Daily Republic Editorial Board
In July, our newspaper requested assistance from anyone interested in keeping the Mitchell High School student-run newspaper alive. Mostly, we were hoping for a collection of high school students who wanted to get a feel for journalism, along with exercising their writing, photography and design skills. The Kernel, which has been around for decades, was previously a course offered at the high school for student credit. But due to alternative options, including dual-credit courses that transfer to college, most students were choosing other classes.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol this year is on pace to conduct more sobriety checkpoints than ever on record. Cracking down on drunken driving, troopers by the end of the year will likely surpass 2015's mark of 254 checkpoints statewide. That's a lot of checkpoints — and means there's one somewhere in South Dakota about two out of every three days. While we appreciate the Highway Patrol's efforts in taking a strong stance against drunk driving, we wonder if the department is relying too heavily on sobriety checkpoints.
CHEERS to the anonymous donor spreading some major holiday cheer by giving the Mitchell Police Division $10,000 to hand out. Last week, the Mitchell Department of Public Safety announced that an anonymous donor gave one-hundred $100 bills to give away in the coming days. The money will be given to random individuals during either a traffic stop, call for service or casual interaction. The donor thoughtfully selected the officers to give away the cash because of the challenges that so many in law enforcement face on daily basis.
The future of a main retailer in Mitchell is doing its best balancing-beam act. Cabela's, known as the "World's Foremost Outfitter," was sold to Bass Pro Shops in October for approximately $5.5 billion. Since then, we haven't heard much about plans for the Mitchell Cabela's, which opened its doors in March 2000 and led to numerous other construction projects near Interstate 90. There's clearly an uncertainty for the store that kickstarted the southern business boom in Mitchell as either company's officials aren't discussing much about the sale or individual properties.
Public information shall still be public. That's the opinion shared by South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley in relation to Marsy's Law, the new victims' rights constitutional amendment approved by voters in November. On Monday, Jackley's office released a legal opinion stating government entities are not automatically blocked from releasing information such as locations of a crime or details of crash reports. Jackley said in the opinion that the amendment requires victims to actively invoke their right to prevent the disclosure of information or records.
CHEERS to the Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team, which earned a great recognition last week. The Tigers, coached by Mitchell native Jason Christensen, were named the top-ranked team in all of NAIA Division II basketball, the first time since the 2003-04 season. Despite a hard-fought loss shortly after the ranking was announced, it's an outstanding honor nonetheless. The Tigers have already garnered a ton of additional interest this year from their success in 2015-16, and we encourage anyone to head to the Corn Palace to watch their home games.
Nearly a year has passed since we urged the Davison County Commission to improve its meeting agendas. Yet nothing has been done, and the agendas continue to lack detailed information that give the public a decent understanding of discussion items. Like our newspaper, which attends nearly every Davison County commission meeting, our county's residents should be fed up with the short, vague agendas. Davison is one of the most populated counties in the state, and our commissioners are allowing the bare minimum to be posted on agendas.
HISSES to the slow process from the South Dakota Attorney General's office to explain some details of Amendment S, or Marsy's Law, which was passed by voters in the November election. The law provides constitutional rights to victims of all crimes, including the right to provide a statement about the impact the crime has had on the victim, the ability to converse with prosecutors, notification of an accused person's release or escape and notification of their new rights, among several others.
In wake of a tragic crash earlier this week in Tennessee, school boards around the nation need to consider whether it's time to mandate seat belts for students riding on buses. We hope the majority of school boards at least discuss what happened Monday afternoon in Chattanooga, where a kindergartner, a first-grader and three fourth-graders died in the crash. There were 37 students on the bus. Five died and 12 were hospitalized.
Was there any surprise on Friday when the Mitchell United Way exceeded its annual fundraising goal again? For the 36th consecutive year, an unfurled banner revealed the Mitchell United Way hit its goal and raised $439,115, with the funds supporting 29 local and area agencies to support the community in various areas. Organizations like Abbott House, Mitchell Area Safehouse, among others, benefit from the Mitchell United Way's efforts and that in turn makes Mitchell a better place to live. But, again, we ask, is there any surprise the fundraising goal was exceeded?