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OUR VIEW: The week in review, the best and worst

CHEERS to news that state budgets throughout the United States appear to be stabilizing, according to a Reuters report we published last week. The story told how budget gaps suddenly are rare, and also that South Dakota is one of eight states expected to exceed revenue targets. It’s been four or five years since things hit the skids. Although many would say we’re not yet out of economic danger, it sure appears that we’re better off today than we were then.

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CHEERS to the Christmas Day dinner served last week at the Mitchell Masonic Lodge. The event was hosted by the Masonic Lodge and the Corn Palace Shrine Club and saw 464 people receive a meal. Helping make the day special were 76 volunteers, who served up 90 pounds of ham and 140 pounds of turkey, as well as all of the trimmings that make holiday meals so special.

CHEERS to the perfect score in the most recent alcohol compliance check, conducted locally by the Central Alcohol Task Force. Sixteen local businesses declined to serve alcohol to a minor during the check, one of the many routine checks that are conducted throughout the year.

We have to admit that we question ourselves when we run the names of the businesses that pass these random checks — after all, we don’t run the names of individuals who don’t drive drunk or don’t speed while driving, for instance. But we are sure glad when these report cards come in and show that all businesses involved are complying with the law and keeping booze out of the hands of kids.

CHEERS to the amateur baseball team from Alexandria, which last week was named Independent Team of the Year by the South Dakota Sportswriters Association. The Angels won the state Class B title during last summer’s state tournament and this most recent award is a great way to cap off a memorable 2013, not only for the team itself but also for the community of Alexandria.

HISSES to the pheasant decline and the corresponding drop in regional tourism. We penned and published a report last week that told how some businesses in the region saw big drops in hunter numbers, and that is resulted in a down year for many. Although we have heard anecdotally that some businesses were pleasantly surprised by numbers this year, there is little doubt that it was something of a lost season here in central South Dakota.