South Dakota Editorial Roundup

Excerpts from recent South Dakota editorials

The Associated Press

Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, April 2, 2013

Native American foster care needs work

Federal law says Native American children belong in Native American foster homes, except in the most extreme circumstances. Despite that law, the number of children in South Dakota who are pulled out of their culture and kept in white homes hasn’t changed much since the law was passed almost 35 years ago.

There are lots of reasons given for why Native children — at a high rate — are sent to white foster homes. There are not enough approved and available Native American foster homes on the list, for starters.

It’s often difficult to find family members to care for children placed into foster care.

It’s hard to solve the complex problem of finding suitable foster care homes, no matter what race the child is, particularly for Native children. But we have to, and we have to look at all possible options.

No one’s hands are clean. The state needs to work even harder to place children in safe Native American foster homes. That responsibility can’t be taken lightly. Tribes need to help to encourage Native families to provide safe, suitable foster care. Relatives and other families need to come forward to care of the children.

Numbers don’t lie. If 80 percent to 90 percent of Native children are being placed in white homes, clearly the spirit of the law isn’t being followed. And we’re falling short of our duty as a state to children who deserve safe care and should remain in a home where they can share their culture.

It’s good to talk about the issue with all involved at the table and to find ways to improve foster care. Progress is important.

Everyone who works with Native foster children has work to do to make that number move.

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Rapid City Journal, Rapid City, April 3, 2013

Vote keeps Evans Plunge open

It was a close vote, but Hot Springs voters agreed to allow the city to purchase Evans Plunge. After two winters of seeing the popular swimming pool closed during the off-season, Evans Plunge may have an owner with the funds to keep it open year-round: taxpayers.

The ideal solution would have been to keep Evans Plunge in private hands that would have guaranteed public access and kept it open all year. Before last week’s vote, a group of businessmen came forward with an interest to buying the Plunge, but the vote to allow the city to borrow up to $1.9 million to buy and restore Evans Plunge may price them out of the running to buy the swimming pool.

Evans Plunge is the oldest tourist attraction in the Black Hills. Its naturally heated mineral waters have been drawing visitors to the area well before there was a carving at Mount Rushmore and is the reason that there is a VA medical center in Hot Springs to begin with.

Voters recognized that Evans Plunge is important enough to the identity of Hot Springs and its future to authorize the city to buy it. Modernizing the Plunge building and keeping it open year-round will cost Hot Springs taxpayers more money, as the current owners will attest.

If the city modernizes its facilities and successfully markets Evans Plunge to the many thousands of visitors to the Black Hills every year, the purchase could turn out reasonably well. The important thing is that the public will continue to have access to the warm mineral waters of Evans Plunge.

We don’t expect Hot Springs to operate Evans Plunge as well as a business might, but a lot of towns have city-owned swimming pools and recreation facilities, and it won’t be unheard of for Hot Springs have its own municipal swimming pool with Evans Plunge.

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Capital Journal, Pierre, April 7, 2013

Daugaard right to focus on China trade

Gov. Dennis Daugaard was the first South Dakota governor to visit China in nearly two decades when he first visited the country in March 2012, and this week he is in China again with a considerably larger delegation of private industry representatives than when he first went. This seems to us wise and far-sighted when only Canada and Mexico are bigger importers of South Dakota goods.

The governor has apparently had other invitations from countries in Europe and South America after his 2012 China trip, but he prefers to focus on China rather than spreading the state’s resources too thin.

Again, this seems to us a good use of state resources. We have an established trading partner and a good rail line to the Pacific. China is the bird in the hand.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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