Vol. 20, No. 39; Thursday, June 4, 2020

Jun 4, 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
(605) 791-2300

Brittney Schiefelbein American Family Insurance

Brittney Schiefelbein
American Family Insurance
(605) 224-6627


District 24 House of Representatives: The five-man Republican primary for two spots on the November ballot saw Will Mortenson and Mike Weisgram advance to the general election. After eight years in the Senate but term-limited, Jeff Monroe was among those eliminated as well as Noel Chicoine and Bob Lowery. The final vote totals: Mortenson, 2,824; Weisgram, 2,549; Monroe, 1,516; Chicoine, 1,158; Lowery, 633.

Hughes County Commission: A three-way Republican primary race for two spots on the November ballot ended with Tom Rounds and Randy Brown advancing and Troy Bowers eliminated. The final vote totals: Rounds, 2,251; Brown, 1,506; Bowers, 1,328.

U.S. Senate: Mike Rounds earned the Republican nomination again by defeating Scyller Borglum in the primary. As of late Wednesday afternoon, as many as 71 precincts still had not finished counting ballots, a lot of them in Sioux Falls, but Rounds had 68,211 votes or about 75%. Nevertheless, 22,636 Republicans, or about 25%, had voted for Borglum.

U.S. House of Representatives: Incumbent Dusty Johnson’s win in the Republican primary was by almost the same margin as Rounds won by in the Senate race. As of late Wednesday afternoon Johnson had 69,260 votes or about 76%, but Liz May had a quarter of the votes or 21,338, about 24%. Seventy-one precincts were still not reporting complete voting totals as of yesterday afternoon.


“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible, even if you’re choking on it, until you let the sun in, and then you see it’s everywhere.”

— Karee, Abdul-Jabbar


The general election is 152 days from today on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Absentee voting begins on Sept. 18, and the voter registration deadline is Oct. 19.

Here are the candidates and issues on which you will be voting this fall:

Hughes County only:
Hughes County Commission at-large seats (2 to be elected)—
— (D) Vicky Wilkey
— (R) Randy Brown
— (R) Tom Rounds

Hughes/Stanley/Sully counties only:
District 24 House of Representatives (2 to be elected)—
— (D) Amanda Bachmann
— (R) Will Mortenson
— (R) Mike Weisgram

District 24 Senate—
— (R) Mary Duvall unopposed.

All of South Dakota:
President of the United States—
— (D) Joseph Biden
— (R) Donald Trump

U.S. Senate—
— (D) Dan Ahlers
— (R) Mike Rounds

U.S. House of Representatives—
— (L) Randy Luallin
— (R) Dusty Johnson

Initiated Measure 26—
— legalizing marijuana for medical use.

Constitutional Amendment A—
— legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana and requiring the Legislature to pass laws regarding hemp as well as laws ensuring access to marijuana for medical use.

Constitutional Amendment B—
— authorizing the Legislature to allow sports wagering in Deadwood.


Thursday: blueberry.
Friday-Sunday: huckleberry.
Monday-Tuesday: lemon.
Wednesday-Thursday: key lime.


“As a death historian I feel like I’m going mad watching the United States stumble through a mass death event, pushing aside elderly folks and poor folks and people of color in pursuit of normalcy, summertime and instant gratification. We are utterly grotesque. This is horrifying.”

— Leah Richier


Golf: Forty-three golfers showed up at Hillsview Golf Course in Pierre Monday for the Senior Showcase, an event scheduled to give graduating senior golfers a replacement event for their respective state tournaments for “AA” girls, “A” girls, “B” girls and “B” boys, which never happened this spring. Sophie Jansa and Carly Kunkel, both of Sioux Falls O’Gorman, tied for the “AA” girls title with scores of 8 over par. Tying for the “A” girls championship were Lauren Tims of Sioux Falls Christian and Lauryn Driscoll of West Central at +12. The “B” girls division was won by Josie Rush of Philip with a +11 score. The “B” boys winner was Austin Boomsma of James Valley Christian at +2.


“This isn’t a snow day where you’re waiting for the sun to shine and the world to return because the world we have lived in for so long in many ways is never coming back.”

— Jamie Metzl, technology futurist


Directions: Draw a 4×4 square of 16 boxes, 4 in each row, and one row on top of another. Number the boxes in the top row 1, 2, 3 and 4 from left to right. Number the boxes in the left-hand row 1, 5, 6 and 7 from top to bottom.

(1) Tennis legend Arthur.
(5) To stain.
(6) Folk singer Guthrie.
(7) Person of low status.
(1) As soon as possible.
(2) Physically tender.
(3) Hawaii city.
(4) Engineer/pilot Musk.


“Coronacoaster, noun: The ups and downs of a pandemic. One day you’re leaving your bubble, going for long walks, baking cakes and pottering in the garden. The next you’re crying, drinking gin for breakfast, eating party rings and missing people you don’t even like.”

— Crissy Davies


3 days: Post 8 season opener at Mitchell (June 7).
7 days: PGA Tour resumes, Fort Worth, Texas (June 11-14).
10 days: Post 8 home openers (June 14).
17 days: Fathers Day (June 21).
27 days: Expedition League openers (July 1).
29 days: Fort Pierre Fourth of July rodeo (July 3-5).


“I miss delays. . . . I miss getting jammed in cold weather. . . . I miss batting gloves. . . . I miss long replay reviews that don’t get overturned even though he was safe. . . . I miss long flights at 3 a.m. after a tough loss. . . . I miss the shift. . . . I do. . . . I miss it all.”

— Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals


Pierre Post 8 varsity:
— Sunday: at Mitchell, 1 p.m. doubleheader.
— Friday, June 12: at Rapid City 22, 5 p.m. MDT doubleheader.
— Sunday, June 14: home openers vs. Rapid City Post 22 and Renner, 1 p.m. triangular.


“We are heading back into our lives this week. But the disease is no less dangerous, and the cure is a long way off. Until that time, the only thing that will keep us safe is our own behavior. You can get this disease, not know you have it, act irresponsibly, spread it, and indirectly be responsible for someone’s death. If that doesn’t bother you, then you are either soulless or a president who thinks it’s cute to not wear a mask in an auto plant where everyone else must. . . . . . On this Memorial Day week we mourn those we have lost in war, but we should think hard about the war we are waging on ourselves and our most vulnerable. We have seen the enemy. We are carrying it.”

— Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press


  • Since we’re opening up the state to anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere to come and bring their viruses with them, at least there’s some good news. Wall Drug, where social distancing is difficult to imagine, has begun making those donuts every morning!
  • If you need an up-to-date reminder that every vote counts, here is one from the District 17 race for a state Senate seat from the Vermillion area. Incumbent Sen. Art Rusch polled 1,002 votes, and Nancy Rasmussen had 996. That’s a difference of only six votes from among 1,998 votes cast. Obviously there will be a recount.
  • We call your attention to a program you may choose to watch with your kids or to record it for watching at a more convenient time. “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” is a CNN/Sesame Street town hall for kids and their families. It will be broadcast at 9 a.m. CDT, 8 a.m. MDT, this Saturday morning on CNN, on the CNN.com homepage or on CNN apps without requiring a cable log-in.


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.

Friday, June 5:
Madilyn Brakke, Nate Chappelle, Chuck Weischedel, Alice (Scharnweber) Safe, Kalen Moodie, Carter Martin, Jeremy Clegg, Sarah Lake, Mike Fisher, Matt Bunkowske, Dakota Huber, Chad Larson, Alexia Zeigler.
— 10th anniversary, Brandon/Jennifer (Pogany) Kirchner.
— 16th anniversary, Chris/Deb (Micklos) Nelson.
— 10th anniversary, Jason/Hollie (Stutesman) Stoeser.
— 10th anniversary, Ross/Jennifer (Neuhauser) Tschetter.
— 16th anniversary, Andy/Deborah (Lucas) Leedahl.
— 10th anniversary, Brett/Amanda Fergen.
— 16th anniversary, Tim/Jamie Maher.
— 16th anniversary, Brad/Dawn Englund.
— 16th anniversary, Josh/Heather (Clausen) Redetzke.
— 10th anniversary, Zach/Liza (Sizer) Clark.

Saturday, June 6:
Drayton Thomas, Katie Carter, Brad Garrett, Edna Chambers-Brady, Zach Hanson, Willa Whitebird, Preston Workman, Madeline Roby, J.J. Kucker, Vona Johnson, Roberta Lovald.
— 39th anniversary, Ki/Jennie Weingart.
— 5th anniversary, Mitch/Jennie Boe.
— 51st anniversary, Bob/Eileen Kramer.
— 5th anniversary, Zane/Sarah (Albrecht) Pries.
— 55th anniversary, David/Suzanne (Lauing) Lockhart.

Sunday, June 7:
Paul Karber, Polly Kuykendall, Ellie Gran, Anthony Hatlestad, Erik Gilbertson, Stacey Somsen, Sarah Sullivan, Sara Anderson, Van Huse, Bretton Barber, Hudson Barber, Lydia Sullivan, Trailyn Townsend.
— 6th anniversary, Eric/Christina (Adams) Lusk.
— 45th anniversary, Dick/Patti Stolp.
— 17th anniversary, Joe/Gina (Nickolas) Gruman.
— 6th anniversary, Spencer/Christina Yackley.
— 17th anniversary Cody/Susan (Van Camp) Wendelbo.
— 17th anniversary, Andy/Janelle (Kvislen) Carda.
— 45th anniversary, Joe/Cindy Jungman.

Monday, June 8:
Patty Pearson, Krista Wright, Brenda (McGee) Currier, Torri (Ice) Lechtenberg, Ellen Lee, Mike Garrett, Kristin Brost, Darcy Beck-Boersma, Michelle (Monroe) Kettler.
— 7th anniversary, Jay/Susan Davis.
— Anniversary, Jeff/Connie Pierce.
— 62nd anniversary, Dennis/Shirley Eisnach.
— 7th anniversary, Cody/Timaree (Ice) Axlund.
— 18th anniversary, Jon/Allyson (Friez) Kreycik.
— 18th anniversary, Chris/Mahryah (Dixon) Anderson.
— 18th anniversary, Ben/Jody Clair.

Tuesday, June 9:
Peggy (Huse) Hyde, Chris DeJabet, Justin Hipple, Alan LaFave, Katie (Shoup) Nebelsick, Jed Hillestad, Ethan Lors, Isaac Lors, Jon Stahl, Dane Hagen, Bart Pullman, Sivage Schuetzle, Peter Townsend.
— 3rd anniversary, Uriah/Emily (Zarecky) Steber.
— 36th anniversary, Bill/Suzanne (Hertel) Stahl.
— 8th anniversary, Bobby/Sarah (Ramirez) Ramler.
— 19th anniversary, Ryan/Trish Murphy.
— 13th anniversary, Will/Molly (Tillman) Genzler.
— 8th anniversary, Bret/Caitie (Wagner) Graves.
— 8th anniversary, Chris/Mallory (Petersen) Dekker.
— 8th anniversary, Jeff/Stacy (Huss) Hegge.

Wednesday, June 10:
Kelly Tobin, Derek Smith, Cory Noordermeer, Matt Riter, Woody Stahl, Kelli Nutter, Chris Hipple, Harry Kumpula, Lincoln Jordre.
— 20th anniversary Jon/Cathy (Hansen) Stahl.
— 14th anniversary, Travis/Amber (Ness) Stout.
— Anniversary, Scott/Amy (Kirkpatrick) Harris.
— 14th anniversary, Greg/Nancy (Dewell) Lemieux.

Thursday, June 11:
Mike Kelley, Francis Bies, Jim Protexter, Lindsay (Peitz) Rounds, Dawn Langley, Aaron Roubideaux, Sara Weischedel, Andrew Kightlinger, Adam Wyly, Tripp Lindekugel, Kim DiBenedetto, Samantha (Hestdalen) Van Zee.
— 4th anniversary, Justin/Michelle (Kopecky) O’Daniel.
— 16th anniversary, Robert/Kay (Ricketts) Hanten.
— 10th anniversary, Greg/Amanda (Ford) DeMeritt.
— 15th anniversary, Michael/April Hobert.


A donut is a small fried cake of sweetened dough used to lull people into attending unnecessary meetings.

—- from a Jerry’s Cakes & Donuts advertisement


Additions to the cancellation list: (1) The Boston Marathon, originally postponed from April to September but now canceled till 2021. (2) Yankton’s Riverboat Days. (3) PAWS Animal Rescue’s 40th anniversary birthday party at Drifters in Fort Pierre, postponed to spring of 2021. (4) The July 4 fireworks show at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls. (5) This week’s Oahe Shrine Circus in Fort Pierre. (6) The world archery field championships at Yankton, scheduled for September but now canceled till 2022. However, the State Fair in Huron is still on for Sept. 3-7, according to state government and the fair director.

Prominent Custer businessman Brian Boyer, who worked in Pierre at the state office of the South Dakota Rural Electric Association from 1988 to 1994, died May 24 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the cemetery at the north edge of Custer along U.S. Highway 16. A native of Gettysburg and a journalism graduate of USD, he later earned a teaching degree and taught at Hill City. There he met the former Janet Stahl, and they were married in 1984. After leaving Pierre, Boyer worked in Rapid City, first as communications and economic development drector for West River Electric. In 2005 the Boyers moved to Custer. They and their son became business owners there, operating motels, breweries and restaurants and being integral members of the community. Brian is survived by his wife; their son, Johnathan Boyer of Custer; his parents, Benedict and Barbara Boyer of Webster, and five siblings.

Clay and Katelynn (Lamb) Pottorff of Belle Fourche went from a family of four to a family of six on May 24. Their twin boys, both measuring 17 3/4 inches, are Cameron Dean, who weighed 6 pounds, and Kellen James, who weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces. They join their sisters—Harper, 5, and Hallie, 3 in July—in the family. Clay is a teacher and head boys basketball coach at Belle Fourche High School. Grandparents include Jamie and Susan Lamb of Onida. Maternal great-grandparents are Joe and Dorothy Lamb and Rick and Sandii Bartels.

Riggs High alumnus Austin Lentsch graduated from Harvard University in Boston on May 28 with a bachelor’s degree in economics with a sociology secondary and department honors. Since March he has been isolating on the coast and working on some “passion projects” relating to rural education and advancement. This summer he will be returning (via mobile) to continue building a tutoring program for Harvard summer programming. In the fall Austin will start full-time as an economic analyst at Charles River Associates for their antitrust and competition practice in Boston.

A memorial service for former Pierre resident Ben Handcock, who died April 11 at the age of 74, will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, June 5, at the city auditorium in Kadoka. Live-streaming will be available on the Rush Funeral Home of Kadoka website.

Addy Eisenbeisz, who just completed her freshman year at SDSU, is one of six Jackrabbit athletes named to the Summit League’s Academic All-League team for indoor track and field. Addy won the league high jump title for the indoor season and already ranks third all-time in school history in that event.

Kellie (Sutton) Yackley has been appointed as the community giving officer for the Avera Foundation while continuing to serve as the foundation liaison for Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre. She adds her new job duties July 1. Kellie joined Avera St. Mary’s Foundation in 2010 as the annual giving coordinator and became the foundation director in 2017.

A couple milestones we didn’t have our anniversary list last week: Galen and Ann Jordre celebrated their 50th anniversary May 29. On that same day Carter and Anne Taylor, who live now in Rapid City, celebrated their 27th anniversary.

Rod Fisher, who has broadcast sports in Pierre since 1979, worked his last day at the Dakota Radio Group stations last Friday, retiring after a sportscasting career that began nearly 45 years ago in O’Neill, Neb. Joining the staff of KGFX, River 92.7, KPLO-FM and the other stations of the group is David Burrall as their new sports director. Burrall has been in sportscasting for more than 35 years in Wyoming, Iowa, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth. He is an alumnus of the University of North Texas. Pierre native Brian Oakland will also continue as a busy sportscaster for football, basketball, volleyball and wrestling.

Justice Steven Jensen will be the next Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court, replacing David Gilbertson when he retires next January. Jensen was appointed to a circuit court judgeship in 2003 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2017. He is a native of the Wakonda area and a graduate of the USD School of Law.

James Roussel, 84, died May 27 at Avera Maryhouse. A private family service was held Monday at the Isburg Funeral Chapel. A native of Raymond, S.D., Mr. Roussel moved to Pierre in 1976. He spent 36 years as a district manager for Land O’Lake. He is survived by his wife, Carole; his son, Rob Roussel and his wife Julie of Pierre; his daughters, Laurie Estes and her husband Randy of China Grove, N.C., and Denise Trebesch and her husband John of Pierre; 10 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren, and a sister, Maxine Leslie of Volga.

Kristi Livermont has begun work as administrator of Avera Gettysburg Hospital, Avera Oahe Manor Long-Time Care and Avera Oahe Villa Apartments, all in Gettysburg. Kristi earned her bachelor of science degree in health sciences at USD and her master of business administration degree with an emphasis in health administration from the University of Colorado-Denver. Kristi has studied in Germany, Cuba, Ecuador and Australia. Most recently she has worked at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital and Avera Brady Health and Rehabilitation in Mitchell.

The Dean’s List for the spring semester at Dakota Wesleyan University included these area students: Davis Anderson, Bradley Dean, Derek Leiferman, Elena Svingen, Marcus Urban.

Kristen Sieck, digital arts and design major at Dakota State University from Onida, received the College Student Leadership Award in the College of Arts and Sciences there.

Jackie (Penticoff) Waggoner, 50, died at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls May 28. A private service was held Wednesday at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Murdo. Jackie grew up in Murdo where she worked as an emergency medical technician and at Star Restaurant, American Inn, Amoco and Triple H Truck Stop. She married Rubin “Morris” Waggoner in 2003. She is survived by her husband; her daughter, Jina Waggoner of Fort Pierre; her son, John Waggoner and his wife Olivia of Pierre; two grandchildren; her siblings, Joe Penticoff of Lincoln, Neb., Jeff Penticoff of Philip, Julie Elrod of Pierre, Jay Penticoff of Summerset, Jill Dean of Pierre, Janet Penticoff of Pierre and Jean Penticoff of Fort Pierre; her half-brother, Mike Penticoff of Sioux Falls, and her half-sisters, Pat Bechard of Hermosa and Sheila Christoph of Sundance, Wyo.

Blunt native Shawn Hostler lost his bid to become a county commissioner in Brookings County. With two men winning election in a three-way race, Hostler had 789 votes, Ryan Krogman 1,877 and Michael Bartley 1,316. Krogman and Bartley have no opposition in the November general election.

The Academic Honors List of USD part-time students for the spring semester included Tori Jones, Annelle Becker, Rebecca Bergeson, Macy Halverson, Demeri Hanson, Kylee Hanson, Robin Masteller and Rayne Raue.

The following area students achieved recognition on the spring semester Dean’s List at the University of South Dakota: Noah Miller, Alexandria Allison, Thomas Maher, Jack Maher, Mattie Jones, Deidre Lamb, Chloe Lamb, Devan Kleven, Lauren Wittler, Emily Mikkelsen, Danielle Wilson, Kyle Klusman, Brooke Wiest, Shaina Farris, Brittany Samuelson, Tristin Rancour, Jennifer Gillaspie, Brooke Miller, Mikayla Thomas, Katie Bartlett, Jennifer Miller, Madisyn Neibauer, Amanda Jandt, Mariah Fuchs, Emly Nielson, Jaid Freestone, Jordyn Lemieux, Peyton Pietz, Katy Honeywell, Hannah Booth, Hallie Jerome, Blaire Jonas, Taylor Davis, Macahl Raske, Joseph Rysdon, Molly Stulken, Isabelle Lehman, Caitlin Reimers, Cassandra Axtell, Chloe Kaiser, Madison Miller, Casey Williams, Ellie Richards, Caleb Lusk, Joana Zanin, Abigail Foster, Colleen Joseph.

Stacy Small, a native of Blunt, passed away June 2 at the age of 54. Her family will celebrate her life at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Blunt at 10 a.m. Friday, and friends are welcome to join them in person or at the Feigum Funeral Home website. Stacy was the daughter of the late Cliff and Eunice Small. She attended Blunt Elementary School until fourth grade when a diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome necessitated her attending Crippled Children’s Hospital and School in Sioux Falls, but she came home every weekend until she was 18. Stacy became one of the charter residents of OAHE Inc. in 1982. That facility, now VistaCare, has been her home for 38 years. Stacy is survived by her sister, Karen Wyly and her husband Mack of Fort Pierre; her brother, Terry Small and his wife Nita of Aberdeen; her sister, Susan Earley of Boise, Idaho; her brother, Craig Small of Westminster, Colo.; eight nephews and nieces, Kayleen Fulton, Tomi Kay Weinheimer, Tracy Henrich, Rachel Schubert Becker, Tera Muellerleile, Kyle Wyly, Chad Small and Rory Earley, and 22 grand-nephews and nieces.

The number of readers we have in Fort Pierre must be extremely low because nobody corrected our incorrectly listing the Ward II city council race as happening this past Tuesday. That election among incumbent Dave LaRoche and challengers Carl Rathbun and Scott Deal will take place June 30.

In the District 14 Republican primary contest for the state Senate seat from that district in Sioux Falls, two former Pierre men faced off. Incumbent Rep. Larry Zikmund defeated David Zellmer. As of late Wednesday afternoon, 10 precincts still had not finished counting votes. Zikmund at that time had 59% of the votes counted and Zellmer 41%. The vote totals at that time were 1,515 to 899. Zikmund will face Democratic candidate Timothy Reed in the general election.


“Without clear federal guidelines we are all left to our own devices. My health and safety will be dependent on your actions, and yours will be dependent on mine. . . . . . In this country where independence and freedom are prized values, it will be interesting to see if there is, in fact, a common good and a higher purpose that we all can coalesce around.”

— Maria Shriver


Sixty years ago last month (Wow! 60?) I graduated from Huron College, and 60 years ago this fall as a timid 21-year-old, barely three years older than the high school seniors there, I began 17 years as an educator at one of the best of all South Dakota towns, Wessington Springs. One of the perks of being a teacher is, after leaving that profession, running into or keeping in contact with former students. A problem with having spent my first two years of teaching in the 1960-61 and 1961-62 school years is that those “kids” who were high school freshmen and sophomores that first year are now 74 to 76 years old if they’re still around at all. I taught freshman and sophomore English that first year, and I honestly can’t remember what classes I taught that second year although I know I had elementary music both years—each grade twice a week on the lunchroom tables down at the grade school building, contests at Kimball and Platte each spring, and concerts at home. Several of those who were students of mine are “Facebook friends,” so I see their posts, and they see mine although admittedly I post a lot more than any of them do! In the past year, however, I had occasion to spend three hours with one of the guys who was in my first freshman English class, recalling years long gone and no doubt making the ears of anybody who lived in the Springs way back then burn. He lives in Washington state and was here in Rapid City visiting his sister and brother-in-law. The other day I received a hand-written letter (remember those?) from a guy who was a sophomore that first year. His mom was the elementary principal, and he too lives out in Washington. At Christmas time I get cards from a couple more of those former Spartans. I wish I still had the Spartonian yearbooks from back then, but they have been lost or discarded during one of my cross-state moves. The strange part of these reacquaintances is that those “kids” from WSHS no longer look like kids but look, strangely enough, like they’re in their 70s, which indeed they are. Springs was such a great town and great school. Still is, I’m quite sure, and I likely would have stayed there longer than two years if my dad hadn’t taken ill about then.

The Argus Leader printed an interesting feature story this morning about a hometown girl who has been under lockdown in Spain since March. Meghan Todd has been teaching in that country since last fall and has been unable to leave due to the coronavirus pandemic. Americans in general and many South Dakotans in particular never could have handled what Spaniards have, for the most part, taken in stride. No one was allowed to leave home for any reason except to get groceries. Period! Try that, you rights-abused Americans. Elderly people were allowed to walk alone outdoors during a specified hour of the day. Spaniards, according to the Sioux Falls woman, joined together at 8 p.m. nightly to applaud healthcare workers. The death toll has amounted to about 27,000 in Spain, and Meghan said in the newspaper story that the Spaniards are proud they were able to be in this thing together (you’ve heard that phrase here a few times!) and keep the fatality numbers from getting any worse just by self-sacrificing. Meanwhile, in the United States the death toll has soared past 103,000, and we seem to take that as a sort of badge of honor as if we’re surviving and moving on without more than 100,000 totally disposable humans. I have also been following a series on Facebook that shows people’s “Views From My Window.” People from all over the world have posted just that—the view from their window. Such beautiful places everywhere! A couple in Israel showed their backyard. They have been in quarantine since March 8 and go out only to walk their dog. They are allowed to go no more than 100 meters from their home. Oh the furor if somebody in this state was required to do that! Freedoms! Freedoms!

In a traditional parade the people on the floats and in the vehicles throw candy to the viewers along the route. When the seniors up at Sully Buttes High School rode down Main Street last weekend, each of them in a separate car, one of the graduates, Nick Wittler, one of another crop of great athletes to come out of that school, used his imagination and came up with an idea that has a strong connection to this unusual year of 2020. Instead of Tootsie rolls, suckers and candy bars, Nick threw rolls of toilet paper. Here in Rapid City where we have a graduate in our family, a recorded videocast of each of the Central seniors walking across the stage of the empty theater and the commencement speakers doing their thing will be shown on KEVN-TV and online this Sunday. That will have to suffice until late July when, if plans hold up, there will be an actual graduation, complete with people in the seats, at the civic center. Our graduate will have her reception at home on the weekend in August before she leaves for college. So while her graduation events are spread out over the whole summer, that is rather reflective of the Class of 2020 for whom nothing was normal in the last three months of their high school careers.

A dry-eraser whiteboard calendar hangs on my wall here in the basement, and for the first time since all activity stopped in mid-March there are, instead of blank white squares for each day, actual events listed. Right now they all happen to be baseball games—the Post 22 varsity games and my oldest grandson’s Post 320 Risers games. I’m not foolish enough to think that things will be back to the normal that far too many of you expect will happen soon, but a baseball game with scattered seating will be probably be as safe a place to go as there is these days. It starts this Saturday, but because of a season opening a month later than it would have, our baseball season is going to go fast. I’d better enjoy it while it is here.

“Flower Patrol! Flower Patrol!” My daughter-in-law doesn’t really raise that alarm every time a potentially hail-bearing thunderstorm boils up over the Black Hills and moves into town, but we jump into action anyway. Allison has more than a dozen flower boxes and pots in front of and behind the house, and what they contain would likely be shredded by hail. So when a storm alert is issued, into the garage come the flowers.. For the plants which can’t be moved, laundry baskets and garbage cans are put into place to cover them up. Now that summer is here—at least, it’s “meteorological summer” according to the TV weather people—the threat of thunderstorms comes almost every afternoon. And now this week with temperatures as hot as they have been all year—up in the 80s and even to 90—the chance is indeed almost daily. But, by golly, the hail is not going to get our flowers!


If you peruse Facebook as much as I do (my excuse is that I have to in order to get news items for this Midweek Update!), you have seen memes to the fact that 2020 has seemed like 10 years long already. And it’s only the first week of June. To begin with it has been an election year for five months already, and that would be bad enough even under normal circumstances. Then came the coronavirus, which has become a nationwide pandemic. And then the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, seen by the whole world, has set off 10 days reminiscent of the civil rights protests of the 1960s, which those of us well over 50 remember all too well. Mayor Steve Allender of Rapid City commented that, besides the virus itself and the protests with trouble bubbling just below the surface, he worries about the mental health of his citizens. He says he has heard from people that they feel an undercurrent of nervousness, apprehension, concern about what shoe will drop next. We know how blistering, brutal and disgusting the presidential campaign will be with the general election still five months from tomorrow. I saw on Facebook that somebody posted a comment that, considering how 2020 has gone so far, if it ever is to happen, this is probably the year that the long-projected volcanic eruption from below Yellowstone Park finally happens, blowing away and/or destroying life in a quarter of the United States. Would anybody who survives it really be all that surprised?


Rapid City’s mayor, Steve Allender, held another press conference this afternoon. The mayor, whose long career as a police officer ended with his tenure as police chief a few years back, makes statements with a calm demeanor, carefully measuring every word, every sentence. He thinks before he speaks, a trait we could hope many of the politicians at high levels would do well to adopt. After what happened in Sioux Falls at the end of a day which had seen a massive but peaceful protest on Sunday, Rapid City and other cities in the state have been on edge. A protest group here in Rapid City met with city officials and law enforcement ahead of their Monday afternoon protest. A bit larger group protested again Tuesday, and now this afternoon we see via news videos that the group is gathering again at the courthouse. The protests have been peaceful except for some arrests Tuesday when a few people lay down on streets and had to be arrested. The problem has been the group of agitators who organize out at the Trump Shop, an actual store on the corner of the Baken Park shopping center, and then go downtown in their rag-tag collection of vehicles, flying their confederate flags. As the mayor said so carefully, yet so pointedly, at his news conference today, their purpose is not to exercise their First Amendment right to protest but to agitate the original protest group, hopefully to cause something to happen. “This is not a game,” Mayor Allender said. He added that, when you see downtown businesses here with their windows boarded over with plywood, you know those business people are taking all of this seriously, too. With the police, the sheriff’s department and the Highway Patrol on alert and making a very physical presence known, hopefully we can get through another night without anyone getting hurt and without things getting out of hand.




“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their color.”

— Maya Angelou


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