GOOD: They’re back, will soon be looking for daily handouts and the fans of Custer State Park couldn’t be happier. The popular begging burros were returned to the park last week after surviving December’s Legion Lake Fire that torched 84 square miles of the Southern Hills. The park’s nine burros suffered a variety of injuries, including burns, facial swelling and dehydration. Three were euthanized but six were nursed back to health by Kayla and Dustin Brown at the Fall River Veterinary Clinic in Hot Springs. Four of those burros were returned to Custer State Park on Thursday and joined by four new burros donated by Beaver Creek Buffalo Co. of Jefferson in southeastern South Dakota. The burros, famous for enjoying snacks from park visitors, should regain their old form soon, according to Kayla Brown. “Just give it a little time, and they’ll be back in car windows,” she told the Journal.
BAD: Vaping, pitched as a healthier way to smoke, is proving to be just another way to get teens hooked on tobacco — only in a more insidious manner. Students in Rapid City and across the nation are bringing vaporizers the size of flash drives into schools so they can take a few puffs of flavored tobacco that is difficult for others to detect. The problems this can cause are more obvious. First, the devices can get teenagers addicted to tobacco, which will lead to a habit that is expensive, difficult to quit and can cause heart disease, cancer and emphysema, an extremely painful and debilitating condition. The habit also exposes others to second-hand smoke and threats to their health. Many health experts also doubt the claims that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes. Recently, Sgt. Chris Hislip, the school resource officer supervisor for the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, warned parents to be on the lookout for the tiny JUUL vaporizer that can be purchased online and is being used in local schools. Parents should heed that advice. No one should want to see their children's life go up in smoke.
UGLY: Now that winter is finally in the rear-view mirror, it means more people will be outdoors enjoying themselves and that includes drinking and driving — a combination that has deadly consequences at an alarming rate in South Dakota. According to the personal finance and research company VanPenguin, South Dakota ranks seventh in the nation in the number of fatal DUIs with 5.29 deaths per 100,000 residents. According to the report, 40 percent of traffic fatalities in the state involve alcohol-impaired drivers and 32 percent of those who died in DUI fatalities were under the age of 21. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said excessive drinking costs South Dakota $598 million per year in lost workplace productivity, rising health care expenses, vehicle repairs and law enforcement costs. We’re not alone in the Northern Plains, however, as Montana ranks first, North Dakota second and Wyoming sixth in DUI fatalities.