Daily Republic Editorial Board
CHEERS to Longfellow Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Amanda Christensen for earning national recognition for her dedication to her students and school district. Christensen was one of only 35 educators across the nation to earn the $25,000 Milken Educator Award, becoming the second Mitchell teacher to receive the honor. The Mitchell School District is lucky to have a teacher like Christensen, a Mount Vernon native who was praised for her enthusiasm, humility and dedication, and we congratulate her for the well-deserved recognition she received.
HISSES to the wicked ice, cold and wind that blasted South Dakota over the holiday weekend and left thousands without power. Record precipitation fell in areas from a storm that hit Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 across much of Eastern South Dakota, with the hardest-hit areas in the northern- and northeastern-parts of the state. Many people were without power for days as it took electric companies hours to fix powerlines in many rural areas. To all those workers who helped restore power, many forced to work on Christmas Day, we say CHEERS to your service.
Relax. We all need time to do it, but too often we push kids and young adults so hard they rarely get time to rest. The South Dakota High School Association (SDHSAA) has stepped in to help with that issue for student-athletes and those who participate in other SDHSAA-sanctioned events. Earlier this year, the SDHSAA set a mandatory four-day break, called a moratorium, over the holiday break from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26 starting the 2018-19 school year.
CHEERS to Faith Spotted Eagle, the Lake Andes resident who earned one of the 538 Electoral College votes to determine who becomes the president of the United States. Spotted Eagle, a vocal opponent of two of the most recognizable U.S. oil pipeline projects, followed in the footsteps of former U.S. Sen. George McGovern in earning an electoral vote.
Innovative ideas are helping more students through the lunch line at Mitchell School District. Earlier this week, we reported that the district is giving students more food choices and is enhancing dining areas at the middle school and Longfellow Elementary to align with a cafe-like setting. We're pleased to see the district attempting to alter the lunch program, as dwindling participation showed a change needed to happen.
Don't deal drugs. That seemed to be the loud-and-clear message Judge Glen Eng sent when earlier this week he sentenced a Mitchell woman to four years in prison and fined her the maximum $14,000 for charges of possessing and distributing marijuana. For many, this was a surprising sentence, and there's no doubt it was meant to send a message to anyone dealing drugs. And while we're not standing up for or against Eng's opinion, it's worth speculating his intentions when issuing what many perceived as a harsh sentence.
HISSES to these brutally cold temperatures. Living in South Dakota, we know our weather can get wild. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, triple-digit temperatures are all in the cards. But when sub-zero temps combine with wind, there's really nothing like it. We feel for all the area farmers who have cattle to look after, and we were sad to hear so many churches were forced to postpone or cancel their Christmas concerts and plays. We're glad to see the forecast is more favorable this week, but we won't be surprised to see 20-below zero again this winter.
Of the four ballot questions approved by South Dakotans on Election Day, two puzzled state agencies and legislators who were uncertain of the ramifications under the new laws. Amid confusion about Constitutional Amendment S — a victims' rights bill — and Republican opposition to the Anti-Corruption Act approved on Nov. 8, a majority of South Dakota voters found a powerful ally in Attorney General Marty Jackley.
In July, our newspaper requested assistance from anyone interested in keeping the Mitchell High School student-run newspaper alive. Mostly, we were hoping for a collection of high school students who wanted to get a feel for journalism, along with exercising their writing, photography and design skills. The Kernel, which has been around for decades, was previously a course offered at the high school for student credit. But due to alternative options, including dual-credit courses that transfer to college, most students were choosing other classes.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol this year is on pace to conduct more sobriety checkpoints than ever on record. Cracking down on drunken driving, troopers by the end of the year will likely surpass 2015's mark of 254 checkpoints statewide. That's a lot of checkpoints — and means there's one somewhere in South Dakota about two out of every three days. While we appreciate the Highway Patrol's efforts in taking a strong stance against drunk driving, we wonder if the department is relying too heavily on sobriety checkpoints.