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Fired GEAR UP Spokeswoman Questions Consultants’ Value

Angela Kennecke reports on one GEAR UP employee’s support of suspicions raised by this blog and other observers about consultants siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal education grant without adding value for Indian students:

[Darla] Drew Lerdal says she’s upset with the abrupt way everyone working for GEAR UP was let go, especially after seeing how much members of the GEAR UP advisory board, like Rick Melmer and Keith Moore were being paid.

“I’m angry about it. I’m sad for the kids. I’m sad at the loss of the programs. And when I see that people were getting money and I don’t know how much help they were giving the students. They were supposed to consult with us. Don’t you think they could have stopped some of the activity that was headed our way that lost us our jobs–if they were doing theirs?” Drew Lerdal said.

Drew Lerdal says whatever was going on with the grant money and audits of Mid Central didn’t reflect what she and others were doing running the program.

“It wasn’t a mystery what we were doing and the money we spent wasn’t mysterious.  And in fact, this program is seen nationally as the poster child of great programs in GEAR UP,” Drew Lerdal said [Angela Kennecke, “Fired GEAR UP Worker Defends Stacy Phelps,” KELO-TV, 2015.11.24].

Darla Drew Lerdal was GEAR UP’s “Media and Community Relations Coordinator” (spokesperson, right? PR?). She also happens to be a Rapid City alderwoman and respected musician and leader in the arts community. She’s ready to stake her public reputation at defending Stacy Phelps and pointing the finger at others in the GEAR UP scandal:

“I think Stacy Phelps may have made some bad decisions, but I don’t think he did anything wrong.  I think he trusted people he shouldn’t have trusted. And those people would have been at Mid Central or on the advisory committee,” Drew Lerdal said [Kennecke, 2015.11.24].

Drew Lerdal seems to have some minor issues with word meaning: making bad decisions means doing something wrong. But Drew Lerdal is saying that we can’t trust the people at Mid-Central or on the GEAR UP advisory committee, whose members were paid $1,000 per month for value that Drew Lerdal apparently didn’t see.

Drew Lerdal has very publicly defended the work of the Rapid City GEAR UP office since early in the scandal’s public eruption. In an interview with Brandon Ecoffey last month, Drew Lerdal indicated she doesn’t trust the state, either, to run GEAR UP for the good of Indian kids:

Drew who is a non-Native person said the state had nit-picked the program since its inception.

“I’m not sure if the state didn’t like that a Native man was handling all that money or if people at the level want to divert those funds but they sure seemed like they were looking for something, anything, but there was nothing to find,” said Drew [Brandon Ecoffey, “GEAR UP Closes: Was Program a Target of the State?Lakota Country Times, 2015.10.01].

Ecoffey notes that the reasons the state grabbed back the GEAR UP reins seemed all rooted in malpractice at Platte-based Mid-Central Educational Cooperative, not at the GEAR UP office where she worked with Phelps in Rapid City. Drew Lerdal told Ecoffey those problems may have been exacerbated by more Pierre cronyism:

Drew stated that allegations by the state that the program did not fully document its action is partly the result of the state choosing to replace Gear Up’s grant monitor.

“When we first started we had [Brinda] Kuhn overseeing the grant and she was one of the people who taught the federal workshops on how to stay in compliance. The state chose to replace her with the Pierre group for whatever reason and this is where we have ended up [Ecoffey, 2015.10.01].

Drew Lerdal refers here to Mid-Central’s switch to PerGroup in Pierre to formally evaluate GEAR UP in 2014. In December 2013, Mid-Central approved a contract with PerGroup for $49,500, conveniently just below the state’s $50,000 threshold for competitive bidding. GEAR UP project director Keith Moore was friends with PerGroup management and had to leave his position as federal Bureau of Indian Education director in 2012 when he and Brain Drapeaux improperly steered a federal contract to PerGroup. Moore now runs the South Dakota Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Throughout her public statements on her former employer, Drew Lerdal has said her main concern is serving American Indian youth. Her comments about the administrative decisions happening in Platte and Pierre suggest the higher-ups in the program did not share that focus.


  1. larry kurtz 2015-11-26

    How could Gov. Daugaard and his legal team not have known any of this was happening?

  2. The King 2015-11-26

    “And in fact, this program is seen nationally as the poster child of great programs in GEAR UP”
    Perhaps the national perception was as Drew claims, but the assessment data does not support that claim. No doubt DD was proud of the program but at the end of the day it was not a great program.

  3. Nick Nemec 2015-11-26

    Governor Daugaard needs to get these no-bid contracts under control. They are a big scam, an easy way to funnel money to cronies. But then maybe that’s what he wants.

  4. jerry 2015-11-26

    Moore got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, found Jesus and a good salary and has moved on until he finds something else, life is funny like that. This has the look and feel of a program that was put together as a potential for good, but soon turned into a haven for corruption. Everything the state of South Dakota touches, is corrupted by its outlaw ways. The governors office has got to be the center of all that has soured. For the governor to say that he was clueless about all that has been going on now and when his crooked predecessor was in office, is laughable if it were not so true. I wonder if the members who are being interviewed like Drew, had ever gone to Platte to see Scott’s castle and kind of wondered how in the hell he could afford the place on what his job was. That is always my first clue into how things are done, by paying attention to those around me. It seems to me that when you are involved in politics and the arts, you should have a pretty good feel of the pulse of your fellow members. For better or for worse, you are deemed somewhat responsible for the actions of those around you. What was the salary she received for being their “Media and Community Relations Coordinator”? With that job, you should know what it is your company actually is doing and how it is doing it. The whole crew getting terminated was probably the best thing for the program as it stands. Now to get all these consultants and especially. the State of South Dakota, out of the mix and put the Gear Up where it belongs, administered by actual tribal members on the reservations, instead of front offices that pawn off the business to the same tired ways of corruption. We may then see it become what it sat out to be.

  5. Spike 2015-11-26

    Every week I learn something new…Pergroup replaces Kuhn at
    $49, 500….obviously that isn’t a performance based amount but a let’s hire our cronies based amount.

    Pergroup is Moores cronies. I am willing to speculate that somewhere in Pergroup books are some fees to Moore n Drapeau for more “cronyism” oh… I mean “consulting” work.

    The US Department of Education Office of Inspector General is going to walk right past Jackleys office n investigate this organization and the federal funds it received and that will include federal monies that filtered back to state officals (I.e. Duncan). In MHO part of the problem will be Seilers office will be involved with the nvestigation. I believe the Department of Justice may even need to bring in an independent special prosecutor after what we have seen SD US Attorney’s office NOT do when it comes to Pierreites n their cronies. Children died as a direct result of this craziness. ..not just at the hands of their deranged father.

    Any prosecution to come out of all this? Nope

  6. Jim 2015-11-26

    It may have been a great program…in theory.

  7. jerry 2015-11-26

    The US Attorney’s office is vacant, shuttered with no one home and has been for several years and a huge part of the problems we face here.

  8. mike from iowa 2015-11-26

    $49.5k is below the threshhold where bids for contracts have to be let-see Bollen,et al.

  9. mike from iowa 2015-11-26

    Plus,my best guess is wingnuts are dyslexic. When the read t-e-a-c-h to them it says c-h-e-a-t and that is what they invariably end up doing.

  10. Les 2015-11-26

    As my friends in the systems say, trust Stacy Phelps. Dan Gerke, not so much.

  11. Spike 2015-11-26

    C’mon people, Stacey drank the kool-aid. His wife was knocking down 90k from mid central. Show me the checkbook. Some of the people working for gear up in rapid city had a racket going. Including Drew.
    Poster child? This is also supposed to be a scholarship program. Not just summer camp.

    See Angela Kenneckes interview on KELOLAND on 11-24 with Gear Up student now BHSU Kelsey Walking Eagle and her mother Star Walking Eagle for another student and parents perspective.

  12. Les 2015-11-26

    There is no doubt a busload of them have dirt on their hands Spike. A few carry the greater load. Let’s hope we sort them out for treatment.

  13. bearcreekbat 2015-11-26

    I’ve known Darla Drew Lerdal for many years. Her credibility is solid, as is her care and concern about children. I would love to see her run for state or federal office, as she generally brings success to the programs she works with.

    Spike is mistaken in his comments about her – from my experience Darla has consistently shown herself to be an honest caring person who puts the good of both children and the community ahead of any desire for personal reward.

  14. Darla Drew 2015-11-26

    Spike, Stacy has not been married for 11 years. Alice Phelps, incorrectly identified as his wife, is actually his Aunt. Alice has a Masters Degree in Education Administration. She is the Pricipal at Wounded Knee District School and was hired by the School Board in Manderson. She supported SD GEARUP activities at WKDS, but that was the extent of her involvement.

  15. Donald Pay 2015-11-26

    I’ve said before on this project that there is a lot I like about it, but it just is not a good idea to run education projects like this outside of the public schools, which have to be accountable for financial and education outcomes to multiple parties, including, not least of which, is local taxpayers.

    First, DD is a fine person, and I’m sure she gave the project every penny’s worth of what they were paying her to do. There is a question, though, about whether the position DD held was necessary. Rapid City Area Schools had a community relations coordinator until the mid-1990s. Budgets were squeezed, and that position had to go. It is a little upsetting that some education projects favored by the politicians get to hang onto positions that have to be cut in the K-12 education system.

    Second, I was around when the precursor program to GEAR UP was going on at the School of Mines campus. That program seemed to work fairly well.

    Third, I agree that running this program out of the state is a bad idea. There are too many “consultants” with political ties that want to redirect the money. It needs to devolve down to the K-12 system.

    Fourth, totally end no-bid contracting and you begin to clean up the state-level corruption.

  16. Spike 2015-11-26

    Bearcreekbat I absolutely respect your opinion about the lady. I have heard her speak and don’t doubt her sincerity. And I know she’s a competent person.

    I struggle with “media and relations coordinator” job for a program designed for native at risk students being paid to a person in Rapid City when it could go to an as capable native in RC or on the rez. That was my “comment” about her not my “comments”.

  17. bearcreekbat 2015-11-26

    Thanks Spike. I appreciate your clarification.

  18. Spike 2015-11-26

    Plus I know DD n the Pharaohs can jam….n she has done a lot for music n arts n native issues.

    I believe Stacy should be speaking out for this native program. Maybe His Lawyers says no.

  19. Rod Hall 2015-11-26

    Every employee at Mid Central should be investigated by a person like Angela from KELO. Pay her what she is worth and what she needs to complete a top to bottom investigation. How much was each paid? How many were on their own without their supervisor being on the ball? When an honest employee asked a question were they listened to or told to shut up? Somebody at Mid Central must have asked questions that were never answered! Finally just how many dollars did the “big dog rip off artists” contribute to the republican party and to individual politicians?

    It looks like Mid Central is rotten to the core. A good investigation of every employee might sort out the few “good apples” and let the public know who the “hogs” at the trough really are and how much they got away with.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-26

    Mike, that’s dyslexic brilliance.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-26

    Clean up the no-bid contracting—Donald may have just written Plank #1 for every reform-minded legislator heading into the 2016 Session… and for every legislative candidate who runs in 2016 to challenge the incumbents who fail to enact that legislation.

  22. jerry 2015-11-26

    Back from that apple pie man was it good. Rod Hall, you are spot on. It really does not matter what Drew did in the past or if she played good music, the truth is, all of these people did something so that they were hired in the first place. They all need to be investigated like you say, we should not fold up like a tent because someone knows one or more of these people, that is what juries are supposed to do. Mr. Hall is correct and has hit on what is going wrong in our state. To many people know who these people are and they shut the hell up to not cause waves. An investigation of corruption, real corruption in our state is impossible with the way things are, so we will just sweep it under the rug and act like it did not happen. Donald Trump proves that if you go on the tee vee and spout what ever it is you want to spout, people just look at their shoes and nod like there is nothing that can be done. Why do you think people do not vote? Most do not because they know our system is gamed here and they are correct. It is all about who you know so you can get the opportunity to steal. Third world stuff.

  23. Les 2015-11-26

    Sorry, Rod but just because this is SD and the only usual way we get to the bottom of criminal issues is to bring in the press, it should be up to our DCI and the Feds to get to the bottom of statewide corruptions.

  24. Rod Hall 2015-11-26

    There are a lot of capable people in SD that could publically point out activities that need the DCI or Feds to check further. A person familiar with the local situation will not be blown away with BS from the State Dept. of Education as easily as someone who has no knowledge or experience with the fraud that has taken place, far too often and far too long!

    Even this old man has had 15 years’ experience “hounding” Supt.Joe Graves. I could point out areas that even Angela might not see immediately.

  25. Spike 2015-11-26

    Darla , thanks for the correction. Yes you are right about Alice being Staceys aunt and being at Wounded Knee school district. My bad, I don’t know Staceys personal life. I was going off bad info I guess. . I know all the reservations and schools supported Gear Up. It was a good effort.

    Since your reading this? Share with us if you were on any other payroll besides Gear Up? Were you salaried by the hour or under a performance contract with Gear Up? Or is that not my tax paying business?

    Share with us your thoughts on the interview Kennecke did with Star and Kelsey Walking Eagle .

    Don’t doubt that I don’t respect you, your efforts n love the music.

  26. Jennifer 2015-11-26

    Ya’ll would die if you seen the pay rolls of the Gear Up Staff. Not to mention their education level, or lack thereof….

  27. Les 2015-11-26

    Yes, Rod. That I do understand. I doubt there is 1 out of 10 boards in SD, maybe anywhere willing to deal with the conflict. I think the universal acceptance of fraud, lying and cheating as part of doing business makes it next to impossible for proper board expectations and operations.

    Just imagine the education and experience of the many supes on the board that just sat back and watched Gerke or whomever fly this plane into the ground.

  28. grudznick 2015-11-26

    Mr. Spike, as our blog host who is a nitpicker about language and such would probably say if he wasn’t mawing down some turkey legs right now, are you aware what “don’t doubt that I don’t respect” means? You are telling that poor woman to not be in doubt that you have no respect for her? That is not a good Thanksgiving message, young sir.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-27

    Folks know how I feel about hypotheticals, Jennifer. Try us: show us those pay rolls and résumés. What would we see?

  30. Jennifer 2015-11-27

    You would see salaries of $50-$80K a year.. With the highest level of education completed… A high school diploma. The only reason I bring up high salaries, is because this Grant had so much potential to help our Native youth.. Instead it was helping support the family and friends of those that ran the grant. The only reason Gear Up is being focused on right now, is because the state officials are trying to refocus the attention off the obvious murder of a family and point the blame in another direction. Everyone knew these funds were being misappropriated. Don’t be fooled

  31. Oldhag 2015-11-27

    Jennifer, it is information such as you have that provide pieces to this puzzle, which can shed light in ways that may ultimately find the truth.

    Not one employee from MCEC is able to talk as the whole place has been lawyered tight as a drum. I’d like to know who others were that interviewed for Scott’s position and where they posted the position opening? Were items removed from Scott’s office the morning of the fire by any person who gained Scott’s old position? If the answer is yes, what did they remove and why and are they interfering with a crime investigation? Is it the same person who has the safe or cancelled the cell phone?

    Were all of the Gear-Up documents destroyed by the Feds or just the shining example underway in SD?

    Jennifer if you know how much $$$$ was wasted on lavish trips to San Francisco and elsewhere and you have that proof, they are a couple of reporters still interested in solving this puzzle, please share.

    Anyone know who was driving that pickup through Platte in the wee hours of the morning, step forward, if they were hauling their crap somewhere on the morning 4 innocent kids were shot and burned in their home, just step forward and say, “hey, it was me and I have no knowledge of anything, but it was me and here is my truck and trailer and I was hauling xyz” This isn’t a game, who will have to die next?

    Moore working with Christian Athletes? How does that provide the $$$$$ he is accustomed to?
    How do you get a story like this to 48 hours or some National investigation? Really need someone to come in and say, cell phones cancelled, safe’s missing, bodies in wrong beds, unidentified accelerant, wouldn’t have lost his job, strange vehicles in the area, but there’s no story here….I hate being talked down to as if we are all stupid as the day is long & the arrogance that we have the attention span of a gnat, just wait for the dust to settle. NO MCEC you may not continue to handle tax payers $$$$$ til the truth is told, Everyone working there is on unpaid suspension until such time as this is completely resolved. People have to have some motivation to speak, they have tons of motivation to keep their mouths shut!

  32. Michael Wyland 2015-11-27

    There’s a lot more to be discovered and reported on this scandal. Two points I’d make about GEAR UP specifically:

    1) GEAR UP is designed to be a year-round program delivered at 38 schools across the state. Yes, there’s a summer program at SDSMT, but that’s a small part of the total design.

    2) Every federal GEAR UP dollar is supposed to be matched by a state/local dollar. So a $22 million grant (direct costs) from the feds becomes a $44 million program. Start looking at how many kids and families were/are actually served using that $44 million in resources, and the return on investment (ROI)/”bang for the buck” becomes even more disappointing.

    NOTE: this ROI concern becomes vastly more critical when point 1 is taken into account. The more people focus on the SDSMT summer program and discount the rest of the GEAR UP activities, the worse the ROI becomes.

  33. Jennifer 2015-11-27

    No one with any credible knowledge and evidence is ever going to step forward. Why? Because they love their family and value their own life too much. A single person will not be able to step forward without prosecution. Anyone that has proof/knowledge of all of the details of this scandal, will have to fight an entire Government organization and for what? To be killed? To be shamed, discredited and face legal ramifications? There’s a reason why no one is coming forth (lawyering up and staying silent). It wouldn’t do any good, plain and simple. It’s too bad one man’s name/reputation is going to be taken down for the immoral and scandalous acts of several. He may not have been innocent, but he didn’t deserve to be the patsy and his family damn sure didn’t deserve to lose their lives over this. Shutting down Gear Up is the only smart move I’ve seen come out of this terrible tragedy. Enough with pretending to help native students achieve higher education while filling the pockets of immoral indiduals. The only ones that will defend Gear Up, are those that either directly benefited from the program with their high salaries and all expenses paid trips or those that were niave enough to believe this program really was achieving a damn thing. I would pay big money to see the statistics of this program benefiting anyone without well known last names in Indian Country. Prime example of politics at best. Make MCEC present payroll records and actual time sheets… Oh they can’t? Why, you ask? Because they lawyered up because they have nothing to hide. Makes perfect sense… Without records, you have nothing. Not a single leg to stand on. And that’s why this terrible tragedy will never truly be solved.

  34. jerry 2015-11-27

    Spike asked the question to Drew about what her salary and benefits were for working at Grease Job as it should have been called, so far, pretty silent. Some here have vouched for her and say that this is just to much to bear thinking that she could have been involved with this racketeering, maybe so, but to clear the air, the air needs to be cleared. What were the dollars involved? Speaking of Feds, anyone know if the office here is still shuttered? There seems to be no one home, maybe we have seceded and were not aware. That would make sense as the place is getting about as lawless as Afghanistan. We need the 101st to go on alert for a jump here.

  35. comet 2015-11-27

    Thanks Mr. Wyland for weighing in with specifics about how GEAR UP (any federal grant for that matter) works. Can you provide some detail about how re-payment of federal funds would work if the audits require it. Does DOE pay? Do they require MCEC to reimburse them? If MCEC’s general fund is insufficient to cover the debt, who’s next on the hook?

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-28

    Bulls—, Jennifer. A single person can step forward with the evidence and make a difference without being killed or persecuted. There is no evidence of any one person being killed because he or she shared knowledge or was going to share knowledge about corruption in South Dakota. Anonymous comments and blog drive-by potshots don’t make a difference. Speaking up does. Saying, “This is my state and I won’t stand for crimes against it any more” does. Put that evidence in a plain brown wrapper and send it to me. I’ll analyze it and publish it. No one is going to shoot me, or Angela Kennecke, or Bob Mercer.

    But until someone steps forward with that evidence, we’re just playing parlor games, lobbing casual insults out of envy or fear or whatever but not making a real difference in changing minds and policy and holding criminals (if there are any) accountable.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-28

    Michael, the matching funds are part of the concern over GEAR UP, right? Wasn’t the state or MCEC counting software licenses as in-kind match, and there’s some dispute as to the actual value of those licenses?

    If the state wasn’t kicking in the proper matching funds, would it be proper to say the state was stealing federal dollars? Would that be a criminal violation of any sort, or would that just be a violation of grant terms? If we violated grant terms by not providing full match, would the feds respond by yanking the grant or making us pay in the difference?

  38. Darla Drew 2015-11-28

    Here is a short work history for anyone questioning my cred. I owned and operated Black Hills Talent for 25 years. I started the agency when I was 22. During this time I was the lead singer in several bands. By 2004,I was working at for the Rapid City Arts Council at the Dahl Arts Center as Development Derector(fundraiser) and Events Coordinator. I received a promotion as Assistant Director while continuing fundraising and producing events. SD GEARUP executive staff approached me at that time to offer me a job. They wanted someone to work with the program to help be a bridge person to communities and run their radio show. I left the Dahl and started work as a regional coordinator working with school on the Pine Ridge Reservation. As many of you are questioning our work in the schools, I would ask you, have you ever been to a reservation school? Do you understand anything about the populations who were helped by GEARUP? I would suggest you go check it out as it is an eye opening experience.
    To be a white person in the minority is an interesting sensation and new to me. It certainly took awhile to gain the trust of students and teachers. But once I was accepted by the communities it was one of the coolest times of my life, and my life has been pretty cool.
    I started writing articles for local magazines in my spare time and landed a couple of cover stories, and Stacy thought I should use my writing skills for GEARUP. I wrote news papers for the statewide program and also for three schools who requested newspaper services. I wasn’t an investigative reporter. I was a cheerleader who wrote about the positive impact of GEARUP and good things in the 38 schools in which we worked. I did interviews at the schools and wrote about innovative programs being tested. The elders in the communities appreciated this work as they didn’t have computers and this paper was a place for info on schools. The kids loved seeing themselves in the papers and I always included some teacher bios to help communities get to know their teachers.
    A large component of my work was the student planner. Each month had a student role model and a short bio of a young person who was native and in
    college. There were college tips, career tracks, quotes from students as encouragement to stay in school, scholarship information and college and cultural activities for our site coordinators in the planner along with costs for tribal colleges, tech schools and state colleges. It was our GPS, how to Go, how to Pay and how to Stay in College. It was an expensive venture to print 6000 copies of the 180 page planner, but if you are a student who has never seen a picture of someone who looks like you and comes from a reservation, now in college, it is a revelation. The planners went to all of the students in GEARUP schools across the state at no charge to the schools.
    I also helped with the GEARUP outreach at family nights, parent teacher conferences, LNI and other events. I often ran a book walk as I collect between 5 to 7 thousand new and gently used books for children in need through my program Readiatrics. I receive no funds for Readiatrics, it is just something I have done for the past 16 years. So, I had a steady supply of free books to give away. I developed a brochure to hand out to parents to show them how college is easily affordable for American Indian students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
    We started recruitment for the summer program in January and February touring schools, doing radio shows and promoting our summer program in the paper. Applications would roll in to be scored and by April parents and students were notified of their students acceptance. They would also get a huge packet of forms to fill out.
    I worked at the summer program teaching radio broadcasting to sophomores. It was glorified speech class but by the time the camp was over we did three thirty minute shows, two 45 minute shows and PSAs for suicide prevention that aired on KILI. This class was a great confidence builder.
    I also organized all the events and trip activities for the students. One of my proudest moments was arranging for over 100 students to attend “To Kill A Mockingbird” at the Black Hills Playhouse last summer.
    For my work I received 43,000 dollars a year. I have an unusual skill set, years of experience in many fields and a willingness to undertake new tasks as assigned.
    I know that is a lot of information. But I loved my job and most of all a loved the students and staff. When a student yells your name at LNI and gives you a hug, it is just the best. Then of course you finish that hug with a serious conversation about school and future plans.
    The past two months have been some of the most difficult of my life. A man I respected is accused of killing his wife and family and torching his house. Shortly after that I sat in a room with other staff as we were fired via email. Maybe you feel we deserved it, but nonetheless, it is a difficult and surreal experience.
    The responses here show a great interest in the political side of GEARUP and the finances. However as you verbally spar over the benefits or non-benefits of this program, remember we were a supplemental program. The success of students ultimately lies with the schools and families.
    This is the last you will hear from me. I am moving on to new opportunities. I have given six years of my life to a program and the educational vision of Stacy Phelps. The financial audit will come out in early December. That will hopefully answer questions for all of us.

  39. Bob Newland 2015-11-28

    This is the sound of at least one person applauding Darla Drew Lerdal.

  40. Donald Pay 2015-11-28

    I don’t think DDs credibility is in question, nor is the good work that was being done by many folks in GEAR UP. The program needs to continue, but they do need to find out what went wrong with the business end of things and fix it. Certainly, no-bid contracting has to be wrung out of the process. The structure needs to change, in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean the work shouldn’t go on. I’m not sure why they would automatically fire folks who weren’t involved in the financial shenanigans.

  41. Bill Dithmer 2015-11-28

    Its been over forty years since I met DD the first time at the Hic Hop Tavern in Kadoka. If iremember right the name of that band was Straw Dogs.

    She was quality then and I’ve seen nothing to change my mind, she is still the same person.

    The Blindman

  42. Curt 2015-11-28

    Thank you DD for your insight posted above and for your good works with GEAR-UP (and elsewhere). Please allow me to add my virtual ‘hug’ to those you rec’d along the way. Many of us – probably more than you will ever know – are grateful for your good works. I think you are proof that this apparently corrupt system has swallowed whole many good people and over-shadows much of this program’s good intentions and positive contributions.
    I truly hope this is not the last we will hear from you … unless you refer only to comments posted on this site. Either way, thank you.

  43. Porter Lansing 2015-11-28

    It’s understandable why Republicans want “small government”. When there’s money allocated to help people, Republicans know they don’t have the will power to stay away from it, even though it’s unethical to take a big chunk for overpriced admin. fees and costs.
    Kind of like the fanatical position Lynn takes on Medical marijuana. She knows if it’s around she won’t be able to resist, so it’s better to take away normal people’s choices than face the certainty of a personal disciplinary lapse in control…a backslide, if you will.

  44. bearcreekbat 2015-11-28

    Thank you for your hard work helping Native students Darla. Your efforts give us hope for our community.

  45. Porter Lansing 2015-11-28

    The overt analogy is … Teenage boys are reckless drivers so no one should be able to own a car.

  46. Les 2015-11-28

    Thanks for coming back Darla. It was an unfair, uninformed attack on you made in haste I hope.

    I also hope everyone understands the difference between Darla at 43,000 fulltime and consultants at hundreds if not thousands of dollars per hour.

  47. Whither 2015-11-28

    I heartily echo all the kind words about Darla Drew. No doubt South Dakota, especially our Native population, will be lesser without her good work in this arena.

    But Don Pay, I wonder what candy-colored fantasy world you inhabit when you say: “Certainly, no-bid contracting has to be wrung out of the process.” Certainly not, unless you can show us what has transpired to change the status quo in Pierre.

    And then, ever heard of scapegoating? “I’m not sure why they would automatically fire folks who weren’t involved in the financial shenanigans.” You assume those in power operate with some sort of moral compass? You assume right-and-wrong factors into these actions? Eye, y-eye, y-eye.

    I’m not sure why, in two separate corruption webs, South Dakotans who had the knowledge to take down a whole lot of other people are now dead under suspicious circumstances.

  48. jerry 2015-11-28

    Thanks for answering Spike’s question on your salary. It also seems that Michael Weyland had a couple of points to bring out that should be of concern with exactly how that money was utilized.

    ” (2) Every federal GEAR UP dollar is supposed to be matched by a state/local dollar. So a $22 million grant (direct costs) from the feds becomes a $44 million program. Start looking at how many kids and families were/are actually served using that $44 million in resources, and the return on investment (ROI)/”bang for the buck” becomes even more disappointing.”

    So if I am clear on this, 1/2 of the salaries and expenses were paid by the taxpayers of the state of South Dakota and the other half by taxpayers of the United States, us included. Weyland is correct in asking the question about how many students got served for this $44 million of taxpayer dollars? When was that presented to the legislature for the approval this $22,000,000.00 and how was it appropriated? Did I miss that in the past posts? As working folks like Ms. Drew getting the salary she received and for good cause, it seems like there was a lot of money that has not been accounted for. There is a huge difference between 43,000.00 and 44 million.

  49. Les 2015-11-28

    Just 3 zero’s, Jer.

    BTW, how about an apology for your impatience to Darla?

  50. Michael Wyland 2015-11-28

    I’ve addressed the possibility of the feds requiring SD to repay previously granted funds in another thread on GEAR UP. Briefly, it’s possible but highly unlikely. The issue of inadequate match is trickier.

    Much of the GEAR UP matching funds are presumed to be in-kind (non-cash) support like time spent by personnel at the 38 schools served by the program and any materials and other costs paid for by the grant’s partners, including the schools, MCEC, SDSMT, and the banks providing education and materials on scholarship assistance.

    Intentionally overvaluing matching support, such as the software, is serious owing to the dollar amount apparently involved. The most likely remedy would be for the feds to reduce the annual grant award going forward to reflect the recalculated matching funds.

    Again, it’s rare for the feds to require refunds or to indict specific individuals for embezzlement of federal grant funds. The real “death penalty” (think NCAA football) is when the feds designate your agency as ineligible to receive federal grants because you’ve failed to handle previously-awarded grants well.

  51. jerry 2015-11-28

    So maybe nothing will become of this program here because we are to corrupt to manage it, correct Mr. Weyland? Just like the EB-5 and being named one of the most corrupt states in the nation, they deny grant and programs because of it. No one goes to jail and not one person is punished except for loosing their jobs, then we move on to another program to steal from until the next mysterious death.

  52. David Newquist 2015-11-28

    The GEAR UP program was announced by Pres. Clinton in his 1998 State of the Union speech:

    Proposal: “I also ask this Congress to support our efforts to enlist colleges and universities to reach out to disadvantaged children, starting in the 6th grade, so that they can get the guidance and hope they need so they can know that they, too, will be able to go on to college.” [President Clinton, State of the Union Address, January 27, 1998]

    Result: The legislation launches a new national effort, incorporating the President’s High Hopes for College initiative, to help disadvantaged students prepare for college. Called GEAR UP, this program provides competitive grants to colleges that partner with high-poverty middle schools and the community to tell families early about the financial aid that is available for college, and then to provide long-term mentoring, tutoring, and other assistance to make the dream of college a reality. Grants are also provided to states to encourage broad efforts to provide early information and counseling about college opportunities.

    It was included in the revisions to the 1965 Higher Education by Sens. Ted Kennedy and Tom Daschle, with the House help of Dick Gephart and others. This occurred during my last two years as a full-time college faculty member, and we faculty who had native American students and were acquainted with the tribal colleges were part of a concerted effort to get this bill passed.

    It is unfortunate that those people who contrived ways to diver funds from direct efforts with students have tarnished this program. As someone who has participated in the administration of quite a few grant-funded programs over the years, I cannot understand how the evaluation of the program passed muster. If you read the evaluation of the program you will either be appalled or confounded by the pretentious jargon and phony applications of regression analysis. Much of the evaluation is based upon opinion questionaires, which may merit some minor mention, but do not get at substantive indicators of where and how the program benefitted students. There are evaluators who know how to set up substantive measures that can show what works and what doesn’t with such programs. Instead the program has wasted away in South Dakota through a maze of parasitical corporations and consultants. Those people who did honest and effective work as the program intended are cast in the shadow of devotees of graft who shape the character of this state.

  53. jerry 2015-11-28

    Dr. Newquist, what is troubling to me is that there are people here in South Dakota that could handle this program effectively and honestly. But it comes down to party. If you are the right political party, then you get to run programs. It does not matter if you qualify or if you do not, you get the plum. Some of these outlaws violated their contracts with existing taxpayer funded employers to feed at the trough. So far, they remain employed and we all go along with our business and they hope like hell it blows over. Corruption rules here and nothing can be done about it as the vein runs to deep here to fix unless you nationalize the state to rid the outlaws. Maybe martial law at the top would make the most sense.

  54. Les 2015-11-28

    There are good folks in either party that could run this honestly and competently, Jerry. To say otherwise is undeniable bs. To say any of the competent/honest folks from either party will get to is probably an undeniable no.

  55. jerry 2015-11-28

    So where are these competent good folk Les? As the news reports, there seems to be a lack of competent honest folk to run anything. We hear the bullshit from the republicans that say that there is not a problem in their governance while millions slip away to preferred providers of high party stature. This Gear Up was to empower the underprivileged but it seems to have missed the mark on that. My suggestion would be to look for honest competent folks on the reservations that were supposed to be served. There could be something like the Tribal Chairman’s Boards that could work within their reservations for the right combination of people to insure success with these young potentials. The state looks like it did not contribute a dime to this so the tribes should not be expected to do that either. The political party in charge in South Dakota has failed and that ain’t undeniable bs. It is long past time to pass these types of programs to the people who the programs are supposed to assist, the reservations themselves.

  56. Curt 2015-11-28

    Les –
    Please go back and re-read your last post. You state that “there are good folks in either party …”. Well, thanks. The fact remains that one party in SD jealously controls all the levers of power and steadfastly denies – apparently with a straight face – that they have been corrupted by the absolute power they wield.
    The task at hand now is to ferret out the wrong-doing and the evil-doers. Think that will happen? Anyone who does is either naïve or ignorant.

  57. Les 2015-11-29

    I look at the last two elections in Rapid City and believe that power structure change can happen statewide, Curt.

    I have less faith in our system than I did 30 years ago but it is what we have to work with. If it won’t change with its own rules, eventually the people will rise to change it for them.

    As a rebublican, if I don’t fit the mold of of the Dems here, completely, I am labeled the problem. Without knowing how I vote I am judged.

    The SD Dems here would not waste a vote on a good GOP but rather continue the losing streak to save face. No different than the uninformed pub voters straight ticket. You all are the problem.

  58. Oldhag 2015-11-29

    Darla, you are not the only person to have received an electronic dismissal on a MCEC grant project after working for fair/reasonable salary and doing long hard hours of work in reservation schools due to the actions or lack thereof of Guericke. This is certainly not his first rodeo and he cares not the consequences of his actions, but he still rockin solid as an ED…why? Anyone want to venture a guess?

    Mr. Wyland knows the most important thing in these grants is that they not spend more than what they have identified as being available to spend in the grant in addition to the being in compliance with the match. That means there isn’t $182k to pay for gibberish BS by the likes of Melmer, Duncan, Kuhn or ANYONE.

    What causes massive cognitive dissonance for me is that now a different partner of the original gang is going to magically have the match, the BOR, if they had the match as one of the partners, why didn’t they provide it? The entirety of the project requires the match, not just MCEC. Since the BOR is now going to magically turn this around, where are they getting the funds? If they had them previously, they as a partner should have been putting them up and there would be no more match issues end of that pile of crap!

    Anybody reading this ever think about how much time it would have taken Scott to embezzle amounts of $$$ to build what he had on his property? That alone would have taken a genius accounting mind with all the other eyes and counter signatures required etc..
    When you look at what was intended by Melmer and Moore et al with the Race to the Top funding for AIII, did someone offer/guarantee Scott a bundle of $$$ and that is what he built the lavish everything for his kids and others’ kids? Was that when this all went south? Why did the folks around Platte hear from Scott as an explanation of how he was able to build all of the expensive buildings that he had “done well in under-armor”? Who was it he felt supported his back side?

    What year did he build his home and the gym?
    When Moore got in trouble in DC for sending projects to PerGroup, it went to All Native Inc. in Winnebago, who then subcontracted it back to PerGroup, so BFD. The beat just goes and on and on and no one will ever go to jail for this theft of taxpayers $$$$$ or deaths of innocent children.

  59. Porter Lansing 2015-11-29

    Hi, Les …
    It’s none of my business, and if it’s personal don’t answer but I’m curious. Why are you a Republican? No disclaimers or preaching from me; just a question.

  60. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Les is like every South Dakota Democrat: he isn’t a delegate, candidate or office holder, should be registered in the earth hater party because SDDP must end the primary process and choose their nominees at the state convention.

  61. jerry 2015-11-29

    Oldhag, That circle game with the All Native Inc and PerGroup should be a BFD. All Native Inc is not a charity so why would they do the work and then “subcontract” it back to the corrupted PerGroup that already got its hands slapped dealing with Moore unless they are all in on the grift. Thinking of what Mr. Weyland has posted and what you have, Scott would have had a very difficult time getting these funds for his castle projects without help. That may have been the white pickup with the trailer that we have a picture of. The Platte episode has more to it that a so called suicide that was a quick to put out to the media as Benda’s was. Scott must have had a contractor to build his projects, maybe he can shed some light on how he was paid or maybe there may have been a bank involved, if so, who got the the insurance money from the estate. Sometimes the banks ask for insurance to cover the potential loss if you die.

  62. oldguy7850 2015-11-29

    What I don’t understand is why is it so hard to just follow the money trail and all will be cleared up. Look at Scott’s tax returns that will tell you if/when he had a big capital gains. I sure hope the money trail is released. This whole thing makes me sick.

  63. Les 2015-11-29

    Larry is one of few that has managed to understand as Flem puts it, my thoughts behind my inability to construct a sentence.

    I was a dem longer than many here have probably been alive. I was raised by a father who was personally friends with McGovern and traveled to support the Kennedys, personally meeting them along the way. When I changed parties, though the dem party had left me, that was not the reason for my exit.

    I watched Janklow and Walter Dale primary and I was left without a choice. I knew then if I was to be a part of the process that South Dakotans are held to with a one party system, I needed to be involved in primary voting with the only party to generally hold a primary.

    Contrary to the most vocal here, I am neither hard left nor hard right.

    That possibly only one person here can understand assures me the party of few will continue it’s same futile attack.

    Thanks for the kind approach, Porter.

  64. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Les is right, i constructed a horrible sentence.

  65. Lynn 2015-11-29

    As an Independent it would be better to work within the Republican Party for change here in South Dakota unless you wish to waste votes. There is no competition or other serious options and won’t be for a long time unless something drastic occurs which is highly doubtful.

  66. leslie 2015-11-29

    what’s the big mystery? you label yourself a republican, talk like a republican, suggest dems dilute their values, be coy about who you vote for, and then gripe for as long as I have been reading you about being judged?

  67. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    An unaffiliated voter is one who believes in nothing.

  68. Les 2015-11-29

    As I said, leslie, the dem party left me. I hold beliefs from both sides of the system. Is something you are incapable of accepting?

  69. Bill Fleming 2015-11-29

    I wholeheartedly agree that oftentimes Mr. Kurtz has an uncanny knack for finding meaning in places where in fact there is none there. ?

  70. Porter Lansing 2015-11-29

    Right on, Les.

  71. Les 2015-11-29

    If nothing more, I drew Flem out with an original thought instead of a Wiki link. And a good one at that!

    Sorry, leslie, nothing coy about me. I choose not to lure you into the abyss and live with the results.

  72. Lynn 2015-11-29

    Looking forward to the next report from the SoS office to see how many more South Dakota registered voters have decided not to register as Democrats. Its been a steady decline month after month after month for a long time. Last report 11/2/2015 the SD Dems were at 170,444 which is down 35,642 since 2009. Those registered as Independents have grown fairly steady and the SDGOP has held on pretty steady but with a far better party infrastructure. SDDP? Life support.

  73. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    On the other hand, Lynn makes a stopped clock seem well maintained.

  74. jerry 2015-11-29

    Les, I will take a stab at reading between your lines.

    “I watched Janklow and Walter Dale primary and I was left without a choice. I knew then if I was to be a part of the process that South Dakotans are held to with a one party system, I needed to be involved in primary voting with the only party to generally hold a primary.”

    To me, you could see the future and the future dictate that you might go hungry without joining the party. Sometimes, if you want the contract, you have to dance with the devil.

  75. grudznick 2015-11-29

    Who’s fault is the current, and adequate, one-party system? The Democrats.

  76. jerry 2015-11-29

    No Mr. Grudznick, the fault is corruption.

  77. grudznick 2015-11-29

    Mr. Jerry, I am confused by your statement that the fault is corruption. Are you saying:

    1) The Democrats, whose failures created the current, adequate, one-party system, are responsible for any perceived corruption today

    2) Corruption in the old, adequate, two-party system created today’s current, adequate, one-party system?

  78. jerry 2015-11-29

    So sorry for the confusion, but it was just a one liner.

    1. The Democrats as noted by Les, could see the writing on the wall with Janklow and the way he was the bull in the china shop since his first days in government. They knew the gig was up regarding them ever having a shot at the governor’s job or any power at all. After the Butler neutering by the republican legislature, it was made without doubt. Time to be a well centered republican or an indie. The old guard republicans were just to mystified by the whole thing and have chosen to ignore the corruption.

    2. Corruption has always existed in poliitics Mr. Grudznick. But your party has taken it to rock star adequacy. The level in which these outlaws work is truly a marvel. They probably have deals with undertakers to remove valuables from cadavers in exchange for being a part of the big grift.

    Nothing surprises me with your party Mr. Grudznick, you guys take the cake, literally.

  79. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    good eye, jerry.

    i watched it from spearditch in ’94 when rich haar left homestake, jacked up real estate prices and white retirees from somewhere else began displacing the democrats fleeing the californication of lawrence county.

  80. grudznick 2015-11-29

    Everybody likes cake.

  81. Lynn 2015-11-29

    Grudz, Does it seem like it is always and completely blamed on the Republican Bogeymen or Women? Never accepting responsibility or looking inward as to why they are losing registered voters month after month, losing elections statewide every cycle, not having money or hardly a fundraising ability, no party infrastructure, many counties without any party officials? corruption? It’s all those darn SDGOPers fault!

  82. bearcreekbat 2015-11-29

    Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like it does not really matter in the general election whether a voter is registered Republican, Democrat or Independent. What matters is how the voter votes.

    For example, assume for the sake of argument that I am a long time registered Republican who objects to the views of current Republican candidates such as:

    – seeking to turn our government into a Christian theocracy;

    – demonizing immigrants and the poor;

    – denying human caused climate warming and opposing policies to address the scientifically proven problem for future generations;

    – refusing to accept a woman’s Constitutional right to decide whether to use birth control or terminate an unwanted of medical dangerous pregnancy, and supporting laws that will effectively block the exercise of these Constitutional rights;

    – opposing a livable minimum wage for workers;

    – opposing private unions that could increase bargaining rights for workers for safe working conditions and a living wage;

    – demonizing men, women and children refugees from Syria and South America;

    – supporting a fascist style police state that proposes to – (1) round up and deport millions of people and break up their families, (2) deny citizenship to children born to immigrant parents in America, (3) register and monitor members of the wrong religion and people who’s ideas are deemed radical (like Martin Luther King’s ideas were);

    – failing for year after year to correct the teacher pay problem;

    – being so gun crazy that they object to even minor regulation despite the mass killings in our theaters, colleges, high schools, malls, etc;

    – allowing our roads and infrastructure to deteriorate; and

    – opposing meaningful governmental ethics oversight despite widespread nepotism and abuse of our tax dollars by the friends and relatives of Republican leaders.

    Since current Republican candidates support all or many of these positions I decide to vote for all Democrats. In this case, my Republican party registration doesn’t appear to harm Democrats in any way.

    I can understand a desire to vote in the Republican primary just in case some rational candidate (like Tsitrian) runs as a Republican. As a registered Republican I can try to get such a candidate nominated over one who hates government, does not want to pay his or her fair share of taxes, and opposes help for South Dakotans in need.

    In such circumstances I am unclear why my registration as a Republican would hurt Democrats in any way, so long as I vote for rational Democrats over crazy right wingers in the general election.

  83. mike from iowa 2015-11-29

    Good post,bcb. Wingnuts-what’s there to like? How does anyone with a conscience ever vote for these guys?

  84. leslie 2015-11-29

    4/5’s of the SD House are repubs, 2/3’s of the senate are too, plus all the elected administration; and 4/5’s of rapid city council plus the mayor are repubs.

    all of the county commissioner’s are too, except deb haddcock seems to have potential.

    this is simply a holdover from our conservative/ag/Indian-hating past. Spencer, an educator, exemplifies how his racist past is propagated in our youth today.

    PenDems took the step of publically supporting the Lakota name change of Harney Peak, a symbolic issue that illustrates the above divide. So did SDDP.

    Darla is making a difference as an elected official. I look forward to her progress. I hope Stacey Phelps and his leadership had nothing to do with the state’s audited failure to pay attention to MCEC.

    I hope Rounds, Duagaard, Jackley , Tidemann and the Banking Commission, Regents and others that participated in the EB5 fraud are tarred and feathered.

    Hillsilly Grudz is locked in the past, fears the Indians taking back what is theirs, and uses distraction to waste our time.

    Les is butt-hurt; Porter was apparently a colleague of Russell Means so he trumpets that cred, and also looks down on us from on high in Colorado where mass shootings are rampant; Lynn is co-dependent and loves to give it to us dems here every month when the registration numbers come in.

    there might be hope for assistance in the good resistance from the latter three.

    I blame democrat Brendan Johnson for failing to take joop’s bull by the horns for the sake of his political future unless USCIS action was orchestrated with his involvement.

    If SDGOP still administratively hides the MCEC ball, we need to metaphorically “burn the capitol down”.

  85. jerry 2015-11-29

    Nothing to correct bearcreekbat. In my opinion what the drives the voters is the media. The ad slicks that jamb your mailboxes with the boogeyman dem armed with an AK47, waving a black flag and looking sinister, while the chosen outlaw flavor of the day is presented with an angelic face, eating apple pie and sitting in a pew. The narrator asks, who do you want to represent you?

    Weiland was catching up to EB Rounds and they were getting close when Weiland had some kind of come to Jesus moment and stopped the outside spending for ads. He fell like an anvil. Money rules the vote. Weiland proved you can win if you have the moolah and the message. Rounds had the moolah as well, but he did not have any message whatsoever, it was one of the poorest campaigns his money could buy. The only thing he had going for his sorry ass was the fact that he was deep in corrupted officials in his past leadership and current one under Daugaard so he had messengers to convey that if he lost, they may loose their gravy train as well.

  86. Lynn 2015-11-29

    leslie ever go to a SDDP Central Comittee meeting recently? If not go there and look at all the empty tables and chairs representing all the counties. It must be stressful wondering if you have enough people there to have a quorum each time.

  87. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Few have ever thought Pat Powers was right about anything but he sure is spot on when it comes to Paula Hawks.

    Hawks’ sputtering campaign has been trolling me for money but she has said exactly zero about what most Democrats and young voters want to hear. Unless she says at least something about getting cannabis off Schedule 1 or says something new or refreshing her campaign is doomed.

    If she had had any brains she would have focused on the Statehouse instead of jousting at a well-funded actress like Kristi Noem.

    Whining about Republicans while offering no alternatives is evidence of stupidity not leadership. As my dad would have said, “she’s dead from the ass both ways.”

    The South Dakota Democratic Party should abandon the primary process and nominate their candidates at the state convention.

    Poop or get off the pot, Paula.

  88. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Rep. Hawks is coasting when she should be plowing some road. Either she breaks some trail during the session or her campaign for US House is a joke.

    Cannabis It certainly is an issue that energizes both sides especially at a time when voter turnouts are at historic lows. But Hawks isn’t offering anything new and has ignored President Obama, you know, that guy who leads the Democratic Party?

    She could at least talk about what she’s hearing from voters of all stripes but even her social media is flickering even though she has raised a little money.

    She has nothing to lose by being revolutionary.

  89. jerry 2015-11-29

    Good article Mr. Kurtz, what more needs to be said, if you want to have contracts with the big boys, you must pay to play. When you deal with taxpayer money, there is no better way to corrupt that being able to play with your friends. You can meet with them and tell them that they will need to put in some loot in the cash box for a political contribution. No harm no foul with the only thing being tarnished is democracy, but that concept was so yesterday. It is today that the crooks think of, only today.

  90. Lynn 2015-11-29

    Look at it from the point as a consumer. Has the SDDP shown that they offer value to justify voting and financial support here in South Dakota?

    With everything in the news lately have South Dakotans been flooding phone lines to SDDP HQ with donations and offers to help in whatever way possible?

    Has SDDP placed ads or in social media asking for help at their offices with all the rush on, phone calls, inquiries and donations? No status change if hardly any. It’s impotent and does not offer values/products in line with consumers/voters/donors here in SD.

    It’s better to work within the Republican Party here in SD

  91. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Working with the earth haters in SDGOP that has shat on American Indians since Statehood seems like cutting off Tom Daschle’s nose to spite Pat Powers’ face.

  92. Lynn 2015-11-29

    Waste a vote or try to make a positive difference.

  93. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Look at it from the point as a consumer. Screw me once shame on you, screw me twice shame on Marty Jackley.

  94. grudznick 2015-11-29

    My votes will be counting and counted.

  95. jerry 2015-11-29

    Lynn, I am sorry that you may have missed this as you must be from out of state, but that is what we have been doing here for the last umpteen years is working within the republican party in South Dakota. We have had some success with George Mickelson and Walter Dale Miller as a somewhat moderate governor’s team and some complete failures like Janklow, Rounds and Daugaard. As I have noted, these are the last governors we have had. Your working within the republican party is pretty hollow. The last Democratic governor of South Dakota was in the early 70’s or back when I wore bell bottoms and paisley. Now, I am to fat for bell bottoms and paisley, cursed turkey.

  96. bearcreekbat 2015-11-29

    Jerry, Mickelson’s tenure is a bright spot in an otherwise sad string of Republican governors in SD. I don’t recall Miller having much of an impact either way, but Mickelson is the last Republican governor that reached out to Native folks and tried to improve their lives and the relationship with all South Dakotans.

    The other Republican governors ignored Native needs at best or acted in an openly hostile manner toward Natives (Janklow, in particular). Meanwhile Lynn’s posts generally suggest that she lives in her own private world, which appears to be somewhat immune to factual evidence on policy issues and history, which makes it difficult to give her arguments much credibility.

  97. Lynn 2015-11-29

    “you must be from out of state” I am a 4th generation South Dakotan and reside here along with many of my friends and family. The SDDP is not the vehicle for change. It is ineffective and with the direction that party is going it is only going to get worse.

  98. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    The spectre of Janklow operatives sabotaging Governor Mickelson’s plane still haunts me. Anyone saying they are fourth generation South Dakotans is complicit to genocide.

  99. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    SDDP will be a vehicle of change when revolutionaries commandeer the party.

  100. happy camper 2015-11-29

    Granted I’ve said it repeatedly, but be blind to the bell curve at your peril. South Dakota is what it is so it’s vital to know AND ACCEPT current demographics, and where they are willing to go (how much they’re willing to pay). We make political decisions as a combination of not so different but hopefully right choice of bicycle: criteria (down to the number of teeth per sprocket if you’re a gear head), the narrative (user reviews), and emotion (man I sure like that red one) which must explain Trump.

    You ain’t never gonna get a named socialist to win this state. Authentic, that person must be, but study the demographics ad nauseam and present a viable candidate. Then, maybe you’ll get some votes!!!

  101. jerry 2015-11-29

    Yes, governor Mickelson was a bright spot for sure. I met him in Pierre, which was not to difficult to do as he was pretty accessible for the job he had. Good memories. Speaking of memories, my memory tells me Lynn that you spoke of being in places with a huge number of drug overdoses and drug usage, where in South Dakota are you from? Are you not the same Lynn that speaks to us all about the evil cannabis?

  102. Lynn 2015-11-29


    Besides the other phone calls others and I have been making I have been visiting with a few of our Republican legislators. We have had sincere, respectful conversations in that in many instances share the same goals. They shared with me where they were coming from and the info they had and it really helped me understand. It’s not all the negative hype put out there.

  103. bearcreekbat 2015-11-29

    Lynn’s Republicans have focused on getting votes by whatever method possible since at least 1968. They use fear, dog whistles, and make false statements to seek the support of racists, fundamentalists and other crazies. Lynn’s theory for SD Democrats seems to echo that strategy, namely lie about who you are and what you believe to trick people into supporting your candidates.

    Although it may be a losing strategy in the short term, I think it better to be honest about who you are and what policies you advocate. By focusing on policy, rather than trying to trick the racists, haters and crazies to vote for your party ticket, you might alienate this group, but in the long run do you really want to encourage such hostile attitudes toward people and our government by pretending that you share those views?

    Lynn’s arguments are classical Republican themes to win elections, rather than make positive policy improvements that actually benefit the people in your state. I have always doubted the argument that rotten lying means justify any positive ends.

  104. Lynn 2015-11-29


    If you look back at my comments you will see that I have lived and traveled throughout the United States besides living in my home state of South Dakota.

  105. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Phone sex is the mother’s milk of South Dakota politics, for sure.

  106. jerry 2015-11-29

    So you are no longer a resident, just someone who used to live here. I get it.

  107. Lynn 2015-11-29


    Take your time and look up above where I posted that I reside here along with my friends and family members here in South Dakota. Went to college here, moved out of state to various placed here in the US and traveled throughout and came back to SD. SD was always home base. Read this over and over again. Take some time away and read it again in the morning. It’s ok.

  108. jerry 2015-11-29

    bearcreekbat, I always enjoyed the dog whistle that came with every election that Johnson or Daschle was ever involved with. The tired buying votes on the reservations. Each time the empty attorney general would trot out and say that they were going to investigate the wrongdoing. White voters would get the message that come hell or high water, they were gonna get on down and vote. Daschle was defeated and Johnson would have been as well had he not had a stroke.

  109. happy camper 2015-11-29


    In this state Republicans know their demographics: South Dakotans don’t like abortion, gay marriage, or pot. Ring that bell and they’ll come a runnin. We were one of the last states to allow women’s right to vote. Don’t look for South Dakota to embrace gay issues. Politicians will just tell you what you want to hear.

  110. jerry 2015-11-29

    Ah yes, just like a crow, you migrate.

  111. Porter Lansing 2015-11-29

    South Dakota Democrats have much more to be proud of than the Republic Party. You’re also USA Democrats and this has been a substantial, red-meat two terms. BRAVO LIBERALS … That y’all live in a place where the majority is continually on the wrong side of history and embraces the selfish values Lynn listed is a testimony of Democratic Party tenacity. You live where you love to live but you can always believe in what’s right.

  112. happy camper 2015-11-29

    Who wouldn’t: “American Crows can be considered partially migratory. That is, some populations migrate, others are resident, and in others only some of the crows migrate. Crows in the southern parts of their range appear to be resident and not migrate. They may make some changes in their use of space at this time, spending more time off the territory to forage and roost. Crows migrate out of the northern most parts of their range. It has been stated that crows migrate out of those areas where the minimum January temperature averages 0 ° F.”

    If nothin else it’s too damn cold here.

  113. Lynn 2015-11-29


    I know and am skeptical about many things. It is what it is but what will go further in advancing positive change? Having a polite, tactful and private conversation or many of the negative things that go on here? Bull in a China Shop/Plow the Road no matter what or who is in the way? lol

  114. bearcreekbat 2015-11-29

    Jerry, it is truly disheartening to recall the manner in which Republicans (other than Mickelson Republicans) dog whistled SD racists about so-called lazy Native takers who supposedly are lazy drunks who just want government handouts.

    Although such stereotyping is both false and obnoxious, this kind of BS seems to be what Lynn apparently is arguing that SD Democrats ought to engage in to win votes, namely, join in the Republican stereotyping of our Native friends and neighbors in an effort to capture the racist vote in our state. Can you say wolf in sheep’s clothing?

  115. happy camper 2015-11-29

    This blog does not make up the South Dakota landscape. The comments here are not a mirror of this state. In fact I would argue it is a much more Libertarian state than it is labeled. We are all Libertarian to some extent, but from a Libertarian perspective Republicans appear to be more in lined with their own values. Our ancestors settled this harsh lonely state, but they also needed one another. Built barns together. There will always be a push pull.

  116. Les 2015-11-29

    This is a level I’ve not previously seen from you bear.

  117. Rod Hall 2015-11-29

    The comments have drifted so far from what Angela and Darla were concerned about that further comments should be closed!

  118. jerry 2015-11-29

    Crows are usually pretty smart too, there may be one exception. For the most part, crows know one word of English that seems to come from our New England states. If you see some of them along the roadways eating roadkill, there is always one that is on the lookout. When it sees a car approaching it states “Caw” “Caw” “Caw” in quick succession. This warns the rest to fly away from the roadkill until the car departs. I was wearing my bell bottoms/paisley shirt combo when I observed that.

  119. happy camper 2015-11-29

    From my recollection I suspect Lynn is quite an independent sort so she sees drugs as leading to dependence. Dependence is never good goal. Interdependence is the healthy thing. I see people in wheel chairs stacking shelves at our community thrift store (which I must admit I was totally against). It’s not all take or all give.

  120. Lynn 2015-11-29


    What I posted above was mentioned by both of us in a conversation with a legislator this past week.

  121. Jenny 2015-11-29

    I wouldn’t even bother with larry and his brother jerry, Lynn. And now Bearcreekbat is starting to be rude. They’re not worth your time when their dysfunctionalism starts up. Larry is the worst and needs help the most, but would be much to arrogant to ever get it.

    I do agree with much of what you mentioned about the SDDP. Frankly, I really do think that the better educated SD Dems that could have made things happen have all left the state for greener pastures, and I don’t blame them!
    What I’ve been saying all along is Minnehaha county is where the immigrant minorities are and they would love to be invited to a Dem meeting, educated on voter registration. You’d be surprised how many of them are interested and excited to be able to vote for the first time in America.

  122. bearcreekbat 2015-11-29

    Les, I hear you. My conservative values have been upended by what is going on today in the Republican party of Trump and our very own SD leadership. The good news for Trump and SD Republican supporters is that absent a major brain transplant or reconfiguration (reboot in modern terms) my head will soon explode and render me incompetent to make further comments (although I honestly doubt that my comments matter to anyone, especially Lynn who refuses to even acknowledge my existence – lol).

  123. Lynn 2015-11-29

    Rod we are talking about the only vehicle for change at the present time here in South Dakota so it does relate to what has been commented above. Otherwise people can whine all they want but nothing will happen well unless they like to whine.

  124. happy camper 2015-11-29

    Crows are very smart birds! Lynn reminds me of one-issue abortion voters. There’s a reason she is so obsessed with the topic: Her observation says it leads to very serious problems. I get that but just don’t agree. When people make their own decisions, good things come from that. But they also have to be responsible for those decisions so to the greatest extent reasonable we have to let them.

  125. bearcreekbat 2015-11-29

    Hi Jenny, thanks for acknowledging my existence. My apologizes if my comments appear rude to you. My intent is to try to support positive policies for SD citizens and if I have made counterproductive and inappropriate statements I deserve your criticism. I just hope SD liberals will be honest about their goals, even if this alienates the faction of the Republican party that Lynn supports.

  126. Lynn 2015-11-29


    Once again thank you! Despite BCB trying to bait me over and over again I ignored him a long time ago. Not worth the time. It is sad what is happening here in South Dakota and the self destructive course the SDDP is on but one has to adapt and do what they can to make a positive difference.

    Jenny we could talk about the dynamics that go on here but I think you catch where I’m going with this. Perhaps one of my future trips to the Cities. lol

  127. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    You rock, bat. You, too jerry.

  128. Lynn 2015-11-29


    Not sure if your younger or older than I or what stories we could share when we lived out of state but have seen some bad things that started with one issue I feel strongly about. Like Tony Harrison mentioned it wasn’t a problem with everyone but for some it started with it. Something like that. I could look for the exact quote but close enough. I witnessed too many bad things as a friend, neighbor, co-worker and family member.

  129. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Cue the short guy: Cory?

  130. happy camper 2015-11-29

    Who cares about the Democratic Party? We just need good decisions. And while I’ve tried to hold my tongue (not something I’m partially good at), I’ll just say it: We’re talking about responsibility here. This whole conversation. Gear Up is way too late in the game. These kids need a positive home life and a solid structure. Have you ever heard of preventive maintenance? You can’t erase 17 or 18 years of poor preparation for so many of these kids. And then throw money at the problem and think good things will come from that. It’s by and large too late by then. When you have big programs there’s always someone there to suck up the money. More needs to be done very early on.

  131. Lynn 2015-11-29


    “their dysfunctionalism” Isn’t that the truth! lol

  132. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    It IS sad what is happening in South Dakota. It’s time to make the state safe for Democrats again.

  133. happy camper 2015-11-29

    It’s time to make this state safe from Larry Kurtz.

  134. happy camper 2015-11-29

    Kurtz is a blog terrorist with too many sympathizers.

  135. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    See you in January, Pierre.

  136. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    Launching attacks from behind the pseudonymous curtain has killed DWC: hope DFP won’t suffer the same royal flush.

  137. bearcreekbat 2015-11-29

    Lynn, if by bait you, you mean I tried to address the problems with your arguments, then I guess I plead guilty. As for you, I understand it is easier to avoid talking about such problems than trying to address them. But that is not a problem as that is your absolute right. You go girl, as it matters not who is harmed by the policies you support as you have freedom to express whatever fact free opinions you feel that make your pickle squirt.

  138. happy camper 2015-11-29

    There’s a travel ban against “Progressive Libertarians” residing in New Mexico.

  139. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    hey, camp? nothing about your life is happy. go find something to do.

  140. happy camper 2015-11-29

    Hey just made popcorn. Kurtz, you are singly the most offensive and irrelevant person to reside on the South Dakota stratosphere.

  141. larry kurtz 2015-11-29

    It will be interesting to see which legislator has the courage to plow the road into the sewer breach in Pierre. Anyone? Bernie?

  142. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-29

    Good grief. Cannabis is the new Godwin’s Law for this blog: the first person to invoke cannabis on a post that has nothing to do with cannabis loses the argument and ends the thread. I’m really sick of it. Start your own darned pot blog.

  143. jerry 2015-11-29

    Duly noted Cory, sorry about that.

  144. bearcreekbat 2015-11-30

    A couple observations. After Cory’s warning about raising unrelated marijuana arguments I checked my posts and am satisfied I did not do that.

    I was also concerned about jenny’s statement that I my comments about Lynn’s arguments were becoming rude. I looked back and am unsure what jenny thinks was rude.

    As I understood Lynn’s comments, she was arguing that SD Democrats have to become more like Republicans to win elections.

    Then I asserted that in SD after George Mickelson died, SD Republicans abandoned his efforts at reaching out to Natives. I opined that the SD Republican party has racists who would vote for people who echoed their racist ideas with classical “dog whistle” statements aimed at pushing the stereotype of Natives as lazy drunks.

    Jenny, you certainly can disagree with my assessment, but I do not understand why you think I was “rude” to Lynn by making this argument. As Lynn as told you, she will not even discuss an issue with me because she apparently finds me obnoxious and offensive. When I try to discuss an issue with her, she thinks I am trying to “bait” her.

    Jenny, I have always enjoyed your comments and felt that you had a good grasp of the issues you discuss. I have tried to be respectful to Lynn and other bloggers, but have been willing to call out ideas that I disagreed with. Lynn wants nothing to do with me, so I will respect that and stop trying to engage her in any discussion. But when she expresses opinions that I disagree with or are based on factual fantasy, I will point that out.

    And I stand by my initial comment at 2015-11-26 at 12:30 that Darla Drew Lerdal is credible and has devoted her career to making people happy and helping kids succeed. She deserves thanks rather than criticism for her efforts in the GEAR-UP program. As Walter Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is.”

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