Daily Republic Editorial Board
Sadly, baseball umpires are a dying breed. According to information from the South Dakota Umpires Association, the number of registered umpires in the state has fallen about 40 percent in two years, when there were between 325 to 350. This year, the number has settled around 220. Considering the importance of baseball to South Dakota's summers, the news of declining umpires is concerning. And the cause of the problem comes from the top.
Thumbing through the newspaper the past three days, there's a recurring theme as summer draws nearer. There are incompetent drivers on the road. Now, we're not calling each and every person involved in a crash the past few days unfit to drive a vehicle, but we sure scratch our heads when we hear of children nearly getting struck from traffic, cars crashing into trees and drunken driving arrests happening more frequently. Since Saturday, we've heard of more than a dozen injury crashes in our coverage area. That's quite a spike from what we're typically used to.
HISSES to the springtime severe weather that's causing damage to structures and flooding fields in South Dakota. Each of the past two weekends, there have been significant storms that have rolled through our state. Tornadoes have been reported. Hail is damaging crops. And winds are toppling trees and buildings. Aside from that, lightning was reported to have killed 21 cattle in McCook County. We know this wicked weather is expected in spring in South Dakota, but no one likes to see damage ever. CHEERS to the Memorial Day events in our area.
Signing up to be a law enforcement officer means signing up for a job filled with stress. Well documented are police brutality and officer-involved shootings around the country that draw national attention. These incidents cause racial tension and can raise questions as to why one would even desire to pursue a career in law enforcement. Officers hold one of the few jobs in the country that, in some places, require wearing a camera to record their every move to ensure safety of themselves and those around them. The impact of stress on law enforcement is massive.
CHEERS to increased safety in Mitchell. At last week's Traffic Commission meeting, held prior to the regular City Council meeting, members determined it was best to install a four-way stop at the intersection of West Norway Avenue and South Rowley Street. That was determined due to increased traffic from development in the area. Also, numbers show there have been six crashes at the intersection since 2013, with two of those coming since the beginning of the year.
The written word is dying. Well, at least physically hard-writing letters and short notes is slowly fading away. Emails, text messages and instant chats are taking over in our technology-driven society, significantly changing the way students are being taught how to formulate their thoughts. Understandably so, our educators are moving away from teaching cursive writing and introducing typing at earlier ages. The keyboard — whether it's on an iPad, computer or on a smartphone — is a more familiar tool than the pen by age 10. It's sad.
Slow and steady seems to be the approach taken to fix Lake Mitchell's problems. Prior to Saturday, there hasn't been much accomplished to rid the algae-filled body of water other than a whole lot of discussions. The meetings and planning are important. But it was good to finally see some progress be made at the lake itself. On Saturday, volunteers planted cattails throughout the lake and along the Firesteel Creek. Again, it was progress. Something physically happened to improve Lake Mitchell.
CHEERS to Burnell Glanzer and the other longtime educators in the area who are wrapping up their careers. Glanzer is the model for what teachers in the region should strive to become: A person who had a strong impact on students and other teachers. A superintendent and elementary school principal for the past eight years, Glanzer taught in the same district for 41 years. That alone is impressive. But he also touched a lot of lives and left a lasting impact. We know there are many educators in South Dakota who have done much of the same for their students.
It takes a pretty wild phone call or letter to the editor from our readers to surprise us. As a news outlet that covers a large area of South Dakota, we've taken our share of complaints, unusual requests and heard some bizarre tips. To be clear, we absolutely love news tips and when our readers tell us their opinion of our paper. But a phone call that came in Tuesday morning from one of our readers left us almost speechless.
In a landmark move, the Food and Drug Administration issued new rules last week to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18. Introduced about 10 years ago were e-cigarettes, the alternative to cigarettes that allow the user to inhale nicotine through vapor rather than actual smoke from burning tobacco. The federal regulations issued Thursday are the first of their kind on e-cigarettes, as it was previously a free-for-all market. Anyone could purchase them.