Daily Republic Editorial Board
Mitchell's veterans park project and the Sixth Avenue plaza are bringing great hope to our city's downtown. Earlier this month, construction began on the veterans park at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street, while the final details of the Sixth Avenue plaza need to be approved by the Mitchell City Council. Although the projects are in their infancies, they have great promise to liven up our city's Main Street.
Anecdotal reporting throughout the summer suggested better pheasant numbers would be coming this fall. But outdoor enthusiasts and South Dakotans were a bit surprised to learn there was a 20 percent statewide dip in pheasant populations compared to 2015. Earlier this month, the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department issued its annual roadside pheasant brood survey report, and early-season optimism morphed into pre-hunting season concerns. Of the 110 routes surveyed statewide, 38 showed an increase in the pheasant-per-mile index and 72 declined from 2015.
CHEERS to the volunteer efforts from those aiding in the recovery of Springfield. Last week, a wicked storm that included 100-plus mph winds ripped through the Bon Homme County town. According to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, straight-line winds during an overnight storm pummeled Springfield, destroying four homes and "severely damaging" 12 others, leaving 70 people displaced. The storm ravaged the southeast section of town, uprooting trees, downing power lines and damaging roofs, but left the rest of the town relatively unscathed.
Telling someone their family dog isn't so friendly is difficult, but the city of Mitchell needs stronger laws and enforcement in doing just that. An employee of the U.S. Postal Service on his normal delivery route was bitten by a dog Friday in Mitchell. The worker was bitten in his leg and sought medical attention following the incident. And this isn't the first dog attack we've heard about in our city recently. On July 1, a Mitchell police officer shot and killed a dog that was reportedly attacking the officer who was responding to a call at a residence.
CHEERS to the Mitchell High School football team for its blowout win over the No. 1 Yankton Bucks on Friday. Following a tough loss to Harrisburg to start the season, the No. 3 Kernels bounced back to trounce Yankton 35-6 at Joe Quintal Field, powered in part by a four-touchdown performance from senior running back Spencer Neugebauer. We're glad to see both the hometown Kernels and Dakota Wesleyan University football team overcome season-opening losses with their first victories of the year, and we wish them luck for the remainder of the season.
Officials say there's a strong presence of students from Mitchell Technical Institute and Dakota Wesleyan University who are benefitting from our city's workforce. But an important consideration with this bit of positive news is to think about what our city and local employers are doing to retain those employees. We're proud that MTI and DWU are training students so well, and the schools are educating in the local workforce's needed areas. That equates to students finding work soon after graduating. But how long are we retaining those employees in our city?
HISSES to another string of crashes in the region, including a fatal crash that killed a 10-year old boy last week. Every time we hear of an injury crash, we hope the occupants are wearing their seat belts and injuries are minor. But last week, six people were involved in a crash, and three were not wearing their seat belts. That resulted in the death of a 10-year-old child, and our hearts go out to the family of the victim.
South Dakota's high school students have more opportunities than ever. Through a program that began in 2014-15, South Dakota juniors and seniors are eligible for dual credit courses, which count for both high school and college credit. And, after the first year it was available, the program gained significant momentum during the 2015-16 school year. We're thrilled to hear about it and hope educators and parents promote its benefits.
Educators in Charles Mix County schools are taking a proactive approach to a serious problem sweeping across South Dakota. They're talking about methamphetamine. Prior to school starting in Lake Andes, teachers revisited warning signs of meth abuse and policies school ofﬁcials are to follow when face-to-face with a possible drug or alcohol issue. In Wagner, the district is focusing on building relationships with students and parents, as teachers are visiting students' homes annually.
CHEERS to another successful year for the Dakotafest agriculture trade show. Following a 2015 festival cut short due to excessive rain, officials estimated attendance would return to 2014 levels of approximately 29,000. Dakotafest is an important aspect of summer in Mitchell, and it's great to hear it went off without a hitch. We also commend U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune for attending a forum at Dakotafest to speak about their thoughts on the agriculture industry. HISSES to the lack of congressional debates at Dakotafest.