Daily Republic Editorial Board
Not even a full week of pheasant season has passed, and we've already heard reports of three hunting-related accidents in South Dakota. We're sure there's been more, and there's probably been countless close calls. These three, all included someone getting hit with BBs, were just those law enforcement reported. And in South Dakota, it's no surprise the vast majority of hunting-related incidents occur while pheasant hunting.
Earlier this year, it seems Mitchell's Main Street was primed for a facelift, but progress has since flatlined. So why the delay? Throughout the summer, city officials indicated work on the $426,000 Sixth Avenue plaza would kick off in the fall. But the section of Sixth Avenue sits untouched, remaining an eyesore blocked off by unsightly barricades next to our city's signature attraction known as the World's Only Corn Palace.
CHEERS to Pastor Harry Koops, who celebrated his retirement from the First Reformed Church in Platte last week. Koops helped guide the small Charles Mix County town of approximately 1,200 through adversity during the past year following an alleged murder-suicide that shook the community in the autumn of 2015. After tragedy struck, Koops and the Platte Area Ministerial Association purchased the land where a family of six died, hoping to turn the 44-acre lot into a summer youth ministry camp.
Sunday kicked off National Fire Prevention Week, and that means it's time to check those smoke alarms. In Mitchell, we're fortunate to have officials who do a good job getting out in the community to spread the word and help make a difference.
CHEERS to Mitchell native Tessa Dee, aka 2017 Miss South Dakota USA. On Oct. 2, Dee was given the crown after two years finishing runner-up in the competition. She now moves on to compete for Miss USA. Dee has represented Mitchell and South Dakota well in the past when she was named Miss South Dakota through the Miss America program in 2013. We're so proud to see the 2009 Mitchell High School graduate garner success in her competitions and impressed with her persistence in striving to achieve her goals.
We all know the effects of smoking. There's no doubts it causes cancer, it's addictive and rather costly. But for some reason we're still allowing young, impressionable adults to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products and then taken over by nicotine. The age to buy to tobacco products should be raised from 18 to 21. A group of more than 2,500 South Dakota medical professionals is weighing the benefits of raising the health concerns versus the freedom to purchase tobacco products at 18.
Progress has finally been made to improve our lake. The Mitchell City Council on Monday night approved a $73,725 study to be used to restore Lake Mitchell and reduce its algae problems. The 6-2 vote came more than one year after discussions to solve the lake's woes heated up by the volunteer Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee, which recommended the project to the council. Omaha-based Fyra Engineering will now look to define the lake's problems, develop a nutrient mass balance, determine pollutant loads, develop a lake response model and initiate community-based planning.
CHEERS to Jim and Sharon Weinel, the couple who donated $1 million to Howard High School to establish a scholarship fund. At least 4.5 percent of the annual interest accrued from the $1 million donation from the Weinels will be available for Howard students who maintain a 3.0 GPA and attend a four-year state school. We commend the Weinels for their generous support of a rural school district, which also happens to be Sharon Weinel's hometown. And while a $1 million gift is considerable in any setting, it may have an even larger impact in the small district in Howard.
South Dakota's sheriff offices are significantly understaffed. It's a common theme we hear that leaves us concerned about the future of law enforcement in some areas of our state. We ask our sheriffs and their deputies to cover mostly rural areas, of which there are thousands and thousands of miles. We ask them to be available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year.
Shock, devastation and uncertainty hit Woonsocket this week. At least 25 employees of Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply were told they no longer held jobs at the business as of Monday.