in the earlystages has a cure rate of over 95percent. Even in its advancedstages, the cure rate for TC is over85 percent. Despite the high curerate, too many young men are stilldying of this disease. Over 400men die in our country each yearof testicular cancer. And why isthat? It is because young men donot realize they are the ones thisdisease strikes, (primarily thosebetween the ages of 15-35) andthey do not know the symptoms;therefore they do not get to thedoctor when they should.Since John’s recovery from can-cer he has made it a goal to helpspread the word about testicularcancer. He serves as a moderatorfor the TC-Cancer.com forumwhere he counsels other youngmen and their families. He hasalso had articles published innewspapers, magazines, and beenon KELO-Land News to makeyoung men aware of the diseaseand its symptoms. Two men fromwestern SD contacted John to lethim know one of his articlesprompted them to get to the doctor;both of them were diagnosed withtesticular cancer, treated, and arecurrently cancer-free. This is justwhat John hoped would happen;that publicizing his story wouldhelp save lives.John is continuing to spread theword by offering to make presenta-tions to young men in SouthDakota high schools. He created apower point to present to youngmen which informs them of thesymptoms of testicular cancer andthe importance of early diagnosis.He also shares his personal storyof battling this disease, with themain point being that had he notignored the symptoms and saw aurologist earlier, his story mighthave been a lot less eventful.He recently gave his first pres-entation to the freshman class at Yankton High School. He is cur-rently making arrangements togive his presentation at New Un-derwood and Wall. His goal is togive his presentation to all thehigh schools throughout SouthDakota.In his presentation John empha-sizes the various symptoms of tes-ticular cancer (a lump or enlarge-ment in the testicle, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, a dullache in the abdomen or groin, asudden collection of fluid in thescrotum, pain or discomfort in thetesticle or scrotum, enlargement ortenderness of the breasts, and inlater stages a severe backache).If a young man has any of thesesymptoms he should see a urolo-gist immediately. Chances are hewill not have cancer, but if he does,he needs to be diagnosed and starttreatment immediately for the bestchance of survival. It is better to besafe than sorry.John also stresses the impor-tance of men doing self examsevery month to detect lumps. Hehopes that some day there will beas much public awareness on thetopic of testicular cancer as therecurrently is on breast cancer.John and his wife Lorinda cur-rently live in Yankton where Johnis an electronics technician at Vishay and Lorinda is completingher third year in medical school.They welcomed their son Chaosinto the world on September 2,2011. They have come a long waysince their wedding day on07/07/2007. Some might say thatdate ultimately brought them goodluck, but John would say it hadmore to do with that love, sacrificeand dedication that was men-tioned. After two years of being cancer-free he had this to say about theexperience: “Without Lorinda Iprobably wouldn’t have made itthis far. I owe a lot to her; she hasdone more than anyone can ask,from bathing me to holding thepuke bucket. She has been myrock.”
Equalization board hears from localresidences on overly excessive taxes
by Laurie Hindman
The Local Board of Equalizationmet on Monday, March 19 at theWall Community Center meetingroom. Mayor Dave Hahn called themeeting to order with board mem-bers: Bill Leonard, Pete Dunker,Rick Hustead, Jerry Morgan andMike Anderson present. FinanceOfficer Carolynn Anderson wasalso present.There were 21 appellants whoappeared before the board. Manyproperty owners have seen a tax in-crease of 10-13 percent on their as-sessed structure value from lastyear.The board agreed in all fairnessto property owners in the Kellyand Shearer addition to lowertheir taxes to nine percent.Homeowners within the City of Wall also came before the boardand asked for explanations of whytheir taxes have raised so much.One home owner said, “Her totalassessed value for 2012 was morethat what her home market valuewas worth.” The board looked atother homes similar in squarefootage size and agreed with herstatement that equal houses arenot being equally valued. Theboard approved the 2012 total localsuggest value.The board approved to lower onehomeowners property considerablydue to surrounding homes on ei-ther side of her. The board wantedher to know that the county willprobably reject the 2012 local sug-gested land value.The board also agreed to loweranother homeowners land valuealong with her businesses due toweather damage to the home andwater, pavement and concretedamages to the businesses. After hearing from all appel-lants the meeting was adjourned.
by Laurie Hindman
Community members from thesurrounding area of Wall attendeda Wall Ambulance District meetingheld on Thursday, March 22 at theWall Community Center.Pete Dunker opened the meetingand thanked everyone for attend-ing. He then turned over the floorto Larry Gravatt.Gravatt explained without“Funding for a Pulse” the Wall Am-bulance would die. He informed thecommunity that he had found analternate way to fund the district,which would make the Wall Ambu-lance District affordable to every-one. Gravatt went on to say, “Youcannot put a price on the healthand welfare of our community andfamilies. An ambulance can be afew minutes away or up to hoursaway.”The Wall Ambulance is critical tothis area and Gravatt proposed tohire more help by coming in with areliable source of funding to main-tain an extremely importantsource, which is the Wall Ambu-lance Service.Gravatt went on to say that theRural residents ag land was takenout of the district assessment andonly the Non-ag buildings would beassessed. He is aware that this isn’tfair to the commercial businessowners but said, “hopefully we canmake this as affordable as possi-ble.” Gravatt added the Wall resi-dents rely on the Wall AmbulanceService a lot and to think of the dis-trict as an affordable insurance pol-icy.The district has support from theWall City Council who have passeda resolution to either give six per-cent of the sales tax or $50,000.Wasta has also passed a resolutionin support and Quinn is reviewingthe plan. As of now there are only six localvolunteer EMTs who average 12years of service. This low numberis due to the additional regulationsthat are required to become a newEMT. If there was 100 percent localvolunteers the cost of savings peryear would be $30,000 and with 60percent local volunteers the ambu-lance district could save $14,400 ayear.Gravatt recounted that the newassessment for ag land is now$53,500,000. A maximum of .60mill levy for an operating budgetwould bring in $39,300 and .50 milllevy for a capital outlay budgetwould raise $32,750 and accordingto state law a mill levy can not goover 1.10. The district would haveto have fundraisers and bring indonations to help the budget.The new budget that Gravatthas drawn up shows $171,000 forlabor costs and a projected revenuebased on 75 percent collection ratewould bring in $104,000.00, withthe city kicking in $50,000, dona-tions of $25,000 and the assessedvalue being $36,000 the new rev-enue would be $215,000 and if youtimes $65,494,000 by .25 for thecapital outlay budget the total fig-ure would come in at $231,373.Gravatt understands that there isvariations and work that wouldhave to be done to the budget butusing three different values forresidences and the amount of am-bulance calls in-town, out-of-townand I-90 would make the newbudget fair to all.The community also has to step-up with donations and the need forEMTs from the local area would bea big economical support for thedistrict.Gravatt noted that this was thesecond public hearing and wouldlike to see the resolution that is tobe taken before the PenningtonCounty Commissioners pass with-out the issue having to come to avote. As Gravatt said, “This will bethe best opportunity that we haveto control our own destiny. Thisplan is workable, affordable andwe need to support it.”Dunker then made a comment tothe audience, “The city council de-cided after their last meeting tolease the ambulances and garageto the district for a proposedamount of one dollar. The councilfelt it was important for them tomaintain the titles of the ambu-lances.”Charles Kruse asked Gravattonce the district is formed can themill levy be changed to include agland. Gravatt replied he hadtalked to the county auditor andonce the resolution is signed by thecounty commissioners it will staythat way. Kruse said, “At the Cas-tle Butte Township meeting theconsensus was not in favor of theambulance district, but this wasbefore they knew that ag land was-n’t going to be taxed. Their feelingmay change since they didn’t haveall the facts.” Angela Lytle asked about theamount of labor force and volun-teers that it takes to run the am-bulance and the additional regula-tions to become a EMT. Gravattexplained that EMTs are now re-quired to have 170 hours of train-ing and another 20 hours everyyear in continuing education. JohnKitterman added that a EMT hasto recertify every two years. Lytlewanted to know if the budget in-cluded the cost of training anEMT. Dick Johnson responded toLytle’s question by saying that thestudent pays for the book and afterpassing the test and serving suc-cessfully as a EMT for six monthsthey are paid back for the book.Johnson said, “It takes a lot of hours to do the class.”Lytle then wanted to know whatwould happen if the district wasformed and there were no volun-teers to cover a shift? Gravatt said,“Stan Anderson asked the samequestion.” Gravatt is hopeful andvery optimistic that this plan willwork and asked members of theaudience to become volunteers forthe ambulance service.Gary Williams would like to seefull time Level 2 EMTs or Para-medics on staff so we aren’t meet-ing another ambulance on theroad. A paramedic who is on staff for the Wall Ambulance stated,“the majority of medical calls canbe performed by an EMT. It’s a bigexpense to have paramedics onstaff for 185 calls per year when aEMT can handle the call.Martha Whitcher asked whatother options do townships have if their geographic location isn’t con-clusive to the ambulance service.Gravatt said that township wouldneed to change its 911 service.They would also need to meet withRapid City, Wall and New Under-wood to have them taken out of that area for whatever reason.Gravatt would then have to goback to the equalization board andhave the mill levy redone. Eitherway that township will still receiveservice from Wall.Byron Denke wanted to makesure that the resolution states onlyag buildings and not ag land. Gra-vatt said, the resolution states des-ignated property which is the keyword, but will make sure that theag buildings are separated fromthe ag land. Denke also wanted toknow who is responsible for the in-surance of the new district. Gra-vatt replied the insurance will bepaid for by the funds from the am-bulance district.Jem Kjerstad asked a key ques-tion, “How will the district be gov-erned.” Gravatt explained once thedistrict is formed the city attorneyJim Nelson will develop a set of by-laws for a non-profit organization. A first annual meeting will be cre-ated and nominations for a mini-mum of five directors will be heldalong with an election. The boardwill then meet once or twice amonth to prepare a non-profitbudget which will be sent to thecounty auditor for the tax roll.Kjerstad said, “This is a fair andequitable plan for the communityand is in favor of the new ambu-lance district.”Bill Leonard wanted to knowhow many people have used theambulance and said, “Without itand Mrs. Wilson he probablywould not be here.” Leonardstated, “Either we support it or weloose it.”Ballot sheets were then handedout and the community wasthanked once again for attendingthe meeting. The ballots were tal-lied with 48 in favor and six oppos-ing the ambulance district.
Wall Ambulance District proposalis made affordable to residents of
Eastern Pennington County
Wall Ambulance District meeting.
Members from the surround-ing communities of Wall and within Wall attended the secondambulance district meeting held at the Wall Community Center on Thursday, March 22.
~Photo Laurie Hindman