South Dakota's 'Singing Bridge' damage emblematic of failing infrastructure

In South Dakota infrastructure suffers to prop up the state's retirement system.

The 'Singing Bridge' was built in 1963 across the Grand River where it meets the Missouri River and on Feb. 20 the South Dakota Department of Transportation closed it because of observed failures after girders contracted at one pier cap and damaged a pillar due to the recent extreme cold temperatures. 
According to Jeanne Weigum, in the “bad old days” those wanting to get to Mobridge from Wakpala or from homesites on that side of the river, if they did not want to drive “the long way,” would either drive through the shallow Grand River or drive on the ice in the winter. It is about three-fourths of a mile long and part of the three-bridge combination that gave Mobridge its designation. According to Jeanne, the bridge got its unique moniker, The Singing Bridge, because when it was first built it made a distinct and spooky humming sound when you drove over it. My dad would make up stories about the spirits singing to us as we crossed the bridge. It was a part of my childhood. [KATIE ZERR: ‘Singing Bridge’ is vital to community]
In 2020 South Dakota was 4th in the US in the number of structurally deficient bridges at 17 percent and 10th in the percentage of structurally deficient bridge deck area. So, at a price of some $50 million the red moocher state chose an Iowa builder to replace the bridge across the Missouri River between Fort Pierre and the cesspool on the east side. Built in 1962, it was deemed the existing span is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. Maybe it will open by 2023. 

As Spring ice floes bash bridge piers and flooding scours fill from river bottoms the disasters befalling the Missouri basin should be a stern warning to erstwhile pipeline operators: it's not nice to fool Mother Nature. 

Read more about South Dakota's failing bridges linked here.


Island protégé Barker popped in massive meth bust

Most, if not all, meth in South Dakota is trafficked by white Trump-worshiping motorcycle gangs. These hordes are essentially domestic terrorists operating with the blessings of the prison/industrial complex.

The Bandidos and Hells Angels control organized crime in the Black Hills area where members have infiltrated nearly every community even operating Rapid City's Cornerstone Rescue Mission for a time as a front for their activities. Former Cornerstone director, Dan Island, build a Lawrence County mansion and together with his brother Frank built a cocaine and meth empire before their deaths. 

So, in one of his last efforts before he leaves as US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Ron Parsons announced the indictment of 37 people including Island protégé, Kelly Barker who has been peddling cannabis and other banned substances in the Black Hills since I moved to Deadwood in the late 70s.

The above image of Breaking Bad's Walter White and Jesse Pinkman appears on the Faceberg page of Barker's co-defendant, Darwin Toof. In 2019 another white biker told Faceberg he's a meth dealer then got popped for being a meth dealer: South Dakota stupid on parade.


Morale at BLM cratered after move to Colorado

A survey conducted by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) showed that during the Trump years the Bureau of Land Management was plagued by staff shortages, high turnover and partisan rancor. 

During an online summit, Mary Jo Rugwell, a former BLM state director for Wyoming said its relocation to Grand Junction, Colorado was designed to gut the agency and called on the Biden administration to move it back to DC.

Last year after the BLM held livestock production scoping sessions the Trump Organization ended protection for endangered species and public lands because Republican welfare ranchers insist grazing cattle reduces wildfire risks despite copious evidence and strong arguments to the contrary. Now, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and American Farm Bureau Federation are pushing for the capture and slaughter of some 130,000 feral horses over 10 years at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

After the Santa Fe-based Wild Earth Guardians joined other interested parties in suing the BLM to stop oil and gas encroachment on Chaco Culture National Historic Park New Mexico's congressional delegation celebrated the US House passage of Representative, now Senator Ben Ray Lujan's amendment to halt drilling on public lands near the monument. 

The BLM sale of federal land to the oil and gas industry originally scheduled for April 14 that would have included about 535 acres on four parcels in Lea County and one in Chaves County, New Mexico has been postponed indefinitely.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service and at least 15 other federal agencies also suffered hits to morale from the Trump Organization.
“With no national leadership inside the beltway, the Bureau of Land Management will never be able to compete with and coordinate well with other organizations,” said Rugwell. The BLM moved 41 Washington positions to its new headquarters in Grand Junction, and hundreds more to other locations elsewhere in Colorado and the West, while keeping some 60 positions in Washington. Interior secretary nominee Deb Haaland has previously criticized the headquarters relocation but said during her confirmation hearing this week she has no intention “at this moment” to change things and if she is confirmed it would be an important issue to look at. Gov. Jared Polis, and U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, all Colorado Democrats, all have written Biden to call for keeping the headquarters in the city. Haaland this week accepted an invitation from Hickenlooper to visit the headquarters. [Grand Junction Sentinel]
Denver environmental attorney Nada Culver will run the BLM temporarily replacing Earth hater William Perry Pendley but President Joe Biden has yet to nominate a permanent director. 

ip photo: petroglyphs and cliff swallow nests adorn a wall in Chaco Culture National Historic Park.


Black Hills expert posts article on response to weaponized wildfires

The spontaneous ignition of ponderosa pine in a hundred-yard radius would be measured in kilotons and in parts of the Mountain West improvised fuel air explosives (FAEs) and common road flares deployed during red-flag conditions have the potential to create firestorms that are virtually unstoppable. Now consider that there are some 70 million acres of collapsed pine forest in the United States. 

Bill Gabbert worked as a wildland firefighter in California for twenty years but today he lives in a Black Hills county named for a war criminal where he writes as an expert on wildland fire. Using metrics that measure the probability of ignition or PI he took a firm stand on the risk of wildfire starts after a return of pyrotechnics to Mount Rushmore National Memorial where he was Fire Management Officer for four years. Former Superintendent Cheryle Schreier fled the Park Service and retired after criticism for her outspoken opinion on the fireworks display at Rushmore in the occupied Black Hills last year saying she spoke out for the right reasons. 

Gabbert posted an article on evidence gathering and forensics after a weaponized wildfire. 
The one criminal who possesses the power of a nuclear weapon at his fingertips is the wildland arsonist. In certain areas of the world, if the weather and fuel conditions are favorable, a wildland arsonist has the instant ability to burn an entire community to the ground, and kill scores of people, their pets, livestock, and the wildlife in the area. It is not common to find incendiary devices in any arson event, However, the use of an incendiary device is more common in the wildland setting than any other type of arson (other than extremist arsons). An incendiary device is the single most important piece of evidence in any arson/serial arson case. [The wildland arsonist: one of the most dangerous criminals]
When the Custer Expedition came through the Black Hills in 1874 bringing invasive cheatgrass for their horses stands of ponderosa pine were sparsely scattered but a century and a half of poor ranching and land management practices have created an unnatural overstory best controlled by the mountain pine beetle, prescribed fires and periodic wildfires. The bug is hard at work clearing centuries of overgrowth throughout the Rocky Mountain Complex, so is the western spruce budworm. But leaving dead and dying conifers on the forest produces methane, an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is.

Under guidance from a Democratic president the Black Hills National Forest has resumed burning slash piles and conducting prescribed fires as evidenced by the above graphic from the Wildland Fire Assessment System. But if you live in the wildland-urban interface government can't always protect you from your own stupidity. Volunteer fire departments are irreplaceable as first responders to unexpected blazes and they should convince Congress to make sure the resources are there to sustain rural firefighters.  

Keystone, Hot Springs, Custer, Pringle, Argyle, Hill City, Rockerville, Hisega, Rochford, Nemo, Galena, Silver City, Hanna, Cheyenne Crossing, Savoy, Deadwood, Lead, Whitewood, Newcastle, Alva, Aladdin, Hulett even parts of Sundance, Rapid City, Piedmont, Sturgis and Spearditch are at extreme risk from the tactical use of wildfire. Lawrence County has already admitted the Northern Hills are ripe for weaponized wildfire.

The grassland fire danger index will be in the very high category again today for parts of Kristi Noem's failed red state. 


Kadoka propane vendor accused of racism

In 1991 I was the Sysco rep who supplied the entire cast and crew of Thunderheart with fresh fish, full grocery supplies and other goodies. Coast to Coast Catering rented an inactive but well-equipped restaurant in Kadoka owned by the family that operates Discount Fuel. I drove out there from Rapid City in a refrigerated truck nearly every day during filming and Coast to Coast Catering spent almost $500,000 with me. Graham Greene gave me his autograph on the back of one of my business cards. 

I knew the family and the president of Discount Fuel, Marc Carlson whose white employee was involved in this racist incident. 
In a January 17, 2021 letter to the Crazy Horse School (CHS) Board and the Eagle Nest district, Pine Ridge reservation resident Richard Meyers wrote a memorandum intended to make public the unacceptable behavior and attitude of a propane vender used by CHS & Eagle Nest district. The business was established in 1980 and incorporated in the state. It has been in business for approximately 41 years. It generates an estimated $1.4 million in annual revenues and employs approximately 16 people at the address 511 Sd Hwy-73 in Kadoka. According to the letter, the Eagle Nest district member was sworn at and told by the employee, “You people think you get things for free.” [Racist Rant by Propane Vendor
Carlson's brother-in-law and co-owner of Discount Fuel, Grant Patterson was acquitted of rape in 2002. Patterson's son, Joey was involved in the beating death of the son of a Minnesota Vikings player. I called on Patterson's first wife when I was still with Twin City Fruit and she operated the kitchen at Discount Fuel, another big account of mine in Kadoka. Paul Miller sold Twin City Fruit and me to Sysco in 1990.


Haaland confirmation will bring land repatriation, Peltier closer to executive clemency

Native Americans overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Joe Biden now New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland is waiting to be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior.
Tribal nations have been pushing for the federal government to return land that was home to Indigenous people long before it became the U.S. Sometimes referred to as reparations, it’s part of a growing movement known as “Land Back.” High on the list: Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Many Native Americans consider the monument featuring the faces of four U.S. presidents a symbol of white supremacy and a desecration to the area known to Lakota people as Paha Sapa, “the heart of everything that is.” Some Native Americans want Mount Rushmore removed, while others want a share in its economic benefits. For Nick Tilsen, returning the area and other public lands to Indigenous people would be a way for Biden to show he’s serious about racial justice. [Associated Press]
Leonard Peltier is a Prisoner of War doing hard time at a federal corrections complex in Florida.  In a letter dated April 24 US Representatives Haaland and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ, 3rd District) asked for a grant of clemency and the release of Peltier, a 75-year old tribal citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.
Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Peltier attended school in Flandreau, South Dakota and lived in Washington state for years. He has denied being involved in the execution-style killing of the FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams. But his accounts have varied and in his 1999 memoir, admits he shot his rifle during the shoot-out with the FBI agents while saying he didn't hit them. His son, Chauncey Peltier, said there is no evidence his father killed anyone. He has been exhibiting his father's paintings around the country to raise awareness about his father's attempt to gain a presidential pardon. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Former GOP South Dakota legislator, Steve Hickey who is now living and teaching in Alaska has given voice to executive clemency for Peltier. 
In 1986, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged there had been the fabrication of evidence, withholding of exculpatory evidence, coercion of witnesses, improper conduct by the FBI and willful illegality on the part of the government. His trial is certainly one of the lower moments in American justice. [Hickey]
In May Peltier applied for a compassionate release because of the coronavirus outbreak but it was denied by the Trump Organization. 
Over the course of the last 16 months, Peter Clark, the former director at International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, who resides in Albuquerque, N.M., which is part of Haaland's congressional district met with the congresswoman and her staff, and provided information to the New Mexico congressional delegation regarding the various avenues of relief for Peltier. Leonard Peltier's eldest son Chauncey Peltier is a co-founder of the Indigenous Rights Center located in Albuquerque. Leonard's daughter, Kathy Peltier, is an enrolled citizen of the Navajo Nation, and had recently written to Rep Haaland seeking support for her dad. [Native News Online
It's not impossible President Barack Obama was fearful that executive clemency for Peltier would have siphoned moderate support from Hillary Clinton's campaign. 

Hey, President Biden, release Leonard Peltier and settle the Black Hills Claim. 

Move the US Forest Service into the Department of the Interior, dissolve the Black Hills National Forest and make it a national monument co-managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the tribal nations signatory to the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. Mato Paha (Bear Butte), the associated national grasslands and the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest should be included in the move. 

Rewild it and rename it Paha Sapa National Monument eventually becoming part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge connecting the CM Russell Wildlife Refuge in Montana along the Missouri River to Oacoma, South Dakota combined with corridors from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon in the north and south to the Pecos River through Nebraska, eastern Colorado, western Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.


District 31 crackers talk cannabis, department merger

So we didn’t have to Sami Peil went to Deadwood and live-tweeted the District 31 crackerbarrel where Republicans State Senator Tim Johns, Representatives Mary Fitzgerald and Scott Odenbach held court. I lived in Lawence County for thirty years and have asked Johns to consider legislation that would hold Barrick harmless if an ice climbing park were to be built in the Open Cut. 

What follows is my take on Sami’s notes. 

Sen. Johns, a lawyer and former judge said it's been a really busy legislative session and that Governor Noem plans to veto cannabis legalization. Odenbach, also a lawyer who sits on the education and judiciary committees, said he gets a hundred emails a day about therapeutic cannabis. 

Fitzgerald, whose husband is the Lawrence County state's attorney said she is surprised about the overwhelming support for legalization. The lawmakers agreed that if IM26 survives therapeutic cannabis will be very limited and Odenbach believes the Supreme Court will throw out Amendment A. Fitzgerald is on the governor’s cannabis panel and thinks HB1100 kicking cannabis down the road a year will pass. About half of those in the audience support legal cannabis. 

HB1100 gives tribes a giant head start on the cannabis industry so I love it. At least three tribal nations trapped in South Dakota are planning cannabis grow-ops so white people should quit whining and simply urge the nutbag legislature to legalize simple possession then get the hell out of their way. 

Deadwood Mayor Dave Ruth asked about the SB44 sports betting bill. Rep. Odenbach said he supports it but believes video lootery is out of control in South Dakota. 

Odenbach said he can't support the merger of the Departments of Environment and Agriculture because clean water is important to him. Fitzgerald is also against it saying it's important to protect our water and resources and saving $500,000 isn't worth it. Johns said he thinks it’s a bad precedent. 

All three legislators believe Noem should release the flight logs pertinent to her campaign trips. 

Asked about HB1199 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons, Fitzgerald said it sounds like a very important issue and she supports it. Odenbach said he thinks "crimes in Indian country are a scandal" and said he always looking for ways we can work with our “Indian brothers and sisters." He said part of the problem is the overlapping of jurisdictions. 

The final question was on Daylight Saving Time. Odenbach loves it but Fitzgerald said changing the law would be difficult.

Photo is lifted from Sami's Faceberg page. I logged with her dad, Gregg Seim and her uncle Rod in the late 1970s, some of the best times of my life.


Fire danger continues to plague chemical toilet

So, what’s not to like about six (seven? eight?) month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature, a year round wildfire season, living in a chemical toilet, sacrifice zone, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area? 

See that yellow splotch over the Black Hills in the above graphic? That's where the 10 hour fuel moisture is creating high wildland fire potential.

See all those fires clustered over the Black Hills in the above graphic? Some are fuel treatments and pile burns but many are early season wildfires that have erupted over much of the region because of Republican timber industry lobbyists.

Slow-walking prescribed fires, the persistence of cheatgrass on the Black Hills National Forest and on other federal and state ground are just more examples of the intense lobbying efforts of Neiman Enterprises and from welfare ranchers addicted to cheap grazing fees. Instead of allowing native aspen to be restored, stands of doghair ponderosa pine (ladder fuels that feed wildfires) cover much of the BHNF. Spurred by the Neimans the Forest Service is still planting pine in the Jasper Fire area. 

Add the very high number of private inholdings within the Black Hills National Forest that make the wildland urban interface (WUI) very large to one of the highest road densities in the entire national forest system and Region 2 to lots of logging, hardrock mining and pesticides like Carbaryl then understand why over a hundred species in South Dakota alone and a million worldwide are at risk to Kristi Noem, Dusty Johnson, Jim Neiman and the former Republican Party now the American Nazi Party.


Cancelled Native American events had $20 million impact on racist South Dakota town

Rapid City's population is about 11% Native but South Dakota's jails and prisons are overwhelmingly warehousing American Indians. Journalist Tim Giago sees little difference between Rapid City and Ferguson, Missouri where Michael Brown's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against that police department. Daniel Tiger chose to take out two Rapid City police personnel with him rather than be gunned down in cold blood like Christopher Capps was. 

In an effort to avoid yet another high profile racism incident the Rapid City Rush added an alcohol-free family section to the civic center.
After Trace O'Connell and other entitled white guys from Philip spilled beer on a group of American Horse School students Rapid City businesses shat all over themselves trying to extinguish the wildfire of anger. Organizers of the Lakota Nation Invitational even sought alternative locations for the annual event. Sioux Falls, Bismarck and Spearditch were considered. 
According to data supplied courtesy of Visit Rapid City, the cancellation of the Black Hills Powwow (BHPW) and the Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI), both held mainly at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, combined for a loss of almost 20 million dollars: 
Black Hills Powwow: 10/4/2019 Economic Impact: $3,762,928 10/5/2018 Economic Impact: $2,868,174
Lakota Nation Invitational 12/11/2019: Economic Impact: $15,754,496 12/12/2018: Economic Impact: $17,337,656
Read the rest at Native Sun News Today.

In a related story, instead of repatriating unceded land to the tribal nations signatory to the Fort Laramie Treaties the State of South Dakota just sold the stigmatized former State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy in a county named for a war criminal to a group of white developers.

Wyoming Republicans would cancel Indigenous culture

In 2015 with the Oglala Lakota Nation as an interested party Chief Arvol Looking Horse submitted a request to the US Board on Geographic Names saying the words “Devils Tower” are a malapropism. The tower, a remnant of an intrusive laccolith, has been called Mahto Tipila or Bear Lodge for centuries by some twenty Indigenous cultures including the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Crow and Lakota, who inhabited the region for at least a thousand years. 

After successes by tribal nations renaming geographical features in Alaska and South Dakota Yellowstone National Park could see at least two name changes. Hayden Valley memorializes Ferdinand V. Hayden who advocated for “extermination” of tribal people and Mount Doane is named for Lieutenant Gustavus Doane who led a massacre of the Piikani, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service succeeded in what Alaskans asked of Congress after urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak to Denali, an Athabascan name meaning “the high one.”

Now, Senators Cynthia Lummis and co-sponsor John Barrasso have introduced a bill to permanently cancel the name Bear's Lodge or Mahto Tipila from Devils Tower National Monument in the Wyoming Black Hills. 

Exploiting the gap between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode the Clovis People were the first humans to see the Missouri Buttes and Mahto Tipila in Wyoming. The Clovis culture thrived on the high plains and in the Black Hills before settling the rest of the Mississippi basin but those pioneers had already explored parts of Montana long before they found Clovis, New Mexico where their stone tools were unearthed in the 1920s. 

Before US 14 was widened a team led by Adrien Hannus from Augustana University uncovered evidence of human habitation from over 12,000 years ago in a cave in Boulder Canyon near Sturgis, South Dakota. At one excavation site in Wyoming evidence revealed that humans killed a mammoth with a Clovis pointed spear launched from an atlatl, a type of throwing stick. Nearby Inyan Kara Peak in the Wyoming Black Hills is the bastardization of Amerindian words where chert was quarried for atlatl points. 

Sure, the Lakota acquired horses around 1742 then used them as weapons of mass destruction conquering most of the northern plains and the Black Hills region. But, likely with help from dogs for some ten thousand years before that the ancestors of the Crow, Arikara and others drove bison over cliffs and into sinkholes like the Vore site near Beulah, Wyoming.

With Democrats controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress and a tribal member set to become Interior Secretary with Park Service oversight the Wyoming Republicans' bill is likely doomed.

Read more about the Republican effort to cancel Indigenous culture at the Casper Star-Tribune and more about the Indigenous history in the Yellowstone here.

Photos: the Missouri Buttes framed with Mahto Tipila at sunset and Inyan Kara across the Belle Fourche River under a nearly full moon from near Carlile, Wyoming.


Constituents see a gubernatorial path for State Senator Troy Heinert

Since at least 2011 I've taken my proposal to mirror state gaming statutes to mayors and several commission members to make Deadwood the exclusive non-tribal cannabis market but they have always blown me off because they wanted the sports betting gig. So my position today is that the tribal nations trapped in South Dakota must have exclusive production and distribution privileges. South Dakota will be the 52nd State to make it legal for white people to grow or sell cannabis but tribal nations are already underway so the nutbag legislature should simply legalize possession and get out of their way.
South Dakota Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, said marijuana legalization and businesses associated with marijuana can provide a boost to Native American reservations that have long faced economic challenges. South Dakota tribal communities have historically seen higher-than-average unemployment rates and low median incomes compared with the rest of the state. “I think it has a very good chance to provide an economic engine that could transform tribal communities,” he said. Heinert, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe who is the minority leader in the South Dakota Senate, said several factors may give an edge to tribal governments or individual tribal members who pursue economic development related to legal marijuana. Heinert said tribal governments are smaller and more nimble than state government in regard to issuing permits or licenses related to the growth, production or sale of marijuana. Reservation communities also have the natural resources and potential workforce to support rapid development of marijuana-related businesses. “The biggest thing is that we can move faster,” Heinert said. “We have a land base; we have lots of people who are looking for work, and it is something that would be new.” [Legalization of marijuana could provide economic boost for S.D. Native American tribes]
Kevin Woster agrees.

An amended version of Senator Heinert's SR 701 asking the federal government to rescind the medals of honor that were given to the white soldiers at Wounded Knee is headed to the Senate floor. Now his constituents are encouraging him to run in the 2022 South Dakota Democratic Party gubernatorial primary.


South Dakotans continue to suffer lack of leadership, call in the feds

Crashes, blackouts, anthrax, Legionella, shigella, bovine TB, suicides, flooding, wildfires, hail, ecocide, crime, corruption, disease, drought, destruction, distrust and dependence: these are the Noem years. 

A Feeding America survey shows at least 105,880 people in South Dakota are food insecure. Homelessness in the state is rampant; drunk driving, meth use and teen binge drinking are off the charts. Only 30% of the electorate turn out to vote. There are no checks on executive power and the governor's cronies routinely raid the state's general fund. The state is second in addiction to gambling and teachers' salaries surf the bottom of the US. Wage slavery is the state's biggest claim to fame and South Dakota dairies are wreaking habitat havoc. 

Infrastructure is crumbling and the state's bureaucracy is overbearing and unwieldy. Ag groups want federally subsidized crop insurance and the right to pollute. Corruption and graft have become ordinary. Hatred of immigrants threatens the state's already hurting tourism economy. Pollution from industrial agriculture has made waterways poisonous, the state has no modern statute addressing financial assurances for pipeline leaks. Trophy fishing for threatened species is a tourist activity. East River, South Dakota is a dead zone. 

Mercury makes fish inedible. Racism is endemic and white immigrants have been accepted while displacing and disgracing American Indians. South Dakota wrongly puts thousands in nursing homes. Mass incarceration fuels the white foster home industry. The state's relations with tribal nations trapped in South Dakota are at historic lows. 

But, applaud the nutball Republican efforts diverting attention from the party’s culture of corruption where murders and their coverups are commonplace by clogging the legislative session with christianic religionist argle-bargle.

The only worse place on the planet to live than DC is Pierre phucking South Dakota. It's a hole where truth goes to die and South Dakota is among the states with the lowest personal income. Abby Wargo is another talented journalist fleeing Pierre and heading for the Hills.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Feeding South Dakota has served 2.5 times more people, which has — unsurprisingly — increased their workload. Now, they’re calling in backup. Enter AmeriCorps, which on Jan. 31 sent a six-person team from the National Civilian Community Corps program’s North Central Region to South Dakota. They will be here until April 2. The team is dividing their time between the three Feeding South Dakota distribution centers in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City. The NCCC team will be at the Pierre location until Feb. 26.
Read the rest here.


Herseth Sandlin likely to be nominated to federal bench

In 2010 former US Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's reelection bid was sabotaged by a member of her own political party who threatened to run against her in the primary because she believed she was representing the majority of South Dakotans. 

Sam Hurst wrote a viral postmortem of her tenure: a sobering reminder of how Democrats lost the word war in the state. Hurst's Dakota Day piece about the defeat of the incumbent Sandlin to Kristi Noem defined the choice of the South Dakota Democratic Party to enable Dr. Kevin Weiland to mount a primary run against Sandlin instead of a general election run against the unopposed John Thune who now has an untapped $13+ million war chest. 

It’s impossible for me to imagine either Stephanie or Max Sandlin living in a fetid pond like Pierre and if SHS has learned anything it’s that she’s over getting into any election where she could lose. In 2017 she told friends she was done with politics and was selected as the 24th president of Augustana University.

I know Judge Lawrence Piersol and after he sold his family's cabin in Hanna I showed him a piece of property in Whitewood Canyon near Deadwood in 2011. His daughters are godmothers to my daughters. Catherine Piersol, wife of Clinton-appointee Piersol is a longtime friend of the South Dakota Democratic Party and of former US Senator Tim Johnson's family. Hearings on Piersol's nomination were held before the Senate Judiciary Committee and then-US Senator Joe Biden. Today 80 year old Piersol is senior judge for the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.

On Monday Herseth Sandlin was sworn in as a federal lawyer setting her up as a Biden nominee as a lifetime member of the federal judiciary to replace the retiring Jeffrey Viken. He was nominated by President Barack Obama. 

The move was sponsored by former US Attorney, now Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party, Randy Seiler.


Tempest in a TEAbag: Noem courting Jewish lobby while flouting South Dakota law with impunity

Recall that in 1997 the perpetual welfare state received $23 million from taxpayers for going without Amtrak service then TEApublican former governor, Mike Rounds squandered it on an airplane for his personal use now Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is using it to campaign for whatever.

The Council for National Policy has infiltrated Pierre and the extremist South Dakota Legislature because banks in my home state are hoarding nearly $4 TRILLION for its members including Robert Mercer, a Long Island hedge-fund manager who bankrolled Donald Trump's presidential campaigns. It’s important to note Kristi doesn’t write her tweets - they’re generated by her political campaign. Like Trump she’s using her post to milk the prosperity gospel for every penny she can hustle. 

Led in part by Rapid City legislator Taffy Howard there is a mass exodus underway from the SDGOP and the news is now just surfacing in the South Dakota media. These developments put Zionist mob boss and South Dakota Republican Party Chair Dan Lederman in a box. Does he use up some of the cash they have in abundance to buy off the Trump wing or will Lederman step aside for someone from the extreme white wing?
Noem appeared in Las Vegas during that time at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a $1,750-per-ticket gala held at the Venetian Resort. The group's mission is to "foster and enhance ties between the American Jewish community and Republican decision makers," according to its website. Noem was slated to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition event again in 2020, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Read it all here.

Trump Republicans don't want conservatism; they want anarchy.


SDSU Econ prof: federal aid keeps South Dakota afloat

Yes, socialized agriculture, socialized dairies, socialized cheese, socialized livestock production, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service, socialized freight rail, a socialized nursing home industry and now a socialized internet are all fine with Republicans in South Dakota but then they insist single-payer medical insurance is socialized medicine

Real conservatives at the Heritage Foundation have called for subsidy reform for years.
Are we really “through” the pandemic? And on what measures is this statement based? Evert Van der Sluis, a professor of economics at South Dakota State University, said several factors helped. The state experienced less of an economic decline than initially projected at the start of the pandemic because of federal aid, conservative revenue projections and a multibillion-dollar investment in wind energy, he said. South Dakota — where agriculture is the top industry — also benefited from billions of dollars in direct federal government payments to farmers, said Van der Sluis. While some of these payments were connected to the pandemic, others helped offset the financial losses caused by fallout from a U.S. trade dispute with China.
Read the rest here.


South Dakota Democratic Party might as well live in the wilderness

As Rapid City's former mayor and legislator Ed McLaughlin reaches the end of his life it's time to reveal his late wife was sexually assaulted by a Republican member of the South Dakota Legislature. It was told to me by her son. 

I started a second blog because I believed the South Dakota Democratic Party was viable. 

I was wrong. 

Democrats are no longer safe in South Dakota. You should leave while you still can.
The party which sent to the U.S. Senate men such as Tom Daschle, George McGovern, Tim Johnson and Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin? With people such as these, we had a large influence on national events for such a small state because we sent great people to represent us. We seldom see a mention of any Democrat running for any office, local of national. Why?Are we Democrats in fear of identifying with a liberal party? Are we in fear of voting for a person that may lose? Are we in fear of winning? What is it we are afraid of? In the shenanigans over the past four years, we have seen crimes committed, lies perpetuated and mass political surrender to a egotist who has no concern for the well-being of this or any state. Republican politicians across this nation have cowered in political fear of standing up for what was best for the nation, putting political career above national needs. [LTE, Stanley Hutchison, Box Elder]


Tatewin Means among parents demanding Lakota language in Rapid City schools

Arabic, Mandarin and Spanish in South Dakota schools? Sure, that's cool; but learning where students are steeped in American Indian languages is giving the next generation of Natives opportunities to preserve their heritage.

I attended a few classes at South Dakota State University with Peggy Phelps: the third wife of the late American Indian activist Russell Means and Tatewin Means' mother. In 2018 Means challenged Randy Seiler for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. She is a former attorney general for the Oglala Lakota Oyate and lives in Rapid City.
Twenty-one Indigenous parents, educators and their allies used public comment time at Monday night's school board meeting to call out Superintendent Lori Simon for opposing a bill that would have created four Oceti Sakowin schools across the state, including in Rapid City. Senate Bill 68, which would have set up the schools to teach essential values of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people, failed in the Senate last week. Tatewin Means and Laura Schad echoed the same disappointment with the district and with Simon for testifying in opposition of SB 68. “We want it now,” Means said. “I don’t want Oceti Sakowin schools as an option. I want a true immersion school.” [Rapid City Journal]
Mato Standing High practically lived at our house in Spearditch from 1983 until he and my stepson graduated high school in 1994. As both my step kids did he got his Bachelors of Science at the University of Wyoming. A Bush Fellow and a member of the Sicangu Oyate, he is an attorney having received his Juris Doctor at University of Montana Law School. He has also taught at Black Hills State University, a leader in American Indian Studies. No doubt he has heard me expounding on the importance of preserving Indigenous languages as i have been ranting about it for over thirty years. My young nephews called him "My Toad." Mato is Lakota for bear. 

The Cheyenne River Sioux Nation developed a Lakota language immersion curriculum. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a tribal nation trapped in Minnesota, has bequeathed Oglala Lakota College with a grant of $25,000 to help fund the school's Lakota language immersion program. Flandreau added Dakotah language to its high school curriculum. 

But in South Dakota white people steal money slated for American Indian education and murder their families when the jig is up then place a complicit attorney general at the head of the investigation. 

Cannabis Legalization Advances in New Mexico Legislature

Representative Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque) has introduced legislation that would allow adults 21 and older to possess “at least” two ounces of cannabis and grow up to six mature and six immature plants for personal use. 

HB 12 would create a system of taxed cannabis sales, includes provisions to automatically expunge prior cannabis convictions and a provision creating cannabis compacts with tribal leaders. The proposal would require rules for the market to be implemented by January 2022 and would tax revenue from cannabis sales to support reinvestments in communities most impacted by the war on drugs. Existing therapeutic cannabis dispensaries would be allowed to launch adult-use sales starting in October. 

Four legalization bills have been introduced in the New Mexico legislature so far this session but a fifth is expected to be filed soon.


Corn supplies down as industrial agriculture driving soil salinity, Gulf eutrophication

The number of acres in 'agroecosystems' has tripled since the 1940s but poor ag practices like tiling have made soils unable to absorb rainfall creating toxic runoff and flooding. 

In the 90s and 2000s my conservationist father wept as shelter belts were being cleared for center-pivot irrigation and as fossil water was being pumped from fragile aquifers for the industrial agriculture now killing his once-beloved Brookings County.  Today the Chinese ring-necked pheasant isn't wildlife but it is a canary in a chemically and genetically engineered corn mine.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated stock at 1.502 billion bushels (bb), a 50 million bushels (mb) drop which came from the same revision upward in exports. [WNAX]
Jim Ristau is the sustainability director for South Dakota Corn.
Salinity issues impact more than 2 million acres in South Dakota, according to estimates. Barren areas are expanding as more rainfall – especially in spring and fall when crops aren’t growing – becomes the norm. The Plains were once covered by a saltwater lake, and the water table is high because soils are built on a clay-based Pierre shale that is fairly close to the surface – especially along the James River Valley down the middle of eastern South Dakota. Tile drainage can alleviate water problems in some areas, Ristau said, but drainage systems can cause issues with soil structure in some cases. Other nutrients leave before sodium, and soil structure falls apart. [Tri-State Neighbor]
Canada is the top export market for US ethanol taking some 326.4 million gallons in 2020 and total exports were around 1.3 billion gallons, down 9.8 percent from 2019.
Every summer, a low-oxygen area called a dead zone develops off the coast of Texas and Louisiana when nutrient-polluted water from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Over the last five years, the dead zone averaged 5,770 square miles in size, slightly larger than the state of Connecticut. Mainly caused by nitrogen-rich fertilizer runoff from Midwest farms and livestock operations, nutrient pollution streaming into the Gulf promotes massive algal growth, which depletes oxygen, killing fish and other marine life if they cannot escape. [Union of Concerned Scientists]
Most East River lakes are already eutrophic shit holes filled with toxic algae and unable to even support fish populations so the Prairie Pothole Region is becoming increasingly threatened by the encroachment of industrial agriculture but more irrigation means pumping from depleted aquifers mainly recharged by the Prairie Pothole Region.

South Dakota's socialized dairies are wreaking habitat havoc all along the state's border with Minnesota and like most of East River, southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa are Republican strongholds where dairies, swine units and other concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have devastated water supplies by contaminating wells with nitrates.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has reintroduced the Adopt GREET Act, legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt the Argonne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model for ethanol and biodiesel.


Republican former South Dakota judge would restrict state's ability to kill

How is the price of putting people to death either conservative or sustainable? The litigation costs of trying capital crimes persuaded Nebraska to rethink state-sponsored killing. 

A state-ordered lethal injection isn't criminal justice; it's suicide by cop and it’s the view of this progressive that anyone convicted of any felony requiring incarceration should be able to ask for a death with dignity rather than living a life of Hell in the South Dakota State Penitentiary. 

My youngest daughter worked in the law office of former judge now Republican South Dakota State Senator Art Rusch. Sen. Rusch wants the depraved South Dakota Legislature to consider imposing capital punishment only when public safety officials are murder victims. He knows the death penalty doesn't deter criminals from committing murder and serves only as revenge. 

Pope Frank, the head of the Roman church even released a diktat stating that sect's revulsion of capital punishment putting Attorney General, Joe Boever's killer, former altar boy and suspected incel Jason Ravnsborg's soul at risk to eternal damnation.  But $20 says Jason would just love to dispatch a handcuffed death row inmate with a shotgun blast to the abdomen just like someone did for Rich Benda. 


Montana's Republicans and law enforcement industry dragging their feet on legal cannabis

In June, 2020 the Montana Democratic Party endorsed legal cannabis, New Approach Montana and its allied advocates spent some $2.3 million imprinting the state's two initiatives in voters' minds and got their measures legalizing cannabis on the state's November ballot. 

Montanans then approved two measures allowing adults over 21 to possess an ounce of cannabis and own four plants. Changes in statutes also allow people serving jail terms to apply for re-sentencing or an expungement of a conviction.

The law went into effect in January but if the law enforcement industry has its way Montanans won't be able buy cannabis at a retail outlet until at least October because it says the state already has a drunk driving epidemic. 43% of all traffic deaths in Montana involve alcohol, the highest in the nation. Studies on impaired driving due to cannabis are mixed: Colorado has shown a slight increase in traffic fatalities linked to cannabis but Washington State has not.
A study done by the Montana Department of Justice in conjunction with the State Division of Forensics says Montana could see a 77 percent increase in DUI cases, considering a similar change seen in Washington state after marijuana became legalized there. “It's pretty hypocritical for us as a society to say yes to alcohol as much as we do, without saying also yes if you choose to consume marijuana,” said Pepper Petersen, who is president of the Montana Cannabis Guild. “I don’t think the problem with marijuana is ever going to reach the proportions that it has with alcohol,” he said. [KTVQ teevee]
South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota are among the worst drunk driving states

White Republicans fleeing cultural diversity in California and Oregon have inundated much of Montana bringing their conservative close-mindedness and the commitment to environmental degradation with them. The new Republican governor is from New Jersey and the state's Trump-worshiping lone congress member is from Maryland.


Statute of limitations shielding former Rapid City pulpiteer from justice

Bernie v. Blue Cloud Abbey was one of several cases that ended up before the South Dakota Supreme Court alleging church officials at the time covered up serial sexual abuse taking place at the compound. After helping to broker the sale of the abbey Watertown member of the criminal cult, Lee Schoenbeck, aided by fellow cultist and lobbyist Jeremiah Murphy, forced the perverted South Dakota Legislature to pass laws covering up countless crimes committed by their sect by enacting statutes of limitations.

In South Dakota at least thirty two members of the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers have been credibly accused of preying on children and vulnerable adults but don't expect Joe Boever's killer, Jason Ravnsborg, Attorney General, incel and former altar boy to take on both South Dakota Dioceses. In Sioux Falls cleric Don DeGrood replaced Paul Swain to lord over some of the slush fund that buys silence from Ravnsborg and South Dakota's depraved legislature. 

Part of the international crime syndicate that is the Roman Church, Avera Health is a federally-subsidized hospital operating as an oligopoly funneling money to parishes paying settlements or hush money for the sins of predatory priests paid for by insurers and patients. 

Marcin Garbacz had been bleeding the beast, though. When it was the bishopric of Bob Gruss, Garbacz liberated at least $260,000 from the Rapid City Diocese. Gruss has since been shuffled into the Saginaw, Michigan diocese, itself wracked with abuses committed by pederastic pulpiteers. 

The Roman church has been behind the seizures of hundreds of American Indian children in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act where Catholic congregations and the state's legislature have engaged in obstruction of justice for decades.

Ireland and Australia are leading calls to prosecute the cult's leaders and as lawsuits and the US Department of Justice swamp the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers the future of the religionist syndicate isn't looking very rosy. 

Like over a dozen other US Roman churches have done the Helena, Montana chapter of the sect faced 362 claims of sexual abuse and filed for bankruptcy. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has also been investigating predator priests and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was forced to file for bankruptcy because of the high number of lawsuits. The Wyoming attorney general has decided against charging retired bishop Joseph Hart despite cases brought by the Cheyenne Police Department after victims or their family members came forward. 

Mike Mulloy had been interim sermonizer in Rapid City until August 2019 when the diocese learned he sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s. A 67 year old native of Mobridge, Mulloy was assigned to Rapid City from 1979 to 1981 and in Faith in 1983 with satellite parishes in Red Owl and Plainview then was reassigned to Rapid City. His resignation was accepted by the leader of the Roman Church who is slowly cleaning house of pederastic predators but is taking heat from Republicans for his stance on curbing human-induced climate change and from progressives for his intent to canonize a colonizer accused of raping children. 

Without butts in the pews the Rapid City Diocese even received almost $400,000 in aid from the Trump Organization.
“While the investigation is not closed it is at a point where due to the statute of limitations there is nothing chargeable,” said Tim Bormann, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office. “Should any new information or allegations be forthcoming that evidence would then be examined.” “The statute of limitations places this matter into a category where it cannot be brought into a court of law, similarly it would not be proper to release any details that would conversely be considered in the court of public opinion,” he said. Mulloy is the third Rapid City-based priest to be accused or convicted of child sexual abuse since 2018. [Rapid City Journal]


Distillery in Kadoka hopes to feed on tribal misery

Republican former State Senator Stan Adelstein's ancestors owned a store in Kadoka, adjacent to the Pine Ridge Reservation; now he’s vested in numerous mining interests from gold to gravel on stolen treaty lands. The State of South Dakota still seizes about 750 American Indian kids every year reaping over a billion federal dollars since the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed by Congress.

On April 30, 2017 the liquor stores closed and Whiteclay, Nebraska hasn’t sold a drop of alcohol since but bootlegging remains problematic on the Oglala Lakota Nation.
Badlands Distillery LLC is currently in the processing of adding an additional building to its main headquarters in Kadoka. Originally planned over three years ago, the building officially began construction in November of 2020 as a way of having a bigger outreach. The business started a few years ago when good friends, Mark Eschenbacher and Jim Herber, combined their distilling skills and general love of South Dakota to make Badlands Distillery LLC. Jim Herber is a descendant of a prohibition bootlegger and is one of six distilleries in the state. Herber’s family had operated illegal stills during the prohibition years in the early 1930’s along Sears Creek in the Weta Basin, near present-day Badlands National Park.
Read more here.


Amid rewilding surge tribal bison authority buys Mobridge packer

If cattle grazing is the key to preventing wildfires why is ranch country still suffering near daily high or even extreme grassland fire danger indices so often during winter? 

Indigenous peoples set at least 47% of fires in the Interior West between 1776 and 1900 because smoke from cultural fire has been long-applied to control tree pests and just 150 years ago bison would be clearing the grasses that drive large range fires.  

In 2010 then-Democratic Senator Tim Johnson tried to make a portion of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland adjacent to Badlands National Park part of the Tony Dean Wilderness Area and in 2011 Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) revived the idea. 

Led by The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that began buying land in that part of South Dakota in 2007, sold some of it to Badlands National Park in 2012. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Defenders of Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy teamed up with the National Park Foundation, Badlands Natural History Association, Badlands National Park Conservancy and the National Park Service Centennial Challenge fund to expand the bison range at Badlands National Park by nearly 35 square miles. 

Today, restoring and rewilding American ecosystems are parts of the Green New Deal and with cooperation from Democratic South Dakota State Senator Troy Heinert more bison are coming home to the Nations.  
South Dakota State University, the National Bison Association, and the National Buffalo Foundation came together to form the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies, located at the SDSU West River Research & Extension Facility in Rapid City. [Buffalo (knowledge) gap]
So, encouraged by President Joe Biden the Cheyenne River Buffalo Authority Corporation has purchased West Side Meats in Mobridge.
Wizipan Little Elk is the CEO of RedCo, short for the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. One of the tribe’s social enterprises is establishing the Wolakota Regenerative Buffalo Range, 28,000 acres that will be home to 1,500 bison. “We’re in year one of a five-year stocking plan,” he said. “Once the stocking is finished, it will be the largest Native American-owned and managed bison herd in the world.” The herd will also represent up to 7% of all Native American-owned and managed bison. Bison are easier on the environment than other livestock. Little Elk says bison will drink once a day and then go somewhere else to graze. Cattle prefer to hang around their watering hole and can do a lot of damage through overgrazing in the same area. [Rosebud Sioux Tribe builds bison herd to regenerate land, health, spirit]


Rapid City legislator would end federal cannabis rules on gun ownership

Still believe the Second Amendment is absolute? 

Think again. 

Even therapeutic cannabis patients are banned from buying firearms. 

Republican-glutted states are the drunkest, kill the most kids, are the most obese and most addicted to opioids. States with the most alcohol-impaired driving deaths are Montana, South Carolina, North Dakota, Alabama, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming so the idea that legal cannabis drives violence is more than laughable. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will make sure you lose your Second Amendment rights if you admit to ingesting cannabis.
And if by some miracle non-tribal cannabis is legalized in the chemical toilet that is South Dakota State Senator Jessica Castleberry (R-35/Rapid City) wants the legislature to erase federal control over firearms. Castleberry replaced Lyndi DiSanto in the legislature, herself another hoplophile.
Many South Dakotans are concerned about overreach of the federal government and with good reason. One only has to review the examples of the past where laws were brought at the federal level and states were held hostage through funding and aid to follow suit. This week, I introduced SB 129, An Act to prohibit infringement upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. [Castleberry]
Recall DiSanto was forced from South Dakota's demented legislature after she spent loads of air time raising awareness of the abuses committed by the Children’s Home Society near Rapid City in the wake of the disappearance of Serenity Dennard. The Children’s Home Society has been under the regulatory microscope before for violations of trust. One former executive director is none other than Republican former South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard. Mass incarceration fuels the white foster home industry: a pet project of Daugaard’s wife. The search for Dennard has been called off after two years of looking.

It is virtually impossible to determine who is more delusional: a Democrat who goes to Pierre believing (s)he can make a difference or a Republican who believes a zygote has civil rights.