OUR VIEW: Week in review: The best and worstHisses and cheers from the week that was.
CHEERS to Jim Schorzmann, the so-called “Smiling Postman” of Mitchell, who was honored last week during a retirement party. Schorzmann delivered mail in the Mitchell area for more than 26 years and during that time always was quick with a smile or friendly wave. We are like most everybody else — when we saw Schorzmann in a feature story and photo last week in this newspaper, his face immediately was familiar. Who hasn’t seen that smiling face out on the postal beat? We enjoyed hearing his story, and wish we all could be as friendly as Schorzmann.
HISSES to another death related to shoveling snow. Last week Davison County Commissioner David Weitala suffered a heart attack after shoveling snow at his Mitchell home. It was a terrible tragedy that took a faithful public servant. A follow-up report in The Daily Republic noted that shoveling is dangerous because it is a significant stressor to muscles and the circulatory system, especially for those who aren’t regularly exercising. That should be a warning to us all. We urge readers to take it easy when shoveling and realize their limits.
CHEERS to the Hanson Classics, which have completed their two-weekend run at the Mitchell Corn Palace. There are two Classics nowadays — one for girls’ basketball and the other for boys’ — and their name has become synonymous with basketball in this area. The events result in some wonderfully entertaining basketball games, but they also bring an abundance of people to town during what would otherwise be a rather bland weekend in the local tourism schedule.
CHEERS to the legislative cracker barrel meetings that are held each winter in Mitchell and throughout the state. These events generally do not draw more than a dozen or two attendees, but they are a key source of communication between lawmakers and constituents. Not everyone can drive to Pierre and speak face-to-face with their legislators; and, not everybody wants to. But at these cracker barrel sessions, attendees are urged to ask questions, and there always is time for one-on-one conversation afterwards. If you’ve never been to a legislative cracker barrel, consider it in the future. It only takes an hour or two, and you’ll learn plenty about South Dakota’s lawmaking process. The next one is at 10 a.m. Feb. 11 at the Mitchell Tech Institute Center Amphitheater on the south campus.
HISSES to wrongheaded South Dakota legislation that has recently resurfaced and seeks to require welfare recipients to be tested for illegal drugs. We opposed this bill when it arose last year, and it’s still a bad idea. Welfare programs should be closely monitored, but at their core, they’re meant to help people. Statistics have shown that welfare recipients aren’t much more likely to use drugs than anybody else, so drug tests are unnecessary. Furthermore, if a welfare recipient also has a drug habit, doesn’t that mean the person would need more help, rather than less? This proposal may be inspired by fiscal conservatism, but it goes too far and threatens to introduce a sense of paranoia into programs that should be delivered with compassion.