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Week in review: the best, worst

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CHEERS to the group Unfiltered REALity, which is comprised of Mitchell High School students and which works to keep fellow students from smoking. The organization marched during the Dakota Wesleyan University Blue and White Days parade earlier this month and got us thinking that it takes guts to make such a stand as a teenager. We appreciate the group and hope that other students are taking heed; for the life of us, we cannot imagine why a teen would begin smoking in this day and age, when so much information exists that show the many evils associated with that bad habit. Thank you, Unfiltered REALity, for helping remind kids that smoking is -- to be terribly blunt -- stupid.

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CHEERS to the Mitchell High girls' softball team, which won the state Class A title last weekend in Sioux Falls. The Kernels won two games in the championship round, beating Vermillion 12-3 and Vermillion again, 9-5, to claim the firstplace trophy. A state title in any sport is quite an accomplishment, but winning a softball title is impressive here in Mitchell, considering that it wasn't too many years ago that fastpitch options were very limited or nonexistent altogether. Local softball has come a long way in a short time and we're impressed with that transformation and proud of the girls for their efforts.

CHEERS to news that George Jones will be performing this fall at the Corn Palace. Jones has been a country music mainstay for five decades, with more than 150 hits, including "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Jones will be at the Palace Nov. 14 and we consider this a great opportunity for classic country music lovers.

HISSES to the high rate of deer-car collisions in South Dakota. The annual State Farm Insurance deer-car crash rankings came out last week and South Dakota once again is among the nation's worst states for those nasty instances when car meets deer. According to the study, a driver in South Dakota has a 1 in 76 chance of hitting a deer, which ranks South Dakota No. 3 on the national list, behind West Virginia, Iowa and Michigan and just ahead of Montana. The study also notes that nationwide, deer vs. car collisions have increased 21 percent over the past five years, while the number of miles driving by the nation's motorists has increased only 2 percent. That's not good news at all.

HISSES to a report that shows the Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public the extent of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill earlier this year. The report notes that members of the administration committed missteps that raised questions about certain administration members' competence and candor during the crisis. According to the report, administration spokesmen initially underestimated the amount of oil flow, and then at the end of the summer appeared to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf. The report concluded that "the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem." Note to elected leaders and taxpayer-paid officials everywhere: Your constituents just want to be informed, to be kept abreast of all goings-on and, mostly, be told the absolute truth about even the most difficult issues. Why anyone wouldn't be forthright and open when it comes to public issues is entirely beyond us.

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