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OUR VIEW: Hisses and Cheers

HISSES to the long waits veterans have been suffering at federal Veterans Affairs health care facilities. Last week, it was reported that 114 VA patients in South Dakota were waiting for initial medical appointments at VA hospitals and clinics 90 days or more after requesting them. It was also reported that veterans in South Dakota wait the longest in the Great Plains region for a mental health appointment. Political leaders are taking action to fix the problems, but the true test will be what happens after the headlines fade. Consistent commitment to our veterans is what's needed.

CHEERS to Pheasants Forever for opening its first regional office in South Dakota. We are disappointed the organization chose Brookings instead of Mitchell, but we're happy to see Pheasants Forever taking on a greater role in the creation and maintenance of pheasant habitat in our state. That's good for pheasants, hunters, the economy, other forms of wildlife and the environment.

HISSES to another criminal suspect who allegedly led authorities on a high-speed chase. A man was arrested last Monday by the McCook County Sheriff's Department after the man evaded police at speeds up to 90 mph. This is at least the fourth chase-related hiss we've issued since April. We feel obligated to continue paying close attention to these cases, because they so needlessly endanger the suspects, law enforcement and innocent bystanders. This kind of behavior should be severely punished.

CHEERS to the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Committee and the state prison inmates who recently helped the committee further its bleacher project at Horseman's Sports Arena. The annual Stampede Rodeo, this year scheduled for July 17-20, is one of Mitchell's best traditions and events. But the old, wooden bleachers at the rodeo arena were a hazard even for able-bodied adults. The committee is completing a replacement of those older bleachers with newer, safer, metal bleachers. Those new bleachers will make a great event even better, and we urge anyone who's never attended the rodeo to do so this year.

CHEERS to the people who created a museum in Pickstown. The museum's opening last week drew famous former Pickstown resident Tom Brokaw back for a celebration of the town's unique history since being founded by dam builders in the 1940s. The stories of the people who built the Fort Randall Dam, and the story of the dam itself, should be remembered and retold, and it's good to see that a fitting place for that retelling has been established.