Governor Noem Asks President Biden to Uphold Mount Rushmore Fireworks Agreement

Governor Noem Asks President Biden to Uphold Mount Rushmore Fireworks Agreement

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, on President Thomas Jefferson’s birthday,Governor Kristi Noem sent this letter to President Joseph R. Biden advocating for South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration.

“This year, as we mark our independence from [COVID-19], Mount Rushmore would be the perfect place for a national celebration and fireworks show,” wrote Governor Noem, referring to President Biden’s message that held up Independence Day as a target for Americans to begin returning to normal.

“We are committed to hosting a Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration that is safe and responsible and working closely with the National Parks Service (NPS) to do so. I respectfully ask that you continue the hopeful message you shared earlier this year and uphold our Agreement to host the event this year,” continuedGovernor Noem.

In the letter, Governor Noem asked President Biden to uphold the Memorandum of Agreement between NPS and the State of South Dakota regarding the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration. Governor Noem responded to NPS’s reasons for cancelling the fireworks celebration. She also outlined the due diligence that the State of South Dakota and other entities undertook to ensure that last year’s celebration could be conducted safely and responsibly.

You can read Governor Noem’s letter to President Biden here.


And the races are on with primary/convention candidates in several races. Sort of. Here’s the tale of the tape, Spring 2021

Since the last edition of the “Tale of the tape” we’ve picked up a few candidates for office in 2022. At least one of them is significant. And a couple spend too much time reading facebook memes.

Here’s the newest version of my “Tale of the Tape infographic – Spring 2021” edition:

Got a hot tip about politics? Drop us a note here.

And stay tuned for all of the hot gossip and bumps along the campaign trail as we lead into 2022.

Sioux Falls man files with FEC to run for President on Communist ticket in 2026. Because, of course.

A Sioux Falls man has been filing a number of documents with the Federal Elections Commission in recent days, including Statement of Candidacy filed electronically yesterday.

Johnathan Edward Merkwan has filed paperwork to run for President as affiliated with the Communist Party in the 2026 election.   When I looked him up on the Secretary of State’s website, I did notice that one thing he has to do first is to change his party registration:

According to the Secretary of State, this Communist Party presidential wannabe is actually registered as a Democrat.

Because, of course.

(Okay, c’mon. When someone tees up the obvious joke, am I supposed to ignore it?)

Release: Mandatory 10-digit dialing set to begin in South Dakota

Mandatory 10-digit dialing set to begin in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. – Beginning on April 24, South Dakotans are encouraged to start using 10-digit dialing (605 area code + phone number) to make all local phone calls. This transition is a necessary first step in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) move to establish 988 as a new three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and will be required beginning as early as October 24, 2021, and no later than July 15, 2022, depending on your telephone provider.

In addition to changing your dialing patterns, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission recommends you take steps to update all contact lists ahead of the upcoming deadlines.

“An unfortunate byproduct of the FCC’s efforts to establish an easy-to-use suicide prevention hotline number is the upcoming requirement for all of us to use the full 10 digits including area code when dialing a phone number.  Whenever possible, preprogram frequently used numbers into your phone to make this conversion easier,” recommended PUC Chairman Chris Nelson.

The PUC also suggests you take the time to update or reprogram all services, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that may be programmed to complete calls using only seven-digit phone numbers.

“If you take a look at the technology you use on a daily basis or have in your home or office, you may find many devices or services with programmed call settings that will need to be updated. These can include smart home devices, home security systems, medical monitoring devices, calling networks within companies and call forwarding or voicemail services, just to name a few,” Vice Chairperson Kristie Fiegen explained. “Taking the time to update these systems now will help ensure they continue working properly long past the required implementation deadlines,” she continued.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) established the set implementation schedule in August of 2020; one month after the FCC adopted an order designating 988 as a new abbreviated dialing code and determined that all area codes where 988 is a working prefix would be required to convert from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit dialing prior to the 988 abbreviated code being put into use.

Commissioner Gary Hanson cautioned, “Be certain to add the area code to all your phone numbers. South Dakota is not the only state required to make the change. Nationwide, over 80 area codes in 36 states will be affected to ensure easy connection to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.”

Starting July 16, 2022, dialing 988 will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Until then, customers wishing to reach the Lifeline must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For additional information on 10-digit dialing, contact your local telephone service provider or visit the PUC website at

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Postcard don’ts.. Brookings election edition. Wasted space, and using a “negative campaign” photo as your introduction.

Tomorrow is election day here in Brookings, and while a few things have been humming along over the last couple of weeks, a couple examples of glaring campaign postcard don’ts appeared in my mailbox today.

First, was from Keli Books, candidate running for the school board.


I get the impression that whoever did this card doesn’t do a lot of campaign advertising.  In a campaign, you shouldn’t be designing a piece which mirrors an ad agency trying to establish good feelings about a well known brand. You’re trying to get a name stuck in the head of people that don’t know you when the person goes to the ballot box to vote.  For a big 6″x9″ postcard, the absolutely most important thing on the front of the card is approximately 1 1/2 by 2 inches of all the space on the front, superimposed in a corner on top of what I would term a “vanity shot,” something that the candidate or someone speaking in their ear thought would look nice… but really, it doesn’t communicate much.

Yes, it’s a nice picture on the front.  But the primary purpose of any campaign advertising is to communicate Name and Office.  The logo could have easily been – and should have been –  at least 5 1/2 inches across the bottom.   Chop off some empty space in the photo in the form of tree branches and empty sidewalk, move the photo up, and make the logo larger, and it goes from wasted opportunity to doing what a campaign postcard is intended to do.

I’ll be the first to say that the other side of the card was very nice. But this front is a lot of wasted opportunity.

Next up, we have a candidate for mayor going for a “prince of darkness” vibe.

GAAAH!  Satan is emerging from the depth of the shadows to run for mayor!   I’ve noticed this same logo image in Ope Niemeyer’s campaign via facebook, and I can only wonder who on earth thought this was a good idea?  I mean, did someone go to the designer, and say make the candidate appear darker and emerging from shadow in his advertising?

The only thing that it reminds me of is Max Von Sydow playing chess with death in The Seventh Seal.

Max von Sydow obituary | Register | The Times

It’s a very arty look for Max Von Sydow in the movie, but it’s an awful concept for a candidate.  And even worse, that’s the only picture of him on the whole piece.  On the back, the candidate talks a word soup about some issues, which doesn’t make up for the fact that from one look at that photo showing the candidate in the shadows, that he might possibly coming to steal our souls.

As I get to the end of my rant, it dawns on me why this photo is so wrong. The photo – monochrome & showing the candidate in shadow – used by the candidate actually appears to be in a style that an opponent would use if they put out a negative ad against him.  So why on earth would the candidate use that for himself?

Candidates should use a nice clear photo, with open eyes, as their primary campaign photo if they’re trying to make a good connection with the people they send it to.  Campaigns are about communication and marketing yourself. Positively.

Unless, the candidate actually has designs on where our spirits spend the afterlife.

I guess we’ll find out after the vote tomorrow.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: On the Road Again

On the Road Again
By Sen. John Thune

For the last two weeks, I have been crisscrossing the state to meet with business owners, students, teachers, health care workers, community leaders, and South Dakotans of every walk of life. It might sound cheesy, but “Great Faces, Great Places” refers to a lot more than the faces on Mt. Rushmore. In cities and towns across the state, I always find people willing to spare a few minutes, or sometimes more, and I am incredibly thankful for the stories they share.

My first stop was North Sioux City, where I dropped by Dakota Valley High School to speak with students. I’m always impressed with the informed and thoughtful questions I get from South Dakota students. I also checked in on the VA outpatient clinic, where staff are working hard to ensure veterans who want the vaccine have access to it. The final stop of the day was a tour of Sterling Computers, a great South Dakota company that’s brought high-paying tech jobs into the area.

Next, I headed out west to Sturgis, Spearfish, and Newell, where I was briefed by firefighting teams, toured health care facilities, checked in with local residents, and had candid discussions with community and business leaders. A hopeful part of my time in West River was witnessing two local residents get their vaccine. It’s truly a testament to American ingenuity and grit that our country developed, manufactured, and distributed a safe vaccine in record time.

A highlight of my two weeks traveling the state was visiting St. Francis House. Its mission of moving people from homelessness to hope was especially poignant leading into Easter weekend. Fortunately, in 2018, my office was able to assist St. Francis House in getting the correct IRS designation to begin construction on a new facility. This meant its new (COVID-compliant) transitional home was up and running just in time for St. Francis to help hundreds of people safely through the pandemic.

After spending Easter weekend with family, I was back on the road to Madison and Yankton. I had discussions with health care staff at Madison Regional Health System and with local business and community leaders and Rotary Club members in both towns. I share many of the concerns I heard about Democrats’ plans for our country, and I reassured everyone I spoke to that I’m using every available tool to fight back against their radical liberal agenda.  And, as always, I continue to do everything I can to promote issues important to South Dakota.

The last stop on the trip was back out west in Box Elder and Rapid City, where I was able to join the Box Elder community in celebrating the groundbreaking at the Liberty Center. This new addition near Ellsworth Air Force Base will give our airmen, their families, and the Box Elder community a new, world-class recreation facility. This is part of the larger plan for the Liberty Plaza development, which will further enhance the quality of life around Ellsworth as it prepares for the arrival of the B-21 Raider. This center will have a real impact on our service members and their families. I also toured the new Ascent Innovation Center – expanding on the success of the current incubator located on the SDSM&T campus. There is a lot of good work being done to foster the fantastic high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship we’re seeing in Rapid City. It’s really inspiring to see the investment being made in our state.

When the Senate is not in session, extended work periods allow me to make stops around the state and connect with South Dakotans with different backgrounds and expertise. Nothing is more critical to my work in the Senate than hearing from South Dakotans about their views on the issues we face as a nation. After the year we have had, it’s an opportunity that makes me feel particularly grateful.


Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: National Parks Week

National Parks Week
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
April 9, 2021

South Dakota is lucky to call home to seven of our nation’s National Parks, Monuments and Recreation Areas. As we celebrate National Parks Week in the month of April, I can’t help but reminisce on the beauty of places like the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and the Missouri River.

The Badlands or the ‘Land of Stone and Light’ span more than 244,000 acres of our great state. Thousands of folks trek to its vast terrain every year. You can explore fossil trails with your kids, get your feet blistered on a long hike, or take the scenic route — whether you’re an avid hiker or a novice outdoorsman, there is something in the Badlands for you.

If someone mentions South Dakota, America’s ‘Shrine of Democracy’ is quick to come to mind. I don’t blame anyone outside of the state when that’s the first thing they mention during a conversation; it’s definitely a sight to see. For many of us, last year’s fireworks display at Mount Rushmore served as a glimmer of light during a dark year. I’ll continue to fight to protect this unique monument with my legislation, the Mount Rushmore Protection Act, as political activists seek to dismantle our great presidents’ faces.

And finally, the great Missouri River. Not as many people know this is a national recreational river, but if you live along the River, you’re well aware of its majestic, and sometimes unpredictable presence. You can hunt or fish right along the river – if you haven’t done so along the Missouri you should add that to your bucket list.

Despite tourism being down by 13% last year, South Dakota was one of the best performing states in the country. Tourism contributed nearly 5% of South Dakota’s economy last year – I’m hopeful that with the opening of the vaccine to all Americans, we can begin to welcome more visitors to our great parks.

Thune tells KOTA-TV he’s running, and raising money

No shock to SDWC readers, but Senator Thune is telling KOTA-TV today that he’s definitely running for US Senate in 2022.

Thune said that he’s raising money and doing what he feels is necessary to start his re-election effort.


Thune said that he expects to make an official announcement later this year or early next year.

Read that all here

While a couple of others are busy running their mouths, it sounds like the Senator is getting ready to run a campaign.