Daily Republic Editorial Board
CHEERS to the Mitchell boys basketball team, which picked up its first victory of the season Friday night at the Corn Palace. In thrilling fashion, the Kernels and first-year head coach Todd Neuendorf defeated Pierre 47-45 to snap the program's 42-game losing streak. More importantly, it gave the upperclassmen on the team something to be extremely proud of. We commend all the hard work the seniors on this team have endured, and we wish this team the best heading into postseason play.
Forty-one straight losses. The number is deflating. Winless last year and thus-far again this season, the Mitchell High School boys basketball program has endured a remarkable downturn. As another season begins to come to a close, we can't help but think of the student-athletes who have devoted so many hours to what's otherwise been a difficult stretch. Think of the long practice hours. So many miles traveled. The bruises and strains.
For nearly three dedicated years, there have been countless hours spent discussing and exploring all options to solve Lake Mitchell's woes. In April 2015, an official with South Dakota State University met with the city's volunteer Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee to suggest the lake be drained to add habitat, control sediment and resculpt the lake.
CHEERS to the Mitchell High School gymnastics team, a group of student-athletes who took home the Class AA state team gymnastics championship on Friday in Watertown. It's always awesome when a local team takes home a title, and it's easy to see in some of Saturday's photos by The Daily Republic how much joy the win brought to the Kernel competitors. The win gave the Kernels their fourth state championship in five years and their sixth state title under head coach Audra Rew. So next time you see Rew or one of the Kernel gymnasts, congratulations are definitely in order.
CHEERS to the state legislators from District 20, who took to Mitchell on Friday to answer questions from constituents about this year's legislative session. It may seem like standard operating procedure for state legislators to attend cracker barrels in their districts, but being open and honest with constituents is the mark of a good politician. We commend state Reps. Tona Rozum and Lance Carson, as well as state Sen. Joshua Klumb, for attending Friday's cracker barrel.
It's time to prioritize Mitchell's needs. Lake Mitchell and many aspects of our city's infrastructure are in a state of despair. This year is the time to make significant progress in both areas. As January winds down and City Council members continue considering what they hope to accomplish in 2018, it's our great hope we get some resolve this year on how to improve algae-filled Lake Mitchell. We also hope to hear a plan to significantly improve the city's infrastructure, such as the major pothole-filled thoroughfares and the aging water and sewer system.
CHEERS to the Mitchell City Council for making the smart choice and unanimously voting to demolish an aging building on Main Street. After several reports stating the former Jitters Coffeehouse building was unsafe and unsightly, the council made the obvious choice on Tuesday to tear down the building. There were no voices of concern from the public, and we're glad Mitchell is on the same page about the plan.
The idea of bringing the Northwoods League to Mitchell was exciting. And, of course, it's still possible. But considering league officials waited until the last minute to decide its fate in Mitchell, along with the fact there are still significant concerns about local facility usage, we're not ready for an expansion here in 2018. Why rush it? The league and city could partner in the future, as there's a three-year option agreement that allows the Northwoods League to field a team for up to 40 games per year at Drake Field at our Cadwell Park Sports Complex.
CHEERS to the news of a $5 million residence hall construction project at Dakota Wesleyan University. Last week, school officials revealed plans to build a three-story, 114-bed facility on the western side of campus due to growing enrollment. With an aggressive completion target date set for Aug. 1, DWU officials are hoping to accommodate housing to more students prior to the 2018 fall semester.
HISSES to the news that a former Charles Mix County sheriff's deputy allegedly stole a firearm and was arrested last Friday. We put a lot of trust in law enforcement to uphold the law, and it goes without saying that they should follow the law themselves. So when we heard the news that Jesse McLaughlin was arrested on grand theft charges, we were disappointed. What isn't disappointing is the actions of Charles Mix County Sheriff Randy Thaler. Thaler informed us of the arrest and said he "will not tolerate employees of the Sheriff's Office violating the law."