On June 30, South Dakota state government closed the books on the 2015 budget year. For the fourth year in a row, the state general fund budget ended with a surplus, with both higher revenues and lower expenditures than budgeted. I have made it a priority to balance our budget each year with emphasis on conservative revenue projections. Other states often use rosy revenue numbers, debt or budget gimmicks to appear balanced, but South Dakota balances its budget honestly.
Our largest revenue source is our sales and use tax. Unfortunately, some sales made to South Dakota residents are able to escape the sales tax. This creates inequity, and is unfair to retailers in our state who must compete at a disadvantage.
Anytime there is good news about the Postal Service, it's worth writing about. Even if it's not necessarily earth-shaking news. Two pieces of good postal news. One is that a congressional panel last week ordered the Postal Service to study the on-time arrival of mail in rural America. The second bit of good news came earlier this summer when the Postal Service said it was delaying the closure of the Dakota Central Processing and Distribution Facility at Huron until sometime next year. The plant had been scheduled to consolidate its mail processing duties into a Sioux Falls facility in July.
One of the things I like about my job is that I don’t have to know a lot about anything. I can specialize in knowing a little bit about a lot of things but not a lot about any one thing. Take slab jacking, for instance. When the school board was talking about hiring someone to do it, I was wondering how anybody was going to repair the concrete slabs that make up the “tennis courts.” Saturday I got an explanation from the experts (Angerhofers from Aberdeen.)
In 1735, John Wesley visited Savannah in the Province of Georgia in the American Colonies, and gave an account of the Native Americans as the perfect example of health. He described this as mostly due to their lean diet and their rigorous physical lifestyle. It is now nearing 300 years later and people of all races could learn from the habits of the early American Indians.
Summer is here and with the warmer temperatures a person’s chances for dehydration increase. Water is one of the six major nutrients we need each day and it is essential for life. Did you know that our bodies are made up of approximately 55-75% water? Babies and children have more water as a percentage in their bodies than adults and as a result can become dehydrated more quickly. Dehydration is a health risk for all but especially for the young and old.
Since the dawn of time, people have had opinions on everything from politics to the best way to make fire to whether a club or spear is better for hunting the wooly mammoth. Mostly politics. While people have always had opinions, they weren’t inclined to share them with just anyone or everyone. Uncle Jim and Grandma Betty may have wrestled (loudly) with various issues over Sunday dinner, but in general people reserved their opinions for friends and family. A person wouldn’t shout their political inclinations from a rooftop or take out a billboard proclaiming viewpoints differing from theirs were dumber than a wooly mammoth and embraced only by idiots.
This week I had the opportunity to attend the dedication of the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center in Lead. The visitor center will be something for South Dakotans and travelers from all over the world to see. Here people will learn about the history of Homestake and the Sanford Lab projects. The Sanford Underground Research Facility is in the process of partnering with the Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, to prepare for the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility and the associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (LBNF/DUNE). This future experiment is a result of groundbreaking research that occurred in the lab while it was still the Homestake Mine. To view more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition
In my heart, I am a farmer – at least during the summer months when I’m outside tending my garden. I love growing things. I enjoy the feel of moist black dirt between my fingers. I get a sense of satisfaction when my seedlings sprout. I even take pleasure in the achy, sweaty feeling I get after a day spent outside moving dirt and pulling weeds – doing good work. Real, honest work in the garden with Mother Nature as my boss and my husband as my supervisor. (Not really, but I let him think so.) But even though I truly dig gardening, I am not a farmer. Nor is my husband a farmer. I’m a writer who is sometimes a farmer at heart. Transoccupational would be the trendy term for it. To view more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition
Did you know that every day in the United States 137 persons die from secondhand smoke exposure? This equals 50,000 adult non-smokers dying each year because they breathe the smoke that is exhaled from smokers and from the burning end of cigarettes, cigars or other burned tobacco products. Secondhand smoke is a silent killer! There is no listing of ingredients on a package of cigarettes; however, research has proven that secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, of which 250 are known to be poisonous and 69 are known to cause cancer.
There’s nothing like a school reunion. In the short span of a few hours you try to remember everybody you ever knew in the first 18 years of your life, who they dated and who they married, and what you’re supposed to remember about them from the last reunion. You have to try to remember whether the senior boy you had a mad crush on in your freshman year ever knew about it (Of course, he did! His cousin was one of your best friends, remember?)