Daily Republic Editorial Board
Now isn't the time to judge the Mitchell Parks and Recreation Department's recent takeover of operations at the Lake Mitchell Campground. For the last few years, the city of Mitchell leased out its campground and left operations to a private individual, but the expiration of the lease left the city with an opportunity to once again try its hand at oversight of the Lake Mitchell Campground.
South Dakotans finally have a temporary resolution to a problem plaguing the state for too long. On Monday night, lawmakers agreed on a bill that governs the use of lakes on private land for recreation. Swiftly after the special session concluded, Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed it into law. The law takes action where necessary and clarifies many areas of uncertainty to allow a number of lakes with restricted accesses to be reopened immediately.
A positive change has arrived for prep sports in South Dakota, specifically with the postseason. The South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors last week approved changing the state qualifying format for Class AA basketball and volleyball. Mitchell and the rest of the state's largest schools play in Class AA.
CHEERS to the work from the non-meandered waters legislative task force. Recently, a group of lawmakers pushed a proposed bill, which is supported by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, to the South Dakota Legislature to be considered today. We think this bill is a fair compromise between landowners and outdoor enthusiasts to help solve a decades-long problem. It will be interesting to see if the bill gets the support it needs to be signed into law, but we applaud the work of the task force, which includes Sen. Josh Klumb, of Mount Vernon, and Rep. Lee Qualm, of Platte.
Few rights, if any, are as fundamental in a democratic society as free speech, and we haven't given up in our quest to fight for the rights of our residents in Mitchell. Recent events in the Shawnee Mission School District in suburban Kansas City reminded us of our failed attempt to protect the free speech of those who live in Mitchell.
Mitchell must be moving in the right direction because of the decision-makers. That's according to the 13.5 percent of registered voters who showed up to the polls Tuesday in the joint Mitchell city-school election. The majority of people who participated in their American right to vote decided to re-elect three City Council members and also supported an incumbent school board member. Two new city councilors were elected, but the now-outgoing members weren't seeking re-election.
If you didn't think Lake Mitchell needed some serious attention, we invite you to drive out to the lake and lay your eyes on what might be the worst the lake's looked in years. Over the weekend, Mitchell residents kindly submitted photos of Lake Mitchell, and what we saw was a disaster. Water quality has slowly declined over the years, with the whispers from Mitchell residents claiming Lake Mitchell needs to be restored turning into a dull roar. And we're right on board with them.
CHEERS to NorthWestern Energy for committing to make Mitchell one of the many cities it calls home through the construction of two new facilities in city limits. Last week, NorthWestern Energy held the groundbreaking for a new office and announced an addition to its existing service facility. And while the move is great for NorthWestern Energy, projects like this and the upcoming Vantage Point Solutions addition show businesses outside the community how business-friendly we are.
The farmer's market in Mitchell could use a little zip. It needs a little pazazz. And this year's Mitchell Farmer's Market is about to get into its regular rotation. Beginning Saturday, the farmer's market is held at 300 W. First Ave., which is the James Valley Community Parking lot. In past years, it's been held each Saturday morning throughout the summer until the final weekend in September. And while we like to think of Mitchell as a small town with a big-town feel, our farmers market has historically has been less than stellar for a city our size.
CHEERS to the area student-athletes who had tremendous success in track and field events over the weekend. There are too many success stories to mention by name, but regional student-athletes took to Sioux Falls, Brandon and Tea to show off the true passion for greatness they developed right here in south central South Dakota. Congratulations again, especially to the seniors who made the most of their final competitions of their high school careers. HISSES to the news that the Longfellow Lions Academy will be cut this summer.