Gov. Daugaard Signs Propane Executive Order

Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed an executive order on Nov. 6 to allow expedited commercial delivery of propane products to assist regions of the state that are experiencing low inventories and outages.

“Our ag producers need to have access to propane in order to carry on normal operations,” Gov. Daugaard said. “This order gives companies that transport propane some leeway so they can deliver products in a speedier manner.”

The Governor’s order declares a state of emergency and exempts delivery of propane from federal motor carrier regulations on drivers’ hours of service statewide.

Although hours of service have been temporarily suspended for commercial deliveries, companies may not require or allow fatigued drivers to make deliveries, Gov. Daugaard said.

The executive order expires at midnight Nov. 20, 2017.

La Nina Watch Hints at Winter Season Climate Outlook

A La Nina climate pattern is more likely than not, according to a recent forecast from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.

“Currently, La Nina is 55 to 65 percent likely to affect our climate in the 2017-18 winter season,” said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist.

Historically, La Nina climate patterns have often meant colder than average winter temperatures in the Dakotas. However, Edwards explained, this is not consistent, as La Nina events, since 1985, have not been as cold as those between 1950 and 1985.

“For the Northern Plains region there is no correlation between La Nina and winter season precipitation, and as a result it is challenging to forecast winter snowfall,” she said.

Both of these historical patterns are reflected in the NOAA climate outlook released October 19, 2017.

For the months of December through February, much of the northern tier states are more likely to be colder than average, including northern South Dakota.

As far as precipitation, Edwards said there is a slightly increased chance of wetter than average conditions in western South Dakota.

“The fall season is often a season of transition,” Edwards said. “This year is no exception as there have been both warm and cool periods with the western region remaining largely drier than average this season and the eastern region has had above average rainfall.”

Drier weather has combines rolling
Soybean harvest is nearing completion in South Dakota’s northern tier counties, which have been drier overall in recent weeks. Harvest is now underway in southern counties as drier weather has arrived and soil moisture has reduced.

Drought conditions continue to hold steady in the west. Some vegetation in drought-stricken areas did begin to green up after receiving rainfall in September.

“This does not help grazing this year but indicates that there is some hope for pasture recovery next spring if climate conditions are favorable after this year’s drought,” Edwards said.

Still the Nation’s Best Pheasant Hunting

Despite news of a lowered brood count that showed a decrease in the statewide pheasants per mile index, there are many positives when it comes to pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

South Dakota is home to the greatest pheasant hunting opportunities in the country, if not the world. Each year thousands of hunters flock to the state to walk the fields with their family as well as friends both two-legged and four-legged. Communities across the state literally roll out the orange carpet for hunters to make them feel welcome.

A recent editorial in the Aberdeen American News referenced a 2014 Department of Game, Fish and Parks survey of resident and non-resident hunters where pheasant hunters stated that “time spent with friends and family” and the “overall outdoor experience” were the top reasons why they choose to hunt in South Dakota.

Pheasant hunting isn’t just about hunting in South Dakota. Pheasant hunting is a way of life, an economic driver and a livelihood. Most importantly it’s a deep-rooted tradition that has spanned generations.

According to data from the Department of Game, Fish and Parks more than 1 million pheasants have been harvested from the fields of South Dakota in each of the last three years despite varying brood county reports.

The average annual pheasant population in South Dakota over the last 20 years has been 7.4 million birds.

Over the last 20 years, each hunter has walked away with 9.5 birds per hunter, per years.

South Dakota has more than 1.25 million acres of public hunting land, 40,000 of which is located within the core pheasant range of the state.


Secretary of Education Melody Schopp to Retire

Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced that Dr. Melody Schopp, Secretary of Education, will retire in December.

Schopp has served as Secretary of Education since 2011 and has been with the Department of Education since 2000.

“Melody Schopp cares about kids, and that has motivated her throughout her entire career,” said Gov. Daugaard. “She has served in a difficult and high-profile job, and I’ve appreciated her leadership, from higher teacher salaries to more work-based opportunities for young people. I wish Melody the very best in the future.”

Schopp’s retirement ends a 40-year career in public education in South Dakota. After teaching for one year in North Dakota, Schopp taught for 23 years in the Lemmon School District, where she was a pioneer of bringing the internet into the classroom.

Gov. Bill Janklow invited Schopp to join the Department of Education in 2000 as a technology integrationist, and she was subsequently promoted to director of teacher certification and accountability, and then to deputy secretary. In 2011, Gov. Daugaard appointed her to be Secretary of Education. Schopp is completing a one-year term as national president of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

“It has been an honor to serve in Gov. Daugaard’s administration and to work on behalf of the young people in our state,” said Secretary Schopp. “I am most proud of the work we did to increase teacher pay in South Dakota.”

Schopp’s last day as Secretary will be Dec. 15.

Autumn Mysteries


By Katie Hunhoff

South Dakotans are no-nonsense folks, so we always struggle to find supernatural tales for our October issues, but we have heard a few through the years. One of my favorite spooky stories, published in our September/October 2014 issue, is about a mysterious bright, white light in Miner County that appears out of nowhere. Locals call it the spooklight. It can be seen along a particular stretch of dirt road between Carthage and Fedora. The story’s author, Donna Palmlund, talked to family and neighbors to get their spooklight accounts.

Palmlund’s father grew up on a farm west of Spooklight Road. His grandfather would say that sometimes the spooklight was so bright they could sit inside and read by it. After the Hass family moved off the farm, a man named Joe Spader lived there. “After I moved to that farm it wasn’t long before I was aware of this light that was very peculiar,” Spader said. He described the light as looking like a bright spotlight cresting a hill and then going down the hill, but a car would never materialize. Before he heard about the spooklight, he was worried someone was trying to steal something. Another mysterious light has been seen in southeast South Dakota, looking over Nebraska’s Crazy Peak, which rises above the chalkstone bluffs on the Nebraska side of the Missouri. Sometimes the view gives South Dakotans an unexplainable light show. “I’ve seen all sorts of UFOs there in the past,” said Carvel Cooley, a longtime local historian. “It’s just lights. They don’t make any noise and they can stop, start, zap out of sight, disappear and reappear.” Although a lot of locals have seen the lights, most don’t talk about it. Some give credit for the lights to swamp gas. Others bring up the Santee Sioux legends of seeing “little people” in the neighborhood of Crazy Peak.

Another well-known eerie South Dakota spot is Sica Hollow in Roberts County. Reports of strange voices, lights flashing in creek bottoms and bubbling red bogs along the “Trail of Spirits” make Sica Hollow a spooky place to visit any time of year. Its first Indian inhabitants dubbed the forested area “sica,” meaning bad or evil.

We visited with Chris Hull several years ago. Six generations of Hull’s family have lived near Sica Hollow. He has spent countless hours hunting or camping in the forest and has seen the glowing lights. Once he also had a more mysterious experience while camping with friends. They realized they had forgotten supplies, so one friend drove home to get them.

“We were hiking and heard him yell from down in the hollow,” Hull told us. “He must have yelled five or six times. We wondered if his truck had gotten stuck and he had started walking. So we walked for a mile and got down to the bottom, but there was nothing there. We climbed a hill to search for lights and found nothing. Finally we went back to the campsite and he pulled in at the same time. He said he was at home and he had all the sleeping bags and things he’d gone to get. But all five of us heard him yelling that night.”

When the leaves fall and Halloween is close at hand, we all like a good South Dakota ghost story. If you have one to share, email me at

Katie Hunhoff is the editor and publisher of South Dakota Magazine, a bi-monthly publication featuring the people and places of our great state. For more information visit

Retailers Applaud Official Filing of US Supreme Court Appeal on Crucial Tax Issue


Under a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Quill Corp v. North Dakota, out-of-state sellers are not required to collect or remit sales tax on purchases unless they have nexus – a physical presence – in the state the purchase is delivered to or received in. At the time the Quill ruling was issued, it primarily impacted catalog sales, since internet marketing was years away.

In 2016, South Dakota lawmakers passed Senate Bill (SB) 106, requiring out-of-state retailers to collect and remit tax on purchases shipped to customers in the state. The South Dakota Retailers Association was instrumental in the passage of SB 106. With an increasing amount of sales occurring online and going untaxed, the organization says it’s long past time for a change in how the tax is handled.

Following the passage of SB 106, the state filed a lawsuit against several online giants, and the new state law was placed on hold pending the outcome of the case. The lawsuit has been working its way through the system, and oral arguments were held before the South Dakota Supreme Court in August. As the state anticipated and hoped, the state Supreme Court ruled against the state on SB 106, paving the way for the case to potentially be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Our South Dakota retailers aren’t afraid of competition, but we believe it ought to be fair competition,” said South Dakota Retailers Association Board President Gary Cammack of Cammack Ranch Supply in Union Center. “We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to hear this case. It’s a vital issue for the businesses up and down the Main Street of every town in our state.”

Cammack explained that the association first went on the record in 1937 saying tax should apply to purchases shipped from out-of-state to customers in South Dakota.

“Eighty years later, we’re getting closer to getting the situation taken care of once and for all,” he said. “We hope the Supreme Court is willing to tackle this important issue.”

SB 106 applies only to businesses whose sales in the state exceed $100,000 annually, or that make 200 or more separate transactions in the state in a year.

“Our State Legislature, the administration, the municipalities and business community have worked hard to streamline our state’s tax system to make it easier for the out-of-state companies to collect and remit tax on purchases,” Cammack noted. “And it is a tax that’s owed, one way or another. If the out-of-state companies don’t charge and remit it, then legally, customers are obligated to pay use tax on the purchase. It’s far less cumbersome to have the sellers charge the tax upfront.”

The state of South Dakota and municipalities lose an estimated $50 million annually in sales tax revenue due to these untaxed sales.



As the leaves are working on changed colors, and harvest is in full swing. The month of October is not only great for beautiful colors, tailgates and trick-or-treating, but it is a great opportunity for South Dakota pig farmers to showcase their AMAZING product during October Pork Month.

A lot of consumers are looking for a healthy protein source that offers lots of flavor and a variety of cooking methods? You’ll find some great options with pork – whether you’re making a family dinner, grilling in the backyard or planning the perfect holiday meal.

Many consumers are in search of knowledge about the different cuts of pork. A few years ago there was a makeover at the meat case with NEW pork cut names. In order to ease confusion over the various names of pork cuts, the National Pork Board and The Beef Checkoff program joined forces to make the meat case more familiar for shoppers. Several pork chop names are now aligned with beef steaks, so consumers can easily identify their favorite cut. Consumers will now find Ribeye Pork Chop bone-in or boneless instead of the Rib Chop, along with the Porterhouse Pork Chop and New York Pork Chop.

Not only are consumers looking for the perfect cut, but have several questions on meat preparation. So often you hear from a consumer that they feel pork is dry and tough, which is a result of being over cooked. But there is good news! You can have a delicious, juicy, great-tasting pork experience if you follow the current FDA guidelines which recommend cooking fresh pork to 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a three minute rest period.

Cooking to medium doneness for chops, tenderloins and roasts means just a blush of pink in the center. Cooking low and slow for ribs, loins and pork shoulder for classic fall-of-the-bone ribs and perfect pulled pork is a must!

Pork is so versatile it works with many flavors! No matter what time of the year it is, it is easy to adapt sauces, rubs and marinades to create a dynamic meal that will turn Blah into Ahh!

Over the last thirty years, pork has become leaner and contains less saturated fat. Cuts of pork that come from the loin such as chops and roasts are the leanest cuts of pork; pork tenderloin, the healthiest cut of pork, ounce for ounce, it is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast. Pork has received the American Heart Association’s Heart Healthy Checkmark, which means it can be marked and promoted as a heart-healthy product.

Pork packs nutrients in every lean serving and is a “excellent” source of protein and a “good” source of thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus and niacin, potassium, riboflavin and zinc.

Law School Task Force Recommends Hybrid Plan, Additional Funding


The Law School Task Force voted Friday to recommend to President James W. Abbott a hybrid plan to establish new programming options online and in Sioux Falls while keeping the existing School of Law on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion.

The task force also voted unanimously to recommend an increase in funding of at least $600,000 a year for programming at the law school.

The task force based its evaluation on the testimony it received in two previous meetings from students, faculty, law school staff, alumni, community members, lawyers from around the state and outside experts and consultants.

USD President James W. Abbott appointed the task force earlier this year to consider whether relocating the state’s only law school to Sioux Falls would be in the best interest of the students, the university, and the state of South Dakota.

Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, chaired the task force.

The task force voted to recommend seeking private funding for scholarships and to recommend offering in-state tuition rates to select out-of-state candidates. The task force concluded with recommending the establishment of an ongoing advisory council to continue to consider ways to improve the law school.

The USD School of Law remains a best value law school and was recently ranked third in least indebted graduates. The school educates most of the state’s lawyers and judges, filling spots in private law firms and in public legal practice.

The Thrill of Coming Home Never Changes


Fall is when Canada geese return to warmer climates and college graduates to their alma mater.

Homecoming is a week of alumni recognition, parades, football games, fun and memories.

The forerunner of Hobo Day at South Dakota State University in Brookings was a nightshirt parade.

Men dressed in nightshirts and women dressed in sheets gathered around a bonfire to rouse enthusiasm for a football game against Dakota Wesleyan the next day, according to “The College on the Hill” by Amy Dunkle with V.J. Smith. Led by the band, students carrying torches wound their way through town to the train station to meet the incoming football team. The students met with disappointment, as the Wesleyan football team was delayed and did not arrive until the following morning. State won the football game.

College authorities deemed it inappropriate for women students to roam the streets of Brookings draped in sheets, and suggested there be one great event rather than nightshirt parades.

According to information from the Hobo Day Committee, the biggest one-day event in the Dakotas started with several students eating ice cream at a local drug store and talking about ways to rescue a faltering student spirit. A student by the name of R. Adams Dutcher brought up a concept that had failed at the University of Missouri. This idea that caught fire at SDSU was one in which men dressed as hoboes and the women as American Indians. Thus, Hobo Day came into existence.

In 1939, Flandreau farmer Fred Weigel gave the Students’ Association a 1912 Model T Ford with the understanding that it appear each year in the Hobo Day parade. It has. The year the car was made was the same year the Hobo Day tradition began.

Robert Slagle was instrumental in starting homecoming at SDSU and the University of South Dakota. Slagle served as president of SDSU from 1906 to 1914, and took the concept of Hobo Days with him when he became president of USD in 1914.

“When he came to USD one of the things he wanted to do was strengthen the relationship between the university and the community. He suggested an event called South Dakota Day,” said Kersten Johnson of Pierre, who served as executive director of the USD Alumni Association from 2008 to 2016.

South Dakota Day is now called Dakota Days or D-Days.

Alumni achievement awards, open houses at different colleges, a reunion of marching band members, decorating fraternities and sororities, community service projects, a parade and football game are all part of D-Days activities. Artists have exhibits in the Gallery of Fine Arts.

The crowning of a homecoming queen, Miss Dakota, has been part of homecoming events since its beginning. In 1986, Karl Adam was crowned the first Dakota Day king, Mr. Dakota. The senior political science major from Pierre was the son of a Miss Dakota, Pat (Mickelson) Adam.

Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today and The Freedom Forum, was one alumnus who came back to USD during Dakota Days.
“The whole crux of the week is for alumni to come back and give lectures and meet students and professors,” Johnson said. “They can retrace their steps on the campus they knew and the campus that has evolved. It’s amazing how transformative those four years are in a person’s lifetime. The thrill of coming home never changes.”

SDSU’s homecoming also played a role in the start of homecoming at Northern State University in 1916. According to an article in the Aberdeen American News by Cara Ball, Northern student Charles Fleischman and Aberdeen businessman Charles Creed reasoned that if SDSU could have Hobo Day, Northern could have Gypsy Day. Creed is credited with naming the event when gypsies came through his cigar store.

In 1919, Gypsy Day activities took place in May after being postponed due to the influenza epidemic at the beginning of the school year. Gypsy Day activities that year included the crowning of a queen, parade, baseball game, sports carnival, outdoor dinner and the presentation of the musical comedy “The Gypsy Rover.”

The Gypsy Day parade is called “The largest parade in South Dakota.” People crowd the parade route whether it’s raining, snowing or 90 degrees.

For eight years at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, homecomings were celebrated under such names as Gypsy Day, Pioneer Day and Paha Sapa Day. The Spearfish Normal football team was known only as the Normal team. That changed in 1928.
In “The Friendly College: The First 100 Years of Black Hills State College 1883-1983,” BHSU band director Mark Richmond explained the origin of the college’s homecoming.

In 1927, the Spearfish Normal football team played its archrival, the Hardrockers from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. The Normal football players were wearing long yellow coats over their uniforms.

One of the coeds, said to be Bessie Kennedy, yelled, “Go, you yellow jackets, go!” The cry was taken up by other fans. The team responded to the cheering, went after the Hardrockers like yellow jackets after someone who had disturbed their nest, and won the game.

The name Yellow Jackets became associated with BHSU athletic teams. BHSU held its first Swarm Day in the fall of 1928.
Richmond explained that BHSU’s homecoming was called Swarm Day because bees swarm and yellow jackets have similarities with bees. “So why should not old grads and other friends swarm back to BHSC every homecoming?” he is quoted as saying.
Festivities at Swarm Days include a hike up to the “H” on Lookout Mountain, an alumni awards lunch, a hall of fame banquet, coronation of a king and queen, burning of the “BH,” parade, tailgate social and football game.

The first homecoming at Eastern State Teachers College in Madison, now Dakota State University, took place in October 1922. Among the Pioneer Day activities were a barbeque, parade and the crowning of a homecoming queen, Gladys Meade of Fedora. The name of the homecoming celebration has changed over the years to Eastern Frontier Day, Eastern Day, Homecoming, Tutor Day and, in the 1970s, to the current Trojan Days.

Eastern Day on Oct. 19, 1926, was recorded in a documentary film staged by Eastern State Teachers College about the early history of South Dakota and the life of Gen. William Henry Harrison Beadle in South Dakota. The documentary “Dacotah” was the first of its kind filmed in the United States.

“To me, events like Trojan Days are important because they served to promote collegiality among university staff and students,” said Ryan Burdge, archivist at the Karl Mundt Library at DSU. “These days when our enrollment is increasingly online-only students, and many staff and faculty are commuters or telecommuters, it is important that events like these exist to preserve a notion of community that connects with our past.”

Rapid City residents had spy glasses, opera glasses and binoculars to view activities taking place on Cowboy Hill, a large slope on the west side of the city, on Oct. 5, 1912.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology President Dr. Cleophas O’Harra had given students a holiday and, under the supervision of faculty, 65 young men were using stones to build an immense “M” on Cowboy Hill. At 112 ½ by 67 feet, it was hailed as the largest letter in South Dakota, according to “Centennial: An Illustrated History 1885-1985 South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.”

The rocks were whitewashed and it was said that the white M could be seen from 12 miles away.

The M-Day climb to the top of Cowboy Hill became an annual event. A morning of whitewashing the rocks and burning or pulling the weeds was followed by picnicking and dancing. Concrete later replaced the rocks. Football only became part of the tradition years later.

In 1934, mathematics professor Guy March called for a meeting of Mines graduates at his home in Rapid City. At that meeting the Alumni Association was reactivated and officers were elected. In October 1934, the first edition of The Hardrock alumni newspaper was published. It announced the forming of the Alumni Association and gave information on the first homecoming.
The Hardrock reported, “The annual Homecoming Day, ‘M’ day, will be the one big event each year. This year there was a total registration of over 100 alumni and former students.”

The day featured a free meal, the climbing of Cowboy Hill, a parade and a banquet at the Alex Johnson Hotel.

In 1936, M-Day was a day unto itself; the actual homecoming took place on Oct. 10. Homecoming activities began with an alumni meeting at the Alex Johnson Hotel and was followed by a homecoming parade with 75 decorated floats and cars going through downtown Rapid City.

At the 1960 homecoming, March reported that “over one-fourth of the living alumni attended … must be some kind of record.”
The first M-Day Queen was chosen in 1958, and was a high school student, Phyllis Gramm of Roscoe. It wouldn’t be until 1962 that an SDSM&T coed would reign over homecoming activities, when freshman Cheryl Harrelson was crowned M-Day Queen. Cindy Davies of the Devereaux Library at Mines explained that Mines had few women students until the 1960s. In those years, various campus organizations sponsored queen candidates. The candidates were wives of students, nursing students from the hospital, sisters of students and others.

Rocker Days at Mines combines homecoming activities with other traditions, including the M-Hill climb, the M-Day parade and – of course – football.

This moment in South Dakota history is provided by the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising partner of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. Find us on the web at Contact us at to submit a story idea.

Imagine Your Community Without a Newspaper


By Kelli Bultena
Editor of the Lennox Independent

President of the South Dakota Newspaper Association Remember the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”

This week our newspaper, along with many other newspapers across South Dakota and North Dakota, is taking part in a “whiteout.” You no doubt picked up this issue and paused.

You may have flipped it over a couple of times, wondering if it was a practical joke or a press error.

Then you opened it.

It’s still here – the local news you’ve come to count on each week.

But what if it wasn’t?

This “whiteout” is meant to serve as a notice about the importance of newspapers across the state and the nation.

Imagine your community without a newspaper. The city council, the school board, the county commissioners make decisions every month that affect you and your community. What happens when no one is there to take those notes, or when there is no newspaper to publish those minutes?

How do you stay informed? Where is the record? The answer is simple. You don’t stay informed. There is no record.

This “whiteout” is meant to serve as a reminder of why we continue to document the lives and accomplishments of everyday people.

Imagine your community without a newspaper. The talk at morning coffee becomes hearsay. The scrapbooks for graduation would be so much harder to make.

“Did the football team win the homecoming game?”

“Is there a new business set to open on Main Street?”

“Do you know why the fire trucks were out on Monday?”

This “whiteout” is meant to serve as a wake-up call about the importance of you—our reader. Imagine your community without a newspaper.

Your support by subscribing, advertising, and contributing your local news is invaluable. Without you we can’t exist. It’s a partnership that we value and recognize.

This “whiteout” is meant to solidify our identity as your community newspaper.

We will continue to strive to be a watchdog for citizens, the cheerleader for local sports teams, and the record keeper for life’s big moments.

— Bultena is editor of the Lennox Independent and president of the South Dakota Newspaper Association. -30-