Daily Republic Editorial Board
Last week was set aside to recognize and appreciate FFA, the organization for youths that promotes agriculture education and other topics. National FFA Week ran from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28, and we were proud to see some of our area communities take part in the festivities. Nationally, there are more than 629,000 members in grades seven through 12 in FFA, which holds the motto "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve."
HISSES to the news that South Dakota's turkey population is below desired objectives. According to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department officials, turkey populations are lower than desired in nearly every county in the state. Numbers haven't dropped significantly, but Spring turkey hunting in South Dakota is a great sport and one that many people enjoy. So we're sad to see numbers drop off even a little.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a respectable decision to meet with transgender people Tuesday at the Capitol. The meeting came via request from a Sioux Falls nonprofit group after the governor said he had not knowingly met a transgender person. Daugaard is currently mulling a controversial bill that would require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth. The nonprofit group, American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, and LGBT-rights organizations have urged the governor to veto the bill. The deadline for action on the measure is Tuesday.
CHEERS to the people of Carthage for lifting up local resident and longtime volunteer firefighter Russell Dillon, who has leukemia. The Carthage Fire Department held a benefit for Dillon, who hasn't been able to help the fire department since he got sick. More than 500 people attended the event, and all of the money raised will be given to Dillon. It's a case of small-town support at its finest.
While we're usually reserved about razing historic buildings, we recognize that sometimes it needs to be done. That's why we applaud Mitchell's City Council for also recognizing that with two recent demolition approvals, one for the Holy Family Catholic Church rectory and the other for the Goodykuntz House at 205 N. Duff St. Much has been said about the Goodykuntz House already, so we won't expound further, other than to note we empathize with the house's owner—but do support the council's decision to demolish the property.
There have been some grumblings the past couple of weeks about gas prices in Mitchell. We've heard these complaints repeatedly over the years: Mitchell gas station owners are gouging local residents by hiking up the prices while other South Dakota cities' prices are significantly lower. We received a call Friday from a reader who said Salem's gas was about 30 cents per gallon cheaper than prices in Mitchell. We've heard other complaints, too.
A major question exists on how to correct South Dakota's drunken driving laws. But a proposal issued by an independent federal agency that has resurfaced in the news is not the answer. The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending the legal blood-alcohol content to drive in the United States should be dropped from .08 to .05. The recommendation is part of NTSB's Most Wanted List, which identifies 10 recommendations to improve transportation safety.
The vote has long been decided, but controversy still surrounds Mitchell indoor aquatics facility. Last week, Mitchell Mayor Jerry Toomey revealed the costs associated with operating the yet-to-be-built pool could be significantly higher than originally thought.
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.