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, and 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 […]

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 […]

(Getty Images)

Bar exam problems persist as jobs go unfilled

BY: - September 21, 2023

Chief Justice Steven Jensen’s State of the Judiciary message to the Legislature in January of this year suggested that reduced State Bar licensure rates were no longer a problem in South Dakota. But results of the July bar exam indicate otherwise.   The University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law graduated 59 students in May. […]

The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board, comprised of 16 representatives from an array of interest groups, meets in October 2022 at the forest's Mystic Ranger District office in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

New approach needed as Forest Service fumbles on Black Hills leadership

BY: - September 18, 2023

When I reported back in May that the Black Hills National Forest was on its eighth supervisor in seven years, I made it sound like that was a lot of turnover. Since then, there have been two more supervisors. That brings the tally to 10 in the past seven years, and five this year alone. […]

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

So this is what passes for ‘unity’ in the Trump era

BY: - September 16, 2023

There was a time in 2004 when South Dakota Democrats had plenty to celebrate. This was back in the days before South Dakota politics was awash in red. It was likely even before the days when anyone would characterize states as red or blue. On the national level, there was a short time when South […]

People raise their hands to signal their intent to speak in support of an ordinance that would restrict carbon pipelines at a Minnehaha County Commission meeting on May 23, 2023, in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Democracy demands less time behind closed doors for local governments

BY: - September 15, 2023

Hear about something called “Democracy Day” and it’s easy to imagine it refers to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., the White House and the federal government. But democracy isn’t limited to the halls of Congress. Democracy plays just as big a role in the county courthouse and city hall. The most common display of […]

Former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton testifies at a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing on March 7, 2023. Fairview CEO James Hereford (left) and Sanford CEO Bill Gassen (second from left), also testified. (Michelle Griffith/Minnesota Reformer)

Death of Fairview-Sanford merger was right outcome for patients and communities

BY: - August 31, 2023

Editor’s note: The author is not the same person as Minnesota Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington.  Late last month, the Minnesota-based hospital system Fairview Health Services announced that it was pulling the plug on a proposed merger with South Dakota-based Sanford Health. This marked the second time these two health care systems had failed to consummate […]

South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Jordan Melius stops a motorcyclist during the 2023 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. (Courtesy of South Dakota Highway Patrol)

Without a motorcycle helmet law for adults, we all pay

BY: - August 28, 2023

There’s a legend in journalism circles about a metropolitan daily newspaper that published a weak editorial page that was squeamish about taking a stand on anything. The paper was so consistently wishy-washy that the editorial writers had their keyboards fixed so that if they hit control-T, their computers automatically typed: “This bears watching.” This time […]

Marion County Record reporter Phyllis Zorn and Sheriff Jeff Soyez stand outside the evidence room where an undersheriff signs over newspaper property to a forensic expert. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas newspaper saga illustrates the balancing act of community news

BY: - August 26, 2023

One of my favorite newspaper mottos is “the only newspaper in the world that cares about (insert community name).” Over the years, I have seen various newspapers print it on their front-page nameplate. In many respects, the motto captures what a good newspaper is all about — publishing news and information about the community that […]

Gov. Kristi Noem shakes hands with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 21, 2023, near the nation's southern border. Also pictured, from left, are Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Gov. Jim Pillen of Nebraska. (Courtesy of Gov. Noem's office)

At the border, politicians play while migrants pay

BY: - August 25, 2023

Sister Teresa Ann Wolf from the Mother of God Monastery in Watertown recently comforted a young, pregnant Guatemalan woman who collapsed in pain after crossing the Rio Grande River, her baby breached and both lives in peril. Gov. Kristi Noem recently flew to the Texas border, where she joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a […]