Op/Ed: Randolph’s Corner. Final four, guns and pipeline in SD

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As March Madness continues on all I can say it’s indeed been some madness as we get closer to the Final Four. Everyone’s brackets were undoubtedly broken by my alma mater U.New Mexico’s upset to Harvard in the first round but that’s why you play the game and why I’m forever a college basketball fan first and NBA fan second with the atmosphere, the sense of loyalty to your old school and it’s just fun as heck. When your Laker team has had a rocky season, it’s even more so, sorry to say. At least one team I picked for Final Four made it and good luck to Louieville, as often the team responds to the great attributes of the coach. That being said I have to also plug the Louieville women’s basketball team that has on its roster a pair of sisters, Shoni and Jude Schimmel, tribal members from the Umatilla Indian Reservation who knocked off the number one  seeded and defending champion Baylor with one of the best outside shooting displays I’ve ever seen on the women’s side of roundball. Can good Native high school players play at the upper collegiate level? They can, they do, and they can win. An awesome job no matter what happens the rest of the tourney as a national bubbling of pride was brought forth and another two years to enjoy such athleticism.

The gun debate wanes but continues to be brought forth by the leadership of the country. I have to hand it to the state of Connecticut who have brought forth some bills that will soon become the law of their state that include a ban on selling gun clips with higher than 10 shell capacity, a registry for those presently owning those capacity clips and a universal background check requirement for all gun sales that isn’t presently required for gun shows. The addition of a mental health specialist on the board of Firearms Permit Holders and tougher penalties for firearms trafficking complete the bill that is being touted as something one lawmaker exalted was a message to Washington as the way to get things done. And despite the National Rifle Association and their former draft dodging cheerleading mascot, rocker Ted Nugent’s best efforts trying to scare everyone with, nobody’s guns are being taken away. Good job, Connecticut.

One of the big news items over the weekend was the oil pipeline rupture belonging to oil giant Exxon in Mayflower, Arkansas that forced the evacuation of a whole housing subdivision and sending property values presumably spiraling not to mention the costs yet to be determined. In this critical time of soon of the soon to be determined on moving forward XL Pipeline that will drop out of Canada through South Dakota to refineries down on the Gulf coast to be loaded onto tankers for export to China and other countries is the risk that will be posed as the pipeline crosses the Cheyenne River and Bad Rivers that converge into the Missouri River and are the source of drinking water to thousands worth it? I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I saw what one power outage at the water plant during the Ice Storm two years ago did to the Reservation and it wasn’t good. Until next time.