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Editorial: Week in review

CHEERS to a letter from Mary Mortenson, of Mitchell, that was published in Saturday's Daily Repubilc. Mortenson, responding to piece penned by the Rev. Kristi McLaughlin that dealt with abortion, wrote that "it was refreshing to read the words of this woman who articulated her position without demonizing those with whom she disagrees." In her letter, Mortenson doesn't agree or disagree with McLaughlin's piece, but simply appreciated McLaughlin for her tone and for calmly voicing her opinion. Mortenson also thanked McLaughlin "for challenging us to a higher calling in how we deal with one another." Mortenson gets it, and her letter couldn't have come at a better time. With all the political rhetoric and sharp jabs that have come with this campaign season, we urge readers to be understanding of each other's opinions. Let's disagree on all kinds of issues, but let's also vow to calmly accept that people don't always agree, nor should they. Thank you, Mary Mortenson, for reminding us that a mature approach is always best.

CHEERS to the Year of Unity, which is ongoing throughout 2010 in South Dakota. Race relations in South Dakota always could use work, and the Year of Unity is a reminder to us all that unity and collaboration are needed to achieve racial harmony. An event held in Wagner last week included Gov. Mike Rounds and noted American Indian journalist Tim Giago, as well as Indian dancers and was attended by hundreds of students and community members. We like the Year of Unity and what it means to -- and especially what it hopes for -- South Dakota.

HISSES to the venomous tone that has overtaken the race to fill South Dakota's lone seat in the United States House of Representatives. Incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and challenger Kristi Noem both have played a part, and it's unfortunate. During one supper-hour block of television broadcasting Thursday, commercials for -- more specifically, about -- Noem and Herseth Sandlin appeared at least five times per half hour and they generally were of a negative tone. It must be a close race, or we suspect these ads would have stayed on the cutting room floor.

CHEERS to a new program aimed at preventing underage drinking and binge drinking. Jen Ross will be the project director of the new Mitchell Underage Drinking Coalition, which is federally funded. The first planning meeting of the group was held last week and subsequent meetings will be held the third Tuesday of every month. Ross is hoping to recruit members and we wish her well in this worthwhile endeavor.

HISSES to the wet conditions that continue to plague this region's farmers. Last week, a report in The Daily Republic noted that farmers whose soybeans might fall under a food safety directive about floodwater contamination should have their soybeans tested to see if they can be sold. This message comes in the wake of troubles that arose last year, when some soybeans were exposed to flooding-related contamination from sewage and chemicals. Luckily, this doesn't sound like a widespread problem, but ag officials are just taking precautionary steps, and it appears the biggest concern is east of here. Still, it's unfortunate we continue to deal with the effects of this summer's unseasonably wet weather.