Sunday, December 10, 2017

Spearditch to lose Bay Leaf Café

1993 marked the beginning of the end of my marriage but it was also the year Taffy Tucker, her ex-husband French Bryan and his boyfriend, George Huck began rebuilding the old Queen City Hotel.
“Getting the building rehabbed, it was a much bigger undertaking than we ever anticipated,” Bryan said. Even though there were times during the rehabilitation of the building they questioned what they got themselves into, that work remains one of his favorite memories of owning the business. “It was two or three official documents from being condemned,” he said of the rough conditions. The closing date for the pending sale of the building is Dec. 29. It has sold to another restaurateur who declined to elaborate on her plans for the business at this time. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Taffy is a Deadwood girl and Orville Bryan grew up in rural Spearditch, attended Spearditch High School then graduated Black Hills State College. Orville was named "French" after the Sebastian Cabot character in teevee's Family Affair by college classmate Dale Bell of posse comitatus fame. French and Taffy married then with Bill Walsh, Mike Trucano and their wives bought Deadwood's Franklin Hotel. Taffy's dad, Doug, was the Franklin's maître d' for about two decades.

French served as Deadwood's mayor for a time but he and Taffy divorced yet stayed close friends after he came out.

Before gambling came to Deadwood in 1989 the Franklin got deeply into debt to Twin City Fruit after one of Deadwood gaming's Founding Fathers, Mike O'Connell, fell over a railing at the hotel and lost the use of his legs. French came to TCF temporarily and worked as our sales manager to help settle arrears.

After gambling came to the Gulch and Twin City Fruit was sold to Sysco French left the area for a time but returned to buy the Queen City Hotel. I ultimately contracted the drywall installation and finish of the building that would become home to the Bay Leaf Café and met the mother of my daughters there. She was working for Bill Walsh at the Franklin part time.

The Franklin later sold to become part of the Silverado complex. That building is hurting today.

Taffy convinced this blogger to audition then perform six seasons as Mother Ginger in the Black Hills Dance Theater’s production of the Nutcracker.

A story about the restaurant is posted at the Rapid City Journal, too.

The above artwork was done by my former sister-in-law Debbie Streeter.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Neighbor Nancy's happy bosque bird-day

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is about 135 miles south of the ranch on I-25 and it's Neighbor Nancy's favorite birthday trip. Click on any image for a better look.


There were tens of thousands of snow geese again this year but the water was more abundant closer to the main channel of the Rio Grande.



Canada goose numbers seemed way down from previous years. The rangers said budget cuts meant fewer people to collect data on counts of each bird species. The Service was conducting a burn of mechanically masticated tamarisk.




We saw two huge flocks of Sandhill cranes and many other smaller groups of them scattered throughout the refuge. There were certainly tens of thousands. We've been hearing them flying over the ranch for at least two weeks. The Rio Grande is about ten miles from the ranch as the crane flies and there might be some water in the Galisteo Dam just a few miles away.



The mule deer had plenty of cover and fields of ear corn. Note the leaves still on the cottonwoods. Several unidentifiable trees had lost their leaves and were already budding.



This red tail and some marsh hawks were the four raptors we saw this year. There are usually bald eagles all over the refuge but not this trip. It was a glorious day and drive with a high temperature of 63 degrees!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday's roundup: a week on cannabis

Minnesotans suffering from autism and obstructive sleep apnea will be able to seek relief with therapeutic cannabis starting next July.
Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger announced the additions following a state and public citizen review of medical research. Ehlinger selected autism and apnea due to "increasing evidence for potential benefits."
Get the story here.
Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns believes the NBA should allow players to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. His girlfriend's nephew is autistic, and Towns has seen how some of the new treatments involving properties of marijuana have helped the young boy and his family deal with the condition.
Read the rest here.

Researchers recently published findings cannabis is an effective therapy for opioid use disorder.

Some Minnesota counties are suing opioid manufacturers alleging a decades-long campaign convinced doctors and patients that opioids were safe and not addictive.

Democratic Minnesota Senator Al Franken has promised to bone up on the law as his state liberalizes its cannabis policy.
Now, the senator is on a bit of a marijuana bill cosponsorship spree, and some observers think it's good politics -- in addition to good policy -- at a time when Franken's name is being floated as a possible 2020 presidential candidate.
Read the rest at Forbes.

An Iowa company will be the first in that state to develop therapeutic cannabis for patients there.

Better late than never, the Moody County Enterprise is rubbing Marty Jackley's nose in his inability to get a conviction in a tribal sovereignty cannabis case.
Jonathan Hunt, 44, was sentenced Nov. 21 in Moody County Circuit Court after having agreed to testify in the case against his boss, Eric Hagen, earlier this year. Hagen, who was president and CEO of Monarch America, was found not guilty in a jury trial. More than a year earlier, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe executive committee had entered into a five-year agreement with Monarch America to design, construct and develop a 10,000-square-foot marijuana grow facility to supply a 15,000-square-foot retail recreational marijuana consumption lounge, according to court papers.
Read the rest here.

Flandreau has a long history of racism and a crooked law enforcement industry.

South Dakota's more forward-looking neighbor to the north is growing interest in cannabis as therapy.

North Dakota voters passed Measure 5 in 2016 and this year the legislature drafted rules then a Republican governor signed it into law.
The North Dakota Department of Health has filed proposed rules to be adopted for the Medical Marijuana Program with the state’s Legislative Council. The NDDoH expects to file all required information no later than February 1, 2018 in an attempt to have the rules presented in March to the legislative Administrative Rules Committee.
Read more here.

A crowd of Montanans heard testimony in Helena on proposed therapeutic cannabis rule changes (pdf) imposed by the repressive Senate Bill 333 on the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
“You guys making these guys jump through more hoops, more laws, more costs to the provider, doesn’t do a patient any favors,” said Will Leishman, a patient from Butte. DPHHS will continue taking public comments on the proposed rules by mail, fax and email. Once the rules are finalized, DPHHS will give providers and patients two months’ notice before putting them into effect. [KTVQ teevee]
God just might not be enough for northern tier religious states: they lead the nation in anti-depressant and meth use.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

GOP's hypocrisy on Indian Health Service coming to a head

Guess who stands to benefit if the Indian Health Service is privatized.
From Indian Health Services emergency rooms that have been shut down because they pose a threat to the health and safety of patients to others that don't meet the requirements established by Medicare and Medicaid, Sen. Mike Rounds says the health system is a disaster.
Read the rest here.

Steve Rounds enjoys an unusual 30-year lease on land managed by a state agency. Rounds got the lease to the Oahe Marina from South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder while his brother was governor and when his banker, Larry Deiter was named South Dakota Director of Insurance.
“We are obviously concerned about the impact that Wellmark’s decision will have on consumers,” South Dakota Insurance Director Larry Deiter told the Public Opinion this week. “The current environment under federal health care reform is causing companies to either raise premiums, narrow networks, or cease marketing of products.” Lonnie McKittrick, who heads up the Health Department at Fisher Rounds and Associates, echoed those comments. “ACA is just not working,” he said. “People are getting hammered. Everybody on the inside knew this is what could happen. You crossed your fingers and hoped it wouldn’t, but it did. It’s a system that was set up to fail, especially in a small state like ours.” [Looking for health insurance? Good luck]
And:
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia require insurance commissioners to file some kind of personal financial disclosure report. All but two of those jurisdictions — Hawaii and Vermont — make the documents available for public inspection. Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming have no such disclosure requirements. [Drinks, dinners, junkets and jobs: how the insurance industry courts state commissioners]
Here's Mike Rounds' career donor page at Open Secrets.

Here is how Mike Rounds took federal money then gave it to SDGOP donors.

From 2015:
Specifically, the CBO determined that maintaining sequester-level cuts would lead to 500,000 fewer jobs and 0.4% less growth in 2016, and 300,000 fewer jobs and 0.2% less growth in 2017. Many Americans have been led to believe the emerging crisis is solely about Planned Parenthood funding, and that may be somewhat true. However, at the rate Republicans love killing Americans’ jobs and retarding economic growth that the CBO warned is the result of not addressing sequester cuts, pundits should consider the real impetus for the looming crisis is the GOP’s rejection of eliminating their precious sequester.
Read that here.
The “unimaginable horrors” comment came from U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., during testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in Washington about his bill to force the Indian Health Service to undergo a wide-ranging audit. The tribe is alleging that the federal government has failed to uphold its legal obligation to provide health care to tribal members, in part by temporarily closing the Rosebud emergency department in 2015.
Read the rest here.

Rounds' donors Sanford, Avera and Rapid City Regional have virtual medical industry monopolies in their markets.

Kinda makes you sick, init?

I like the idea of rolling the funding for Obamacare, TRICARE, Medicare, the IHS and the VA together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax. Reproductive freedoms should be included with conditions just like the military does under TRICARE.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pipeline resister: US an apartheid government vs. oppressed minority


After Manape LaMere renounced his citizenship, disenrolled from the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and gave up his Social Security number he joined the resistance to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline at the Wiconi Un Tipi Camp near Lower Brule.
He describes the current state of American-tribal relations as that of an apartheid government toward an oppressed minority. To break free from that dysfunctional relationship, tribes must break free from America completely in order to be treated as equals, LaMere said.
Read the Kevin Abourezk story at indianz.
Launching a $30,000 fundraising drive for a kitchen at Wiconi Un Tipi Camp, the No KXL Dakota Alliance announced a November 21 signing ceremony for the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred Against Tar Sands and the KXL Pipeline. The camp in Lower Brule is strategically located to block the path of a proposed power line that TransCanada Corp. has slated to carry electricity to a pumping station on the Keystone XL tar-sands crude pipeline route through unceded 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory.
Read that here.

Crews from TransCanada shut down its Keystone pipeline after 5,000 barrels of diluted bitumen (dilbit) spilled near Amherst in Marshall County, South Dakota.

An assessment and investigation are underway after the leak was detected around 0600 local time. Hackers with nefarious intent have been stepping up attacks against American infrastructure recently and overloading sensors that control pipeline pressure has not been ruled out.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission has just approved an alternate route for the planet-killing pipeline but anti-KXL leader Jane Kleeb says an appeal of the decision is expected.
Pipeline opponents already had planned to appeal the commission's decision in court. They say the panel's decision on Monday brings up new issues that could be challenged in court. Ken Winston is an attorney representing environmental groups. He says the vote, "opens up a whole new bag of issues that we can raise."
Read more here.

The spill came just days before Nebraska ruled on a permit for the Keystone XL.

Human error is cited as the cause in a Sunday spill in North Dakota that leaked 270 barrels, or 11,340 gallons of saltwater mine waste because crews there failed to close a valve.
The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux have filed court documents urging a federal judge to reject the recent arguments of federal officials and the pipeline developer that the tribes' proposals aren't needed. The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting an additional court-ordered review of the pipeline's impact on tribal interests. While that's done, the tribes want additional protections such as emergency equipment staging at the pipeline's Lake Oahe crossing on the Missouri River, which is their water source. [KSFY teevee]
In 2016 even earth hater South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson said the Keystone XL won’t happen without State Department approval.

Despite the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Excess Pipelines fuel costs in the region are soaring.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is expected to take up two water rights settlement bills next month.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Chairman Dave Flute said his tribe will stand with other tribal nations and oppose the KXL pipeline.

The same West River geology that thwarts railroad improvements in South Dakota makes KXL untenable.