Yankton Will Have Spring Election

For my Yankton readers, we have some political  news today. It turns out that there will be a spring municipal election.

Nominating petitions have been slow to come in from candidates looking to fill three open seats on the Yankton City Commission. However, Jeffrey Swedeen turned his in today, making him the fourth candidate and ensuring an election. He joins Nancy Wenande, Craig Sommer and Jacob Hoffner in the race.

Any other candidates must have nominating petitions turned in by 5 p.m. Friday.

Don’t Forget The Irish

Now that Valentine’s Day is out of the way, we can focus on a real holiday: St. Patrick’s Day!

The Census Bureau occasionally sends out fun facts and features. Today, I received this interesting collection about the upcoming Irish-American Heritage Month:


Irish-American Heritage Month (March)
and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17): 2011

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced
Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved
into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s
Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish
soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual
event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March
as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a
proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

Population Distribution

36.9 million
Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2009. This number
was more than eight times the population of Ireland itself (4.5 million).
Irish was the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing
only German.
Sources: 2009 American Community Survey
> and Ireland Central Statistics Office <

Click to access popmig.pdf


Number of Irish-born U.S. residents in 2009. Those from Ireland are much
older (a median of 60 years old) and have a higher median household income
($56,158) than U.S. residents as a whole (37 years and $50,221,
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <

Percent of Massachusetts residents who were of Irish ancestry in 2009. This
compares with a rate of 12 percent for the nation as a whole.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <

Irish-Americans Today

Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor’s
degree or higher. In addition, 92 percent of Irish-Americans in this age
group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the
corresponding rates were 28 percent and 85 percent respectively.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <

Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the
$50,221 for all households. In addition, 10 percent of people
of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 14 percent for
all Americans.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <

Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in
management, professional and related occupations. Additionally,
27 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 16 percent in service
occupations; 9 percent in production, transportation and material moving
occupations; and 8 percent in construction, extraction, maintenance and
repair occupations.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <

Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who owned the home in which
they live, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole,
the homeownership rate was 66 percent.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <

Places to Spend the Day

Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of
Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, Texas,
were the most populous, with 2,623 and 1,828 residents, respectively.
Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 152 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 122.
(Statistic for Mount Gay-Shamrock is from the 2000 Census; the other
statistics are 2009 estimates.)
Sources: American FactFinder and population estimates

Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland’s
capital, Dublin. Since the 2000 Census, Dublin, Calif., has surpassed
Dublin, Ohio, as the most populous of these places (44,541 compared with
39,310, respectively, as of July 1, 2009).

If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day, then you
might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,695 residents.
Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of
Irishtown, Ill., several places or townships named “Clover” (in South
Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) and the township
of Cloverleaf, Minn.
Sources: American FactFinder and population estimates <

The Celebration

26.1 billion and 2.3 billion
U.S. beef and cabbage production, respectively, in pounds, in 2009. Corned
beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <

Click to access LiveSlauSu-04-29-2010.pdf

> and

Click to access VegeSumm-01-27-2010.pdf


$25 million
Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in 2009 for
operations with $100,000 or more sales.
Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick’s Day
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <

Noem Not Flattered By ‘Hottest Freshman’ Recognition

Me? I would have blown some virtual kisses out to the Huffington Post crowd had I won. But I guess Kristi wants to appear all serious and congressional. To each their own.


Kristi Noem Dismisses Her HuffPost Hottest Freshman Title As “Unfortunate”

The Huffington Post Anya Strzemien  First Posted: 02/21/11 03:15 PM Updated: 02/21/11 04:59 PM

Kristi Noem

Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD)

Well, this is unfortunate. It appears that Huffington Post’s newest “Hottest Freshman,” Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD), is not elated by the accolade.

In an interview last week with The Daily Caller, the ravishing rancher finally addressed the “Hottest Freshman in Congress” title she won in January: “I thought that was kind of an unfortunate distraction, I guess, when that came out. I don’t think about that too much. I’d rather they were talking about my solutions for our country rather than that, but we’ll get there.”

We can — and always could — do both. When HuffPost’s first-ever “Hottest Freshman” and fellow Republican Representative Aaron Schock won in 2009, the congressman graciously penned a blog post titled “Thank You, Readers,” and turned the acceptance into an opportunity to discuss some of his key issues. No problemo.

The rest is history. Representative Schock has become one of the most recognizable faces in Washington, and a Huffington Post star in his own right. He even swung by the office last fall for a surprise visit. Some might call that going beyond left and right.

After being sworn in last month, Noem was up against seven other handsome congressional contenders for “Hottest Freshman.” 10,000 votes later, our readers let it be known that they found Noem to be the fairest of them all.

HuffPost Style then contacted Representative Noem’s office in Washington to ask if she’d be interested in blogging, and after a rather confused response, they asked us to email them the details. Heartbreakingly, we are still awaiting a response.

Koch Brothers Fueling Wisconsin Clash

Rick Ungar at Forbes.com pulls together some interesting background on the situation in Wisconsin:

Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Effort To Kill Public Unions
Feb. 18 2011 – 6:45 pm | 0 views | 6 recommendations | 234 comments

As the nation focuses on the efforts of Governor Scott Walker to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees in Wisconsin, new information is coming to light that reveals what is truly going on here.

Mother Jones is reporting that much of the funding behind the Walker for Governor campaign came from none other than uber-conservatives, the infamous Koch Brothers.

What’s more, the plan to kill the unions is right out of the Koch Brothers play book.

Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado;

Via Mother Jones

If you are reluctant to believe that this is a coordinated attack, consider this-

This afternoon, Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union, sent a message to the Governor’s office agreeing to the cuts to pension & welfare benefits sought by Walker in his bill.  The governor’s response was “nothing doing.”  He wants the whole kit and kaboodle – the end of the collective bargaining rights of the public unions.

As noted in my earlier post, this is, indeed, the first shot in the final battle to end unionism in America.

UPDATE: The Americans for Prosperity group, a Tea Party group that is a Koch Brothers front, has put up a website and petition called http://www.standwithwalker.com. The website attacks all collective bargaining – not just for public employees’ unions. Americans for Prosperity is also organizing a rally tomorrow in Wisconsin to support Gov. Walker.

Why are the Koch Brothers so interested in Wisconsin? They are a major business player in the state.

This from Think Progress:

Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant:

Officials at Georgia-Pacific said the company is laying off 158 workers at its Day Street plant because out-of-date equipment at the facility is being replaced with newer, more-efficient equipment. The company said much of the new, papermaking equipment will be automated. […] Malach tells FOX 11 that the layoffs are not because of a drop in demand. In fact, Malach said demand is high for the bath tissue and napkins manufactured at the plant.

You really have to wonder how long it will take for Tea Party devotees to realize just how badly they are being used.

Radiohead Releases New Album A Day Early

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the extended absence. Between some busy days at work and an excursion to New York City for a small vacation, I haven’t had much time to blog.

I’ll use Radiohead to break my silence. I haven’t heard the whole album yet, but so far I am left longing for their more melodic days. “The Bends” and “OK Computer” are still my favorite Radiohead albums. My ears are enjoying “The King of Limbs,” but they are not on fire.

May have to go back to the new PJ Harvey album, “Let England Shake,” and come back to this later …


NEW YORK (AP) — Radiohead’s new album “The King of Limbs” has arrived a day early.
The band made the album available Friday for download from its website. Radiohead announced the album release on Monday, saying it would be out Saturday.
Unlike the band’s 2007 pay-what-you-want album, “In Rainbows,” this one has a price.
Fans can pre-order an MP3 download for $9 or a higher-quality WAV version for $14. For approximately $50, there’s also an extensive vinyl edition with deluxe packaging.
Radiohead also released a black-and-white video for the song “Lotus Flower” off the new album.

KTIV Tells Story Of Rich Schild

KTIV did a feature on Rich Schild Friday. He was a Yankton native killed in the Iraq war about five years ago. He will be featured Feb. 15 in a segment at the end of “Nancy Grace” on HLN.

Here is a link to the KTIV video.
Family learns to live and live without five years after the death of loved one

Posted: // Feb 04, 2011 7:22 PM Friday, February 4, 2011 8:22 PM EST

YANKTON, S.D. (KTIV) — It’s been five years since a roadside bomb, in Iraq, killed three members of Yankton, South Dakota’s “Charlie” Battery of the 147th Field Artillery.

Staff Sergeant Dan Cuka, Specialist Allen Kokesh, Junior, and Sergeant First Class Richard  Schild.

After five years, Richard’s wife and two kids are still learning to cope and carry on without him.

A painting tells the story of a typical American family. Faces reveal a much happier time before life turned tragic.

“You could see the top of their hats so I knew something was wrong, and then they said Rich got hit by a roadside bomb on December Fourth,” said Kay Schild.

Kay Schild will never forget the day two military officers arrived at her front door five years ago. Her husband, Sergeant First Class Richard Schild was killed by a IED while on patrol in Iraq. The centerpiece of a family was gone.

“I was like, how will I survive,” said Kay.

But in the five years since Richard’s death, the Schild’s have survived. They’ve moved from Tabor to a new home in Yankton. The kids enrolled in a new school. But it hasn’t been easy.

“To the kids I said were going to have to get along without dad he’s not going to be here anymore ,” Schild said.

Kay Schild has become both a mother, and father, to 11-year-old Koby and 12-year old Keely. She’s in charge of everything from homework, “Mow the lawn, snow blow, I mean any little problem there is I try to fix it first before I call anybody. It’s just hard I mean trying to be two parents at one time,” said Kay.

Not to mention a taxi service on a strict schedule.

“It would be nice to say ‘Hey Rich could you take Kolby here I’ll take Keely here but I can’t, I have to just pull it all together and try to do it,” Kay said.

But besides living Kay and the kids have also learned how to cope. Each with their own method.

“I have just tried to put other stuff on my mind and try to forget about,” says daughter Keely Schild.

“In school we have a prayer that my teacher sister Margo leads us in and she always mentions my dad,” said son Koby Schild.

And in the summer months, the family returns to their old home in Tabor. They meet with neighbors and set off a few fireworks, a tradition they had with their father.

“We do these fireworks in Tabor, because he loved to do them,” said Keely.

But after five years of finding a new normal, maybe the most important lesson this family has learned is to keep their friends close.

“My family and friends help out a lot, friends talk to them let them help you and let it out, ” said Kay.

“I think in the next five years we’ll be getting a little bit stronger and a little bit stronger… And I am hoping that people are just thinking jeeze she is doing good without Rich and think of Rich being there,” says Kay.

A presence forever felt… in the eyes of a father, who fought as a soldier. In Yankton, South Dakota Forrest Saunders KTIV Newschannel Four.

Online Reporter: Forrest Saunders

Yankton Smoking Ban Issue Gets KELO Treatment

KELO-TV did a follow-up Friday on a story I’ve followed closely about local disagreements over the smoking ban:

Lighting Up Loopholes

By Ben Dunsmoor
Published: February 4, 2011, 10:04 PM

// Bookmark and Share Lighting Up Loopholes
Click to watch video
YANKTON, SD – Smoking in South Dakota bars, restaurants and casinos is illegal. In Yankton, some bar owners are holding each other accountable for following the new rules.

When South Dakota’s smoke-free law took affect, it cut off smoking inside cold-turkey and sent smokers out in the cold. But even though it’s an inconvenience, inside Boomer’s bar in Yankton, they aren’t holding any punches when it comes to holding businesses accountable for the ban.

“To me, a law is a law though. It says smoking is prohibited in public places, so I don’t know why that seems so hard to follow,” Boomer’s manager Kim Braunesreither said.

Right after the ban took affect, Braunesreither started hearing rumblings about people lighting up inside the Tobacco Road smoke shop and casino in Yankton.

“We found out they were allowing people to smoke in there,” Braunesreither said.

“They had information that we had an establishment that was not following these guidelines,” Yankton Police Chief Brian Paulsen said.

So Boomer’s and several other establishments went to the Yankton Police. In November and December, a half-dozen complaints were filed against Tobacco Road, but police say the business never violated the law.

“Legislatively, the statute says that the bar owner only has to advise people about the new ordinance. That smoking wasn’t allowed in the establishment. What was happening is they were notifying them and that takes the bar owner completely out of the equation because they have met their statutory requirement,” Paulsen said.

Tobacco Road was telling people not to smoke inside, but people were lighting up any way.

“The liability falls down on the smoker themselves,” Paulsen said.

The staff at Boomer’s says it’s all happening because of a poorly written law.

“It’s very vague. I think there are a lot of loopholes in it that people are trying to find,” Braunesreither said.

Other bars in Yankton say they’re not trying to cause trouble; they just want to make sure everyone is following the law so there is a level playing field when it comes to smoking.

“I’m not trying to be a vigilante of any sort. But if I do hear it’s happening, I do try to check it out and follow up on it because there’s other businesses that are affected by that. And we’re all in this for the same reasons, to make a living and try to make our patrons comfortable,” Braunesreither said.

Police say other bars and restaurants can actually help them enforce the law.

“They can put more pressure on than law enforcement because, again, once they’ve notified the smoker, they’ve met their statutory requirements and they can still run a business. It’s the smoker themselves that are going to have to pay that fine,” Paulsen said.

Even with that, Braunesreither hopes bars can be held more accountable if smokers are found lighting up inside.

“That if people are not going to follow it that to would affect their license or something to that affect, so there is some sort of punishment for blatantly disobeying the law,” Braunesreither said.

Because if smokers are found disobeying the ban, it can have an affect on the bottom line for other businesses.

“If we have to follow it, I think everyone should have to follow it,” Braunesreither said.

Yankton Police say no one has filed a complaint about people smoking inside Tobacco Road since the beginning of the year. We contacted Tobacco Road but they did not want to be interviewed for the story.

© 2010 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

The SD Gun Mandate And George Washington

It looks like TPM caught Rep. Wick’s misfire on his gun mandate legislation. Eric Kleefeld writes:

As you may have seen, some Republican state legislators in South Dakota have proposed a sort of protest bill against health care reform — to require that nearly every adult in the state purchase a gun. But in their effort to make a statement about constitutionality, they might have just misfired.

“If the federal government can order every one of us to buy health insurance because we need medical care, it makes just as much sense for us to require everyone to have a weapon to provide for their protection,” the lead sponsor, state Rep. Hal Wick (R), told the Rapid City Journal.

At the same time, he added that he doesn’t really mean to pass this bill or get other people to vote for it: “I feel this would be overstepping the bounds of their personal rights.”

So I decided to ask Wick his opinion of a previous individual gun mandate, which was passed by…George Washington!

You see, back in the early days of this country, Congress passed and Washington signed the Militia Act of 1792, which provided for universal military training to be conducted at the state level.

Some key provisions:

That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act.

That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder;

As Jeremy Singer-Vine at Slate noted this past December, the two acts are in fact not the same in their legal bases — the earlier one was based on the Militia Clause of the Constitution, while health care reform is based on the Commerce Clause. But if a person did think they were the same in the sense that they are both individual mandates, wouldn’t the 1792 law be a ready answer?

(As a bonus, here’s another fun difference: Low-earners didn’t automatically get subsidies to buy guns, like Obama et al. have done with health insurance. Instead, people were faced with an unfunded individual mandate, which could be quite onerous.)

So I called Wick, to ask his opinion. He affirmed to me that his bill is about making a statement. “The bill is really about Obamacare, and the fact that it’s unconstitutional.”

Does he think a gun mandate and the health care mandate are the same thing, I asked? “Yes,” he responded.

I then asked him whether he had an opinion on the gun mandate that was signed into law by Washington in 1792. “I wasn’t aware of it,” he said after a short pause. “Is it still on the books or has it been removed?”

I explained that the Militia Acts were amended many times over the course of this country’s history, and this provision was phased out a long time ago.

In the course of the interview, I asked whether this would change his opinion on individual mandates. “No,” he said. “I really don’t feel like a gun mandate would be constitutional under these circumstances.”

What does he mean by the circumstances?

“Well, it was shortly after the Revolutionary War, and it was before the War of 1812,” he said, “which may have been something that was on the radar screen — that they knew there could be another challenge coming from overseas. I’m not a history major, though.”

Some Not Happy With Yankton ‘Aflockalypse,’ USDA

Some are not too happy about the bird deaths in Yankton and, more broadly, the USDA’s efforts to kill off animals considered pests:

by Brandon Bosworth · February 01, 2011

Last month, residents of Yankton, South Dakota were puzzled by the hundreds of starlings lying dead throughout the area. Witness Alison Brown told the local NBC station, “The street where we park and the sidewalks were just covered with them.”

Well, the mystery was soon solved: The good folks at the U.S. Department of Agriculture had taken it upon themselves to take out the birds.

Poisoning birds is usually the sort of thing associated with psychopathic loners, not government agencies. Yet the USDA has a long history of mass avian slaughter. For example, a 2008 bird poisoning campaign in Washington state led one witness to say she thought “one of the 10 plagues of Egypt had struck down the birds.” And the recent killing in South Dakota paled in comparison to the scale of death the USDA achieved in New Jersey two years ago.

In 2009, the agency used poison to kill around 5,000 birds, leading Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine to say, “It was raining birds.”  This, in turn, was nothing compared to the USDA’s goal a decade ago to kill 2 million blackbirds a year. (For what it’s worth, the USDA kills plenty of other animals, too, and gladly admits it in a handy-dandy chart.)

Why does the USDA do this sort of thing? This question was answered by former Change.org writer Stephanie Ernst in the wake of the New Jersey slaughter, in a post accurately titled: Thousands of Starlings Killed to Assist the Killing of Cattle & Chickens. As she explained, a “farmer was fed up with [the birds’] habit of eating the feed he puts out for the cattle and chickens whom he needs to fatten up before killing them.” So, at the farmer’s request, the USDA provided food for the starlings laced with the pesticide DRC-1339. That pesticide, incidentally, is also called Starlicide, and is manufactured by Ralston-Purina. It can take a bird up to three days to die from the poison.

Just like in 2009, the killing of starlings this year in South Dakota was as a favor to animal agriculture. According to Reuters, “USDA wildlife biologist Ricky Woods explained that a large group of starlings was causing problems in a north Nebraska cattle feedlot, eating the feed and leaving waste on both the feed and equipment.” So for the grievous sin of interfering with the $70 billion-plus cattle industry, the birds were sentenced to death. Does this prove that the USDA is totally in the pocket of the animal agriculture industry, ready to yell “How high?” whenever Big Ag asks them to jump? No … since that was proven a long time ago.

Despite the public outcry over this vaguely apocalyptic bird slaughter, don’t expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture to change its policies on its own. Tell them to find humane ways to deal with troublesome bird populations. Sign the Humane Society of the United States petition urging the USDA to stop the slaughter. Convenience is not a reason for killing.

White Stripes Break Up

Huge news in the alternative rock world today: The White Stripes have announced that they are calling it quits.

Here is the release:

The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011,
their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live.

The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any
health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.

It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about
the band and have it stay that way.

Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible
support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of the White Stripes’ intense and
incredible career.

Third Man Records will continue to put out unreleased live and studio recordings from
The White Stripes in their Vault Subscription record club, as well as through regular

Both Meg and Jack hope this decision isn’t met with sorrow by their fans but that it is
seen as a positive move done out of respect for the art and music that the band has
created. It is also done with the utmost respect to those fans who’ve shared in those
creations, with their feelings considered greatly.

With that in mind the band have this to say:

“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong
to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is
that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your
involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

Meg and Jack White
The White Stripes