Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thomas Daschle Elementary? Aberdeen choosing name for school

The Aberdeen American News is taking comments:
Aberdeen Public Schools could buy the old Coventry Building on Aberdeen’s east side for a new elementary school. What do you think the school should be named, and why?
President Obama is expected to visit South Dakota before the end of his term. He will be shown the sights by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Tribes prevail against South Dakota in ICWA case

Pennington County's behavior has been called shocking. With state officials sitting in the audience and not on the dais, former US Senator James Abourezk urged the federal government to sue the State of South Dakota.
The court finds that Judge Davis, States Attorney Vargo, Secretary Valenti and Ms. Van Hunnick developed and implemented policies and procedures for the removal of Indian children from their parents’ custody in violation of the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act and in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. [ILPC Turtle Talk]
This blogger has direct knowledge of abuses visited upon families by employees of the state from 1994 to 2000 and is all too close to this story.

Noem pretending to work in Congress

Save Medicare! Fire Noem. Get Your Free Sticker Today!

Kristi Noem's ALEC handlers are putting the screws to her.
The US House passed a budget resolution that could make major changes in how Medicare operates. South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem says the plan would expand means testing as a way of covering costs. Noem says the changes would not really take effect for some time. Senior citizens can sign up for Medicare when they turn 65, but starting in 2024, that would increase by two months a year, eventually moving up to age 67. In that same time, the plan would change into a voucher program, where seniors could buy coverage on a health insurance exchange. [WNAX]
Too funny.
Helping middle class families take advantage of the benefits of the health care law, like ensuring millions of seniors and people with disabilities have access to more affordable prescription medications and free preventive services through Medicare, should be a top priority for lawmakers in Washington. Yet instead of working to fix the law, Congresswoman Noem and her tea party friends have voted to repeal the health care law more than 40 times. They even shut down the government to prevent new benefits, like saving seniors money on prescription drugs and preventative services, from taking effect. [South Dakota Democratic Party]

Monday, March 30, 2015

Daschle would accompany Obama on SD visit

South Dakota remains the only state unvisited by President Obama after he goes to Utah. His aides say he is determined to visit all fifty states by the end of his term.
"We'd always love to have him," said former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, who shared a stage with Obama in Massachusetts on Monday at the opening of an institute dedicated to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Noting Obama visited Mount Rushmore, located in South Dakota, as a candidate in 2008 --- but hasn't returned since --- Daschle said the demands of the President's schedule had likely prevented him from making a stop while in office, though he had some suggestions for potential venues. "I think it would be great if he could visit an Indian reservation. We have nine of them. I think he'd get a warm welcome, to say the least," Daschle said. Obama did visit an Indian reservation last year --- but it was in North Dakota, not South. Bill Clinton visited the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota's Badlands during the last year of his presidency. [KOTA]
Touting trade with Taiwan's economic and cultural contender, Daschle's former rival in the US Senate, now Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, just returned to the US speaking in Helena at the Montana Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing and International Trade Day banquet.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who started a public policy practice at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz last year, said he will register with the federal government as a lobbyist for the first time in his career.Daschle will work on behalf of Taiwan and plans to disclose the client later this month to the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, he told The National Law Journal on Monday. Baker Donelson is the third law firm Daschle has worked with since leaving the Senate in 2005. He previously worked at DLA Piper and Alston & Bird, within their main law firm businesses. His practice at Baker Donelson, called The Daschle Group, is a wholly owned subsidiary that specializes in giving strategic advice. [Katelyn Polantz, Legal Times]
Baucus threw Daschle under the bus during a pre-confirmation quarrel in 2009. President Obama's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, Daschle was widely expected to push Congress toward a Medicaid-for-all health care plan as Big Pharma-backed Baucus worked to pass the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. Daschle withdrew from nomination.

Daschle remains a popular figure among South Dakota Democrats, American Indians and veterans: some believe he is ready to help energize the state party.

At an odd intersection, Baker Donelson came up today in testimony of the condemnation trial to determine whether Missoula, Montana can condemn a water system owned by the Carlyle Group, a Baker client.

Lederman forced from legislature

I found myself looking at my own personal ledger. And what I found, was that I owe a debt for many things. I am so far in the red, I need to start paying that tremendous debt back. Because these are debts I owe to my family for their love and support over the years. [Dan Lederman]
Sleaze and crime is Dan's business. He spent $50,000 to buy a seat in the legislature flaunting the same class as he throws it away.

No doubt his name has come up in the federal Bendagate investigation linked with his ties to human trafficking.

Don't let the door hit you in the brain as you leave, Dan.

Daugaard lapses result in wildfire outbreak



Recall 2011 when South Dakota's current reactionary governor ignored threats of flooding in the Missouri River basin and in 2013 a forecast blizzard killed tens of thousands of livestock and how during the aftermath the red state executive blithely applied for federal disaster relief.
Fire officials say it could take four to five days to totally gain control of a fire burning in the West Short Pines area of Harding County. The Great Plains Fire Information office reports the Sheep Draw Fire has burned approximately 5,600 acres as of Sunday evening. Today, a Type 3 Incident team assumed command of the fire. Among the first priorities were to order two helicopters from the South Dakota National Guard to make water drops in areas of rugged terrain. [KBHB Radio]
600 years ago 20 million bison migrating north would be cropping those grasses ahead of Spring thunderstorms while people following them gathered dry dung to fuel campfires.

Prescriptive fires should have been set weeks ago but South Dakota, suffering repeated leadership lapses, now faces red flag conditions settling over the state.

Joe Lowe called Governor Dennis Daugaard incompetent and uninterested in governing.

South Dakota's current governor says he's a conservative; yet, he has begged for billions from the Obama administration. His predecessor's office where he was lieutenant governor as well as his current bureaucracy have trafficked Native kids, exploited the federal EB-5 green card scam, are quietly expanding a Medicaid safety net for, and giving raises to, those not yet voting for his party.

Lowe obviously believed that South Dakota's governor is not taking the ecological collapse taking place on the Black Hills seriously enough.
Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of WildfireToday.com and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. 
Below we hear from Joe Lowe, a former Director of the South Dakota Division of Wildfire Suppression and Type 2 Incident Commander of Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team C. Currently Joe is the owner of the Reflections of South Dakota Gallery in Rapid City. [Wildfire Today]
Gabbert penned a vivid sketch of Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Joe Lowe. Here's a snip:
Governor Bill Janklow, always a hands-on governor, was bewildered and flabbergasted by the fires and in many ways interfered with the Incident Commanders (your’s truly included) which at times created serious safety problems. On the Jasper Fire the Type 1 Incident Commander placed a resource order for U.S. Marshals who stood by at the Incident Command Post ready to put a halt to any actions by state employees that put firefighters in danger, such as setting backfires and running dozers out ahead of the fire without coordinating with the Incident Commander or the Incident Management Team. The next year Governor Janklow created the Division of Wildland Fire Suppression and hired Mr. Lowe to run the agency.
Duh: added links are mine. Read it unadulterated here.

Having been defeated in the Democratic gubernatorial primary by state representative, Susan Wismer, Mr. Lowe is now vice-chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party.

Why South Dakota retains Jim Strain as a fire boss remains a mystery.

An honest At-large US Representative would be calling out such unscrupulous behavior by the state's executive.

South Dakota deserves better.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Daugaard lapses forcing teacher exodus

“This has me worried,” Dr. Steve Willard, superintendent of the Belle Fourche School District said at the Belle Fourche School Board retreat Monday evening. “We have had 10 openings before, but the openings we have are more difficult to fill.” Willard said that although Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed a Blue Ribbon Taskforce to examine issues with school funding and teacher shortages, he is concerned because at this time there are no teachers or school administrators serving on that force.
Read it here.

From the Huron Daily Plainsman:
A 2 percent boost in state aid to education gets the funding level back to where it was in 2010 prior to the cuts, so South Dakota school districts continue to struggle with teacher retention, Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, said. Vacancies are often being filled with people not certified to teach. “So that’s a real big problem in our district and throughout the whole state,” Gibson said at the Beadle County Democratic Forum on Thursday.
Read that here.

Patrick Anderson in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
South Dakota teachers have the lowest average salary in the country, and school districts across the state have reported candidate pools in the single digits and unfilled teaching jobs.
Here.
So, don’t hold your breath parents, teachers and employers. The “great teachers” Daugaard predicts for South Dakota probably won’t be flooding our school districts with applications. South Dakota Republican governors and legislators in the past 12 years haven’t solved the funding problem. T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Hollow Men” has a line for that kind of paralysis: “Gesture without motion.” [David Walder]

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Omaha legislator defends ISIS metaphor

Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers struck some nerves after comments surfaced in which he compared police officers to a group of Middle East fighters created with help from the Bush43 Administration.
During a public hearing Friday about a bill involving concealed handguns, Chambers said residents of his north Omaha district were more in fear of police than of extremist groups such as the Islamic State. “My ISIS is the police. Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do us daily. And they get away with it,” the African-American senator said, using an acronym for the militant group. [Omaha World Herald]
Chambers is an outspoken opponent of capital punishment.

A Republican state representative in Colorado is “very proud” of South Dakota state Rep. Isaac Latterell, an anti-choice lawmaker who wrote a blog post last month comparing Planned Parenthood to the Islamic State. “I am discerning the spirit of God on this state rep from South Dakota,” Colorado state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt said in Tuesday’s edition of his online video series called “Pray in Jesus’ Name.” In his blog post, titled “Planned Parenthood Is Beheading Children and Lying about It,” Latterell, the South Dakota state lawmaker, wrote that “Planned Parenthood abortionists in Sioux Falls are similarly beheading unborn children during dismemberment abortions.” [Jason Salzman, Colorado Lawmaker ‘Very Proud’ of South Dakota Legislator Who Compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS]
A black man makes a comparison to the Islamic State and there is an outcry but when a white man does it, he gets an award.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thune moves to save Black Hills bat on 'Day of Votes That Don’t Count'

South Dakota's Republican blog hates the Rapid City Journal except when an editorial serves up a political dish it likes.
While it won't win any cutest animal contests, the northern long-eared bat deserves the same chance as any critter to continue to exist. We urge anyone who shares that concern to use the official commenting process. And if such a listing does occur — we certainly support trying to save the bats and preserve them as a species — we hope wildlife officials will use common sense while balancing the protection that would be offered against the potentially devastating economic impacts that could result. [editorial, Rapid City Journal, hyperlinks mine.]
In some caves in the Northeast, northern long-eared bat populations have declined by up to 99%.
Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, would allow open season on the sage grouse or, more specifically, development on the bird’s habitat, while Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, would like federal protection for the beleaguered northern long-eared bat. [Jonathan Weisman, In the Senate, a Day of Votes That Don’t Count]
Logging out the basin for the Grizzly Gulch Tailings Disposal Project above Pluma and Deadwood in 1977 helped to launch this blogger's love of the Black Hills. Homestake Mining Company that also operated the sawmill near Spearfish, hired a local contractor who gave a farm boy and School of Mines dropout a skidder job.

Now, that sawmill is owned by Neiman Enterprises of Hulett, Wyoming.
South Dakota U.S. Sen. John Thune recently introduced a bill to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from listing the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 2011, the FWS reached a secret sue-and-settle agreement with two radical environmental groups to require listing determinations on more than 250 species across the United States, including the northern long-eared bat. On October 14, 2014, Thune sent a letter to the FWS with Rep. Kristi Noem encouraging the agency to withdraw its proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat as endangered and to refocus its attention on combating white-nose syndrome. [KCSR]
GOP donors being subsidized by the federal government to log in the Black Hills are putting pressure on the state's congressional delegation to resist habitat protection for the black-backed woodpecker, too.
In response to the rapid and severe decline of the northern long-eared bat – a species important for crop pest control – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a special rule under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would provide the maximum benefit to the species while limiting the regulatory burden on the public. If finalized, the rule, under section 4(d) of the ESA, would apply only in the event the Service lists the bat as “threatened.” The Service’s proposal will appear in the Federal Register Jan. 16, 2015, opening a 60-day public comment period. “White-nose syndrome is having a devastating effect on the nation’s bat populations, which play a vital role in sustaining a healthy environment and save billions of dollars by controlling forest and agricultural pests,” said Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “Although a final listing decision has not yet been made, we believe we can best serve the American people by proposing and seeking comment on a potential 4(d) rule now, so if we determine listing as threatened with a 4(d) rule is appropriate, the rule can be implemented immediately.” [press release]
The Neiman family is a top GOP campaign contributor who has given generously to Thune and Noem.

Neiman owns three mills in the Black Hills operating a virtual monopoly and lobbying heavily in Pierre to pump the handle(s). They also own a mill in Colorado.
The Earth Partners LP, a land restoration and bioenergy development company, announced that it has acquired Deadwood Biofuels LLC, a company based in the Black Hills of South Dakota that produces wood pellets for heating and industrial markets. The Black Hills, where Deadwood’s raw material is sourced, is a historically fire-maintained conifer ecosystem. Fire suppression over the past century has allowed the forest to become overstocked and characterized by unbroken stands of old trees, fueling the risk of catastrophic wildfire, insect infestation, and habitat loss. This is fertile ground for the mountain pine beetle epidemic, which has caused trees to rot on hundreds of thousands of acres of Black Hills National Forest and private land. The Earth Partners and Deadwood are using these forest residues, thinnings, and low-grade timber resources to improve forest health. [Rapid City, SD (PRWEB) September 29, 2014]
The mountain pine beetle is successfully returning water supplies to depleted Black Hills aquifer recharges while the timber industry would rather just take the oldest trees.

At least one Wyoming mill operator gets it:
Clint Georg, one of the partner-owners of the sawmill in Saratoga, said burning wood to produce steam, in turn spinning turbines to create electricity, is currently being done on a somewhat limited scale. Another potential bioenergy application for wood byproducts is to turn wood chips into biofuel. According to Forisk Consulting, there are three general techniques to convert wood biomass into transportation fuels. [David Lewis, Casper Star-Tribune]
The Feds are offering grants to develop alternative and renewable fuels: Republicans take the money even when they say they hate big government.

Watersheds are recovering due to the efforts of the mountain pine beetle to reduce ponderosa pine infestation even as state agencies quietly remediate human-caused contamination in the Waters of the US.

Hawks: Bendagate exposes lack of oversight

Representative Paula Hawks is an advocate for clean sustainable energy in South Dakota's legislature.
For more than a year the legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee has been looking into the accusations surrounding former Tourism and State Development Secretary Richard Benda. Just this month lawmakers passed a bill they hope will prevent similar situations. If an employee thinks there is a potential conflict he or she has to report it to a supervisor. Those contracts are also reviewed every year by the legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee. "It’s great policy it's just a little too late," Rep. Paula Hawks (D) Sioux Falls said. Hawks voted for the legislation which had broad support from Democrats and Republicans. Hawks wishes the state would have had similar laws on the books to bring clarity to the Benda situation. "I see it as a positive step in the right direction. I see us moving away from being reactive and being more proactive about keeping an eye on things that we should be keeping an eye on - things we should have oversight of," Hawks said. [KELO]
Hawks' legislature entry linked here, Ballotpedia entry linked here.
Hawks came away from the election with an eight-vote advantage in District Nine over former Rep. Bob Deelstra, a Republican who was making a bid to recapture the seat he lost in 2012. Monday's recount confirmed Hawks' victory over Deelstra, 2,662 to 2,654. Hawks said she looks forward to the next legislative session, and she plans to introduce bills dealing with public safety and education. She will be one of only a dozen Democrats in the next legislative session, down from 18 in the current Legislature. "We're small but we're mighty, and we'll make our voices heard as best as we can," she said. [Jonathan Ellis, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Roundup® carcinogenic; soils, waterways, even rain contaminated

Monsanto's flagship product, Roundup® has recently been cited as containing a compound that is incompatible with life.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently re-classified glyphosate as a carcinogen. The National Corn Grower’s Association is disappointed with that decision. NCGA Board member and South Dakota Corn Grower’s President Keith Alverson says IARC ignored the findings of more than four decades of credible scientific research and needs to reconsider studies that back the products safety. Alverson says glyphosate has been an important tool for producers who’ve been trying to do the right thing with their control of weeds, especially those corn and soybean growers who use no till or limited tillage in their operations. [WNAX]
Virtually every ag producer in South Dakota uses glyphosate, now the compound inculcates every point in the water cycle including in falling rainwater.
Roundup, or the same glyphosate herbicide now available from a host of other brands other than Monsanto, is used on most acres farmed in South Dakota every year, Sharon Clay, a professor of weed science at South Dakota State University in Brookings, told the Capital Journal on Friday. In the past two years or so in South Dakota, farmers are seeing kochia and ragweed and other weeds that can't be killed by glyphosates, she said. [Pierre Capital Journal]
In 2010, after another GOP governor gutted environmental protection in South Dakota, the Big Sioux River was named the thirteenth most polluted river in the US and nearly every waterway in the state suffers impairment.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is the author of Ecofeminism and Stolen Harvest. The internationally known advocate for sustainable agriculture and opponent of genetically engineered crops brought her message to South Dakota State University's Harding Lecture Series.

The university's chair sits on the board of Monsanto.

South Dakota deserves a US Representative who would stand up to a chief executive who cares more about the state's residents than about his out of state campaign donors like his party's congressional comrades are.

BHNF PR 'Moon Walks' always well-attended

Young South Dakotans continue to struggle with obesity. American kids are under “house arrest’ often spending only four to seven minutes a day outside: WBUR.

The Black Hills National Forest has announced its schedule of public relations 'Moon Walks' for 2015:
“Over 14,000 visitors have attended the 135 Moon Walk programs since 1996. Consistently an average of 100 people attends each program, although, we have seen as many as 385 people attend one program a couple years ago,” said Amy Ballard, Moon Walk Coordinator. “Over the past 20 years, I hope that these programs have fostered an understanding and appreciation for the cultural and natural resources of the Black Hills and inspired participants to be stewards of the land.” Moon Walks are held on a Saturday night close to the official full moon and begin at 7:00 p.m. Most programs last for 1-2 hours and visitors walk an average of 1 mile round trip.
May 2 – Celebrate Wildfire Awareness Week
This walk is located in the central Black Hills. Forest Service prescribed fire personnel will walk participants through the Prairie prescribed burn area while discussing the ecological need and benefits of fire in a ponderosa pine ecosystem.
June 27 – Botany
This walk is located in the northern Black Hills. Join forest botanists as they discuss the lesser known tree species growing in the Black Hills and their important contributions in providing habitat diversity in this ponderosa pine dominated ecosystem. This program is in memory of Andrew Korth, USFS botanist, 2008-2010
July 25 – Custer’s Expedition in 1874
This walk is located in the western Black Hills. Hike with the Forest Service to one of the photo points used by Custer’s photographer W. H. Illingworth and learn about the Custer Expedition through the soldier’s diary entries and newspaper stories.
August 29 – Geologic Slides a Mile Wide
This walk is located in the northwest corner of the Black Hills National Forest in the Bearlodge Mountains of Wyoming. Join a Forest Service geologist to learn about interesting and unique geologic features of the area including the North Redwater drainage slide area.
September 26 – Fire Lookout Towers and Their Keepers
This walk is located in the southern Black Hills. Be inspired at one of the most beautiful scenic overlooks in the Black Hills as a Forest Ranger from the past describes a day in the life of a fire lookout at a Forest Service fire tower and cabin.
Climate change is causing stress on the Forest and precipitation is far behind average and lapses in leadership by South Dakota'a executive has put the state at risk.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BHSU to host 3000 for American Indian arts education week

Boasting the highest American Indian enrollment among the regental institutions Black Hills State University will host notable American Indian speakers during a week of celebration.
Drums, dancing and discussion converge on Black Hills State University’s campus during a week-long celebration of Native American culture April 12-19 with this year’s theme “Draw from the Past, Design the Future” with an emphasis on examining new and emergent Native art. [BHSU Communications]

BHSU is making "strategic changes" in efforts to address a revenue shortfall.
“Our first priority continues to be our students. The budget adjustments are designed to have minimal impact on students,” BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr., said. “Across the nation, higher education institutions are being challenged to shift the way we operate to meet budgetary limitations while continuing to provide exceptional educational experiences. By taking a proactive and strategic approach, BHSU is meeting that challenge.” [BHSU Communications]
Dr. Jackson's comment comes after repeated calls to move the LNI after numerous racially-charged episodes at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

After the President of the Oglala Lakota Nation came under intense pressure to urge organizers of the Lakota Nation Invitational to move the event, planners have elected to allow Rapid City to host it one more year.

The University of South Dakota’s Tiospaye Student Council organization will host its annual Wacipi pow-wow this Saturday and Sunday at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.
Tucker Volesky of Huron has been selected to attend the George Washington University’s Semester in Washington Politics. He was accepted in the Native American Political Leadership Program for this summer. Volesky, the son of Ron and Tara Volesky, is a junior at the University of South Dakota. [Huron Plainsman]

Threatened Black Hills ecosystems at risk to GOP delegation

Update, 1110 MDT:
Media and the public are invited to attend a free meeting and field trips about South Dakota water issues on April 15 and 16 in Rapid City. [press release, USGS]
...............

Denying research that proves climate change is adversely affecting the Mountain West, South Dakota's GOPers are moving to protect their donor base.
South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced legislation to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. South Dakota Senator John Thune introduced the language in the Senate earlier this year. “It’s widely understood that the long-eared bat’s depopulation is not due to habitat changes, but white-nose syndrome,” said Noem. [KCSR Radio]
Thune and Noem are either ignorant or corrupt.

Which is it, GOP?


Monday, March 23, 2015

MN lawmaker urges prosecution of Cliven Bundy

A Minnesota lawmaker believes a Nevada perpetrator should be prosecuted.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) pressed BLM Director Neil Kornze on what the government has done to deter illegal grazing on public lands and to protect agency employees who have been threatened by anti-government violence. "Mr. Bundy and his band of armed thugs are dangerous. They have committed acts that are criminal by threatening federal employees," McCollum told Kornze during a hearing this morning of the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on BLM's $1.2 billion fiscal 2016 budget request. "They should be held accountable. They should be prosecuted." [Lawmaker calls Bundy supporters 'thugs,' urges BLM to seek justice]
Reading South Dakota legislative reports from District 28's Republican senator Betty Olson can be a bit of a trip. One has to suspend some disbelief when reading lines like these:
I got HCR 1003 urging the federal government to abolish the US Department of Education passed in the Senate on Thursday. Pres. Carter inflicted the Dept. of Education on us in 1979 so the feds could dictate to the states how we educate our children. If the Dept. of Ed. was abolished, it would save between $30 and $50 billion that could go toward the $18 trillion national debt and allow the states to control education. [Communities, Rapid City Journal]
icymi:
President Jimmy Carter spoke March 6, 2015 in Minneapolis at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum sponsored by Augsburg College. His book is titled, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power." [Minnesota Public Radio]
Olson, a GOP state legislator, who calls human influence on climate "mythical," defends the Bundyists in Nevada. Writing in the Black Hills Pioneer she says:
The federal government shouldn’t be allowed to own any land within a state’s boundaries unless it is granted permission by the legislature of that state, and so far, no state has given that permission to the federal government.
There are eight grazing allotments on the Northern Hills district that can no longer support livestock.
There are four federal land management groups that allow grazing: the National Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Park Service. Tom Smith, range staff officer for the Northern Hills Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest said there are 36 allotments in his district, eight of which are vacant. The allotments add up to 304,387 total acres and each allotment ranges from 1,223-20,479 acres in size. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 504 grazing allotments in Western South Dakota said Carmen Drieling, the group’s rangeland management specialist. “It’s a rate based on a formula that we have nothing to do with,” Smith said. “Congress set up the formula during the Regan [sic] administration and has done nothing to change it.” Currently that rate is $1.35 per grazing pair, per month. “It’s ridiculously cheap,” he said. “If you were to lease private land to do the same thing, you’re looking at $30. $20 would be cheap.” [Mark Watson, Black Hills Pioneer]
Cliven Bundy's eldest son was arrested after another incident with law enforcement. The elder Nevada rancher is still at large after standoffs with federal officials over whether he should pay to graze on public lands.

Global population believes US greatest threat to world peace

Take the following statistics: Roughly 405,000 people have been killed as a result of the violence and infrastructure damage of the U.S.-led War in Iraq. The U.S. is number two, behind Russia, in its nuclear weapons stockpile, with 7,400 warheads (Third is France, with 300.) The U.S. leads the world in military spending, with more than $7.6 trillion spent on the military and homeland security since 9/11. Washington is also a major threat to its own citizens: the U.S. is the world’s largest incarcerator of people, both in numbers and in proportion to its population, with 2.3 million in prison, 1 million of whom are African American. [CounterPunch]


Ted Cruz for President: what do you think?

What's your take, South Dakota?

Much to the glee of political analysts everywhere, a US Senator from Texas has announced his entry into the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes.



Under Rounds, Daugaard South Dakota older, fatter, drunker

Sometimes the blog just writes itself.

Not just spikes in disease transmission rates and more violent crimes:
While South Dakota legislators had a long and loud debate over funding schools, roads and healthcare providers in the short term this session, there are long term trends that will need attention too. At a recent legislative forum, District 18 Representative Jean Hunhoff of Yankton said a recently updated study shows the state is aging rapidly. The study is evaluating long term care options for the state, and Hunhoff says that aging population will impact most of the counties in the state. Hunhof[f], who runs a home health care service for Avera, says they are having a hard time finding people to work for them. Hunhoff says it is another issue that will take time, study and more money to resolve. [WNAX]
And:
According to Ashley Miller, chronic disease epidemiologist for the Department of Health, the number of students who are overweight or obese has plateaued in the past several years. She says that 175 of the state’s schools submit weight and height measurements for the department to calculate the obesity rate of kindergarten through high school age students. Miller says the state’s 2013-2014 school data found that 15.8 percent of South Dakota students were obese and another 16.5 percent were overweight. A total of 175 schools submitted student height and weight data for this latest survey, which accounts for 31.5 percent of the all the students in the state. [WNAX]
And:
“Twenty-five percent of the drivers in South Dakota tell us that they're driven drunk within the last 12 months,’ said John Korkow, USD Addiction Studies Professor. Korkow says while ages 18 to 30 are most likely to drive under the influence, he says there's an increase of those who are newly-retired driving drunk. [KDLT]
South Dakota voters deserve better.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Argus unloading on SDGOP

Armed with pitchforks and axes, frustrated Sunshine Week contributors to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader opinion pages have been on fire lighting voters' torches for a virtual march on Pierre.
As another state legislative session winds down, we're left to sort through the rubble of restless negotiation and partisan posturing that passes for political discourse in Pierre. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, for all his talk about local control, wasn't thrilled with the idea of cities being able to address their own revenue issues, especially with his push for highway and bridge funding taking top priority in Pierre. If someone was going to raise taxes, it was going to be him.But local control is in the eye of the beholder, especially when political power brokers of Pierre cast a long and withering glare. [excerpt, Stu Whitney, political machine killed sales tax plan]
"Well, I’m not one to defend our tight wad governor:" South DaCola believes common sense prevailed to defeat another regressive tax.

South Dakota's GOP chief executive is for all intents and purposes an autocrat suffering repeating lapses in leadership.

In 2010, after another GOP governor gutted environmental protection in South Dakota, the Big Sioux River was named the thirteenth most polluted river in the US and nearly every waterway in the state suffers impairment.

The city of Sioux Falls is seeking volunteers for the 2015 Big Sioux River Greenway Clean-up on Saturday, May 16 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. With the help from several organizations nearly two tons of garbage and 260 pounds of recyclables were cleaned up from the river at last years event.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mercer: could Daschle help rebuild SDDP?




Touting trade with Taiwan's economic and cultural contender, Tom Daschle's former rival in the US Senate, now Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, just returned to the US speaking in Helena at the Montana Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing and International Trade Day banquet.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who started a public policy practice at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz last year, said he will register with the federal government as a lobbyist for the first time in his career. Daschle will work on behalf of Taiwan and plans to disclose the client later this month to the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, he told The National Law Journal on Monday. Baker Donelson is the third law firm Daschle has worked with since leaving the Senate in 2005. He previously worked at DLA Piper and Alston & Bird, within their main law firm businesses. His practice at Baker Donelson, called The Daschle Group, is a wholly owned subsidiary that specializes in giving strategic advice. [Katelyn Polantz, Legal Times]
Baucus threw Daschle under the bus during a pre-confirmation quarrel in 2009. President Obama's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, Daschle was widely expected to push Congress toward a Medicaid-for-all health care plan as Big Pharma-backed Baucus worked to pass the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. Daschle withdrew from nomination.
Why doesn’t anyone mention Tom Daschle when they talk about possible Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate election in 2016? The retirement of the party’s last federal office-holder, U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, last year left the Democrats without a leader. So the question remains. If not Daschle in 2016, then who? [excerpt, Bob Mercer]
Tom Daschle Looks Back At 1990s Shutdowns: Here and Now.
Tom Daschle, former U.S. senator from South Dakota, was one of the longest serving Senate Democratic leaders in history and the only one to serve twice as both majority and minority leader. His new book, "The U.S. Senate," is a guide to how the institution works. [Tuesday, February 26, 2013, The Diane Rehm Show]
In 1993, then-U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle requested the Government Accountability Office conduct a study of Indian Health Service employment practices, specifically in the areas of salaries and recruitment programs.

Does anyone believe he could be a force in South Dakota politics again?

H-2B nonimmigrant worker fix held up by GOP

"They treat us like dogs."

Stunted by entrenchment from South Dakota's congressional delegation and leadership voids in the Daugaard administration some Black Hills businesses could find themselves short-handed during the upcoming potentially record-breaking tourist season.
That’s because on the morning of March 4, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced it will no longer accept or process requests for what are known as H-2B workers, the lifeblood of many businesses in the Custer area and throughout the Black Hills in the summer. The DOL’s suspension of the H-2B processing could leave many businesses without adequate labor as the busiest time of year hits.
The H-2B nonimmigrant program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the U.S. The employment must be of a temporary nature for a limited period of time such as a one-time occurrence; or seasonal, peak load or intermittent need. The H-2B program requires the employer to attest to DOL that it will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage or local minimum wage to the H-2B nonimmigrant worker during the entire period of the approved H-2B labor certification.
The H-2B program also establishes certain recruitment and displacement standards to protect similarly employed U.S. workers. Many potential employers—including several in Custer and the surrounding area—use recruiting services to find workers to bring to the country. The employers are also required to pay for tthe workers’ travel.
“It’s devastating,” said Steve Olson, director of operations for Custer Hospitality, which has 362 hotel rooms in Custer and relies on 50 H-2B employees each summer for a variety of work. “We can’t get any workers from around here. We are lucky if we get half a dozen locals to work for us.” [Jason Ferguson, Businesses Scrambling for Help]
In 2012 a Custer State Park resort was fined for abusing workers under the H-2B program.

Because of GOP foot-dragging and because businesses are unable to hire effective local workers volunteer spring breakers from Minnesota have been cleaning parts of Custer State Park.

South Dakota voters deserve better than Republican obstruction.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Letter: admonish Thune, Rounds for mutiny

Couldn't have said better myself.
South Dakota citizens need to send a strong message of condemnation to Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds for signing the ill-written and poorly considered Iran letter authored by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
Both South Dakota senators, along with 45 other Republican senators in Washington, disgraced our state and our nation by taking part in a seriously questionable tactic to disrupt nuclear negotiations with Iran. Expressing a short-circuited message to Tehran equates to nonfunctional U.S. policy.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the negotiations, it is important to realize that the actions taken by this now infamous "47" are inappropriate and dangerous. Had they truly considered the best needs of our country, they would have created a congressional bipartisan conference committee to meet with the president and form a cogent U.S. strategy. Instead, they resorted to a clumsy and offensive betrayal of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation policy by trying to wrestle away executive branch purview not unlike toddlers.
This participation in unilateral debauchery, Thune and Rounds have displayed an alarming lack of diplomacy, discernment and knowledge of our nation's governmental process, and the Constitution which they are pledged to uphold.
I call on South Dakotans to strongly admonish our senators' conduct and give them the message we will accept no more. [Mary Claus]
How We Know AIPAC Wrote The GOP's "Treason" Letter To Iran
Both the White House and Congressional Democrats aren’t happy with 47 Republican Senators who sent a letter to Iranian leaders. The 47 Republican senators, including South Dakota’s John Thune and Mike Rounds, said in the letter that an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program that isn’t ratified by Congress would only be an executive agreement. This would run the risk of cancelation [sic] should the next President wish to do so. Democrats say these 47 senators are bypassing and weakening the President’s push to reach a deal to limit the Iranian nuclear program. [KELO]
From Geoffrey Cowley writing at MSNBC:
Experts estimate that Israel now has 60 to 80 nuclear bombs, ranging from 20 kilotons to one megaton (1,000 kilotons) in destructive power. By the end of this decade, Israel could have 200 nukes in its arsenal, and Iran could have 20 smaller devices. Suppose, as the authors do, that Iran could hit three Israeli cities with 15-kiloton bombs—one reaching Haifa, one reaching Beer Sheva and two reaching Tel Aviv. Roughly 400,000 people would die in the initial blasts, the simulations show, and 230,000 would survive with burns and traumatic injuries. Tel Aviv alone would lose a quarter-million people (about 17% of its population), and 147,000 of its survivors would desperately need medical care.
Zionists, terrorists, war criminals: just a few truths being spoken to power.



Noem caught up in Schock scandal



Photo: Rep. Aaron Schock and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) at the Great Wall of China last April.

What no one realized until the past few months was that Schock, now 33, was apparently mooching off donors and taxpayers all along. [The Fix]
From the Associated Press:
In resigning abruptly on Tuesday, Schock cited a "heavy heart," following six weeks of revelations about his business deals. He said in a statement that the constant questions about his spending and business dealings had made it impossible to serve effectively as congressman.
South Dakota's current At-large representative, Republican Kristi Noem, met with donors in Rapid City recently. Her political party's stonewalling on immigration is preventing some Black Hills businesses to hire summer help.
While Obama-bashing has become almost a sport among Republicans across the nation and here in South Dakota, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-South Dakota, said Wednesday that it's time for GOP leaders to step up and define a vision of their own for America's future. Noem, now in her third term in Congress, broke ranks a bit from her GOP colleagues by criticizing a recent effort by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to hold up funding for the Department of Homeland Security as a way to pressure Obama to rescind his executive amnesty order that could allow as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants to temporarily stay in the country and work. [Rapid City Journal]
She tossed bones to her campaign contributors by railing against the protection of endangered species like the northern long-eared bat and for more money for the Neiman family to log the old growth ponderosa pine essential to preserving Black Hills habitat.

South Dakota's GOP-dominated legislature is also pandering to the logging industry by voting to give them more cash.

Noem voted for an amendment that would have ended federal funding for Amtrak. A bill investing $8 billion in Amtrak's future was ultimately passed.

Recall that former GOP governor, Mike Rounds, squandered Amtrak money on an airplane for his personal use now Pierre continues to suffer Essential Air Service woes and low boarding numbers even while the legislature is in session.

Noem voted against protections for women and to protect white stalkers. She was the only woman to vote against both Senate and House versions reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Now, under revised VAWA provisions tribal courts can prosecute more crimes:
A 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling stripped tribes of any criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians on their reservations. But the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 allowed tribes to charge non-Indians who are married to or in a partnership with a tribal member for domestic violence crimes and violations of protection orders. The Justice Department has said that American Indian women suffer from domestic violence at rates more than double national averages. [Associated Press]
Noem has a reputation for being on the wrong side of history.

The League of Conservation Voters has released their 2014 environment scorecard. It doesn't look good for South Dakota's GOP congressional delegation.

Johnson, Tim P. D-SD 2014: 100%  lifetime: 73%
Thune, John R. R-SD   2014: 20%    lifetime: 13%
Noem, Kristi R-SD       2014: 3%     lifetime: 7%

Democrats: let's work to fire her.

Senate Dems out-raise opponents...again

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee reported Friday it had its best off-year February ever. It raised $4.34 million, topping its Republican counterpart, which raised a reported $3.8 million. The Democratic committee ended the month with $5.5 million cash on hand, more than the Republicans’ $4.3 million. Republicans control 54 of the 100 Senate seats. But 24 Republicans face re-election in 2016, while only 10 Democrats are up.
Read more here.



Following policy and politics there is a necessary part of understanding the Eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Since the GOP has chosen to plunder the West we have to support Democrats working to preserve her for future generations.

Montana's Democratic US Senator and governor have been elected to key fundraising posts: Sen. Jon Tester is chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Gov. Steve Bullock was recently elected to lead the Democratic Governors Association.
For his part, Bullock is unapologetic about his role as DGA chair. “When it comes to the spending of corporate dollars, look, I don’t think there’s any governor in the country that’s fought harder to make sure our elections didn’t have corporate dollars in them. I took it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bullock said. “But this is going to be the law of our land, at least until we get a new Supreme Court. That doesn’t mean Democrats should just roll over.” [John S. Adams, Bullock criticizes, is criticized over ‘dark money’]
Of course, the GOP is raising a stink: they're being outraised.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised more than its Republican counterpart in January, bringing in $4.5 million as it begins its efforts to take control of the Senate in 2016. Despite being in the minority, the DSCC said this haul is its best ever in the January of a non-election year. The committee had more than $2.6 million in cash on hand and had $15 million in operating debt at the end of the month. [Alexis Levinson]
Montana and the legislature is being flooded with cash from Koch-backed 'Americans For Prosperity' in a state where the far right-wing is pushing the legislature to seize federal lands to mine, log, graze, whatever to pay back their benefactors.

Democrats still enjoy overwhelming campaign support from Hollywood: interesting intersection as University of Montana grad JK Simmons wins an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the 87th Academy Awards and Jeff Bridges once toyed with running for a Senate seat there.

Daugaard leadership failures continue to plague state

South Dakota's GOP governor has been called "incompetent" and "uninterested in governing."

Emergency management officials should have been directing prescribed burns weeks ago but now Black Hills crews have been on edge because of dry conditions and high fire danger.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has been pushing FEMA to adopt a policy like this for a long time now — not necessarily to play “gotcha” with climate deniers, but because including the climate change, and the way it intensifies natural hazards, in disaster preparedness plans just makes good sense. [Salon]
Candidate Dennis Daugaard drew gasps from a State Fair audience in 2010 when he said: “I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts."
What started as a small grass fire on private property quickly grew to 59 acres on Forest Service land, threatening structures, life and natural resources. Over 60 personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, Custer Volunteer Fire Department and South Dakota Wildland Fire Division worked to contain the blaze. [Custer County Chronicle]
Sloppy record keeping continues to plague counties prone to flooding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to put Union County on probationary status with the National Flood Insurance Program starting in mid-May unless it addresses what it calls program deficiencies. FEMA officials say the county does not have adequate record keeping and has failed to manage development in the floodplain. FEMA says inspectors have found homes with basements on the floodplain. Basements are banned in floodplain areas. [Associated Press]
Litigation costs to federal agencies are straining budgets especially from frivolous lawsuits like those brought by Dakota Dunes resident and state senator, Republican Dan Lederman.

Obama: mandatory voting would change political landscape

President Obama wondered aloud Wednesday whether it was time for the United States to consider mandatory voting. "In Australia and some other countries, there's mandatory voting," Obama said at an economic event in Cleveland. "It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything." There's a political reason Democrats in the U.S. would flirt with the idea. "If everybody voted," Obama maintained, "then it would completely change the political map in this country." [NPR]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Johnson continues as champion of tribal causes

Longtime employee of Tim Giago, Ernestine Chasing Hawk, will be promoted editor of the Native Sun News effective April 1. She recently interviewed the former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota.
Brendan Johnson, son of retired Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), was nominated by President Barack Obama, and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 40th U.S. Attorney for S.D. in October of 2009. During Johnson’s tenure as U.S. Attorney, South Dakota’s Indian tribes were justly served as he leaves behind a legacy of triumphant legal battles. Also during his tenure with the Department of Justice, a substantial amount of resources were spent in partnerships with tribes because he believes the answers for the future of public safety for tribal communities exists within tribes themselves. [Chasing Hawk]

Heckenlaible walks on



Kevin Woster calls Gary Heckenlaible an old-school environmentalist:
He was for decades a prominent and, I thought, well-spoken voice for environmentalists in the Black Hills, on mining and other issues. He was old school in a way that I appreciate. To me, that means that his commitment to environmental issues seemed deeply rooted in a love for the land and water and air, for the future or our place, not just in political causes or angry rhetoric. Although, he was plenty good at rhetoric, too, angry and otherwise. That essential movement will be less without him. [Tell Kevin]
From the Rapid City Journal:
Gary used his community organizing degree to work all over the United States organizing housing and making health care available to poor people and other related issues. The joy he received from working with people was the love of his life. For many years Gary lived in the Black Hills and organized to protect the environment. He also cherished the many friendships he made in this area and considered them a second family. He also enjoyed hiking in the Black Hills, Badlands, and Utah. [obituary]
We worked together on a strip mine moratorium in Lawrence County that failed at the ballot. His fiery style often put him crossways with another power in South Dakota politics, Bill Janklow.

With uncanny accuracy Heckenlaible predicted the failure of the Gilt Edge Mine south of Deadwood now a Superfund site. He was also a strong champion for reproductive rights and a valiant opponent of the Dewey Burdock uranium mine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BPI leaned on Iowa governor to fire gay official in pink slime flap

According to court documents released to the Associated Press on Wednesday Dakota Dunes-based slaughter house BPI was among the business clique who raised concerns about a state official GOP Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad tried to force from office.

Using ammonia to reduce bacteria the company processes a lean, finely textured beef product, which critics often call “pink slime.” BPI had a processing plant in Iowa but moved its headquarters to South Dakota to take advantage of its regressive tax structure.
In a legal deposition, Branstad denied allegations levied in a lawsuit that he targeted former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey because Godfrey is gay. Branstad repeatedly defended the company’s product in the deposition, bristling when attorney Roxanne Conlin called it “pink slime.” [Associated Press]
BPI donates generously to Republican candidates like Branstad and to South Dakota's GOP delegation.

FEMA wants Union County in floodplain compliance

Sloppy record keeping continues to plague counties prone to flooding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to put Union County on probationary status with the National Flood Insurance Program starting in mid-May unless it addresses what it calls program deficiencies. FEMA officials say the county does not have adequate record keeping and has failed to manage development in the floodplain. FEMA says inspectors have found homes with basements on the floodplain. Basements are banned in floodplain areas. [Associated Press]
Litigation costs to federal agencies are straining budgets especially from frivolous lawsuits like those brought by Dakota Dunes resident and state senator, Republican Dan Lederman.

Colorado residents who have built in flood and fire-prone areas are also seeing heat from insurance companies.


Bush Foundation names seven SD recipients

The Bush Foundation today announced its 2015 Bush Fellows, 23 leaders with records of achievement and extraordinary potential to make significant contributions in South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota and 23 Native nations that share the same geography. They include: Natalie Bergquist, Pierre; Malcom Chapman, Rapid City; Matthew Ehlman, Hermosa; Chris Francis, Madison; John Glover, Spearfish; Kevin Killer, Pine Ridge, and David Whitesock, Vermillion. As the youngest Native American ever elected to the South Dakota Legislature, and one of only two tribal members in the state's House of Representatives, Killer is entering what must be his final term with his eye on the next generation. Killer will use his fellowship to build the leadership skills he needs to inspire and amplify tribal voices in community decision-making and to provide Native communities with an asset-based approach to the future. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]


Here is yet another reason Democrats and American Indians need to vote in midterm elections:
The Rapid City Public School Foundation has received a $178,000 grant from the Bush Foundation to help teachers foster Native cultural understanding in the classroom. The money will fund field trips for the next two summers for 18 teachers and 18 other community members to travel to cultural sites like Devil's Tower and sites on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This June, a group of 40 teachers spent a week traveling around Pine Ridge and to Devil's Tower on a "classroom on wheels" program to learn about Lakota culture. [AP, Rapid City Journal]
The Native American Languages Reauthorization Act of 2014 reauthorizes a preservation grant program through fiscal year 2019. Joining Senators Tester, Tim Johnson and Democratic co-sponsors including New Mexico's delegation, is Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
"Since first being signed into law, the Native Americans Languages Act has helped to preserve and revitalize Native languages and encourages both young children and adults to develop a fluency in their Native language,” Johnson said. “Across South Dakota, this vital grant funding gives the opportunity for our cherished Lakota elders to sit down with the younger generation to revive the Lakota language. The continuity of these languages strengthens Native American culture and history, and I will continue to push until this reauthorization is signed into law.” According to the National Indian Education Association, by the year 2050, there may only be 20 Native American languages remaining. The Native American Languages Act was first signed into law in 1992 and established a grant program within the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to ensure the survival of Native languages. [press release, Senator Tim Johnson ]
DFL Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed legislation that strengthens child protection:
In a sweeping reversal of current practice, Minnesota child protection workers can now review previous child abuse reports when considering how to respond to a new one. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said Tuesday that the “DHS will expedite instructions to county and tribal child protection workers on how to implement the changes and begin considering all past reports of child abuse.” [StarTribune]