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Spearfish grandmother arrested for doing drugs while babysitting

A Spearfish grandmother has been arrested on felony child abuse and drug charges.  According to Lawrence County authorities, 43-year-old Michelle Humann allegedly ingested methamphetamine while babysitting her grandchild.  The child is just two years old and the incident occurred January 7th.  Upon returning the parents noticed the child acting strange, took the child to a hospital and it turned out the child had ingested drugs.  Humann is expected to enter a plea January 29th.   

Mayor Levson to give his state of the city address in February

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Leevson will give his annual “State of the City” address next month.  The speech will take place at the monthly Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce Community Affairs luncheon Thursday February 7th.  The event will take place at the Best Western Ramkota Convention Center.  Cost is $15 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers.  You can register today by contacting the chamber at 225-2860. 

California Democrat Kamala Harris to run for president in 2020

California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris announced on Good Morning America Monday morning she is running for President in 2020.  Harris is relatively new to the major political scene, winning her first and only term in the Senate in 2016 after serving as the attorney general of California beginning in 2010.  Harris is the first ever person of Indian or Jamaican descent to serve in the US Senate.  Harris joins an already crowded field, with more expected to announce in the coming weeks.  This makes her currently the fourth woman to announce she is seeking the Democratic nomination.    

One person killed in tractor accident

One person has died as a result of injuries suffered in a vehicle-tractor crash that occurred Wednesday afternoon west of Salem.


One other person was injured. The names of those involved are not being released pending notification of family members.


A 1998 John Deere 7810 tractor was westbound of South Dakota Highway 38 when it was struck from behind by a 2013 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. The tractor had on its flashing rear amber lights. The collision resulted in the tractor overturning onto its passenger’s side and the other vehicle coming to rest in the center of both lanes of Highway 38.


Both passengers of the minivan were injured. The 85-year-old female passenger of the Town and Country was airlifted to Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls. She died Thursday, Jan. 17.  The 72-year-old female driver suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.


The 28-year-old male driver of the tractor was not injured. .


All three persons involved were wearing seatbelts.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash. The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Aberdeen community wins two tourism awards

The city of Aberdeen has received honors from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.  Noem bestowed two honors on Aberdeen during her tourism conference in Pierre late last week.  The two honorees include the Aberdeen community for the 10th annual Rooster Rush received the “Cacklin’ Community Award.”  The award is given to a community for its efforts in welcoming hunters and visitors to the area.  Second, Wiley Park and Storybook land received the “Excellence in Tourism, Innovation Award.  In a press release, Noem praised Storybook Land and Wiley Park for wowing visitors for over 40 years now

Air service no longer available in Watertown and Pierre

Essential air services to Watertown and Pierre are no longer available.  According to the Associated Press, the services stopped after California Pacific Airlines chose to no longer services those cities.  Currently, both cities have no scheduled air services.  The mayors of both Pierre and Watertown, with the Department of Transportation have called on proposals from airlines interested in service Pierre and Watertown.  The deadline for proposals will be January 30th.  For Pierre this is especially devastating as many travelers rely on plane travel for business or government work in the state’s capital.

Tourism numbers rise in 2018

State officials Thursday announced South Dakota tourism reached record levels of visitors and spending in 2018.  It is the ninth consecutive year of growth for South Dakota.  According to a study done by tourism economics, visitors spending reached about $4 billion in 2018, up 2.5 percent from a year ago. 

SD Highway Patrol seeking applications for new troopers

South Dakota’s Highway Patrol is looking for as many new troopers as it can hire.


Applications are now being accepted for the Patrol’s next hiring period. Deadline to apply is Feb. 28.


“We are planning to hire a large class so we are encouraging all those men and women who are thinking about pursuing a career with the Highway Patrol to apply,” says Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price. “Due to retirements and other departures, we have positions to fill throughout the state.”


The Highway Patrol’s hiring and training process takes about a year to complete. The hiring period includes written and physical tests, interviews and other examinations. Once the recruits are hired, those who are not currently certified as law enforcement officers in South Dakota or another state must first attend the 13-week South Dakota Law Enforcement Training Academy. That is followed by the South Dakota Highway Patrol Recruit Academy which lasts 10 weeks and is followed by another 10 weeks training in the field.


“This is a lengthy and detailed process, but it is designed to be that way,” says Secretary Price. “We want to find the most talented people we can find.”


Recruiting seminars for women interested in joining the Highway Patrol will be held later this month in Aberdeen, Rapid City, Pierre, Sioux Falls and Watertown. Additional details on those seminars will be announced at a later date.


Those hired in this next period will begin training later this fall. A current nine-member Highway Patrol recruit class, which started last year, will graduate in April.


People with questions about the hiring process can call the Highway Patrol Training Division at 605-773-2231.


The Highway Patrol is part of the Department of Public Safety.

Garbage pickup to change in observance of Martin Luther King holiday

Due to the Martin Luther King Holiday on Monday, Jan. 21, city garbage pick-up will change.


Residents who normally have their garbage picked up on Monday are reminded to have their garbage out for pick-up by 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. Both Monday’s and Tuesday’s garbage will be picked up on Tuesday.


Recycling will remain on the normal five-day schedule. Dependable Sanitation will be picking up recyclables on Monday.

Redfield Snow alert


City of Redfield




Chamber announces "cracker barrel" dates

The Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Affairs Committee is hosting four cracker barrels in early 2019. All sessions, which are free and open to the public, will be held at 10 am in the Centennial Rooms inside the Student Center on campus at Northern State University. The dates are January 26, February 2, February 23 and March 2.


Legislators representing Districts 1, 2, 3 and 23 are invited to attend and give updates on what is happening in Pierre. This is your chance to interact with them and we hope you will attend.


The cracker barrels are made possible with the help of the following sponsors: Aberdeen American News, AARP, Aberdeen Development Corporation, Borns Group, Healthcare Plus Federal Credit Union, Helms & Associates, MIDCO, Northern State University, Northwestern Energy and Wells Fargo Bank.


Conceal carry without a permit passes committee and is onto the Senate

The Senate judiciary committee passed a measure that would allow South Dakotans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. 


Senator Stace Nelson of Fulton voted in favor of the passage…





Senator Art Rusch of Vermillion, a former circuit judge, spoke against the passage.  He says the courts have held that the constitution does not guarantee the right to carry a concealed weapon…






Senator Lynn Disanto of Box Elder spoke in favor of the bill and says she sees it as a measure to help women….





The South Dakota Sheriff’s Association testified against the bill.  The measure passed along a 4-3 vote and will now go the senate floor.


Similar measures have been passed in prior years but were vetoed by Governor Dennis Daugaard.  Governor Kristi Noem has indicated support for the idea.

Low wages continue to hamper SD workers

Jobs are plentiful in South Dakota, but most positions pay well below the national average and far lower than neighboring states.


In fact, South Dakota has the third-lowest average wage for employed people in the country behind only Arkansas and Mississippi. A News Watch analysis shows that the lowest-paying jobs -- in office support, food service and sales -- dominate the state workforce.


Despite attempts to lure new employers and improve pay for workers, the state has made little progress over the past few decades. After languishing near the bottom for years, the state had the lowest average pay in the nation in 2008 and has moved up only two spots since then.


The News Watch analysis of 2017 wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor showed that:

?Roughly 21 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 87,000 people, make under $30,000 a year; 41 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 169,400 people, make under $35,000 a year, and 71 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 292,000 people, make under $40,000 a year.

?Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, South Dakota is third lowest in average annual pay at $40,770, with the national average at $55,470. The state is also at or near the bottom nationally for average pay in several occupational sectors, including office and administrative support (51st), architecture/engineering (51st), education (50th), production workers (50th), life/physical/social sciences (50th), construction and extraction (50th), arts/design/sports/media (50th), computer and mathematical (49th), community and social services (48th), legal (47th), transportation and materials movement (45th), community and social services (47th) and business and financial operations (44th).

?While doctors, medical specialists, dentists and CEOs are among the highest paid, the support staffs that work for them are among the lowest paid.

The numbers also show that South Dakota’s employment base is dominated by low-wage support service and food industry jobs. The three largest employment groups are office administration and support (15.3% of all jobs, $31,340 average annual salary), sales/related occupations (11.3% of all jobs, $37,130 average annual salary) and food preparation/serving (10.2% of all jobs, $22,610 average annual salary.)


People who don’t have technical training or a college degree are at a huge wage disadvantage in South Dakota, according to the federal wage data.


New Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, acknowledging the need for wage improvement, advocated in her first statewide address for the creation of new apprenticeship programs and job-skills training in the state K-12 education system that could increase opportunities and job-readiness of high school graduates.


“South Dakota does a lot of things right, but our economy has fallen behind,” Noem wrote to News Watch in an email.


Noem said she will work to remove barriers to business expansion and growth, and also seek ways to improve opportunities for South Dakota workers to better themselves.


“I want to make South Dakota a state where if those wage earners have the drive and desire to earn more, they can,” Noem wrote.


The state received some good news in January when the TruShrimp aquaculture company announced it would build a shrimp farm in Madison and eventually create up to 150 jobs, though state officials refuse to release what those jobs may pay.


In the meantime, thousands of South Dakota residents are among the working poor who take on a second job or need assistance to make ends meet, and it appears there is no easy answer to raising salaries in a rapid, meaningful way.


“There’s an awful lot of people in south Dakota who are really struggling and working hard to make ends meet,” said state Sen. Reynold Nesiba, D-Sioux Falls, who is an economics professor at Augustana University. “It seems like there’s a race going on between prosperity and poverty in South Dakota and I think poverty is winning.”


Moving away for better pay

South Dakota’s history of poor pay stems from several factors. The rural nature of the state tends to limit business opportunities. The state has only limited manufacturing employers, a minimum of white-collar jobs outside the Sioux Falls area, and an economy focused largely on tourism and the service industry. A shortage of highly educated workers hampers efforts to lure high-tech employers while low union membership reduces the ability of workers to organize and demand higher pay.


One consequence of low wages is that highly skilled and well-educated workers, including teachers and professionals, flee South Dakota for other states in order to make more money.

Nesiba said his two adult sons are both computer software developers who moved away for better jobs in other states.


“I would love to have them back here, but I can’t imagine there will ever be jobs that pay enough to entice them to come back to South Dakota,” Nesiba said. “With higher levels of student loan debt, and combine that with lower wages, and you can see why many of our best and brightest are leaving for other states. It’s a chronic problem for us to be able to attract and retain a workforce in South Dakota, and a lot of that is about wages.”


Beyond college graduates, other skilled workers are leaving the state for higher salaries.

Austin Shook, 20, is a native of Edgemont, S.D., who now lives in Rapid City where he attends Western Dakota Tech in the diesel mechanic program.


Shook now works at the Boss Truck Stop off Interstate 90 west of Rapid City, where he makes $13 an hour, or about $32,000 a year after bonuses. He said many young adults and some middle-aged students at the technical school are working full time and make less than $30,000 a year. He said full-time mechanics he knows are paid between $35,000 and $40,000 a year in western South Dakota.


“With a house and family and kids, I don’t know how they’re making it on that,” Shook said.


His plan is to finish his associate’s degree in May and then immediately apply for jobs at coal mining operations in and around Gillette, Wyoming where he knows he can make $50,000 a year to start with the potential to earn about $75,000 a year as he gains experience.


“I don’t dislike it here but there’s much better jobs elsewhere,” Shook said. “For now, I’m stable but later down the road in life, I don’t know if I could make it on the salaries paid around here.”


Finding a job is not hard in South Dakota, where the November 2018 unemployment rate was 3.0 percent, 11th lowest in the nation but still higher than the neighboring states of Iowa (2.4%) and Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota (all 2.8%).


Finding a job that carries benefits and provides a livable wage is tougher, however.

Lisa Johnson, manager of the state Job Service offices in Watertown and Sisseton, said a wide range of positions are typically open in northeastern South Dakota.


In mid-January, a job offerings analysis showed 428 position open in Clark, Codington, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin and Roberts counties, with the top occupational groups with openings as production, sales and related, education/training/library and farming/fishing/forestry.


Johnson, who said her agency does not track or list pay rates for open positions, said finding a job that pays a livable wage varies by job-seeker depending on their age, experience, skill set and education level.


“It’s hard to put a number on that because every city in South Dakota is different, though housing is high all over, so it depends on what that person’s mindset is and what is a good job to them and what lifestyle they want,” said Johnson. “For somebody who just wants a place to live and have a car, that number is different than somebody who might have a college degree and wants to own a home.”


South Dakota consistently ranks low among all states for its tax burden, though the sales tax that funds much of government is regressive in nature in that people from all income levels pay the same rate. As far as overall cost of living, South Dakota falls into the middle of the pack nationally.


The cost-of-living index allows for comparison among states on the prices of a variety of goods and services such as food, housing and transportation. A lower number and ranking indicate a lower cost of living. For example, to buy a $1 item would cost 98 cents in South Dakota compared to the rest of the nation, while that same item would cost about $1.08 in Montana. In the rankings, South Dakota has the 24th lowest cost-of-living index in the country, while Wyoming has the fifth-lowest in the country and Montana had the 34rd lowest, making it comparably the most expensive state in the region, according to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research.


The wage data for South Dakota looks bad overall but may obscure just how tough things are in some specific areas.


Low wages and high housing costs force many workers in the tourism town of Custer in the southern Black Hills to struggle financially or find creative ways to get by, said Mayor Corbin Herman.


“It’s something I think about every day,” Herman said.


The cost of living in Custer is so high, Herman said, that a $30,000 annual salary doesn’t go far.

“If I’m making the same wage in Custer as somebody in a similar town in eastern South Dakota, I’m probably making half of what they’re making or a third less,” he said. “I think it’s that drastic.”


As mayor, Herman said there is little local governments can do to raise salaries but he is working to lower rents and the overall cost of living in the town of about 2,000 people. For now, he said, the situation is almost untenable for many in the service and restaurant industries that prevail in the town that over the years has lost major employers such as a sawmill, a state hospital and the Star Academy for youthful offenders.


“You can’t pay somebody $70,000 a year to flip burgers, but you still need the worker and that worker still needs a place to live,” Herman said. “The employees get a little bit more creative; maybe four or five will live in small house or rent a trailer home outside town to make ends meet.”


As is common elsewhere in South Dakota, poor pay levels in Custer are often accompanied by a lack of benefits provided to workers, Herman said.


“I would be doubtful that there’s a lot of health insurance and retirement options out there for them,” he said. “I feel bad for the people who are living at that level.”


Focusing on education and workforce development

Nesiba said improving wages will require more effort on the part of lawmakers to expand educational opportunities both at 4-year colleges and at technical schools. He supports implementation of government-assisted pre-kindergarten programs that are common in other states. And he wants the focus on workforce development to include more efforts to lure high-paying companies to the state.


“As a policymaker, education is economic development, and we shouldn’t be distracted from that,” he said.


Improving education will lead to more skilled workers that will encourage businesses to increase wages, leading to more spending overall and a reduced need for government assistance, Nesiba said.


Noem said the credit card industry coming to the state in the ‘80s was the last “big thing” to aid the state workforce.


“It’s time to start looking for the next ‘big thing,’” she wrote.  


She said the state will:

? Identify targeted industries and market to attract the most innovative companies in those sectors.

? Over the next six weeks, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development will develop and roll out a new, more user-friendly website that is more responsive to the needs of existing South Dakota businesses and those interested in moving here.  

? Draw on traditional strengths as an agricultural state by seeking out more value-added processing opportunities and enhance outlets that will benefit farmers and small communities.

?Become a leader in cybersecurity by capitalizing on the success of Dakota State University’s cybersecurity program.


Identifying new opportunities will generate high-paying jobs and build an economy to bolster South Dakota’s business environment for the next generation for a better life, she said.


Striving to get ahead

For those at the lower end of the wage scale in South Dakota, basic survival takes commitment and fortitude.


Robin Baldwin of Sioux Falls is a Michigan native who moved to South Dakota in 1993 to be closer to her mother. Armed with a high school degree and one year of college, she worked several years as a waitress before getting married and staying home to raise her three children and another unrelated child whose mother was murdered.


She spent eight years as a stay-at-home mother before a divorce forced her to reenter the workplace. Baldwin sought help by getting job skills and placement assistance through two intensive programs run by Dress for Success Sioux Falls. The nonprofit group provides women with the attire, job skills, mentoring, financial literacy training and emotional support to find and keep a good job and has clients that range in age from 18 to 78, said Lori Strasburg, a program manager at the group.


With that training, Baldwin, 45, landed a job at a veterinary office in Sioux Falls as a receptionist and a full-time wage of $10 an hour, or about $21,000 a year.


Not long after landing the position and obtaining a steady income, Baldwin said she lost her rent subsidy from the Sioux Falls Housing Authority and later was dropped from the federal food stamps program and lost Medicaid coverage for her son who has Type 1 diabetes.

Baldwin received raises at the vet clinic to $11.50 an hour and now makes $14.50 an hour, or about $32,000 gross pay a year. Like other support staff workers in South Dakota, she finds that her net pay of about $2,000 a month doesn’t go far.


She pays $795 a month in rent; chips in $100 a month to help her son, now an adult living outside the home, buy insulin; has utility bills of about $235 a month; and spends about $400 a month on groceries. She rarely eats out, shares a cell phone with one of her sons and drives a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am that is only somewhat reliable. She said she cannot afford to join her company medical plan and is unable to afford a $350-a-month health insurance plan offered on the federal Affordable Healthcare Act marketplace.


Her regular monthly bills allow her about $400 a month for gas and other expenses, but nothing for savings or retirement. “I try to save but it seems like something always knocks you back and you have to pay for that,” Baldwin said.


Strasburg said many of the women she assists have child-care challenges, transportation issues and a lack of job skills or experience, so even a job that pays well below the statewide average of $40,770 a year would be a big step up.


“A $30,000 job, sadly, would be a good place to start for these ladies,” she said.

When Baldwin was asked to describe her current financial situation while making about $32,000 a year, she said, “I’m doing the best that I can, and striving.”


Baldwin worries most about the long-term health of herself and her sons, but also whether her car will start or about what would happen if she suffered a crisis like a broken leg or other acute medical of financial issue.


“I would be up the river,” she said. “I have thought about a setback and that worries me because I don’t have any backup for support.”


Baldwin said she joked to her son the other day that maybe she should quit work and go back on government housing, food and medical assistance. “When I wasn’t working, at least I knew there was going to be food on the table and a roof over our heads,” she said.

That notion was quickly rejected.


Baldwin said she enjoys her work and is now seeking a higher-paying administrative job in the health care industry. She would love to someday go back to technical school and obtain a business degree of some sort.


She also insists on being a positive role model for children and other people she knows who are living on the margins.


“With working, it feels good to pay my own way,” Baldwin said. “I feel really independent and proud of myself for how far I’ve come, and I don’t want to go back.”


This story was produced by South Dakota News Watch, a non-profit news organization. Find more in-depth reporting at

Veblen man to serve three years in prison for aggravated assault

A Veblen man has been sentenced to three years in prison for felony domestic aggravated assault.  60-year-old Kenneth J. Anderson pleaded guilty to one count from an incident back on September 16th, which resulted in the victim’s eye socket, nose and ribs being broke.  He received 10 years in prison with seven suspended.

Police arrest Aberdeen woman for fourth DUI

The Aberdeen Police Department has arrested a woman for her fourth DUI while her child was in the vehicle.  According to a release from police, officers responded to the 2700 block of 1st ave se on Monday around 2:35 p.m. to investigate and intoxicated driver with a child in the car.  The driver initial stopped, but then took off westbound on 6th avenue.  According to the release, officers had to use spikes near South Lincoln Street to stop the vehicle.  30-year-old Rena Raelle Robinson of Aberdeen was arrested and charged with her 4th DUI, child abuse, eluding law enforcement, false impersonation with intent to deceive law enforcement, simple assault, probation violation and failure to obey a traffic control device.  The child was unharmed.

House rejects measure to investigate Dem member

The South Dakota legislature Tuesday shot down the idea of forming a special committee to investigate Democrat Representative Peri Pouier and whether or not he met rhe state residency requirements in order to get elected.  Pouier represents the Pine Ridge area.  The measure was shot down 62-5.  Proponents of the measure argued there was enough evidence Pourier was not a state resident for two years before getting elected with is required by the South Dakota constitution.  Republican leadership dismissed the claims. 

Northeast Area Horse racing pushing for bill to help fund racing operations

Representatives from the Northeast Area Horse Racing Association spoke in front of the Brown County Commission Tuesday to confirm they planned on having horse races this year.  Despite horse racing’s strong tradition in South Dakota, the sport has fallen on hard times due to funding issues.


The organization is seeking public money to bridge a two year gap until alternative funding can be found.  Though the bill does not have a number yet, Buddy Haar, President of the racing association says it has support in Pierre…





Haar says the organization is seeking $300,000 from the legislature that would go towards funding both horse racing operations in Fort Pierre and Aberdeen.  Should the legislature decide not to support horse racing, it is likely horse racing would have to consolidate to one location, either Fort Pierre or Aberdeen.


For years the state legislature had set aside money to support horse racing, but decisions to move that money around during the Janklow administration left the operation underfunded.  On top of that, sports gambling is down according to Haar…





Haar is confident sports betting money will help infuse new life into horse racing in South Dakota.  That can be done at the legislative level as well.  With a 2018 United State’s Supreme Court decision, sports betting has been opened up across the country.  It is not known yet if and how South Dakota would incorporate sports betting in the future.

Online TV platform Netflix to raise prices in the US

The online movie and television streaming platform Netflix has announced plans to raise its prices by 13 to 18 percent in the United States.  The jump is the largest price increase the company has announced in its 12 year history.  In actual figure, customers in the US will likely see their price jump from $11 a month to $13.  This is the fourth time Netflix has raised its prices in the United States. 

Online TV platform Netflix to raise prices in the US

The online movie and television streaming platform Netflix has announced plans to raise its prices by 13 to 18 percent in the United States.  The jump is the largest price increase the company has announced in its 12 year history.  In actual figure, customers in the US will likely see their price jump from $11 a month to $13.  This is the fourth time Netflix has raised its prices in the United States. 

Authorities in McCook county identify the body of deceased pilot who's plane crashed

Authorities in McCook County have identified the pilot who died in a small plane crash Sunday.  According to authorities the pilot was Comet Haraldson of Sioux Falls.  Haraldson was flying a single engine plane when he began experience health problems between Canistota and Bridgewater.  In contact with air traffic control he struggled to bring the plane to the ground safely and crashed in a cornfield.  The wreckage is being stored currently because federal investigators are currently unactive due to the government shutdown. 

Beach Boys to play State Fair in Huron

A legendary band that dates back to the early 1960’s is coming to the South Dakota State Fair this summer….




Assistant Fair Manager Candi Briley says fans of the Beach Boys span generations…..




The Beach Boys join the band Little Big Town on this year’s fair entertainment lineup.


One more state fair concert will be announced this month—a show scheduled for Sunday September 1st.

Mitchell man pleads guilty to first degree manslaughter

A Mitchell man was sentenced to 18 years in prison today in connection with the stabbing death of another Mitchell man in August of 2017.  50-year old Anthony Lewis pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter in the death of Quinn Schleuning (sh-loon-ing) outside of an apartment in downtown Mitchell.  Lewis had claimed self-defense.  However, Judge Chris Giles (jiles) said the evidence, which included surveillance video from a local business, showed that Lewis followed Schleuning and stabbed him in the side once and in the back three times.  Giles sentenced Lewis to 40 years in prison with 22 suspended and credit for over 500 days served.  Lewis will be eligible for parole.

SD Democrats respond to first week of the legislative session

South Dakota Democrats reflect on the first week of the 2019 legislative session.  Party leadership in Pierre chose to spend most of the early portion of the press conference to focus on what Democrats have in common with the new Noem administration.


Senate minority leader Troy Heinert of District 26 say Democrats want to work with the administration on continuing to develop a workforce as well as habitat conservation.


House minority leader Jamie Smith of Minnehaha says one major area Republicans are not talking about is in the healthcare sector.  Specifically, nursing home costs and community assistance programs…





Governor Noem gave her state of the state address after being sworn in as South Dakota’s first female governor.  During that speech, Noem focused a lot on the need to preserve pheasant habitat and proposed the idea of a bounty program on predatory animals. 


Senator Heinert hopes Democrats can work with the administration on other preservation methods, because what was proposed by the governor won’t work in other parts of the state…





Finally, Senator Heinert spoke on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  The construction of the pipeline has been a long sorted history full of legal challenges, including one current federal challenge that is holding up the project.


Heinert is worried the state is not prepared enough in the event of an emergency.  Until it is better prepared in the event of a spill, he hopes it does not move forward…


Government shutdown affecting local brewery

The United States is about to end the third week of a partial government shutdown.  The shutdown has occurred due to President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign legislation funding the government without $5 billion earmarked for a border wall with Mexico.


Washington DC can feel far away for many in northeast South Dakota.  However, when the federal government shuts down, its effects can be felt here as well. 


Dakota Territory Brewing, a brewery in Aberdeen, is currently at a standstill because of the shutdown.  Brewery owner Brodie Mueller can get beers to the market he is already producing, but anything new is stalled. 


Mueller says due to the shutdown, simply dumping beer is a possibility…




The specific agency causing problems for brewers like Mueller is the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau or TTB.  This agency is in charge of ensuring products relating to alcohol and tobacco have the appropriate government warnings for consumers making decisions to purchase said products. 


According to Mueller this government shutdown hurts both large and small breweries alike…





This also stifles creativity for brewers.  Anyone who has brewed beer knows it is as much an art as it is a science.  Mueller has had to put plans on hold during this shutdown, preventing him from experimenting further…


President of Rosebud Sioux Tribe urges lawmakers to expand medicaid

The president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe on Thursday urged South Dakota lawmakers to expand Medicaid and work with tribal officials to fight the opioid and methamphetamine epidemic. President Rodney Bordeaux gave the fourth State of the Tribes message, asking legislators and Gov. Kristi Noem to promote higher education tuition waivers for Native American students and to make the availability of mental health services in rural areas and reservations a priority: (dl 185)




He referenced a period of time during his second term as President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe when the suicide rate spiked dramatically: (dl 186)





He also recommended a government-to-government summit on meth and opioids. He says "The epidemic is depriving children of their parents, families of their relatives,  and communities of their neighbors".