- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

American News, Aberdeen, Sept. 6

Candlelight vigil shines spotlight on violence against Native American women

Too often, too many and too sad.

There was recently a nationwide night of candlelight vigils to remember missing or murdered Native American women.

Aberdeen and Mobridge were among the locations.

Sometimes it feels as if most of society doesn’t care, or care enough, about missing or murdered Native American women.

No woman deserves such treatment. Only respect, regardless of race, creed or color.

Patryc Jordan, a Northern State University student from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, said the importance of being at the vigil was to bring awareness to what’s happening to indigenous women.

“There’s been a lot that have gone missing and the cases have usually been swept under the rug. It isn’t right,” Jordan said.

“It boils down to a racial thing. They’d rather bend over backwards to find a white lady rather than a native lady. I just don’t think it’s right. Everyone deserves to be treated equal. One voice over a thousand voices - it’s hard to highlight one voice. That’s why it’s important for everyone to be here.”

We agree with Jordan.

No one deserves to think they would be treated different because they look, sound or are different. But it happens.

Too often, too many and too sad.

Here are some cases in the Aberdeen area:

- Candace Rough Surface, 18, of Kenel disappeared Aug. 2, 1980. A rancher found her bullet-ridden body nine months later in a shallow bay of Lake Oahe. The case was solved in 1995 when James Stroh II told how he and his cousin, Nicholas Scherr, raped and killed Rough Surface. Both men pleaded guilty. Stroh got 15 years. Scherr is serving a 100-year prison term.

- A hit-and-run driver struck and killed 21-year-old Katrina Wind on Jan. 1, 1986. She was walking along U.S. Highway 281 south of Aberdeen, and the case has not been solved.

- The body of Candace Hope Grey, 17, of Waubay, was found on U.S. Highway 12 near Ortley. She was run over the night of March 10, 1990, by a vehicle in heavy fog.

- Monica Bercier-Wickre, 42, was found in the James River near Stratford on June 16, 1993. She disappeared April 7, 1993, and left behind three children. Investigators said they think they know who killed her, but no one ever was charged.

- The body of 22-year-old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind was found in the Red River near Fargo, N.D., Aug. 27. She was eight months pregnant when she disappeared Aug. 19. A newborn baby, now believed to be hers, was found in a Fargo apartment building. Brooke Lynn Crews, 38, and William Henry Hoehn, 32, have been charged with conspiring to kill LaFontaine-Greywind.

All victims and their families deserve justice, despite race, color or creed.

For those who only see victims as victims and work hard toward resolving their cases, thank you for your efforts.

For those who don’t, you are saying violence is OK against some folks, and not OK against others - probably others like them.

Our hearts, thoughts and hopes for peace go out to all victims of violence and their families. You deserved better, and got the worst.

Too often, too many and too sad.


Rapid City Journal, Rapid City, Sept. 3

Midnight Star’s closure no cause for alarm

The news last week that Kevin Costner’s Midnight Star casino had suddenly closed in the heart of downtown Deadwood after 26 years generated headlines nationwide since it was owned by a movie star with wide name recognition.

It doesn’t mean, however, that Deadwood gaming can expect the same fate as Wild Bill Hickok, who was famously murdered in the historic mining town on Aug. 2, 1876, while playing poker at No. 10 Saloon and is buried alongside Calamity Jane at Mt. Moriah Cemetery.

There are those who might wonder, however, if the closure is a sign of the times or just a bump in the road for Deadwood gaming. It’s probably a little of both.

In 1989, Deadwood joined Nevada and Atlantic City as the only places in the nation offering legalized gambling. Since then, the entire state has benefited as the millions of dollars collected there have been used for historic preservation grants, the state’s tourism budget and for numerous projects in the town of around 1,300 people.

Today, however, the entertainment landscape has changed considerably. Gambling has become common nationwide with Native American casinos, online betting and games like Powerball that generate millions of dollars for states. South Dakota is among the states offering Powerball as well as video lottery and a long list of scratch ticket games.

But despite the explosion of gambling opportunities, Deadwood casinos still reported $99 million in adjusted gross revenue in 2016, according to the South Dakota Commission on Gaming. In March, bettors wagered $93.6 million in Deadwood. So even though there has been a decline in gaming revenue in Deadwood in the past year, a lot of money continues to change hands there.

Deadwood, a community that prides itself on its authentic Old West heritage, also has a few more cards to play in the tourism game.

It has restored Victorian facades, brick streets and period lighting throughout the community. The town has a new $6 million Days of ‘76 Museum, featuring one of the most impressive carriage, wagon and stagecoach collections in the U.S. There is a new $7 million Deadwood Welcome Center and $3 million was spent for the restoration of Mt. Moriah Cemetery. The town simply screams of western history.

As result of these efforts and others and the natural splendor of the area that offers hiking, mountain biking, skiing and camping amenities, hotels have seen their occupancy rates increase while gambling receipts declined.

The closure of the Midnight Star is not the first disappointment Deadwood has experienced, nor will it be the last. It only proves that even star power can’t ensure success in the volatile and now more competitive tourism and gaming industries. And while gaming was the economic engine that fueled Deadwood’s modern-day renaissance, the community has shown vision by taking steps to diversify its attractions and economy.

History will show that it is far too early to bet against Deadwood.


The Daily Republic, Mitchell, Sept. 5

Hisses and cheers

CHEERS to the outstanding community support Saturday during the second annual Kernel Bowl.

This sounds familiar - the Mitchell football team (2-0) picked up another win and the volleyball team is still unbeaten, now eight matches into the season. Fall sports are in full swing, and Mitchell fans have reason to be excited.

The Kernel Bowl was a huge success again this year with strong turnout. About 2,500 attended the football game and 500 for volleyball. There also was good food, an awesome post-football game fireworks show and, of course, victories for the Kernels.

Here’s to hoping for continued success this year for Mitchell’s athletic squads and a reminder to all fans to get out and support our local teams.

HISSES to the news that Corsica’s Dakota Trails Golf Course will close this year following significant vandalism at the recently renovated attraction.

Officials say someone poured a weed killer known as Roundup on the natural grass greens in mid-August causing thousands of dollars in damage. The case is being investigated by law enforcement.

We don’t know why someone or a group of people would chose to do this to a small-town golf course that impacts so many. Dakota Trails fundraised to switch to natural greens and had nice success with increasing memberships. Now, because of the vandals, course officials say they’re closing this year.

Our hearts are out to all the people impacted and hope the people who caused the damage are caught and forced to pay for their recklessness.

CHEERS to the wonderful new gymnasium in Emery.

Last week, the Bridgewater-Emery School District utilized its new gym for the first time during a high school volleyball game.

With a shiny hardwood floor, updated scoreboards and positive comments from school officials, the gym looks to be a resounding success.

The upgrade was needed, considering the old facility in Emery was built in the 1950s. Students, coaches and faculty deserve to have something to be proud of, and this is exactly that.

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