Daily Republic Editorial Board
CHEERS to the work of the state's wildlife damage specialists, otherwise known as state trappers. In Saturday's newspaper, we reported a day in the life of a wildlife damage specialist. We requested a ride along with the South Dakota GF&P employees who pursue coyotes and other wildlife species that can cause issues for landowners and producers. In fiscal year 2015—which runs from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015—GF&P spent more than $2.35 million to operate the wildlife damage management programs and responded to more than 2,600 requests.
Friday afternoon, five fire crews from southeastern South Dakota responded to blankets of smoke billowing from the Tabor Recreation Area. Officials say more than 50 firefighters were on scene to help battle the blaze, which was a significantly sized fire. According to Tabor Fire Chief Ken Carda, firefighters from Yankton, Tabor, Tyndall, Lesterville and Springfield helped to extinguish a blaze that burned an estimated 600 to 800 acres (roughly 1 to 1.5 square miles) of pasture land covered in cedar trees.
CHEERS to the Dakota Wesleyan University men's and women's basketball teams. The Tiger men and women concluded their seasons last week at each of their respective national tournaments. The men, who were national runners-up last season, lost in the second round this year. The women picked up their first win at the national tournament since 2004 and made it into the quarterfinal round. That's wonderful and something the DWU faithful should be very proud of.
Why does it seem to take "accidents" for people to remember guns are extremely dangerous? Although we do report it as an "accidental shooting" or "hunting accident," as the authorities often refer to it, we feel the irresponsible discharge of a firearm should not be phrased as an "accident." It takes an outside force to make a gun fire, and with proper gun safety training, these so-called "accidents" don't happen. That's why when we hear about a couple of incidents like the ones that we've recently reported, we just shake our heads.
HISSES to the news of a hunting accident last week that left a man with serious injuries. Authorities say Larry Maxwell was goose hunting with his son southwest of Miner County when Maxwell stood his gun on its end. He then rested his hands on top of the barrel and leaned on the gun, which fired and shot both of his hands. Maxwell was transported via helicopter to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls. We feel terrible about the injuries Maxwell suffered, but this is a clear reminder of the importance of firearm safety.
There are some people who, no matter where they are or what they're doing, they're trying to make the world a better place. Earl Nordby was one of those people. On Tuesday, Nordby, of Huron, died at the age of 85. A well-known businessman and philanthropist in the area, Nordby's death surprised and saddened many. His daughter, Diane DesLauriers, said her father's death was unexpected, largely because he led such an active lifestyle.
Last week was set aside to recognize and appreciate FFA, the organization for youths that promotes agriculture education and other topics. National FFA Week ran from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28, and we were proud to see some of our area communities take part in the festivities. Nationally, there are more than 629,000 members in grades seven through 12 in FFA, which holds the motto "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve."
HISSES to the news that South Dakota's turkey population is below desired objectives. According to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department officials, turkey populations are lower than desired in nearly every county in the state. Numbers haven't dropped significantly, but Spring turkey hunting in South Dakota is a great sport and one that many people enjoy. So we're sad to see numbers drop off even a little.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a respectable decision to meet with transgender people Tuesday at the Capitol. The meeting came via request from a Sioux Falls nonprofit group after the governor said he had not knowingly met a transgender person. Daugaard is currently mulling a controversial bill that would require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth. The nonprofit group, American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, and LGBT-rights organizations have urged the governor to veto the bill. The deadline for action on the measure is Tuesday.
CHEERS to the people of Carthage for lifting up local resident and longtime volunteer firefighter Russell Dillon, who has leukemia. The Carthage Fire Department held a benefit for Dillon, who hasn't been able to help the fire department since he got sick. More than 500 people attended the event, and all of the money raised will be given to Dillon. It's a case of small-town support at its finest.