I am president of the Twin Falls Shrine Club, writing in response to recent letters wondering why the EI Korah Shriners were not in this year's Western Days Parade.
We filed the parade participant application in early May. It was returned to us as denied with note that the Shriners had to pay a $100 fee.
The Twin Falls Shrine Club is an organization of the EI Korah Shrine (non-profit) based in Boise. The Shriners hold local fund raisers to support the free Magic Valley Screening Clinic for Children in the Magic Valley. These funds are also used to provide transportation to the Shrine Hospitals. Treatment is provided regardless of ability to pay.
The Western Days Parade is the only parade in the Magic Valley that charges Shriners to participate. Last year, a local business donated $100 to have us in the parade.
We did not solicit that money this year. One of the main reasons is that it's been our understanding that the Western Days Parade began charging various organizations a fee to cover the cost of extra security, manpower and organization for the parade. It was not to be a for-profit business.
Then we saw that in May the Western Days Committee donated $10,000 to build the arch over Shoshone Street. This seems to fly in the face of what was told to the civic organizations, including the Shriners, that are now being charged to participate in the parade. These are the same civic organizations that have raised money for the arch, plus other charitable giving within the community.
If the committee had $10,000 to give away, then it has enough money to cover all its costs and should not be charging non-profit organizations.
We missed being in the Western Days Parade. We usually hand out more than 5,000 passes to the Shrine Circus that was scheduled for June 20 and flyers for the free screening clinic on October 6. We hope to rejoin the parade in 2019.
We are very thankful to Magic Valley citizens who support the Shrine efforts and hospitals.
Laird B. Stone, President
Twin Falls Shrine Club