Category Archives: Story

Moonlight Madness in Valentine, Nebraska

Moonlight Madness is coming to Valentine, Nebraska on Friday October 30th.  Locals and visitors alike head will be able to shop in Valentine that night from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and take advantage of lots of store specials going on all night throughout town.  With any questions one can contact Dean Jacobs at the Valentine Chamber of Commerce at 402-376-5138.

SDSU Extension Seeks Information About Cow Death Losses Across South Dakota

A group of SDSU Extension professionals and veterinarians is seeking information on beef cow death losses occurring now through calving season.
Losing beef cows with or without clear causes of death is a frustrating reality that many beef cattle producers face across the state and nation. Several environmental, nutritional and infectious circumstances can be involved; oftentimes the causes are not apparent when animals are found, leaving the losses a mystery.
“Our cow-calf producers put so much work and resources into breeding and maintaining the cows in their herds,” said Russ Daly, SDSU Extension Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian. “Any death loss represents a huge financial cost to that operation. We really hope to take this basic information about the animals and their environments and see what trends emerge. We can then drill down on those factors, with a goal of determining interventions that can help prevent some of these death losses in the future.”
As a first step in helping to understand and prevent future beef cow loss, SDSU Extension is encouraging producers who experience loss this season to participate in an online survey to help gather information related to death losses in beef cows between pasture turnout and calving. All information shared will remain anonymous and will not be used for any purpose other than this academic project. Those willing to participate can access the survey on their computer or mobile device at
“Right now, the survey is focused on cattle in South Dakota, and on cows that have had at least one calf,” said Daly. “The survey will stay open indefinitely – we’re really interested in whatever information producers and veterinarians can share. If other producers have insights that don’t specifically fit the survey, however, they are certainly encouraged to reach out to me or their local SDSU Extension specialists.”
Producers who experience death losses should work with their veterinarian to determine what may be involved with each specific situation.
For more information regarding the survey or questions regarding beef cow health and loss, contact SDSU Extension Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian, Russ Daly, at or 605.688.6589.

South Dakota 4-H Selects 2020-2021 State 4-H Ambassador Team

A group of 16 teens from across South Dakota has been selected to serve as the 2020-2021 State 4-H Ambassador Team. Throughout their term, the group of ambassadors will serve as positive role models to other 4-H members throughout the state as they advocate for 4-H and the opportunities it provides youth to better themselves and those in their communities through hands-on projects and activities, adult mentorship and more.
To qualify for this role, applicants must be a registered 4-H member in good standing between the ages of 14 and 18. All applicants must submit the necessary application materials and complete an interview at the South Dakota State Fair with a committee of industry professionals and State 4-H Ambassador Program co-advisors Hilary Risner, SDSU Extension Regional 4-H Youth Program Advisor, and Amber Erickson, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Field Operations Coordinator. Current ambassadors wanting to serve another term must re-apply each year, regardless of their returning status.
“The South Dakota State 4-H Ambassador Program is a positive youth development program founded on the principles of a learn by doing approach,” said Erickson. “The opportunities for leadership development are endless. Each selected State 4-H Ambassador will participate in a leadership development retreat, receive one-on-one coaching from their primary State 4-H Ambassador Advisor, and engage in the learn by doing approach through their action plan.”
Teens selected to serve for the 2020-2021 term include Dillon Browning of Brown County, Maggie DeMers of Tripp County, Grace DiGiovanni of Turner County, Brianna Duerre of Day County, Matea Gordon of Lawrence County, Nicolette Hoffman of Douglas County, William Karels of Grant County, Isabelle Mairose of Brule County, Hayden Niles of Day County, Cassie Richarz of Hamlin County, Emily Robbins of Brookings County, Isaac Sousa of Grant County, Ella Stiefvater of McCook County, Taylor Storbakken of Marshall County, Logan Tlam of Davison County, and Colton Wicks of Lake County.
“This is such a great group of young adults that we are welcoming to the team this year, each with a diverse background and portfolio of experiences,” said Risner. “Each individual has an immense amount of skills and passions that they bring to the table. I’m really excited to see what this team will accomplish in helping us tell the 4-H story.”
Once selected to serve in this role, the ambassadors are expected to:
  • Serve to support the 4-H program through public relations;
  • Function as a positive role model for youth in South Dakota;
  • Abide by the South Dakota 4-H Code of Conduct both during and outside of 4-H events;
  • Continually strive for improvement by serving as an agent of change;
  • Promote inclusion and respect for diversity across 4-H;
  • Utilize skills and knowledge gained through 4-H to engage youth in educational activities; and
  • Proactively engage in youth-adult partnerships.
Each team member will create a State 4-H Ambassador action plan, facilitate an educational opportunity for youth and serve as an ambassador for one of the four program priority areas of agriculture, health and wellness, leadership, and science.
“Throughout their one-year term they will have the opportunity to dive deep into their program priority area, sharing their passion and knowledge with youth across the state,” said Erickson. “We have a great group of phenomenal young leaders who I know are ready to step up, speak out, and change the world.”
To fill his educational opportunity requirement, Logan Tlam, a second-year ambassador, has chosen to facilitate and host a podcast series that will be circulated on a variety of platforms throughout his community and the South Dakota 4-H organization.
“My personal goal for this 2020-2021 term is to influence youth’s knowledge in agricultural literacy and careers by providing educational opportunities,” said Tlam. “My educational opportunity will be a podcast series about agricultural literacy, and the topics will revolve around agriculture and nutrition, environment, animals, lifestyle, technology and the economy.”
Members of the team also have the opportunity to serve on either the marketing or Teen Leadership Conference committees. Throughout their term, the marketing committee will continue to build promotion and awareness efforts of the 4-H program, while gaining valuable life skills in the areas of marketing and communications. The Teen Leadership Conference committee will work closely with Risner and Erickson to plan and implement the 2021 Teen Leadership Conference, all while gaining event planning experience.
“I first heard about the South Dakota State 4-H Ambassador Program when I attended the 4-H Teen Leadership Conference this past year, and thought it would be a great opportunity to further my growth as a leader and help promote 4-H,” said Nicolette Hoffman, a newly-selected ambassador. “I am now on the Teen Leadership Conference committee, and I’m looking forward to helping plan the conference this year, as it has had such a positive impact on me the past two years I attended.”
Additionally, team members are presented a variety of supplemental leadership and service opportunities that include shadowing a state legislator or industry professional, representing 4-H at a community and/or industry event, interviewing with news and media outlets to discuss the impact of 4-H, writing letters to the editor promoting 4-H, creating a promotional 4-H video and serving on a state 4-H committee.
“The role of serving as a State 4-H Ambassador is truly a phenomenal opportunity for teens to grow in their leadership and life skills, while networking with peers from across the state,” said Risner. “They are mentors to other 4-H members and serve as the face of the South Dakota 4-H organization.”
The objectives of the State 4-H Ambassador program are to prepare individuals to serve in roles as leaders, mentors and problem solvers, enhance their skills in communication, public speaking and critical thinking, focus on fundamental life skills, develop skill-specific career exploration, and provide positive youth-adult partnerships.
“I would encourage youth to get involved in 4-H because it is an excellent provider for supplemental opportunities to develop leadership, communication, teamwork, and individual skills,” said Tlam. “I initially joined 4-H to show livestock, like many other kids. However, this organization helped push me to find my skills, and to use every opportunity within the organization to practice those skills. 4-H’s purpose is to develop youth into better people, and it lives up to that saying by providing many opportunities for development.”

Trump Administration Invests $5.5 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Central South Dakota

The Trump Administration announced yesterday that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $5.5 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in central South Dakota. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.
“High-speed internet e-Connectivity helps businesses get access to global markets, provides remote learning for students, and allows greater access to all kinds of health care,” USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service Administrator Chad Rupe said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner in deploying this essential infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association Inc. will use a $5.5 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,561 people, 30 businesses, 185 farms, three essential community facilities and six educational facilities to high-speed broadband internet in Beadle, Brookings, Clark, Kingsbury and Moody counties in South Dakota.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.
On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round Two of the ReConnect Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for Round Two closed on April 15.
In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program report (PDF, 4 MB).
USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act.
To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

Sandhills Marathon

The Sandhills Marathon will take place this Saturday, October 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 1 Brownlee Road in Valentine, Nebraska.  Participants will run on the iconic one-lane, blacktop Brownlee Road through the Nebraska Sandhills.  The Sandhills Marathon is a challenging race for the runner who wants to get away from crowds.


Special Meeting in Platte, S.D. (via Zoom) Tomorrow Night Regarding Cares Act Funding

SD Legislature held a special session to act on the $597 million in unobligated federal CARES Act funds. Rocky Blare will be joining the Platte Community on Wednesday to help answer questions about the act.
This will be an opportunity for one to learn what they’ll be eligible to apply for. If you are unable to attend, you can reach out to Kelsey Lyndoe with the Platte Area Chamber and Platte Development Corporation at 337-2275 and she can get you what information you are looking for.
The resolution as it passed can be found here:

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Venue Online – Zoom
Starts Wed Oct 14 2020, 06:30pm CDT
Ends Wed Oct 14 2020, 07:30pm CDT

Governor Noem Announces Small Business and Healthcare Provider Relief Program

Governor Kristi Noem announced the launch of the Small Business and Healthcare Provider Relief Program, which will utilize up to $580 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars to assist small businesses, community-based healthcare providers, and non-profits negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Together, South Dakota is rebounding from COVID-19, but some businesses and organizations took a hit from this pandemic,” said Governor Noem. “These folks are the lifeblood of our communities and economy, and it’s our turn to give back to them. I’m grateful to the legislature for stepping up and providing guidance for this program.”

There are five components of this program:

  • The Small Business COVID Interruption program will provide up to $400 million to help eligible South Dakota small businesses who experienced a reduction in business as a result of the pandemic. Specifics can be found here.
  • The Small Business Startup program will provide up to $10 million in direct grants to recently started eligible South Dakota businesses whose growth has been impacted as a result of the pandemic. Specifics can be found here.
  • The Acute Care in Hospitals program will provide up to $15 million to eligible hospitals that are licensed by the state to provide acute inpatient care. Specifics can be found here.
  • The Small Nonprofit COVID Interruption program will provide up to $40 million to eligible South Dakota small nonprofits who have experienced negative impact as a result of the pandemic. Specifics can be found here.
  • The Community Based Healthcare Providers program will provide up to $115 million for eligible community providers who have experienced a reduction in business as a result of the pandemic. Specifics can be found here.

Eligible businesses and organizations will be able to apply for these various grants from October 13-23, 2020. For assistance, please contact our call center from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday at 605-937-7243. You can also email or

To learn more about the Small Business and Healthcare Provider Relief Program, visit COVID.SD.GOV.

South Dakota Proclaims October as “Careers in Construction” Month

The Associated General Contractors of South Dakota (AGC), along with Governor Kristi Noem via an Executive Proclamation, is proud to proclaim October 2020 as “Careers in Construction Month” across South Dakota.
The key aspect of the AGC’s on-going workforce development goal is to show students career opportunities available in construction which is an essential industry. With the ever-growing need for skilled professionals in the construction industry, there has never been a better time for education and industry to work together to help students build successful construction career pathways that are stable and rewarding.
Celebrating the award of a $50,000 Start Today SD Pathway Partnership Initiative contract to build high quality youth apprenticeship programs, the AGC of SD has launched new construction career opportunities through youth apprenticeships. Building on AGC of SD’s current registered Federal Apprenticeships, it is currently recruiting junior and seniors throughout the state to enroll in the program and earn while they learn with member contractors. The Apprenticeships include:
  • Commercial Carpentry
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
The AGC of SD is working in conjunction with South Dakota High Schools as well as post-secondary institutions to create construction career pathways directly into industry or through post-secondary education in a construction-related degree, diploma or certificate program.
Careers in Construction month was started nationally by The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and their Build Your Future initiative. (
The AGC of South Dakota is a voluntary trade association of more than 500 contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and service firms.

White Cane Day in South Dakota

 Governor Kristi Noem has proclaimed October 15, White Cane Day in South Dakota.

The white cane with the red band around the bottom is used to identify a person who is blind or visually impaired in all fifty states and most countries around the world.

South Dakota Department of Human Services Secretary Shawnie Rechtenbaugh said, “The goal of White Cane Day is to bring public awareness and to recognize the white cane as a tool of independence for blind pedestrians on our streets and in our communities.”

Motorists are reminded of the requirement to stop for anyone using a white cane or walking with the assistance of a guide dog so the individual can safely cross the street.

South Dakota’s Division of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired provides a full range of services that result in optimal employment and independent living outcomes for citizens who are blind or visually impaired.

On October 6, 1964, the United States Congress, by joint resolution designated October 15 of each year as “White Cane Day”.