Daily Republic Editorial Board
The Attorney General's Office has proclaimed a methamphetamine epidemic in South Dakota, saying the issue is the top crime-related problem our state faces. There's no question meth use is rapidly rising and doing so very quickly. It's easy to see that in our crime reports, as significantly more than half of the felony court cases are meth related.
HISSES to sad news that a Tyndall police officer was injured over the weekend in a hit-and-run incident. Officer Kelly Young on Saturday suffered broken ribs, a large cut on one of his legs, an injured ankle and various other cuts and bruises after being struck by a vehicle in the parking lot of Frank's Trading Post in Tyndall, according to the Bon Homme County Sheriff's Office. We're glad to hear Young was released from the hospital and that authorities have made some strong leads to finding the person who drove the vehicle involved in the crime.
Every day, we're seeing and hearing great acts of kindness toward local law enforcement at a time it's desperately needed. We see it on social media almost daily. A local group — a church, a day care, a business — is doing something heartfelt toward law enforcement officers. Stories have been told of kids bringing candy and cookies to the Mitchell Police Division. Nurses have cooked meals for officers. And, most importantly, people are telling police "thank you" now more than ever. It sounds as if the acts are happening all over the country, too.
CHEERS to hearing the Corn Palace has seen a steady flow of traffic this summer. Officials who work closely with the city-owned tourist attraction say the Palace is having a successful summer, one year after the building had new light-up domes installed on its roof. The Palace this summer is having good tourist numbers from people around the country and world, and the new Corn Palace Education Center has successfully drawn in locals. The education center, which is on the second floor of the Corn Palace, has attracted an average of 775 people per day.
Did you hear that, that awful buzzing around your ears from those pesky mosquitoes? We haven't either. At least not recently. This summer, the mosquito problem in Mitchell really isn't a problem at all. And that's a credit to city officials who are working on keeping populations of those harassing little bugs to a minimum. Spotty rains and warm temperatures in our region have formed a prime year for mosquitoes, but we've been enjoying picture-perfect nights recently outdoors. And, the bugs just haven't been bad at all.
CHEERS to the new Safe Exchange Zone installed last week by the Mitchell Department of Public Safety. Officials installed a surveillance camera and a sign on the east side of the Mitchell Public Safety Building on First Avenue, where people can meet to complete transactions from websites such as eBay or Facebook. There are plenty of shady folks out there trying to scam honest people. A security system like this one will be a nice tool for Mitchell residents to utilize and avoid those scammers.
South Dakota is unique in its weather patterns. The old saying, as many know, is, "If you don't like the weather here, wait 10 minutes." Well, the latest weather — this ridiculous heat — is getting awfully draining. And that comes from a writer who sits inside an air-conditioned office. We feel for those whose jobs require them to spend the day in the heat and bear these horrible temperatures. On Wednesday and Thursday, south-central South Dakota reached triple digits, with heat indexes jumping beyond 110 in some places. Unbelieveable.
The great Mitchell High School student-run newspaper, The Kernel, has been in existence for decades. Capturing moments, memories and comments of thousands of students, the newspaper has been offered as a high school course that gives credit to those who take the class. Aside from the actual printed product's benefits, the course offers students an insight on how to gather news, practice organization and improve their writing skills.
CHEERS to another great year of professional rodeo in Mitchell. We have an awesome event in our city that we look forward to every year, and it's easy to tell that locals love the rodeo, too. The stands have thousands of people each night, and the rodeo competitors are wonderful to watch. Not much changes from year to year with the rodeo, but that's one of the reasons we love mid-July. The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo is a perfect event of small-town America that's tough to beat. We always look forward to this time of year when the rodeo comes to town.
A brilliant idea was mentioned during Monday night's Mitchell City Council special work session that could drastically improve the quality of visiting the Corn Palace for everyone. During a discussion on the future Sixth Avenue green space project, which will be located south of the Corn Palace, Councilman Steve Rice suggested the city consider adding wireless internet and installing a video board to the outside of the Palace. Rice said the outdoor screen could show live games or highlights, which would make the plaza potentially a great area for tailgating prior to events.