Daily Republic Editorial Board
CHEERS to all the high school athletes who last week signed letters of intent to play college athletics. It's proven that those who participate in athletics and extracurricular activities are more likely to do well in academics and have a greater ability to succeed when landing a career. That's why we're so happy to see so many of our area athletes take their athletic careers to the next level, which many of them did Wednesday on National Signing Day.
Why does it take "a state of emergency" for some problems to garner the attention they deserve? This seems to be the case with Indian Health Service hospitals, which treat American Indians in four Great Plains states, including the Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska. The Great Plains Area Office provides health care services to about 122,000 American Indians. The quality of care at IHS is under fire after inspections uncovered inadequate care at facilities, including in South Dakota at the Rosebud emergency room and a hospital on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
CHEERS to the proposed House Bill 1085, which would give judges discretionary authority to impound a vehicle used at the time of a third-office DUI violation. We've longed for DUI reform, and this is a good step. According to the annual South Dakota report released by the Attorney General Office, DUI arrests topped 6,000 for the ninth time in 25 years in 2014.
It's about time some progress has been made to help South Dakota's ambulance crews. South Dakota's senators voted unanimously on Tuesday to soften the state's standards for ambulance crews because of shortages of emergency responders in many rural areas. The proposed bill, which now heads to the House of Representatives, allows crews to be operated with an EMT and a trained driver, rather than two EMTs, which is the current requirement.
Lawmakers are looking to crack down on repeat drunken drivers, and we are on board. House Bill 1085 would give judges discretionary authority to impound a vehicle used at the time of a third-offense DUI violation.
A new fee instituted on South Dakota's game licenses could generate much-needed funding to stabilize the future of hunting and fishing in our state. Kelly Hepler — secretary of South Dakota's Department of Game, Fish and Parks — said during a Pheasants Forever banquet Saturday in Mitchell that he's suggesting the implementation of a fee for residents and nonresidents when they purchase game licenses in South Dakota.
The controversy around vaccinations continues, brought to the forefront once again in South Dakota by Senate Bill 28. On Monday, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services passed the bill, which would require meningococcal immunization for school entry. Now the bill moves to the Senate floor. If approved, the bill would mandate a list of nine immunizations for students, including poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, rubeola, rubella, mumps, tetanus, varicella, and now meningitis, according to recommendations provided by the Department of Health.
CHEERS to Mitchell Department of Public Safety communication specialist Jerry Fradet, who was awarded the Pursuit of Excellence Award. The award recognizes one full-time DPS employee each year for their above-average work on the job and in the community. Fradet not only works in an important and often highly stressful position, he has sought out extended training in hostage negotiations and spends a lot of hours giving back to the area through volunteerism. We find Fradet's example inspiring, and hope others do, as well.
Troubling numbers show that fewer youths are hunting and fishing in South Dakota. According to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks meeting on Friday, sales of hunting and fishing licenses to youths have been stagnant or declining in the last decade. A report at the meeting showed a troubling slump in license sales for youth ages 12 through 17, with last year's small-game and youth combination license sales down compared to recent past years. This news is concerning for multiple reasons.
CHEERS to the news that Chad Greenway will likely return to play another NFL season. Following the Minnesota Vikings' heartbreaking Wild Card playoff loss to Seattle, Greenway — who has been mulling retirement — told reporters he plans to play another year. That's great news for us South Dakotans who are proud each and every weekend he straps on his helmet and represents our state so well.