- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

Capital Journal, Pierre, Dec. 14

Tis the season for giving anonymously

On Monday the Capital Journal received a money order for $35 dollars. We receive money all the time either from subscribers, advertisers or the folks who are buying our new book Storied Land, so getting a check in the mail is nothing new. But this one stood out.

There was no name on the order, no return address, no request to send a book, just a note asking that we give the money to someone who needs it. That was something we hadn’t seen before and we’ve committed to do just that.

We’re not going to say who’s going to get the money but we’ll make sure they need it.

There are, apparently, a lot of folks out there who have committed to giving anonymously. Just last week the Mitchell Police Division reportedly got an anonymous check for $10,000. Attached to that check were instructions much like the ones we got - give the money to people who need it.

Every Christmas there are stories of gold coins showing up in Salvation Army kettles all over the country. Where those coins came from often is a mystery.

That there are people in this country still willing to give without thought of reward is a testament to the American spirit. It’s been a rough year for a lot of folks in America. The country suffered through one of the more divisive presidential campaigns in modern history, the prices for grain and cattle are down and the Midwest economy, at least, is slowing.

So, to those men and women, who give freely without thought of recognition or reward, we say well done. We know you didn’t ask for a thank you but that makes you all the more deserving of it.

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American News, Aberdeen, Dec. 15

Small acts of kindness can make a big difference

This is the time of year to take some time and think about those who deserve to be recognized for their good work and kind acts.

There have been several examples in news stories in just the past few days.

The valets who help patients at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital sure deserve a pat on the back, especially for the way they treated 90-year-old cancer center patient Millie Lockington, who showed up for treatment last month with a flat tire.

Valet Todd Koller not only got Lockington and her car to the shop, he stopped to have a sandwich with her.

That’s going above and beyond.

Then there’s Melanie Lundquist. She’s the Aberdeen speech pathologist who, with the help of friends, assembled and gave away what she calls Sweet Dreams Care Packs to Aberdeen Head Start students.

Lundquist has been involved with the project for six years, though this will be her last. Through the years, she estimates that about 2,000 care packs have been given away. Each has a pillow, a pillow case, a pair of winter pajamas, a blanket, a stuffed animal, a toothbrush and toothpaste.

What a thoughtful and generous act. And we’re sure that the Head Start students across the region - who sometimes come from families that can’t afford many extras - appreciated the gesture.

Again this year, officers at the Aberdeen Police Department hosted Shop With A Cop.

Not only does the program provide presents for kids who might not get lavish gifts at Christmas, but it builds positive relationships and trust with young people and their families who live in our community.

The police have worked hard in recent months at outreach and trying to get to know the residents of Aberdeen. That’s to their credit and benefit.

If you were at Runnings Saturday afternoon, you might have noticed the Rev. Harold Salem was ringing bells for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.

That’s a kind act more of us could take time to do. If arguably the best-known pastor in the region, who is in his 90s, can face the bitter cold to volunteer for a good cause, the rest of us can, too.

At the Eureka school, students of shop teacher Ray Tracy are building mini structures of the buildings you’d see in most any town - a bank, a store, a post office, a school and more.

Sure, the buildings will be nice features on the school’s playground, but there’s a bigger upside. The building, electrical and landscaping skills the students are learning will benefit them for life.

All of these efforts are worth recognizing.

And that’s to say nothing of those who shovel their neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk, help with holiday programs or at church or just buy a coffee for a friend.

Follow the lead of these examples and take a little time to help somebody out, especially if you’re feeling fortunate at this time of year.

A small act can make a big difference.

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Rapid City Journal, Rapid City, Dec. 15

LNI’s 40th anniversary an impressive feat

As we all know or will know someday, turning 40 is a big deal and worthy of a special celebration. This applies to events as well, including one that is occurring this week in Rapid City.

The Lakota National Invitational started Wednesday and continues through Saturday primarily at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The four-day event is expected to attract more than 2,500 Native American students alone, who will participate in basketball tournaments, an archery competition, wrestling, hand games, a Lakota Language Bowl, a ROTC competition, a Song Fest and other competitions.

According to Mayor Steven Allender, the event - one of the largest held in the community - will pump an estimated $3.5 million into the local economy as Native Americans from throughout the area, the state and the region flock here.

What makes the 40th anniversary of the LNI particularly impressive is how far it has come since it was founded in 1976 by Brian Brewer of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is where it was held for the first two years.

In 1977, a total of eight schools participated in what was then known as the All-Indian Tournament. This year’s event will host 16 girls’ and boys’ basketball teams. The hand-game tournament will feature 40 teams. Last year’s archery tournament attracted 18 teams.

It is an event that continues to grow and flourish.

When you consider all the competitions, contests, art shows, pow wows and the event’s focus on Lakota youth, it is apparent that Rapid City hosts one of the most unique cultural events in the entire nation.

It is something that we all should be proud of in this community. City officials and organizations like the Rapid City Convention & Visitors Bureau are going all out to welcome the LNI attendees. On Wednesday, law enforcement escorted a caravan of athletes, students, coaches and LNI Board members into town. Later, they were treated to a dinner hosted by the Hotel BID Board.

Mayor Allender also has proclaimed Friday “Lakota National Invitational Day.” In doing so, he said the LNI “has provided countless opportunities for lasting and valuable working relationships and friendships between Native and non-Native people.”

Race relations are challenging at times in Rapid City, but this event continues to demonstrate that we all can work together to improve the relationship while appreciating the culture of the Native Americans who are our neighbors.

In the meantime, congratulations to all those involved in putting on and participating in the 40th anniversary of the LNI. We hope there are many more to come.

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