Donald Covey, 73

Donald Covey, 73, of Winner, SD passed away on Monday, June 11, 2018 at the Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD.
Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Winner. Burial followed in the Winner City Cemetery. A visitation was held one hour prior to the service.

Donald Eugene Covey, born on Jan. 28, 1945, in Winner, South Dakota, died on June 11, 2018, in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by his loving family. He was the fifth child and second son of Chester and Winnifred (Ferguson) Covey. He grew up in the Hamill and Winner area, graduating from Winner High School in 1963, the Homecoming Warrior. He lettered in football, basketball, and track and once hit the centerfield fence at Leahy Bowl on a 3-2 pitch.

On June 11, 1965, he married the love of his life, Vicki Hruska. He graduated from USD with a degree in government in 1967 (a Farber Boy). After a time farming with his dad, he answered the call of the public service and he entered USD Law School. He graduated in 1973, having served as the Copy Editor of the USD Law Review, and moved to Aberdeen to be one of the first law-trained magistrates. He entered private practice for a time in Aberdeen and then moved to Winner, SD, and practicing for 41 years, taking his turn serving as Tripp County State’s Attorney and doing his share of court appointed defense work.

Don believed in serving his community. He was a member of the Winner School Board, Rotary, Winner Investment Club, the Hamill, Clearfield, and Keyapaha Conservation Districts, among many other organizations. He was active in the South Dakota State Bar and Rosebud Bar Associations, serving on many committees, including but not limited to the Ethics, ALPS, and Victims/Witness committee. One of his proudest accomplishments was bringing medical professionals to rural areas through the Regional Primary Medical Search.

In his youth, he loved athletics, including handball, golf, bowling, and racquetball. He loved fishing and hunting with his family, mostly for the companionship of family and friends. He loved music and was a gifted singer. He sang at countless weddings and funerals, providing comfort and joy to many. He served as a cantor, Eucharistic minister, lector, and Parish Commission member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, and was honored to be chosen as cantor for the Rapid City Diocese Centennial Mass. Don greatly enjoyed singing with barbershop choruses in Aberdeen and Winner. Leading his fellow Rotarians in song was a highlight of his week.

In addition to the law (he carried a copy of the United States Constitution with him), he loved and cherished his family, who loved him right back.

He is survived by his wife of exactly 53 years, Vicki, his children: Chet and Jamie (Bradley, Zachary, and Abby); Tom and Amy (Hannah and Faith); Paul and Andrea (Emmalynn, Hyatt, and Willa); and Heather and Bill Feller (Lonnie and Mellissa and Stetson and Natalie); Siblings: Della (the late Harry) Snethen, Bob (the late Barbara), Donna and Bill Bunn, Shirley and Denny DeMers, and Gwen and Jack Ragsdale; dear cousin and friends Bill and Joan Ferguson; many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister-in-law Barbara, his brother-in-law Harry, and nephews David and Randy, and countless other family, clients, and friends.

May the choirs of angels come to greet you.
May they speed you to paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in his mercy.
May you find eternal life.

Bentley Assman

Bentley Joshua Assman was born at the Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 5 a.m. He was placed in the loving arms of his parents, Darcy Maier and Colter Assman. Bentley was sleeping peacefully in his daddy’s arms when God called him home a short time later.

Bentley will forever be in the hearts of his parents along with grandparents Les Maier and Kim Maier and Cory and Trisha Assman, his aunts Beth (Steven) Storms and cousins Kaysen and Karsten Storms, Kristin Maier and Jayce Assman; great grandparents Burton and Mary Dimond, Shane and Shirley Bingen, Jim Assman and Peggy Douglas and Stanley Maier; great-great grandmothers Donna Dice and Geraldine Bingen and numerous other relatives.

Vince Svoboda, 81

Funeral services for Vince Svoboda, 81, Iona, were held on June 15 at the Methodist Church in Gregory. Burial was at the Iona Cemetery.

Vincent Anton Svoboda was born on April 21, 1937 in Gregory, SD to Joe and Theresa (Dite) Svoboda. The third of six children, Vince was brother to Franklin, Marilyn, Gwendolyn, Eleanor, and Joan. Vince lost his baby sister, Joan, shortly after birth, and his mother, Theresa, followed just months later. Vince’s family grew when his father married Elsie Christensen in December of 1953, and he was proud to gain five siblings, Donald, Robert, Joan, Melvin, and Marvin (Short).

Vince grew up in the Dixon area and later moved to Iona with his family in 1956. As a child, Vince developed a love of horses and spent many happy years wild horse racing with good friends, Charlie Kennedy and Warren Hammerbeck, roping, and working cattle. He was the rancher of the family and took great pride in raising Hereford cattle and Quarter Horses.

In 1980, Vince met Linda Strand from Mitchell, SD through his good friend, George Hammerbeck. Vince and Linda were married on March 6, 1982. They welcomed daughter, Jami, in March of 1983 and son, Bart, in September of 1984. A few years later, Vince acquired his other son, Rod Whitney.

Vince had a generous spirit. He was well known for gifting horses or calves and sharing the great love he had for his animals. If you were lucky, he may have gifted you with a hard fought for pie from a local benefit auction. (If you were unlucky, you were bidding against him for that pie, and you were never forgiven) He very much enjoyed visiting neighbors, friends, and family, and was often found socializing in town at dinnertime.

Vince was preceded in death by his parents Joe and Theresa, stepmother Elsie; brothers: Franklin Svoboda, Robert Christensen, and Melvin Christensen; sisters: Joan Svoboda, Marilyn Elwell, Eleanor Salmon, and Gwendolyn Meinen; brothers-in-law: Everett Meinen, Darrel Salmon, Lester Songer, and Leon Elwell; sisters-in-law: Mavis Svoboda and Carolyn Christensen.

He is survived by his wife Linda, daughter Jami, sons Bart (Sarah) and Rod (Lori) Whitney; brothers Donald (Dorothy) Christensen and Marvin (Janice) Christensen; sister Joan Songer; sisters-in-law Carol Christensen and Dorothy Christensen; many cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, and his cowdog, Sammy.


Jo Anne Bainter, 80

Jo Anne Bainter, 80, of Winner, SD passed away on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at the Winner Regional Health Care Facility in Winner, SD.

Funeral services were held on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 2 p.m. at the Winner United Methodist Church in Winner. A visitation was held one hour prior to the service.

Jo Anne “Jodee” Bainter was born on Nov. 29, 1937 in her home in Coffeyville, Kan. She was the second youngest of 9 siblings born to Edgar and Iva Hepner. Her presence came as a surprise to her siblings. As her sister, Mary, said “I did not know that Momma was expecting. I came home from school… there she was. I did not have a doll… but I had a real baby.”

Jodee shared many fond memories with her sister, including the fact that the reason she was such a good speller was because her older sister would play “teacher and student” with her. Yes, Jodee was expected to actually learn- not just play. It proved beneficial as Jodee went on to skip 2 full grades, graduating high school at age 16. A few years later, she met Max while he was the quarterback for Coffeyville Junior College. She won Max over with her compassionate personality and striking beauty- which had won her a beauty contest at the age of 14. They were married Aug. 25th, 1957. Jodee and Max went on to have 3 children, Rebecca (Becky), Steven, and Kirk. They moved around for Max’s teaching career, eventually settling in Winner, South Dakota. While Max was busy teaching, fishing, and hunting, Jodee found her niche selling Avon and engaging in volunteer work. Thanks to her love for Avon (which she sold for close to 50 years), Jodee’s children and grandchildren always received an abundance of Avon-ordered gifts for every birthday and Christmas.

She was also highly involved in the national Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) Women’s Sorority for several decades. There, she played an important role in successful fundraising for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and was voted ESA’s South Dakota State Woman of the Year.

Once Jodee became a grandmother, she never stopped “showing off” her grandkids. If she went for “coffee with the girls,” or visited a friend- she had her grandkids in tow if they were visiting. With her spunk and humor, she always enjoyed “tricking” her grandkids into thinking that the football, baseball, or other games they were looking forward to watching were “cancelled due to bad weather.” Of course, it was her way of wanting to spend more time with them. Overall, her grandchildren are grateful for their time with her and realize that they could never spend enough time with Grandma.

Jodee Bainter is survived by two of her siblings: Mary Atkinson and Bobby Hepner; three children: Becky (Duane) Hatch of Hartford, SD, Steven (Mary) Bainter of Opelouses, LA, and Kirk (Mary) Bainter of Winner, SD; 10 grandchildren: Trevor Bainter, Sara Bainter, Stephanie Hatch, Michael Hatch, Kristin Bainter, Steven Hatch, Robert Bainter, Eric Bainter, Lauren Bainter, and Kierra Bainter. She is also survived by her 7 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Max Bainter; her siblings: Leon Hepner, Wilma Tesh, Clarys Alvey, Edgar Hepner Jr., Kenneth Hepner, and Donny Hepner; and her parents: Edgar and Iva Hepner.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting for a donation to a charity of your choice.

Charles Edward Vobr, 73

Funeral services for Charles Edward Vobr, 73, Colome, were held June 16 at Calvary Chapel, Colome. Burial with military honors followed at the Colome City Cemetery.

Charles Edward Vobr was born on June 9th 1945 to the parents of Albert H. and Kathryn Vobr, the 6th of 10 children. Charley was born in the Joey Holden home with Margaret Holden assisting with the birth. Albert’s family moved to various places in his childhood. They settled in the Bagley, Minn., area in 1957 where Charley graduated from Bagley High School in 1963.

Shortly after graduation, Charley joined his brother Al working for the Brezina Cattle Company south of Colome. That is where he met Judi, and they were married on Oct. 23, 1965. Charley then joined the South Dakota Army National Guard on Aug. 22, 1966 taking his basic training at Fort Lewis, Wash. He was honorably discharged upon completion of four years of service.

In 1967 they purchased land where they built a home and still reside today. To this union 4 children were born, Paula Rae, Melanie Jean, Valerie Dawn and Matthew Charles.

Alongside of being a full time farmer/rancher; Charley enjoyed feeding cattle, harvesting crops, trucking for Engel Trucking, and occasionally helping out his neighbors. He also enjoyed cheering on the local teams of the Cowboys and Cowgirls. He was very supportive of his children and grandchildren in all sports. He was involved in several activities; his favorite was running the time clock at the Fetzner Field for the Colome Cowboy football games. He also was a church board member of Calvary Chapel and Sunday school superintendent, Colome School Board Member and Chairman, American Legion member also participating with honor guard. One of the many things that were important to him were his siblings, they chose to get together yearly with this year being the 40th family reunion.

Charley is survived by his wife Judi and children; Paula (Jerry) Hrabanek, Melanie Cole (Roy Stevicks), Valerie (Scott) Horgen, Matt (Desirae) Vobr; grandchildren Kristen (Duane) Wetzel, Jake Hrabanek (Jesse Ulrich), Ethan Vobr (Tasha Welch), Evan, Adam, Joey Cole & Mattie, Allison and Jacob Stevicks, Ezra and Micah Horgen, Eli, Rayma and Kyler Vobr; Great-grand children Keira, Tyson & Cody Wetzel & Bentley Welch. Siblings: Margaret, Albert (Ardith), Ted, Helen, Joann (Jim), Fran, David, Larry (Loretta), Philip (Nan), and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Albert and Kathryn Vobr, and parents’ in-law Gus and Orene Weidner, and several brothers-in-law.


VA Black Hills Health Care System Nursing Home Receives 4-Star Rating

VA Facilities Compare Closely With Private Sector Nursing Homes Overall

The VA Black Hills Health Care System (VA BHHCS) announced that its nursing home received 4-stars as part of its annual performance rating.

VA BHHCS announcement comes after VA extended its unprecedented 18-month record of transparency disclosures by making public for the first time its annual nursing home ratings for every facility in the country. View the ratings here.

The data show that, overall, VA’s nursing home system – composed of more than 130 community living centers – compares closely with private sector nursing homes, even though the department on average cares for sicker patients in its nursing homes than do private facilities.

In fact, the overall star rating for VA’s nursing homes compared to the 15,487 private sector nursing homes rated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that VA has a significantly lower percentage (34.1 percent lower) of one-star, or lowest rated, facilities than the rest of the nation.

Of note, 60 of VA’s nursing homes improved their quality score from last year to this year (2nd Quarter FY17 to 2nd Quarter FY18). Only one facility had a meaningful decline in that metric, and that facility was already rated with four stars.

Extending VA’s Commitment to VA Transparency, Quality Improvement VA has become the first hospital system in the nation to post its: · Hospital wait times · Opioid prescription rates · Employee settlements and accountability actions · Chief executive travel

“VA Black Hills is committed to providing our Veterans with the highest level of quality care. We operate in an environment of transparency and continual improvement to ensure the safety of our Veterans, said Sandra Horsman, VA BHHCS Director.

How VA Nursing Homes Compare with Private Sector The best comparison of VA nursing homes to the private sector is in the overall star rating. Using that overarching and most important metric, VA’s performance compares very closely with that of the private sector. See here for a comparison of quality ratings using CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Five Star Quality Rating System as of April 2018.

VA’s Unique Patient Base Of note, VA nursing homes often serve residents with more numerous and challenging medical conditions than do private sector facilities.

Specifically, VA nursing homes serve a much higher proportion of residents with conditions such as prostate obstruction, spinal cord injury, mental illness, homelessness, PTSD, combat injury, terminal illness, and other conditions rarely seen in private nursing homes.

Also, private sector nursing homes admit patients selectively, whereas – unlike the private sector – VA will not refuse service to any eligible Veteran, no matter how challenging the Veteran’s conditions are to treat. In other words, VA nursing homes often house residents with more complex medical needs that private sector facilities will not accept, which makes achieving good quality ratings more challenging.

As a result, VA nursing homes at times rate lower than private sector facilities on specific metrics such as pain and type of treatment. Despite that fact, VA nursing homes compare well with private sector facilities in overall facility rankings.

VA Nursing Homes Provide More Direct Nursing Care Additionally, VA nursing homes have a higher staff-to-resident ratio than private sector facilities, meaning residents in VA facilities get more direct attention from nursing home staff than do residents in the private sector.

Pump Prices Continue to Decline as U.S. Demand Dips

At $2.92, the national gas price average has dropped four cents since the beginning of June. Today’s average is three cents less than a week ago, six cents more than a month ago and 58 cents more expensive than a year ago. On the week, only eight states saw prices increase while all others dropped by as much as 13 cents or remained stable.

“Gas prices continue to dip across the country, but remain nearly 50-cents more expensive than last summer in every state,” said Marilyn Buskohl, AAA South Dakota spokesperson. “The higher prices seem to be influencing driving habits. While consumer gasoline demand remains strong, it is slowing and not growing.”

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The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation’s (REDCO) Rosebud Construction broke ground June 12 for the renovation of the Rosebud powwow grounds.

Rosebud Construction will be working with Sicangu Nation Employment Training Program (SNETP) to provide on-the-job training and mentorship to SNETP employees. The renovation will replace the existing arbor and press box in time for the 2018 Rosebud Fair.

Rosebud powwow grounds are over fifty years old and require yearly maintenance. The joint project with Rosebud Construction and SNETP will utilize modern materials and reduce facility upkeep. William Kindle, president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe said, “This partnership is about strengthening our community and creating jobs. When tribal programs collaborate, our people prosper.”

The mentorship program allows SNETP employees to gain field experience while learning new skills. Lauri Bordeaux, Director of SNETP said, “I would like to thank everyone including the RST Council for entrusting the SNETP as well as our collaborating partners REDCO Construction Group. We hope to give the members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe a pow wow and rodeo arena that is beautiful and large enough to accommodate our annual event and that we will be proud of and take care of for years to come”.

Improvements to the rodeo grounds, which will include a new announcer stand, rodeo grandstand, and shelter are scheduled to be complete in Fall 2018.

Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal to Keystone XL

South Dakota’s Supreme Court dismissed an appeal from opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline saying a lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear their cases.

The Associated Press reports an attorney battling the project says the “fight is not over.”

Groups fighting TransCanada’s pipeline appealed a judge’s decision last year upholding regulators’ approval for the pipeline to cross the state.

But the high court said in a ruling last Wednesday that justices didn’t “reach the merits of the case” because he lower court didn’t have jurisdiction to weigh the appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s decision.

Robin Martinez, an attorney for Dakota Rural Action, called the high court’s decision disappointing.

That’s really disappointing that the court didn’t reach the merits, because the risk to South Dakota’s land and water resources is clearly there,” Martinez said. “It’s a shame that they did not get a closer look by the court.”

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said in an e mail that the pipeline developer is pleased with the court’s decision.

Keystone XL would cost an estimated $8 billion. The 1,179-mile pipeline would transport up to the 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska where it would connect with lines to carry oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

A portion of the pipeline will run through Tripp County.

TransCanada announced in April it as meeting with landowners and starting aerial surveillance of the proposed route. The company hopes to begin construction in early 2019.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Yankton Sioux Tribe and Dakota Rural Action appealed to the South Dakota high court after a judge had affirmed state regulators approval of the pipeline.

The PUC initially authorized the project in 2010 but the permit had to be revisited because construction didn’t start within the required four years. The panel voted in 2016

to accept TransCanada’s guarantee that it would meet all conditions laid out by the commission when it first approved that state’s portion of the project.

Cunha said the company is working to get needed land easements for the pipeline in Nebraska.

Sutton Adds Silvia Christen as New Finance Director

Billie Sutton, candidate for South Dakota Governor, announces Silvia Christen, former Executive Director of the SD Stockgrowers Association, has joined the campaign as finance director. Christen will head up all fundraising efforts and manage the budgetary operations of the campaign.

Christen said, “I’ve had my thumb on the pulse of South Dakota policy for years, and I’ve been so impressed with Billie’s ability to build coalitions and work for common sense solutions. I’m proud to join the Sutton campaign and ready to continue my work for a stronger South Dakota from this new capacity.”

A Rapid City resident, Christen has served as the executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association for the past seven years. While earning a degree from the University of Missouri in Ag Economics and Rural Sociology in 2005, Christen conducted research on ag policy and rural development in the US and South Africa.

Her resume includes previous involvement with the Vote Yes Rapid City campaign, local and regional elections, the Rapid City Chamber Ag Committee, and several other service organizations in the region and state. She was an integral part of the disaster recovery efforts following the 2013 Atlas Blizzard, and she was named the Black Hills Stock Show’s Ag Business Person of the Year in 2015.

Christen will work to continue the unprecedented fundraising success the Sutton campaign has achieved so far in this election cycle.