Video Report Of Russell In Kalispell

I mentioned the other day that Yankton City Manager Doug Russell is in Kalispell, Mont., this week doing interviews for the city manager job.

Yesterday, he and the other two candidates for the position took part in a public meet-and-greet.

The local NBC news affiliate was there and spoke with all three.

View its report here.

No ‘Faith Hilling’ To Report Here

I’ve got to say, it was a disappointing night.

I covered the City Commission candidate forum at the Technical Education Center that was sponsored by the Press & Dakotan and all the other media outlets in town. It was a fine forum, and the candidates did a good job.

But I was rather hoping that there would be some “Hilling,” “Swifting” or maybe an “Oh, Long Johnson.” I can also assure you there was no “Reporting.”

What’s wrong with the people of Yankton? They have no respect for memes, I guess.

No idea what I’m talking about? You didn’t watch “South Park” last night. I suggest you correct that.

You can watch it here.

Thank me later.

Oh, and in case you want to know what happened at the forum, visit the Press & Dakotan website tomorrow.

“Hilling” for life …

Anchorman 2 Away!

The very funny David Koechner will be doing a show at Yankton’s Minerva’s on Friday, April 27.

I hope that, unlike the Pauly Shore show at Minerva’s several months ago, Koechner will actually try to put on a decent performance. I really enjoyed Shore’s opening acts, but then he came on the stage and sucked all the air out of the room. Total bummer, buddy.

Koechner has provided constant laughs for me over the years. I have rather high hopes for his performance.

I arranged Tuesday to have an interview with him in a couple weeks. I learned today that we’ll have some very cool news to discuss.

Nikki Finke reports:

I’ve learned the sequel finally came together today. The comedy Anchorman 2 will be produced under mogul Judd Apatow’s banner with Will Ferrell’s and Adam MKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions. McKay will direct as well as write the script with Will Ferrell who will star again as Ron Burgundy along with the 2004 original’s castmembers Steve Carell and Paul Rudd and David Koechner.

Ron Burgundy himself broke the news on “Conan” Wednesday:


Russell Making Pitch To Kalispell This Week

If you read my story in Tuesday’s Press & Dakotan about Monday night’s City Commission meeting, you know that City Manager Doug Russell was not there.

Where was he?

Well, you might recall that he is in the running for a city manager job in Kalispell, Mont. This is the week when he meets with the public there and undergoes an interview process with the Kalispell City Council.

According to the Daily Inter Lake:

Russell, Steele and Sutherland will tour Kalispell and meet with city department heads and staff on Wednesday. They then will attend a public reception at the Conrad Mansion Museum on Thursday.

Sponsored by Glacier Bank and Sykes’ Market, the reception runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It is open to the public.

The Kalispell City Council will interview the three finalists Friday.

Interviews are scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. and expected to continue through 4 p.m. Held at Kalispell City Hall, the interviews are open to the public.

Russell did an interview with Tom Lotshaw of the Daily Inter Lake that was published Sunday. It begins:

One of three finalists for Kalispell’s city manager job, Doug Russell sees a chance to move to a beautiful part of Montana and bring his two children closer to their maternal grandparents in Great Falls.

“We try to make it out to the Flathead every summer when it’s nice and warm and the cherries are out,” said Russell, the city manager of Yankton, S.D., a city of about 14,500 people on the Missouri River in the state’s southeast corner.

Russell, who is 38 and the youngest of the finalists visiting Kalispell for job interviews this week, has had his eyes on the Kalispell job for some time.

“We actually watched when the position opened up two and a half or three years ago, but we’d only been in Yankton for maybe a year and couldn’t really put an application out,” he said. “We thought maybe it would open up again in another five years, so here we are.”

Read the rest here.


Relationship Advice: ‘You’ve Got To Know When To Shut Up’

Do you need relationship advice?

Here is my advice: Don’t ask me for advice.

But should you wish to ignore my advice and ask anyway, I offer this very intelligent observation from Bob Odenkirk, who is better known for his comedic genius on “Mr. Show” and any other number of projects. It’s taken from an interview posted this week with one of my favorite sites, They do a regular feature called, “Sex Advice From …” Well, this week it’s from Bob Odenkirk.

Ready? Here it goes:

You played a marriage counselor on Arrested Development. What’s the single best piece of marriage advice you can give?
You’ve got to know when to shut up. You learn when you’re young never to put nasty or angry words in an email or letter — you realize that even though it was all true at the time you wrote it, you don’t want it between you and the other person forever. With a marriage, think of it as if there’s a stenographer in the room at all times who’s making a permanent record of your discussion. So when things get hairy, watch how far you go, because in order to keep the relationship going, you need to not say things that you can’t live with. My wife and I are very honest with each other, and it’s one of the reasons I’m with her — one of the things that made me be in love with her was that she was very straightforward with me, and she allowed me to be very honest with her and not walk on eggshells around her. But that’s all up to a point, and then you have to make sure you don’t go over a line.

It’s kind of funny, because I was talking with my ex-wife about this subject recently. Yep, we are still good friends. It happens.

I don’t recall how we got on the topic, but I was telling her about how I am not always TOTALLY open about how I feel in the heat of a “relationship moment.” Bob has very eloquently explained why. I wish I had put it so well.

So if you want my advice, it is this: You’ve got to know when to shut up.

The other person may not appreciate it during your “relationship moment,” but everyone will hopefully be happier in the end.

Biscuit Fight!!!

Loyal readers of the daily record have been rewarded with some interesting entries lately.

There was the naked cowboy:

A report was received at 5:02 a.m. Wednesday of a man in a cowboy hat and black shirt — but nothing else — hiding behind a dumpster in the 300 block of Walnut St. Someone had apparently taken his pants, and he was trying to make his way home, police said. He was arrested for public indecency.

I cannot confirm or deny this, but his girlfriend may have been the pants nabber. Ah, young love.

Then, of course, there was the key tree:

A report was received at 8:59 p.m. Thursday that car keys were stuck in a tree at Memorial Park. A young woman had been tossing her car keys in the air when they became stuck on a branch. She attempted to knock the keys out of the tree by throwing one of her shoes at them. However, the shoe also became stuck in the tree not far from the keys. The keys were rescued from the tree, but the shoe was too high and could not be saved.

I’ll give you a moment to wipe away your tears. Such a sad tale.

Now, there were a few things that didn’t make the record. Things you can’t imagine.

And for good reason, you wouldn’t want to waste your time dreaming up these small matters. But I think you’ll find them worth a few chuckles.

I was going through the reports last week when I came across one that simply read, “BISCUIT FIGHT.”

Biscuit fight?

I had to know more.

I made a call to a well-placed source who accused me of wanting to know more just so I could put it on the blog.


But I did it for you, dear readers.

It turns out a juvenile female had come across her parents throwing hard biscuits at one another. She freaked out. She called 9-1-1.

But as she was talking to the dispatcher, she realized she had perhaps overreacted.

Her parents had just been having a good-natured biscuit fight like any normal American family is wont to do. Case closed.

This week, I came across another report that gave me a peek into the wild and crazy things the kids are into these days.

I warn you, it’s pretty disturbing.


A report was received at 11:29 p.m. Friday of a vehicle with a dome light on in Riverside Park. Contact was made with four females who advised were just rolling down the hills and staying out past curfew since they just turned 18. They were advised not to go in the river.

Sage advice.

I must say, I’m really worried about our youth. We must do something to stop hill rolling. Just say no to the roll.

(Oh, and thanks for making me laugh today, girls! Wait, I shouldn’t encourage them …)

Sunny Side Up

Today was an early day for me.

You see, I typically lead a rock ‘n’ roll journalist lifestyle. That’s how I like to refer to it in a meager attempt to impress people with how cool and awesome I am. You’re totally buying it, right? I go to bed late and get up late. It generally fits my job (because I often work well into the evening), and I feel I’ve earned it from those many years of childhood on into my 20s when I had to get up before dawn to do chores on the family farm.

I didn’t have that luxury today, because I had a radio interview at 7:30. Fortunately, I felt that went really well.

When I emerged from the radio station, I knew it was time to take advantage of the beautiful morning and walk across the Meridian Bridge. The fog was melting away, although you could still see some dancing across the surface of the Missouri River.

I’m telling you, mornings don’t get much more perfect than this morning.

Along the way, I took the above picture of the sun. I like how it has an almost flower effect with the red “petals.”

Also, a deer was standing on the south side of the bridge to greet me upon my arrival on the Nebraska shore.

Lovely stuff.

I hope that once all this reporting business is out of the way, the day ends as beautifully as it began — and I’m certainly wishing upon a lucky star that the day of my readers will take a similar trajectory.



A Question Of Yes Or No: Video Of Thursday’s School Board Q&A

Curious how last night’s We The People Committee candidate Q&A played out last night?

It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my years of covering political forums. Was that good or bad? It depends on what you expect out of a candidate Q&A I guess. In my opinion, the questions told you just as much or more about We The People as the answers did about the candidates.

For an idea of the format, here is the beginning of my story today for the Press & Dakotan:

Yankton School Board candidates at a forum Thursday evening had a strict set of rules to follow.

Three of the five individuals running for two open seats on the school board attended the event at JoDean’s Steakhouse and Lounge. It was organized by the We The People Yankton Committee, a group that advocated against the school district’s defeated Feb. 28 property-tax opt-out.

The school board election will be held April 10.

Committee member Wayne Wurth explained to D.G. “Butch” Becker, Matthew Pietz and Michael “Moose” Welch that they would be asked a series of questions by three moderators. In response to each question, the candidates could hold up a sign with a “yes” or “no” answer, or they could abstain if they did not feel comfortable with the       question.

Clarifications, he said, were not allowed.

Current School Board president and candidate Kathy Greeneway did not attend the meeting and said in advance that she disagreed with the format. Mark Westerman was also absent.

The candidates were asked a total of 22 questions during the course of about 15 minutes. The audience was given a checklist with the questions so candidate answers could be ticked off as the forum proceeded.

Here are some images of the checklist (and my tally of the participant’s answers):

Notice the pledge at the end. I don’t know if any candidates actually signed it. I had to depart in order to meet my deadline.

I also took some video footage of the Q&A:

I think instead of signs, they should have had “Yes” hand puppets and “No” hand puppets. That would have been more visually stimulating, but hey, you can’t have everything.

Why South Dakota Had To Lose: A Nebraskan’s Perspective

Greetings, residents of the South Dakota.
I hail from the United Territories of Nebraska, where we live in peace. Man, woman and child do not face discrimination based on whether they live east or west of the Missouri River — unless they live in I.O.W.A., in which case I’m sure you find our desire for segregation understandable.
While I do come from Nebraska, some of my fellow Nebes and I have been living among your people for some time now, learning your ways and doing our best to teach you the wisdom of the Nebes. It is painstaking work, but it is a cause to which I, at least, have willingly dedicated my life.
I was struck recently by the enthusiasm SoDaks had when the South Dakota State University men’s and women’s basketball teams both earned spots in the NCAA tournaments. Similar excitement followed the announcement that the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team had earned a spot in the WNIT.
I know a lot of the South Dakota fans were saddened by the tournament losses suffered in succession during the last week.
But I was not.
No, I was pleased to see the appropriate outcome of these athletic forays.
Now, please put down your primitive weapons and silence your shrill voices. Hear the wisdom of this humble Nebe before you cast judgment.
As a Nebe, I am acutely aware of the fact that your civilization is not advanced enough to explore these new frontiers. Remember, the United Territories of Nebraska was born of the star dust in the Year of our Flying Spaghetti Monster 1867. You are but babes, sprouting your first tentacles in the Year of our Flying Spaghetti Monster 1889.
Let me illustrate for your benefit one very important reason you are not ready for this giant leap for SoDak kind.
You don’t have the language for it.
Nebes have simplified their language to the point that it can be boiled down to two words: Go Huskers.
Travel to any corner of our vast land, and the language is universal.
“Go Huskers” communicates every emotion imaginable.
It conveys happiness — “Go Huskers!” Sadness — “go huskers.” Anger — “GO HUSKERS!” Frustration — “GO Huskers!” Confusion — “Go Huskers!?” Even flirtatious come-on — “Go Huskers?”
Some say we elect our leaders based on which candidate recites “Go Huskers!” the most. This is true, and we aren’t ashamed to admit it. Surely, it must be confusing to outsiders, and the people of the South Dakota cannot be blamed for their inability to understand these elaborate rituals.
The conclusion of a recent speech by Supreme Gov. Dave Heineman of the United Territories of Nebraska went like this: “This is about go Huskers. This is our go Huskers. This is our moment in go Huskers. Together we can make go Huskers happen. Let’s get to work. Go Huskers.”
It was a brilliant summation of the Nebe ethos, “Go Huskers.”
Now, what is the universal language of the South Dakota?
“Go Yotes?” “Go Jacks?” Or even, dare I say, “Go Lancers?” In the far reaches of your land, you run the risk of people speaking one language or the other — or perhaps none of them. And who can blame those who do not know these languages? All are primitive and do not please the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They are not “Go Huskers!” I fear for you that they never will be.
How dare you! Of course I’m aware that only the Cornhusker women’s basketball team made it into the NCAA tournament this year and they tasted defeat in the first round. (And, yes, I know that our emissaries from Creighton University also represented the cause of the Nebes in the NCAA tournament. Well done.)
The very fact that you raise this as an intended insult is yet another sign that while the South Dakota and its people have grown up, you have a ways to go before reaching maturity.
Everyone in the civilized universe knows that the only test of athletic wills that counts is football or futbol. Basketball means nothing.
To you I say, “GO HUSKERS!”


This column also ran in the Press & Dakotan today.

The question is, will I make it through the day alive after writing this column? So far, so good …

Where NOT To Have An Accident

A sane human being doesn’t want to have a vehicle accident anywhere.

In the scheme of things, there are really bad places to have an accident, such as a street filled with children. On the lighter side may be a deserted country road (with shallow ditches, of course).

But somewhere on that scale, you have to have a measure of the most IRONIC places to have an accident.

I offer this candidate:

A sheriff’s office report was received at 10:42 a.m. Friday that a 1995 GMC Safari driven by a 57-year-old woman was backed into a parked 2011 Chevy HLT in the parking lot of the driver’s license office at the Kanner Building on the Human Services Center campus.

There was no word in the report about whether the driver had just renewed her license (or whether the state had any second thoughts about issuing it!). Fortunately, I doubt anyone was hurt in this parking lot collision.

I’m guessing that if any family and friends get a hold of this information, they are going to have a good time ribbing this driver about it. Really, how could you not???

I’m just thankful it wasn’t me. You never know when stupid (or distraction) will strike. I’ve been on the receiving end of that equation.