Each day it takes 12 minutes of my time. Five days a week – Monday through Friday. Six minutes in the morning. Six minutes in the afternoon – for a total of an hour each week.
A person could complete any number of tasks in six minutes. Sip a cup of coffee or make a piece of peanut butter toast. Read the newspaper – or at least skim the headlines. Check email. Tweet. Watch an inning of baseball or four minutes of the news and two of commercials. Post a selfie. Meditate. Fill the car with gas. Send an “I love you” text to your honey. De-clutter the kitchen clutter bin. (We all have one.) Check the calendar to see what’s going on the rest of the week. Do sit ups. Run a mile – or half a mile if you are as slow as me.
(Bridger Gordon, a high school student at Sturgis Brown High School, won the National Ag Day Essay Contest with this essay. He was awarded $1000 and a free trip to Washington, DC to accept the award at the National Press Club Event on March 21.
“MMMM ... these mashed potatoes are delicious,” I told my grandma as we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at her house this past November. Her face lit up, and she proceeded to tell us grandkids about the potatoes and other vegetables from her garden, then segued to talking about the bountiful crop of wheat, sunflowers, and corn she and grandpa had been blessed with as well. Her pride in raising the food to feed her family - and the world - as she’s done for some 50 years was evident.
Soon the dinner table conversation turned to my dad, uncle and grandpa discussing the corn and soybean crop and looking ahead to spring planting.
Something good happened last month in the South Dakota Legislature. House Bill 1167 was killed. HB 1167 would have allowed municipalities with more than 5,000 population to post legal notices on internet websites only, instead of publishing them in local newspapers. The bill was defeated 11-1 in the House Local Government Committee. The lone vote in favor was cast by its sponsor.
This was a “divide and conquer” strategy by the South Dakota Municipal League to pass a bill that mostly affected the state’s largest communities and daily newspapers. Editors at our small rural newspaper and other weeklies fought it alongside the dailies.
This is not just a South Dakota issue. There have been attempts to remove public notices from newspapers in at least 13 states this year. Among them: New Jersey, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan, Texas, Kansas and Connecticut.
“Action is not a choice, it is a necessity.” Those were President Trump’s words on Obamacare to Congress. As the President mentioned in that speech, one-third of America’s counties now have only one insurer. A number of insurance companies have left the market. Others have been forced to raise premiums or narrow their networks, leaving South Dakotans and consumers nationwide with fewer options, which for many, are unaffordable.
Prior to Obamacare, as many as 17 separate insurance companies were offering individual health insurance plans in South Dakota. As Obamacare was adopted in 2010, companies began leaving the market. Last fall, one of South Dakota’s largest carriers, Wellmark, announced that it would no longer offer individual health insurance plans in South Dakota.
I have been studying the legislative session within my government class. Within the session, I have been studying Senate Bill 74. This bill would exempt elected tribal officials from having to register as lobbyists when they go to testify at the legislative sessions.
Mayors, and other elected officials, never had to register as lobbyists at the session, only elected tribal officials had to. Senator Troy Heinert, from District 26, explained the importance of the bill by saying, “…they represent a considerable amount of people, and their interests.” I personally agree with this bill also. It allows the representatives that the tribal members elect, to speak to the state legislators as representatives of our tribes. They do not have to be lobbyists for some group, but tribal officials, speaking on behalf of their tribes.
The word that best sums up the public trust held by elected officials is stewardship. Stewardship – the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care – has been my goal as governor. It is through good stewardship that we balance the budget each year, make improvements to the state pension system and adopt new budget practices.
Stewardship also involves the sound management of tangible state assets. Regular maintenance of state-owned facilities prevents larger problems in the future, but state government also needs to constantly reevaluate its need for the facilities that we have. When I first ran for governor, I talked about the need to scrutinize state-owned land and buildings – and to sell assets that were under utilized. This has been an ongoing process now for six years.
By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota
Recently Americans for the Arts conducted a public opinion poll which provides an in-depth look at perceptions and attitudes about the arts in our country.
One of the most significant findings came in the question asking if people agree with the statement “Art institutions add value to our communities.” The survey showed 87% agree the arts are important to the quality of life, and 83% agree they are important to local businesses and the economy. And South Dakota proves those statistics.
Just about 4000 years ago, Chinese writings explained the medicinal powers of what is now called marijuana or cannabis, describing its power to help arthritis, gout, malaria, nausea, and psychological stress, along with its intoxicating/recreational properties. The use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes eventually spread to India and then Persia, often used by various cultures during religious ceremonies. From there cannabis spread to Europe about the time of the middle ages.