Daily Republic Editorial Board
Sioux Falls has a great downtown, but it wasn't always that way. One of the sparks that ignited the rebirth of downtown Sioux Falls was outdoor dining, and a major factor supporting the viability of outdoor dining is the opportunity to have an alcoholic drink with a meal. Why? Because downtowns are no longer places many people go to conduct daily business during their workday. That may have been the case 30 years ago, but it's not anymore.
CHEERS to Mayor Ken Tracy for deciding to demolish the former Veterans of Foreign Wars building sooner rather than later. The corner of First and Main, which should be a symbolic showplace for a city, has been an eyesore for nearly three years now, ever since barricades were put up around the Longhorn Bar when it was deemed an unsafe structure. The Longhorn has since been razed, and the VFW building was damaged in the process.
CHEERS to Avera Queen of Peace for the progressive spirit exhibited in its long-term plan to relocate its campus to a location near Cabela's south of Interstate 90. Debates can be had about what location is best for the hospital and its affiliated facilities, and we are concerned about the effect that Mitchell's south-bound exodus continues to have on the downtown district. But we cannot fault, and really should praise, Avera for being forward-thinking and proactive.
Employees can wear jeans every Friday at The Daily Republic in exchange for $1, which goes into our Jeans for Charity Fund. Over the years, that fund has paid out thousands of dollars to local and area organizations and causes. Today, we'll conduct a special Jeans for Charity day, with larger donations encouraged for the Wessington Springs Tornado Relief Fund.
CHEERS to the Wilbur-Ellis Corn Palace Challenge last weekend, which brought thousands of people to town for the weekend bull- and bronc-riding event. It's a unique venue for rodeo fans to enjoy a night of western entertainment, and gives the community another chance to see South Dakota cowboys compete a little closer to home after outdoor rodeo season is done. HISSES to the nasty illness that spread through Wessington Springs schools and kept about 30 children home sick.
Some people have wondered why we've waited this long for our endorsement for the U.S. Senate race. Partially, it's because we wanted to wait and make our decision on Election Day.
CHEERS to another successfully completed election. On Tuesday, Americans headed to the polls to cast ballots for national, state and local officials, as well as their own, local ballot measures. Davison County saw a 54.84 percent voter turnout, just a little bit higher than the state's turnout of 54.18 percent. While we wish it were always a 100 percent turnout, we know that's not likely, and are glad we at least fell in line with the state's average turnout.
We're not experts on EB-5. EB-5, a federal program that lets foreign investors seek United States residency in exchange for at least $500,000 invested in an approved rural project that creates at least 10 jobs, has come under a lot of scrutiny in the past few months. More accurately, it's become South Dakota's biggest political scandal of the last couple years, and it's still unfolding through investigations and legal proceedings. But despite the reams of copy written about this program and its subsequent fallout, EB-5 and what it actually did still seemed vague and obscured with jargon.
CHEERS to the Howard School District for having one of its schools earn the distinction of being named a National Blue Ribbon School. The U.S. Department of Education named this year's National Blue Ribbon Schools last week, and Howard Elementary was one of four South Dakota schools to earn the honor. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools based on either high performance or exceptional improvement in closing the achievement gap. Howard was recognized for its high performance on state assessments or national tests.
CHEERS to everyone involved in getting a new statue depicting one modern soldier carrying another recently at Servicemen's Memorial Cemetery in Mitchell. Jimmy Traupel, a 91-year-old Mitchell resident and World War II veteran, donated $4,000 toward the cost of the statue, which cost in total about $5,500.