Vol. 20, No. 38; Thursday, May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020 | Parker's Midweek Update | 0 comments

Fort Pierre Tourism and Promotion Council

Fort Pierre Tourism
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Hewitt Land Company

Hewitt Land Company
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Brittney Schiefelbein American Family Insurance

Brittney Schiefelbein
American Family Insurance
(605) 224-6627


If you do not know where to vote on Tuesday in the primary and city elections, call your county auditor’s office or go online to sdsos.gov, click on the elections link and then click on the Voter Information Portal.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time in each time zone.

If you have your ballot at home and have not yet mailed it in, do so NO LATER THAN TOMORROW (Friday) so you are sure it will arrive at your county auditor in Monday’s mail at the latest. A mailed-in ballot envelope requires TWO STAMPS.

Only Republicans statewide will vote on these races:
— U.S. Senate: Mike Rounds; Scyller Borglum. (The winner advances to the general election vs. Dan Ahlers, the Democratic candidate.)
— U.S. House of Representatives: Dusty Johnson; Liz Marty May. (The winner advances to the general election vs. Randy Luallin, the Libertarian candidate. There is no Democratic candidate.)

Only Republicans in District 24 (Hughes/Stanley/Sully) will vote on this race:
— S.D. House of Representatives (vote for 2): Bob Lowery; Jeff Monroe; Mike Weisgram; Noel Chicoine; Will Mortenson. (The top 2 advance to the general election vs. Amanda Bachman, the Democratic candidate, and the top 2 among those 3 candidates will be elected to office.)

Only Republicans in Hughes County will vote on this race:
— County Commission at-large seat (vote for 2): Randy Brown; Tom Rounds; Troy Bowers. (The top 2 advance to the general election vs. Vicky Wilkey, the Democratic candidate, and the top 2 among those 3 candidates will be elected to office.)

Only Fort Pierre Ward II voters will decide this race:
— City Council, Ward II seat: Dave LaRoche; Scott Deal; Carl Rathbun. (The winner will be elected to office.)


“If you can’t look back at your younger self and realize that you were an idiot, you are probably still an idiot.”

— Vicki Cochran Enloe Bayliff


Thursday: pina colada.
Friday-Sunday: raspberry.


“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

— Peter Marshall


Golf: Class “AA” and “A” boys golf was played last fall, so those athletes not affected by the pandemic. They had their seasons and state tournaments. But Class “B” boys golf and all three classes of girls golf were erased by the coronavirus this spring. Senior golfers in those four classes have been invited to play in a Senior Showcase tournament to be held at Hillsview Golf Course in Pierre on Monday, June 1. Registration will be limited to 80 seniors.


Augustana track and field: Elizabeth Schaefer and four other Viking athletes who qualified for the Division II indoor national meet in Birmingham, which never happened because of the coronavirus danger, were named Indoor Track and Field All-Americans by the U.S. Track and Field College Coaches Association. Elizabeth, who just completed her freshman year at Augustana, won the NSIC conference meet pentathlon at the end of the indoor season with a score that rated sixth-best in the nation.


Directions: Draw a 4×4 box of 16 squares. Number the boxes in the top row from the left 1, 2, 3 and 4. Number the boxes in the left-hand row from top to bottom 1, 5, 6 and 7.

(1) Killer whale.
(5) Mrs. Biden.
(6) Karl and Joan.
(7) Dubuque and Davenport are there.

(1) City near Santa Barbara.
(2) Clan feud.
(3) Sharp nail on animal’s toe.
(4) She just turned 108.


“When you test (for COVID-19), you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.”

— President Donald Trump in Allentown, Pa., May 14, 2020


5 days: Primary/city elections (June 2).
10 days: Pierre Post 8 varsity season opener (June 7).
14 days: PGA Tour resumes, Fort Worth, Texas (June 11).
17 days: Pierre Post 8 varsity home openers (June 14).
24 days: Fathers Day (June 21).
36 days: Fort Pierre Fourth of July rodeo (July 3-5).
37 days: Independence Day (July 4).
52 days: National High School Rodeo, Lincoln, Neb. (July 19-23).
69 days: State amateur baseball tournament, Mitchell (Aug. 5-16).
70 days: NFL Hall of Fame game, Canton, Ohio (Aug. 6).
71 days: State Legion baseball tournament, Brandon (Aug. 7-9).
71 days: Sturgis motorcycle rally (Aug. 7-16).
71 days: Pierre Players’ “Native Gardens” (Aug. 7-9, 13-15).
78 days: State 4-H Finals Rodeo, Fort Pierre (Aug. 14-16).
81 days: Democratic National Convention, Milwaukee (Aug. 17-20).
84 days: First day of school in Pierre (Aug. 20).
85 days: BluntFest (Aug. 21-23).
87 days: Indianapolis 500 (Aug. 23).
88 days: Republican National Convention, Charlotte (Aug. 24-27).


This shutdown response to COVID-19 is exposing all those who have never in their lives been told ‘no.’


Pierre Post 8 varsity schedule (subject to change):

June 7: at Mitchell (1:00 doubleheader).
June 12: at Rapid City Post 22 (5:00 MDT doubleheader).
June 14: home vs. Rapid City Post 22 and Renner (1:00 triangular).
June 16: home vs. Rapid City Post 320 (5:00 doubleheader).
June 17: home vs. Aberdeen (5:00 doubleheader).
June 18: home vs. Sioux Falls West (4:00 doubleheader).
June 21: at Aberdeen (1:00 doubleheader).
June 23: at Sioux Falls East with Yankton (triangular times TBD).
June 24: home vs. Mandan (5:30 doubleheader).
June 26-28: at Minot tournament (opponents and times TBD).
July 1: at Watertown (5:00 doubleheader).
July 2: home vs. Mitchell and Sturgis (5:00 triangular).
July 6: home vs. Minot and Sioux Falls East (triangular times TBD).
July 7: home vs. Minot (doubleheader, time TBD).
July 10-12: at New Dakota Classic, Sioux Falls (opponents and times TBD).
July 14: at Harrisburg (5:00 doubleheader).
July 16-19: at Rapid City tournament (opponents and times TBD).
July 22: at Mandan (5:30 doubleheader).
July 24: home vs. Spearfish (5:00 doubleheader).
July 27-29: regional tournament.
Aug. 3-4: super regional series.
Aug. 7-9: state tournament at Brandon.


  • Not only will Halloween this fall occur on a full-moon night, it will also be on a Saturday, and that is the night that Daylight Saving Time ends, which means an extra hour to the night. So far as Brookings and SDSU police are concerned, Oct. 31 is also Hobo Day Good luck!
  • The South Dakota Showdown Series, a competition in athletics between USD and SDSU sponsored by South Dakota Corn, is dead even, 4-4, after eight years of existence. The final standing is usually close, but this year Coyote teams blew away the Jackrabbit teams, 14.5 to 6.5. Because of the closing of spring sports, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field and women’s softball were not considered in this year’s scoring. USD earned three points for its athletes having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; two points for its football win; two points for a volleyball sweep; two points for a women’s basketball sweep; one point for women’s cross country; one point for a win in men’s basketball; one point for women’s swimming/diving; one point for men’s swimming/diving, a point for women’s indoor track and field, and a half-point for women’s soccer. SDSU got three points for its athletes’ GPA standing, a point for a win in men’s basketball, a point for men’s cross country, one point for men’s indoor track and field and a half-point for women’s soccer.
  • One of the most brilliant dudes ever to graduate from Riggs High School happens to be a Facebook friend of mine. In response to a comment somebody made about wearing masks these days, he points out, “For any skeptics the Department of Defense is still requiring distance and face masks as a forced health protection measure because we need service members to win wars. It might be different if we just needed to win elections.”
  • One of my favorite sports events of any normal year is the College World Series. This past Monday would have been Selection Monday, and the 64 teams would have been revealed. But as we know, the CWS long ago was called off for this year. Baseball America magazine has already made its way-too-early rankings of college baseball teams for the 2021 season, which we hope we get to experience. Assuming the top eight ranked teams would make it to Omaha, next year’s CWS field would include Florida, Texas Tech, UCLA, Mississippi, Virginia, LSU, Vanderbilt and Louisville.
  • Think about this for a minute: Kevin Noteboom, a Black Hills Playhouse alumnus, has been lost to the coronavirus. His daughter offered this comment this week: “Wear a mask. It’s not for you. It’s for people like my dad. He would still be here today if someone would have worn a mask.”


If nothing else, some people just teach you how not to be.


Thursday, May 28:
Emma Lundeen, Sophia Lundeen, Sarah Deters, Larry Johnson, Mary Heidelberger, Brian Custer, Dave Hauschild.
— 15th anniversary, Brian/Nicole (Miller) Willis.
— 15th anniversary, Tom/Erin (Nielsen) Nielsen.
— 15th anniversary, Ross/Jessica (Duba) Castelli.
— 3rd anniversary, Taylor/Bethany Brock.
— 4th anniversary, Ryan/Elizabeth (Nail) Miller.
— 9th anniversary, Chad/Amanda (Sorensen) Jungman.
— 3rd anniversary, Damon/Jessica Thielen.
— 9th anniversary, Brian/Caitlin (Feller) Kemnitz.
— 4th anniversary, David/Georgina (McKee) Smith.

Friday, May 29:
Hunter Hamre, Kimberly Coats, Helen Stahl, Gail Opoien, Breanna Bishop, Austin Senger, Ray Hunsley, Teagan Madden, Dax Cappellano, Cora Hachem.
— 10th anniversary, Matt/Kacy (Hutchinson) Gill.
— 27th anniversary, Dan/Deb (Kern) Workman.
— 10th anniversary, Tony/Jessica Jockheck.
— Anniversary, Ken/Joyce Koistinen.
— 11th anniversary, John/Callie (Buechler) Morris.
— 59th annivesary, Larry/Gail Lyngstad.
— 16th anniversary, Andrew/Darcy (Beck) Boersma.
— 16th anniversary, Dustin/Tina (Peterson) Ottenbacher.
— 16th anniversary, Mike/Meghann Klinger.

Saturday, May 30:
Kristin McNeely, Aaron Propst, Calvin Marso, Brienna Binger, Jamie Lamb, Judy Rapp, Eric Lebida, Jaxon Griffith, Priscilla Sommer, Paul Schoenfelder, Linda Lomheim, Jason Rodgers, Jordan Bordewyk, Trish (Curtis) Schloeder.
— 5th anniversary, Jason/Kelsey Mangan.
— 5th anniversary, Will/Shuree Mortenson.
— 5th anniversary, Drew/Nicole Mickelson.
— 5th anniversary, Austin/Moriah (Wagner) Gross.

Sunday, May 31:
Wes Dugstad, Jackson Hipple, Graham Protexter, Jay Mickelson, Tori Emerson, Jackie Schlaikjer, Connie (Rislov) Casanova, Kayla Engelbrecht, Anna Engelbrecht, Craig Feigum, Jeff Robbins, Kirk Yackley, Alice Rapp, Tyler Bales, Curry Kuehl, Rodney Parks, Lahnee Martin, Melissa (Hitchcock) Maxwell.
— 12th anniversary, Dan/Alissa (Harter) Schumacher.
— 59th anniversary, Jack/Lillian Campbell.
— 17th anniversary, Jason/Lanete (McFarling) Kotilnek.
— 23rd anniversary, Jon/Heather Sailer.
— 34th anniversary, Vern/Hope Armstrong.
— 6th anniversary, Andrew/Heather Fergen.
— 6th anniversary, Nick/Liz (Winter) Marso.
— 7th anniversary, Aaron/Jenna (Goehring) Haller.
— 9th anniversary, Daniel/Christee (Staufer) Hirshberger.

Monday, June 1:
Jonathan Huft, Miranda Townsend, Amanda (Chick) Deelstra, Josh Ford, Bruce Abels, Tanner Johnson, Paige Erickson, Alex Roth, Melinda (Kruger) Vetsch, Jerry Bollinger, Rick Jensen, Julie (Inman) Darger.
— Anniversary, Craig/Gail Eichstadt.
— 18th anniversary, Nathan/Kristin (Koupal) Venner.
— 7th anniversary, Elliot/Emily (Bloomberg) Meier.
— 57th anniversary, Dan/Helen Sutera.
— 47th anniversary, Mark/Marcia (Davis) Kozel.
— 4th anniversary, Aaron/Kayla (Pochop) Riswold.

Tuesday, June 2:
Ryan Beck, Lila Houck, Marley Myers, Matt Judson, Nicole Erbele, Bill Shoup, Austyn Christiansen, TyAnn Herman, Momo Kei Welch-Okawa, Tammy (Hinckley) Garrity, Julie (Shangreaux) Sibson.
— 8th anniversary, Sam/Holly (Lindbloom) Gilkerson.
— 2nd anniversary, Lou/Alyssa Mehlhaff.
— 8th anniversary, Tony/Mackenzie (Kusser) Blake.
— 2nd anniversary, Cole/Kadence Cruse.
— 14th anniversary, Mike/Lindsey Swenson.
— 2nd anniversary, Ethan/Heather (Mangan) Fife.
— 14th anniversary, Aaron/Ashley (Pries) Brewer.

Wednesday, June 3:
Aspen Iverson, Lucas Roberts, Seamus McDonough, Shawn Hostler, Cohen Grunewaldt, Josh Vanderloo, Rusty Westall, Amber (LaBrie) Shaw.
— 3rd anniversary, Clint/Cally (Thomas) Kindred.
— 25th anniversary, Jon/Theresa Beastrom.
— 53rd anniversary, Terry/Nancy Woster.
— 31st anniversary, Duane/Penny Unruh.
— 3rd anniversary, Walter/Natasha Haag.
— 31st anniversary, John/Sandy Zimmerman.
— 15th anniversary, Tyler/Tiffany (Tate) Stoeser.

Thursday, June 4:
Ava Aadland, Jessica (Evenstad) Haeder, Amanda Aadland, Aaron Blow, Nick Renemans, Ellen Johnson, Emily (Stout) Kelley, Scott Howard, Tillie Haag, Bodie Bramblee, Owen Zuercher.
— 37th anniversary, Gary/Genny McMath.
— 15th anniversary, Brandon/Melanie (Bunkowske) Cruse.
— 15th anniversary, Scott/Sara (Goeden) Richardson.
— 15th anniversary, Tony/Megan Darger.
— 15th anniversary, Brian/Jennifer Lowery.
— 9th anniversary, Lucas/Angela Scheibe.
— 43rd anniversary, Patrick/Jill Burger.


Here’s how to grieve 100,000 lives: You wear a mask at the grocery store and you wash your hands and you keep your distance and you show kindness to cashiers and you follow the simple rules put in place to keep people healthy and alive because that’s what decent human begins do and because 100,000 grieving families deserve it.

— John Pavlovitz


Jason Jones, Pierre’s chief of police, was honored by the city commission last week for his 20 years of service to the city.

Long-time Riggs High teacher and head wrestling coach Rick Jensen is one of the retirees recognized last week by Rapid City Area Schools.

In last week’s Midweek Update we mentioned Michael and Maddie Roberts’ new baby daughter, Blake Lainey Roberts. She was born May 19. She joins Beckett, 6, and Benjamin, who will 3 in July, in the Roberts family in Spearfish.

Larry Ireland, who began his teaching/coaching career in Pierre, died May 21 at Ava’s House in Sioux Falls. He graduated from Scotland High School and Yankton College, then earned his master’s degree at USD while serving as a graduate assistant with the football team. After teaching in Pierre he taught and coached at Gregory, Hot Springs and Mitchell. The highlight of his coaching career was his 1974 Hot Springs football team, which went undefeated and won the Black Hills Conference championship. Ireland continued coaching football at Augustana and then at SDSU from 1981 to 1988. Then he worked for various seed companies. He is survived by his five children, Jay of Phoenix, Jacki of Phoenix, Jill of Dell Rapids, Jacob of Spencer, Iowa, and Joshua of Jackson, Minn.; eight grandchildren; three sisters, Karen Orth of Loveland, Colo., Mary Mathison of Sioux Falls and Kathy Manning of Vermillion, and a brother, Wayne Ireland of Sioux Falls.

With school not in session on the campus, Northern State University athletes took their annual Day of Champions to their home communities last week as they found ways to impact their hometowns outside of Aberdeen. The event is conducted every year in partnership with United Way of Northeastern South Dakota. In Pierre football player Joe King and soccer player Tori Thorpe were joined by Tori’s sister, Kylee, who is headed to NSU, in collecting trash.

Riggs High alumnus Jared McEntaffer is president and CEO of Benchmark Data Labs, a business developed at Elevate Rapid City’s Ascent Innovation technology start-up incubator. They held an online introduction of the business to the community Wednesday afternoon.

The city swimming pool in Pierre will not be opened this summer as Pierre joins eight other major South Dakota cities in not opening their municipal pools due to financial reasons and/or the coronavirus threat. However, the Fort Pierre pool across the river will be open, and the pool at the Oahe YMCA will also be available along with various beaches along the river. This would have been the last summer for the old city pool. Plans were already in place to keep the pool closed next summer while that space is readied for the water park in 2022.

Joining the cancellation list: (1) The Minnesota State Fair, which drew 2 million people last year. (2) The Black Hills Home Show in Rapid City in July. (3) All 4-H rodeos in the state scheduled for June. (4) The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation’s Prime-Time Gala. (5) The Mark Larscheid Memorial Golf Tournament at Spearfish scheduled for late in June. (6) Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. (7) Rapid City’s RapidRide transit system, shut down for two weeks because of a third infected driver. Still on as scheduled: (1) The Buffalo Chip campground outside the Sturgis city limits is planning on hosting rally motorcyclists as usual, regardless of what the city decides will or will not happen within the city limits.

George “Gene” Johnson, 79, died May 20 after a long fight with cancer. Services took place Saturday at High Plains Heritage Center in Spearfish. He graduated from Pierre High School in 1958 and was King of Hearts there during his senior year He attended SDSU and married Karol Joye Powell in 1960. They moved around the state doing road construction years before settling in Spearfish in 1978. He started his own earth-moving construction company. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Karol Johnson; three children, Genelle Johnson of Santa Ana, Calif.; Polly Garrett and her husband Jeff of Spearfish, and Jill Trimble of Spearfish; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; two step-families and four step-great-grandchildren; his sister, Kay Sauer in Minnesota, and his brother, Dwight Johnson of Sioux Falls.

Mesa Winder has been chosen drum major of the Riggs High School Emerald Regiment marching band for this coming fall’s season.

Jennifer Oswald, daughter of Blunt and Onida natives Jeff and Monica (Currier) Robbins of Aubrey, Texas, graduated from the University of Colorado’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She will be taking the California board exams this summer.

Long-time Pierre resident Jerome “Jerry” Kern passed away May 22 in Sioux Falls at the age of 82 under the care of Compassionate Care Hospice. For the past three years he had made his home with his daughter and son-in-law and their family. A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held at a later date. Condolences can be sent to the Kernf family at 2800 S. Garfield Ave., Sioux Falls SD 57105. Jerry graduated from high school at Witten, S.D. He served in the U.S. Army at posts all over this country and in Europe. Stationed in Germany for two years, he traveled all over that continent by motorcycle. He earned a degree in psychology from Huron College and met Karen Christensen there. They were married for 58 years. The Kerns lived in Chicago and Los Angeles before settling in Pierre. He was a talented woodworker and craftsman and was a charter member of the Izaak Walton League’s Pierre chapter. Among his survivors are his wife, Karen Kern of Pierre; his children, Linda Anderson and her husband Brad of Rapid City, Jerry Kern and his wife Fei of Shanghai, China, Sandra Mollman and her husband Scott of Vermillion, Debra Workman and her husband Dan of Sioux Falls, and Mikal Kern and his wife Myriah of Wyndmere, N.D.; 10 grandchildren, and his brother, Jean Kern and his wife Hazel of Plankinton.

Jack Knoblauch, the oldest child of the former Kristin McKeever, graduated from St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn., having completed his undergraduate studies in 2 1/2 years.

James Witt, who worked for Morris Inc. while he lived in Pierre, died last week in Spearfish at the age of 76. A celebration of his life will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday at 19978 Gobbler Road, Spearfish. Internment at Black Hills National Cemetery will be held at a later date. Mr. Witt graduated from Deadwood High School and earned a Bronze Star for his service during the Vietnam War. He married the former Bonnie Tieszen in 1969. They lived in Watertown, Pierre and Spearfish. Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, two daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.

The funniest Facebook post of the week came from former Riggs High teacher Sandy Peterson in Rapid City: “I found it’s a bad idea to think about how much you need a haircut while standing in front of a mirror next to a drawer that holds a scissors. My hair isn’t too long any more!”

Former Pierre Governors head football coach Jayson Poppinga is one of the three nominees for Coach of the Year in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Sports Awards, which this year will be presented by big-name natonal athletes to South Dakota high school athletes and coaches online June 18. Poppinga’s O’Gorman football team started last season with two losses but rallied to earn a #4 seed in the Class 11AAA playoffs where they defeated Harrisburg, Sioux Falls Roosevelt and Brandon Valley to win the state championship. The other two nominees are Jud Conner, Roosevelt boys soccer coach, and Larry Aaker, Winner girls basketball coach.

Speaking of the Sports Awards mentioned just above, the Pierre Governors football team, which went unbeaten on its way to the state 11AA championship, is one of three high school teams nominated for Team of the Year in the 2019-20 school year. The other two nominated teams are the Canton wrestling team and the Watertown volleyball team, both of which also won state titles.

Former Pierre teacher Kay Huxford and her mother have been “stuck” in the Palm Springs, Calif., area where they have been since Jan. 3. They had plans to fly home much sooner than this but have not done so due to the riskiness of making airplane flights during the pandemic. They have been going to southern California as snowbirds since 2004. Kay said last week she has not been in a public building since March 14. Her sister brings groceries to Kay and her mother.

Jacob Shoup, who performs Christian music as Jacob Daniel, will present a live Facebook concert tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. CDT. You can find Jacob, his guitar and his music on the Facebook page entitled Jacob Daniel Music.


When Major League Baseball issued guidelines to players and team officials regarding what baseball may be like when play resumes, if in fact it does resume this year, the reaction from some of the players was one of shock, not unexpectedly. No leaving the hotel when the team is on the road! Masks to be worn except on the playing field! No batboys! Pitchers will take their own rosin bags out to the mound! Sitting six feet apart in the dugout; otherwise players will sit in the empty stands! No high-fives! But worst of all, no spitting! NO SPITTING? Oh the agony! Almost every time a TV camera focuses on a ballplayer in the dugout or in the on-deck circle or out in the field, he has something in his mouth to spit out. Some of them spit out of force of habit, even when there’ s nothing to spit. I wonder how powerful an air hose must be to clean out a major-league dugout after those guys spit tobacco juice and water and anything else onto the cement floor for three hours. It is a quagmire in which no pig would roll around. I’m not sure if there is a penalty for spitting. Probably not. This suggested rule may just be the end of major league baseball.

Today would have been the beginning of graduation weekend in our family—Olivia’s reception at her house this evening, more seniors’ parties to attend over the weekend and commencement itself at the civic center Sunday afternoon. All of those events, of course, have long been postponed. But there have been some “smile moments” nevertheless. Last night as the Central drama awards were presented online, she received the award as Senior Thespian of the Year and a scholarship from the adult drama support organization. She continues to make us proud! In recent days she also made public her college choice. She’s a Coyote! Her mom, her grandmother, her aunt, her two uncles and her great-aunt—all USD alumni—are delighted as am I. And all of the red and white attire we own will still be appropriate for at least four more years! Olivia and her classmates will see their virtual graduation on live local television and online a week from Sunday; Central is still hoping for an in-person graduation at the civic center in late July, and Olivia’s reception at home will be on the weekend before she departs for college. Need I say all of those events, as well as everything else planned for this summer (except of course for the Trump campaign rally and the motorcycle rally) are subject to change.

One of the prominent dining establishments here in the Black Hills near Rapid City had planned to throw open its doors to dine-in customers this weekend, Saturday through Monday, taking advantage of the holiday weekend and the onslaught of tourists and locals anxious to get out and go anywhere. But when the number of coronavirus cases in Pennington County continued to rise this past week with new cases reported every day, the management out there had a change of heart. Despite the fact that their location is along the busiest highway in the Hills, right on the way to all the major tourist traps, they decided to continue only with curbside pickup service and delay the opening of indoor dining and drinking until it is safe to do so. The management cited the case of two prominent downtown Rapid City restaurants which had three employees diagnosed with COVID-19 and said that they, too, want to do the right thing and be responsible citizens. Wow! A breath of fresh air! I hope a lot of people make the trek down to Rockerville to pick up food at The Gaslight, either as they pass by or to bring home. Even though I had no desire to drive down there and back amid all the traffic and even though I have plenty of food to eat at home, I gave them $36 worth of business today, and I feel good about it.

The churches that were “open for business” this morning likely have been open for a few weeks. Hopefully they did not open simply because the almighty one in the White House decreed it so. As for my church, the plan was to resume in-person worship services on June 7, but as the number of coronavirus cases in this county continues to rise and Pennington County seems to lead the state in the number of new cases each day, our church’s leadership council this past week decided that June 7 will be too soon to get back to what some are calling “living without fear.” We have a lot of handshakers in our congregation, and there are even a few dozen huggers. I agree with the leadership council that this city and this time are not right to get those folks back in one spot, even if every other pew is roped off. So the routine of watching church services online instead of being there in-house will continue for a few more weeks, at least for this one worshipper. One thing that bothers me about the resumption of church services, when that happens, was brought to my attention when the pastor of the church in Lincoln whose service I watch each week mentioned that the bishop of the Methodist conference that includes Nebraska recommended that there be no congregational singing. The obvious reason is that, when one opens one’s mouth and bellows forth (especially you sopranos!), droplets of who-knows-what are emitted, and they can fly for several feet. The naysayers will dispute that claim, but I trust the medical experts who say it is so. That upsets me, not for the present situation, but for the long run. Won’t we be able to lustily proclaim “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” with the organ on full volume? Or joyfully declare “Holy, Holy, Holy” with a trumpet player adding emphasis? A no-singing policy does away with a choir, of course. And as I look forward to fall, it threatens the very existence of school choirs, bands and drama groups. I can already imagine some school boards planning the reduction of funds for those activities which some consider to be frills in the school program anyway. You know that once they’re gone, they’re never coming back. Let this pandemic not be the death knell for group singing, whether in church, in school or in the living room.

Last week Rapid City mayor Steve Allender, citing large loss of sales tax and other revenue to the city due to the pandemic, outlined many areas in which the city council will have to make major reductions in services. Saying that the city’s swimming pools are a money loser even in good years, he recommends the city not open the pools at all this summer—for financial, not virus, reasons (though the latter is certainly a concern among many people). Oh the horror! Oh the outrage! Mamas across the city want their babies to have pool privileges just like in a “normal” summer. Darla Drew Lerdal, a member of the city council, posted on her Facebook page a comment that illustrates how individually self-centered so many people are these days: “I am stunned. Twenty e-mails and five calls about pool closures. Not one person complained about massive cuts to city planning, which is roads and infrastructure. No one called about unbelievable cuts to our police force budget. As crime continues to climb and our streets need basic upkeep along with maintaining our water drainage, not one person is concerned? But keep those pools open!”

Talk about the sound of silence! That sound I didn’t hear early this morning as I lay in bed while the dogs were telling me it was time to go outside was the music of the wind chimes that hang outside my closet window. They were not moving. They were not making mad music. There was no wind for the first time in what seems like an eternity. As I opened my eyes and looked out through the window, I saw that the branches in the tall trees out front were not waving frantically to and fro. What is this nonsense—a calm wind-free day in South Dakota? By mid-morning and then afternoon the breezes will be blowing again, no doubt, but it was a wake-up shock of the most pleasant kind to lie there and ponder going for a walk around my neighborhood loop without having to brace myself against the gale.

“The view from my window . . . . .” shows up in my Facebook feed quite often. Lately people all over the world have been showing just what it says—the view from their windows. It is fascinating photography. So many beautiful places in the world! What I have noted is how many of these people have been or still are in mandatory (not just recommended) lockdown status in their respective countries, in some cases going on two full months. And here in South Dakota we didn’t have anything like that—no lockdown, no shelter-in-place, only “suggestions” that people in this state don’t handle well. All South Dakotans have had to complain about—and they do that very well—is minor inconveniences like “can’t go to the bar,” “have to wear a mask,” “can’t get my hair done,” and now the latest is “can’t go to the swimming pool.” My, my, life is certainly tough for a South Dakotan these days.


“I often walk with my friend Simon, an optimist and an astute student of leadership. The other day we were walking and talking when we came upon two other guys we both know. One of the guys said, ‘What are your three wishes for our country and the world right now? They don’t have to be achievable, but what are they?’

Simon’s three wishes popped out immediately. ‘One, that we become listeners in business, in politics, and in our homes. Two, that we commit to service and that people start to do more for others with no expectation of anything in return. Three, that we commit to human relationships, that family dinners become important again, and that we spend more time with our friends without our phone present. I hope the balance of how we communicate tips away from typing and back in favor of talking.’

Then he added another wish: ‘That America leads again with virtue and values, not might and money.'”

— From Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper”




By Travis Van Winkle, television actor

I feel as if this pandemic has forced us to look at our shadows, the parts of ourselves that aren’t the most evolved or enlightened yet, and I don’t know about you all, but it’s not always pretty.

I can say for me it’s like I’ve been walked down into the depths of the anger and rage I didn’t know were bubbling under the surface. The undercurrent of frustration and fear for the uncertainty of not only this pandemic but of life, love, career.

I’ve noticed I have such a strong desire to control and influence the people, places and things around me because in some way I think my perspective will bring the best results for all parties involved. And when I don’t get the desired result or behavior I want, oooooh I get angry, cold and mean. Not cool, man, and not fun to be around! This behavior blinds me from appreciating the beauty and nuance that is happening in front of me, with me, for me.

But hey! I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m facing the shadow in me because our shadow is simply an invitation to understand and release any low-quality behavior that stiff-arms us from our infinite love potential.


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