Dept of VA holds 1st public meeting on Hot Springs VA - KOTA Territory News

Dept of VA holds 1st public meeting on Hot Springs VA

Despite national controversy and criticism from South Dakota Legislators, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would conduct an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) on Hot Springs VA.

The first meeting was Wednesday. But it wasn't a question/answer session; just a question. Or in many cases, just a statement to go on file. A court reporter kept a log of the words people spoke into a microphone to be reviewed at a later date.

Many veterans had harsh words for the current VA management, and they pleaded to keep VA where it is. "We want this VA to remain open and restored to what it was prior to 1995 when it was systematically started dismantling it," said Richard Galeano.

Galeano is just one of many veterans who wanted to have his opinions looked at. "We're hoping that someone, somewhere, will do something," said Galeano.

Business owners also expressed their concerns over the closing of the VA, citing it as a large source of business.  "We're all small business owners, so our whole future is tied up in a successful run at this time to retire," said Rich Gerichke, a Hot Springs businessman. And if the VA closes? "Retirement would probably never happen," said Gerichke.

The next meeting is Thursday June 12 from 6:30-8:30 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center.

Click here for a complete list of meetings:

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