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shop online at www.missourivalleyshopper.com June 26, 2018 • Page 9 South Dakota’s Strong Foundation In many ways, our beautiful Capitol building does serve as an “expression of the soul of the state.” If you stop by the Capitol in Pierre, take a moment to visit the cornerstone in the building’s southwest corner, and remember the strong foundation that lies beneath. There’s something for everyone... IN THE M I S S O U R I VA L L E Y MV Shopper MV Shopper the capitol building. Or did it? Cornerstones are often the symbolic anchors of large buildings, but most offer just a glimpse of the strong support mechanism underneath. In the case of the State Capitol, the cornerstone rests upon a broad rampart of brick and ordinary fieldstones, hauled to the worksite from the fields and pastures of central South Dakota. Sometimes we see our elected officials as the cornerstone of state government, but this is only symbolic strength. South Dakota’s true foundation is its citizens. Earlier this month, we went to the polls and voted on individuals to stand for election this fall as our representatives on the school board, county commission, in city government, the legislature, Congress, and as our next governor. The right to vote is the cornerstone of democracy and our elected leaders serve as only the public face of a vast interlocking support network, working together to shore up our state. It’s the people who form the strong foundation of our government, our state, and our society. M I S S O U R I VA L L E Y By Gov. Dennis Daugaard This month marks the 110th anniversary of the laying of the State Capitol cornerstone. The four-foot by four-foot Ortonville granite cube, which features an engraving of the State Seal on the south side, cost $475 and was laid in a Masonic ceremony on June 25, 1908, two years before workmen completed the building. The cornerstone was dedicated by Gov. Coe Crawford and General William Henry Harrison Beadle, known as the “Savior of the School Lands” for establishing the permanent school fund in South Dakota and several other states. In his speech during the ceremony Gov. Crawford noted, in part, that the Capitol “will stand throughout the coming years as an expression of beauty and art, and as the people come and go and linger within its walls, they will see in it an expression of the soul of the state." In addition to serving as the Capitol’s structural base, the cornerstone is a time capsule, containing coins, building schematics, a Bible, photographs, newspapers, and a variety of papers, and speeches. When installed, it established a strong foundation for CLASSIFIEDS! In Print and Online! • Call 665-5884 ********************************************* CASA: Champions for Abused and Neglected Kids deeper responsibility," Said Jensen. Independent eyes and ears Children, often in cases where they are separated from home, feel confused and unsure. Advocates, like Jensen, have to get on their level and listen, while setting personal feelings aside at the same time. But there is success. "When we're in the courtroom and the case is before the judge, we see a lot of success there," Jensen recalls from experience. "We see some families reunited, some children go to other family members, and we see children who are adopted by the people who will care for them. You see a lot of growth and change and development in these children. All of the children that I've been involved with have improved health and education, just overall. They're wonderful kids, but just needed some stability in their lives." Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Rodgers-Conti says, act independently of the attorneys involved in cases where a child has been abused or neglected, and independently of Some nonprofits exist to feed children, some collect clothes for kids, and others attempt to educate and challenge the involved youths. But one local organization, unlike any other, sets out to investigate the lives of kids who have been abused or neglected and makes recommendations to a court of law on what can be done. That program is Southeast CASA. The nonprofit Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) has a national reach, but we recruit volunteers for our local chapter, Southeast CASA. Southeast CASA covers a three-county area that includes Yankton, Clay, Bon Homme counties, and will add services in Union County by the end of 2018. Currently there are 20 volunteers who are CASAs for children, ages birth to 17, until their cases are closed, but there is a need for more trained advocates. "As a society, we need to recognize that some children need our help," said Southeast CASA’s Executive Director, Sherri Rodgers-Conti. Court-Appointed Special Advocates are like information keepers, conducting interviews with people in the child's life, reviewing information and doing research to make an informed recommendation to the legal system. The goal is to look out for the child's best interests in any decisions made regarding their care and their permanent home. CASA volunteers submit reports to the court that relay crucial and factual information, including observations and statements. The reports help the Court decide what is best for a child. The cases are kept confidential. Adele Jensen is a CASA volunteer with Southeast CASA. She states that she constantly asks herself questions while researching a case. A volunteer's purpose is a different kind of work; conducting interviews with those involved in the child's life, observing some supervised visits, and doing research to make an informed recommendation to the Court about what would be best for the child. "It's a serious job that impacts people’s lives, so a CASA volunteer has this concern all the time with thoughts of, 'Am I asking the right questions?', 'Have I obtained useful information?', 'Have I presented factual information?' Jensen said. "We don't make the decisions, but we provide factual information, cite our concerns, and make recommendations when the Court needs to make decisions about the child. "I think that a CASA’s responsibility of representing the children accurately in their current status, and what can be done to improve their lives, kind of gives us a sense of We have former educators, people with medical backgrounds, business people, full-time employees, and retired individuals; all just very caring people. As long as one is at least 21 years of age, has good references, can pass the background checks, and completes our specialized training, they can become an advocate for a child in need." "We can definitely benefit from having more male advocates," Rodgers-Conti said. "There may be a case where we have an adolescent male who would greatly benefit from a good male role model. We're not a formal mentoring group, but it's a part of what we do to be supportive of the children we work with." Ensuring that an abused or neglected child has the best permanent outcome, whether it is with parents who have made improvements, or to live with a legal guardian or with an adoptive family, is important to our community’s future success. You can make that difference in the lives of these children by becoming involved with Southeast CASA as a CASA volunteer, a board member, or a financial supporter of this important work. For more information, visit www.southeastcasa.org Mary Ellen Hornstra, a retired teacher, is a CASA volunteer in Yankton County. the Department of Human Services. "We are our own entity, so we are an independent set of eyes and ears for the Court. And that is why CASA is so vital, because caseworkers and attorneys may have enormous caseloads, where the CASA volunteer will have one case at a time," Rodgers-Conti said. "This helps ensure that critical information doesn't fall through the cracks where these children are concerned." A call for help Southeast CASA is recruiting new advocates for the program. Last year, its CASA volunteers advocated for 54 children in the three-county area. "We are a community-based group of volunteers who come from all walks of life," Rodgers-Conti said. "Volunteers do not need prior legal expertise to become an advocate. ESTED IN THIS SPOT? CASA volunteer John Lillevold of Yankton reviews his report prior to attending a court hearing for his CASA case. -5884 to place your ad here. 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