Commentary

Thu
01
Aug
Edgar's picture

Kids, families make choices

Last week I heard several conversations about the dwindling numbers in 4-H and the county fair. It’s true: It ain’t what it used to be. Probably never will be.

At this year’s Dewey County Fair, only 19 kids and 4 adults showed projects. There were only five entries in the cookie contest and five in the pie contest. Even counting rodeo and shooting sports, 4-H enrollment is declining the past few years.

The reasons are many, starting with the reorganization that the Cooperative Extension Service did a few years ago when they fired all the County Extension agents and offered them a chance to apply for fewer jobs serving several counties. Our local agents understandably went to other careers instead. We’ve had a series of part-time 4-H advisors and more of the work has fallen to parents, who, along with kids, have been losing interest.

 

 

Thu
25
Jul
Edgar's picture

Celebration is soul food

Ah, celebration! A time for getting together with friends and family, kicking back and letting the good times roll. When we give ourselves these pleasurable experiences, we not only blow off steam but we also fill up our emotional tanks. It is far easier to handle life’s stressors when we’re feeling good!

What’s more, cultivating a sense of happiness and satisfaction with our lives has far-reaching implications on our health and longevity. Quite simply, people who are happier live longer, don’t get sick as often and recover faster when they do.

Thu
18
Jul
Edgar's picture

Is it fake news?

Prairie Doc

It is miraculous to consider how much access and exposure we have to information through our computers, televisions, radios and newspapers. Unfortunately, we need to be on guard because too much of this buzz can be false information.

In an October 2017 article, the Pew Research Center found 43 percent of people in 2016 received their news from Facebook listening for information that aligned with their world view (not necessarily with facts). Pew also found 23 percent had shared, by intention or accident, untrue political messages on social media. We need to be more critical of all sources of information around us. Almost as malignant as fake news are advertisements that pretend to be factually based.

Thu
18
Jul
Edgar's picture

Showing RESPECT to Native Americans

During my time working as your governor and now U.S. senator, I’ve had the privilege of establishing friendships with tribal members from all nine reservations in South Dakota. As governor, Jean and I invited tribal leaders to our home to simply break bread and get to know each other on a personal level. It’s a small thing, but we’ve also made a concerted effort to employ tribal members and people with close ties to the reservations on my staff. I believe those personal relationships help me better understand the challenges facing our tribal communities. It has been an honor to spend time—sometimes simply driving the back roads—with tribal leaders concerned about water quality, education or roads. We’ve discussed many critical and immediate concerns but one issue that has touched my heart is the emotional toll that our sometimes-dark history continues to have on our Native American neighbors today.

Thu
11
Jul
Edgar's picture

Government response to humanitarian crisis is shameful and immoral

Is our government so broken that it cannot protect children in its custody? Will Congress and the President leave for their summer vacation while the situation at detention centers on our southern border worsens?

Even the government itself recognizes the problems of detaining large numbers of immigrant children and families in facilities that cannot care for them. A Management Alert from Acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello to Kevin McAleenan, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states, “DHS needs to address dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley.” The alert also says, “We encourage the DHS to take immediate steps.” Costello posted the alert to Congress and to the public at www.oig.dhs.gov.

Thu
11
Jul
Edgar's picture

Congress should cap Medicare out-ofpocket drug costs

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers recently unveiled a bill that would cap Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket drug costs.

That’s a terrific idea. High out-of-pocket costs prevent many Medicare patients from accessing vital medicines. Limiting those costs would keep folks healthy. And in the long run, the reform could generate savings for our nation’s health system.

Medicare’s “Part D” drug benefit is different from other entitlements. Rather than administer benefits directly, the government subsidizes Part D plans sold by private insurers. Insurers are largely free to design Part D plans as they see fit, as long as the plans meet certain requirements. Insurers compete for beneficiaries’ business by offering a variety of plans with different premiums and cost-sharing structures.

Thu
04
Jul
Edgar's picture

What We Declare

Stray Thoughts

Thu
04
Jul
Edgar's picture

New law addresses open meetings

South Dakota has made some improvements to its laws to make government meetings and records more open to the public in recent years but some areas of confusion remain. A couple of those things were addressed in Senate Bill 91, passed by the State Legislature earlier this year and became law on July 1.

The bill (now law) clarified the question of what happens when a quorum (a majority of members) of a public body is invited to an event or meeting where the public body does not control the agenda and where public policy may be discussed. An example may be a chamber of commerce event where the city council has been invited to attend and the event may or may not include discussion about city-related issues. In the past, there has been confusion as to whether or not the city council should post an official meeting agenda in this instance if they know that a majority of its members will be in attendance.

 

Thu
27
Jun
Edgar's picture

Misery to Miracle

Some think that the scourge of smallpox was present around 12,000 years ago; however, we know for sure it was here 3000 years ago as it was found on the face of an Egyptian Pharaoh mummy.

We know that it caused many large and devastating epidemics, killing about 35 percent of infected adults and 80 percent of infected children. Even during the 20th century, smallpox still resulted in 300-500 million deaths world-wide.

Pictures of people suffering from this miserable viral illness show skin of face and body breaking out with dime-sized firm white or red blisters. People also commonly developed fevers, vomiting, spread of blisters into mouth and eyes, and too often came to a wretched and miserable death. If one survived, the common facial pox scars could be extremely disfiguring and sometimes affected the cornea of eyes, causing blindness.

Thu
20
Jun
Edgar's picture

A Prayer for Aging

Prairie Doc

Nothing has touched my soul and spoken to aging with grace quite like the ancient Indian medicine wheel and the traditions that have evolved from it. From the National Library of Medicine, I learned that in the Americas, Indian tribes have multiple interpretations of the four directions, but the following prayer is my own, geriatrician’s interpretation of a version from the book Black Elk Speaks and Oyate (Nakota, Dakota, Lakota) tradition.

First, we get down on our knees and feel the soil, the sacred Mother Earth, bringing the world around us, the animals, plants, prairies, lakes, mountains, the environment of our planet from where all food and sustenance comes. Earth is foundation. Then we stand up on our tiptoes, and raise our arms to sacred Father Sky, the sun, stars, clouds, rain, wind, air and breath of life, light and dark; from where all energy flows and ebbs. Sky is infinity. Earth and sky, the beginning and the end.

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