GOOD: Last week Leonard Borlaug got an encore that was 50 years in the making. The former Douglas High School music teacher was passing through Rapid City on Thursday when school officials and family members arranged for a memorable day at the school. Borlaug, 95, penned the school's fight song, "Douglas Rouser," 55 years ago, and the Douglas band played it for him during his visit. Tears rolled down Borlaug's face as the band played. His daughter, Solvejg Seamon, said she hadn’t seen her father cry since 2005, when her mother, Verlyce, died. Borlaug even got to conduct the song as the band played it for a second time. It was a fitting tribute for a man who devoted his life to music and teaching.
BAD: A thermonuclear accident occurred 53 years ago in a small corner of western South Dakota near the community of Vale. The public had little to no knowledge of what happened until a government report was released years later. We will chalk this one up as something that could have been very bad, but thanks to the heroics of a few men it turned out OK. The accident was explained in detail in Sunday's edition of the Journal thanks to a bit of luck and tireless research. While two airmen were conducting maintenance on a Minuteman Missile, an electrical short caused the warhead to blow off the top of the missile and fall 80 feet down into the silo. Bob Hicks was tasked with "safeing" the missile and bringing the nuclear warhead out. His calm and collected approach likely saved lives. People like him will always be needed in this country.
UGLY: After originally being sentenced to a year's worth of weekends, Kenneth Orrock's sentence for tax evasion was reduced last week to five years probation. Judge Jeffrey Viken had designed the unorthodox sentence in a way that made it possible for Orrock to maintain his business and pay back the IRS. But, The Bureau of Prisons said the unusual sentence could not be implemented, and Viken earlier this month declared that it was an "illegal sentence."
Orrock is a former Butte County State's Attorney and owner of the private security firm Black Hills Patrol. This case does nothing but reinforce the narrative that those employed within the legal justice system get preferential treatment. Granting Orrock probation “sends a terrible message about how lawyers and law enforcement are treated,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Albertson said last week. Though we commend Judge Viken for thinking outside the box and trying to recoup the $17,000 that Orrock owes the government, we wished he would have first checked to make sure a sentence of this nature could be carried out.