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Aberdeen Casino Closes, Criticizes Legislators & Governor for Not Taking Stronger Action on Coronavirus

I have never spent a nickel in either the Heartland Casino or the Lafayette Casino in Aberdeen. I don’t know who owns them. I couldn’t even give you directions to them… not without looking at their ad in today’s paper.

Of course, directions to the Heartland Casino won’t do you much good right now, since the owners have decided to show some leadership and close for everyone’s safety amidst coronavirus. Yet amidst their obvious economic distress, they bought a full page ad in the paper to admit they erred in waiting this long to close:

Heartland Casino full page statement, Aberdeen American News, 2020.04.03.
Heartland Casino full page statement, Aberdeen American News, 2020.04.03. [click to embiggen!]
Note Heartland Casino takes the remarkable step of directly criticizing our elected Republican officials for their failure to show more leadership in tackling this public health crisis. In South Dakota, that’s a real gamble… at least in normal times.

Update 2020.04.04 06:56 CDT: We should note that our friends at Heartland Casino and City Councilman Dave Bunsness whom they cite may have mistaken the original Senate Bill 191 for the amended version both chambers and Representatives Weis and Dennert voted on. Originally, SB 191 would have granted municipalities, counties, and community improvement districts (like Dakota Dunes!) the power to enact emergency and temporary public health regulations on one reading through July 1, 2021. The original SB 191 also grandfathered (or, given the short term, maybe we should say uncled) in any such local ordinances passed since March 1 of this year. The Senate amended SB 191 took away the one-reading expedition and struck the grandfathering/uncling. The bill Reps. Weis and Dennert voted against thus would not have empowered Councilman Bunsness and his fellow city councilors to vote on an enact their second, stronger coronavirus restriction ordinance immediately, with one reading, this past Wednesday night; they still would have had to bring that bill up for second reading, as currently planned for a special meeting on Tuesday.


  1. jerry 2020-04-03

    I am heartened by the Heartland Casino and Laffayette Casino’s owners, that truly show what good citizenship is all about. They are correct, there is no leadership in South Dakota so businesses must lead by example. The legislature has proven year after year their disdain for the citizens of this state by ignoring their plight by not expanding Medicaid and are proving what corrupted souls they are presently in a pandemic. That is truly a stain. What will it take? How many sick? How many deaths? How will Dennert and Weis react when they have a family member dead from their idiocy? I guess we will see soon enough.

  2. grudznick 2020-04-03

    People just don’t understand the Science of this little beastie. “Lock everybody up for 2 weeks and we’ll come out to a brighter tomorrow, they say.” I bet you this casino owner was a libbie who didn’t have the nads to do the right thing and wanted big gubbmint to force it on him. She should be banned from getting all the free money. But shame on Mr. Dennert. Shame.

  3. jerry 2020-04-03

    Research proves the casino owner is spot on, and his decision should be the choice of all bar and restaurant owners to protect their workers and the rest of us. How much proof do you need?

  4. Debbo 2020-04-03

    Kudos to the owners. That’s leadership. Once again, shame on the SDGOP. It piles up on them, along with the body count.

  5. jerry 2020-04-03

    Did you check out the video Debbo?

  6. Debbo 2020-04-03

    Damn. I gotta open windows! Glad it’s getting warmer.
    Great link Jerry. Very informative.

    This is why everyone MUST cover their coughs, sneezes, etc.

  7. Debbo 2020-04-04

    Minnesota just put this live. Our Democratic governor wants to be completely transparent and believes that he can trust Minnesotans to cope with the truth better than rumors and anecdotes.

    I am so grateful for our Gov. Walz. Watch one of his pressers and compare to Klueless Kristi’s or Medical Moron’s. The USA would be in vastly better shape with a president like Gov. Walz.

  8. Loren 2020-04-04

    Republican “leadership” would be comical if it weren’t tragic. From Kute Kristi to Thune, Rounds and the Orange Menace, leadership does NOT mean each person exercising his/her own judgement. When police roll up on a crime in progress, they are directed by one central figure, in a team effort, even tho each, individually, is qualified to make decisions, other wise you look like Keystone Kops. Right now, our “leadership” looks, well…

  9. Debbo 2020-04-05

    Hotels around the country are pitching in.

    “As several Twin Cities hotels have temporarily shut their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many that remain open have started to repurpose to better serve a growing list of community needs from short-term housing for first responders to beds for vulnerable populations such as the homeless.” Strib paywall

    They’ve slashed rates, heat sanitize rooms between tenants to 135°, offer 3 meals per day to people isolating, temperature check their employees daily, etc.

    Homeless folk are a big problem because there is no distancing in shelters. Moving infected or possibly infected people to isolation is a critical need.

    It’s an impressively decent act. The hotels get some income and good PR and people like nurses and docs get a nice place to sleep where they don’t have to worry about infecting their family.

  10. Debbo 2020-04-05

    This is an interesting and helpful view of leadership from the Kiwis.
    No paywall

  11. Debbo 2020-04-05

    And this is a detailed description of how Economic Oaf so completely screwed this up and bears responsibility for thousands and thousands of American lives.

  12. Debbo 2020-04-05

    “The failure has echoes of the period leading up to 9/11: Warnings were sounded, including at the highest levels of government, but the president was deaf to them until the enemy had already struck.”

    That is from a long, detailed Wapo article reprinted in the Strib, so paywalled.

  13. John 2020-04-05

    Damn proud seeing my second hometown playing a vital role in combating this virus. Despite trumpy’s mealy mouth criticism of 3M.

    Also having mixed thoughts of the declaration of SD as a “disaster area” when the South Dakota’s governor refuses to issue a self-help stay at home order. It’s as if the governor is acting to wish the virus would cancel the 2020-21 school year. Get in front of the virus now. Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way.

  14. Debbo 2020-04-06

    This is a real leader. It’s Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’ State of the State speech delivered Sunday evening, 4/5.

    As I listened tears trickled down my cheeks and when he finished I sobbed. I have Never Ever responded that way to any politician’s speech. But this wasn’t a politician’s speech. This was a leader reaching out to people he deeply cares about.

    There can be no doubt that Gov. Walz loves Minnesota and the people who reside here. He told us the truth, no sugar coating. But he believes in us. He believes we will get through this because he believes we are good and strong and resilient and kind.

    You really need to listen to this speech, then elect for yourself someone like this because you, SD, deserve this too.

    Oh, and Tim Walz for Leader of the World.

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