- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014

Aberdeen American News, Aberdeen, April 24, 2014

SDHSAA right to look at transgender issue

Kudos to the South Dakota High School Activities Association for confronting the issue of transgender students head-on. It’s a controversial, confusing topic for parents and schools, but it is even more crippling for the students who feel misunderstood and alone. Inclusive language and actions by the SDHSAA as it relates to participation in school sports and activities is worth talking about.

Each of us likely has our own reaction to this issue, including, “How many kids is this a problem for? How many does it affect in South Dakota?”

While the number is likely small, it is hard to know for sure, as it is such a private, personal issue that remains in the shadows. A key number comes from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, which found that 41 percent of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Anything schools can do to lessen that chance is a positive step.

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The Daily Republic, Mitchell, April 21, 2014

Public dock plan reflects proper focus on access

The Mitchell City Council was scheduled to hear from the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee on Monday night about a proposed public dock program for the lake.

The program would allow boat owners who don’t live alongside the lake the opportunity to rent dock space, where they could leave their boat during the summer. It would save non-lakeshore residents from loading and unloading their boat dozens of times throughout the summer months.

We don’t know much about boating or public docks, so we’ll leave the specifics to the experts. But we do feel compelled to applaud the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee for continuing to push for expanded public access at the lake.

Lake Mitchell is within the Mitchell city limits and should be enjoyed by lakeside residents, non-lakeside residents and visitors alike. It’s a public resource.

Sadly, opportunities for public enjoyment of the lake were limited in past years.

That’s changed recently, thanks in part to the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee, the members of which are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The mayor, City Council and the Mitchell Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department also have worked to improve public access at the lake, and volunteers have been important, too.

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