Daily Republic Editorial Board
There's an overwhelming problem in South Dakota involving the level of cooperation between tribal police and state, county and city law enforcement officials. In South Dakota, there are nine American Indian reservations and also millions of acres of tribal trust land. Indian Nations have sovereign power on that land because of treaties and acts at the federal level. Tribes have their own local governments, their own court systems and their own police forces.
The city of Mitchell could soon force you — the residents of the city — to pay about $75.60 more each year on your utility bill. The potential increase is to help pay to repair or replace aging water lines and old sewer pipes in the city. That's according to Terry Johnson, the city's deputy public works director, who spoke to the City Council on Monday night. The council will vote on the proposed increase at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Dec.
CHEERS to Maggie, an accelerant detection K-9 with the state Division of Criminal Investigation, who helped determine the primary suspect in a Main Street arson earlier last month in Mitchell. Court documents state that Maggie was deployed to sniff articles of clothing of Stephen Seltz, who has been charged with setting the fire.
Some time ago, there was a series of commercials that highlighted the things money can't buy and always concluded with the punchline "priceless." There were several of these commercials, some were comical and some were heart-warming. There never was one that featured duck hunting, but if there had it would've gone something like this: Box of shotgun shells: $15. A dozen duck decoys: $90. New set of waders: $200. Seeing your child shoot their first duck: Priceless. Waterfowl hunting isn't a cheap hobby. It requires a lot of gear, time and effort to be done correctly.
Sadly, another fire was the talk of Mitchell recently. Last week, an early-morning fire completely destroyed a building at CHS Farmers Alliance in the western part of town. It was the second major fire to hit Mitchell this month, and the 13th structure fire in town this year. No one was injured in last week's incident, but we've seen more than our share of sad fire news this year. People have died. Main Street businesses have been forced to move locations.
We heard a lot of the same responses Tuesday afternoon when the person who purchased the winning $1 million Powerball ticket last month in Mitchell wasn't someone local. It seemed people were upset that a Mississippi man, John Chalk Jr., claimed the prize, rather than a local face with whom people could connect. Chalk, who declined media interviews on the winnings, was in South Dakota during his annual hunting trip with friends. Officials were unsure what type of game he was hunting, but it's likely he was in the state to chase pheasants.
HISSES to the rise in child abuse cases in South Dakota, which we chronicled recently. Our attention was drawn to the subject by a series of tragic and preventable child deaths in our area during the past few years. As we looked more deeply at the problem, we learned that about 1,400 children were victims of abuse and neglect in our state in 2010, the most recent year of available statistics. It's a problem that doesn't get much attention, but it should.
HISSES to a report of seven cases of a rare children's respiratory illness in the state. The virus can cause mild cold-like symptoms including runny noses, coughing and wheezing.
Mitchell has made great strides toward becoming a pedestrian-friendly city. A program of sidewalk construction undertaken by the city's Public Works Department and supported by the mayor and City Council has has added many new sidewalks to the city. Each year, the city selects an area to focus on. The approach has resulted in better pedestrian pathways to parks, schools and other public facilities.
Last month in an editorial, we asked the Mitchell Board of Education to proceed cautiously with a proposal to build a $13.5 million fine arts center. After the idea for a new center had been discussed generally for a long time, the specific plan seemed to congeal suddenly and take off without much public input or awareness. That's how it seemed to us, anyway, looking from the outside in. We realize there were probably many meetings of school officials at which the plan was formulated over an extended period of time. Still, public input is needed on a plan of such immense size and cost.