Daily Republic Editorial Board
CHEERS to the news more baseball could be coming to Mitchell. The town, which has served as the most recent home to the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Class B tournament, could soon see top collegiate athletes spray baseballs to all points of Drake Field. The Northwoods League, a wood-bat summer league, has proposed a plan to play up to 40 games during the 2018 season at the Cadwell Sports Complex, and it's exciting to dream of a not-too-distant future in which locals can spend a warm summer night enjoying a brew and a ballgame.
We're growing tired of the proposals to expand nonresident waterfowl hunting in South Dakota for reasons proponents believe will help our state. In 2015, the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department commission killed a major restructuring of the state's waterfowl licensing system to make eligible more nonresident hunters due to an overwhelming amount of public outcry.
Road construction. No one likes it, but for the upkeep and safety of our city we all need it. In April, a major project to rebuild Burr Street in Mitchell gets underway. It's a three-year project expected to cost about $15 million. And while that project would be enough of a hassle for most cities our size, we'll likely have another large-scale renovation kick off in 2018 when Sanborn Boulevard is reconstructed for about $9 million.
CHEERS to all the wrestlers who capped their seasons with state championships over the weekend and to those who qualified for the meet. The state high school wrestling tournament is an outstanding annual event that brings some of South Dakota's best athletes together. Several area wrestlers who dedicated their time, energy and effort this season were rewarded Saturday as state champions and state place winners.
Has South Dakota fixed its high prison population problem, or just kicked the can down the road? Recently, Gov. Dennis Daugaard touted the successes of the state's 2013 Public Safety Improvement Act, which focuses on rehabilitating nonviolent offenders by keeping them in the community rather than sending them to an overcrowded prison.
The Platte community has dealt with enough hardship and controversy in the past 17 months, which is why we urge a local school board member to step down. Brian Biehl was a South Dakota Highway patrolman for 15 years who admitted to taking about $70,000 in money that he confiscated between May 2012 and Oct. 2016. Biehl turned himself in to authorities and said he intended on paying the funds back. Up until Monday, Biehl was also the president of the Platte-Geddes School Board. During a special meeting, Biehl stepped down as president of the board but remained on as a member.
Given the circumstances, the accomplishments of the Mitchell High School gymnastics team are nothing short of amazing. In the past five years, coach Audra Rew has led her squads to five top-three finishes at the Class AA state meet. The Kernels were champions three straight years from 2014 to 2016. And, over the weekend, Mitchell capped another stellar season with a state runner-up finish. And that's just the team honors. Each season, Mitchell also had multiple gymnasts place highly during the individual portion of state. In fact, too many to try and sort out.
HISSES to the situation the city of Mitchell suffered last week. When the City Council and the mayor agree our city received a "black eye" following a regular council meeting in which business owners and elected officials are publicly fighting, we need to take a look at ourselves and ask what we're trying to accomplish. There's probably some credence to what all parties said last week — both local business owner Tim Jones and Mayor Jerry Toomey. And perhaps there's more to the story than both sides are revealing.
Three strong verbs were stamped on the front page of Wednesday's edition of The Daily Republic. "Awesome," "amazing" and "awe-inspiring." Those were just some of the descriptions by local residents given to Mitchell School District's new performing arts center, which held its soft opening Tuesday night during the annual Palace City Jazz Festival. We couldn't agree more. It's hard to immediately grasp the fact that this facility is right here in Mitchell, and we're sure the roughly 500 people who attended Tuesday night's event feel the same.
The city of Mitchell became an embarrassment overnight to potentially save $30,000. During Monday night's regularly scheduled City Council meeting, Mayor Jerry Toomey publicly battled with local business Jones Supply and some members of the council for his decision to bid out janitorial and cleaning supplies.