- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Editors: Please note that The Associated Press welcomes editorial contributions from members for the weekly Editorial Roundup. Three editorials are selected every week. Contributions can be made by email at [email protected]


The Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, August 8, 2015

Voters should brace for long, loud campaign season

We were reminded again this past week just how messy democracy can be.

We saw individuals obstruct business at Josiah’s Coffeehouse & Café downtown and learned about a suspicious petition drive that was confusing Sioux Empire Fair attendees.

In both cases, the tactics appear to have been orchestrated by opponents of a proposed initiative to limit fees and interest rates on short-term loans in South Dakota.

It’s unclear what the aim of the activity was: Intentionally interrupting the flow of an opponent’s business; deterring people from signing petitions to put the issue on the ballot or just confusing voters all together?

Whatever the goal, these tactics ventured beyond the scope of normal politicking in our area.

And the fact that this activity was occurring before the lending measure actually had made it to the ballot raised even more questions.

If nothing else, it all serves as a reminder that democratic debate can take a variety of forms. And when the stakes are high, as they are in this case, we can expect even more extreme campaigning.

So, what’s the takeaway from these pre-election activities? We think it is this: Don’t be distracted by the campaign noise. As a voter, take the time you need to ask questions before you decide. That goes for signing petitions as well as casting your vote.

When someone approaches you to sign a petition for a candidate or ballot issue, ask a question or two. If you’re confused or unsatisfied with the petition pusher’s response, don’t sign it.

“No, thanks” is always an acceptable response to someone seeking your signature.

If the measure to limit payday loans gets to the ballot, the opposing views manifested in this early stage of signature gathering will only get louder.

You will want to continue to ask questions: Will the measure effectively drive out all payday and title loan companies? Are their exceptions? What about the loans brokered by used car dealers? Could there be unintended consequences from passage?

The attorney general has not yet released his explanation of the short-term lending measure. But when he does, look at it thoroughly.

Let’s think of the past week’s activities as a warning. It’s going to be a vigorous campaign season.

Smart voters will sort through the all the noise to reach a conclusion.


The Rapid City Journal, Rapid City, August 13, 2015

Rally was one for the history books

They came, they rode, they ate, they rode, they drank and rode some more before hitting the road for home after having spent millions of dollars in the Black Hills.

By all measures, the 75th annual Sturgis motorcycle rally was a resounding success even though it may not have cracked the million mark in attendance that some had predicted.

Nonetheless, the numbers clearly show the rally is one for the record books.

For example, traffic counts on the weekend before the rally officially started on Aug. 3 show that Sturgis greeted 236,283 vehicles, an increase of 37 percent from the previous year. On the first day of the rally, the Department of Transportation reported that 96,409 vehicles came to Sturgis, a community of around 6,600 people when it is not the epicenter of the motorcycle world.

Other examples of the enormity of this year’s rally include:

Garbage collected through last Friday in Sturgis was at 567 tons compared to 380 tons at the same point in 2014;

A total of more than 1,100 patients went to Regional Health facilities, including 471 in Sturgis and 299 in Rapid City, which compares to 618 in 2014;

Liquor sales were 60 percent higher at Sturgis Liquors, an increase of 60 percent over past years, according to the town’s city manager, Daniel Ainslie.

On one day, Aug. 3, the Sturgis Red Cross treated 62 people compared to 140 during the entire 2014 rally.

And there was the observations of rally veterans like Sturgis Police Chief Jim Bush who said the 75th was the biggest gathering he had seen in 38 years and that the traffic was the worst he had ever seen.

At the same time all this humanity descended upon our area, less crime was reported than in past years. In fact, Meade County Jail statistics released Monday showed fewer arrests by the Highway Patrol, the Sturgis Police Department and the Meade County Sheriff’s Office when compared to last year.

The most significant downside to this year’s rally was the fact that 17 people lost their lives either at the rally or coming or going from it, which was more than the past two years combined. Law enforcement points out, however, that the number of deaths - while tragic - is largely explained by the huge influx of visitors that crowded our roads.

The biggest indicator of the rally’s success, however, won’t be known for a few more weeks when the state releases the numbers on sales tax collections although there is little doubt they will be eye-popping.

As we look at the rear-view mirror of this year’s historic rally, we offer kudos to local, area and state officials, law enforcement and health-care organizations for being so well-prepared for a crowd that stretched their resources for more than two weeks. We also thank local residents for doing their part to make our rally visitors feel welcome.


Sturgis and the hard numbers

The Mitchell Daily Republic, Mitchell, August 13, 2015

Mixed emotions come with sendoff

It’s not easy trying to describe the feelings that come during a soldier sendoff such as Tuesday’s in Wagner.

An array of emotions were spread throughout the Wagner Community School Gymnasium, where a recognition ceremony was held the day before the 155th Engineer Co., Detachment 1, of the South Dakota National Guard, started toward a one-year deployment to Kuwait.

The 155th is based in Rapid City.

Of its 162 members, 90 are from Wagner and the surrounding area. In January, the company received its alert that it was scheduled for deployment to support Operations Enduring Freedom-Spartan Shield. The purpose of the operation is to support the United States’ involvement in the Middle East to enhance homeland security following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Support was what seemed to be the strongest of all feelings Tuesday, when about 1,200 people gathered in the Wagner gym to say goodbye to their friends and family. Supporting these troops is so important for their morale as they leave their loved ones. They need to know we appreciate their service.

There was also a sense of pride during Tuesday’s ceremony, as some of the soldiers will be making a return trip overseas. Many have already served at least one tour to ensure our safety, and their pride to continue serving the citizens of America is noble.

And with all the good, there was sadness, too.

Guards were saying goodbye to their families, children and friends. Tears were shed.

Families watched and came to the realization they would not see their sons, daughters, husbands and wives for months. That means missed Christmases, Thanksgivings and birthdays.

As the guards headed west Wednesday morning to Rapid City to prepare for their deployment, locals waved American flags proudly and said their goodbyes.

And while we appreciate the service these men and women are giving us, we also need to remember to thank their families. Their sacrifices, too, should not go unnoticed.

Support during times like these, when there are many mixed emotions, is important for each and every soldier’s family.

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