Administration hopes to curb Sibsonistas with guns

The Justice Department plans to move forward this year with more than a dozen new gun-related regulations, according to list of rules the agency has proposed to enact before the end of the Obama administration. The ATF is also looking to prohibit the mentally ill from owning firearms, which is attracting even more criticism from gun rights groups.
Read it here.

Republicans like having everybody, regardless of mental stability or acuity, brandishing weapons.

Fact is: mental incompetents like Steve Sibson, who is suffering from dissociative personality disorder and Pat Powers, plagued with food addictions, should be banned from owning firearms.

Pollution, global warming dooming Earth's ecosystems

I swear.
Back in 2013, we announced the results of an unprecedented 10-year-study, published in PLOS ONE, on amphibian abnormalities on national wildlife refuges (pdf). We found that on average, less than 2 percent of frogs and toads sampled on 152 national wildlife refuges had physical abnormalities involving the skeleton and eyes—a much lower rate than experts first feared based on earlier reports. This indicated that the severe malformations such as missing or extra limbs repeatedly reported in the media during the mid-1990s were actually quite rare on national wildlife refuges. However, there were a few hot-spot clusters that had higher rates of abnormalities. One of these hot spots was at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. We found that wood frog tadpoles were attacked by dragonfly larvae 30 minutes sooner and three times more often in warm, slightly polluted water treatments, than in cooler, pollution-free treatments. The experiments simulated the effects of degraded water quality due to road runoff and climate change. The increased predation observed in this study supports previous research and could also help explain the prevalence of malformed frogs in some refuge hotspots. [US Fish and Wildlife Service]
Much of Alaska is under a red flag warning seeing conditions previously unknown in human or even geological history.

From 2011:
Rising temperatures and growing variability in rainfall are affecting the size of all species in the ecosystem from microscopic sea organisms to land-based predators, say researchers. "Our study suggests that ectotherms (cold-blooded animals like toads, turtles, and snakes that rely on environmental heat sources) are already changing a lot," said David Bickford from the National University of Singapore and co-author of the study.
There are only 400,000 Greater sage grouse left and Wyoming is ground zero.

Choose a hand basket and get ready for a helluva ride into the sunset of history.

Gallup: American majority support reproductive rights

The recent increase in the pro-choice side has occurred almost equally among men and women. However, for men, this has not compensated for the larger drop in their identification as pro-choice in 2012. As a result, a slight gender gap has emerged over the last three years, with women more likely than men to be pro-choice. This contrasts with 2001 through 2011, when there was virtually no gender gap.
Read more from Gallup linked here.

Democrat Paula Hawks, a champion for reproductive rights, is publicly weighing a run for South Dakota's lone US House seat. The sitting US Representative is an anti-civil rights extremist.
Hawks, a representative from Hartford, said Tuesday she will likely make a decision before July. Hawks says her priority is the constituents in her state House district, but she says she’s willing to take on a new role in the future that best serves the people of South Dakota. [DRG News]
Raising the money for an expensive statewide run would take some massive fundraising to match a well-financed opponent in a state where the sitting US Representative has been bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers, Big Ag and 20 wealthy SDGOP donors.

Mitchell could elect nutcase to school board

Steve Sibson wants control.
Sibson has lived in Mitchell most of his life, attending Mitchell schools from the seventh grade through high school. He earned his master's in accounting from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1983, then started working in Mitchell. He is now the vision controller—aka head accountant—at Toshiba. "I'm just putting my hand up saying, I'm willing to lead the process. But a leader is not a leader if there's no followers."
Read it here at no charge while you still can. The Aberdeen American News put its content behind a paywall.

Sibson is a christianic militant, a creationist and, after an episode of temporal lobe epilepsy, he is tortured by dissociative personality disorder presenting as delusions of divine guidance.

Smaller government in South Dakota would mean about thirty fewer county seats than 65 and Dakota State University in Madison would become a community college instead of a four-year regental university. A smaller federal government would mean more poor writers like Steve Westra, Pat Powers and Steve Sibson.


City of Watertown, utilities face federal lawsuit

As the City of Pierre reaches out to socialism Watertown and the city's utilities are being sued for it.
Watertown City Attorney Stanton Fox says the plaintiff in the lawsuit is Sioux Rural Water System Incorporated. They allege in the civil lawsuit that as the city of Watertown expands and annexes property into the city limits, those new residents are then signed up as customers of Watertown Municipal Utilities, thus depriving Sioux Rural Water of customers and reducing their ability to repay federal loans which are used to expand their infrastructure. [KWAT Radio]
How coal loving Brookings remains invulnerable to liberty loving utilities users remains a mystery.


EPA awards Lower Brule with brownfields grant

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, population 1,664, will use its $200,000 cleanup grant to remove contamination from the Former Housing Authority Building located in the middle of town and directly adjacent to an elementary school. Addressing contamination of the deteriorating building will enhance the environmental and public welfare of the resident and provide other direct community benefits by allowing the tribe to relocate their local Boys & Girls Club. [press release, US Environmental Protection Agency]
Last year through the US Environmental Protection Agency the White House moved to more closely identify the sources of non-point pollution.
Senate Republicans charged Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relies too heavily on politics in its regulations and not enough on science.The accusation is one of the main reasons that the GOP is backing the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which would overhaul the membership and operation of the EPA’s main outside boards for scientific advice and for guidance on air pollution rules. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the House’s legislation. It has repeatedly said that the reforms are not necessary and would hamper the board’s important work. [The Hill]
South Dakota's Republican junior senator is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee subpanel holding the hearing on the bill.

EPA releases alternative fuel requirement plan for this year, next year: Some say its cave-in to Big Oil

Missoula Indy: Lee CEO should awake to find spiders coming out of her mouth

At the risk of leading a dead horse to water and making it drink click on this op-ed from a Missoula-based gadfly. A snip from Dan Brooks' piece should help you get the gist:
I wish Chuck Johnson well in his retirement, and I wish Mike Dennison luck in his continued career. Since I've got one left, I also wish that Mary Junck would awake to find that spiders come out of her mouth instead of words when she tries to talk.
Democracy is under attack, fellow Democrats.

With fewer journalists covering legislatures no voting public can perform the duties of citizenship with any accuracy whatsoever.

Motorcyclist killed by deer just a bump on road to Sturgis

Portending the carnage expected during the 75th running of the Harleys 52-year-old Mary M. Sataya was killed just west of Aladdin, Wyoming where her motorcycle struck a deer. After colliding with the ungulate, Sataya's motorcycle crossed both lanes of the highway, hit a guardrail then was transported to Spearfish Regional Hospital where she died.

During the Sturgis Rally riders loop through Aladdin to Hulett and Devils Tower then back through Sundance. Highways are often crowded to capacity and drunken bikers can be seen weaving over every roadway in the Black Hills. Deer are unpredictable and now join bighorn sheep, recently released by the South Dakota's GOP wildlife 'management' arm, as obstacles to avoid.

As Wyoming's economy retools from oil, coal and a history of workplace deaths the state has become a more desirable tourist destination especially during the Rally where dying is just part of the fun.

Republicans in Wyoming chalk up biker deaths as necessary for the common weal just as South Dakota GOPers do.

As hypocrisy reigns supreme at the highest levels of power in South Dakota residents will endure another Sturgis Rally where this year up to a million attendees will spend an average of a thousand dollars each so the sitting governor can crow about his leadership and self-reliance while moral hazards pay the bills.

A Casper Star-Trib report left at least one reader wondering about the disposition of the deer.

White people piqued by mountain name change

Only two people showed up in Pierre after an over-capacity crowd in Rapid City testified before hearings of the state Board of Geographic Names but those two voices may be have the loudest.

Geographical features named for racist Annie Tallent have been scrubbed.
We don’t need to change the name of this historic landmark just for the sake of change or political correctness, just because somebody is offended. It would only lead to confusion. If the name Harney is offensive, which name is next, Custer? Where will this end? [Hill City Prevailer-News]
Atrocities were committed by both sides? Maybe, but the numbers are grossly disproportionate. The United States has caused the deaths of tens of millions of aboriginals losing only hundreds of colonializing Europeans. Andrew Jackson ordered the marching of thousands from the Atlantic Seaboard to the interior continent killing many of the Choctaw and Cherokees.
The name of South Dakota’s tallest mountain should be changed from Harney Peak to “Hinhan Kaga,” the state Board of Geographic Names recommended by unanimous vote Thursday in Pierre. The state board, which met in the Becker-Hansen Building Commission Room, needed only 30 minutes to make its recommendation. The relatively quick decision followed the receipt of hundreds of written comments in recent weeks and five public hearings across the state since April 28 at which dozens of people testified. [Rapid City Journal]
English translations include Making of Owls and Place of Owls. Owl's Nest was one suggestion before the board.

The mountain was made taller than South Dakota's highest natural point, Odakota Mountain, by white people with concrete and stone. It is not the highest US point east of the Rocky Mountains, either: Guadalupe Peak in Texas is.

Revisionist history turned the Wounded Knee Massacre into a battle where soldiers were awarded medals of honor then a peak or town in the Black Hills and a national forest were named after a murderer like George Armstrong Custer. Crook City near Whitewood and Crook's Tower, one of the 7000 footers in the Black Hills, were named after a war criminal. It's time for Lawrence County (also named for murderers) and Warren Peak in the Wyoming Black Hills to be changed, too.

The word 'squaw' has been purged even though it was derived from an Algonquin term and Inyan Kara Peak is the bastardization of American Indian words.

This blogger has been arguing for Lakota names on South Dakota's geological features for at least twenty years.


Dakota Access will use eminent domain only if 'forced' to

Less than 3 percent of 8,000 acres in Iowa affected by a proposed pipeline has been surveyed by a professional archaeologist. The US Army Corps of Engineers are just required to perform archaeological surveys on 16 of the 17 major river and stream crossings.
Energy Transfer Partners spokesman Chuck Frey told North Dakota's Public Service Commission Thursday that 56 percent of the easements needed along the North Dakota route have been obtained. The company wants to build the 1,100-mile pipeline to move 450,000 barrels of North Dakota crude daily to Illinois. The $3.8 billion pipeline also would pass through South Dakota and Iowa.
Read it here.
Iowa’s state archaeologist contends the proposed Bakken Pipeline carrying crude from North Dakota to Illinois should face the same scrutiny as a state project with potential to disrupt archaeological sites. A public agency, such as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or the Iowa Department of Transportation, would be required in such a project to test land for archaeological significance, wrote John Doershuk, director of the Office of the State Archaeologist, in a May 22 letter to the Iowa Utilities Board. “If this were an Iowa DOT or DNR project, the entire area of potential effect would be included in requirements for archaeological compliance and (the Bakken Pipeline) should be subject to the same level of scrutiny to which we hold Iowa agencies,” he wrote. Dallas-based Energy Transfer requested a permit from the Iowa Utilities Board for its subsidiary Dakota Access LLC to build the Bakken Pipeline for crude oil, which would cut diagonally across 343 miles in Iowa. [The Dickinson Press]
Meade County in South Dakota is facing charges of desecrating burial sites when excavators besmirched sacred lands adjacent to Mato Paha (Bear Butte) for another road through Indian Country.

Imagine these projects going through cemeteries where people of European descent are buried.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the application process for a position as Region 6 archaeologist to serve the states of North and South Dakota.

Fuel treatment planned for Fort Pierre National Grassland

Federal agencies always coordinate prescribed burns with local and state officials while using weather models to optimize fuel treatment effectiveness.
The burn will encompass 320 acres in the Dry Hole Chester Pasture in northwestern Lyman County. The burn will be about 5 and a half miles north of Vivian on the west side of Highway 83. Smoke will be visible from Vivian, Pierre, Fort Pierre, Draper and Murdo. Lyman County lifted their burn ban in mid-May. [KCCR Radio]
The Fort Pierre National Grassland, like the Sioux Ranger District of the mal-named Custer Gallatin National Forest is managed from outside South Dakota.

South Dakota's senior GOP US Senator kind of blew it blaming the superintendent of Wind Cave National Park for setting a prescribed fire under nearly perfect conditions; but South Dakota's vulnerable senior senator wants to control how science fights fire with fire by introducing grandstand legislation that would hamper those efforts.

South Dakota happy being obese

South Dakota is 7th in the race to the top of obesity statistics while ranking above the US average in well-being.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is based on 2.2 million surveys, asking respondents to self-report their height and weight, which is used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI), as well as questions about their well-being across five categories, including their sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, community, and physical health. The report showed a strong link between obesity and lower overall well-being. [KELO teevee]
South Dakota's kids are fatter than ever.
In the farm-to-fork-crazed city of Portland, Oregon, campus gardens supply public school cafeterias and food service workers seek out chicken free of antibiotics. “We should not have what is served for lunch at schools decided by bureaucrats in Washington,” said Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., who wrote one of multiple bills that would ease the rules. “This has become a burden.” A letter from 19 past presidents of the School Nutrition Association urged the administration not to bend to the demands of their own group. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association have joined the USDA in campaigning against any weakening of the rules.
Read it here.
According to Ashley Miller, chronic disease epidemiologist for the Department of Health, the number of students who are overweight or obese has plateaued in the past several years. She says that 175 of the state’s schools submit weight and height measurements for the department to calculate the obesity rate of kindergarten through high school age students. Miller says the state’s 2013-2014 school data found that 15.8 percent of South Dakota students were obese and another 16.5 percent were overweight. A total of 175 schools submitted student height and weight data for this latest survey, which accounts for 31.5 percent of the all the students in the state. [WNAX]
Schwan's Food Service manufactures subsidized products from commodities then markets them to distributors like Reinhart and Sysco who sell them to school lunch programs.

Marshall, Minnesota-based pizza peddler Schwan's gives Republicans including South Dakota's At-large Representative Kristi Noem campaign cash. So do other industrial ag companies like Crystal Sugar selling salted fat to schools. Now she is paying them back.
Rep. Kristi Noem on Tuesday announced plans for legislation that reduces federal mandates on school meal standards, including the more stringent whole grain requirements that went into effect in July 2014 and the Target 2 sodium requirements set to be implemented in the coming years. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
Mother Jones tells readers why:
But opponents of the act argue that the requirements leave students with unappetizing choices that result in tons of waste. This notion was supported in a spring 2014 report from the Harvard School of Public Health, which found that nearly 75 percent of vegetables and 40 percent of fruit being served in school cafeterias were ending up in trash cans. But critics have pointed out that helping "struggling schools" is not the sole agenda of the SNA—its sponsors include Domino's Pizza, General Mills Foodservice, PepsiCo Foodservice, and Tyson Foods, Inc.—all of whom contract with school cafeterias and would benefit from less stringent nutritional regulations. [Allie Gross]
Progress has been made under current school lunch rules but as industrial agriculture lines Republican pockets South Dakota's children will again suffer from elevated risks to obesity.

Most South Dakota schools could be feeding food waste to chickens and hogs maybe composting for community gardens. Hot Springs, Philip and Midland enjoy geothermal water to heat greenhouses.

Climate denier Daugaard hits up Obama for disaster dole...again

If President Barack Obama approves [Governor] Daugaard's request, it will pave the way for federal assistance for people impacted by the storm. South Dakota last received an individual assistance declaration in 2011 for widespread damage from Missouri River flooding.
Read it here.

“Mother nature is only warming up.”

South Dakota's GOP governor has been called "incompetent" and "uninterested in governing."
'Thank God I'm alive': 9 injured, no fatalities in Delmont tornado.
Candidate Dennis Daugaard drew gasps from a State Fair audience in 2010 when he said: “I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts."

Daugaard leadership voids have left emergency responders and fire departments in the lurch.

As South Dakota's GOP governor, whose party voted to impeach President Obama, begins the process of begging the White House for more money to mitigate red state failure the lone US Representative retreats into obscurity and the state falls further into the abyss.
Finally, yes, we need to improve housing for those in tornado alley. That’s a great thing for blogs that don’t focus on climate to write about. Just as obviously we need an aggressive strategy for reducing carbon pollution that also supports real adaptation. [Climate Progress]
A trustworthy or competent US Representative would call out the failures of the Daugaard regime but making South Dakota a perpetual federal disaster area is the only way Republicans know how to pay the bills.

The state just adopted education curricula that dumbs down climate science and avoids sensitive history like its own legacy of apartheid and genocide.

Sorry, Jeb, Scientists Know Humans Caused All Our Recent Warming: Climate Progress.

Creationist museum visit thwarted by science

I swear:
Lincoln Elementary students were unable to visit the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum after a Washington, D.C.-based group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, sent a letter claiming the event was illegal. The museum's founder and director, Otis E. Kline Jr., said the public school tours are modified to focus on material evidence, not religious teaching, but he does not yield in his belief that fossils and geologic records point to ideas such as the notion that all animal species appeared at once or that life is too complex to develop by chance. "If evolution makes a claim and the claim is refuted by science, then I have no problem saying that, because that's the truth," Kline said. "We don't make things up here." [Casper Star-Tribune]
South Dakota passed a statewide curriculum after dumbing down climate and history requirements to assuage that state's science deniers.

Archaeology cops needed for pipeline routes, construction sites

Human history in North America is sacred to those who were here first but to those who have arrived in the last century or two not so much.

Graves are often uncovered or disturbed by Borg-like construction operations frantically creating the conditions for sprawl.

Less than 3 percent of 8,000 acres in Iowa affected by a proposed pipeline has been surveyed by a professional archaeologist. The Corps of Engineers is required to perform archaeological surveys of 16 of the 17 major river and stream crossings.
Iowa’s state archaeologist contends the proposed Bakken Pipeline carrying crude from North Dakota to Illinois should face the same scrutiny as a state project with potential to disrupt archaeological sites. A public agency, such as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or the Iowa Department of Transportation, would be required in such a project to test land for archaeological significance, wrote John Doershuk, director of the Office of the State Archaeologist, in a May 22 letter to the Iowa Utilities Board. “If this were an Iowa DOT or DNR project, the entire area of potential effect would be included in requirements for archaeological compliance and (the Bakken Pipeline) should be subject to the same level of scrutiny to which we hold Iowa agencies,” he wrote. Dallas-based Energy Transfer requested a permit from the Iowa Utilities Board for its subsidiary Dakota Access LLC to build the Bakken Pipeline for crude oil, which would cut diagonally across 343 miles in Iowa.
Read it here.

Meade County in South Dakota is facing charges of desecrating burial sites when excavators besmirched sacred lands adjacent to Mato Paha (Bear Butte) for another road through Indian Country.

Imagine these projects going through cemeteries where people of European descent are buried.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the application process for a position as Region 6 archaeologist to serve the states of North and South Dakota.


Nebraska ends capital punishment

Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers struck some nerves after comments surfaced in which he compared Omaha police officers to a group of Middle East fighters created with help from the Bush43 Administration.
Senators in the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. The vote makes Nebraska the first traditionally conservative state to eliminate the punishment since North Dakota in 1973. "Whenever anything historic occurs, it's never the doing of one person," said Sen. Ernie Chambers, an independent who introduced a repeal measure 38 times during his tenure in the Legislature. "I've been pushing for this for 40 years but all of this time it's never been done. If it could be done by one man, it would have been done a long time ago." Nebraska joins 18 other states and the District of Columbia in banning the ultimate punishment. Nebraska's officially nonpartisan Legislature is comprised of 35 registered Republicans, 13 Democrats and an independent.
Read it here.
During a public hearing Friday about a bill involving concealed handguns, Chambers said residents of his north Omaha district were more in fear of police than of extremist groups such as the Islamic State. “My ISIS is the police. Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do us daily. And they get away with it,” the African-American senator said, using an acronym for the militant group. [Omaha World Herald]
A black man makes a comparison to the Islamic State and there is an outcry but when a white man does it, he gets an award.

South Dakota enjoys killing and has built an economy around death.

Government acquires more land near Pierre

There must be a joke in this story somewhere.

The Pierre City Commission just approved the purchase of 30 acres of land for $850,000 to allow the construction of a sewer line to service nearly 1,100 acres that can’t be developed until it has a way to move out its waste water.
State officials said Tuesday a Hughes County grand jury has indicted Pierre’s former longtime sewer works superintendent on 10 counts alleging he lied for more than a year in official reports about how well the city’s wastewater was treated before it was dumped into the Missouri River. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Still struggling to find a reason for people to fly into Pierre, the city's GOP mayor is calling for the town to be scrubbed down after the legislative session.

If Texas leads with over fifty journalists covering Austin and South Dakota's number covering Pierre approaches zero the Reichstag has already purged the truth.

In South Dakota when Republicans buy land for government it's to protect business with political patronage but when Democrats do it it's a land grab or worse: it's socialism.

EPA solidifies clean water rules

Streams and wetlands form the foundation of our nation’s water resources. Clean water upstream means cleaner water flowing into rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters. The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand. The rule does not protect any new types of waters, regulate most ditches, apply to groundwater, create any new permitting requirements for agriculture, or address land use or private property rights. [US Environmental Protection Agency]
The Big Sioux River is the thirteenth most polluted waterway in the US but the state's GOP congressional delegation is trying to cover up their roles in creating the circumstances for that impairment.

Bison exchange becoming political powerhouse

Jim Stone is the executive director of the Rapid City-based InterTribal Buffalo Council: it's a clearinghouse for tribes that want bison and parks that have a surplus.
The council argued that its relationship with the Interior Department and the national parks should be a partnership rather than a business arrangement. The council is a federally chartered Native American organization empowered and owed support by centuries' worth of federal law and treaties, and it gets funding from the Interior Department, just as the national parks do. By at least one account, the three Northern Plains national parks that have bison herds have provided at least 10,000 bison to tribes and other entities during all their years of culling. Those bison have gone on to reproduce, helping raise the American bison population into the hundreds of thousands. [Casper Star-Tribune]
Plenty of hits here come from members of Congress and even from the White House. Pending news is often heralded in searches that lead readers to interested party.
While the deadline for comment is June 15, please stay engaged and informed as the new planning process goes forward. If you care about the future of one of Yellowstone’s most beloved and iconic animals, now is the time to get involved. [Bozeman Daily Chronicle]
Are cows drinking the West dry? It’s time for tough questions: Tom Ribe / Writers On The Range.

People have a right to know where their food is produced and what’s in it: Tom Jopek.

President Obama: rewild the West.

DeCory: race relations in Rapid City 'a powderkeg'

Dallas DeCory Sr. is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation running for the Rapid City Council in Ward 4. He is pledging to work on race and human relations.

North Rapid is a diverse community and home to many tribal members.
“A lot of people I’ve talked to, they’re not so much concerned with getting a crack in the road fixed or if they don’t have a gutter or whatnot," said DeCory, who grew up in Lakota Homes and has 16 years experience in business as owner and operator of Warhorse Roofing Co. "They’re more concerned with people not getting along.” He calls race relations in Rapid City “a powderkeg," adding, “That fuse is getting shorter and shorter.” [Rapid City Journal]
The American Indian population of Ward 4 put Rapid City's current mayor in office.

Heitkamp: federal gas tax hike unlikely

The Heartland Expressway is part of the Ports to Plains concept: a proposed 4-lane highway from Mexico to Canada.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., met in Bismarck with local leaders, business leaders and union officials to gather information on their priorities on federal highway funding. “The big issue for the next couple months is what are we going to do with good transportation funding. If we are going to fund our highways, we have got to find a funding source,” Heitkamp said. The Highway Trust Fund is largely financed by a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel and other related excise taxes. [Bismarck Tribune]
South Dakota has completed the Rapid City to Nebraska border portion of the 70 miles per hour highway but the two lane US85 north of Belle Fourche to North Dakota is crumbling due to oil patch traffic.

Nebraska has completed a 47-mile segment of 4-lane on NE71 from Scottsbluff to Kimball where it joins I-80.

The annual meeting of the Heartland Expressway Association is today (Wednesday) in Chadron, Nebraska.


Beetles to biomass: USDA promoting regional harvest

The mountain pine beetle is hard at work clearing centuries of overgrowth throughout the Rocky Mountain Complex, so is the western spruce budworm. But leaving dead or dying conifers on the forest produces methane, an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports seven regional integrated Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs) that develop regional systems for the sustainable production of advanced biofuels and biobased products. The regional systems focus on non-food dedicated biomass feedstocks such as perennial grasses, sorghum, energy cane, oilseed crops, and woody biomass. Specifically, goals for this aspect of the operation include benchmarking the performance of equipment used to harvest, process, and deliver beetle-killed trees, and then optimize the logistics for site conditions, specific end uses, and facility locations. [USDA blog]
Forest and land managers have learned that fuel treatments where fire is introduced after mechanical harvest helps to restore forests where emerging aspen and other hardwoods add biodiversity necessary to healthy ecosystems while sequestering carbon.

As firefighting costs strain federal budgets removal of fuels in areas where roads already exist just makes sense.

PenDems meet tonight

Pennington County Democrats meet the fourth Tuesday of each month from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Downtown Rapid City Public Library, 610 Quincy Street. All are welcome to attend. Interested individuals can contact the Pennington County Democratic Party via email at democrats@pendem.org, or on Facebook. Repeats every month on the 4th Tuesday until Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Information from the Rapid City Journal.

Don't get me started.

Heidelberger lights up Beadle County Dems; Pierre journo coverage approaching zero

Cory Heidelberger brands himself a liberal, although he’s well aware many consider that the kiss of death. Heidelberger writes the Dakota Free Press blog, which he calls the state’s true liberal media. He is a math, English, speech and French teacher who has taught in high schools east and west of the river. “I believe that everyone of us deserves as much liberty as we can manage, to define the laws and choose the lawmakers who set the laws under which we live,” he said.
Read it here.

Randy Rickman decimated the Helena Independent Record; now, parent Lee Newspapers of Montana has closed its capital bureau. Pierre had maybe two journalists covering the statehouse and Rickman forces Steve Baker from the Capital Journal.

Gifted journalist, Emily Saunders, who covered Idaho politics just left Boise Public Radio to work for Montana's Office of Public Instruction as communications liaison.

Tony Mangan left radio journalism in Pierre to work for South Dakota's Department of 'Public Safety' as its public voice.

Ben Dunsmoor covered Pierre during the legislative session: he is leaving KELO teevee for public relations.

That pretty much leaves Bob Mercer to write the gloomy news from South Dakota's capital city.

If Texas leads with over fifty journalists covering Austin and South Dakota's number covering Pierre approaches zero the Reichstag has already purged the truth.

Bob Schieffer is bemoaning the loss of beat reporters at this hour on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show.

Wind Cave greening fast after Cold Brook Fire

Oops, South Dakota's senior GOP US Senator kind of blew it blaming the superintendent of Wind Cave National Park for setting a prescribed fire under nearly perfect conditions.

If images captured by Custer-based Wildfire Today don't convince people of the importance of fuel treatments maybe Dakota Light Photography will.


South Dakota not last in sloth

Hey, South Dakota isn't 50th in something!

Minnesota's winters are at least as brutal as either western neighbor but is 7th in workout time and residents are physically active over 75 minutes a week. North Dakota finished 50th in workout minutes and minutes spent running while Washington, DC placed 51st in the country. My home state of South Dakota is 43rd working out less than an hour each week. Colorado is second, Montana mid-range at number 27 and Wyoming is just ahead of the Land of Infinite Vegetating at 41st.

My adoptive state of New Mexico ranks 9th working out over 73 minutes a week. We walk year round at least four hours a week.

Read more linked here.

More bird pix: click on any for a better look.

Male black-headed and rose-breasted grosbeaks: image captured through porch screen

Female black-chinned hummingbird

Scott's oriole: image captured through window screen.

Epp flees KSOO, mounts political pig; Newland goes national

Look who is playing Hide the Corndog with Pat!

I swear.
Memorial Day Weekend is the “unofficial” start to summer in South Dakota. Cooked meat waits for no one at the Epp household! [DakotaFoodie]
Epp seems to have abandoned Northern Plains News, too.

Hey, Governor Daugaard: it's time to pardon Bob Newland!
A marijuana legalization activist from South Dakota has filed paperwork for two ballot initiatives to ban alcohol and tobacco to make state policies “consistent” with marijuana penalties. Bob Newland, of the group Consistent South Dakota, filed the two initiatives with the secretary of state’s office earlier this year, and last week Attorney General Marty Jackley’s office released explanations of the measures as required by law.
Read it here.


Wild horses draining budgets, wreaking habitat havoc

The modern horse was introduced to North America by the Spanish late in the 15th Century.

In Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and seven other states the Bureau of Land Management adopts out, seeks private pastures for, and feeds wild horses.
The 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act didn’t delineate the administration of an adaptable, fecund species that was dumped onto the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM’s adoption program for wild horses, which initially functioned as a way to reduce herds, was soon outpaced by reproduction. Over a horse’s life, the tab will run $49,000 per head. Already, BLM faces an annual bill for the wild horse program at more than $75 million. [The Cody Enterprise]
From WNAX:
Legislation has been introduced in the House to ban all horse slaughter in the United States. The Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2015 would make it illegal to sell or transport horses or part of horses in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption. The South Dakota Stock Growers Association opposes the measure. Executive Director Silvia Christen says there needs to be a way to deal humanely with unwanted or older horses. Christen says without slaughter available the population of horses would rise and create a financial burden and a hardship for finding ways of disposing of them. The sale of horsemeat for human consumption in the U.S. is currently banned but is subject to review every year. There is no federal law that prohibits transport of horses for slaughter from the U.S .to Canada or Mexico. [WNAX]
The Oglala Lakota Nation had been pursuing an abattoir as an economic development opportunity according to Tim Huether writing in the Bennett County Booster:
Tribal council member Craig Dillon from the LaCreek District confirmed that they are indeed looking at it but said they have a long way to go, but have also come a long way on the project. The location they are considering for the plant is just under two miles north and west of the U.S. Hwy 18 and U.S. Hwy 73 junction which is 12 miles east of Martin. The tribe owns approx. 220 acres there that Dillon said would be a good location. Slaughtering horses ended in the U.S. in 2007 after Congress began prohibiting the use of federal funds to inspect horses destined to become food during 2006.
The Crow and Northern Cheyenne Nations are litigating with the State of Wyoming about whether the rights of tribal nations include subsistence hunting on public grounds where bison or wapiti held Rocky Mountain ecosystems together just three hundred years ago.

In a state where horses are exported to Mexico the New Mexico legislature euthanized the latest attempts to ban that harvested meat for human consumption. The US Department of Agriculture reports the United States has sent more than 12,000 horses across the southern border for slaughter so far this year.
The Bureau of Land Management estimates that 49,209 wild horses and burros (about 40,815 horses and 8,394 burros) are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states, based on the latest data available, compiled as of March 1, 2014. (This compares to the 2013 estimate of 40,605 animals.) Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the agency must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes. The ecosystems of public rangelands are not able to withstand the impacts from overpopulated herds, which include soil erosion, sedimentation of streams, and damage to wildlife habitat. [BLM Quick Facts]
In an era when western states are scrambling to preserve habitat for the threatened Greater sage grouse how is running nurseries for introduced species like wild horses and burros either conservative or sustainable?


KSOO censors Epp

Thank you for your help Larry. I hadn’t even seen the story Todd Epp (a part-time contributor) had posted about the Sturgis Rally. When I received your email commenting on Todd’s “opinion” I immediately went to our KSOO 1140 web site and read the story. Faster than Todd Epp could say, “HUH?” I took the story down. I need to apologize and take responsibility for the story being posted. I’m Don Jacobs, the Market Manager/VP of the Eight Results Radio/Townsquare Media Radio Stations in Sioux Falls.
Read more: I Wish Had Eight Sets of Eyes & Eight Sets of Ears

No, not this Larry.

A post on Sturgis went up on this blog earlier on the day the KSOO column appeared. While Todd and I disagree on many things he is a lawyer with integrity, I am not; but, we're singing the same tune to his libretto narrating another Sturgis Rally as a bacchanal contradicting South Dakota's purported wholesomeness.

Epp's previous post on the Rally still survives linked here.

South Dakota's mainstream media are flooded with assurances that law enforcement have plans to keep a million drunken bikers well-corralled and to pay no attention to the rocket launchers behind the curtain.

Note the link in Todd's tweet going nowhere:

Update, 25 May, 0835 MDT: Epp deleted above tweet but he left these two up.

Under Rounds, Daugaard SD bridges 4th worst in US

Self-reliance or moral hazard?

Just when you thought it was safe to live in or even visit South Dakota.
A report released this week by the TRIP group (pdf) a private non profit organization shows that Iowa has the third worst bridges in the country with 22 percent structurally deficient. South Dakota was the fourth worst with 21 percent and Nebraska was the sixth worst at 18 percent. Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek says that’s a disturbing report for farmers trying to get their goods to market. Steenhoek says with dwindling dollars at both the federal and state levels it’s important to figure out what causes these problems and strategically address the proper fixes. He says a recent pilot project his group did found they were able to get more valuable information on bridge problems by doing load testing rather than visual analysis.
Read it or listen at WNAX.

Producers operating heavy equipment, much of it unlicensed or exempt, contribute disproportionately to the degradation of public roadways and bridges; yet, most farmers seem to believe they already pay their fair share through property taxes and other means.

The crumbling bridge over the Missouri River between Fort Pierre and her neighbor, the putrid cesspool to the east, won't be replaced until at least 2025: how many more times do you want to go over it for free?

A trustworthy or scrupulous At-large US Representative would set partisan politics aside and call out South Dakota's governor for putting the lives of the state's residents at risk.

Clay County Commissioners hope to pass a wheel tax to pay for infrastructure improvements long-neglected by the state's Republican administrations.


Despite Thune, Noem hypocrisy Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate implementing VAWA fix

Kristi Noem wants to end human trafficking in the United States but not in South Dakota.
An agreement between the Sisseton-Wahpeton-Oyate Tribal Council and Richland County was approved Tuesday which will allow certain inmates to be held at the Wahpeton jail facility. The Sisseton-Wahpeton-Oyate tribe, which is located within seven counties in North Dakota (Richland and Sargent) and South Dakota (Codinton, Day, Grant, Marshall and Roberts) now has the authority to prosecute all crimes of domestic violence. This follows the passage of the Violence Against Women Act which recognizes a tribe’s inherent power to exercise special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over certain defendants. The result is the tribal council being able to take a stronger stand against violence in the community.
Read it here.
Dear white men: Move to an Indian reservation today, get an Indian girlfriend, and beat her all you want!” This is what Congresswoman Noem and her Republican lackeys want you to know. Of all American women, Indian women need the most protections. 1 out of every 3 Native women will be raped, 39% will be victims of domestic violence. Kristi Noem thinks this is ok, but I am pretty sure rape and domestic violence are not very Christian. South Dakota’s Congresswoman Noem (R) and the House Republicans are trying to strip the protections for Native women from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) this Tuesday in Congress. [Jayson Brave Heart]
Noem voted against protections for women and to protect white stalkers. She was the only woman to vote against both Senate and House versions reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Now, under revised VAWA provisions tribal courts can prosecute more crimes:
A 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling stripped tribes of any criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians on their reservations. But the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 allowed tribes to charge non-Indians who are married to or in a partnership with a tribal member for domestic violence crimes and violations of protection orders. The Justice Department has said that American Indian women suffer from domestic violence at rates more than double national averages. [Associated Press]
Noem has a reputation for being on the wrong side of history.

Photo: Rep. Aaron Schock and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) at the Great Wall of China last April.

Thune stumbling; Biden's Iraq partition prediction bearing fruit

President Obama took his case to enter a pact with Iran directly to an American Jewish audience today.
The president's remarks come during a period of deep tension in an already prickly relationship with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly over Obama's bid to strike a nuclear deal with Iran. Obama's appearance coincided with Solidarity Shabbat, devoted to showing unity by political leaders in Europe and North America against anti-Semitism. [Associated Press]
Remember this? "Senator John Thune agrees with President Obama that U.S. boots on the ground are not an option in Iraq. Thune says the U.S. needs to explore other ways to help the Iraqis, short of sending in ground forces:" KELO teevee.
The advance of Islamic militants across Iraq has brought fresh criticism for the Obama administration — but may also deliver a grim measure of vindication to one very prominent White House official: Vice President Joe Biden. Recent events in Iraq call attention to his prediction nearly a decade ago that the war-torn nation was heading toward a breakup along sectarian lines — and to a prescription he offered to try to manage that reality by granting Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds greater autonomy over various parts of the country. In other words: While Biden may have taken a beating repeatedly in recent years for some foreign policy calls he’s made, his judgment on Iraq’s capacity to stay united now looks almost prescient. The president added that the way forward in Iraq would require accommodating the different populations there, something Biden was stressing seven years ago.
Read it here.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are struggling to remain relevant.
This letter is to express my total disappointment in the actions of our two Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds, when they signed on to the letter to the leaders of Iran. What in heaven’s name were they thinking? Rounds looks like he is playing “follow the leader.” From the minute he took the oath of office as a member of the U.S. Senate, he has shown his dislike of our president and what he is trying to do for our country. Are neither of our senators, along with most other members of the Republican party, not able to at least show some respect for the office of the presidency? [Phyllis Karolevitz]
Phyllis is the widow of South Dakota author, Bob Karolevitz and the mother of two old friends.

Ms. Karolevitz is not alone in her criticism of GOP mutiny.

How We Know AIPAC Wrote The GOP's "Treason" Letter To Iran

The New York Times has called for the prosecution of members of Thune's treacherous political party for crimes of torture.

Thune recently flip flopped on the human impacts on climate change, too now acknowledging his donors are helping to destroy the planet.

He was once considered a vice-presidential contender but cannot pass the vetting process because of his ties to criminals. Some say his marital infidelity is also a factor in being turned away from higher office.

His speech on the Senate floor today seeks to renew efforts to raise money from the GOP war machine.

Lee newspapers crush Montana capital bureau

Update, 24 May, 0817 MDT:
Texas leads the way with more than 50 full-time Capitol reporters, and South Dakota brings up the rear with only two. [Journalists, politicians react to loss of Capitol reporters]

My gut is growling something about Gannett and Lee Enterprises getting hitched.

Waves of gloom and doom are sweeping through Montana's media family.
Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, Montana's most prominent political reporters, are leaving their posts next week as the Lee Newspapers State Bureau closes. "It's a loss for everyone who cares about informed civic discussion of statewide politics. Their decades of institutional memory and experience are unmatched," said Dennis Swibold, a University of Montana School of Journalism professor. Dennison and Johnson could have taken new reporter positions at significantly lower pay, but chose to take buyouts. Lee is the largest newspaper company in Montana. [Kristen Inbody]
Stock in LEE spiked yesterday in unusually strong trading.

Lee newspapers in the state include the Billings Gazette, Helena Independent Record, Montana Standard, Missoulian, Ravalli Republic and the Mini Nickel advertiser.

Some, but not all of the Lee Newspapers of Montana supported Democrat Jon Tester while endorsing a white Mormon for president.

The Bismarck Tribune supported earth haters Willard Romney and Rick Berg. The Rapid City Journal also supported only earth haters, as did the Sioux City Journal.

The Casper Star-Tribune threw President Obama under the coal hauler while the Lincoln Journal-Star supported both the President and former senator Democrat Bob Kerrey.

The Sioux City Journal and its parent company are earth haters' wet dreams.

After her company's stock lost half its value, Jim Romenesko's story on Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck's pay raise rolled through the twitterverse like a bowling ball.

Comments on the Lee decision from Romenesko here.

Reactions to the news can be found here, here and here.


Justice Department to seek legislation to ease tribal polling woes

People were still voting when the Associated Press called South Dakota's 2014 US Senate race for the Republican candidate.
Justice Department officials said Thursday the department would seek legislation requiring states with Native American reservations or other tribal lands to locate at least one polling place in a venue selected by tribal governments. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the changes are needed because "significant and unnecessary barriers" for American Indians and Alaska Natives who seek to cast ballots. [Rapid City Journal]
From Indian Country Today:
Jackson County, South Dakota, has dug in for a fight against Oglala Sioux plaintiffs who sued for a full-service satellite voting office on the portion of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation that overlaps the county. On May 11, Jackson County filed an answer to the Oglalas’ complaint. Bottom line, the judge now sets a scheduling order and the case moves forward, said one of the Oglala plaintiffs’ attorneys, Eileen O’Connor of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. [South Dakota’s Last Stand—Ballot Boxes, Red Herrings and Custer Envy]
It's time for tribal nations trapped in Jackson County to secede and join Oglala Lakota County.

Today's intersection: history and stupid white people

Reading through newspaper websites serving the Mountain West every morning often leaves this blogger shaking his head over stuff found among the electrons.

The Casper Star-Tribune covered a meeting of the Cody, Wyoming school board where teabaggers are resisting teaching truths to American students.
That agenda, they say, includes discussion of global warming and a disproportionate focus on the stories of minorities. Aligned to the controversial Common Core State Standards, the readings cover a variety of subjects including global warming, evolution and race. Material for high school students also focuses on British, American and contemporary literature. Many opponents of the readings, such as trustee William Struemke, are active in the local Tea Party. Struemke said the materials presented "a very liberal, very slanted view of the world." He complained that stories within the texts are disproportionately about minority groups and that he would like to see more "white leaders" included. [Complaints about global warming, race stall Cody school board]
The Cody Enterprise covered the story, too.

Comes this posted at Indianz:
For instance, I find it awkward to stand to the Star Spangled Banner at events or gatherings. I feel a strong sense of embarrassment, knowing what I know about this new society. I believe that was the beginning of my search for my true self. Mount Rushmore is supposedly a symbol of egalitarianism or a “Shrine of Democracy.” However, that perception changed gradually to "Shrine of Hypocrisy.” At the same time, I see the practice of using the flag to promote personal, biased, and often hostile attitudes towards minorities. More accurately, this is an advancement of the belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to all other racial groups, and are therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society. [excerpt, Ivan F. Star Comes Out]
NPR's Morning Edition host, Steve Inskeep is touring with his new book on President Andrew Jackson. Inskeep is meticulous in his description of Jackson as a racist slaveholder dedicated to removing American Indians from their ancestral lands.

How tribal members have any respect for stupid white people whatsoever remains a mystery.

Wójupi Wi — Moon When the Leaves are Green.

RCJ editorial: South Dakota fumbled Medicaid ball on purpose

Have a Koch and a smile, Denny.

South Dakota's governor hates its residents.
State officials and lawmakers in Pierre are fond of criticizing the federal government for its deficit spending, bloated and lethargic bureaucracy, and legendary inefficiencies, all reasonable observations. A Republican state senator, Larry Tidemann of Brookings, did use the opportunity, however, to blame the federal government when he said, “we recognize the problems that have been imposed on us and the state of South Dakota.” The problem with his statement is that it suggests the state bears no responsibility and should not be held accountable for the long delay. Once the state of South Dakota agreed to accept $62 million from the federal government, it certainly accepted some responsibility to implement the new system as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Read it here.

Bob Mercer rakes the Daugaard administration over the coals, too: linked here.

On the Sioux Falls Argus Leader's media experiment, 100 Eyes the panelists were asked how long South Dakota's GOP governor can hold out from expanding Medicaid.

With the federal government weaning noncompliant GOP governors from the handouts they use use to pay off donors the conventional wisdom suggests that Denny Daugaard is nearing the end of his rope and will be extending access to affordable medical care because the hospital lobby that put him in office will force him to.


Senate GOP EPA witch hunt hexed

Last year through the US Environmental Protection Agency the White House moved to more closely identify the sources of non-point pollution.
Senate Republicans charged Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relies too heavily on politics in its regulations and not enough on science.The accusation is one of the main reasons that the GOP is backing the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which would overhaul the membership and operation of the EPA’s main outside boards for scientific advice and for guidance on air pollution rules. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the House’s legislation. It has repeatedly said that the reforms are not necessary and would hamper the board’s important work. [The Hill]
South Dakota's Republican junior senator is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee subpanel holding the hearing on the bill.

Politics is what happens when your own gored ox is added to the pork of congressional sausage-making.
The Obama administration is promising to rewrite its proposed Clean Water Act rule to ensure that farmers have clear guidance about what streams, ditches and ponds will be regulated. Speaking to the National Farmers Union annual convention in Wichita, Kansas, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the final rule is being prepared for White House review, and that the administration still intends to complete it this spring. Her remarks won't satisfy the Farm Bureau. Don Parrish, the group's senior director of regulatory affairs, noted that the administration hasn't committed to any changes in the definitions yet. “What constitutes ‘destroy and pollute' in EPA's eyes are different from what farmers might think,” he said. [Agri-Pulse]
A transcript of McCarthy's remarks are linked here.
The EPA argues it isn’t expanding its authority, just clarifying it, and that the change will protect the country’s water supply. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
This year South Dakota's GOP congressional delegation is stumbling all over itself trying to protect donors like Monsanto and Syngenta from their accountability for the state's impaired waters.

Concern over the further contamination of shallow aquifers that supply water to a third of East River has caused the Clay County Planning and Zoning Board to table for the second time in as many weeks changing the county ordinances governing Confined Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs.

South Dakota deserves better than a GOP congressional delegation protecting their donors instead of guarding safe water, food and shelter for families.