1/31/15

Livestock grazing kills millions of wildlife annually, costs taxpayers billions

Update, 31 January, 0900 MST:
As shown in a recent Chatham House report, the livestock sector contributes nearly 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, roughly equivalent to those from transport. The results are compelling. A shift toward less meat-intensive, emission-intensive diets would also realize important co-benefits. A move to promote a diet that is less rich in meat, and that has a greater share of chicken and pork as opposed to beef and lamb, would bring significant benefits to public health, including reduced incidence of heart disease, cancers and diabetes associated with overconsumption of meat. [Laura Wellesley, If We All Eat Meat, We’re Doomed]
.....................

Republicans hate subsidies unless industrial agriculture benefits.
The study, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, comes as the Obama administration prepares Friday to announce grazing fees for the upcoming year on 229 million acres of publicly owned land, most of it in the West. The report was prepared by economists on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity. The federal subsidy of the grazing program goes beyond the direct costs and fees. There are vast indirect costs to grazing on federal lands, including the government killing of native carnivores perceived as threats to wildlife, wildfire suppression caused by invasive cheat grass facilitated by cattle grazing, and expenditure of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds from protecting other species threatened by livestock grazing. “The full cost of the federal grazing program is long overdue for a complete analysis,” the study said. [The Center for Biological Diversity]







There are eight grazing allotments on the Northern Hills district that can no longer support livestock.
There are four federal land management groups that allow grazing: the National Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Park Service. Tom Smith, range staff officer for the Northern Hills Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest said there are 36 allotments in his district, eight of which are vacant. The allotments add up to 304,387 total acres and each allotment ranges from 1,223-20,479 acres in size. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 504 grazing allotments in Western South Dakota said Carmen Drieling, the group’s rangeland management specialist. “It’s a rate based on a formula that we have nothing to do with,” Smith said. “Congress set up the formula during the Regan [sic] administration and has done nothing to change it.” Currently that rate is $1.35 per grazing pair, per month. “It’s ridiculously cheap,” he said. “If you were to lease private land to do the same thing, you’re looking at $30. $20 would be cheap.” [Mark Watson, Black Hills Pioneer]
Betty Olson is an earth hater state legislator defending the Bundyists in Nevada. Writing in the Black Hills Pioneer she says:
The federal government shouldn’t be allowed to own any land within a state’s boundaries unless it is granted permission by the legislature of that state, and so far, no state has given that permission to the federal government.
Cliven Bundy's eldest son was arrested after another incident with law enforcement. The elder Nevada rancher is still at large after standoffs with federal officials over whether he should pay to graze on public lands.



President Obama, it's time to rewild the West: tear out the main stem dams, extend the CM Russell Wildlife Refuge to Oacoma, South Dakota along the Missouri River and to Yellowstone then to the Yukon.
Ranchers who rely on the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Oglala Sioux Tribe grazing permits were recently notified that their leases will expire in October 2015. The plan would reintroduce buffalo into the South Unit by carving the Stronghold Buffalo Grazing Unit out of private land and leased lands within the South Unit of Badlands National Park. It was approved in June by the tribal council. The tribe is currently working with the National Park Service to create the nation's first tribal national park that would encompass the 133,000-acre South Unit. The plan includes the return of bison to the park and the end of cattle grazing. "The National Park Service and the tribe are working to resolve issues that will result in legislation that could be introduced," Perry Plumart, Sen. Tim Johnson's press secretary, told the Journal on Wednesday. Plumart said the senator is impressed by their cooperation. [Andrea Cook, Rapid City Journal]
It’s time for cougars to enjoy Endangered Species protection and for you, Mr. President, to dissolve the Black Hills National Forest; and, in cooperation with BIA Forestry and Wildfire Management, rename it Okawita Paha National Monument then make it part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge.


Medicaid expansion moving through committee process

Democratic lawmakers are hopeful that some 48,000 South Dakota residents will be covered after the state's GOP governor signs proposed legislation.
Democrat Billie Sutton says the cost of expanding Medicaid is around 100 million dollars through the year 2020 but the state would receive around 2 billion dollars of federal funds in return. "The economic impact of that 2 billion dollars would actually make our state money after we pay for Medicaid expansion," says Sutton, "There’s a study done by two professors out of the University of Nebraska and it stated that we would gain 64 million dollars over the next 7 years if we expanded Medicaid in South Dakota. That’s after Medicaid expansion is paid for." [Jackelyn Severin, SDPB]
Wyoming's Republican-dominated legislators are moving similar proposals through that body supported by a GOP governor.

Legislative crackerbarrels are being held throughout South Dakota: go encourage them to pass health protection for working class citizens and families.

1/30/15

USD hosts Cuba conference

Professor Benno Wymar moderated the University of South Dakota’s international forum “Cuba: A New Start,” held last Wednesday at Farber Hall.
President Barack Obama recently declared an end to the U.S. and Cuban diplomatic and economic isolation that had lasted more than 50 years. Citizens of the U.S. will finally be able to travel legally to the small Caribbean nation. Wymar said that he didn’t see how such a small island that couldn’t be a threat to the U.S. could be treated so differently. The lifting on the embargo will also benefit local businesses. The forum was sponsored by the USD Beacom School of Business. Co-sponsors were the Modern Language, Linguistic Department and the Multicultural Student Center at USD. [Jordynn Hart, Cuba: A New Start? USD Forum Ponders The Future]
South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke applauded President Obama's initiatives in Cuba.

Cuba is Earth's second most literate country; the US is tied for 20th. President Carter tried to save the world during his Presidency but nobody cared.

GOP facing congressional reality, losing steam

Keystone was supposed to be the low-hanging fruit Republicans could pluck right away. Back in November, with Democrats still in the majority, a similar measure failed by a single vote. But as the GOP tried to push the bill through last week, Democrats cried foul. They pointed to new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's promise to open up the amendment process over which now-Minority Leader Harry Reid previously exerted a stranglehold, something both Democrats and Republicans complained about at the time. The bill was delayed and ended up taking all month. Democrats, naturally, are relishing this. As New York Senator Chuck Schumer told Politico with a grin, "They’re just tied in knots. They’re learning that being in charge isn’t so easy and isn’t so much fun.” [Molly Ball, The Republican Congress Meets Reality]



SDGOP hypocrisy unmasked


After denying the latitude to Tom Daschle Republicans want to give John Thune legal cover to run for president or vice president while also running for Senate in 2016.
In 2002, state lawmakers passed three laws that barred candidates from running for president or vice president while also running for another office. One of the three laws applied to primary elections. Why? At the time, then Sen. Tom Daschle was weighing a possible run for president in 2004. Daschle's Senate seat was also up in 2004, and the Republican-controlled Legislature was trying to ice Daschle out: He could run for the Democratic nomination for president, or he could run for a fourth Senate term. But he couldn't do both. [Jonathan Ellis]
From Bob Mercer:
The irony was that Republicans really didn’t have anyone of top caliber willing to take on Daschle in 2004, until Thune became available because of his loss in 2002. Thus ended in 2004 the South Dakota political career of Tom Daschle, the most powerful Democrat in the state’s history. [Rapid City Journal]
Thune continues to be dogged by a scandal involving donor Dan Nelson. Read Kevin Woster's piece on Thune linked here.

Much to Republican chagrin Americans are spending fuel cost savings on ObamaCare.

1/29/15

SDDP survey: What's your vision for the party?

I want to know your priorities, top issues, party building strategies, and more about your engagement, so we can develop a strategic plan to help elect more Democrats who will fight for working families, not just the big corporations. Your input for our strategic plan is vital because the GOP will do anything to protect Wall Street profits even if it means gutting middle class investments that help everyday South Dakotans like you and me. [Ann Tornberg, Chair, South Dakota Democratic Party]
66 county survey linked here.



Missouri River dams killing native fish


Christopher Guy, assistant unit leader with the US Geological Survey Montana Cooperative Fishery Unit and professor at Montana State University, joined Dakota Midday host Karl Gerhke on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio to talk about the importance of recent findings on the endangered pallid sturgeon in the upper Missouri River basin.

Update, 1630 MST, 28 January:
According to American Rivers, an advocacy group that tracks U.S. dam removals, 72 dams in 19 states were torn down in 2014, a record. That is roughly double the annual number from 10 years ago. Some 1,185 dams have been removed since 1912, according to the group. The fleet of U.S. dams, however, is still enormous. The Army Corps of Engineers counts at least 87,000 dams in its database. Removing dams produces its own benefits. Public safety is enhanced by reducing the risk of a dam failure, and moribund freshwater fisheries are rejuvenated when a segmented river is reconnected. [Circle of Blue]
Below the Missouri River dams pallid sturgeon are showing signs of recovery but above?

Surprise!
Pallid sturgeon come from a genetic line that has lived on this planet for tens of millions of years; yet it has been decades since anyone has documented any of the enormous fish successfully producing young that survive to adulthood in the upper Missouri River basin. Now, fisheries scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana State University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have shown why, detailing for the first time the biological mechanism that has caused the long decline of pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River and led to its being placed on the endangered species list 25 years ago. In a paper published this week in the journal Fisheries, the scientists show that oxygen-depleted dead zones between dams in the upper Missouri River are directly linked with the failure of endangered pallid sturgeon hatched embryos to survive to adulthood. Given what the new research shows about how no oxygen is available to hatched pallid sturgeon embryos, the authors of the paper propose that officials will need to consider innovative approaches to managing Missouri River reservoirs for pallid sturgeon conservation to have a chance. [press release, US Geological Survey]
Another Montana researcher is probing the relationship of whitebark pine with the slippery jack mushroom. Confirming my own long-held suspicion she has learned that antimicrobials are disrupting fungal communities throughout the Mountain West.

President Obama: decertify the dinosaurs that are the main stem dams, tear the earth fuckers down and rewild the West.




Tornberg: we know the issues are on our side

It's a new vision for a political party needing a boost to regain momentum. As newly-appointed party chairwoman Ann Tornberg works with her colleagues in Pierre, she looks back at a night that could've had more celebration. "Even at the state legislature, I've seen Democrats that might've sponsored legislation that might've failed a session or two, and then the 3rd year it's taken up by Republicans and it passes," Tornberg said. Along with strengthening the county party structure and a bigger fundraising push, Tornberg says the future can be strong for a party still seeking a return to prominence. [Jared Ransom, A Democratic Future?]




1/28/15

Todey: South Dakota facing climate crisis

As South Dakota's GOP governor denies human impact on climate change and the state's legislature ponders the end days some alarms are being sounded.
South Dakota state climatologist Dennis Todey spoke Tuesday during the Southeast Experiment Farm’s annual meeting, held at the Parker Community Center. He noted the long-range findings of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) national climate assessment. “The NOAA says we’ve seen temperature change during the last 100 years,” he said. “Climate change is real.” Last year’s cool weather in the state actually contained warming in a different sense, Todey said. He pointed to the statistics for eastern South Dakota from last June, July and August. “The big difference is in the low temperatures, not the high temperatures,” he said. “We’re warming, but we’re warming differently. We’re seeing higher nighttime temperatures.” Midwest farmers could step in and start growing crops that are no longer going to be grown in California and other Western states, Todey said. “Can you do something here that they can’t do there?” he asked his Parker audience. [Randy Dockendorf, Yankton Press and Dakotan]
Weeks before the first official flood predictions of the late winter, levels on the state's rivers are very low. Todd Heitkamp at the Sioux Falls office of the National Weather Service says it's pretty obvious why.

High temperature records have been falling throughout the region.

1/27/15

Rep. Frerichs: week two in Pierre

Our education committee hosted the leaders of the State’s technical institutes and Board of Regents to give updates on their respective higher education opportunities. I continue to work with interested parties and individuals to gain consensus on Senate Bill 2 which would create natural resource river basin councils to manage water based on watershed instead of county ordinances. I hear widespread support for the concept that we should manage water based on where it flows. The reason we are even having this discussion is because the Legislature back in 2012 recognized the problem of thousands of acres of farmland that are submerged under water and the need to manage surface water so our interim watershed task force was created. I am working on amending the introduced version of the bill to exclude class one municipalities because they already file a water management plan. Please keep in touch on the issues that matter to you. [excerpt, Rep. Jason Frerichs]

Daugaard, GOP governors still deny human impact on climate change

Climate denial is common in the now fully Republican-controlled 114th Congress, where 56 percent of congressional Republicans refuse to accept the reality of basic climate science. The situation is similar in the statehouses and governors’ mansions across the country. According to a fresh analysis CAP Action conducted of public statements from the current slate of governors on climate change, half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress. 
SOUTH DAKOTA: Governor Dennis Daugaard (R):
“I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts. It’s a complex world we live in,” Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) said in 2010. He has helped increase oil and gas production in South Dakota and supports the use of hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘‘fracking.’’ Governor Daugaard won re-election in 2014. [ThinkProgress]




1/26/15

SDPB: Sutton, Dems offer hope for rural schools

Democrat[ic] State Senator Billie Sutton plans to introduce legislation to attract more teachers to rural schools. "There are over 1,000 teachers eligible to retire right now. There are only 726 in state students who will enter the teaching profession in 2015. But how many of those will stay in South Dakota? There’s no guarantee that even half will stay in South Dakota," says Sutton. Sutton and his fellow [D]emocrats say low teacher pay is also a contributing factor to the shortage of educators and that lawmakers need to make education a priority. [Jackelyn Severin]


SDHSAA considering changes to high school American football policies

At a meeting last week, the South Dakota High School Activities Association's board of directors discussed changes to its concussion policy, including limiting the amount of full-contact practice allowed in football during the preseason and in weekly practices.
Read the full story at Education Week.

Black Hills religious cult gearing for end days

Update, 1227 MDT: Seth Tupper is doing a series on the polygamist doomsday sect building in the Black Hills.
For several minutes I had been gawking and Sean had been shooting photos. Then our eyes were drawn to the most imposing thing on the site, the guard tower. It’s much like the guard towers at prisons — three stories high, with windows at the top providing a 360-degree view of the grounds. [Tupper, Miles from nowhere: A trip to a compound that keeps secrets]
As South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley looks away as a favor to political allies, Charlie Najacht of the Custer County Chronicle has amassed an archive mountain and is on full tilt about the growth of the compound housing members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints near Pringle.

Even Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler seems on edge about having a polygamist group known for human trafficking digging in his jurisdiction.
In South Dakota, they worry those expelled would head north, bringing the same problems to their state. “There's been building going on all through the summer and all of a sudden it stops and there's nothing and the projects were never really completed either,” Wheeler says. The construction has caused enough concern neighbors in the area have started to pack up and move out. "They're digging a huge foundation for something, now. There's speculation that it could be a temple, who knows?” Najacht says. [KUTV]
Seth Tupper has published a pair of reports on the Waco-like compound applying to tap massive volumes of Black Hills water that would support what could become the biggest town in Custer County.
“If Custer County P and Z is going to put its head in the sand,” said one of the letters, referring to the county’s planning and zoning office, “I guess it will take Pierre to do something before this turns into Waco, Texas.” Waco was the site of a 1993 federal siege at a Branch Davidian compound that ended in the fiery deaths of 76 members of the religious sect. Craig Bobzien, supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest, wrote that the proposed well, in combination with other existing and future uses of the aquifer, could harm a “rare warm water spring ecosystem” in the area. [Tupper, Compound's neighbors fears Waco-like scenario]
And:
The man who submitted the application for the compound is Seth Jeffs, brother of Warren Jeffs, the former head of the FLDS. Warren Jeffs, who married multiple underage brides as young as 12, is serving a life sentence for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault of children. Seth Jeffs was convicted in 2006 of helping to hide Warren Jeffs from authorities. [Tupper, Religious compound's water could serve thousands, Park Service says]
Lifted from Wikipedia:
Church leaders have encouraged their flock to take advantage of government assistance in the form of welfare and the WIC (woman-infant-child) programs.[citation needed] Since the government recognizes only one woman as the legal wife of a man, the rest of his wives are considered single mothers and are eligible to receive government assistance. The more wives and children one has, the more welfare checks and food stamps one can receive. By 2003, for example, more than $6 million in public funds were being channeled into the community of Colorado City, AZ. In his book Under the Banner of Heaven (p. 15), Jon Krakauer writes that, "Fundamentalists call defrauding the government 'bleeding the beast' and regard it as a virtuous act." Carolyn Campbell ("Inside Polygamy in the '90s,", 102) adds, "The attitude of some polygamists is 'the government is untrustworthy and corrupt, and I'm above it, but give me those food stamps and free medical care.'"[83]
Also from the Rapid City Journal:
A secretive religious group linked to national cases of polygamy and the marriage of underage girls may be expanding to the Edgemont area, and there may be little Fall River County officials can do. The property in question was part of the estate of Buddy Heck and was left to Doris Seabeck and to Carolyn Fines. Seabeck is Heck’s sister and is the personal representative of his estate. Seabeck signed the purchase agreement, which is being contested by Fines in the courts. The commissioners said that as Carolyn Fines is state’s attorney Lance Russell’s mother, there may be some conflict of interest on the county’s part.
Lance Russell is now an earth hater SD legislator who was censured by the state's judiciary for leaking grand jury testimony.

Host families are being sought for teen refugees:
“They are much more successful if they stay with a family,” said Jean Goode, Safety Net’s clinical Case Manager, said of the ex-FLDS teens. “They have very little information about the outside world. They were taught to be afraid of people who were not like them.”
Oh well, in fundamentalist red state South Dakota all women are just breedstock anyway.

A foreign company wants to mine uranium in the vicinity tapping even more water.

South Dakota's newly elected junior senator wants to end protections for the state's water supplies.

1/25/15

GOP legislators grilled at Hills crackerbarrels



The School of Mines hosted Rapid City's event.
Featured speaker Representative Jacqueline Sly spoke briefly on [funding] and says education affects everyone. Sly says, "I think we have real inequities in our funding formula that's just gotten to be a bigger and bigger spread. We have some school districts that have more money than what they need, so they're putting it away instead of putting it into students and teachers, and then we have some school districts, especially large school districts, they're struggling because they have not received that additional funding or small school factor that was put in place 20 years ago." [Black Hills Fox]
And in Sturgis:
State Representative, Tom Brunner said, "Well it's always good to have these crackerbarrels and a good turnout; certainly the Sturgis people are always engaged. I think one of the biggest concerns we hear is a lot of financial concerns, both Medicaid expansion, the new road taxes proposed by the governor and others and you know, we are a frugal state, we're faced with the responsibilities of divvying up a small amount of money and not without raising taxes and so it's the never ending challenge." Senator Gary Cammack (KUH–MACK) and Representative Dean Wink were also in attendance Saturday. [McKenzie Nelson]



More from the Rapid City Journal linked here.

Coverage of Aberdeen area legislator crackerbarrel linked here.

Next West River dates:

In the New Classroom Building at the South Dakota School of Mines from 9 to 11 a.m.
Saturday, January 31st

At Deadwood City Hall beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, February 21st

Spearfish: at the Black Hills State University Joy Center beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, February 7th
Saturday, March 7th

East River dates linked here.

1/24/15

Democrats pressure SD governor after children die in state custody

Under GOP cover South Dakota is a state where STDs and unchecked diseases like measles are free to run rampant.
The plan attempts to reduce South Dakota's startlingly high rate of adolescents who are committed to the care of the Department of Corrections by focusing on the most dangerous offenders and pushing lower-risk juveniles into community-based treatments. Juveniles committed to state care live in various settings, from the state's STAR academy campus to private, in-patient treatment programs. The measure would encourage the courts to keep lower-risk offenders at home to receive out-patient treatment for such things as addiction and mental health issues.
"This is a big deal," said Sen. Billie Sutton, a Democrat from Burke who was part of a panel that studied the issue and recommended the changes. "This is a big deal for South Dakota, and it's a big deal for the kids of South Dakota." The body of evidence on successfully rehabilitating juvenile offenders emphasizes keeping adolescents with their families and in their schools, but a state panel report released last month found that, statewide, courts at times place juveniles in expensive state-sponsored care simply because community-based options aren't available. [Associated Press]
This case stank from the very beginning.
Let [me] explain the "wooden box", they have a wooden box in place that children can drop a note into if they [feel] they are being [mistreated]. Can you imagine a scared child even considering putting a note in that box when all they want to do is to do what [they're] told so can [they can] go home. Brady would tell me that all the time. Mine and Brady's final visit was close to two hours at Custer Regional Hospital. Brady was very coherent but VERY yellow! He had a two inch cut on top of his head and I asked him about it and he stated that they accidentally nicked his head when they were shaving the boys heads.
Brady got up and walked to bathroom on his own (which outside of room and down the hall). The doctor told us he had a blockage in the vein that goes to the liver and they didn't have the equipment there to take care of this so they were going to fly him to Sioux Falls. Please keep in mind while all this is going on there at least five men from STAR behind a curtain and whispering with the doctor and amongst themselves. The doctor did NOT once tell me that this was life threatening for I would have NOT left Brady!!! After pushing for medical records I find out that Brady was going into septic shock before they loaded him on the plane, so WHY did they continue that flight??? [Dawn Van Ballegooyen, some edits.]
The Division of Criminal Investigation is apparently still reviewing procedures at a Black Hills 'boot camp' after another child died while in the custody of South Dakota 'Corrections.' Brady Folkens of Brookings was 17.
Folkens’ mother, Dawn Van Ballegooyen, said she went to Custer to visit him Saturday and was told he was ill when she arrived. She talked to her son, who said he had been sick for a few days and had thrown up. Medical staff told her he had liver blockage. “He was awake, and he was a little yellow,” she said. “But he was my same Brady.” Corrections spokesman Michael Winder said Folkens said he felt ill beginning Thursday. Shortly after his mother’s visit, Folkens was flown to Sioux Falls. Van Ballegooyen followed in a vehicle, and had her sister meet Brady at the hospital. But by the time she arrived at the hospital in Sioux Falls, her son had died, and staff were working to revive him. [Beth Wischmeyer, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
Flown from the Custer Airport to Sioux Falls, about 350 miles: a flight of at least two hours in a state plane?

Brady's mother has been billed for the fateful plane ride and believes the state may have have infected her son with Hepatitis C possibly during a forced hair cutting incident, his immune system weakened from a potent acne medication contraindicated for use with other medicines with which Folkens was being treated.

In a phone interview Ms. Van Ballegooyen told this blog Brady never had a previous acne condition. After being urged to by the Brookings Police Department she signed off on Brady's admission as a child in need of supervision (CHINS) after Folkens' experimentation with cannabis. She is distraught with grief and is ready to fight for the truth but has yet been able to find a lawyer who wants to go up against Attorney General Marty Jackley.

She said she has been poring over documents and doing extensive readings on the legal ramifications of criminal neglect leading to wrongful death and the window for an argument before a judge is closing.

Brady's official death certificate shows the 17-year-old died from lymphocytic myocarditis associated with Parvovirus B19: Dawn Van Ballegooyen believes that the state is covering up key evidence.

Why was he not helicoptered to Rapid City about fifteen minutes away for dialysis? Why was Brady admitted to the State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy without any symptoms of Hepatitis C but then was later diagnosed with it?

The state has a history of poor choices made by state employees: fourteen year old Gina Score died after a forced run in 1999. The state settled with Score's family for an undisclosed amount of money without accepting guilt for her death.

This might be as close to an admission of guilt by the State as we'll see without a trial or lawsuit:
Jim Seward, general counsel for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said the group is tasked with finding ways to divert youth away from commitments at the state's juvenile facilities in Custer, Plankinton and Sioux Falls. If the juvenile justice system were a pool, Seward said, with the shallow end being county probation and monitoring, DOC commitments would represent "the deep end." It's also clear that regardless of the divergent definitions and programs, South Dakota commits more juveniles per capita than almost any other state. More populated parts of the state are more likely to have options for troubled youth beyond a trip to the STAR Academy. Judges, prosecutors and probation officers from smaller areas have told work group members that they'd like to see more ways to avoid commitments. [John Hult, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
This is a good example why PAs or CNPs assigned to medical cases is questionable: as i suspected, whoever diagnosed Hep C profiled Brady as a user and chose to do nothing about it.

1/23/15

Bush Foundation, Rep. Killer announce major initiatives in Native education

South Dakota State Rep. and Native Nation Rebuilder Kevin Killer (Cohort 1) won his re-election to serve District 27 for a fourth-term in November—and a second victory at the polls he values just as highly. By a four-to-one margin, the community he represents in Shannon County voted in favor of adopting a new name: Oglala Lakota County. Killer hopes the new name will remove the stigma that was associated with Shannon County and its high poverty rates, and replace it with a name reflecting the pride and heritage of the Oglala Lakota people. “This is a declaration saying, ‘Hey, we are still around—the policy to stomp out our language and our ways failed,’” Killer says. “All you’ll have to do is look at the map in 2015 and see we are still here. That’s something to build on, and inspire our young people, and all of our partners who invest in our community. It is setting us up for success.” [Bush Foundation]
The Bush Foundation funding Native language programs since 2008 has scheduled session 2 of Native Nation Rebuilders March 25-27, 2015 in Spearfish.

Letters of inquiry about grants and funding will be accepted until March 8.

Foreign companies driving GOP to exploit Dakotas


With blessings from a now-dead GOP governor a foreign company plundered sacred ground in Lawrence County, South Dakota and left an environmental catastrophe. Now another earth hater former governor is groveling before the US Environmental Protection Agency he wants to kill to clean up the mess.
The EPA is planning to spend an extra $50-million to reduce acid mine drainage at a former strip mine in the Northern Black Hills that is now a Superfund site. [SDPB]
Another foreign company based in Canada wants to mine Custer County:
There are three ways to mine uranium: underground mining — the grandfather of mining — open pit mining, which was prevalent in South Dakota in the 1950s and ’60s, and ISL, which is what Azarga proposes for the Dewey-Burdock project. In order to harvest the uranium, it would be mined through the aquifer and pumped to the surface. In order to extract the uranium, the substance attaches itself to resin beads and is then taken to a processing plant, purified and made into yellowcake for use. Azarga has stated it plans to build a processing plant on site as well as market its services to other regional uranium mines. [Custer County News and Chronicle]
With prodding from Republicans, TransCanada, yet another foreign company, is suing to condemn private property in several US states for a pipeline for China.

GOP hypocrisy driving KXL, Dakota Access land grabs

PUC Commissioner Kristie Fiegen cited a conflict of interest in the matter because her extended family owns land in Spink County where the pipeline is proposed. In her place, Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed State Treasurer Rich Sattgast to be an acting commissioner in the matter. [Dickinson Press]
South Dakotans are concerned that out of state pipeline companies are abandoning environmental protection for profits.
TransCanada staff began visiting landowners four years ago, trying to strike deals and avoid court battles. That didn’t work with John Harter in Winner, S.D. The rancher says TransCanada offered him a one-time payment of $13,300 to snake the line across a half-mile of his 280-acre cattle pasture. Harter demanded an additional $70,000 annually to compensate for the fact that he wouldn’t be able to graze his herd on the land for several years. The company refused his request and instead filed a lawsuit to seize the land through eminent domain, arguing the access to Harter’s land is worth just over $6,000. “They’re doing it with no regard to human life, let alone the earth,” complains Harter, whose case will be heard by a state court in June. [Ranchers Tell Keystone: Not Under My Backyard]



1/22/15

Pipeline incident every 30 hours in the US

The time-lapse video below includes every "significant pipeline" incident in the continental United States—along with their human and financial costs—from 1986 to Oct. 1, 2014. On average one significant pipeline incident occurs in the country every 30 hours, according to the data. [Common Dreams]


1/21/15

White America to blame for Indian gangs; CRYP working for Indian Country

Update, 0940, 21 January, from Indian Country Today Media:
Late last week the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation released the findings of its investigation into the shooting death of Allan Locke on December 20, 2014, in the Lakota Homes neighborhood of Rapid City, South Dakota. The shooting occurred the day after Locke attended a protest against unnecessary police shootings. Although the independent Native media reported an alternative account of what took place that night, the Native community in Rapid City was once again left out of the conversation. Local journalists failed to dig beyond the public statements made by city officials who did everything in their power to show support for the RCPD, even without a proper investigation having been completed. While the South Dakota media served as a propaganda machine for the city and its police department, Native people were busy doing their own research unveiling relevant facts surrounding the incident including posts from the officer involved. Speaking out against police brutality, corrupt cops and unnecessary shootings is in no way an indictment of the majority of honest police officers across the country. It is simply the duty of the press and of good cops to expose wrongdoing, criticize bigotry, and to protect and serve the people. [Brandon Ecoffey, The Inequity of Justice and Reporting in South Dakota]
Part 2: The dreams of Priestess Bearstops.

Part 3: Reuben Crow Feather is poised to become a leader in the American Indian Movement.

Sent to this interested party:



Julie Garreau is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and is the executive director of the Cheyenne River Youth Project. Julie has been CRYP’s director since the organization’s 1988 inception, volunteering in the position for 12 years. She began working for the organization full-time in 2000. She has seen the project through its exhilarating development from a tiny, one-room youth center in a former Main Street bar to a comprehensive youth and family services organization that includes the Billy Mills Youth Center — “The Main” — for children ages 4-12 and the Ċokata Wiċoni Teen Center, which serves youth ages 13-18. Julie is a dedicated youth advocate, and she hopes that CRYP will become a model for other communities to follow as they develop effective, sustainable youth programming. [Cheyenne River Youth Project]
Julie is also vice-chair for the Dewey County chapter of the South Dakota Democratic Party.



“He went from innocent to fucking gangster,” said James Cross. “He’s probably the smartest one of all of us, but he just wanted to be like Dad. He won’t be out till 2029 or 2030.” The growing threat of Native gangs is not a retelling of cowboys and Indians set against the backdrop of a modern black market. It’s a story about how historical trauma, federal policy and tribal pride have created a new Indian problem: organized crime. James Cross and his twin brother, Gerald Cross, sat outside smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Both of them were taken from their Anishinaabe and Dakota parents at the age of 4 because of alcoholism and were adopted by a white family. Between 1992 and 2002, Native Americans came into contact with violent crime at double the rate (pdf) of the rest of the nation;around 60 percent of victims described their attackers as white. “When you’re so used to just dealing with everything with violence? That’s why everybody can’t even believe I’m doing this.” [Ahtone, A cross to bear: James Cross knows why Native American kids join gangs]
Tristan Ahtone started as an intern for Wyoming Public Radio: now he is a multi-media journalist, contributor to Al Jazeera, NPR and National Native News. He is vice president of the Native American Journalists Association and a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.

The emergence of warrior societies led by veterans of the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, and Kosovo has unified young people in North America's tribal regions. Movements are growing from the Mohawk Nation in Quebec and New York to the Lakota strongholds in South Dakota, among the descendants of the Arapaho in the Mountain West, south to the Navajo Nation and into the border regions of the Tohono O'odham.

From Al Jazeera English:
In recent years in particular, Canada's indigenous communities have shown the will and potential to grind the country's economic lifelines to a halt through strategically placed blockades on the major highways and rail lines that run through native reserves well outside of Canada's urban landscape. There are more than 800 outstanding native land claims held against the Canadian government. And in many First Nations communities there is deep crisis, with poverty, unemployment and overcrowding the norm. According to figures from the Assembly of First Nations, more than 118 First Nations lack safe drinking water and some 5,500 houses do not have sewage systems. Almost one half of homes on native reserves are in need of "major repairs", compared with 7 per cent of non-native homes. Natives suffer a violent crime rate that is more than 300 times higher than Canada's non-native population, while natives represent 18.5 per cent of the male prison population and one-quarter of the female population, although natives only constitute 4 per cent of the total population.
In the US, where sovereignty rights, culture and language resurgence and growing capital resources from burgeoning black markets are building alternatives to hopelessness, suicide, and repression in Indian Country, deaths from firearm violence are higher than in any ethnic group.


Koch group lobbying to end protection for South Dakota watersheds

There isn't a more egregious example of the stranglehold that "big money" has on our Congress and elected officials than this effort to build the Keystone pipeline. As I stated throughout my campaign for the United States Senate, this is all about greed -- billions of dollars of it every year. When the threat of climate change has 99 percent of the scientists in the world seriously worried about the future of the planet and the human race, this greed is inexcusable and needs to be exposed and rejected. We should be transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, not doubling down on Keystone. [excerpt, Rick Weiland, Mitchell Daily Republic]
As a Wyoming-based pipeline company dumps more crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana, South Dakota struggles to clean up a century of ag runoff in the polluted Big Sioux River watershed. Nearly every waterway in South Dakota is impaired. With the help of former Senator Tim Johnson the US Department of Agriculture has pledged funding to clean up parts of the Big Sioux.

So-called 'Americans for Prosperity' a Koch-funded group with a lobbyist based in Sioux Falls signaled to legislators that they will lose campaign funding from the Kochs unless they act to reverse the progress the US Environmental Protection Agency has made in South Dakota.

South Dakota's GOP legislators and candidates have enjoyed millions in lobbyist benefits from the Kochs' contribution arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council; the state's junior senator was elected with cash from ALEC-backed National Federation of Independent Business.

The Kochs own Kansas and millions of acres of Canadian tar sands leases but the courts and voter participation can stop their efforts to run the climate-killing Keystone XL over private land using eminent domain.

South Dakota voters need to be alerted to these dark money efforts to end environmental protection in the state and the Democratic Party supports EPA's mission to protect South Dakota's waterways.

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1/20/15

As Gov. Daugaard shames the poor STDs spike

South Dakota's GOP governor has strong opinions about his white privilege:
[Governor] Daugaard objects to a portion of the Affordable Care Act that expands Medicaid for poor adults with incomes at 138 percent of the federal poverty level, saying it's too expensive for South Dakota. Critics, however, say that Daugaard's decision means the state will forego hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years in federal spending that would have otherwise been used on those 48,000 adults who qualify for expanded Medicaid. The proposal is backed by the state's health care providers, which would benefit from more Medicaid dollars flowing into South Dakota. [Jonathan Ellis]
From South Dakota Public Broadcasting:
State Epidemiologist Doctor Lon Kightlinger says in 2004 there were about 3,900 cases of disease in South Dakota and about 7,500 in 2014. He says the higher numbers are driven largely by increases in STDs, as well as Hepatitis C, whooping cough, and intestinal illnesses. “Now drilling down into some of the specific diseases, there has been 141% increase in gonorrhea in South Dakota,” Kightlinger says. “Going back ten years ago from 351 cases to over 800 cases this past year. An over 1,000% increase in syphilis, a 147% increase in Hepatitis C cases, a 167% increase in MRSA.” [Jenifer Jones]
From Indian Country Today Media:
Some un-enrolled Indians may live in states that did not accept the federally funded Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. If that is your situation, you are exempt if you would have been eligible for Medicaid but did not get it because your governor did not choose to cover you. Keep in mind, if part of your family is enrolled and others are not, that every individual named in your tax return must either be insured or have an exemption. There is another exemption for people who just flat out cannot afford coverage, and there is a worksheet in the instructions for Form 8965 that will help you determine whether you can get the government to agree you can’t afford insurance. [Steve Russell]
Montana's Democratic governor wants to extend medical protection for people in his state: so does Wyoming's GOP governor.

1/19/15

ASBSD posts legislative crackerbarrel dates

Associated School Boards of South Dakota joins the Chiesman Center for Democracy with a posting of five East River meets and one West River so far:
Please send any dates and locations of legislative cracker barrels in your area that are not listed below to Tyler at tpickner@asbsd.org and we will add them to the list, which will be updated throughout session and included in the ASBSD Blog Brief. [ASBSD.org]
Hey Democrats: go jack up your legislators.

1/17/15

Sutton calls out SD governor on legislative priorities

Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Tuesday proposed hiking taxes by roughly $50 million to fund road and bridge projects, only half the amount being sought under a legislative plan to address one of the most significant issues facing South Dakota lawmakers this year. But Democrats, who are the minority in both chambers, lamented that Daugaard didn't specifically address South Dakota's low teacher pay or expanding the state's Medicaid program. "The governor said roads and bridges are our most valuable asset," Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton said. "I would hold our kids and teachers are our most valuable asset in South Dakota." [Watertown Public Opinion]