The success of Scottish director, Steven Lewis Simpson’s adaptation of best-selling novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog​, defies logic—Hollywood logic that is. It was audience-financed with 18 shoot days, a tiny crew, a 95-year-old star and a self-distributed release that started in small towns and is outperforming Hollywood blockbusters in numerous multiplexes.
The film “Neither Wolf nor Dog” is being shown in Winner at the Pix theater. The film opened at the Pix on July 27 and will run until Aug. 2

It has a higher audience score on Rotten Tomatoes than any big Hollywood movie out at the moment; 4.7/5 – 95%. The film has had a longer theatrical run than any other US film released in the past decade and has become the most successful non-Hollywood Native American film in years.

Shot on Pine Ridge, the film has steadily rolled out through the nation, remarkably passing the 150th theater mark within only 15% of the country. South Dakota has proportionally had the most theaters per-capita – an equivalence of 5,185 theaters nationally.
Oklahoma Film Critics Society’s Louis Fowler named ​Neither Wolf Nor Dog​ the number one film of 2017. The film was extended for three weeks in Spearfish due to demand and was the top performing film its first week, beating five big Hollywood movies including the ranking top 3 in the US.

Based on the best-selling Native American novel by Kent Nerburn, ​Neither Wolf Nor Dog​ takes audiences on a deeply moving road trip through contemporary and historical Lakota life and culture. Its humor is wry and pulls no punches, introducing deep characters and poignant vignettes that challenge the viewer to see the world a bit differently.

South Dakotan Dave Bald Eagle stars in the film. He was born in Cherry Creek in 1919 and around 10 years later participated in Deadwood’s Days of ‘76 parade for the first time. He attended the majority of them until he passed away last year aged 97. For a time, his obituary was the most-read feature in the world on the BBC. NPR’s All Things Considered team debated whether Bald Eagle was “the world’s most interesting man.”

Dave was a veteran and was left for dead on D-Day. The other star Christopher Sweeney is also a prominent veteran and a recipient of the Silver Star when a Marine in combat in the Gulf War. The cast is filled with amazing Native actors, Richard Ray Whitman, Roseanne Supernault, Tatanka Means and the wonderful Zahn McClarnon, who most recently has been a star of the TV series Westworld. Local cast from Pine Ridge includes Harlen Standing Bear Sr, Yellow Pny Pettibone and Dawn Little Sky (whose husband was the famous Native actor, Eddie Little Sky).

Earthquake Near Valentine

Nebraskans in the north-central part of the state may have felt a little rumble Saturday morning.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported a 3.5-magnitude earthquake about 10 miles north of Valentine, Neb., right on the Nebraska-South Dakota border.

The earthquake happened at about 2:11 a.m. and had a depth of about 6 miles (10 km).

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Nebraska’s last earthquake was less than a month ago when a few were recorded in Custer County, including a 4.2-magnitude quake.


South Dakota Earns Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting

PIERRE, S.D. – The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the State of South Dakota by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment.

“This is the second consecutive year this certificate was awarded to the Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM), which is responsible for completing the State’s annual financial statements” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. “However, the achievement of this award would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of every accountant in state government, including that of our independent auditor, the Department of Legislative Audit.”

The State’s CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel of GFOA staff and the GFOA Special Review Committee to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story. South Dakota earned the highest grade of “proficient” status in all seventeen grading categories.

This achievement comes after South Dakota state government closed the 2018 budget year with a $16.9 million surplus, while both Fitch and S&P recently reaffirmed South Dakota’s AAA Issuer Default Rating with a stable outlook.

South Dakota Maintains AAA With S&P

PIERRE, S.D. – Last week Standard & Poor Global announced that it has reaffirmed South Dakota’s AAA Issuer Default Rating with a stable outlook.

“By sticking to conservative budget practices and keeping our reserves at 10 percent of our annual budget, South Dakota continues to benefit from the highest rating possible from S&P,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “It’s been hard work to achieve AAA status during my time in office. I am very proud to say that not only have we been able to reach this status, but we have also been able to maintain it.”

In the report, S&P reflects on the state’s expanding and diverse economy, strong economic trends, well-funded pension system, low debt, strong level of reserve funds, and our conservative and balanced budget requirement as key reasons for reaffirming the state’s AAA. The state general fund budget for fiscal year 2018 ended with a $16.9 million surplus, from both lower expenditures and higher revenues than budgeted. S&P has reported a stable outlook for the state’s fiscal year 2019 with structural budgetary alignment and strong economic metrics.

S&P awarded the state a AAA rating in 2015. Fitch reaffirmed the state’s AAA rating for a third time last month and Moody’s is expected to renew the state’s ratings next month.

Credit ratings give potential bond purchasers a measurement of state performance and credit worthiness. Upgrades typically allow issued bonds to carry a lower interest rate, providing interest savings to issuers as well as the State of South Dakota and taxpayers.

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.


Elephant Rebellion in Elkton

Elkton had a rollicking start. In 1893, during a national depression, the local businesses printed their own aluminum money and a federal agent came to town and confiscated $15,000 worth of the coins. Three years later — seven years before the Wright brothers took flight — resident Henry Heintz got a patent for what may have been the United States’ first airship. Built by Frank Woulf in Aurora, the contraption rose in the air but didn’t move. Elkton’s biggest adventure happened May 15, 1916 when a large elephant named Hero escaped from the Orton Family Circus.

As the legend goes, a circus worker was drinking heavily and began to abuse the elephant while they were pulling up the stakes. Hero, who stood 9.5 feet and weighed 9,500 pounds according to Criley Orton, knocked the man to the ground and began a rampage. No matter where the trainer tried to hide, Hero followed, tipping over equipment and leaving a trail of debris. Eventually the elephant made his way to the business district. He poked his head through the milliner’s window, then charged through the pool hall. He then ran east of town, ripping out fence posts as he went.

Criley Orton later said that 100 men joined the chase. Many had guns, and the big pachyderm’s tough hide was riddled with holes before Paul Hohnke finally killed him with a shot from his Savage big-game rifle. An autopsy showed that Hero had 200 small bullets and 100 large bullets in his hide.

According to historical reports, the Elkton hotel took some of the meat, and the bones were transported to the college at nearby Brookings for study. However, they were forgotten until the 1960s, when nursing dean Inez Hinsvark found them while searching for classroom space. The bones were dusted off and moved to the W.H. Over Museum on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion.

Hohnke’s rifle is in the Elkton museum, along with other memorabilia from the circus.

Hero was killed in Elkton and forgotten in Brookings. It’s not likely he would want to travel north if he had his choice.

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

High Water Impacts Boating, Swimming Facilities on Lake Francis Case

PIERRE, S.D. – According to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP), rising water on Lake Francis Case is impacting facilities in state parks and recreation areas along the Missouri River.

The following areas in Charles Mix and Gregory counties are affected.

At North Point Recreation Area, the North Point Bay boat ramp will be useable in a limited capacity. Boaters may launch off the boat ramp parking lot through July 1. Beginning July 2, boaters should use St. Francis and Prairie Dog Bay boat ramps. The boater pump out station will temporarily be unavailable.

Portions of the bike trail are expected to be underwater at North Point and trail users may have to detour around sections of the path. All swimming beaches will have a limited amount of space. Campsites are not expected to be impacted.

Beaches at Pease Creek Recreation Area and South Shore Lakeside Use Area will have limited use space.

Whetstone Lakeside Use Area’s main boat ramp will be closed. A high water ramp is available on the north side of the main boat ramp parking lot.

The boat ramp at White Swan Lakeside Use Area will be usable in a limited capacity. Boaters may need to launch off the boat ramp parking lot.

Use will also be limited at the Snake Creek Recreation Area’s main boat ramp. A high water ramp is available south of the primary ramp if reservoir elevations allow. Beach areas at Snake Creek may not be available.

Conditions are subject to change with additional rainfall.

For more information, contact North Point Recreation Area at 605.487.7046 or Snake Creek Recreation Area at 605.337.2587

Platte-Winner Bridge Study Continues Environmental Assessment

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) study of the Platte-Winner Bridge has proceeded through environmental studies this spring. Among SDDOT’s major bridges, the Highway 44 Platte-Winner bridge has been determined to be a top priority for replacement, with construction of a new bridge currently scheduled for the mid-2020s timeframe. Ongoing studies of the bridge and coordination with project partners are focused on identification of a preferred alternative for a new bridge type and location. At public meetings held in May and December of 2017, SDDOT reinforced its commitment to maintaining traffic on this regionally-important bridge during construction. This commitment means that the new bridge will need to be in a new location so the existing bridge can remain open during construction of the replacement structure.

To understand the wide range of potential impacts of the proposed project and document the decision-making process for a new bridge, SDDOT is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA). Studies conducted to date have helped confirm the existing Highway 44 corridor between Highway 47 and Highway 50 has sufficient capacity to meet long-term traffic needs. Additionally, geologic conditions in this corridor have historically created maintenance challenges for SDDOT, as erosion and landslides pose risks to the stability of Highway 44. Because of these conditions and the desire to minimize environmental impacts of the proposed project, SDDOT has narrowed its range of new bridge locations to within several hundred feet of the existing bridge.

Continued coordination with other agencies, stakeholders, and the general public is required to complete the EA. The area being considered for a new bridge location will require use of lands within the Snake Creek Recreation Area, a state park managed by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks (SDGFP). As a result, SDDOT is working with SDGFP to understand what impacts to the park may occur and how those impacts can be mitigated. SDDOT is also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the potential impact to cultural or historic resources that may be found in the vicinity of the new bridge. Part of that effort included an archeological survey this May. Sites near the potential new bridge and its associated roadway were studied. SDDOT’s commitment to environmental stewardship includes outreach to tribes. In this case, representatives from the Yankton Sioux Tribe were present with the SDDOT-hired team of archeologists during the investigation for historic resources.

Results from these ongoing agency coordination efforts will be instrumental in the determination of a preferred alternative for this project. When SDDOT makes the decision (expected later this year), the EA will be published and shared online and at public meetings for comment. Previous meeting information and studies of the Platte-Winner Bridge can be found on the project website, www.sd44bridge.com.

South Dakota Retailers Celebrate SCOTUS Decision

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled in favor of South Dakota in a case that establishes tax fairness between brick and mortar businesses and large, out-of-state online companies. The 5-4 ruling handed down today means South Dakota can require these large remote sellers to remit sales tax on purchases shipped into the state.

“To right one of the biggest wrongs that has happened to brick and mortar in retail history is probably the largest event that I have seen in my career,” stated Eric Sinclair of Montgomery’s Furniture of Sioux Falls, Madison and Watertown.

Before this ruling, remote sellers were not required to collect and remit sales tax on purchases unless they had a physical presence in the state.

“It’s almost a David and Goliath kind of a story, because South Dakota stood up for what was right for all the states and we prevailed,” said SDRA Board President Gary Cammack, owner of Cammack Ranch Supply in Union Center. “It will improve the revenue picture for all states across the US that depend on sales tax. It’s huge.”

The state of South Dakota had previously estimated an annual loss of approximately $50 million in revenue to the state and municipalities due to this loophole.

The South Dakota Retailers Association (SDRA) says this is a vital issue for Main Street retailers not only in South Dakota, but all across the nation. The Association’s leadership including former executive director, Shawn Lyons, played a pivotal role in the passage of the 2016 state law that led to the court case. The Association filed two briefs with SCOTUS in support of the State.

“This is absolutely a great day for brick and mortar retail,” said Dan Tribby of Prairie Edge in Rapid City. “It’ll forever be known as the day the field got leveled.”

U.S. Supreme Court Rules In South Dakota’s Favor

The United States Supreme Court announced its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., ruling in the state’s favor, 5-4, in a decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy. The court ruling was announced on June 21.

The Court overturned Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, holding that “the physical presence rule is not a necessary interpretation of the requirement that a state tax must be ‘applied to an activity with a substantial nexus with the taxing State.” The Court further held that, with South Dakota’s law, “the nexus is clearly sufficient based on both the economic and virtual contacts respondents have with the state.”

“This is a great day for South Dakota. We have long fought the battle to defend Main Street businesses and now with today’s ruling, all businesses will compete on a level playing field,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “Thanks to all who helped us achieve this victory for tax uniformity – Sen. Deb Peters and all of the legislators who played a role, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and the national groups and 41 states that offered support.”

The case stemmed from a bill passed by the State Legislature and signed by Gov. Daugaard in 2016 which requires online sellers without a physical presence in South Dakota to collect and remit sales tax. The law applies to online sellers with more than $100,000 in sales to South Dakotans or 200 or more transactions.

Department of Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach says the state will issue guidance in the coming days.

“We intend to do all we can to ensure compliance. Once we have thoroughly reviewed the opinion, the Department will offer specific guidance on how out-of-state online retailers that meet the threshold can comply,” said Secretary Gerlach. “The Department of Revenue will also continue to be a resource for in-state businesses that may be affected by the court’s decision.”