GOOD: It certainly looks like the ride-hailing service Lyft is going to be a game-changer in Rapid City where the market is underserved by taxi-cab services. Journal reporter Samuel Blackstone's story in Sunday’s Journal shows how Lyft works and why it should thrive in a city where cabs now have a hard time meeting demand, especially in the evenings when people are out socializing and would rather not drive home or when large events like a Rush hockey game are held. In addition, it should help local residents who need or want to earn extra income. Technology is changing the world in many ways. In this case, the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.
BAD: A Santa Claus is in trouble and could use some help. On Nov. 10, a Jones County man who has served as Santa Claus at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls for 22 years lost his home to a fire. Dale Buxcel of Okaton, a speck of a town along Interstate 90, was not home when it was reported at 3:21 a.m., which likely was a good thing since the fire consumed all of his belongings, as well. In his years as a mall Santa, the western South Dakotan with the long white beard has helped instill the Christmas spirit into thousands of young children and their families. Now, he needs help as the Christmas season nears. The Murdo Fire Department has established a gofundme page (gofundme.com/helpingmurdosanta) to help the man who has been so generous with his time over the years. Even small donations will help Buxcel get merry again.
UGLY: The fact that water is a resource we can’t live without seems lost on most South Dakota lawmakers who show little or no interest in a foreign company's bid to use state water resources to mine uranium. Farmers, ranchers, communities and industries that rely on the Ogallala aquifer are learning that lesson the hard way. The aquifer that underlies eight states — including South Dakota and especially Nebraska — is being drained at an alarming rate by irrigators. According to published reports, the 175,000-square-mile aquifer has shrank twice as fast in the past six years as in the previous 60 and overpumping has dried up an estimated 358 miles of rivers and streams. Hong Kong-based Azarga Uranium now seeks permission to drill around 4,000 injection wells in southwestern South Dakota. It also is working to get an exemption from the Clean Water Act to tap into the Inyan Kara group of aquifers for a project that will have a minimal benefit for the state. Meanwhile, our elected officials look the other way.