Daily Republic Editorial Board
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.
CHEERS to Howard School District for its installation of a controlled access system to its schools and the increase of technology in its classrooms. For the new school year, the district installed a security update that requires teachers and staff to use a key fob to get into each entrance of the elementary, junior high and senior high buildings. On top of added security, the Howard School District also purchased 188 laptops for students and teachers. The projects combined to cost about $150,000, but they were both great additions to a rural school district.
Sections of Lake Mitchell's shoreline had a glowing green goo Wednesday, the same day a public forum was held to discuss restoration of the lake. The front-page photo in Thursday's Daily Republic showed, indeed, there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Anyone who says the lake is just fine is clearly unreasonable.
Dakota Wesleyan University is taking on an uncomfortable discussion next week that needs to be applauded. During its annual McGovern Civic Engagement Forum, the McGovern Center and DWU will host Dr. Mary Hess, who is speaking on the topic "White Privilege in Small-town America." The event, which is open to the public, will also have a panel discussion with local leaders regarding ways South Dakota communities need to work to overcome racism and discrimination. It's hard to ignore the fact our region is slowly becoming more diverse.
HISSES to the news that there will not be a free flu vaccination clinic this year at the Corn Palace. Last week, the South Dakota Department of Health told our newspaper a statewide focus is switching from flu vaccinations toward meningococcal and Tdap vaccines. That means the annual flu vaccination clinic, free for anyone younger than 18, at the Corn Palace won't be available.