South Dakota Receives Highest Ratings Under IDEA

South Dakota has received the highest rating possible under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA, for both Parts B and C for the most recent reporting year of federal fiscal year 2016. The state is one of only 14 across the country to meet the requirements and purposes of IDEA under both Parts B and C, according to information released recently from the U.S. Department of Education.

IDEA Part B measures and reports the effectiveness of special education services at the preschool and K-12 levels, while Part C refers to the state’s Birth to Three program, which provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers ages birth to three years with developmental delays.

Under Part B, federal fiscal year 2016 marks the third year in a row that South Dakota “meets requirements,” which is the highest rating a state can receive. Under Part B growth was demonstrated in both the compliance and results measures.

Under Part C, South Dakota had been determined to “need assistance” for the past three years. States could receive a rating of 80 percent or higher to receive the “meets requirements” determination. In federal fiscal year 2016, South Dakota not only met this threshold under Part C, but exceeded it, receiving full points available in results and compliance for a 100 percent rating.

“This achievement reflects the hard work of families, service providers and school districts in providing high quality services to infants, toddlers and students with disabilities to improve results for these youth,” said Interim Secretary of Education Mary Stadick Smith.

IDEA requires each state to develop a State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report that evaluates the state’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of the IDEA and describes how the state will improve its implementation.

The Part B and Part C SPP/APRs include indicators that measure child and family results and other indicators that measure compliance with the requirements of the IDEA. Since 2015, Part B and Part C SPP/APRs have included a State Systemic Improvement Plan through which each state focuses its efforts on improving a state-selected child or family outcome through implementation of an evidence-based practice.


Nick Ciaramitaro Working for SDSU Extension

By Dan Bechtold, Editor

When Nick Ciaramitaro graduated from college he wanted to do some public service before heading to law school

Nick joined AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program.

He is working on the Pine Ridge Reservation and works out of the SDSU Regional Extension office in Winner. Nick will be spending a year with the VISTA program.

Nick is from St. Louis, Mo., and graduated in May from the University of Missouri with a degree in biology. He has a minor in environmental studies and a cultural studies certificate. He took a few classes focused on Native American culture while in college.

I always wanted to serve with AmeriCorps and I was looking for an opportunity that was environment based,” he said.

Nick looked on line at the VISTA openings and thought the site on the Pine Ridge Reservation would be ideal for what he was seeking.

Nick filled out an application and within a week was accepted.

He started work June 25 and will be living in Winner for the year and commuting to Pine Ridge as needed.

Nick will be working with the Beginning Farmer and Rancher program. His supervisors are field specialists from SDSU Extension.

He estimates he will spend part of the time in the office in Winner and the rest doing field work to connect with the community on Pine Ridge.

One of his main jobs is looking for grants and developing a guide for small-acreage farmers that will give them resources they can use to be successful.

Nick noted on the reservation, a lot of people do not have access to large ag land so they have small plots. “They need some way to access resources that will help them improve their land,” said Nick.

The short term goal is to create a way to provide fresh food for families and the community and long term goal is to turn this production into a profit for increased income on the reservation.

The main focus is creating training spaces where tribal members can come to learn gardening, cooking, and other technical ag skills.

As a VISTA volunteer, Nick is learning the values of the Lakota people. “That interests me because environmental justice is my passion,” he said. Nick noted that minority groups are disproportionately affected by environmental issues.

I want to learn what kind of problems they are struggling with policy-wise plus socially and use that knowledge to further serve them in the future.”

Nick added: “My goal is to understand more of the issues that Native Americans face when it comes to environmental problems.”

Nick likes the small town atmosphere of Winner and breakfast at Shirley’s Diner.

Nick’s long term goal is to go to law school and study environmental justice.

Some of the law schools he is looking at are the University of Colorado in Boulder and Tulane in New Orleans.

After this year is finished with VISTA, Nick might want to serve another year, it just depends on if it all fits into his long range goals for law school.

Now he is enjoying life in Winner and working side by side helping people make a living with sustainable agriculture.

The AmeriCorps VISTA mission is to strengthen organizations that alleviate poverty through volunteering and the mobilization of resources.

Since 1965, over 220,000 VISTA members have served in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

AmeriCorps VISTA members are in tribal, rural, suburban and urban communities. Poverty can take many forms, which is why VISTA’s model is driven directly by communities in need.

AmeriCorps VISTA members help others while gaining valuable skills for their career.

For Nick, he feels his work with VISTA will be invaluable to his career as a lawyer.

Lorrin Naasz Chosen for Leadership Program

The tenth leadership class has been selected for the South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership program.

Lorrin (Anderson) Naasz of Pierre, formerly of Winner, is one of 28 individuals from across the state that have been selected.

The program develops the skills, knowledge and character of leaders for rural communities and the state’s most essential industry.

The class members will begin their 18-month leadership development program in November. There are 12 seminars in the SDARL leadership series including one seminar in Washington, D.C. and one international study seminar.

In addition to diversity across the agricultural landscape, this class is geographically diverse,” said SDARL executive director Lori Cope. “Class members are from Buffalo, Sioux Falls, Peever, New Underwood and other cities and towns representing a broad expanse of agriculture and the rural nature of our state.”

Class X continues the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of the SDARL program,” said Don Norton CEO.
“When this class graduates in 2020 it will bring our list of graduates to 299. These are influential and impactful leaders in South Dakota agriculture.”

Selection to the program is competitive and requires a formal application and interview.

Winner Regional Starts Pediatric Teleaudiology Pilot Program

Winner Regional Healthcare Center has been chosen as one of two sites for a pilot program to conduct pediatric teleaudiology diagnostic testing. A HRSA (Health Resources & Service Administration) grant delivered to the South Dakota Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Collaborative (EHDI), a partnership of the South Dakota Department of Health, the University of South Dakota’s (USD) nursing department and the department of communication sciences & disorders, and the South Dakota School for the Deaf, is being utilized to conduct this pilot program.

Initial screening to identify hearing loss is routinely conducted before babies leave the hospital, after being born. If a baby does not pass this screening, an in-depth diagnostic evaluation should occur before the baby is three months of age, allowing for an intervention, if necessary, to be in place by six months of age. Early intervention is desired to prevent further impact of the hearing deficits. This is referred to as the 1-3-6 guideline.

As this is a teleaudiology program, patients utilizing this new technology at Winner Regional Healthcare Center are connected via a video conference camera with Dr. Jessica Messersmith of USD. Winner Regional nurses assist in conducting testing, utilizing equipment which Dr. Messersmith is able to control and monitor in real-time on her computer. The first test is a direct visualization of the ear canal and the second is auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing, which tests the brain’s response to different sounds. The appointment takes about two hours, as it takes a while to get the infant to sleep, which is necessary for testing. Amazingly, Dr. Messersmith and parents are able to identify the degree of an infant’s hearing immediately.

It is the hope of Winner Regional Healthcare Center, USD and other EHDI partners that this pilot program will become long-term and permanent. In the meantime, it is an especially valuable and exciting program to offer new parents in the region. Referrals for the pediatric teleaudiology diagnostic testing can be made through a primary provider.

Joe Belak, 84

Funeral services for Joseph Belak, 84, Rapid City, formerly of Gregory, were held July 6 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Gregory. There was a private burial.

Joseph was born on Feb. 21, 1934, in Gregory, South Dakota to Joseph and Frances (Chvala) Belak. He attended grade school and middle school at the St. Joseph’s Catholic School. He then attended Gregory High School.

Joe was a talented athlete in multiple sports during his high school years. He received many awards in both football and baseball, but baseball was his true calling.

In 1951, he led the Gregory American Legion team to a Class B State championship and was named the South Dakota American Legion baseball player of the year. He was being scouted by several professional baseball teams because of his outstanding performances.

With the rise of military action (and ultimately war), Joe knew that he would be one of the first to be drafted, so he enlisted in the United States Army and served in Korea during the Korean Conflict. His tour of duty included being an Infantry soldier and skilled Paratrooper which earned him the rank of Senior Jump Master. Some of his duties included the dangerous task of laying land mines and then also picking them up.

He was stationed at Camp Zama, Japan and joined the military baseball team. His performance caught the eye of other baseball scouts from the United States Olympic Team. In 1956, Joe flew to Melbourne, Australia to participate in the 1956 Olympics and helped his team win the Bronze Medal.

Another more tender life changing moment for Joe was meeting his future bride, Hisaka Kimoto, while stationed in Japan. After a whirlwind romance the couple married in Japan.

Upon completing his duty in Korea and Japan, he and Hisaka, along with their son, Joe Jr., returned to the United States. He returned to his home town and began his college career at Black Hills State University.

He returned to Gregory following his time at BHSU and he continued to play the sport of baseball which he loved; playing in the Basin League for the Winner Pheasants and also the Rapid City Chiefs until 1958. His participation in amateur baseball continued until 1978 and was honored in 1983 by being inducted into the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. He continued to participate in the ‘old timers’ game’ during the annual 4th of July festivities until his health would not allow him to do so.

Joe attended both the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Burke, SD and the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gregory. He was a member of the Burke VFW and the Gregory American Legion.

Joe was quiet man who spent countless hours serving others. He set aside his love for baseball and the future possibilities in the sport to answer the call to serve his country, family, and community. He spent many endless days and nights serving as a lineman to restore electricity to members of the surrounding areas. He was a skilled handyman and laborer and answered many calls to help with house repairs, yard work, etc. He made it a mission to visit those less fortunate in the nursing home and assist during feeding times. He loved to sit outside in the evenings and just be present in the glory of the sights and sounds of the outdoors.
Joe was very proud of each of his children, grandchildren and great-children. He and Hisaka loved their grandchildren and welcomed opportunities to care for them. Although Hisaka was not able to experience the birth (and lives) of the great-grandchildren, Joe was able to be present to share his love (and her spirit and love) for them. They will always be a part of their lives and will watch over them.

Joe was challenged by multiple health issues over the years and although he continued to decline in the most recent years, he continued to have a strong spirit, passion and drive for life. Joe passed away at Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD on June 23, 2018 at the age of 84.

Joe was preceded in death by his wife Hisaka, his mother, father, and grandparents, 7 brothers (Felix, Pete, Steve, Frank, Jim, Tony and John) and 3 sisters (Mary, Anna, and Agnes), their spouses, several nephews and nieces.

Survivors include:
Son: Joseph and wife Colleen (Rogge);
Daughters: Fran and husband Doug Sletten; Anna (Atteberry-Gustafson) and husband John Gustafson;
5 grandchildren: Jesse Atteberry and wife Ashley (Miklos), Brandon Atteberry, Jasmine (Atteberry) and husband Dan Thelen, Carly Sletten, and Garret Sletten.
4 great-grandchildren: Michael Joseph and Blair Elizabeth Atteberry, and Emma Violet and Harper Jo Thelen.
1 sister: Susan Connot
And a host of many relatives (nephews, nieces, cousins, etc.) and friends.


Goochey Team Wins Golf Tourney

The Goochey team won the championship of the Budweiser, KWYR, Grossenburg, Jorgensen Farms and Pepsi golf tournament Saturday at Winner Country Club.

The team shot a 64. Members of the winning team were Amanda Murphy, Brett Swan, Cody Goochey and Mac Johnson.

Second place in the championship flight went to Bud 1 and third to Zeigler/Novonty.

Winner of the first flight were Williams/DeMers followed by Swan second and Grossenburg/Schramm, third.

Meiners were the winners of the second flight. Second went to Vaughn/Steele and third to Lovejoy/Nespor.

Junior Teeners Split Games in Regional

Winner Junior Teeners put up five runs in the fourth inning on its way to a 7-1 victory over Mt. Vernon-Plankinton Saturday in the regional tournament in Platte.

The offense was led by Owen Duffy, Adam Bohnet and Pierce Nelson, all driving in runs.

Mt. Vernon/Plankinton tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the third inning. Winner pulled away for good with five runs in the fourth inning. Duffy tripled on a 2-1 count scoring two runs. Bohnet doubled on a 2-2 count scoring two runs and Nelson singled on the first pitch, scoring one run.

Justin Hausmann was credited with the victory. He surrendered one run on eight hits, striking out four and walking one.

The Winner Teeners played Sunday in Platte and they lost 5-3 to Platte-Geddes.

Winner scored two runs in the third inning and one in the fifth.

Platte-Geddes scored two runs each in the fourth.

Ethan Bartels was on the pitcher’s mound for Winner and he pitched three and two-thirds innings. Pierce Nelson came in to pitch and pitched two and a third innings.

Leading hitters for Winner were Adam Bohnet who was 2-3, Nelson, 2-4, Aiden Barfuss, 1-3 with a double.

Winner Junior Teeners played at 7 p.m. on Monday in the double elimination tournament.

Winner Jr. Legion Beat Gregory 8-2 in the 4th of July Game at Gregory.

Winner Jr. Legion beat Gregory 8-2 in the 4th of July game at Gregory.

On offense Phillip Jorgensen went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s. Kameron Meiners went 2 for 2 with a walk an and RBI.
Joren Bruun started on the mound and pitched 6.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 7 batters. Meiners recorded the final two outs.

“This was a great game for our kids. The atmosphere was fun with all the 4th of July activities going on around the park. It was a big game for us, as we’ve split 2 games with them so far this year. It was a tight game all the way through until the 7th inning and then put up 5 runs to kind of put it out of reach. Joren really battled on the hill. He didn’t have his off-speed working, but he fought through it and challenged their hitters with his fastball,” said coach Kory Foss.
“We had some big hits in some key spots and capitalized on their mistakes in the 7th. It’s always nice to get a win against a solid team like Gregory.”

With the win the junior Legion record moves to 14-3.
Selby 4-Winner Junior Legon 2

The Winner Junior Legon lost to Selby 4-2 at home on Saturday, July 7.

Offensively Fred Whiting was 1 for 3 with 2 RBI’s. Colby Kaiser had 2 hits, while Joren Bruun, Oscar Pravecek, Phil Jorgensen, and Landon Thieman each added a hit.

Kameron Meiners started on the mound and pitched a complete game giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 7.

“We started quick with 2 runs in the 1st inning, but left a few more runs on the bases and then struggled at the plate from there. Selby’s pitcher was very good, and we had a hard time making contact most of the day,” said coach Kory Foss.
“Our defense played well and Kameron threw a great game, so even with our difficulties at the plate we still led the entire game. We were up 2-1 with 2 outs in the 7th inning and Selby just strung together some big hits. They had a 2-on-2-out triple that gave them the lead and we couldn’t answer in the bottom of the 7th.
“It’s a tough game to lose when you lead the entire way, and it’s a difficult loss for Kameron to take because I think he really did a nice job on the hill. But that’s baseball, and you have to take these games and learn what you can from them so that the next time you’re in a similar situation you come out on the right end,” said Foss

After the loss Winner’s record is 14-4.



Jr. Teeners Fall to Gregory

Winner Junior Teeners fell behind early and couldn’t come back in a 14-2 loss to Gregory on the Fourth of July in Gregory.

Gregory scored five runs in the first inning and added seven more in the third inning.

Winner had runs in the second and third innings.

Pierce Nelson was on the hill for Winner as he pitched two and a third innings allowing 12 hits and ten runs while striking out 2. Coy Brickman threw two-thirds of an inning in relief.

Nelson, Aiden Barfuss and Ashton Klein had one hit for Winner.

Legion Downs Valentine

Winner/Colome Legion grabbed an early lead on its way to a 5-2 victory over Valentine, Neb., on Thursday in Winner. This was a make-up game with the Badgers.

The Royals scored on a triple by Levi McClanahan, a single by Chase Dufek and a ground out by Calvin Ringing Shield.

After Valentine scored one run in the top of the fifth, Winner/Colome answered with one run of their own. The Royals scored when Riley Calhoon singled on a 2-2 count, scoring one run.

McClanahan got the win for the Royals. He went four and two-thirds innings allowing two runs on three hits and striking out nine.

Dufek threw two and a third innings in relief.

McClanahan led Winner/Colome with two hits at three at bats.

Winner/Colome in Garretson

Winner/Colome Legion baseball team split a doubleheader Sunday in Garretson.

In the first game, the Royals fell short as they lost 6-5 to Garretson and then defeated Vermillion 11-1.

In the game with Garretson, Levi McClanahan hit a two run home run in the seventh inning. Jackson Kinzer and Ty Bolton each drove in runs. Riley Calhoon and Bolton led Winner/Colome with 2 hits each.

Kinzer pitched for the Royals. He struck out six batters.

In the second game with Vermillion, Winner/Colome scored eight runs in the first two innings.

McClanahan had a home run, Bolton, a triple and Calhoon and Calvin Ringing Shield, double.

Bolton was the winning pitcher.

The Royals had 14 hits and players with multiple hits were Calhoon, Carter Brickman, Bolton, Kinzer and Cale Meiners.

Winner/Colome is at Valentine on July 11, at Wagner on July 14 and are at home for a 6:30 p.m. game Sunday with Gregory County.