Daily Republic Editorial Board
Public information shall still be public. That's the opinion shared by South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley in relation to Marsy's Law, the new victims' rights constitutional amendment approved by voters in November. On Monday, Jackley's office released a legal opinion stating government entities are not automatically blocked from releasing information such as locations of a crime or details of crash reports. Jackley said in the opinion that the amendment requires victims to actively invoke their right to prevent the disclosure of information or records.
CHEERS to the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team, which earned a great recognition last week. The Tigers, coached by Mitchell native Jason Christensen, were named the top-ranked team in all of NAIA Division II basketball, the first time since the 2003-04 season. Despite a hard-fought loss shortly after the ranking was announced, it's an outstanding honor nonetheless. The Tigers have already garnered a ton of additional interest this year from their success in 2015-16, and we encourage anyone to head to the Corn Palace to watch their home games.
Nearly a year has passed since we urged the Davison County Commission to improve its meeting agendas. Yet nothing has been done, and the agendas continue to lack detailed information that give the public a decent understanding of discussion items. Like our newspaper, which attends nearly every Davison County commission meeting, our county's residents should be fed up with the short, vague agendas. Davison is one of the most populated counties in the state, and our commissioners are allowing the bare minimum to be posted on agendas.
HISSES to the slow process from the South Dakota Attorney General's office to explain some details of Amendment S, or Marsy's Law, which was passed by voters in the November election. The law provides constitutional rights to victims of all crimes, including the right to provide a statement about the impact the crime has had on the victim, the ability to converse with prosecutors, notification of an accused person's release or escape and notification of their new rights, among several others.
In wake of a tragic crash earlier this week in Tennessee, school boards around the nation need to consider whether it's time to mandate seat belts for students riding on buses. We hope the majority of school boards at least discuss what happened Monday afternoon in Chattanooga, where a kindergartner, a first-grader and three fourth-graders died in the crash. There were 37 students on the bus. Five died and 12 were hospitalized.
Was there any surprise on Friday when the Mitchell United Way exceeded its annual fundraising goal again? For the 36th consecutive year, an unfurled banner revealed the Mitchell United Way hit its goal and raised $439,115, with the funds supporting 29 local and area agencies to support the community in various areas. Organizations like Abbott House, Mitchell Area Safehouse, among others, benefit from the Mitchell United Way's efforts and that in turn makes Mitchell a better place to live. But, again, we ask, is there any surprise the fundraising goal was exceeded?
CHEERS to the Mitchell United Way for once again meeting its fundraising goal and continuing its noble effort to support 29 area agencies. The Mitchell United Way announced it raised $439,115 during this year's campaign, $3,115 more than its 2016 goal. And as if surpassing its lofty goal wasn't enough, the group met its mark for the 36th consecutive year. Nonprofit organizations like the Mitchell United Way are critical in supporting local organizations like the Salvation Army, LifeQuest and the Mitchell Regional Habitat for Humanity, to name a few.
CHEERS to the four area schools that won state championship football titles last week. The Mitchell Kernels won the school's first title in 45 years, lighting up the scoreboard with a 41-6 victory over the Harrisburg Tigers in the DakotaDome on Friday. Congratulations to the 2016 Kernels players for making history, and their accomplishment and resiliency throughout the long season should not be overlooked. And the Kernels aren't the only area team deserving of some recognition.
Election Day has come and gone and there's no way everyone is going to be pleased with last night's results. But something all Mitchell residents should be pleased with is a project under construction at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street. The Mitchell Veterans Park project has received approximately $225,000 in pledges and in-kind donations, with $130,000 in cash already accepted, according to Monday night's Mitchell City Council meeting.
CHEERS to the Mitchell High School football team, which made the community proud Friday night. With its 52-14 rout of Pierre in front of a large crowd at Joe Quintal Stadium, MItchell earned its first trip to a state championship game since 1993. The Kernels have many accomplishments so far this year, including a 10-game winning streak. But that one victory Friday night in the Class 11AA state semifinals was the program's best win in recent memory. Congratulations, coach VanOverschelde and all of the team's coaches. Congratulations, players.