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Deadwood Mayor Asks Casinos to Close

I’m listening to Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen on South Dakota Public Radio this noon trying to strike a balance between his appointed mission to make everyone want to come to South Dakota and his responsibility as a responsible public official and neighbor to tell everyone to stay home.

Deadwood’s casinos are needing some coaxing to strike that balance. The Deadwood Mountain Grand “suspended operations until further noticelast Friday, but Deadwood Mayor David Ruth, Jr., is having to exhort other casinos to stop providing breeding grounds for more coronavirus:

In a letter to casino operators, Mayor David Ruth Jr. said:

“While I recognize these decisions are difficult and impact many employees and their families, in addition to the strain they place upon you as business owners, just this morning the United States Surgeon General warned ‘the coronavirus outbreak will worsen this week’ and said that ‘people across the country are not taking the threat seriously enough.’ The time to take things more seriously is now.”

The mayor also wants the casinos to stop allowing people to dine in restaurants, switching to curbside, takeout and delivery services. Businesses should also stop on-sale alcohol sales [“Deadwood Mayor Pleads for Casinos to Close,” KOTA-TV, 2020.03.23].

Odds are you won’t get coronavirus. But I wouldn’t go to Deadwood to bet on it.

Come on, people: health first, profits and games later.


  1. jerry 2020-03-24 16:36

    What is amazing to me is that the offices of mayors have shown real statewide leadership, That’s astounding, so what use is a governor that trots out nonsense like a poorly prepared salesperson. I guess the new guy that went to Pierre to straighten things out has failed miserably. There is only so much lipstick you can put on a______*

    *”Ann Richards did much to boost the saying’s political popularity when she used a number of variations while governor of Texas in the early ‘90s. In 1991, in her first budget-writing session, she said, “This is not another one of those deals where you put lipstick on a hog and call it a princess.” The next year, at a Democratic barbecue in South Dakota, she criticized the George H.W. Bush administration for using warships to protect oil tankers in the Middle East, which she considered a hidden subsidy for foreign oil. “You can put lipstick on a hog and call it Monique, but it is still a pig,” she said. Richards returned to the theme in her failed 1994 gubernatorial race against the younger Bush, using the “call it Monique” line to disparage her opponent’s negative ads.”

    Ann Richards would’ve been great as our governor, but not as good as Billie Sutton. How did we fail ourselves to get what we presently have?

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-24 18:20

    …because, Jerry, too many people treat elections like beauty pageants or “reality”-TV contests rather than a real hiring process where we are trying to hire the most qualified individuals for a really hard job.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-24 18:23

    Are mayors like Deadwood’s Mayor Ruth able to show better leadership in these situations because they aren’t tangled in partisan politics? Is it possible that we aren’t seeing such similar strong leadership from mayors like Aberdeen’s Schaunaman who were elected with the help of the GOP machine and thus are more beholden to party slogans and ideology?

  4. grudznick 2020-03-24 18:24

    grudznick does not like Mr. Trump, I do not like him at all, but he seems to be saying all will be well by Easter because Easter is one of his favorite holidays. That would be really swell. Easter is one of grudznick’s favorite holidays too, but not because of the churches busting with howling Christians pumping money into the coffer plates, but because of the breakfasting and brunching. There is no better brunching holiday than Easter.

    But grudznick does not believe Mr. Trump, who is insaner than most. Prepare to build your own brunches, people.

  5. jad 2020-03-24 19:06

    When goverment units ask businesses to close or reduce hours therefore reducing income, then the goverment unit should be willing to share the pain. What about a sales tax holiday, reduce the level of the sales tax, reduce property taxes, reduce gas taxes, and reduce property taxes. Get their funding from reducing services or excess fund balances. The state has over 200,000 million in various funds. Time to help the citizens.

    Share the pain the help the economy.

  6. John 2020-03-24 19:20

    The Facebook machine has notes from Californians and New Yorkers planning travel to Deadwood to “escape” COVID-19. Good luck with that.

  7. Richard Schriever 2020-03-24 19:26

    jad – so the government should shut down in the face of a crisis? Jeebus, it gets easy to see how Trump seems like a genius to some with this sort of myopia.

  8. jerry 2020-03-24 19:51

    jad, what about a state income tax? That solves all in what you say.

  9. Debbo 2020-03-24 20:21

    On another post I’ve listed some things they’re doing in Minnesota. That includes putting a hold on evictions for nonpayment of rent, various tax deferments and expanded eligibility for various forms of government assistance. Seems like SD could invoke similar plans.

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