- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Capital Journal, Pierre, Feb. 10

Let’s give the water study a chance

The subject of Pierre’s water has been a much debated topic over the last week or so and that’s probably a good thing.

Last week the Pierre City Commission announced its intention to commission a study of the options available to the city for improving its water quality. The study is expected to cost about $80,000.

Now there’s nothing in our water that will cause us an undue amount of harm. The city passed the most recent test of its water system with flying colors. We don’t even have that many lead water pipes around town. Those that we do have are privately owned.



What we do have is an excess of iron and manganese, which as any resident can attest, often leads to questions about the staining on our houses and sidewalks. It’s also why there’s a funny taste to the water.

We all know this. We don’t need to spend $80,000 to tell us these things. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore options for improving the situation.

Heretofore it has been considered less expensive for each resident to buy their own water softeners and filter systems. And that may be true, for those of us who can afford such systems.

But what if there’s a better way? What if this study finds that there’s a less expensive way to improve our water quality? What if the study turns up a way to reduce the rates we all pay for water?

Certainly $80,000 is a lot of money but sometimes spending, even government spending, can pay off in the long run.

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American News, Aberdeen, Feb. 15

School construction better than alternative

The amount of new and remodeled schools in this region has been astounding.

Points east, west, north and south of Aberdeen have seen a super-sized amount of school construction in recent years.

With more to come, we are happy to say.

The latest school update news comes from Groton.

The Groton Area School District is moving forward with plans to renovate its elementary building to update the 1969 floor plan, Superintendent Joe Schwan said.

The project, estimated at around $7 million, will bring the nearly 50-year-old building up to modern standards while using a structure that will likely last several more decades, Schwan said. The bids will come in Feb. 21, which will give the district a more exact price tag.

“Structurally, it’s perfect,” Schwan said of the elementary building. But as needs have changed, there are interior challenges with the building. Plus, the heating, cooling and electrical systems need to be updated and brought up to code.

“The electrical load that was put in the building in the ‘60s isn’t the same as what we require for an electrical load now,” Schwan said.

Most of the work will be done over summer break with little disruptions. Work starts when school lets out.

The Groton district also is planning to ask its patrons their opinions on an approximate $14 million project to remove and replace the oldest part of the high school. To come up with the funds, Groton will be taking the project to a bond vote in April after numerous public meetings in various communities it serves.

There is nothing like school construction to build community pride. Plus, money spent to better educate our children is money well spent.

We are proud of so many of those in our region who have heavily invested in their communities, children and themselves with school construction in recent years. It is a proud moment that says volumes about a school district and the communities it serves when a new or newly remodeled school is opened.

It also shows those school patrons have faith in their futures.

As voters and patrons of school districts, many of us have participated in heart-wrenching decisions to close schools as enrollments have dropped in decades’ past. For a while, it seems like closing schools was all we heard about.

But things have seemed to have turned a corner. Making decisions to build or even not to build are great ones to have. They are much easier community conversations to have than those about closing schools.

To all those who have built or remodeled, congratulations. To those looking to do so, ask the good and hard questions, be civil and participate in the process.

And remember it always is a blessing to even debate the need for new construction in your community.

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The Daily Republic, Mitchell, Feb. 13

This success is especially sweet for Mitchell gymnastics

Given the circumstances, the accomplishments of the Mitchell High School gymnastics team are nothing short of amazing.

In the past five years, coach Audra Rew has led her squads to five top-three finishes at the Class AA state meet.

The Kernels were champions three straight years from 2014 to 2016. And, over the weekend, Mitchell capped another stellar season with a state runner-up finish.

And that’s just the team honors. Each season, Mitchell also had multiple gymnasts place highly during the individual portion of state. In fact, too many to try and sort out.

Mitchell gymnastics is riding a great wave and is undoubtedly the most successful athletic program at the high school right now.

But what’s most impressive is the program’s determination to stay afloat during uncertain times during the 2010-11 school year. School administration threatened to drop gymnastics in 2010-11 due to Title IX, which attempts to ensure activities for females are approximately equitable with activities for males. Funding was also an issue.

Mitchell School District was considering adding cheer and dance and soccer to boost its participation for female athletes, but didn’t have the dollars to keep gymnastics and add other programs.

So, an agreement was made that gymnastics would assist in funding the program. To do that, the gymnastics team, parents and supporters fundraised tens of thousands of dollars through a variety of methods.

The result was success in multiple fashions.

Mitchell was able to keep its gymnastics program and has become one of the state’s most competitive teams. It did so through dedication and hard work - in the gym and in the community.

There’s no doubt this success tastes a little sweeter, especially given the circumstances of a once-uncertain future.

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