Officials elected to county and state offices

Dan Forgey, Dallas, Republican Tripp County Commissioner from District 2 was re-elected in the Nov. 3 general election. Forgey will serve another four years on the county board. In the election, Forgey received 353 votes to226 for Independent Marla Liggett.

Erin Tobin of Winner was elected the new state senator from District 21. She received 2,269 votes in Tripp County and her challenger Dan Kerner Andersson, Burke, received 366 votes. Tobin earned 79 percent of the vote from District 21 with 7,627 votes. Andersson received 21 percent of the vote 2,000 votes. In a Facebook post after the election, Tobin said she is “excited for the things we well achieve with our strong voice together over the next two years.” Tobin thanked the candidates that ran this election cycle. “The fact that you stepped forward, added more to your daily to-dos, and gave it your best, is something to be proud of—win or lose.”

In the state representative race, Rocky Blare of Ideal and Caleb Finck of Tripp were elected and will serve two years in the state house. In Tripp County, Blare received 2,221 votes, Finck received 1,173 and Jessica Hegge of Platte, 486. Blare received 44 percent of the vote with from District 21 with 6,328 votes. Finck received 5,038 votes and Hegge. 2,908.

District 21 includes Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Gregory and Tripp Counties.

Mike Rounds was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. In Tripp County, Rounds received 81 percent of the vote as 2,188 votes were cast for him. His challenger was Dan Ahlers and he received 501 votes in Tripp County.

Dusty Johnson was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He received 90 percent of the vote in Tripp County. He received 2,359 votes to 267 for Randy Luallin.

The presidential race in Tripp County had a big turnout. Donald Trump received 80 percent of the vote and Joe Biden received 18 percent.

South Dakota voters took a strong stand on who they want to fill the state Public Utilities Commission position. Gary Hanson was the winner for a seat on the PUC. In Tripp County, he received 2,125 votes. Devin Saxon received 79 votes and Remi W.B. Bald Eagle received 376 votes.

In the state supreme court retention vote, votes over whelming chose to retain Justice Steve Jensen. In Tripp County, the justice received 2052 yes votes and 386 no votes. Statewide, Jensen received 81 percent of the vote.

South Dakota voters showed strong support for medical marijuana and also approved a measure to approve recreation use of marijuana. South Dakotans gave a 54 percent approval to Amendment A, which legalizes recreational use of marijuana. In Tripp County, Amendment A was defeated. The No votes were 1,651 and yes 998. However, Tripp County voters approved the medical use of marijuana which was Initiated measure 26. The yes votes were 1,471 and no 1,194. Statewide, both marijuana measures passed. They will not take effect until July 1, 2021.

Tripp County voters approved Amendment B which allows sports betting in Deadwood. This was a very narrow vote with 1,331 yes and 1,315 no.

Voter turnout was very high in Tripp County with a 74.53 percent voter turnout. There were 2,721 ballots cast. The number of registered voters in Tripp County is 6,351.Statewide voter turnout was 73.88 percent. In this election, many people voted absentee. In Tripp County, there were 1,079 absentee ballots cast.

The staff in the Tripp County Auditor’s office was finished counting ballots at 11:30p.m. on Nov. 3.

“Mask Up South Dakota”

A group of organizations in South Dakota have joined to recommend and promote masking as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge throughout the state and wider region.   

Behind a simple message of “Mask Up South Dakota” and a hash tag of #MaskUpSoDak, these organizations include the South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA), Monument Health based in Rapid City, Avera Health and Sanford Health based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota Nurses Association (SDNA), South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO), South Dakota Municipal League, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Associated School Boards of South Dakota, and School Administrators of South Dakota and the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board.    

This group supports keeping South Dakota open, and the safest way to do that is to practice good hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks. This group is not seeking a mask mandate from government, but rather is calling on South Dakotans to help manage health care resources and workforce so our state’s health systems can help those who need to be hospitalized.    

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has affirmed that wearing masks can help communities slow the spread of COVID-19 when worn consistently and correctly by a majority of people in public settings. Masks are most effective when used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting.

According to South Dakota Department of Health data, the number of active cases, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing across the state and wider region. There are currently over 350 hospitalizations in South Dakota and over 11,000 active cases. To date, there have been 375 deaths due to the virus.    Increased cases and hospitalizations place a greater burden on health care facilities and health care workers, and is taking a toll on individuals, families and work places.

This group is asking South Dakota residents for a renewed and greater commitment to follow a list of preventive practices recommended by the CDC: 

• Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose when around others.   

• Practice social distancing – put six feet of space (two arm lengths) between yourself and people who don’t live in your household. 

  • Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands often and use hand sanitizer.   

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. 

  • Stay home when you’re sick or have been exposed to the virus (except to get medical care).   

• Cover your cough and sneezes. 

• Monitor your health daily and watch for symptoms such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

Governor Noem Expands Small Business and Healthcare Provider Relief Program

Governor Kristi Noem announced updates to expand the Small Business and Healthcare Provider Relief Program, which utilizes Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars to assist small businesses, community-based healthcare providers, and non-profits negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.     

“We are offering even greater flexibility for our small businesses and healthcare providers, the lifeblood of our community,” said Governor Noem. “South Dakota is in good shape, and these grant dollars will help our communities to bounce back stronger than ever.”   

For all grants, the application period has been extended by a week, to Oct. 30.


The Winner FFA Chapter welcomed, Hunter Eide and Samantha Olson to Winner High School on Monday, Oct. 19. While at the school, Eide and Olson met with FFA members and presented workshops to agriculture education classes about team development, personal growth, advocating for agriculture, and the benefits of being an FFA member.   

During a year of service to the organization, state FFA officers travel to FFA chapters in the state to talk about opportunities available to students enrolled in agricultural education. State officers develop interactive workshops that encourage students to develop leadership skills and take advantage of opportunities available to FFA members.      

Agricultural education incorporates three aspects of learning. The classroom provides basic knowledge. FFA develops leadership and personal skills. A Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) provides hands-on learning while working on the job or in an agricultural business.     

FFA is an integral part of agricultural education. Agricultural instructors encourage students to take the knowledge and skills they have acquired in class and apply to FFA events, such as the career development events, which help students explore a career interest in agriculture.     

Chapter visits are made possible with the support of the following South Dakota FFA Foundation Star Partners: Twin City Region Northland Ford Dealers (Distinguished Star Partner), Bayer (4 Star Partner), CHS Foundation (4 Star Partner), and Agtegra (3 Star Partner).      

The South Dakota FFA Association is comprised of local chapters preparing nearly 5,000 student members for careers in agriculture. FFA activities and award programs complement instruction in agriculture education by giving students practical experience in the application of agricultural skills and knowledge gained in classes. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Voters to consider 3 ballot issues

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, with another 40 allow various types of medical use, and this year, the South Dakota ballot is asking two marijuana-related questions.

IM 26 would create a state statute establishing medical marijuana use in South Dakota.

Amendment A would change the state constitution and legalize recreational marijuana use in the Mount Rushmore State. It would also require the State Legislature to pass laws regarding medical marijuana and hemp sales. When voters go to the polls Nov. 3 they will vote on these issues plus one more David Owen, the President of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the No Way on Amendment A Ballot Committee, said a key issue with Amendment A is that it would change the state constitution.“ The 11 states that have recreational started with medical,” said Owen. “No state has gone straight to recreational, so we’ll still tell you that we’re afraid of increased use by youth, accidental poisoning by kids, accidents, and if you want recreational marijuana, that’s a good debate, it doesn’t belong in the constitution.”

Owen said the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the No Way on Amendment A Committee are neutral on IM 26, acknowledging that many people see benefits of medical marijuana.

Voters will also vote on Amendment B. This would allow sports wagering in Deadwood. The constitution currently authorizes the legislature to allow certain types of games in Deadwood: roulette, keno, craps, limited card games, and slot machines. If approved, the constitutional amendment would authorize the legislature to also include wagering on sporting events as a type of gambling allowed in Deadwood.

Angus beef cattle in South Dakota

Jorgensen Ranches, Ideal, ranked as second largest in registering the most Angus beef cattle in South Dakota with the American Angus Association during fiscal year 2020.

Roger Joseph, Winner, ranked seventh largest in registering Angus cattle and Raven Angus of Colome ranked ninth largest. Angus breeders across the nation in 2020 registered 305,531 head of Angus cattle. “Despite a challenging year, our Angus breeders continue to see strong demand for Angus genetics,” said Mark McCully, association chief executive officer.


Retail shops across South Dakota are preparing for resident and non-resident hunters to hit the fields on October 17, the opening day of the 2020 pheasant hunting season. With an emphasis on outdoor activities this year, retailers welcome visitors to engage in good, clean, open-air fun! “Communities around the state are ready for hunters, with many shops and stores working together to create special events,” said South Dakota Retailers Association Exec. Dir. Nathan Sanderson.

“Hunting season is a great opportunity to showcase our world-renowned hospitality and wide-open spaces while supporting our communities and local businesses .”Casey Weismantel with the Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau highlights optimistic outlooks from area businesses.

Positive reports from the field have local shops hopeful for strong hunting traffic on Main Street and in the open spaces around Aberdeen. Like many towns across South Dakota, Aberdeen rolls out the blaze orange carpet for visiting hunters and travelers.”We give out visitor bags filled with valuable hunting information on the area along with coupons and incentives from local businesses in Aberdeen,” said Weismantel. “We treat you like family. We know the value of what hunters bring to the community. We work hard to establish a long-standing tradition of hunting in Aberdeen. “While nearly all South Dakota businesses welcome the increase in foot-traffic, many retailers actively serve the hunting and shooting community.

Pheasant lodges, hunting outfitters, and hundreds of stores that sell guns, ammunition, licenses, hunting gear, and food look forward to our state’s fall hunting tradition. Each year they open their doors and even their homes to visitors nationwide.

Michael Bollweg of Tumbleweed Lodge in Harrold highlighted how his lodge guests view South Dakota. “Without question, their most significant appreciation is for the vast uninterrupted landscapes,” he said. Bollweg continued by saying, “Our guests continually remind us how special a place we live in and raise our families in while managing our abundant natural resources.

“Local mom and pop businesses understand the significant impact hunters have in South Dakota. In 2019, resident and non-resident hunters spent $202.4 million statewide. “We love meeting and talking with the new people that come in, whether it is their first time in the state or just their first time in the store,” said Mike Fairchild, General Manager of Trav’s Outfitter in Watertown. “Of course, we love seeing returning folks when they walk through the door â this year, next year, and the one after that â we know they’ll keep coming back to hunt. “Pheasant season in South Dakota runs October 17, 2020, through January 31, 2021.As you travel around the state this fall, thank the men and women in blaze orange who make a significant contribution to small communities and local businesses statewide.

Because of them, we’re able to live the good life here in South Dakota.

Tripp County cases inch upward

In a week, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Tripp County went up by 61.The total number of cases in Tripp County as of Monday was 158, which is up three from Sunday’s count of 155.

There are 70 active cases and 88 have recovered. There have been 14 persons hospitalized due to COVID-19. Statewide, there were 198 new cases on Monday.

There are 3,828 active cases in the state and 17,692 recovered cases. Currently, there are 209 persons hospitalized. The death total is at 218.

South Dakota Trucking Association, driver of the month

Photo by Michelle Wells, SDTA
Claude Raschke

September 11, 2020 – The South Dakota Trucking Association (SDTA) held their 85th Annual Convention in Deadwood, SD, on September 9-11, 2020. Each month the SDTA Safety Management Council selects a Driver of the Month to honor their safe driving accomplishments.

On Friday afternoon, the twelve monthly winners between the 2019 and 2020 SDTA Conventions were invited to interview with a panel of three judges. Each were given six minute to interview. The drivers were asked the same three questions. The one who receives the highest accumulated score is then named the 2020 Driver of the Year.

It is very difficult to select one driver, especially when each driver has to their credit so many miles of safe driving. The 12 monthly winners have a combined total of nearly 22,475,000 safe driving miles and over 309 years of experience. Each monthly winner was presented a plaque and an embroidered jacket for their accomplishments.

During the Chairman’s Banquet on Friday evening, Claude Raschke, Cliff Viessman, Inc., Gary, SD, December 2019 Driver of the Month was honored with the title of 2020 Driver of the Year. He was presented a plaque from SDTA and $1000. (picture attached) Claude has been a professional truck driver for 26 years. He has 18 years over the road (semi-tractor + trailer), 5 1/2 years local (light duty). He has over two million accident-free miles logged in his career.

He has been active in the SD Truck Driving Championships, both a participant and a volunteer when working in the office. He placed third in the 5-axle class in 2019. The Truck Driving Championships is where drivers with no less than 12 months of accident-free driving can compete in a three part competition: 1) Written Exam; 2) Pre-trip Inspection; and 3) Driving Course.

The top winner from each class (Straight, 3-Axle,!4-Axle, 5-Axle Van, Sleeper Berth, Tank, Twins Trailers, Flatbed and Step-Van) then goes to a national competition, sponsored by the American Trucking Associations, where they compete against winners from the states.!

Claude is a US Army Veteran. We are proud of him and thank him for his service!! Claude and his wife Destine are a blended family with five children: Danyelle Raschke (28), Denver Raschke (26), Zach Reilly (22), Alexis Reilly (19) and Kacie Reilly (16). They reside in Woonsocket, SD.

GFP Commission Extends Pheasant Hunting Season, Keeps Bag Limits at 3 andAllows Unrestricted Harvest on Shooting Preserves

PIERRE, S.D. – For the first time in the history of South Dakota pheasant hunting, pheasant hunters will be able to begin hunting pheasants at 10 a.m. CT (9 a.m. MT) for the entire pheasant season, including the resident-only season, which begins this year on Saturday, Oct. 10.   

Hunters will also have the opportunity to hunt ringnecks for a couple of extra weeks as the Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission extended the season to Jan. 31, 2021.    

These extensions will provide additional opportunity for hunters and bring South Dakota in line with pheasant hunting states like Nebraska and Kansas that surround the pheasant hunting capital.   

“It’s very exciting to offer these expanded opportunities to those who want to experience the greatest pheasant hunting inthe nation,” said Kelly Hepler, Secretary of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.   

“Behind Governor Noem’s Second Century Initiative, this is one more way we are working to secure South Dakota’s great outdoor heritage and the next 100 years of pheasant hunting in our state.”     

The commission ultimately decided to retain the daily bag limit of three pheasants for the statewide season, but did vote to adopt an unrestricted harvest opportunity for those hunting on a private shooting preserve from Sept. 1 through the end of the statewide pheasant season.

The commission amended the original proposal and voted to approve the modification allowing preserve hunters the opportunity if they obtained a statewide nonresident smallgame license plus a habitat stamp and, for residents, a combination license and the habitat stamp.   

To view the proposals in their entirety, visit Audio from the meeting is available through South Dakota Public Broadcasting and will soon be available on the GFP website as part of the meeting archive.