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Week in review: the best, worst

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opinion Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

CHEERS to news that the dropout rate is on the decline in South Dakota, but HISSES to a correlating increase in truancy cases in South Dakota courts. The reason for the both trends is the law that required students to stay in school until the age of 18, which was changed from 16 by the Legislature. A report last week showed that in 2009-2010, the first year for the new law, the statewide dropout rate for grades seven through 12 fell to 1.8 percent, was years. But unfortunately, court cases against kids who weren't showing up at school rose 38 percent. We appreciate what the new law is trying to do -- keep kids in school, thereby helping them to a better future. But we also knew when this law passed that it could have unfortunate consequences, such as truancy and disruptive behavior in class by kids who otherwise would have dropped out. We like the decrease in dropout rates and feel that it is, overall, good for South Dakota.

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CHEERS to Maynard Puetz, a Mitchell postal carrier who was honored by the United States Postal Service recently. Puetz recently was awarded a U.S. Postal Service Hero Award for actions he took on Oct. 19 that aided a man he encountered while on his postal route. The man was in the midst of a seizure when Puetz came along and lent aid. Puetz also cared enough to check up on the man later in the day, stopping by to make sure he was OK. This kind of service deserves recognition and we're glad that people like Puetz live and work in Mitchell.

CHEERS to the people of Wagner who have worked to bring a movie theater back to town. The Daily Republic last week noted that the Wagner Theater has opened with a showing of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," more than 30 years after the town's last movie -- "Jaws" -- played. There is a certain quality of life that comes with movie theaters, and we suspect that's why many small towns strive to bring theaters back to their main street. The theater in Wagner certainly isn't the first rebirth of cinema in Mitchell-area small towns, and we suspect it won't be the last. We consider this progress, and a sign of progressive and caring residents.

CHEERS to John Kass, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a man who evidently is a good sport. Kass recently penned a column in which he referred to the "late George McGovern." Of course, the former senator, 1972 presidential nominee and Mitchell native is alive and well. Kass realized his error as that particular edition of the Tribune was in the midst of printing, but it was too late. When The Daily Republic called Kass to ask him about the mistake, the columnist admitted that he "totally blew it," but was good-natured enough to discuss the mistake in-depth with our reporter, who used the interview to craft a light story about McGovern. Now, we only can hope the Tribune does not plan to write stories about our mistakes.

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