South Dakota Hall of Fame Press Conference (7/18/2018)

The 2018 South Dakota Hall of Fame class of champions were presented at the Inductee Press Conference in Sioux Falls on July 18, 2018. These South Dakotans Champion a Culture of Excellence. This year’s honorees are:

Cleveland Abbott (Watertown 1894 – 1955) SD African American Firsts.South Dakota born and raised off-spring of Alabama slavery. Hard economic times brought his parents here to raise a family. Little did they know their oldest child would return to Alabama, to help breakdown segregation at Tuskegee Institute through education and skills honed in Watertown and at South Dakota State. He and his wife Jessie, created the first organized women’s college athletic programs which then ruled national track and field events for decades. His students went on to be world leaders using the example he lived. The revered the Duke of Dakota was asked to be the first black member of the USA Track and Field Board and then on to the U S Olympic Committee by 1946. Bruce Danielson spoke on behalf of Cleveland Abbott.

Rod Bowar (Kennebec) South Dakota Telecommunications Entrepreneur. Rod Bowar has perhaps the most unique career path in South Dakota telecommunications. Rod has taken his entrepreneurial spirit and created numerous business divisions for Kennebec Telephone Company Inc. Rod serves the telecom industry on the boards of SDN Communications and the SD Telecommunications Association, also the Dakota Prairie Bank Board, Kennebec’s Town Board, Clinic Committee, Fire Department, Badlands Fire District, The Mitchell Technical Institute Foundation Board, SD Board of Technical Education and numerous community clubs.

Marilyn Hohm Hoyt (Huron) Public Service Innovator. She has served her community and South Dakota in many capacities advancing economic and quality of life issues for the generations. Her involvement included Huron College, South Dakota Board of Education, Christen-Hohm-Lusk Foundation Board, the Spirit of Dakota Award Society and currently is a Board member for the South Dakota Community Foundation.

Tom Loveland (Sioux Falls) Geographic Landscape Global Expert at EROS. One of the nation’s foremost experts on the use of remote sensing to monitor and measure changes on the Earth’s land surface. His work on the use of moderate-resolution satellite imagery to characterize land cover and changes to it is foundational, all based on science that came out of the work of Loveland. Not done just for South Dakota, but across the nation and the globe.

Anne Rieck McFarland (Sioux Falls) Empowering those with disabilities to impact South Dakota. Anne has been in a leadership position with LifeScape for 30 years, and more than 40 years in the human services profession. She is truly a positive ambassador for people of all abilities.

Roger Musick (Mitchell) – Communications Hardware and Software Creator. A founding partner of Martin & Associates, a solutions provider to the telecommunications industry for nearly 30 years, at which point he leveraged his telecommunications experience to found Innovative Systems. Roger devotes his time to numerous boards and advisory councils across the state where he strives to make South Dakota a better place to live and work. A generous benefactor, local leader, and industry pioneer.

Rod Parry (Sioux Falls) – Medical Education Trailblazer. Rod Parry, MD has dedicated his life to improving health and medical education in South Dakota and beyond. For 36 years, culminating in his role as that USD Medical School Dean, he taught and influenced generations of physicians and medical professionals

Raymond Peterson (Brookings) Mr. South Dakota Performing & Visual Arts. An invitation to serve as a vocalist for the 1966 Miss South Dakota Pageant led to a 50-year commitment to the Miss South Dakota and Miss America Organizations as a scriptwriter, designer, producer, director, and nationally renowned pageant judge.

John Porter (Sioux Falls) – Leading Integrated Health Care Systems. John has had a 44 year history with Avera Health. His journey from lawyer to CEO of South Dakota’s largest employer is inspiring and exciting. John was pivotal in the formation and growth of Avera along with the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, shepherded the building of one of the most integrated health systems in the country

A press conference will be held in Rapid City August 2, 2018 to present Nicholas Black Elk (1863 – 1950) Native American Evolutionist. Black Elk was an Oglala Sioux medicine man who helped guide his people from the nomadic to reservation life and then, helped document the customs and traditions of Native American tribal and Plains Indian spirituality for all future generations. A witness to the Battle of Little Bighorn, then Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, returning to the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek before taking his role as a traditional holy man who blended it with his conversion to Catholicism. He related his life story to John Neihardt, for the classic Black Elk Speaks.

Billion’s ‘Black Iron’ Development NOT concerned about train noise downtown

And you think the trains are loud downtown?

At the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting last Tuesday, David Billion said he wasn’t to concerned about the rail traffic noise and whistles downtown because they have had tenants near the tracks for over a decade with little complaints.

He also added that ALL prospective residential tenants will be submitted to listening to Billion Auto Ads for an 8 hour period. He figures this will prepare them for any train noise.

SFPD Keeps Beer Garden safe at JazzFest

And they stayed there most of the night, like myself.

City of Sioux Falls Current Meeting Agenda

Stormland-TV News plans implosion in October

So Stormland-TV made this decision;

“We are extremely happy to add journalist Bob Mercer to our newsroom,” said Jay Huizenga Vice President and General Manager of the KELOLAND Media Group.  “Bob is a well-respected reporter and columnist and he will provide perspective and experience to our government and political reporting.”

I wonder how they are going to handle having an experienced political reporter on staff? My guess is that the place will implode. I can’t wait to hear the first conversation between Mercer and the News Director, “This is a nice story and all Bob, but there is NO mention of Sanford Hospital in here. We will need a re-write.”

Minnehaha County has budget hearings with the cameras off

Minnehaha County is always asking for more money for criminal justice and a new jail. I get it. It takes tax dollars to fund these things. What I don’t get is the lack of transparency.

Besides the fact that the Tuesday regular meeting still hasn’t reached the internets 3 days later, the county didn’t bother recording the budget hearings that take place on a weekday in the AM. The county upgraded their video equipment at a cost of $40K, but they don’t seem to know how to turn it on.

It is continually frustrating that the county, the city and the school district ask for more money from us, but do it in the dark. If you want my money, you need to ask for it in the open. This lack of Sunshine by our local government is becoming frustrating.

Copper Lounge Collapse; A Tragic Mess

I guess we saw the writing on the wall (no pun intended). Hultgren Construction is filing for bankruptcy after insurance companies paid out millions in claims. The sad part about this is that the insurance companies should have paid the victims first, which has included a myriad of people and businesses.

Of course all of this hinges on whether or not the insurance companies and victims can also pin this on Legacy Development. In a perfect justice world, since the insurance companies decided to pay off damaged property instead of victims first, if more money can be garnered from Legacy, the lion’s share should go to the victims first.

Secondly, if Legacy is found liable, what will that mean for them? They have millions tied up in projects across the city and region, including a dubious Public/Private partnership with the city. Could this also bankrupt them?

At the end of the day, NO ONE is a winner. Someone is dead, others have suffered emotionally, physically and financially and even others have had their businesses uprooted.

As I said to a friend the other day, “It amazes me that some of the players in this tragedy still show their face in this town. It’s despicable and disgusting!”

Councilor Stehly on Lalley today

She will be on around 4ish, Information 1000 KSOO. Listen LIVE.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls School District intends to use ‘Super Precincts’ for bond election

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilor Theresa Stehly was on KSFY last night with concerns about this election;

The Sioux Falls School Board is set to vote on whether the special election will happen on Monday, July 23. The special election would take place Sept. 18. Stehly said as of right now, Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said he has not been contacted by the board to assist with the vote.

“I’m hoping that the school district is going to partner up with our county auditor to allow that County Auditor’s office to handle all the absentee ballots and also to be the intaker of counting the ballots at the end of the night,” Stehly said.

There are also some other concerns. The original company that created the E-Poll books hardware and software was ‘HART InterCivic’. They no longer technically support the devices. This is why the SOS had so many issues with them in the primary election. ‘BPro’ convinced the state they could get the devices to work, but didn’t have the proper software to handle the data (this is the rumor circulating). So the question is, as I said originally, how is the school district going to have ‘super precincts’ when they don’t have a proper and safe way to operate the E-Poll books? And shouldn’t we have them machine tabulated, especially in a $300 million dollar bond issue? The SF school board needs to have a long discussion before Monday’s decision to have a September election.

According to a source, Doug Morrison told them they intend to use Super Precincts for the school bond election. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First off, the obvious. The Secretary of State said they will not support E-Poll books. I believe the School District owns their own books, but who will be maintaining the IT work on them if the SOS has said they will not accept them? Also, will the Minnehaha County Auditor be contracted to machine tabulate the votes or will they perform a hand count internal canvass?

Secondly, using super precincts that don’t extend to every district within the Sioux Falls school district could be a violation of Federal law because they would be disenfranchising certain sectors of the community. Precincts have to be a certain distance from voters. In the 2016 school board election they neglected to have super precincts in the entire northern part of the district. That won’t fly this time.

By having a stand alone, super precinct election they will have a very low voter turnout. In other words the final polling will NOT reflect what the survey did, a 60% support. The survey postcards were sent to almost every household in Sioux Falls (83,000 addresses). Obviously, many of the people who the postcards were sent to are NOT registered voters and are highly unlikely to show up to a stand alone school district election. My guess is if they break a 51% approval they will be lucky (they need a 60% approval). The Event Center advisory vote which was very popular and had a high voter turnout received around 55%.

There is also a rumor circulating that the Co-chairs of the Task Force, Vernon Brown and Nan Baker will be heading up a private promotional committee. This could be viewed as a conflict of interest.

The school board votes on Monday to set the date of the special election. There are many unanswered questions, such as what the final cost of the bonds will be (IMO it will be $300 million) and how do they intend to fund the staffing of the new schools (they have no plan at this point).

I support building new schools, but this process has been less than transparent and has a lot of unknowns surrounding it. It’s based on a lot of wishful thinking.

The train traffic and noise DTSF needs to go

After the presentation of the new development downtown I addressed the council at the informational meeting (at end of meeting). I basically told them as long as the train noise and increased traffic exists it will be detrimental to further development downtown. I also said it was time for our Washington delegation to get off their duffs and have a conversation with BNSF about moving the switching and storage of cars out of DTSF.