OUR VIEW: Week in review: The best and worstThe best and worst from the week that was, from red kettles to Iraq to a successful coach.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
CHEERS to the end of the Iraq War. Although success in the campaign came early as troops stormed across the borders, overtook Baghdad and captured Saddam Hussein, this is a conflict that had reached a quagmire toward the end. Last week, U.S. officials declared the conflict over — nine years after Americans went into combat in the region. Was it worth it? Many veterans tell us yes, and we agree with them. But we also have regretted recent years that have seen continued deployment of Americans, including many National Guard units from South Dakota. We’re proud of those who served in this faraway theater, but we’re happy to see it come to an end after the death of 4,487 Americans, 32,000 Americans wounded and $800 billion drained from the U.S. Treasury.
CHEERS to another clean audit by the Mitchell School District. At a school board meeting last week, local accountant Jay Tolsma gave the district’s financial paperwork the highest rating. He said the district shows no material weaknesses or deficiencies for fiscal year 2011. It’s the 10th consecutive clean audit for the district, and is especially notable considering new reporting requirements that are more stringent.
CHEERS to Parkston High School girls’ basketball coach Rob Van Laecken, who tied the all-time state record for girls’ victories last week. Van Laecken, 59, led Parkston to a 55-52 win over Hanson, giving him 551 wins, and he surpassed the record later in the week. Van Laecken has had some great teams at Parkston over the years, but his consistency is what is especially notable as he reaches this milestone. Congratulations are in order, and we commend Van Laecken — and all of the girls who helped him reach this achievement — as he heads into the bulk of this season’s schedule.
CHEERS to everyone who puts some pocket change into the red kettles sponsored by the Mitchell Salvation Army. Last week, The Daily Republic reported that the Salvation Army is behind in this year’s campaign, and about $6,000 off its plan. Some good news came later in the week in the form of a gold Krugerrand coin, which was found taped to a dollar bill and which continues a tradition of some local resident placing one of those pieces in a local kettle each year. We have spent time ringing those bells and notice that many people truly are interested in donating, but simply do not carry much spare change or dollars these days, thanks to debit cards and the like. We urge people to think ahead when they go out in the coming days, and ask that they try hard to carry a few dollars to donate to the Salvation Army. This money makes a big difference — right here in Mitchell.
HISSES to gas prices in Mitchell, which have seemed to be the highest in the state for weeks. Saturday, the average price for regular unleaded in the city was $3.383, while the average in Sioux Falls was $3.201 and the statewide average was $3.284. Figuring out the reason for such inequities is legendarily difficult, because gas-station owners are tight-lipped about it. The longer our prices stay high, the more curious we get.