Gov. Kristi Noem speaks Sept. 8, 2023, during a rally at The Monument in Rapid City featuring former President Donald Trump. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

South Dakota taxpayer dollars spent to make governor look good

BY: - October 22, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem is a little young to be suffering from long-term memory loss, but she seems to be forgetting this statement she made to the Legislature during her 2022 budget address: “I recognize that taxpayer dollars are not our own – they belong to the people of South Dakota. We all must remember throughout […]

Main Street Aberdeen on Nov. 4, 2022. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Try this in a small town

BY: - October 17, 2023

I’m not a fan of the controversial Jason Aldean song “Try That in a Small Town,” which glorifies vigilante violence. Unlike Aldean in his Nashville mansion, my three children and I actually live in a small town in impoverished Hopkins County, Kentucky. I sleep in our only bedroom with my toddler, while my daughter sleeps on the couch and […]

Gov. Kristi Noem with members of the South Dakota National Guard in Texas at the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2023. (Courtesy of the Governor's Office)

Mum’s the word: When questioned, Noem administration stays quiet

BY: - October 16, 2023

It may be best if journalists in South Dakota took a three-year break from asking questions of Gov. Kristi Noem or anyone in her administration. It would be less frustrating for them and they would likely have just as much information as they would if they kept asking questions for the last 36 months of […]

A beaver at Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. (Larry Palmer/USFWS)

Are beavers always the answer? Not everywhere.

BY: - October 14, 2023

Beavers, through their assiduous dam building, can recharge groundwater and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, managers are bringing back beaver as part of trout and salmon management. “God bless beavers and their industrious nature,” writes Trout Unlimited’s Idaho-based Chris Hunt in Hatch magazine. “They make habitat for the […]

Gov. Kristi Noem and Corey Lewandowski. (South Dakota Searchlight composite from Getty Images)

Noem-Lewandowski relationship doesn’t have to be an affair to be inappropriate

BY: - October 13, 2023

After reporting that Gov. Kristi Noem is allegedly having an extramarital affair, Ken Silverstein suffered a memory lapse. It happened on the Dakota Town Hall podcast. The hosts wanted to know if Silverstein’s Sept. 15 story about Noem was his first about South Dakota politics.  Silverstein struggled with his answer — “I don’t think that’s […]

Jonathan Bartley and Adrian Lacasse of Durangoats LLC. (Courtesy of Dave Marston)

Goats can be a flammable forest’s best friend

BY: - October 9, 2023

Goats are particularly good at one thing: Eating. Unlike a horse or cow that leaves noxious weeds behind, goats eat the whole menu of pesky weeds, bushes and small trees. That means goats can be one of the answers to the growing problem of tinder-dry, highly flammable forests. In Durango, Colorado, former firefighter Jonathan Bartley […]

A pregnant couple looks at a sonogram image. (Getty Images)

A disturbing conclusion about rising maternal deaths: Most are preventable

BY: - October 7, 2023

Our society faces a number of health care challenges, but the one I find most troubling is maternal mortality — women dying as a result of child birth.     The actual numbers are quite small but the tragedy associated with them is immense.  Furthermore, these deaths provide a window into the overall functioning, or rather the […]

(Carol Yepes/Getty Images)

Despite challenges, newspapers still the best source for local news

BY: - October 2, 2023

National Newspaper Week, Oct. 1-7, is a good time to consider the state of newspaper journalism in South Dakota. As a former newspaper editor, I come at this task with a certain nostalgia for the way things were “back in the day.”  Like other businesses, newspapers have gone through some changes as a result of […]

Wind turbines in a Wisconsin field. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A bright spot at the intersection of farming, electric vehicles and solar energy

BY: - September 30, 2023

The energy transition is in full swing across the U.S. and the world, but the changes now underway are not simple or linear. In an economy as complex and connected as ours, progress in one area will often affect other parts of the economy, creating winners and losers. And then there are the changes that […]

South Dakota natives Hubert Humphrey, left, and George McGovern at the Democratic National Convention on July 13, 1972, at Miami Beach Convention Center in Florida. (Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

How two dead South Dakotans continue to feed the world

BY: - September 28, 2023

There are politicians who spend their entire careers pursuing power and fame. There are others who set aside those ambitions long enough to make a lasting difference. A reminder of that truism arrived recently in the form of a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The release said the department is awarding a […]

Shane Merrill, the chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party. (Courtesy of SDDP)

A little advice for the next leader of South Dakota’s Democrats

BY: - September 23, 2023

Shane Merrill is a farmer, so it’s a given that he knows all about hard work. Yet Merrill has set himself up to take on the hardest job in the state as chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party. Merrill had the chance to move up from interim chairman after the previous chairwoman, Jennifer Slaight-Hansen, […]

Zebra mussels on a rock pulled out of Lake Kampeska at Watertown, and washed-up piles of aquatic weeds. (Brad Johnson, for South Dakota Searchlight)

State is content to be a benchwarmer in aquatic invasive species battle

BY: - September 22, 2023

Pathetic best describes South Dakota’s response as zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species transform the state’s lakes and rivers. While Minnesota invests heavily in education and research to counter the impacts of zebra mussels, our state gives lip service.  Leadership flows down from Gov. Kristi Noem and, since protecting our water is not important […]