College out of reach? Rein in the 4th branch of government.

From the Argus Leader, the Board of Regents is telling the legislative planning commission that College is becoming out of reach because of it’s expense:

While the Board has worked to make college more affordable and more accessible for lower income students, there is still work to be done, Michael Rush, executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents said.

Rush said there is a perception among South Dakota students that college carries too high a price tag. He said though the number of students enrolling in post-secondary institutions has increased over several years, the numbers aren’t as high as he’d like.


Partly to blame for that shying away from postsecondary education is the price tag. South Dakota public colleges have the second highest tuition rates in the region for residents. Of South Dakota’s neighboring states, the only state with a higher tuition price tag is Minnesota.

Read that her.

College is getting expensive? Well, it’s not cheap to build a fiefdom. Maybe it’s just me, but personally, I’m of the opinion that the BOR has done much of this to themselves.

I recall several years ago, instead of having everything processed in Pierre like the rest of state government, they formed their own accounting & payment system to the tune of several million dollars. We have how many universities in how many locations at this point?

The Board of Regents has long been considered the 4th Branch of government, and has managed to get by with little oversight in comparison to the rest of state government. If their mission is to provide a college education to those who qualify academically, coming back and saying they need more money for scholarships so people can afford it is putting the cart before the horse.

Before they come to the taxpayer’s well, what they need to do is to look how they can internally cut costs, and make decisions as to what are needs and what are wants.

I hold out the example in looking at colleges over the past few years with my kids. SDSU built a rock wall for student use. Next thing you know, USD built one, and boasted how theirs was a foot higher than SDSU’s. Yes, really.

Yes, I’m sure much of that is paid by student fees, as coming from my kids and my wife as she finishes up her doctorate. But, that example is a general pervasive attitude. There is no thought on “how can we college more affordable by reducing expenses?” It’s a question of “how much can we get away with raising student fees?”

Why is it inconceivable to go to a single university system? Or perhaps a study on how can we can consolidate some of the smaller ones into the larger ones? Or perhaps shift the accounting system back under State Government.

If they want to make college more affordable, that’s where the Board of Regents needs to start. Long before they work on ways where they can continue to charge students more.

Bill Maher promo noting how he’s “not that dissimilar from Donald Trump.” Not that you’ll get to meet him at the Dem’s reception.

On a Dakota Midday promo on SDPB, noting an upcoming interview today with comedian Bill Maher, who is being used to raise funds for the South Dakota Democrat Party, via his trip to Sioux Falls is apparently noted in the promo as how “he and Donald Trump are not that dissimilar.”

So, how does that work with the people attending the upcoming Democrat fundraiser?  Does that mean they’re endorsing that assessment?

That might be a good question for those shelling out $125 a pop to go see him with the Democrats.

maherBTW, about that fundraiser….

Regarding that fundraiser with premier seating and “Pre-Show Reception”…. It looks as if Democrats were forced to put a bit of a disclaimer on their web site about who is showing up when for that exclusive reception they keep hawking:

On Sunday, September 13th, comedian Bill Maher will be performing at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, SD at 7:00 pm! The South Dakota Democratic Party has a limited amount of tickets available for this one night only event, and is hosting an exclusive pre-show reception to Bill Maher’s performance.


There will not be a meet and greet with Bill Maher. The pre-show reception is an event hosted by the South Dakota Democratic Party in anticipation of Bill Maher’s first time to South Dakota.

Read that here.

Sooo…. The “Pre-Show Reception” actually gives you party officials like Ann Tornberg and Nick Nemec giving talks about how awesome Democrats are, despite a continuing string of losses and being at historic low numbers. And bonus – you’re not going to meet anyone famous, but you get to sit together for the privilege of paying $125 to the Democrats for tickets you could have gotten for $25 to $75 by yourself.

Good luck with that one.

Hawks claims she can beat Noem. Alien abduction, and unicorns are real as well.

Today’s headline at is blaring “Hawks says she can beat Noem.”

Yes, please try not to laugh. We probably can place that notion right along other flights of fancy such as bigfoot, unicorns, and alien abduction. Yes, there are people who believe in those too. But any proof remains to be seen.

Her bid is one seen by many as a long shot in a state where all 13 statewide offices are held by Republicans. But Hawks said despite South Dakota’s overwhelming Republican majority and her current lack of campaign dollars, she believes she can beat incumbent U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-South Dakota, next November.

“I won my legislative race the last two sessions, I won my legislative race in 2012 in a Republican district. I won my second race in a Republican district with an extremely low Democratic turn out,” Hawks said. “I was elected by Republicans in my district.”

Read it here.

Yes, she did win her legislative race in the last 2 elections (not sessions). In 2012, she won by 82 votes. In 2014, she won by 8 votes.  Not exactly trending as a strong contender. She’s trending by the skin of her teeth.  And let’s not forget this little minor factoid:

But Noem, now in her third term will be challenging to beat at the ballot box. The Republican won in 61 of 66 counties in 2014. And her campaign spokesman, Justin Brasell, said Noem currently has $1.2 million on hand. Noem hasn’t started worrying about next November just yet, Brasell said.

Read that here.

At best, Hawks is down by $1.195 million in fundraising, assuming she’s put 5k of her own cash into it.

Considering she’s one of the state’s only 2 or three Democrats who will admit they’re in favor of a state income tax, AND she’s openly supporting Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that it looks like they’re chopping up and selling aborted fetuses… … I’d just reiterate that any hope of her winning resides in the realm of imagination with bigfoot and unicorns.

Where any such ridiculous notions of her winning statewide election against Congresswoman Kristi Noem belong.


Mike Huether, Obama’s guy in Sioux Falls, invites him to town.

From the Argus:

Heather Hitterdal, communications specialist for the city of Sioux Falls, said Friday that Mayor Mike Huether sent formal invitations to Obama and Buffett, but neither is able to attend because of prior commitments.

“We would have liked to welcomed them to our city,” Hitterdal said, “It never hurts to try.”

Read it here.

mikeHuetherFor someone running for Governor in two years, I’m surprised that Huether is trying to snuggle up to Obama. Considering South Dakota battles Utah for the title of “State where Obama is the least popular.”

The Hill: Trump #1, Rand Paul done.

augustgraphic3The beltway newspaper “The Hill” is noting today that Hulk Hogan’s favorite Candidate Donald Trump is on top of the GOP in their rankings …at the same time that they’re saying you can stick a fork in Rand Paul, because he’s done.

10. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (July ranking: 6)

A candidate who attracted considerable media attention, particularly in the early days of his bid, Paul has drifted gradually downward in the polls.

The bad news: There is no strong reason to believe he can reverse his decline. The RCP averages have Paul 10th nationally, ninth in Iowa, ninth in New Hampshire and a dismal 12th in South Carolina. Paul is a known quantity and GOP voters simply aren’t buying what he’s selling.

Read it all here.

Is it about time that we start shedding some people in this race, so we can get down to business?

The dangers of cleaning and home improvement. Just say no.

I’m not sure if any of you recall me referring to my desk as “the world’s messiest desk” before, which I typically do out of truthfulness. It’s not that I’m intentionally messy or disorganized, it’s just that I typically have multiple projects running simultaneously, as well as piles and piles of phone notes for those projects.

I tend to be a bit of a keeper of notes and papers. I go through and throw them away after some time, but I’m paranoid that I’m going to throw something away I’ll need, so it usually stays in a pile for a couple of weeks. Inevitably, my desk ends up being the place where I keep my ‘piles,’ much to the chagrin of my wife.

With taking my new job(s) in the past couple of weeks, I had obtained an inexpensive corner desk… but it wasn’t turning out to be large enough for a laser printer, four monitors, two computers. a router, a switch, and a VOIP phone.

Friday, I happened across the desk I wanted, and actually needed on Brookings Rummage sale. It was much bigger, had drawers unlike my current one, and it met with the spousal seal of approval.

That last part was important, since we’re on a bit of a cleaning frenzy with one of my wife’s brothers coming to visit our humble place in suburbia for the first time on Friday. He & his spouse are winding their way across the country on a post-retirement 2 month vacation.

I’m not sure what retirement is. I think it’s one of those things that people with regular jobs do when they get older. I’m likely going to be picking up cans in the ditch when I’m too old to be a Walmart greeter. (I had kids instead of money.)

IMG_2008So, back to the home clean-up project. We rearranged furniture, disassembled, reassembled, hung pictures that needed hanging long-ago, started calling cleaning people, cracking the whip on kids to pick up, etcetera and so on.

And we went and picked up my new desk.

It’s everything I wanted, it was inexpensive, and it doesn’t look bad at all. I should be able to work my job related duties from it, as well as my non-job related duties. And I should have room for that replacement monitor I’m getting shortly, so I’m back up to two.

Everything was going smoothly, except for that little hitch. Where I spent about two hours in the emergency room.

Putting things in perspective, except for a couple of splinters, I managed to design, cut, and assemble all components for my new deck without any personal injury. But, when I go to attach one bracket to join the two pieces of my desk together – in holes that had long been there – somehow I managed to get a chunk of particle board in my eye that refused to be flushed out.

FullSizeRenderIn addition to not wanting to be flushed out, despite my persistence in flushing it with saline, flushing it in the shower, and flushing again in the sink, it managed to do quite the job in scratching up my eye.

At the emergency room, it was evident that I actually may have gotten it flushed out in one of my attempts. But it’s not that I could feel the difference after all the corneal abrasions. They said there was a V shaped one on the left of my eye. And a matching one on the right hand side of the same eye.

That’s it pictured above, looking like I’ve been in a car accident.

Aside from learning that painful lesson, The rest of the day was spent finishing the home improvement job before I allowed myself to take the pain pills I was prescribed…. which left me unmotivated and not wanting to do a thing. I imagine that’s much like pot petition workers.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do much today. And I’m hoping that by tomorrow I’ll be able to cease with the pain medication altogether as I start on the work week.

Did I learn a lesson from all of this? I doubt I’ll start wearing safety glasses anytime soon for assembling furniture in my home.  So, if there is a lesson, the lesson is probably regarding the dangers of cleaning up for company, and how it can lead to motivation sapping prescription drugs.

So, remember: Avoid the dangers of cleaning and home improvement. Just say no.

Family Heritage Alliance Luncheon this week in Sioux Falls. And you’re invited.

If you have some free time on Thursday, and you’re in the Sioux Falls area, you should make it a point to take in the Family Heritage Alliance Luncheon. Dale Bartscher sent a nice note today extending this invitation to SDWC readers:

FHA Luncheon postcard Sept. 2015 SF FRONT

I would like to personally invite you and your faithful readers to the Family Heritage Alliance’s ‘Sioux Falls Area FHA Luncheon’ this coming Thursday, September 3, at the Linwood Wesleyan Church on 57th Street at 11:45 a.m. This buffet lunch/program, for the cost of a donation, will conclude by 1:00 p.m. Simply go to for more information and/or to register your attendance.

I believe you will find our keynote speaker – John Paulton – inspiring! John, formally a long-time resident of Sioux Falls, now serves at CitizenLink – the public policy partner to Focus On The Family in Colorado Springs, CO. His message to us will be a TIMELY one as we face a culture which is growing increasingly hostile to our faith, families and freedoms. We’ll also hear from Sandy Brockhouse of John Witherspoon College, located in Rapid City, along with representatives from the offices of Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Representative Noem.

Standing for Faith, Family and Freedom,
Dale Bartscher, Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance

US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Thanking our VSOs

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateThanking our VSOs
By Senator Mike Rounds
Aug. 28, 2015

In my first eight months working as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m beginning to learn just how complicated it can be for our veterans to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to obtain promised benefits and utilize the agency’s wide range of services. While trying to navigate the VA and its benefits, there are a number of resources veterans can tap into for help. Veterans Service Officers, who are employed by counties and tribes in South Dakota, are but one group of individuals committed to providing information, assistance, counseling and referrals to veterans to help them navigate the VA and address a wide array of issues unique to our vets.

Veterans Service Officers, or VSOs, often play a necessary and crucial role in improving the lives of South Dakota veterans and their families. These VSOs are trained by the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (SDDVA) to provide assistance to veterans, dependents and survivors.  Their expertise and dedication to VA issues has improved the lives of countless South Dakota veterans throughout the years.

I recently had an opportunity to meet with a group of VSOs and staff from the SDDVA at a gathering in Pierre. Many VSOs share my frustrations with the problems plaguing the VA that are preventing our veterans from receiving the timely, quality care they have been promised. Yet every day, our VSOs work tirelessly to push through the VA red tape and make certain that South Dakota veterans receive the care they deserve.

In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has rightly earned a reputation of poor service and poor use of taxpayer dollars. While there are many great physicians and nurses at the VA caring for our veterans, I have heard too many firsthand accounts of mismanagement during committee hearings and through the many calls to my office from South Dakotans struggling to work with VA bureaucrats. Given the many challenges with the VA, advocating for our veterans at the local level is more important than ever.

Our veterans and their families make incredible sacrifices to defend our country and keep us safe. County and tribal VSOs and the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs have a direct and positive impact in making certain they are properly cared for when their mission is complete. I’m very proud of the work our VSOs do to assist and guide our nation’s heroes.  For more information about VSOs or to find your local officer for assistance, you can call the SDDVA at (605) 773-3269 or visit

I will continue my work on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to hold the VA fully accountable to these selfless and brave men and women across the country. Nevertheless, I remain grateful to organizations and individuals – especially South Dakota Veterans Service Officers – who work quietly and tirelessly every day on behalf of our vets.


Congresswoman Noem’s Weekly Column: Infrastructure Investments: Building blocks for a healthy economy

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Infrastructure Investments: Building blocks for a healthy economy
By Rep. Kristi Noem
August 28, 2015

There’s hardly anything our family consumes that isn’t somehow impacted by rail.  From the food we eat to products we use in our homes, the reliability of our nation’s railways is critical.  In South Dakota, that importance is even more prominent.  Nearly every commodity we produce is exported and shipped via rail.  Disruptions or delays have an immediate and costly impact, as we saw early last year.  If our infrastructure crumbles, so does our economy.

Earlier this month, I met with the Rapid City, Pierre, and Eastern Railroad (RCP&E), which covers 670 miles of track stretching from Minnesota to Wyoming and running straight through the middle of South Dakota.  Railroads like RCP&E along with the state government are making meaningful investments to help avoid the backlogs that occurred last year.  I’m optimistic it’s been enough to ensure our rails can run smoothly and on time this year, but as is true for our nation’s roads and bridges, continued investments are necessary.

With nearly every farmer, rancher, and consumer relying on a well-maintained rail infrastructure, investments here should be a national priority.  It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been supportive of offering tax incentives to those willing to devote financial resources to improving our railroads.

One such incentive is the Short Line Tax Credit, which helps smaller railroads.  If you are investing in our railroads, you are creating jobs; you are increasing the speed of commerce; you are making products more affordable for hardworking families across the country.  The federal government has a responsibility to make those investments easier and offering tax credits like this helps accomplish that.

I am proud to have co-sponsored legislation in the House to extend this credit through 2016 and because it has broad bipartisan support, I’m hopeful we can see it enacted soon.

I’ve also encouraged the U.S. Department of Transportation to use existing grants to make greater investments in South Dakota, as so many of our nation’s commodities are shipped out of our state.  Moving wheat, soybeans, and corn more efficiently in South Dakota will reap countless benefits for consumers throughout the entire country.  It’s worth the investment.

For more than a century, rail has connected our coasts and enabled American commerce to thrive.  Still today, it remains one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to ship our goods, moving 40 percent of our nation’s intercity freight traffic and bringing one-third of U.S. exports to port.

Together with investments in roads and bridges, investments in our railroads help enable commerce to happen.  They are the building blocks of a healthy economy and a requirement for sustainable economic growth.