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Interim Business Manager Resigns from Mid-Central Educational Cooperative

Who’s keeping the books at scandal-plagued Mid-Central Educational Cooperative? Not Stephanie Hubers. Appointed October 8 as interim business manager, Hubers announced Sunday that she has resigned from Mid-Central:

Steph Strehlow-Hubers, Facebook post, 2016.01.24
Steph Strehlow-Hubers, Facebook post, 2016.01.24

Given that Mid-Central’s ending monthly balance has dropped to a five-year low below $43,000, only 5.7% of average monthly payroll and accounts payable in 2015, with state and federal investigators still reviewing Mid-Central’s allegedly incompetent management of the multi-million-dollar GEAR UP grant and other taxpayer-funded programs, and with the institutional knowledge of its former business manager and assistant business manager lost in the horrible apparent murder/arson/suicide of September 17, now is the worst time for Mid-Central not to have a full-time business manager watching every penny flowing in and out of the cooperative, not to mention minding the records that show what happened to all that money before the auditors and the press started paying attention.


  1. Oldhag 2016-01-27

    Interesting very interesting! I hope she didn’t sign a bunch of paperwork that doesn’t allow her to speak about what she knows.

    Interesting that she needs to clean house, is that metaphorically as well as literally from top-bottom, doubt that is a Freudian slip!

  2. Craig 2016-01-27

    Cory you keep using the term “apparent” when describing the Westerhuis murder/suicide and I feel that is a term that can easily be misunderstood. The evidence and facts of the case led to the determinitation it was in fact a murder/suicide and it seems less credible to call it anything other than it is and your usage of the term suggests you might be inferring an apperance of events or something which may not be necessarily as it appears.

    We don’t talk about SpaceX launching rockets from our apparently flat earth, or claim that the apparent birthplace of President Obama is Hawaii. Word choice and context are important right?

  3. larry kurtz 2016-01-27

    When Marty Jackley is involved ‘apparent’ is more than appropriate.

  4. Fancy Pants 2016-01-27

    I can’t figure out why anyone is still at Mid Central. Pretty sure the balance is so low because all the monies are now being accounted for. First time in forever for that.

    Why do ppl keep questioning if Scott Westerhuis really committed the horrific crime he is accused of? If ppl knew him, they would know he was capable. And there is absolutely no doubt he was guilty of all the millions of embezzling and all the lies he told the whole community about where the money came from to enable his family to live like they did.

  5. 90 Schilling 2016-01-27

    Most SD citizens seem to carry the same doubts, Craig. Too many unanswered questions. Using a suspected rape case to relieve the AG from giving details on Benda, both Benda and Westerhuis deaths certified by the same coroner with no creds?

  6. M.K. 2016-01-27

    “Apparent” is an appropriate term in these cases. Too many unknowns and cross-overs.

  7. Craig 2016-01-27

    I disagree. You can find blogs that are still debating whether JFK was assassinated by the CIA, arguing about which Hollywood studio they believe was involved in filming the moon landings, and those which claim (with some support from former Playboy Playmates) that vaccines cause autism. Just because some people have doubts about commonly accepted fact does not mean we should be less than accurate with our words.

    Cory seems to be more respected than the average blog and that is due in no small part to his adhereance to a certain code of conduct and his focus upon fact rather than fiction. In many ways, Cory is a journalist and editorialist moreso than simply a blogger although I understand the line between the two is often blurry. That said, you won’t find traditional media sources or journalists using terms such as “apparent” to describe these types of events once the investigation has concluded. You might find that type of speak within a Letter to the Editor, but it won’t be in the pages with actual news.

    I know there will always be skeptics who doubt anything the government says and there are more than a fair share of Marty Jackley detractors who would question Jackley’s assertion that the sun rises in the East if it meant they could have another point of disagreement with the man, but most of these voices are hardly what one would consider rational or mainstream.

    Those who beleive in conspiracy theories shouldn’t set the tone. They should be relegated to nothing more than background noise. We are entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts.

  8. Annie 2016-01-27

    Who could blame her? She probably saw the mess “behind the curtain” and decided to get out. I just hope she talks to Angela Kennecke after she leaves and tells what she saw. Hopefully she will be free to talk.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-27

    Perhaps you would prefer that Cory use the word alleged instead of apparent, sounds a little more legal doesn’t it.

    Apparent or alleged, the terms both fit since there have been little no results from any corruption investigations resulting in our justifications to remain skeptics.

  10. jake 2016-01-27

    Craig, ‘apparently’ , like so many would-be intelligents, you don’t pay much attention to newscasters and journalists’ choice of words; count some time their use of words like “could” “may” should” “possible” etc! Cory apparently struck a nerve today with using ‘apparent’ with you.

  11. leslie 2016-01-27

    Craig-EB5 appears fraught w/republican fraud. However liability for defamation is always conceivable until we know. Investigation was stymied to elect R D & J.

    Without knowing who owns the white P/U, prior to Jackley’s MCEC fraud investigation, who can yet say the apparent but horrendous murder arson suicide did not involve Scott’s wife or that fraud is distinct from those early morning hours. U just like to shout down alleged republican conspiracies as an “I told u so.”

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-27

    Craig, may I contend that “apparent” casts less doubt than you suggest and less doubt than Roger’s suggested “alleged”? We can talk about how other people might misunderstand the word (although in a cranky moment, I might say that if I have carefull chosen my words and people misunderstand them, I’ll try to clarify, but those people also need to spend time with a good dictionary), but let’s talk about my word choice first.

    Consider this scenario: our furnace has been malfunctioning. We’ve had several repair calls. The furnace guy came today and tried a new part. I don’t have complete knowledge of my furnace or the mechanical principles of home heating in general, but I look at my thermostat, see the temperature is staying at what we’ve set for once, and I say, “Apparently, the furnace guy fixed it.”

    Today’s repair job appears to be the most logical explanation. I reserve some doubt, because the furnace guy has tried logical solutions before that worked for a while but didn’t prevent the problem from eventually returning. I’m not casting aspersions on my furnace guy (he comes any time, day or night). I’m not advocating or even inviting a conspiracy theory (although maybe Joop Bollen is sneaking into my yard and sticking banana peels in my furnace exhaust vent!). I’m simply making the most positive yet honest assessment of the situation that I can.

    JFK, Benda, Westerhuis—interesting spectrum, and interesting test of belief and faith in evidence. My positions, with some arbitrary numbers more for comparison than rigorous calculation:

    JFK: lone gunman. 98% sure.

    Benda: suicide plausible. 92% sure.

    Westerhuis: snapping mentally, killing entire family—it happens. The evaporating safe is fishy, but no evidence has arisen to support the rumors of another killer. 90% sure.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-27

    Angela Kennecke finds newsworthy Hubers’s resignation and the story I posted yesterday about the new standards contract Sec. Schopp gave to Mid-Central, as demonstrated by the story she posts this afternoon.

  14. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-27

    Surely Craig understands the difference between conspiracy and conspiracy theory.
    There are all kinds of conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination and the moon landing, none have been found credible.
    The Watergate scandal was a conspiracy to cover up the political crimes of Richard Nixon.
    MCEC, the SOS, and EB-5 remain unresolved in the opinion of many voters, we have not gotten complete answers to our questions and there is no attempt by republican politicians to provide them. Conspiracy or conspiracy theory?

  15. Oldhag 2016-01-27

    Wow! Fancy Pants, “apparently” you didn’t read the MCEC audit accounted for all transactions, so unless you are a conspiracy theorist, Scott and Nicole have been cleared from embezzlement!

    You must know a lot about the MCEC financial operations to “apparently” know this is the first time for the monies being fully accounted for or is that a conspirative statement on your part?

    There are a lot of ppl that feel they knew Scott and disagree with you, but you seem adamant the father of 4 could brutally blast each of them and their mother, his wife even if it took re-loading the shot gun while those still alive waited for you to reload, toss them into some bed or another, who cares which bed, then kill himself and burn their home because of the loss of “a contract” that his boss says would not have caused him to lose his job.

    Maybe Scott was so filled with foresight when 1 contract was cancelled that he looked “behind the curtain” and thought, I might as well kill my 4 great kids, wife and self cuz once everyone finds out about all of the conflict of interest contracts, MCEC will be broke and well, I just can’t find another job if MCEC goes broke. I guess he couldn’t see how when one door closes another one opens like his female succcessor. Too bad, poor Scott didn’t know that no one cares about conflict of interest contracts, in fact the more the merrier!

    “ill-logical” Minimally

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-30

    Arguments based on post-mortem non-professional anecdotal psychoanalysis won’t get us very far.

  17. Craig 2016-02-01

    @Roger: The term “alleged” is more appropriate prior to an investigation. Not at all appropriate in this case since for all intents and purposes this case is closed and all evidence supports the conclusion that Scott Westerhuis murdered his family. Legally speaking he isn’t alleged to have done so… he actually did so.

    @Jake: I pay plenty of attention to word choice and know when journalists are trying to spin a story by using specific phrases such as “some people say” etc. That said there are certain things journalists do such as calling someone a suspect prior to their conviction even if there is publicly available video showing them to be guilty of the crime.

    @leslie: There will ALWAYS be unanswered questions in any investigation, but more of them in one like this. You cannot possibly believe we need to wait to make a final determination until we have answers to questions which will never be answered. The evidence points us in one direction and try as some might, they simply don’t have enough to justify looking elsewhere. Occam’s Razor I’m afraid.

    @Cory: Perhaps your word choice was less deliberate than I had originally thought and if you are 90% certain of the official murder/suicide story then that word doesn’t really seem to fit. I fully understand the multiple uses of the term, but in this context it felt as if you were trying to suggest you weren’t buying the results of the state’s investigation. Perhaps I was mistaken.

    @Oldhag: Sometimes people snap. We can’t explain why, but there is always a friend or neighbor who tells us that they were the nicest people and they would never harm a fly. Until they do. What a lot of people who claimed to know Scott think is totally irrelevant. A lot of pitbulls are known to be friendly family lapdogs right up until they take a chunk out of the neighbor kid’s arm too. We would be remiss if we judged the dog only based upon behavior before one tragic event, but it is that tragic event that tells us the true story.

    In any case, “apparently” I struck a nerve.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-01

    Oh, make no mistake, Craig, I use all of my words deliberately. Anything less would be sloppy writing.

  19. leslie 2016-02-02

    craig-don’t flatter yerself. get over yerself.

    apparently yours was the stricken nerve. you fought us then as all a bunch of idiots, but oh no, not you! and you blew right by the question of reliability of law enforcement investigation headed up by a markedly partisan Attorney General Jackley. how deep are your heels in, now?:)

    murder/arson/suicide (most of us agree to this conclusion) — connected–to financial fraud (we don’t know yet, do we?) hopefully we will soon have THOSE final answers.

  20. Craig 2016-02-02

    leslie I typically am only able to understand about 20% of what you write, but even I have to admit your sentence “you fought us then as all a bunch of idiots, but oh no, not you!” registers far below even my normal threshold.

    By the way I’ve never denied that Marty Jackley is partisan. That in itself doesn’t mean that he would compromise an investigation or that his power is sufficient enough to taint the minds of independent investigators. I think you give him far too much credit, and those who toss out such wild and baseless accusations never seem to bother with trying to ask themselves why he would bother. This Westerhuis / MCEC mess is a big issue, but instead of some potential financial corruption harming the ruling party (and we should just admit most South Dakotans don’t seem to care much about financial corruption in our state) now you have the death of an entire family involved which apparently did nothing to reduce the amount of questions surrounding the financial corruption.

    Had it not been for the deaths of the Westerhuis family, chances are nobody would even be paying attention. So no, I have zero reason to suspect this was anything other than what it has been deemed to be. A murder, suicide by a man who obviously wasn’t able to handle the stresses of his life. A tragedy? You bet. A malicious cover-up by state officials? No – and to date there is zero evidence to support such nonsense.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-02

    Craig makes a good point about the publicity surrounding the Westerhuis deaths. If you’re trying to keep corruption quiet in South Dakota, the last thing you want to do is murder an entire family in a close-knit town. Aren’t there easier, subtler ways to knock the legs out from under a potential federal witness than killing him and his family?

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