Daily Republic Editorial Board
Don't deal drugs. That seemed to be the loud-and-clear message Judge Glen Eng sent when earlier this week he sentenced a Mitchell woman to four years in prison and fined her the maximum $14,000 for charges of possessing and distributing marijuana. For many, this was a surprising sentence, and there's no doubt it was meant to send a message to anyone dealing drugs. And while we're not standing up for or against Eng's opinion, it's worth speculating his intentions when issuing what many perceived as a harsh sentence.
HISSES to these brutally cold temperatures. Living in South Dakota, we know our weather can get wild. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, triple-digit temperatures are all in the cards. But when sub-zero temps combine with wind, there's really nothing like it. We feel for all the area farmers who have cattle to look after, and we were sad to hear so many churches were forced to postpone or cancel their Christmas concerts and plays. We're glad to see the forecast is more favorable this week, but we won't be surprised to see 20-below zero again this winter.
Of the four ballot questions approved by South Dakotans on Election Day, two puzzled state agencies and legislators who were uncertain of the ramifications under the new laws. Amid confusion about Constitutional Amendment S — a victims' rights bill — and Republican opposition to the Anti-Corruption Act approved on Nov. 8, a majority of South Dakota voters found a powerful ally in Attorney General Marty Jackley.
In July, our newspaper requested assistance from anyone interested in keeping the Mitchell High School student-run newspaper alive. Mostly, we were hoping for a collection of high school students who wanted to get a feel for journalism, along with exercising their writing, photography and design skills. The Kernel, which has been around for decades, was previously a course offered at the high school for student credit. But due to alternative options, including dual-credit courses that transfer to college, most students were choosing other classes.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol this year is on pace to conduct more sobriety checkpoints than ever on record. Cracking down on drunken driving, troopers by the end of the year will likely surpass 2015's mark of 254 checkpoints statewide. That's a lot of checkpoints — and means there's one somewhere in South Dakota about two out of every three days. While we appreciate the Highway Patrol's efforts in taking a strong stance against drunk driving, we wonder if the department is relying too heavily on sobriety checkpoints.
CHEERS to the anonymous donor spreading some major holiday cheer by giving the Mitchell Police Division $10,000 to hand out. Last week, the Mitchell Department of Public Safety announced that an anonymous donor gave one-hundred $100 bills to give away in the coming days. The money will be given to random individuals during either a traffic stop, call for service or casual interaction. The donor thoughtfully selected the officers to give away the cash because of the challenges that so many in law enforcement face on daily basis.
The future of a main retailer in Mitchell is doing its best balancing-beam act. Cabela's, known as the "World's Foremost Outfitter," was sold to Bass Pro Shops in October for approximately $5.5 billion. Since then, we haven't heard much about plans for the Mitchell Cabela's, which opened its doors in March 2000 and led to numerous other construction projects near Interstate 90. There's clearly an uncertainty for the store that kickstarted the southern business boom in Mitchell as either company's officials aren't discussing much about the sale or individual properties.
Public information shall still be public. That's the opinion shared by South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley in relation to Marsy's Law, the new victims' rights constitutional amendment approved by voters in November. On Monday, Jackley's office released a legal opinion stating government entities are not automatically blocked from releasing information such as locations of a crime or details of crash reports. Jackley said in the opinion that the amendment requires victims to actively invoke their right to prevent the disclosure of information or records.
CHEERS to the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team, which earned a great recognition last week. The Tigers, coached by Mitchell native Jason Christensen, were named the top-ranked team in all of NAIA Division II basketball, the first time since the 2003-04 season. Despite a hard-fought loss shortly after the ranking was announced, it's an outstanding honor nonetheless. The Tigers have already garnered a ton of additional interest this year from their success in 2015-16, and we encourage anyone to head to the Corn Palace to watch their home games.
Nearly a year has passed since we urged the Davison County Commission to improve its meeting agendas. Yet nothing has been done, and the agendas continue to lack detailed information that give the public a decent understanding of discussion items. Like our newspaper, which attends nearly every Davison County commission meeting, our county's residents should be fed up with the short, vague agendas. Davison is one of the most populated counties in the state, and our commissioners are allowing the bare minimum to be posted on agendas.