A Ride Through History

Mobridge postcard. with history story jpg

The tall prairie grass would have rolled like waves sweeping across a windy bay.

Stan Johnson imagined how the wind would have swept the prairie grass 100 years earlier as he traveled near Milbank on a passenger train.

In 1941, Johnson’s parents allowed him to travel alone from Chicago, Ill., to Tacoma, Wash., on the Olympian, one of America’s greatest luxury trains of pre-World War II days. Johnson’s stepfather was a conductor on the Olympian and, although he was only 13, Johnson had already made many trips by train from the West Coast to Chicago. Johnson described the journey in “The Milwaukee Road Olympian: A Ride to Remember,” published by the Museum of North Idaho.

The Olympian was operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (the Milwaukee Road) between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. It featured elegant air-conditioned cars, comfortable berths and gourmet dining. The Olympian entered South Dakota near Big Stone City about 5 hours after pulling out of the St. Paul Union Station at 8:40 a.m. Central Time, according to one of the book’s reproduced timetables.

The many Irish and Dutch families who settled near Milbank raised grain and built windmills that ground grain into flour. By the time Johnson traveled through Milbank, the sole windmill stood in the center of town as a historical monument.

The Olympian traveled past Webster, Bristol, Andover, Groton and Bath, all known as ’10-mile towns’ because of the spacing between sidings, Johnson wrote.

Johnson realized the area through which the train was passing had once been prime buffalo hunting country. Now Johnson saw migratory birds, and hoped in vain to see coyotes and pheasants.

The Olympian pulled into Aberdeen’s brick depot on time at 3:50 p.m. and stopped for 10 minutes as train and engine crews were changed.

“The place was planned as a railroad town and had fulfilled expectations,” Johnson wrote. “There was a train in or out of the city every 18 minutes in 1920. West of town were Milwaukee-run stockyards for cattle, sheep and hogs, and in town there was a large freight yard and engine terminal facilities, including a roundhouse.”

Four railroads went through Aberdeen in 1941, and branch lines radiated from the city.

At Ipswich, a town that had once led the nation in the shipping of bison bones that were used for fertilizer, the grade began to climb. A small geological marker near Selby noted the edge of the Great American Desert and the beginning of the true West. Johnson’s plans for this trip’s introduction to the West began in Mobridge.

During summers in the 1930s and 1940s, Lakota dancers met the Olympian when it made a 12-minute stop at Mobridge. It became an event eagerly anticipated by train passengers.

“The Indians dressed in the most gorgeous of ceremonial outfits: full eagle-feathered headdresses, buckskin fringed leggings and skirts with beadwork, small bells and porcupine quills sewn in intricate designs, and exquisite handmade moccasins with still more beadwork on their feet,” Johnson wrote.

The group would dance several short dances to the beat of a small drum that one of the children would play.

“It was exciting to be there close to them and to witness something unquestionably genuine and real. It was like someone operating a window back into history,” Johnson stated.

After leaving the depot at Mobridge, Johnson looked down into the yellow-brown water of the Missouri River as Olympian crossed the Missouri River bridge. The first train steamed across the bridge in March 1908.

“The trusses of the bridge, angled for strength, slipped past the window on an oblique pathway that caused them to appear to be moving first up and then down, almost as though they were involved in some sort of rhythmic dance. The bridge was long, nearly as long as 10 football fields laid end to end, so there was plenty of time to enjoy the experience,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson realized that the Missouri River divided the state into two different areas: the prairie grassland of the west side and the crop farming of the east side. He also noted that South Dakota landscape could be characterized as being one of two types. “Either it is gently rolling grassy plains with low rounded hills, or a harsher, sterner countryside of hills and gullies eroded by the sun and wind and water, watched over by higher and sharper hills.”

The Olympian reached Lemmon at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

“The town and countryside looked like a movie Western gunfight set, but historically Lemmon had been known as one of the places where ranchers raising sheep and cattle and those farming got along especially well,” Johnson wrote.

The Olympian soon entered North Dakota, and Johnson continued on his memorable ride to Tacoma. Johnson became, among other things, an elevator operator, a newspaper reporter and an academic psychologist. But mostly, he remained a man who knew and loved railroads.

milkscamp with s. d. mag story

2015 State-Tribal Relations Events to Highlight Cooperation in Agriculture

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations (SDDTR) has partnered with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) to highlight ‘Cooperation in Agriculture’ during this legislative session at the State-Tribal Relations Events on Feb. 25 and 26 in Pierre.

“Agriculture is key to both the state and the tribes,” said Steve Emery, Secretary of Tribal Relations. “We have brought together a great mix of people in the ag industry from state, tribes and federal entities that reflect our theme ‘Cooperation in Agriculture.’”

Events start with a State-Tribal Listening Session from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Feb. 25, followed by a Legislative Reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CST. Secretary Emery will be honored by Gov. Daugaard for his recent appointment to the Governor’s cabinet. These events are by invitation only.

“When working together, opportunities in agriculture are endless for both our state and tribes,” said Lucas Lentsch, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture. “We hope this event opens doors for both agricultural and tribal leaders to explore the many possibilities.”

On Thursday, Feb. 26, tribal, federal and state agricultural booths will be available in the Capitol Rotunda from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST. A Rotunda Ceremony will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST featuring a welcome from Gov. Daugaard as well as comments by tribal leaders.

The tribal honor guard, Rosebud’s Sincagu Lakota Warriors, will be present. Tribal singers and dancers from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate’s Tiospa Zina and Enemy Swim Tribal Schools will perform and a traditional buffalo stew will be prepared and served by the Lower Brule High School ProStart Culinary Program with supplies donated from InterTribal Buffalo Council and Lakota Thrifty Mart. Events in the Capitol Rotunda are free and open to the public.

Rosebud Woman Sentenced for Two Second Degree Murders

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Rosebud, woman convicted of two counts of Second Degree Murder was  sentenced on January 20, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Crystal Red Hawk, age 37, was sentenced to 300 months in custody, 3 years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution will also be ordered.

Red Hawk, along with co-defendants Billy Ray McCloskey and Riley McCloskey, were all indicted by a federal grand jury on February 12, 2014, for First Degree Murder, Kidnapping, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, Interstate Transportation of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, and Larceny.  Red Hawk pled guilty to two counts of second degree murder on October 27, 2014.

The co-defendants in the case were both previously sentenced on October 27, 2014.  BillyRay McCloskey, age 24 from St. Francis, was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for two counts of first degree murder, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Riley McCloskey, age 21 from St. Francis, was convicted of two counts of second degree murder, and sentenced to 210 months in custody, 5 years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division Touts National Tax Identity Theft Week

PIERRE, S.D –   Attorney General Marty Jackley announced that National Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week begins this week. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses a Social Security number to get a tax refund or tries to obtain personal identifying information while acting as an Agent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has seen several of these scams surface over the past six weeks and expects the number to increase throughout the busy tax season.

“Consumers are working to complete their tax filing requirements and these scam artists are trying desperately to catch them off guard.  The IRS does not communicate with individuals via phone call or email with tax filing problems, so avoid clicking links on suspicious email messages or harassing phone calls,” said Jackley.

The most widespread scam involves a telephone call telling the victims they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

In many cases, the caller becomes hostile.

The email scam is still prevalent as well. The victim receives an email claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), indicating there was a problem with their previous tax filing and should click on the link to review the issues.  These scams are designed to obtain personal identifying information.

Consumers should proceed with caution when visiting websites that either associate themselves with the IRS or have the appearance of the IRS site.  These look –alike sites redirect consumers to bogus websites that will ultimately ask for personal identifying information such as social security or bank account numbers.

The official IRS website is www.irs.gov.  It is important to remember the official IRS website offers tax information for consumers, but the exchange of private financial information is limited. Use precaution when logging on to the IRS website and double check your internet address to ensure it is correct.

If you have been a victim of one of these scams or need any additional information contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or http://atg.sd.gov/Consumers.aspx.

Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting to Combat Illnesses During Flu Season

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Eliminating illness causing germs from reaching our families is a focus during cold and flu season. To accomplish this, the use of chlorine bleach to sanitize surfaces is a common practice in homes, schools, childcare facilities as well as foodservice establishments.

“Chlorine bleach is a very effective sanitizer and disinfectant on disease causing germs, bacteria, parasites and viruses – including the flu virus,” said Joan Hegerfeld-Baker, Assistant Professor & SDSU Extension Food Safety Specialist.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting as cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. However this process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.

Hegerfeld-Baker reminds the public that chlorine bleach can be ineffective as a sanitizer if not used correctly. She shares the following tips when using chlorine bleach to sanitize:

Never mix bleach with other household cleaners, especially those containing ammonia. A poisonous gas can form which can be deadly.

Clean fist, rinse, then sanitize. Soil, debris and detergent residues will tie up the free chlorine molecules in the bleach/water solution and render it ineffective.

Water should be at room temperature or slightly warmer.

Chlorine bleach can become old and lose its effectiveness.

Make sure that 5.25% sodium hypochlorite is the only active ingredient in the chlorine bleach.

Scented bleach is not recommended to treat drinking water or on any food contact surface (such as dishes, counter tops, dining tables, food preparation equipment, sinks.)

For more information and tips on disinfecting your home or public environment, Hegerfeld-Baker encouraged individuals to visit iGrow.org and search for “sanitizing bleach.”

Pheasant Ditch Mowing Rule Will Not Change

The months when ditches can be moved along state highways in South Dakota shouldn’t change said the state transportation commission.

A pheasant work habitat work group that was convened a year ago suggested that populations of the game birds might benefit from tighter restrictions on mowing.

The thought was that fewer nests would be destroyed during early summer when the hens are hatching their eggs and in the weeks afterward when the broods of new chicks are sticking close.

The current rule states: “No mowing the right of way may begin in the west river counties of Gregory, Lyman or Tripp before June 15 and east of the Missouri River before July 10.”

A motion was made to leave the rule unchanged. The decision was unanimous on a voice vote.

Football Alignments Set for Next Two Years

The state high school activities association has announced football classifications for the next two seasons.

Winner High School football team will remain in Class 11B and Colome High School football team will be in Class 9B.

The teams in 11B will include: Aberdeen Roncalli, Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, Bennett County, Beresford, Chamberlain, Crow Creek, Custer, Elk Point-Jefferson, Flandreau, Groton Area, Jones County/White River, Lead-Deadwood, Little Wound, McCook Central/Montrose, Mobridge-Pollock, Parkston, Red Cloud, Redfield/Doland, Sioux Valley, Sisseton, Tri-Valley, Wagner and Winner.

Teams in 9B are: Alcester-Hudson, Avon, Bison, Burke/South Central, Centerville, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Crazy Horse, DeSmet, Dell Rapids St. Marys, Dupree, Edgemont, Faith, Faulkton, Freeman, Hamlin, Harding County, Hitchcock-Tulare, Howard, Lanford, Leola/Frederick, Lower Brule, Northwestern, Oldham-Ramona/Rutland, Sunshine Bible Academy, Timber Lake and Wall.