Daily Republic Editorial Board
Few rights, if any, are as fundamental in a democratic society as free speech, and we haven't given up in our quest to fight for the rights of our residents in Mitchell. Recent events in the Shawnee Mission School District in suburban Kansas City reminded us of our failed attempt to protect the free speech of those who live in Mitchell.
Mitchell must be moving in the right direction because of the decision-makers. That's according to the 13.5 percent of registered voters who showed up to the polls Tuesday in the joint Mitchell city-school election. The majority of people who participated in their American right to vote decided to re-elect three City Council members and also supported an incumbent school board member. Two new city councilors were elected, but the now-outgoing members weren't seeking re-election.
If you didn't think Lake Mitchell needed some serious attention, we invite you to drive out to the lake and lay your eyes on what might be the worst the lake's looked in years. Over the weekend, Mitchell residents kindly submitted photos of Lake Mitchell, and what we saw was a disaster. Water quality has slowly declined over the years, with the whispers from Mitchell residents claiming Lake Mitchell needs to be restored turning into a dull roar. And we're right on board with them.
CHEERS to NorthWestern Energy for committing to make Mitchell one of the many cities it calls home through the construction of two new facilities in city limits. Last week, NorthWestern Energy held the groundbreaking for a new office and announced an addition to its existing service facility. And while the move is great for NorthWestern Energy, projects like this and the upcoming Vantage Point Solutions addition show businesses outside the community how business-friendly we are.
The farmer's market in Mitchell could use a little zip. It needs a little pazazz. And this year's Mitchell Farmer's Market is about to get into its regular rotation. Beginning Saturday, the farmer's market is held at 300 W. First Ave., which is the James Valley Community Parking lot. In past years, it's been held each Saturday morning throughout the summer until the final weekend in September. And while we like to think of Mitchell as a small town with a big-town feel, our farmers market has historically has been less than stellar for a city our size.
CHEERS to the area student-athletes who had tremendous success in track and field events over the weekend. There are too many success stories to mention by name, but regional student-athletes took to Sioux Falls, Brandon and Tea to show off the true passion for greatness they developed right here in south central South Dakota. Congratulations again, especially to the seniors who made the most of their final competitions of their high school careers. HISSES to the news that the Longfellow Lions Academy will be cut this summer.
National Emergency Medical Services week started Sunday. And following local events Tuesday, what a great week to recognize these first-responders and the aid they provide us. In about a 10-minute span, EMS crews were called to a two-vehicle crash in Mitchell and then were routed to Emery to help a man trapped in a collapsed trench. For those involved in the crash and for the construction workers to watch a crew member trapped, both were unbelievably scary moments. But for the EMS crews, it was another day at the office.
It was 10 months ago that much of South Dakota was begging for a drink of water. At least the fields were. Last year in July, more than half of our state was listed in some sort of drought status on the U.S. Drought Monitor. And in a state that relies heavily on agriculture production, drought is one of the worst enemies there is. Here, it's common for us to pray for rain each Sunday in church. That's why we've welcomed with open arms the moisture that's drenched our region recently.
CHEERS to the impressive turnout in Mitchell for Wednesday's Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America event. Despite rain and cold, people showed up by the hundreds to support the bikers who stopped in our city last week. It was undoubtedly an exciting day for our community to have this tour stop here. But we also recognize how well Mitchell was able to participate. Great community events like this won't continue happening if people don't participate, so we're glad to see a successful day despite less-than-ideal conditions.
The Gregory community achieved a fabulous feat recently. The community secured a down payment for a new digital projector at The Hilltop Drive-In Theatre in Gregory, raising $20,000 needed for the $45,000 projector. There's a special feeling about going out on a warm night under the stars to watch a film with family, friends or someone special, and Gregory area folks will get to hold onto that feeling. The movie-goers and others in the area who helped raise the funds deserve a round of applause, and their generosity got us thinking about Mitchell's closed drive-in.