Michael “Mick” Strain, 78

mick strain obit


Michael “Mick” Strain, 78, of White River, SD passed away on March 12, 2015 at his home in White River, SD.

Funeral service was held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 1 p.m. at the White River Community, Center in White River.

Mick was born June 10, 1936 in Murdo,  and was the third son of Grace (Astleford) and Eugene Strain.

He attended South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota, receiving a B.A. in business, and then earning the degree of Juris Doctor from the University School of Law. He was a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics Training School, Washington, D. C, and also a graduate of the School for Special Prosecutors at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

Mick served as assistant Attorney General to Frank Farrar from 1966 to 1969.  During his tenure he prosecuted and won most of the drug related criminal cases arising in the Attorney General’s Office and was responsible for investigating and bringing charges resulting from narcotic and dangerous drug violations.

Mick took a sabbatical from law and politics in 1970 to assist Jerry Collins in acquiring, rebuilding and managing the Portland Meadows horseracing track in Portland, OR.

He returned to practicing law in 1977 and was elected Mellette County State Attorney in 1992

In May 2013, the South Dakota State’s Attorneys Association honored Mick with a Life Time Achievement award.

He was a member of the South Dakota Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Delta Theta Phi law fraternity. He was considered one of the best criminal attorneys in South Dakota and had an ardent sense of right and wrong, and sought to remedy injustice wherever he saw it. His passion for helping Native Americans in need brought him close with many traditional Native Americans. His down to earth manner in representing clients at trial won him many acquittals and the respect of the citizens of South Dakota.

Although he spent many hours on the road, and traveled over most of the United States, Mick never ventured far from the western prairie living he grew up in.  He was an avid horseman, raising several lines of quarter horses, cumulating in the Flyma Bars breeding line. He was also an occasional rancher, ardent follower and supporter of the White River basketball and football teams, and an estimable calf roper in his prime.

He was probably best remembered by friends and family for his seemingly endless repertoire of narratives and anecdotes, fraught with lore and local legend.  He conveyed these seemingly embellished stories with deadpan delivery and split-second timing, always ending in a humorous and usually ironic twist.

Ardath Mae Hinman, 89

Ardath Hinman.obit


Ardath Mae Hinman, 89, of Carter, South Dakota passed away on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at the Winner Regional Healthcare Center in Winner, SD.

Funeral service were held  on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 2 p.m. at the Carter Gospel Fellowship in Carter, SD.  Burial followed in the Winner City Cemetery.

Ardath Mae Hinman passed away Sunday, March 15, 2015 at the Winner Regional Hospital; one month before her 90th birthday. Ardath was born to Frank and Hattie (Blankenhagen) Hakl , April 15, 1925, at her parents’ homestead near Wood, SD.  Ardath attended grade school at the Rosebud Valley School and graduated from Wood High School in 1942 as the valedictorian of her class.  She attended the University of South Dakota for a year before teaching in various schools.  She finished her degree in 1949.  In each school she taught music along with other subjects.

She was united in marriage to Byron B. Hinman on July 2, 1950, the beginning of sixty-three years as a devoted and supportive wife; a great example to her family.  Three girls and a boy were born to this union.

Ardath will always be fondly remembered for her hospitality.  She loved to have family meals with everyone present.  She also loved to garden and had beautiful flowers in the yard.  Most important to her was her faith in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, a faith she loved to share with others.  She was a member of Carter Gospel Fellowship Church and Gideon’s Auxiliary.  She taught Good News Club for many years and helped with Vacation Bible School.  She was also active in the Southern Bell Cattlewomen organization.

She and Byron enjoyed traveling and attending Farm Bureau and Gideon Conventions.  For many years they seldom missed the State Fair.

She always kept an interest in her grandchildren and their activities. She prayed for her family daily.  The family always came to her for advice on political issues and how to vote.

Trajedy in White River

julie charging whirlwind wth dog storyBy Dan Merritt, Advocate reporter

“It was a horrible, horrible thing. It was a tragedy that didn’t have to happen,” said acting Rosebud tribal chairman William Kindle last week about the death of Julia Charging Whirlwind, 49.

She died in a hospital after an early morning attack, Sat., March 14, by dogs near her home in the Rosebud community of Lower Swift Bear west of White River, S.D. in Mellette County.

“We’ve been with the family. We had a prayer vigil with the family last night (Wed., March 18),” Kindle said. “We assured them that something’s going to be done about these dogs that are running loose.

“We’re trying to assure the rest of the (Rosebud) population here that we want to get control of this so it doesn’t happen again. It was an awful tragedy and we don’t want it to take place again.”

He said tribal police with the help of Game, Fish, and Parks personnel were in the process of addressing the problem.

“They got a schedule to go through all the communities. Right here in Todd County, there are probably 15. Then we have one community there in the Winner area and also out at Ideal, north of Winner.

“There’s another community where the old town of Dixon used to be along Highway 44. And another one is down in the Herrick area. Hopefully we can get through all of them,” he said.

The officials were on the look-out especially for dogs that appeared to be roaming free, owned by no one. Unwanted, mangy ones. Whatever.

Most are captured, Kindle indicated, though some destroyed.

“What we don’t want to do is go out there and do a massive dog kill. That’s not our intent.

We certainly don’t want to come through a community and pick up any pets, family pets. We’ve got to identify those. We’re not after those,” he said.

Dogs being confined to their owners’ homes stand the best chance of not being taken. “We want to get off the streets, those that are loose and running wild,” Kindle explained.

Dogs captured at the various communities are being confined, Kindle continued.

“The Bureau of Indian Affairs has a large metal building out here just east of Rosebud, two or three miles out. And they are letting us use that building until we can get a permanent structure up somewhere.

We’re trying to locate some funding to get a permanent structure and get two or three people to man the operation,” he said.

It will be a place to keep the (impounded dogs) for 48 hours or whatever. Give people time to claim their pets. Try to get some collars and tags at that time for them. Unclaimed dogs after a certain time period will be euthanized, he said.

“We don’t want to. We don’t like the fact that we’re going to have to do some of that.”

Two dogs were killed at the site of the attack on Charging Whirlwind, March 14. Emergency personnel were called and one who responded was Mellette County sheriff Mike Blom. He shot the dogs.

According to media reports, other dogs in the area deemed vicious or dangerous were also destroyed that day.

According to Kindle, the dog attack certainly initiated the death of Charging Whirlwind, but possibly the trauma of the event rather than dog bites themselves were the specific cause.

He said autopsy results weren’t available as of mid-week, last week, but speculation among tribe members was that cardiac arrest from the attack may have been reason for the woman’s death.

Charging Whirlwind had five children and three grandchildren.

According to Rosebud tribal law enforcement administrator Marlin Enno, one of the two dogs killed by Sheriff Blom was a pit bull or a mixed breed pit bull.

The pups are valuable and raising them seems to have become popular on the Rosebud reservation, Kindle commented. “We’re seeing more and more of that breed. And you notice a lot of cross-bred dogs with pit bull blood in them. Apparently the breed is pretty popular right now,” he said

While tribal police and GF&P personnel continue to make their rounds of towns in search of dogs that need to be removed or destroyed, Enno cautioned people who may be on foot anyplace on the Rosebud reservation.

If you don’t know a dog, don’t be going up to it.

If you see a pack of dogs, don’t intimidate them or tease them. A pack can be as few as four or five dogs, he assessed.

If confronted by a snarling dog or dogs, Enno advised that people stand still.

“If you stand there and hold your ground, more than likely the dog isn’t going to bother you. It will back away because it sees you’re bigger than them,” he said.

“The biggest thing is don’t run. Because all you do is entice it (a dog or a pack), if you run. Then it turns into a hunt for them.”

Growing In Agriculture

Thanking our Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers 

A column by Secretary Lucas Lentsch 


This week marks National Ag Week with National Ag Day celebrated  which was on March 18.  We celebrate the farm and ranch families who supply our world with safe and affordable food. We also appreciate the consumers who place their confidence in our American feed, fuel, fiber and food system.

Consumers put their trust in America’s farmers and ranchers every day. Every time you visit the grocery store to pick up that gallon of milk or pound of beef, you place your trust in our nation’s food system. You trust that farmers and ranchers make good choices for animal care and plant health which in turn yields wholesome, nutritious and safe food for your family. As a result, we have the safest, most reliable food system in the world. Producers are also able to provide consumers with an abundance of choices among products and practices used to grow those products.

Here in South Dakota, we are proud of our 31,700 farm and ranch families and the wide variety of products they grow every year. From sunflowers to bison and corn to cattle, South Dakota continues to rank in the top 10 states for production. South Dakota farmers and ranchers continue to supply the food found on consumers’ plates around the world.

Our state’s agricultural industry realizes we would not be able to continue doing what we love without consumers’ support. During this National Ag Week, let’s celebrate the hardworking and productive farm and ranch families across our state. Let’s also thank our consumers for being a partner in this effort.  We are in this food system together.

Looking at You: Rusty Blare

rusty blare

Name: Rusty Blare

Birthplace: Winner SD

Family: Wife, Rita and 8 children; Cody, Jessica, Nick, Elijah, Meagan, Amanda, Austin and Jedediah

Currently reside where: Hamill, SD

Occupation: Farmer/Rancher, part time police officer, full time dad

The best thing about my job is: variety

My favorite childhood memory: Working with my grandfather on the farm

When growing up, I wanted to be: 

A fighter pilot

My most prized possession: My family

Favorite current television show: NCIS

Favorite past television shows: MASH

Favorite movie(s): Crocodile Dundee

Favorite book(s)/author(s): Louis L’Amour

Favorite holiday(s) and why: Easter because it is when my Savior arose

Favorite Bible verse: Jeremiah 29:11

Hobbies: Family

Three things that can always be found in my refrigerator: Milk, eggs and cheese

My favorite snack: Mixed nuts with M&M’s

Someone I most admire and why: Abraham Lincoln, because of his perseverance and faith.

Three words that best describe me: Honest, sincere and happy

I’ve never been able to: Play the banjo

When nobody is looking, I: Dance and talk to myself.

The best time of my life: Becoming a father

I’d like to have a dollar for: Every time my mom chewed me out.

If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go to: Home

If I won the lottery: I would keep farming until it was gone.

My definition of a great evening is: Watching my children playing and having fun with each other.

The best thing about where I live: The people of this community, they all really care about each other.

If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s: To be patient.

FFA, Ag Classes Preparing Students for the Future

ag class with ffa and ag feature

Dan Bechtold, Editor

The Winner Future Farmers of America chapter in Winner has grown. Together with FFA and ag classes offered at Winner High School, today’s students are being training to be tomorrow’s future farmers and good stewards of the land.

Wyatt DeJong is the FFA adviser along with teaching ag classes. The classes that he teaches this semester are: introduction to agriculture, food and natural resources, animal science, ag business and marketing, horticulture and natural resources.

DeJong sees the classes as a way for students to find their interest.

DeJong explains he has been able to work with businesses in Winner who have allowed the students do some job shadowing. Country Pride Coop has hosted students in the agronomy and feed departments.

In class the students are growing plants and the school recently received a grant from the South Dakota FFA Foundation to purchase a science kit to help students learn more about plants. This kit will be used in the horticulture, agronomy and some in the ag business class.

Soon, a 24×30 greenhouse will be set up where students will be able to grow plants during the month of April and May. “We will look at all facets of  growing plants,” said DeJong. He said the class will look at grown fruit, vegetables and some shrubs.

The teacher said a lot of his classes are small and he uses a lot of hands on training so students can see how science is applied to the agriculture world.

“I tell students when they don’t know what they want to do past high school is to experience something and see what is out there,” DeJong said.

In the ag business class there is a lot of math. All students in this class have a specific project they work on outside of class. DeJong said they could be anything from babysitting, working at Elder Inn or owning their own cattle. “They can use the some of the principals we talk about in class to manage their own projects,” he explained.

DeJong has seen a growth in FFA in Winner. The officers are: Calah Covey, president; Leslie Soles, vice president; Sydnie Peters, secretary; Jace Assman, treasurer; Cody Amidon, reporter and Dacey Kocer, sentinel.

Recently 14 FFA members attended a Career Development Experience (CDE) in DeSmet. The Winner natural resources team took 8th place. Members of the team are: Kayleb Brozik, Avery Gilchrist, Bethany Cable, Sydnie Peters and Amanda Boerner.

Individually, Gilchrist took 10th place.

Peters had the highest test score of the 110 students.

Nathan Ducheneaux was one of five students who scored well on welding quality.

John Kludt will be competing at state in ag broadcasting. The state contest is April 12-14 in Brookings.

Two Winner seniors, Leslie Soles and Nick Hossle, will receive their state FFA degree at state convention.

Also at state, Payton Eagle will be recognized for her work in equine science.

“This year has been a huge growing year for FFA,” said DeJong. The adviser has a lot of experience in FFA as he served as a state officer when he was in school and was  also the national central region vice president in 2010-2011.

The adviser said one of the highlights of the fall FFA work was working with the parliamentary procedure team. He explained each one of the students on the team spent over 40 hours on their own working on this project.

“FFA opens doors for students,” said DeJong. He said the focus of FFA is leadership, personal growth and career success.

As an adviser DeJong likes to help his students succeed.

The teacher loves being the classroom and helping students become more curious of the world around them.

Mike Henderson Joins Swier Law Firm

Mike Henderson


Swier Law Firm, Prof. LLC  announces the expansion of its nationally recognized legal practice with the addition of Mike Henderson.

Mike will lead the law firm’s Appellate Law Practice Group and focus his practice on complex legal research and writing.  Mike has extensive experience and has been involved in numerous appeals before the South Dakota Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Mike grew up on what is now a fifth generation family ranch in northwestern South Dakota. He graduated with honors from the University of South Dakota School of Law where he served on the Board of Editors for the South Dakota Law Review.  Following law school, Mike served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Roger L. Wollman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  Upon completing his clerkship, Mike joined a Sioux Falls law firm where he practiced for several years.

“Mike Henderson brings a keen analytic mind and an excellent understanding of appellate law to our firm’s practice,” said Scott Swier.  “Mike is one of the foremost appellate attorneys in South Dakota and we are thrilled to welcome a lawyer of his caliber to our law firm.”

Commissioners Hire Custodian Assistant

By Dan Bechtold, Editor 

Tripp County Commissioners interviewed candidates for the position of custodian assistant at the March 10 meeting. A total of five persons were interviewed for the full time position.

Hired for the position was Blake Benedict at $12 an hour with benefits. He will start work on March 30.

Treasurer Marla Liggett presented two abatements which were approved by the commissioners.

Highway superintendent Roger Sund presented a map of the areas in the county where mulching work will be completed.

The commissioners granted Golden West permission to cross county roads in areas where they are doing work on fiber optic cable.

The county board will advertise for a full time highway department employee.

The commissioners approved travel and expenses for EMT Kim Nagel who attended a refresher course in Rapid City.

The commissioners met in executive session for a personnel issue.

The next meeting of the commissioners will be Tuesday, March 24, at 5:30 p.m.

Student government day will be held on Thursday, March 26.

The commissioners will meet as a  board of equalization on April 14.

City Hires Summer Help, Swimming Pool Employees

By Dan Bechtold, Editor

The Winner City Council  approved hiring summer labor and swimming pool employees at a meeting Monday afternoon.

Summer ball field labor include:  Derek Ferwerda and Shayden Drey, both at $10.75 per hour.

Summer labor will include: William Boner, $10.75 per hour; Landon Engel, $10.75 per hour; Ben Connot, $10.50 per hour; Coleton Schuyler, $10.50 per hour; Trevor Sachtjen, $10. 50  per hour and Kelly Kidwilier, $10.50 per hour.

Cemetery/summer labor includes Garrett Gronlund, $10.75 per hour and Tyrel Haley, $10.50 per hour.

April to October parks employees are James Padmore, $13  per hour; Austin Cerv, $10.50 per hour and Brandon Olson, $10.50 per hour.

Parks maintenance/janitorial—Matt Hagen, $10.50 per hour

Light department labor—Ryan Sherman, $10.50 per hour

Pool managers are Lorna Phillips, $14.75 per hour; Lorrin Anderson, part-time $14.25 per hour and Paige Stickland, part-time, $13.75 per hour.

Lifeguards-counter/slide attendants: Lorrin Anderson $11.75 per hour; Nathan Naasz, $11.50 per hour; Cole Phillips, $11.50 per hour; Tawny Sherman, $11.25 per hour; Natalie Gronlund, $11.25 per hour; Hayley Halverson, $11 per hour; Rachel Sherman $11 per hour; Katie Mathis, $11; Sam Naasz, $10.75; Sara Husher, $10.75; Sydney Fritz, $10.75; Kennede Mathis, $10.50; Paige Stickland, $10. 50; Brendan Harter, $10.50; Kelsey Bertram, $10.50; Bailey Volmer, $10.50; Grant Winter, $10.50 and Lesley Soles, $10.50. Council member Val Sherman abstained from voting on summer and pool personnel.

The council awarded the bid from Northern Plains LLC of Winner in the amount of $518,322.50 for the 8th St. improvement project this summer. The other bidder was Rosebud Concrete, Winner, $785,645.89.

Doug Sherman of the South Dakota Department of Transportation office in Winner invited the council to a public meeting set for March 31 at the Holiday Inn Express to discuss a highway project in Winner which will be done in 2020 and 2021. The DOT is in the planning stages for this large project and will have persons at the meeting to answer questions.

Deb Bice, communications supervisor, reported there were 2,100 incidents entered into the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) for February. She said there were 767 911 calls and 64.8 percent of them were wireless.

Police chief Paul Schueth reported there were 94 inmates in jail on Monday. The average inmate count for February was 89 with U.S. Probation averaging 8.

There are 18 participants on the 24/7 program and four are on Scram bracelets.

On a split vote, the council rejected the bid of Rosebud Concrete of Winner for work on the nodes on Main Street.

Voting no were council members Val Sherman and Zach Anderson. The rest of the council voted yes.

Councilman Brad Schramm explained he has received several volunteer organizations who will take care of the nodes. Councilman Anderson said he does not see this eliminating the city cost.

The city said they would try the volunteer approach for one year on the nodes.

Government Day will be held March 26 at the Tripp County Courthouse. The city will participate and will hold sessions from 11 a.m. to noon and from 1-2 p.m.

The city election will be held April 14. The election board will include: Joy Tyburec, superintendent; deputies Kay Berg, Linda Goodell, Marlene Burns and Cheryl Schroeder.

The council will advertise for proposals for the summer recreation program for 2015. The city appropriates $2,500 for this program.

A public hearing has been set for April 6 on a preliminary plat for Mathis Brothers.

The city will hold a public hearing on April 6 on a variance requested by Brad Jelinek at 425 W. 4th St.

The city will advertise for sale a 2006 John Deere F687 box mower; 2008 John Deere 850A mid-mount mower and a 1989 Ryan sod cutter.

The council approved selling a sander truck to the city of Colome in the amount of $2,500.

The local Bassmasters will be holding a fishing tournament at the new bass pond. The council said they will require a $250 deposit which is refundable.

The city will donate $500 to the rescue dog unit in Gregory. This organization picks up stay dogs from the dog pound in Winner  and finds a home for them.

Prior to the council meeting, the city met as a board of equalization. There were no appeals presented to the board.

The circle of life means the son returns

vanneman farm with story ag page


By Dan Merritt, Advocate reporter

It’s the circle of life, though we’re not talking about “The Lion King” and Simba. Well, maybe we are to some extent.

Justin Vanneman returns from college this spring to work the Clint and Kim Vanneman farm along with his parents (rural Winner-Ideal).

Actually, the younger Vanneman and his future wife, Tasha, will be working along with his parents. Justin and Tasha will get married in June.

It is similar to when Clint Vanneman returned home in 1979 after college to work full-time along with his folks, Ryal and Peggy.

Clint  married  Kim in 1980. Kim is originally from the Chamberlain area.

His arrival was the beginning of transition of owning/operating the farm.