Pierre to host earth hater Menards

Another privately-held company is threatening Galtism.

Menards, whose policies include issuing anti-democratic propaganda, pays its employees subsistence wages while massaging its margins in under-served markets like Rapid City and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

O'Fallon, Missouri has been passed over according to a local media outlet:
The company is blaming the Obama administration for the project’s failure. A Menards spokesperson says the company no longer plans on adding a store in O’Fallon, Missouri because of the President’s economic policies.
John Menard is one of the country's richest white men contributing to earth haters like John Thune and Michele Bachmann while joining with Koch Industries in forcing primaries against those resisting its advances.
Menards and CEO John Menard have been cited for dozens of environmental code violations; in 1997 Menard and his company were fined $1.7 million when Menard himself was found to have used “his own pickup truck to haul plastic bags filled with chromium and arsenic-laden wood ash to his own home for disposal along with his household trash,” according to Milwaukee.--Adele M. Stan at AlterNet.
Pierre, South Dakota is the newest community threatening established hometown South Dakota-owned lumber and home improvement businesses:
The Pierre City Commission announced Tuesday that home-improvement company Menards intends to build a location in northeast Pierre. The improvements, which include grading, infrastructure, the frontage road and contingencies, are estimated to cost $3.4 million. However, there are also plans to upgrade Garfield Road, in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation, and North Airport Road, both of which will facilitate additional expansion in that part of town. The city is seeking to finance all these projects with $5.5 million in loans. The loans will be equalized over the coming decade and be paid off in 2026. [David Rookhuyzen, Pierre Capital Journal]
Fuck 'em.


Moving daughter #1 into dorm at BHSU moves father

Moving Daughter #1 into the dorm at Black Hills State University ended up being a blast rather than the drudgery that was expected. The fire marshal, however, would have been horrified. A police presence was nowhere to be had as an unsteady stream of grimacing parents and young adults grunted various articles of campus survival through a single door and up stairs. It was a fascinating look into the intersection of liberal arts communitarianism with mostly white sod busters, coal miners and oilfield trash accustomed to control engaging with their progeny as we melted into cooperation.

She is looking forward to her father showing her the lesser-known niches in the Northern Hills that remind some people entering college how the Black Hills is sacred living rock that makes water. She will also see how it is being laid waste by mountaintop-removal mining and retirees from somewhere else building crap as cathedrals to themselves in her climate-stressed human-altered pine monoculture.

One frustration was the amount of cardboard residual from the extravaganza with nowhere to go because Spearditch abandoned its recycling program a number of years ago: it's a town now entertaining the erection of a ceement jayzus and the annexation of Upper and Lower Valley.

Lunch at the Bay Leaf Cafe was perfect, so was the Eleventh Hour IPA being canned locally by Crow Peak Brewing Company although the Porter was a little too syrupy for this taste.

There has been a considerable amount of flap over the US Fish and Wildlife Service move to close the DC Booth Hatchery in Spearditch, especially when facility is well-supported by tourists and locals alike. But, it's hard to imagine the Service continuing to support the raising of hybrid and non-native trout when native species are being threatened in the Missouri River basin.

It is said that trout are not native to the Hills: how that can be remains a mystery as cutthroat lived in the Platte to the south and Powder to the north. One explanation might be the concentrations of dissolved metals in the local hydrology. There is no evidence of native trout in the Little Missouri flowing north out of the Wyoming sage steppe, either. As the Black Hills has never been glaciated, the continual use of fire on the Black Hills by human inhabitants for the last ten thousand years may have rendered ancient fisheries unable to sustain salmonids: perhaps those factors combined.

It's the opinion of this interested party that USFWS should block releasing these fish into any part of the system but preventing the community to find a way to finance rearing for private ponds would be unthinkable.

The Belle Fourche Reservoir (to the locals, it's Orman Dam) has been bivouac for most of the last week as the wind cooled by the lake beats the hell out of triple digits being experienced by those toiling under the grid.


South Dakota Democrats want to raise wages

From my inbox:
Dear South Dakota MoveOn member,

South Dakotans value hard work. But for many hardworking South Dakotans, the $7.25 per hour minimum wage isn't keeping up with the rising cost of living. Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of hardworking people who'll spend it on the things their families need every day. That generates new business and grows the economy. And a lot of those folks will depend less on government assistance too.

That's why the South Dakota Democratic Party and our partners have filed an initiated measure for the 2014 general election to raise South Dakota's minimum wage to $8.50 per hour with annual cost of living increases. Because South Dakotans want an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest CEOs.

That's why I started a petition to the South Dakota Legislature and Governor Dennis Daugaard, which says: It's time to raise South Dakota's minimum wage in order to build an economy that works for everyone.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends. Together we can start making South Dakota a land of opportunity for all people again.

–Zach Crago


After B-1 crashes future of PRTC, sage grouse habitat uncertain

This morning I tweeted these:

Thirty minutes later, another incident in the Powder River Training Complex in southeastern Montana grounded operations at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, South Dakota. Accidents have plagued the aircraft:
Back in 1997, [a B-1B attached to] the 28th Bomb Wing of the 37th Bomb Squadron from Ellsworth crashed in Alzada, Montana. That is in the same county as Monday's crash. Unfortunately, in that crash the four crew members lost their lives. One year later, in 1998, the same Bomb Wing crashed into the Indian Ocean on its way to a combat mission in Afghanistan. Those four crew members survived and were rescued by a Navy ship in the area. [Sammi Bjelland, KELO]
Snipped from the Black Hills Pioneer:
On Dec. 12, 2001, a B-1 crashed into the Indian Ocean near the island of Diego Garcia. A cause has never been determined. The crew had reported having difficulty controlling the bomber. All four crewmen ejected safely, including the pilot and co-pilot, who were from Ellsworth. The aircraft was destroyed.
From a piece by the AP's Dirk Lammers in the Great Falls Tribune:
In April 2008, an Ellsworth B-1B bomber caught fire after landing at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The crew members all escaped safely. A month earlier, an Ellsworth B-1B collided with two emergency-response vehicles during landing after reporting an in-flight emergency at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
RT @CharlesSDPB: "Ellsworth Officials: on average it costs over $14,000 per hour in fuel alone to fly a B1 Bomber. In total a B1 costs an average of over $43,000 dollars/hour to fly. But some worry cutbacks come as N. Korea heats up."

Recall this from Tom Lutey's piece in the Billings Gazette:
Ellsworth Air Force Base officials say plans for a South Carolina-sized training area over portions of four western states are moving ahead. A key piece of the approval process, a final environmental impact statement, has not been finalized. Spokesman Maj. Matthew Reese said the EIS is out of Ellsworth’s hands. The base has moved on to arranging meetings with state and tribal governments in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.
There were numerous concerns when the Air Force held public hearings about the 27,500-square-mile Powder River Training Complex in 2009. Two years ago, U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, D-Mont., asked the Air Force not to expand the PRTC into southeastern Montana.
After the 1997 crash of a B-1 in Carter County a responding volunteer firefighter from Alzada told this interested party the multi-million dollar aircraft was brought down by a rancher with a .30-30 Winchester.

There is a movement in DC aimed at convening the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) so the move to ground the EAFB aircraft should come as little surprise to Rep. Krusti Noem (earth hater-SD).

With voices of the cut, cut, cut from her ALEC/Tea Party handlers in one ear while the armed services industry in her other ear telling her that they are worried about losing their cushy relationships with Ellsworth Air Force Base, Noem mused in committee:
the least disruption to national readiness was to "first focus on support systems such as military schools . . . rather than going after -- seeking to close bases that house bombers or fighter wings."
Ellsworth's sister brother codependent facility, Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana recently failed a key nuclear weapons evaluation.

It's time for endangered sage grouse to get a reprieve from extirpation: close this training range and convert Ellsworth to a fire-fighting tanker base.

In a weird coinkydink this post has gotten over 230 hits since yesterday: what a strange day.


Canadian Pacific US holdings poised for freefall

When it rains, it pours.
Canadian Pacific railroad has furloughed approximately 30 workers in recent months from its operation in Thief River Falls, according to union officials. The job cuts are among roughly 90 furloughs at CP sites across Minnesota that the United Transportation Union has counted since October 2012, part of what the union says are aggressive job cuts that followed leadership changes in the company at that time. [Christopher Bjorke, Grand Forks Herald]
From Progressive Railroading:
The Quebec government on Wednesday announced it added Canadian Pacific to the list of companies provincial officials believe are responsible for millions of dollars in cleanup costs associated with the July 6 Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA) derailment in Lac-Mégantic, which caused about 1.5 million gallons of crude oil to spill from damaged tank cars.
The news comes on the heels of announcements about Canadian Pacific's failings from South Dakota's earth hater governor.


Black Hills fungi found

A favorite drive in the Black Hills is from US 385 down the Bogus Jim Road which takes the rig to Norris Peak Road: it connects with the Nemo Road and becomes South Canyon Road in Rapid City. These photos were captured in mixed pine, spruce, aspen, and birch woods at the summit. Many ponderosa hit by the bug in this part of the Hills.

pinedrops are often indicators of fungi fruiting nearby

Hygrophorus, probably H. conicus

Aspen Scaber Stalk, Leccinum insigne, perfect for the saute pan. Don't cut it until just before cooking as it will bruise dark purple right away. A dime has been added to some photos for some reason.

Russula emetica: had there been oak in this north-facing draw this mushroom may have been parasitized by the Hypomyces mold transforming it into a choice Lobster.

Hygrophorus, probably H. russula

There have been a couple of stories on NPR about Cordyceps: the fungus that attacks insects. C. capitata has been used for centuries by indigenous shamans as aphrodisiacs and to divine the future.

Warning: Amanita!

Russula brevipes: this mushroom fruits in deep pine duff but no oak nearby so no Hypomyces. Note the bearberry.

Yes, these will blow your mind: Psilocybe montana or silvatica. No, I neither eat nor sell them.


One image from Colorado secession movement

The State of Colorado has chosen the eastern plains for a series of sacrifice zones: prisons, military maneuvers and industrial agriculture.

Tyrone is one of several ghost towns dissolving into the high plains along the Santa Fe Historic Trail on US 350 beside the tracks between Trinidad and La Junta.

The Arkansas River at Rocky Ford is a seething bank-full toxic chocolate milkshake filling every irrigation ditch: the area is famous for melons grown with this stuff.


Southwest Chief facing 'uncertain future'

Yes, there is railroad real estate connecting Santa Fe with Rapid City: a set of rusty, maybe-active tracks in the historic rail bed now owned by Canadian Pacific terminates on BNSF's holdings at Dakota Junction, Nebraska.

From the draft ColoRail Background Paper (pdf):
1. Problem: Amtrak’s Los Angeles to Chicago Southwest Chief, currently operated over BNSF in New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas, faces an uncertain future between now and 2015. At issue is the future cost of track work, bridges and signals maintenance necessary for passenger train operations. There is not a Congressional funding mechanism for this presently available.
The Southwest Chief goes through Trindad, Colorado but there is currently only freight traffic from there to Denver and commuter rail has only been proposed north of Colorado Springs.

Today Gov. Dennis Daugaard filed a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) raising questions about the acquisition by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) Railroad. [press release, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013]
Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that he will appoint Kevin Schieffer of Sioux Falls to the South Dakota Board of Regents. Schieffer retired in 2008 after 12 years as CEO of the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad. Prior to that, he worked as United States Attorney for South Dakota from 1991 to 1993, engaged in private practice for three years and served as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Larry Pressler from 1982 to 1991. [press release, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013]
Apparently, David Montgomery saw it, too (my tweets beat his by an hour).