Vol. 20, No. 33; Thursday, April 23, 2020

Apr 23, 2020 | Parker's Midweek Update | 4 comments

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Absentee ballot applications: The secretary of state’s office has begun mailing applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters. The application form must be notarized or accompanied by an acceptable photo ID of the voter’s driver license when it is sent to your county auditor. If you don’t have access to a copy machine or a notary public, you may take a photo of your ID using your phone or camera and email it to your county auditor. The auditor’s office will then mail an actual ballot to you (Republican primary ballot, Democratic primary ballot, city election ballot, school board election ballot, etc.), and that ballot must be mailed back so it is received no later than 5 p.m. June 1, the day before the elections.

Voting early and/or on June 2: Voters of course still have the option of doing early voting now at their county auditor’s offices, but social distancing limitations are in place, and you need to wear a mask out of respect to others’ health and for your own well-being. Voters also have the option of going to their usual polling places on June 2, but keep in mind that the coronavirus pandemic limitations may likely still be in effect.


Pierre wrestling: The Pierre Governors postseason awards banquet wasn’t a banquet at all this year but instead a live online presentation by the coaches.

— Statistical awards:
Most escapes, Tyson Johnson, 47 (school record).
Most reversals, Trey Lewis, 26.
Most near-falls, Jack Van Camp, 58 (school record).
Most takedowns, Regan Bollweg, 76.
Most tech-falls, Jack Van Camp, 8.
Most pins, Preston Taylor, 29.
Most wins, Cade Hinkle, 47.
Best win percentage, Regan Bollweg, 47.6%.
Fastest pin, Gavin Stotts, 6 seconds (school record).
— Major awards:
Broer Hustler Award, Blake Judson.
Obenauer Memorial Leadership Award, Jack Van Camp.
Most Improved Wrestler, Blake Judson.
Outstanding Varsity Wrestler, Regan Bollweg.
Outstanding JV Wrestler, Noah Williams, Jayden Wiebe, Wesley Harsma.
Future Governor Award, Trey Lewis.
Brooks Monfore Heart of a Champion Award, Regan Bollweg.

SDHSAA Academic Achievement awards: For the winter sports seasons the SDHSAA award for group academic achievement was won by the Pierre boys basketball cheerleaders, boys basketball team, girls basketball cheerleaders, girls basketball team, gymnastics team, wrestling team, one-act play company, visual arts team and vocal solo-ensemble group; by the Stanley County boys basketball team, girls basketball team, gymnastics team, wrestling team and one-act play company, and by the Sully Buttes boys basketball cheerleaders, boys basketball team and girls basketball team.

SDHSAA decisions: It appears that soccer will remain as a fall sport rather than being moved to spring. . . . . . First reading has been given to a proposal to make the state track meets a three-day event at one single site, starting in the spring of 2022. . . . . . Teams that qualified for the state basketball tournaments, which were canceled before they could be held, will receive plaques designating them as quarterfinalists. Individual players will receive medals at some point. . . . . . The effect of Pierre’s 103-0 win in the football playoffs over Spearfish continues to have repercussions. Classes 11AAA and 11AA, which have not had a mercy rule, will now have a running clock in the second half of any game in which the score margin reaches 35 points. . . . . . It appears there will be five classes of football—three in 11-man and two in 9-man—starting in the fall of 2021, but the manner in which they exist is yet to be determined. The Board of Control authorized the staff to reconvene the football advisory committee yet this spring to design a new five-class plan. That proposal would then be voted on by athletic directors, then passed to the Board of Control for a first reading, hopefully in June, and a second reading in August. . . . . . Girls wrestling is almost here. A proposal for beginning that as a sanctioned sport has been given its first reading.


The Pierre Educational Foundation, because it is unable to hold its public banquet and ceremony to honor the best and brightest of Riggs High School’s graduating seniors this year, has begun honoring them, one by one, in Facebook posts. Each of the honored seniors also selects a teacher who has been especially prominent in his or her school success over the past 13 years.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the following seniors have been honored, and we also list where they are headed next:

— Addy Smith, mathematics at SDSU.
— A.J. Goeden, SDSU.
— Allison Johnson, mathematics at SDSU.
— Andrew Bierne, college to be determined.
— Bailey Nelson, criminal justice at USD.
— Brenda Padilla, psychology and history at CUC.
— Bailey Wagner, college to be determined.
— Caden Davis, business at Nebraska-Lincoln.
— Carter Karst, finance at USD.
— Cassidy Miller, USD.
— Clayton Alban, Air National Guard, then aviation at SDSU.
— Catie Natvig, political science and marketing at SDSU.
— Deni Zeeb, pre-med at Black Hills State.
— Emily Johnson, USD.
— Emry Heiss, elementary education at Nebraska-Lincoln or Nebraska-Kearney.
— Grant Judson, Augustana.
— Hannah Jerome, health care at USD.
— Hattie Shaffer, biology at SDSU.
— Hunter Martell, accounting at Black Hills State.
— Janaina Zanin, USD.
— Josi Stevens, biology and health care at Midland University (Neb.).
— Justin Houlette, civil engineering at School of Mines.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the following teachers have been honored with a Facebook post as BankWest Educators of Excellence:
— Adam Spoehr, Riggs High.
— Amber Stout, Jefferson.
— Becky Kitts, St. Joseph.
— Brian Moser, Riggs High.
— Brianna Postma, Riggs High.
— Becky McKeever, St. Joseph.
— Brittany Green, Riggs High.
— Becky Walsh St. Joseph.
— Bryan Bonhorst, Riggs High.
— Chad Kringel, Buchanan.
— Cheris Blanchette, Riggs High.
— Chelsey Coverdale, Georgia Morse Middle School.
— Chris Swiden, Riggs High.
— Christie Zander, Jefferson.
— Christina Staskewich, Riggs High.
— Dan Snyder, Riggs High.

We will continue our listing in next week’s Midweek Update as more honored students and teachers are posted by the Pierre Educational Foundation.


“It’s not about your life. You don’t have the right to risk someone else’s life, and you don’t have the right, frankly, to have a health care staff and people who are literally putting their lives on the line and be cavalier or reckless with them.”

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York


NSIC All-Academic Team: The conference honored spring sport athletes for their academic achievements, including Natalie Young, junior at Augustana in women’s golf, and Rachel Guthmiller, sophomore at Northern, for women’s outdoor track and field.


Directions: Draw four boxes in each of four rows, one row on top of another. Number the top row of boxes 1, 2, 3 and 4 from left to right. Number the left-hand row of boxers 1, 5, 6 and 7 from top to bottom.

(1) Applaud.
(5) “Arsenic and Old —-.”
(6) End of a prayer.
(7) What doctors prescribe.
(1) —- chowder.
(2) Slightly crippled.
(3) Completed test perfectly.
(4) Writing utensils.

Puzzle answer at the bottom of this Update.


17 days: Mothers Day (May 10).
25 days: Voter registration deadline for June 2 elections (May 18).
33 days: Pierre Trappers season opener (May 26).
40 days: Primary/municipal elections (June 2).
49 days: PGA Tour resumes on TV (June 11-14).
56 days: Oahe Days (June 18-20).
56 days: Riggs High all-’70s reunion/Classes of 1970-79 (June 18-20).
58 days: Riggs High Class of ’00 20-year reunion (June 20).
59 days: Fathers Day (June 21).


A mask is better than a ventilator.
Home is better than the ICU.
Prevention is better than a cure.
It’s not curfew. It’s CARE FOR U.

— Stephen Wohlfarth


— Sports events in the Twin Cities are on hold, of course, but the first to return will likely be the men’s golf PGA Tour event, the 3M Open in Blaine, on July 20-26.


Sioux Falls Canaries: The American Association announced this week its season will be delayed until at least early July and that they are planning an 80-game season.

Pierre Trappers: The Expedition League officials still say the season will open May 26 as scheduled, but there are plans for a season beginning in July, too. . . . . . The Trappers will have Niko Piazza on the roster for the third straight summer. He now is a senior outfielder from Southeast Oklahoma State and Scottsdale, Ariz.


Thursday: root beer.
Friday-Sunday: strawberry butter.
Monday-Tuesday: key lime.
Wednesday-Thursday: lemon.


Thursday, April 23:
Shirley Bonhorst, Heather Sperry, Gracie (Lindbloom) Curtis, Dusty Paulsen, Grady Gilmore, Tara Jo St. Germaine, Karen (Cremer) Hofer, Teva Snodgrass, Preston Mohlman, Scott Carbonneau.
— 9th anniversary, Brian/Sarah Custer.

Friday, April 24:
Damian Dieken, Sean Devine, Terry Larsen, Karissa Guthrie, Dave Lingle, Phil Leidholt, Autumn Bryant, Briggs Goehring.
— 38th anniversary, Jack/Jill Aadland.
— 8th anniversary, Dustin/Kayla (Gallimore) Witt.
— 10th anniversary, Joel/Kelly (Johnson) Metz.

Saturday, April 25:
Amanda Olson, Evan Jarvis, Betty Jones, Cameron Sass, Stephanie (Magedanz) Bartsch, Lola Hollingsworth, Jodie (Hickman) Anderson, Peggy Hofmeister, Greg Lakner, Helen Jane Paxton.
— 34th anniversary, Bob/Laurie Gill.
— 11th anniversary, Chase/Joanie (Flottmeyer) Blair.
— 11th anniversary, Justin/Holly Artz.
— 7th anniversary, Trevor/Jackie Fisher.

Sunday, April 26:
Jean Easland, Penn Williams, Beth Simon, John Williams, Ellis Mangan, Matt Mitchell, Julie Miller, John Bradley, Nathan Ellenbecker, Susan (Van Camp) Wendelbo, Jane Candler, Sheryl Nielsen, Susie (Gloe) Hansen, Sarah Gloe, Brian Chicoine, Rebekah (Hartmann) Hlavacek.
— 6th anniversary, Tyler/Nikki (Koenig) Sullivan.
— 6th anniversary, Will John/Kylee (Lamb) Johnson.
— 17th anniversary, David/Ann (Beemer) Candler.
— 6th anniversary, Andrew/Ashley Tople.
— 17th anniverssary, Dennis/Jackie (Thorson) Richey.

Monday, April 27:
Mona Oehlerking, Mike Leidholt, Mary Potter, Carol (Ebert) Newcomb, Cora Bartsch, Allyson (Friez) Kreycik, Lavin Stoeser, Leo Sengos, Morgan Lindekugel, Lacey Hepker, Melinda Christiansen, Matt Blake, Sarah Olson, Isaac Denke, Daulton Mercer, Gene Weischedel.
— 18th anniversary, Forrest/Susan (McNeely) Foster.

Tuesday, April 28:
Ryker Custer, Steph Paluch, Allen Goodman, Ada Mae Stofferahn, Casey Ahlers, Aaron Mentele, Lane Severyn, Brittney (Witte) Hunsley, Benjamin Lechtenberg, Eric Tilberg, Barron Kafka, Boyer Mikkelsen, Henry Hansen.
— 13th anniversary, Matt/Carly Heard.
— 8th anniversary, William/Lynnette Coolidge.
— 19th anniversary, Mike/Erika (Snow) Andreas.
— 2nd anniversary, Connor/Amanda McKittrick.
— 2nd anniversary, Josh/Kelsie (Brandlee) Williams.
— 2nd anniversary, Chris/Morgan Pope.

Wednesday, April 29:
Blake Rose, Hollis Eschmeyer, Jeremy Jorgenson, Terri Johnson, Cindy (Bourk) Bowden, Morrigan Cardwell, Brittany Rausch, Josiah Severson, Brian Rausch, Joey Boyer, Ryan Kelley.

Thursday, April 30:
Jason Rumpca, Paula (Darger) Gunderson, Frank Whitebird, Dave Knudson, Diana Heymans, Jake Mortenson, Tyler Merriam, Juleana Enright, Eileen Dean, Adam Calkins, Virgil Mikkelsen (#92).
— 4th anniversary, Troy/Kelsey (Hanson) Roth.


“We can’t muster the strength to do nothing in the cause of helping the health-care workers save lives, and instead need to actively work against them because we don’t like to be told what to do.”

— John Pavlovitz on the protests against shelter-in-place orders


It took cancer 11 years to claim the life of Bob Shoup. He passed away April 19 at Ava’s Hospice House in Sioux Falls. No public service will be held at this time. However, friends are welcome to watch the family service at 11 a.m. Monday on mobile devices in their cars from the parking lot at Faith Lutheran Church. Then those who wish to do so can follow the procession to Riverside Cemetery and be part of the committal service from their cars. A link to the family funeral will also be available at www.isburgfuneralchapels.com. Another way to participate is to e-mail your name and a message of support to togetherinspirit@yahoo.com, and the funeral home staff will place your message on a heart attached to a chair at the service. Bob was the son of Bud and Elsie (Cavanaugh) Shoup. Born in 1954, he grew up on the family farm southeast of Agar and graduated in 1972 from Agar High School where he was homecoming king. After attending SDSU for two years and meeting the former Nancy Shelbourn there, Bob attended Lake Area Technical Institute for two years, completing his degree in building trades. He and Nancy were married in June 1976. After living in Brookings and Rapid City, they settled in Pierre in 1978. Bob started his own business, Shoup Construction Inc., in 1981, and he became a highly sought-after home builder. Bob was active in all phases of Faith Lutheran Church over the years. Among his survivors are his wife of nearly 44 years, Nancy Shoup of Pierre; his daughter, Katie Nebelsick and her husband Josh of Rapid City and their four sons; his son, Jacob Shoup and his wife Chezarae of Sioux Falls and their two children; three brothers, Dennis Shoup of Summerset, Larry Shoup of Gettysburg and Bill Shoup of Brandon; two sisters Judy Maroney and Pam Goebel, both of Gettysburg; his brother-in-law, Ken Shelbourn of Pierre, and his mother-in-law, Clara Shelbourn of Pierre.

Shane and Deni (Lohman) Hollingsworth are the parents of a son, George Leo Hollingsworth, who was born April 13, weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces, and measuring 20 3/4 inches. He joins his sister, Lola, who will be 4 this Saturday, in the Hollingsworth family in Pierre.

Colleen Weiss, 79, formerly of Pierre, died April 13 at Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Colleen graduated from Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City in 1957 and from Mount Marty College in 1962. She began her teaching career at Sacred Heart School in Parkston with 52 students in two grades in one classroom. She and Larry Weiss were married in 1964. Colleen also taught at Dimock, Pukwana, Fort Pierre, the Pierre AAUW nursery school and the South Dakota Discovery Ceknter. She concluded her teaching career with 14 years at Pierre Indian Learning Center. She was active in Kiwanis, Ss. Peter & Paul Church, St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary and the Red Cross, and she served on the Head Start Center board for 26 years as well as volunteering for many other community activities. She is survived by her husband, Larry Weiss; five children, Connie Pruner and her husband Tom of Sioux Falls, Kathleen Steen and her husband Todd of Sioux Falls, Robin Weiss of Sioux Falls, Steve Weiss and his wife Penny of Chicago and Bruce Weiss and his wife Tina of Minneapolis, and seven grandchildren.

This year’s American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State have both been canceled. Among other events called off for 2020 are the Schmeckfest celebration at Freeman; RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Race Across Iowa); the national spelling bee, and the June volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial.

The Fort Pierre city council decided at its meeting Monday to wait until as late as possible to discuss whether the Fourth of July parade will be held this summer.

Bessie Husband died Feb. 21, and her funeral was held April 15. She and her husband, Joe, left their farm and moved to Pierre in 1985. She worked at Rawlins Library and Gator’s Pizza. In her later years she lived at ParkWood Apartments. She is survived by her two children, Sally Van Den Berg and her husband Rex and Jerry Husband and his wife Rebecca.

Dale “Doc” Anderson, 76, Fort Pierre, died at Avera Maryhouse April 16. A memorial service will be held later at Garden City. He worked in the potato industry at Garden City and at J&G Salvage and Fur in Fort Pierre and also lived at Henry. He is survived by his sisters, Lynda Lawrence and her husband Ron of Watertown and Judy Anderson of Fort Pierre.

The South Dakota Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development has chosen Troy Wiebe as its Curriculum Leader of the Year in the state.

Former Pierre resident Mark Bratt learned Thursday that the next day would be his last day of work at Avera Health in Sioux Falls where many employees were furloughed. Mark said on his Facebook page, “Pushing 64 with high unemployment and I can’t interview for a job anyhow; it’s a good time to retire.” Mark has a vacant condo at Hollister, Mo., in the Branson area of the Ozarks, so he will move there. “I also get to avoid a retirement party, which I have always considered a visitation for the upright,” he said.

Virgil Mikkelsen will observe his 92nd birthday next Thursday, April 30. If only those people for whom Virgil has sung at weddings and funerals over the past seven or eight decades would send him a birthday card, his mailbox would be full. For anyone who would like to send him greetings, the address is 425 E. Missouri Ave., Apt. 1, Pierre SD 57501.

The Stanley County School District is tentatively planning to hold its graduation ceremony Sunday, May 17, at noon at the football field. It will be open to only the seniors and their immediate family members. Supt. Daniel Hoey said the specifics have yet to be worked out, but the general plan includes students and their families staying in their vehicles for a drive-in ceremony. At this time it is uncertain as to how much of the ceremony will be live and how much will be pre-recorded and streamed to the families. Following the graduation ceremony the students and their families will parade through town in their vehicles to celebrate at a distance with the community. (News courtesy of Dakota Radio Group’s “My Daily News.”)

Chris and Portia (Hurney) Corbin of Lead are the parents of another daughter. Amelia Elizabeth Corbin, who is already being called “Millie,” was born April 18, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and measuring 20 inches. Also happy about her arrival is her sister, Louisa, 3 1/2. Chris and Portia are both priests in the Episcopal church.

Maryann McGinnis, 75, died April 18 at Avera Maryhouse. A family graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Scotty Philip Cemetery. Maryann moved to Pierre in 1963. She worked at various places, retiring from Walmart in 2010. She is survived by three children, Randy Conklin in Utah, Denise Carlson in Wisconsin and Ronald Carter of Pierre; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Tammy Withers, who suffered a stroke in February and was hospitalized in Sioux Falls, then moved to Maryhouse to undergo therapy. She is now recuperating at home while still undergoing therapy.

Jim Sutton of Sully County is one of this year’s inductees into the Prorodeo Hall of Fame. They will be inducted in a ceremony at Colorado Springs on Aug. 1.

Edgar Naylor, 84, died April 13 at the Westhills health-care facility in Rapid City. Services are planned for a later date. He graduated from high school in Loveland, Colo., in 1953. Then he moved with his family to Hill City. He married Marilyn Schoenhard in 1955. They lived in Vermillion while he attended USD, then in Pierre where he worked for five years at the Department of Transportation. The Naylors moved in 1965 to Rapid Citry where Ed began his career as a State Farm insurance agent. He worked for more than 31 years in that capacity, retiring in 1996. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marilyn Naylor; his daughter, Kristina Ahern and her husband Ric of Maiden Rock, Wis.; two sons, Steve Naylor and his wife Jane of Pierre and Troy Naylor and his wife Mary of Nehalem, Ore.; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

While school personnel in South Dakota have known for a couple weeks that they would not return to their classrooms this semester, in other states that news is just becoming known. Pierre native Valori Kunsman, a first-grade teacher at Sparks, Nev., in the Washoe County School District, found out just Tuesday that Nevada schools won’t reopen this spring. She has been part of that district since September 2007. Meanwhile, her sister, Kristi (Kunsman) Lloyd, teaches in Jamestown, N.D. So far the decision to keep that state’s schools closed for the rest of this year has not yet been made.

John and Mary Hoover hosted their sons for a family weekend at their home in Custer last weekend. Lucas Hoover came from Aberdeen, and Jordan and Nikki Hoover along with their children—Leighton, 6; Hart, 3, and Grant, 9 months—came from Henderson, Nev. John continues to recuperate at home after several weeks of hospitalization in Rapid City and Custer for pancreatitis.

PV2 Tristan Christoffer of Rapid City, who is 21 and the oldest of the three children of Pierre natives Todd and Brandi (LeBeau) Christoffer, has completed U.S. Army basic combat training at Fort Benning, Ga., making him officially a soldier. Next Tristan will remain at Fort Benning for 13 more weeks of airborne combat medic training, after which he will learn where will be the next stop as he proceeds in medic training. Prior to joining the Army, Tristan worked as an EMT with the ambulance service at Hot Springs. Tristan is the grandson of former Pierre residents Dick and Joy Christoffer of Rapid City and Larry and Barb Tibbs of Pierre. Todd and Brandi’s other kids are Taryn, a freshman at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, and Ty, a freshman at Stevens High School.


That was a rather pathetic sight today, the so-called protesters all over the steps and streets in front of the Michigan capitol in Lansing. Their governor’s strict limitations in an attempt to halt the coronavirus pandemic in her state, where Detroit has been one of the hardest-hit areas, have those big, tough white men (and they all seemed to be white, and since blacks, Natives and immigrants would have been arrested, I assume they were whites) all in a dither, waving their flags, carrying their assault rifles, demanding their rights. How strange that some of them were wearing masks! To protect them from what exactly?

At least the Earth itself is alive and well. I don’t see any dandelions anywhere on our yard or on neighbors’ yards. Not a bright yellow flower anywhere in sight, and that’s fine with me. Except for one spot! Three dandelions have suddenly burst into full bloom out of one plant sticking up through a crack in the cement along the foundation of the back side of our house. At least until flowers begin blooming and buds begin to appear on tree limbs, I have no desire to get rid of our first three dandelions of the year. They add a bit of color, and we can use all the color we can get these days.

The date of April 19 tomorrow always instantly brings to my mind 1993 when we lost Governor George Mickelson, Ron Reed, Rolly Dolly, Angus Anson, David Birkeland, Roger Hainje, David Hansen and Ron Becker in the crash of the state plane near Dubuque. The date also brings to mind the literally countless other horrible events that have happened in this small space of time in the month of April in other years. Because I have so much time on my hands these days, I hit a couple keys and was reminded of all of these things that have taken place in mid-April:
1795, the British invasion of Massachusetts with Paul Revere sounding the alarm.
1865, President Lincoln’s assassination.
1906, the San Francisco earthquake.
1912, the sinking of the Titanic.
1945, President Roosevelt’s death while in office.
1947, the Texas City ship explosion.
1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion.
1983, the U.S. embassy bombing in Beirut.
1989, the USS Iowa explosion.
1993, the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco.
1994, the shooting down on two Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq.
1995, the Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
1999, the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado.
2007, the Virginia Tech massacre.
2010, the Deepwater Horizons oil spill.
2013, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
2013, the Boston Marathon bombings.
2019, the Notre Dame cathedral fire in Paris.

As a high school senior my granddaughter, Olivia, and all of her peers are missing a lot of things this spring. Today happened to be her 18th birthday, so there wasn’t much chance to celebrate as we normally would have—no family dinner, no backyard get-together. I did drop off a gift from a safe distance and sent her flowers, and some of the family (those who are not technologically challenged as I am) did a Zoom call. When I let our dogs out for their usual 6 a.m. duty call, the ground was dry, and there was nothing in the air. Two hours later heavy snowfall had come down in huge fluttering flakes, and we had probably three inches of the stuff on the ground. Some of Olivia’s theater friends from Central had planned a drive-by happy-birthday-wave kind of event for her through Canyon Lake Park. The snowfall that continued through the morning took care of that. Perhaps by the end of the summer we can celebrate the birthday as well as graduation and anything else missed due to the pandemic.

Many of the hosts of TV shows have been working on the air from their homes, their decks, their backyards, their offices, their bedrooms, their man-caves. As I look around where I am, I wonder (because I have time these days to daydream) what location in my little corner of the world would be suitable for a live TV feed if I had anything to say to the world. One wall of my room has a shelf halfway between floor and ceiling where I have numerous framed photos and books. On the wall there are collages of family photos from the years back when we took photos, developed them, printed them and framed them. And finally there is a framed piece of art showing the lyrics to “You Raise Me Up.” That perhaps is the wall that you will see behind me the next time CNN calls for a live interview. The only other option might be my closet where you would see my clothes hanging on the left, my microwave and refrigerator on the right, and a window in the background showing my wind chimes and, farther back, the neighbors’ house. We’ll try that shot when MSNBC wants my live opinion on something. Trust me; we need not worry about Fox News Channel calling. I assume they’re still on the air?

All-State Chorus began in South Dakota in the 1954-55 school year, and I was fortunate enough to be chosen by Mr. Hieb to be one of the two Onida High tenors (even though I was a bass) to go to Aberdeen as a senior for All-State Chorus in November of 1955. One of the songs the chorus performed comes to mind often, and I can still recall many of the lyrics. “No Man Is An Island” seems ironically appropriate right now—we’re in this pandemic thing together, yet, if we follow directions, we are also alone.
“No man is an island; no man stands alone.
Each man’s joy is joy to me; each man’s grief is my own.
We need one another so I will defend
Each man as my brother, each man as my friend.
When I help my brother, then I know that I
Plant the seed of friendship that will never die.”

What is more essential during a time of a dangerous virus threatening our well-being than drag races! Such an event would not be taking place in some states—California, for one—but this being South Dakota, nobody seems to be able to stop some idiot from scheduling drag races at Park Jefferson, an event to which they have sold 700 tickets in an outdoor facility that, they say, will seat 4,000. They say they are taking safety precautions. Can’t you just see Bubba and his woman exercising social distancing at a drag race? Especially at the beer stand? But I guess that, if Georgia considers tattoo parlors, hair salons and bowling alleys so crucial to their residents’ survival, South Dakota can have its drag races. Fortunately for most of us, that location is barely inside our state—only about five miles from Iowa and maybe eight from Nebraska. With any luck at all the virus that is spread at this event Saturday will be carried back across the Big Sioux and the Missouri to Sioux City, South Sioux City and beyond. We’ll get our own chance at disaster when somebody insists that the Sturgis motorcycle rally proceed unabated. It’s the economy, you know.


And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And earned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply.
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless
The Earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

— Written by Kathleen O’Mara in 1869, reprinted in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic




  1. Vicki Blake

    Really great receiving this newsletter each week. I look forward to it and your thoughts. Thank you so much for continuing this tradition for the Pierre area and its current and former residents.

  2. Peggy Hofmeister

    Thank you, Parker for continuing this tradition. I look forward to it every week, and your words of wisdom. I would like to print off your closing thought.

    • everythingsd

      Hi, Peggy: Almost everything I use is copied from somebody else, so welcome to the club!

      I hope you and Larry are doing well and staying well and dodging those tornadoes that seem to be as common in the South as the wind is up here.

  3. Juanita McKeever

    The gift of being “in touch” & your reflections are always a treat. THANK YOU! A lot of work for you, but such a day brightener for so many!
    Stay well.


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