And it’s looking like a fun June for me….

I found out this week that in addition to going to the Eagles concert (the one with the ridiculously priced tickets) in early June, that it looks like I might get to go to Washington DC.

I had hoped to go a month or two back for CPAC, but a death in the family and other obligations altered those plans. This opportunity kind of popped up out of the blue, so it’s looking like I get to go about June 15th.

Last time I went, I managed to hit Ford’s Theater, The Newseum, the Smithsonian World History and American History Museums, the Washington & Lincoln Memorials, and the Capitol.

What else is worth putting on my bucket list?

Press Release: Governor Proclaims Oglala Lakota County Name Change

Governor Proclaims Oglala Lakota County Name Change

PIERRE, S.D. – Following voter approval and a resolution from the Legislature, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed that Shannon County be renamed as Oglala Lakota County.

The name change will be official on May 1, 2015.

State law requires the governor to publicly proclaim the new name of a county by issuing an executive proclamation. The name change becomes official on the first day of the next month.

Last fall, Shannon County voters approved the name change by more than the required two-thirds majority. The state House and Senate then passed House Joint Resolution 1005 during the 2015 Legislative Session to adopt the new name.


Delegation Concerned by Misguided ESA Listing of Northern Long-Eared Bat

Delegation Concerned by Misguided ESA Listing of Northern Long-Eared Bat

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Representative Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) expressed continued concern over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) misguided approach to addressing the decline of the northern long-eared bat population by listing it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A fungal disease, white-nose syndrome, not habitat loss, is the primary cause of northern long-eared bat deaths that have resulted in a sharp decline in population throughout many states in the bats’ range.

“I’m disappointed by today’s announcement because the FWS’ approach does not focus on the real problem, which is that northern long-eared bat deaths are due to white-nose syndrome, not habitat loss,” said Thune. “This is why I recently introduced legislation that would prohibit FWS from listing the northern long-eared bat as threatened under the ESA.”

“This is another example of federal overreach by this Administration,” said Rounds. “I applaud Sen. Thune and Rep. Noem for being leaders on this issue and will continue to work with them to rectify this misguided decision.”

“While I am relieved to see South Dakota land outside the buffer zone for now, I remain concerned that the Fish and Wildlife Service continues to elevate an unproven environmental agenda rather keeping the focus on a disease that truly jeopardizes the long-eared bat’s population in certain areas of the county,” said Noem. “It’s a disappointing conclusion that will pull critical and limited resources from the real threats facing the species.”

In 2011, the FWS reached a secret sue-and-settle agreement with two radical environmental groups to require listing determinations on more than 250 species across the United States, including the northern long-eared bat. While this syndrome has been found in 22 states across the country, it has not been found in South Dakota. Today’s listing was accompanied by an announcement of publication of an interim regulation with a 90-day public comment period under Section 4(d) of the ESA for the northern long-eared bat. This interim rule will be published in the Federal Register on April 2, 2015. Under the interim 4(d) rule, because the white-nose syndrome is not present in South Dakota, forest management restrictions are limited; however, if the white-nosed syndrome is detected in South Dakota, far-reaching timber management restrictions will be imposed on the Black Hills timber industry, impacting 1,500 jobs and $119 million in revenue to Black Hills economies.

On October 14, 2014, Thune and Noem sent a letter to the FWS encouraging the agency to withdraw its proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat as endangered, and to refocus its attention on combating white-nose syndrome. On January 14, Thune and 12 of his Senate colleagues called on the FWS to revise the misguided and harmful forest management restrictions accompanying the endangered species listing released in 2014, and instead issue a regulation to allow normal forest management practices and minimize economic impact on states. On March 4, Thune introduced legislation to prevent the FWS from listing the northern long-eared bat under the ESA, and on March 24, Noem introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

The FWS has not listed a U.S. species as threatened or endangered with disease as a primary cause of widespread death loss for more than ten years. FWS acknowledges that the white-nose syndrome is the primary cause of devastating northern long-eared bat deaths.


Isn’t there a residency requirement? Cory Heidelberger trying to tell Aberdonians what to do already?

Back in state how many weeks, and Cory Heidelberger is already trying to tell Aberdeen residents what to do?

Four people filed nominating petitions for open spots on the Aberdeen Public Board of Education and three others turned in petitions for the Aberdeen City Council.


Petitions for the City Council were submitted by incumbents Laure Swanson and David Bunsness who represent the southeast and southwest districts, respectively. Challenging Swanson in the Southeast District is Cory A. Heidelberger.

Read it here.

Update – Always good to see Cory make my arguments for me regarding his carpetbagger status…

I took up residency in Aberdeen the night of February 2. I registered to vote in Brown County on February 3. The city election is June 2.

Read that here.

Was the Argus really featuring Scott Hoy …again?

The Argus Leader’s February’s tale of Scott Hoy’s woe was odd enough, as it brought everyone up to date and told us how he was getting on after being mocked for an equally odd commercial. (Not that we cared.)

And again today, Argus reporter Stu Whitney felt we needed another dose of Scott Hoy on the Argus webcast he started named “Su Fu Stu.”

Is there some man crush thing the Argus has going on with Scott Hoy?


Top 5 places for Obama to visit in SD

Since South Dakota is soon to be the only state left on Obama’s bucket list, which may inflict us with a visit from the most unpopular president in modern history, a reader offered us a list of the top 5 places that the President should visit:

Top Five Places Obama Should Visit in South Dakota

The press is reporting that as of later this week, South Dakota will be the only state left for President Obama to visit during his presidency. We offer the following top five destinations for the President’s consideration:

1. Belle Fourche Sale Barn. It would likely serve President Obama well to spend some time around West River ranchers who know a thing or two about supply and demand, small businesses and hard work.

2. A ditch. (Or is it a navigable waterway?) Any Ditch in Eastern South Dakota. A few hours examining ditches East River might prove to be an enlightening experience if it helps change the President’s mind on the misguided EPA ‘Waters of the United States’ rule.

3. Mitchell Gun Show. Perhaps an afternoon mixing and mingling with a room full of freedom-loving, responsible gun owners would do the President some good.

4. Big Stone Power Plant. Another real life example of the President’s runaway regulatory regime that does nothing but increase the cost of doing business. The proposed EPA carbon rule will increase energy costs and hit energy-intensive states like South Dakota especially hard. He should see the plants, like Big Stone, that his rule will impact.

5. Walleye Fishing. According to the new book by former aide, Reggie Love, President Obama hates walleye. The only way to get the President to appreciate this delicacy is to head up to West Whitlock for a day of walleye fishing.

Lee Schoenbeck’s column from the Argus Leader – Killing a fifty percent tax increase

Lee Schoenbeck sent this along for sharing with our readers, but asked that we not share until it appeared in the Argus. So, now that it’s been in , here you go:

Representative: We Made The Right Decision Killing a Fifty Percent Tax Increase

As I was cleaning my bird cage, I noticed Stu Whitney’s column attacking legislators for not supporting a 50% increase in the city sales tax. He attributed the House of Representatives’ decision, the South Dakota People’s House, to being under the influence of the Koch brothers. I don’t know the Koch brothers, but I understand their name is pronounced the same as Coke. To that extent, I have seen legislators influenced by them, usually in the Diet Coke ideation late in the afternoon debates!

On the other hand, I can think of at least five more likely reasons a majority of House members, and particularly the Sioux Falls House members you singled out, rejected this large tax increase.

First, while it may not be readily apparent from the Minnesota Avenue window-view, a lot of South Dakotans are blue collar folks that work hard, and struggle to pay their bills week-to-week. A fifty percent increase in the city sales tax means something in their lives, and it doesn’t end there. This same session, that same People’ House also killed in floor debate a proposal to take the limits off of those same blue collar folk’s property taxes. You see, there are more people, groups and ways looking to spend the citizen’s hard earned dollars, than your average citizen can probably tolerate. I’m sure they appreciate the attention, but prefer to make their own family decisions about how to allocate their resources.

Second, I was a little surprised by the way you fell for the old snake oil sales line about it being an optional tax. The first penny sales tax was an “optional” tax, all cities imposed and we now pay. The second penny sales tax came later as an “optional” sales tax now imposed by all cities and paid by all of our families. This new third “optional” tax would be as surely imposed, and eventually broadened, as has every other piece of the city sales tax in our state. Dr Oyos used to warn us at Augie that “those who ignore history, are doomed to relive it”.

Third, the sales tax puts South Dakota retailers at a competitive disadvantage to their internet competitors. Every time the sales tax is raised, attention needs to be paid to the consequences for the small businesses that line our main streets, fund our little leagues, and provide jobs in our communities. If the U.S. Congress ever gets out of the pocket of the Googles, Amazons, and Microsofts of this world, and let’s the state’s fix it, state legislators wouldn’t be the front-line protection in this battle.

Fourth, the line of folks with ideas for the use of the people’s money in Pierre is not a short one. Legislators need to bring the spine to the job that allows them to stand strong in the face of so many good, and some not so good, demands on their citizen’s funds. Appropriations triage is not for the faint of heart. A new tax increase is a draw on those same resources – it takes the people’s finite, and hard-earned resources.

Finally, even a casual reader of the Argus Leader would be aware that we have funding challenges for education in South Dakota. Competitive salaries to attract and retain qualified educators in the k-12 world, and funds to keep tuition affordable in the technical school and regential system will come with a cost – a big one. The only realistic option on the table is some form of a sales tax for some period of time. As they say: “Sweat Pea, you can’t ride a horse with your butt in two different saddles”. Either you’re going to provide funds for your Mayor’s favorite projects, or your going to look to the critical needs of educating our citizenry. Realistically, you have to pick, and there’s a chance that your local legislators understand that math – and we’re looking down the road to next session for the good of our South Dakota families.

So Stu, while we in the ESD world were not disappointed to see you promoted from the sports page, from the heart I tell you, I prefer it when your ruminating stays closer to home. After all, the Mayor Mike – Kermit fights have at least a few more good years of ink in them.

 Lee Schoenbeck is a mechanic’s kid, rookie House member, and country lawyer from near Watertown, SD



Articles refute ProPublica article accusing consultants of misdeeds. In fact, they point out how they were trying to prevent them.

I had mentioned this article a few days ago, which appears on Huffington Post, as well as ProPublica:, where it claims

Founded in May of last year, Vote2ReduceDebt raised its nearly $3 million almost entirely from Davis, and spent just about all of it. Its filings with the Federal Election Commission list ads, phone banks and rallies for candidates in tight races, including Joni Ernst in Iowa and Cory Gardner in Colorado.


Patrick Davis, 47, was a one-time political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a professorial type who has worked on dozens of national and local campaigns. Hill, also 47, is a gregarious Fort Worth native known in the trucking industry for inventing a trailer that dries peanuts during transport.

The allegations of fraud started in dueling memos that went to the older Davis and the group’s board of directors. Hill claimed Patrick Davis was faking expense reports and trying to award contracts to phantom companies. Davis’ camp said Hill was hatching a plan to defraud the oilman out of $4 million, and alleged the PAC’s attorney may have been in on a cover-up.

But not so fast. Since that article came out, at least two articles have been written with an opposing point of view, which completely contradicts what the ProPublica Article notes, and accuses ProPublica of being a Soros funded venture. :

Appears that with background, which Pro Publica  conveniently chose to leave out, Federici was upset because she had been blowing the whistle on corruption and had been ignored.   Things got a lil dicey after Patrick Davis and Italia had blown the whistle on the NASCAR dream and there were concerns that the legitimate work that Person to Person PAC had done on behalf of V2RD had been ignored at best or lied about behind the scenes.

So  after Randy disclosed this plan to Federici and Davis, Federici contacted multiple law firms and got opinions about how to unravel Randy’s plan. On June 25 Cleta Mitchell and Federici took the information to the PAC’s counsel Chris Gober. Rather than act upon the information presented in an impartial or even-handed way, Gober was in no hurry to bring the info to the board, and did not try to set a board meeting for Patrick to present the information. In an effort to get the info to the board and Mr. Ken Davis and to bypass Gober, Patrick Davis wrote an affidavit and emailed it to the board.

Read that here.

Which side do you believe? Go ahead and read them both, and let us know.