My Favorite Time of Year

I know one South Dakotan who lives all year in anticipation of the Turner County Fair. Others yearn for the first Forestburg melon stand to open, or for the leaves in Spearfish Canyon to turn color, or the state capitol to be decked out in its Christmas glory. My favorite time of the South Dakota year is the 12 days in August during which the state amateur baseball tournament is played. For about 50 years after its inception in 1933, the tournament moved to different ballparks around the state, but since 1981 it has mostly been played at Mitchell’s Cadwell Park. This year, for the first time, the event was moved to Ronken Field at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, but Cadwell is the environment that I most closely associate with the State Am.

Allowing it to remain in one place for so long has allowed traditions to grow, and I look forward to them just as much as the baseball games. The Mitchell Exchange Club has become famous for its grilled hamburgers and onions. It’s one of the first aromas you detect when you wander into the ballpark, and very few spectators leave without eating one or two.

Every year, the same group of fans sets up lawn chairs on the lower levels of the concrete grandstand, or watches the game while standing directly behind each team’s dugout, a perspective that also offers an opportunity to catch in-game strategy or witty banter between players. The State Am is often the only time all year that these folks see each other.

For years, I kept an eye out for the guy wearing a blue T-shirt that read “Official Tamper,” who ran onto the field between games, filled the holes on the pitching mound and pounded them smooth. I always thought he must have been good at his job if they made him his own T-shirt.

Buying a state tournament program is often the first thing I do when I get to the park. The first six pages are packed with regular season and tournament records that delight anyone interested in baseball and history — Lefty Grosshuesch’s 62 strikeouts in a 28-inning game for Bonesteel in 1952, Wessington Springs collecting 36 hits in one game in 1988, Kevin Leighton’s whopping 501 career home runs.

I began attending the tournament regularly in 1991, when my hometown Lake Norden Lakers fell in the championship to Dell Rapids. Lake Norden is one of a handful of towns in South Dakota that is synonymous with baseball. Games have been played there nearly as long as there has been a town. It’s also home to the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. Growing up immersed in baseball, it was impossible not to fall in love with the small-town version of our national pastime, which is why I love going to the State Am every year, whether the hometown Lakers are in the field or not. I suspect there are other South Dakotans who feel the same way.

Maybe one of these years, I’ll witness something that becomes part of South Dakota sports legend. The State Am already produced one of our most treasured baseball stories. Claremont and Aberdeen were tied 4-4 heading into extra innings of the 1938 championship game in Aberdeen. It was getting dark, so umpire Tommy Collins ruled that if no one scored in the 10th inning the game would be replayed the next day. Aberdeen went scoreless in the top of the 10th. In the bottom, Claremont’s Bill Prunty stepped to the plate. He worked the count to 3-2, and then crushed a home run over the center field fence, giving Claremont the championship. The ball was recovered the next day and is now exhibited at the Hall of Fame in Lake Norden.

I don’t know where the rest of the year will take me in my travels for South Dakota Magazine, but I know where I’ll be in early August of 2019. I can already taste the onions.

John Andrews is the managing editor of South Dakota Magazine, a bi-monthly publication that explores the people and places of our great state. For more information, visit

Gov. Daugaard Calls Special Session For Sept. 12 To Address Implementation Of Sales Tax On Remote Sellers

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has called a special legislative session to consider legislation that would expedite implementation of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. and allow the state to enforce the obligation of remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax.

After consulting with legislative leaders from both political parties, the Governor is calling the special session for Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, at the State Capitol in Pierre.

“South Dakota led the fight for tax fairness, which culminated with our historic win before the U.S. Supreme Court in June,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Thanks to that victory, other states are implementing tax changes as soon as Oct. 1, and I will be proposing legislation to allow South Dakota to join them.”

Draft legislation is currently being prepared by the South Dakota Department of Revenue, in consultation with the Attorney General’s office, and will be made available for review prior to the special session.​

Gov. Daugaard Calls On Communities To Engage In Suicide Prevention Month

As the number of recorded suicides in the state continues to escalate, Gov. Dennis Daugaard is calling on South Dakotans to join the fight by participating in Suicide Prevention Month in September.

“In 2017, 192 South Dakotans lost their lives by suicide. That’s the highest number ever reported in our state,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Suicide is preventable and we can help by starting the conversation, providing support and directing those who need help to services. We hope our schools, churches, families, and community groups will engage in the fight to save lives by leading these kinds of discussions during Suicide Prevention Month this year.”

Since 2004, over 1,700 lives have been lost to suicide in South Dakota. Those numbers have increased each year, with nearly one in six high school students in South Dakota having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, according to a 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The Governor is encouraging groups across the state to host awareness activities and promote available resources, and to add those upcoming events to the statewide calendar at Groups can add scheduled activities on the website by filling out the online form under the “Events” and “Suicide Prevention Month” tabs. Local data, prevention toolkits for specific populations, and resources for survivors are also available on the website. Information specific to youth suicide prevention is located at, a campaign launched earlier this year by the Department of Social Services.

“If you are struggling or you believe someone is at risk for suicide, contact a professional immediately,” said Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti. “If you need help or you know someone who does, you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). People are available to help 24/7.”

Those experiencing suicidal thoughts can also obtain help by contacting any medical provider such as a family physician, psychiatrist or hospital emergency room, as well as a Community Mental Health Center or other mental health provider. For more information about behavioral health services, or to find a Community Mental Health Center, contact the Department of Social Services’ Division of Behavioral Health at 605-773-3123, toll-free at 1-855-878-6057 or online at

South Dakota’s Q1 GDP Breaks $50B

PIERRE, S.D. – The United States Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its estimated gross domestic product (GDP) by state for the first quarter of 2018. The estimates show South Dakota has the third highest growth rate in the nation, trailing only Washington and Utah, respectively. South Dakota grew by 3.1 percent.

“South Dakota’s annual GDP is now estimated to be in excess of $51 billion,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “We’re enthused about the first quarter results and hopeful the growth will continue throughout 2018.”

According to the BEA report, strong showings from South Dakota’s production agriculture, finance/insurance and manufacturing industries helped propel the state’s 3.1 percent growth during the period.

Figures for the second quarter will be made available in November 2018.

Brown County Resident First WNV Death Of Season

The Department of Health reported today a Brown County resident died of West Nile virus (WNV) associated causes, the state’s first WNV related death this season. The individual was in the 80 to 89 age group.

“Our sympathy is with the family. We only hope their tragic loss will encourage others to take the threat of West Nile virus seriously,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist for the department. “We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for people to protect themselves and their families by using repellent and avoiding the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.”

To date this season, South Dakota has reported 10 cases of human WNV and three hospitalizations. Nationally, 39 cases and one West Nile-associated death have been reported. Clayton said weekly surveillance updates will show cases continuing to climb.

South Dakotans can reduce their risk with the following precautions:

Apply mosquito repellents (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535) to clothes and exposed skin.
Reduce mosquito exposure by wearing pants and long sleeves when outdoors.
Limit time outdoors from dusk to dawn when Culex mosquitoes, the primary carrier of WNV in South Dakota, are most active.
Get rid of standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.
Regularly change water in bird baths, ornamental fountains and pet dishes.
Drain water from flower pots and garden containers.
Discard old tires, buckets, cans or other containers that can hold water.
Clean rain gutters to allow water to flow freely.
Support local mosquito control efforts.

These precautions are especially important for people at high risk for WNV, including individuals over 50, pregnant women, organ transplant patients, individuals with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease, and those with a history of alcohol abuse. People with severe or unusual headaches should see their clinician.

Visit the department’s website at for more information.

$3.7 million Grant Saves 23 Lives in South Dakota

Helmsley Charitable Trust Equips 186 organizations with life-saving equipment.

A $3.7 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, administered over the past three years through the South Dakota Department of Health, has saved the lives of 23 people. The LUCAS® 2 Cardiac Care Project equipped 134 EMS agencies and 52 critical access hospitals in South Dakota with the necessary tools to improve survivability in sudden cardiac arrest victims.

The LUCAS® Chest Compression System (LUCUS® 2) delivers consistent, reliable and uninterrupted chest compressions which allows healthcare providers to concentrate on other equally important aspects of patient care; providing patients with the best opportunity of survival. The LUCUS® 2 device virtually frees up one healthcare worker to perform other essential tasks.

“The LUCUS® 2 devices can save lives,” said Walter Panzirer, a Trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “People living in rural areas deserve access to the same healthcare technology as those living in metro areas enjoy. Working with the State of South Dakota Department of Health we were able to equip first responders in the state with LUCUS® 2 devices, equipment they couldn’t otherwise afford, giving cardiac patients a better chance at survival.”

“We extend our gratitude to the Helmsley Charitable Trust,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “This investment in rural healthcare will help ensure South Dakotans have access to life-saving care in emergency situations, regardless of transport distance. These devices will continue to support the Department of Health’s mission to promote, protect and improve the health of every South Dakotan for years to come.”

According to those charged with using the new device, the LUCUS® 2 is making a difference when emergency medical units respond to a scene.

“The patient arrested at their place of employment,” said one South Dakota paramedic. “According to bystanders, the patient collapsed and became unresponsive. When we arrived on-scene, no CPR was in progress and after one round of manual CPR, we placed the LUCAS®. The patient achieved ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation) on-scene and we did not lose them again. The patient was discharged alive without deficits.

“The LUCAS® is a huge help because it frees up a crew member to do other interventions,” he added. “It makes me feel more confident because I can think and focus on the next steps. It [LUCAS®] played a huge role in this patient surviving.”

The $3,777,926 grant was implemented in January 2014, placing a total of 202 devices in 186 South Dakota EMS agencies and hospitals.

New Rule Protects 2,000 South Dakota Residents From Secondhand Smoke

South Dakota public housing residents will be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke through a new smokefree housing rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that goes into effect on July 30.

“Secondhand smoke is a serious health threat, and can linger in rooms and even travel between homes in multi-unit housing. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Pat McKone, senior director of health promotions for the American Lung Association.

The Lung Association celebrates this long-awaited health protection, following more than a decade of advocacy for the passage of the rule as well as support for the implementation of smokefree housing policies in local public housing authorities. In South Dakota, it means protections for more than 2,000 residents in local public housing agencies.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life, and ensuring homes are free from the risks of secondhand smoke is a critical step for the health of residents,” said McKone. “This is especially true for children and those who are more vulnerable to the impact of secondhand smoke, such as those living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Today we’re making a healthier future for South Dakota and our country.”

In November 2016, HUD announced a rule requiring all federally-owned public housing to become smokefree by July 30, 2018. This rule will protect close to two million Americans nationwide from being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, including 690,000 children.

Secondhand smoke exposure poses serious health threats to both children and adults. Damaging health effects in children and adults include lung cancer, respiratory infections, worsened asthma symptoms, heart attacks and stroke. For residents of multi-unit housing (e.g., apartment buildings and condominiums), secondhand smoke can be a major concern even if people don’t smoke in your unit, as smoke can migrate from other units and common areas and travel through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems.



At the request of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, as “Purple Heart Recognition Day,” calling on all South Dakotans to honor those men and women who are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal.

“While we are grateful to all of those who have served our nation, the 7th of August is a day designated to remember and recognize the sacrifices endured by those members of the Armed Forces of the United States who have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal, ” said Larry Zimmerman, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs. “It is fitting to set aside a day to recognize those who have been awarded for their extraordinary sacrifices.”

The governor encourages all South Dakotans to set aside time on Aug. 7 to honor our soldiers who have been honored with the Purple Heart. “The men and women serving in our Armed Forces are tough, determined, courageous and capable of unbelievable acts of courage and sacrifice,” said Gov. Daugaard.

“Our military remains as strong as it has ever been. America’s veterans have been defined by the virtues of selfless service, sacrifice and devotion to duty,” said Zimmerman. “These men and women, who serve and have served, are the flesh and blood of American exceptionalism.”

‘Bringing Dignity to Women ’

by Rita Raish/SUN

On Sunday, July 29, the public is invited to, ‘Bringing Dignity to Women,’ an event organized to show South Dakota’s unified effort in raising awareness and educating others in the fight against human trafficking, sex trafficking, and domestic violence. Native Hope, in partnership with the Call to Freedom and Red Ribbon Skirt Society organizations, is hosting the event at the Chamberlain I-90 rest area between exits 263 and 265, beneath the towering sculpture of Dale Lamphere’s ‘Dignity’. Scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., the event will feature speakers, a drum group, music, and a community meal. The event is free of charge.

Native Hope Executive Director Trisha Burke said, “In the past, Native Hope has spent time at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August spreading awareness of human trafficking in South Dakota, which involves a proportionately high percentage of Native American women. This year, we chose to raise awareness by hosting an event along Interstate 90, specifically near Dignity, as she represents the continuous journey for all women to achieve the dignity they deserve.”

Many victims of trafficking are women who have been kidnapped and forced into sex slavery by predators out to exploit women as a way to make money. The average age of a trafficked girl is 16, with girls as young as 12 being preyed upon- an age too young for them to even know what is even happening to them.

Kansas Middletent, an ambassador for Native Hope said, “Sex trafficking and domestic violence doesn’t discriminate, it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. I-90 is the gateway west, and South Dakota is a mecca for predators. Our women and children are being preyed upon and are being victimized, and it’s our job to stand up and protect them.”

Many victims become trapped into a dark world of abuse after getting duped by the false promises of mentally manipulative people, including those they thought of as a friend, or as a result of a generational family cycle.

Oftentimes victims have entrusted their love to adults who they think are there to protect them; instead, they are flung into a dark world of unimaginable horrors. With no support or resources available to counter the attack, they become isolated economically and psychologically- their souls beaten down with guilt, fear, and shame until they blame themselves for the abuse.

Their plight remains invisible, leaving them with no hope of leaving.

Native Hope’s motto for this cause is, ‘Rally together, and we can end it.’

But first, we must face it.

To show support, people are asked to wear red or blue t-shirts to the event. Various groups will be donating their time to help, from parking cars to serving the meal. If you would like to volunteer, contact Burke or Middletent at Native Hope at 605-234-3566.


SD Department of Health Observes World Breastfeeding Week

Aug. 1 through Aug. 7, South Dakota joins other states and countries around the globe in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life”, focuses on breastfeeding as a universal solution to improve the health and well-being of women and children.

“Breastfeeding is a natural and optimal way of feeding children, and measures need to be taken to make breastfeeding a nonevent that is universally accepted anywhere at any time,” said Beth Honerman, state breastfeeding coordinator for the Department of Health.

According to the 2016 CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, 83.6 percent of South Dakota mothers start breastfeeding. Unfortunately, the rate of mothers who continue breastfeeding at six and 12 months remains low at 53.4 and 31.8 percent, respectively. Honerman noted that the Department of Health is committed to making breastfeeding in South Dakota successful by providing professional support through community health offices with staff that are International Board Certified Lactation Counselors (IBCLCs) and Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs). In addition, breastfeeding peer counselors are available to serve as mentors and support breastfeeding mothers through the WIC Program.

The Department of Health and its partners have also implemented the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Initiative in several South Dakota communities to help businesses support breastfeeding employees and customers. To date, more than 575 businesses across the state have signed a pledge to provide an environment where mothers and employees can enjoy a welcoming attitude from staff, management and other patrons while breastfeeding.

In acknowledgement of the importance of breastfeeding as a public health issue, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed Aug. 1-7 World Breastfeeding Awareness Week in South Dakota.

To learn more about breastfeeding, contact the Department of Health office in your county ( or visit

Learn more about the Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Initiative at