Commentary

Wed
12
Apr

Stewardship of State Pensions

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

South Dakotans are not afraid to do things differently when different means a better way. “Different” defines how we have been running our state’s retirement system.

Many other state retirement systems are struggling with large unfunded liabilities. New Jersey’s credit rating was downgraded by S&P recently due to its “large and growing unfunded pension liability.” Similarly, Illinois was downgraded by Fitch from BBB+ to BBB, partly because of ballooning pension problems.

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Wed
12
Apr

New Life

By Mark Peacock

Have you reached that point yet when you’re not in control?

When your age and your cynicism have taken their toll?

When all that you’ve had and all that you’ve done all add up to nothing and you’re back at step one?

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Wed
05
Apr

Juvenile justice reforms working

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

This week, the juvenile justice reform oversight council released its first annual report. The report encapsulates the progress made in the first full year of implementation of the 2015 Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative. Before the 2015 reforms went into effect,

South Dakota had the second highest juvenile commitment rate in the country and was 188 percent above the national average. This ranking was not explained by a higher rate of juvenile violence. In fact, South Dakota’s juvenile violence arrest rate was just one-third of the national average.

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Wed
29
Mar

Slices of Life: Her husband calls her a squirrel

By Jill Pertler

My husband says I am a squirrel. Don’t take it the wrong way. It’s a term of endearment as well as a fairly accurate descriptor (if I am being honest). It’s become a nickname of sorts. It all started at the superstore. About a month ago we stopped to shop for a few things. We entered through the automatic doors and headed toward the first item on our list. But en route, up ahead, on the right, was a display of gloves – on clearance. I instinctively veered right to check them out because my husband could use a pair.

Before I got to the gloves, however, I was confronted with a roadblock. Two long lost friends (but strangers to me) had apparently rediscovered each other in front of the magazine rack and were in the middle of a long and drawn-out conversation in middle of the aisle.

 

Wed
29
Mar

Promenade

By Mark Peacock

When you have occasion in the future to look back at high school, you may not remember a single day sitting in Geometry or English or for that matter, any of your other high school classes, but you will remember the Senior Prom. Why?

Well, first of all, for most it only happens once a year unless you live in small town America and are recruited between schools for this prom and that prom. And to be honest, no one probably ever approached you, sweaty…timid…apprehensive…unsure… as they invited you to a U.S. History class.

 

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Wed
22
Mar

This twelve minutes a day is considered a gift

By Jill Pertler

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.

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Wed
22
Mar

Agriculture: Food for Life

(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.

Wed
15
Mar

Why we need the press

By Kathy Nelson

 

There’s been a lot of talk about President Trump’s “war” with the news media. He’s labeled the press “the enemy.”

Thankfully, the First Amendment and the protection it provides the press, and the citizens who depend on it, was here long before President Donald Trump and it will be here long after.

That’s one of the comforting things about American life: Certain things are permanent.

 

 

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Wed
15
Mar

Public notices play role in open government

By Brian J. Hunhoff

 

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.

 

 

Wed
08
Mar

South Dakota’s seat at the table

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

“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. 

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