Last summer, after Governor Kristi Noem pimped out South Dakota National Guard troops to a Tennessee billionaire to go play soldier at the Texas border, I suggested anybody with cash could petition the Governor to rent out the Guards for snow-shoveling, vacation-chauffering, and other personal and recreational projects.
My sharp-eyed readers noticed a notice on page B7 of Thursday’s Rapid City Journal that indicates the Guard is already being pimped out for another of Noem’s personal projects. On top of the $2.5 million in “emergency” cash that Game Fish & Parks is soliciting from the Legislature to build Governor Noem’s $12 million (hey—it was just $9.9M last summer) Rapid City shooting range, the state now wants to deploy the National Guard to build this recreational facility:
Are we really so short on workers that we have to deploy the National Guard to build a playground for gun owners? If our soldiers really don’t have enough military operations and disaster response to keep them busy, might we not want to deploy that uniformed labor on more pressing public projects, like repairing roads and bridges, or substitute teaching, or providing triage and support at our busy hospitals?
And we have to wonder: what rich gun maker or seller is going to write the check for this Guard deployment? Or will taxpayers foot the bill for this labor subsidy to the gun industry?
If you have questions or concerns about deploying the National Guard to build Rapid City’s next great tourist trap-shoot, GF&P’s shooting range expert John Kanta invites you to call 605-716-1781… but if you don’t do so no later than January 28, or GF&P will assume you think this Guard deployment is hunky-dory.
Careful out there! The grifter GOP (Grifters Of Purpose) are in full operation in Pierre for some time, setting in place more socialism projects of interest to their ‘GOP’!
What strikes me is; ‘This project cannot be completed in its entirety without the assistance of the National Guard’? Okay, which engineer designed a project to be bid, which precludes all contractors in the United States from a portion of the project?
Where you live is a personal choice. (Unless you’re a married male.)
If you choose to live where this exploitation of public resources happens over and over then you have waived your objection to such manipulation and deserve the national ridicule showered upon your homes.
So what is the emergency conjured up for this mess? CRT and trans-girls taking over the schools?
Mike, maybe South Dakota could just put all the transgender people, social studies teachers, and other enemies of the state in labor camps and conscript them to build the shooting range. Janklow set the precedent in the late 1990s by having prisoners wire the schools for Internet… although that wiring served a profoundly important public purpose.
Francis, you highlight a key passage from GF&P. Is it really impossible to build this range without National Guard labor? We couldn’t draft inmates? We couldn’t bid out to local contractors? We couldn’t modify the project? How does GF&P justify that claim?
And has GF&P ever made a similar claim about any other project in South Dakota? Has the state ever claimed that any public project could not be completed without National Guard labor? What is the precedent here?
Also, has any other project been created in which instead of the National Guard a private company was inserted? This is the slippery slope part of the equation.
It isn’t just a key passage it is advertised as a condition, somehow that is legally binding. What does this project look like, where can a person get the specs?
Double dipping. What exactly are we paying for with the appropriation. It seems Governor Noem is building another monument to herself.It’s another outrage by the Noem administration.
Oh yeah, and why isn’t the National Guard being utilized to build those additional campsites so badly needed in Custer State Park (@ $57,000 per)? If these are badly needed why not utilize these tax-payer paid cat-skinners and road grader specialists? Maybe, it’s because @ $57000/unit, they have no worries about getting contractors to bid on them (socialism $$$ you know).
Jake, you mean friends of NOem contractors. Affordable housing can now be built by the Guard, just like building a base camp. Keep in practice.
Will this facility have a liquor license? Has the archaeological assessment been done? What happens when they unearth human remains?
Just getting equipment out there will cost a mint to any private contractor let alone building materials and concrete even if they even bid on it.
When I was five my father just put tin cans on a fence post. This must be something special.
Cory, you noted the price tag on this state government boondoggle jumped up from $9.9 million to $12 million since summer. That’s a lot! And it’s a tale tell sign that it’s a problematic project. It’s a lie to indicate this gold-plated gun range is needed anywhere in the state. Using our National Guard again as The Snow Queen’s Personal Palace Guard adds insult to injury. Shame on the GF&P, once a great institution, for serving as The Snow Queen’s shills.
I’ve got family in the state National Guard. They’re sick of being Noem’s errand boys. She is a disgrace to the office.
Janklow used inmates to build the so-called Governor’s houses. And he used inmates for many other projects, some of which took work away from the private sector.
The Snow Queen is putting our National Guard troops on the same level as state penitentiary inmates. The South Dakota slave class.
Francis, the most detailed plan I’ve seen is the document GF&P provided last summer. See my August 1 post for the full 36-page plan with maps and details.
I’m wondering: shouldn’t cronies be lining up for fat state contracts and raising holy heck over being boxed out by the state’s proposed use of Guard labor? Or are the private contractors all so busy with other projects that none of them plan to bid on the shooting range or wouldn’t be able to get to it until 2023? Is there some rush to build this facility, and if so, who is driving that rush? Why do we need this shooting range right now?
Wind turbine erectors brought in their own cement plants in various locations to speed up construction schedule. around nw iowa. No reason one cant be installed for this boondoggle.
THE DONALD TRUMP MEMORIAL ~ SOUTH DAKOTA PROUD SHOOTING GROUNDS … lol
That reminds me, Mike from iowa, Rapid City did own its own cement plant. However, voters chose to sell it to Mexico with the condition the profit was put into a trust for education. I suspect the kids nor educators have gotten a no. 2 pencil since the transfer. That was before I was able to register to vote, but I do remember reading the different points of view in the Rapid City Journal while eating my cereal before school and thinking the city probably needs its own cement plant more than schools need the money since the schools should already be rich with all the state lottery loot that was promised. It’s hard not to envy that absolute trust in good I once took for granted.
This is preposterous. The Gov. doesn’t seem to give any thought (or does and doesn’t care) to the fact that most, if not all, of the Guard members have other jobs and families. She is willing to upset their family life and the jobs with their full-time employer for her own satisfaction. When are the voters of this state going to wake up and vote her out of office?
Cronies are in on the fix. They will get their beaks plenty wet by just moving forward with contract after contract, that is how the game is played. Keep your mouth shut, your checkbook open and support who they tell you to support.
Completely foreseeable what Francis Schàffer notes, viz., “This project cannot be completed in its entirety without the assistance of the National Guard. ”
Such proscriptive phrases have been passed around for decades in South Dakota at various levels like worn currency however weak kneed as they are and hope to be in fending off any opposition.
If memory serves me correctly, Janklow sold the cement plant to Mexico and then invited SD politicians to approve the sale
to spread the killing of the golden goose.
Janklow had it sold to Grupos Cementos de Chihuahua, A Mexican corporation. Here’s the stock price–
Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua SAB de CV
Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua SAB de CV
Stock has gone from 128 to 155 in the last 12 months–I bet the SD Investment guys haven’t invested a dime in that one.
So they need 12 Million to build a shooting range?
I bet for $12 or $120 any one of you guys could start a great business or replace Thune or Noem, right? You can , if you WANT to.
That’s the illusion that you guys think. ‘Thune has 15 Million, he’s invincible. Noem polls good, she will win.” Ahhh! But you overestimate
Zechariah 4:10– “Do not despise these small beginnings….”
Small beginnings results in bigger change in our world.
McGovern got elected to Congress with only $12 000 and 5 000 borrowed in 1956. He CONNECTED
with people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_McGovern#U.S._House_of_Representatives
In 1958, he beat Joe Foss, who was considered a favorite.
You really think the Republicans are FAVORITES? What an illusion you believe in.
Look, you can be an unknown, have only a little money, but if you CONNECT with people, listen and talk with them, then you can win and change things.
It’s not the money, its not the Registration numbers, it’s the CANDIDATE.
Go with illusion and money. Or go with Vision and a Person with a good heart. Choose one!
In 2000, when Janklow called the Lag-islature into Session to sell the cement plant, even Democrats from Mitchell and Aberdeen voted for it!
“GCC also gets a 13,000-acre ranch in the southern Black Hills that the cement plant bought a few years ago. The plant site in Rapid City is expected to run out of limestone in 15 years or so, and the cement plant bought the ranch to be the site of a new plant.”
So in the last 22 years, the $252 000 000 has been all spent, down to 0, and 13,000 of our acres are owned by a Mexican Corporation.
Not a genius transaction. Not a good deal.
Democrats wanting to be bi[partisan with the “deal” making Republicans? No way. No is the right answer.
A new Party please, a Party that has a vision!
I hate to be a contrarian, but as a former officer and commander in the SD National Guard, some of you folks are way off base. We won several national awards for being the best prepared unit in the country, regular Army or Guard/reserve!! The way a combat engineer battalion trains is doing the things in our mission scope, while training. I helped build several shooting ranges as the heavy equipment platoon leader. We also built a municipal cooling pond for Edgemont, SD, because their water came out of the ground way to warm to be processed. I was in charge of SD Guardsmen that built several bridges for public use on public roads. We built public parks in several cities around the state. We constructed several structures, including houses, that were for public entities, and also our construction platoon remodeled several houses for troubled kids. The main restriction on our training missions is it could not benefit private companies, corporations or individuals. If the RC Range is a public enterprise, owned by the state or GF&P, there is actually no reason that a Combat Engineer Guard Unit could not get valuable training helping with the construction. We have been doing that for the 50+ years I have been in the state. Usually the entity wanting the work done pays for things like fuel for the equipment and materials.
Well, the Guard can man camp out there in the the middle of nowhere for months at a time so there is that.
Go with illusion and money. Or go with Vision and a Person with a good heart. Choose one!
No offense, ABC, but you sound as if you are promoting Dhar Mann videos that change lives. In the interest of full disclosure, I really like most Dhar Mann videos.
sdslim is correct. The SD Guard can do a lot of good for South Dakota. It can also do a lot of bad. On the positive side, it’s a socialist work cadre that can build stuff. On the negative side, it tends to slight environmental concerns with some of the projects it undertakes.
sdslim; thank you for service. I don’t doubt the South Dakota National Guard can/will do the job assigned. My objection is the way in which the advertisement basically tells everyone to either object to the Guard doing this project by 28 January or just sit down and shut up. Tax payer $ are being allocated without a competitive bid. Why? Was a public meeting held to discuss this project and where can I find the notes or video? Yes if this is a public enterprise we should have access to all information about the allocation of public $. So if I don’t object to the Guard doing a portion of the project by 28 January, I ‘waive my objections to the Guard doing this project’. Is waiving ones objections even a thing? That sounds like I can’t even mention my objections after 28 January. Just when I expect transparency; this.
No one is questioning the work ethic of the guard, but rather the legitimacy of the pet projects of noem & GFP. Giver the shape and closure of bridges and roads in SD, as a taxpayer, it seems the guard could be put to better use for many instead of a few large campaign donors.
Mr. sdslim is righter than right. The SDNG builds projects for state and federal government every summer during their Howling Golden Coyote Jamboree here in the Black Hills. Golly, other states even send their guardsmen here to build things for South Dakota. Better than Texas, eh? It lets those young fellow practice building things they wouldn’t otherwise get to build and the public gets the benefit. Just like when President Roosevelt’s CCC was running around. All you libbies should be in favor of this, but you can’t pick a lane. It’s just hate, hate, hate, isn’t it?
My good friend Lar has a great idea about letting this shooting place have a liquor license. They could lease the clubhouse out to some good businessman who could run a breakfast joint and serve beverages to those who have finished shooting. And during the Rally the state could do one of those vacation rentals of the whole operating to a motor cycle club.
I have a pet project. I would like to ‘buy’ a few guardspeople to fix my storm damaged home. It seems that contractors are extremely busy so I have been waiting a while. If there are some of the guard who aren’t doing anything some day, perhaps we could come to an arrangement. Anyone know how this might be accomplished? Should I call the Governor’s office first or the Guard?
So we labeled libbies can’t want the Guard to do the project and expect accountability and transparency? I don’t see any hate in that position. As this is a public enterprise will there be property tax? Or at least a replacement for the property tax which could have been levied? So grudz wants this public enterprise to compete with private companies for the same client base?
Mr. Schaffer, please go back and read all the past bloggings about GFP paying property tax and the whiners with crummy campgrounds that complain about nice clean forest campgrounds run by Smokey Bear.
Well alrighty then.
Some years ago we were looking to upgrade a local facility to use for intensive educational purposes. A member of the National Guard suggested that the project might qualify for the Innovative Readiness Training Program. It seemed like a perfect fit. However, we were rejected with a letter that cited an order from the Department of Defense: Military Programs: Stronger Oversight of the Innovative Readiness Training Program Needed for Better Compliance. The project was rejected because it appeared that the goal of completing a project took priority over the goal of providing valid military training. It did not meet all of the following criteria (***reasons for rejection indicated):
Must take place within the U.S. and its territories
***Must accomplish mission essential training
Must result in 100 hours of training or more
***Must not compete with the private sector
Must not include commercial development (CE missions only)
Military members cannot provide law enforcement during IRT missions
IRT authorities cannot be used to respond to natural or manmade disasters
I wonder if this proposal was cleared through Noem’s adjutant in charge of the Guard.
Relativism or what?
Recall Pam Holliday was friendly with motorcycle gangs and offered a safehouse for firearms trafficking. The Sturgis Rally is a gun fest. To accommodate bikers Elk Creek Road will need to be paved to Elk Vale Road not just from I-90 but from SD34 as well. Both roads are pretty crappy in most places. The law enforcement industry and white biker communities overlap more today than ever in history so Republicans on the Game, Fish and Plunder Commission see an opportunity to capitalize growth of militias just like the Klan, John Birch Society and Trumpettes want to have happen all at taxpayer expense.
SDSlim, thank you for that firsthand perspective and examples! And David, thank you for citing the program under which the Guard could conduct such exercises. SDSlim, did you projects have to get approval from the Department of Defense, as David is describing? What is the formal review process for putting the Guard to work on projects like this?
The ad used the word “filing” regarding comments, how is a phone call regarded as a filing. The ad reads as if wildlife biologists wrote it, likely not based on any legal public notification process. Sounds to me like a method to plow through the resistance the project is getting and hide behind the ad when stuff hits the fan.
The question is whether resources of the SDNG should contribute to the project, no other. This project is one that nearly any civil engineering / heavy construction company will master. This should be a public, private sector hired, bid, project in total. Use capitalism. It’s low hanging fruit. Not rocket science.
Apply the state/federal socialism where capitalism is less interested, receives less bang for the buck, is more remote, has higher mobilization costs, has less public interest, yet is clearly in the public good.The SDNG could accomplish a multitude of low to no income producing projects, especially in the Black Hills. A few examples include: creating minor timber sale temporary roads and BRIDGES (or temporarily providing bridging!) that facilitate timber treatments AND fire suppression in areas that are topographically isolated from treatments (the terrain elevation changes are extreme and land ownership patterns preclude timber buyers from reasonable access, so they over-harvest in easy to access areas, setting up bug, disease, and fire NURSERIES in areas without treatments); the SDNG could close unneeded roads and sustain needed roads; the SDNG could facilitate trail and facility building (or removal) in the Forest as others suggested in Custer State Park. ATV use (and misuse) exploded in the Black Hills yet there are no National Forest campgrounds catering to ATV camping, trailer parking, vehicle washing (weed treatments), and trail connections. (Consider the loathesome Commanche Campground for an ATV upgrade. Consider the Hill City trails proposal for worthwhile SDNG work.)
Building a plinkers range when almost a dozen exist in the Black Hills area is a poor use the SDNG, verging on abuse of state and federal resources. So expect NOem (and the Forest Service) to default to that use of the SDNG.
Can’t we just lobby the “conservative” legislature to refuse to fund this farce? I don’t know about anybody else but I’m writing a letter to DOI demanding that no PR money be spent on this nonsense.
One would naturally expect a “conservative” state legislature to be against a project that is so blatantly being shoved down the throats and up the buttocks of the community where it is not wanted. That being the community surrounding said project for a few miles. 10 or more. Near a community graveyard, farms and ranches. However, we have seen the GFP building extremely nice big complexes for offices (Rapid City and Chamberlain being only 2 that I’ve recently laid eyes on) and changed pheasant hunting in this state so drastically there are fewer and fewer really native pheasants left-because game farms/pheasant factories release so many thousands of pen raised pheasants for the out-of-state hunter tourist dollars.
Follow the money on this shooting range; who bought the land originally with an inflated offer and then sold it to the state GFP (by a GFP Commission vote)-before Meade County was even consulted of their intent to put a shootin range there?
And why is an adjacent landowner being told his access via a section line surveyed/established from statehood being cavalierly dismissed as irrevalant?
There is established procedures to be followed by state agencies like the GFP that we the people have a right to expect them to follow when it comes to ALL projects-popular and unpopular.
the game,fish & parks has to come clean & say who is going to mow the grass on the 400 acre project,& also how due they control the weed growth on the disturbed areas.they said at the last neighborhood meeting that they would relight on volunteer help, now most of us know how dependable that is,15 plus miles for rapid city.that is a joke! the G,F,&Parks says they will padlock the gate when not in use.they padlocked the gate down by phillip,sd. but somebody cut the lock or chain 1 night & walked off with a shooting bench one night. this prodject was dumped in the neighberhood by G,F&Parks officials (bureaucrats)& their board did not even know about it!. thats what i call the cart leading the horse. when the newness wears off this will end up like other state run outfits,,(a trash heap). there is a dam in the south-west corner this 400 acres that was visited by Woopihg Cranes one spring morning some years back.
It is not what is in the Guards mission and capability that is at issue here but more likely the compatibility of funding mechanisms put together to get this farce built. There is a stipulation in federal funding that says that other federal monies can not be matched with federal money to construct a project or conduct a program. They are proposing to use PR money in match; which is highly unusual and inappropriate. Is the guard going to use state money, state employment criteria and budget money as a matching contribution? That might be the crux. That is a way to get around taking money out of the general fund but build this nonsense. We’re not being advised of the particulars of the funding mechanisms, their compatibility and everything else about this project. GFP isn’t being transparent and they darn sure aren’t being up front. GFP can’t afford the matching contribution so they’re using the guard and the general fund. I call BS.
What this amounts to is more militarization of the outdoor past times. What South Dakota needs is better, conservation minded hunters, not more gun nuts disrespecting the hunting heritage and playing sniper! This is no different than the flagrant exorbitance of a 10 million dollar campground in Custer State Park. If these two projects aren’t perfect examples of socialism that benefits special interest, I don’t know what is! We should be vigorously and openly opposed to this! It matter’s little what local wildlife and government officials say about matching funds from the Pittman Robertson Act for this monstrosity. Spending federal dollars designed and intended for wildlife conservation, management and research (duties inherent in government responsibility in preservation of the public trust) is inappropriate and spiteful to the history and purpose of Pittman Robertson. Yes, PR does allow for development of places where people can shoot but this aberration is entirely outside the scope and mission. Everywhere in South Dakota, there are Public Shooting Areas that combine wildlife habitat with places to shoot. This project is an insult to those places and their legacy. It is also gross speculation to suggest that this development will provide an alternative to shooting enthusiasts that currently use and abuse public lands in the Black Hills and the Buffalo Gap. This is a common talking point that has been advanced, without merit, in the Black Hills for decades. It has been shown, many times over, that most hunters and shooters don’t want structure in their activities. They want to plink and while that plinking admittedly does a lot of unwanted damage to public land, to suggest that this elaboration will reduce or eliminate that damage is just plain groping at straws. The damage problem is an enforcement issue that has proliferated in the Black Hills region for decades no differently than in any other part of the state in spite of numerous range development projects on both public and private land. We should never forget what happened to the Izaak Walton League ranges that were developed for public conservation minded use and enjoyment. That was also a Meade County failure! Did the state step up to the plate and help one of it’s most benevolent and staunchest supporters of the hunting heritage and wildlife conservation? Not only no but heck no! Our State is in no economic or social position to fulfill special interest wants before addressing obligatory needs! Just where is the budgetary conservatism that this state so rhetorically claims?
In an age of horrendous declines in both quantity and quality of habitat for wildlife, and conversion of land to industrial and agricultural production, South Dakota State Government doesn’t need to add to that degradation of the landscape with it’s own brand of unwise development. SD Game, Fish and Parks is already financially strapped for conservation cash and wildlife stewardship resources and hasn’t been able to perform it’s statutory mission and mandates for years; yet they propose a multi-million dollar project that further hamstrings and compromises those duties and responsibilities to say nothing of insulting it’s own mission and purpose. This project is just another Tourism ruse stimulated by a small, special interest group of long range competition shooters that don’t represent the greater outdoor culture or the bulk of hunters that have already shown they have no need for this sort of amenity. Rapid City has a quasi-private/public trap and skeet shooting range that serves the public and a small local population of shooting and hunting enthusiasts. On occasion, it hosts local and state competitions that rarely if ever significantly contribute to Tourism economics. It also hosts multiple Hunt Safe and Hunter Education classes each year for a declining number of youth and adults interested in hunting as a lifetime avocation. That selling point for this project is a gross exaggeration. And we seem willing to spend scarce wildlife conservation dollars to maintain this state of the art construction as well as staff it. Makes absolutely no sense. And we just built a multi-million dollar, under utilized Outdoor Campus in Rapid City that holds itself out to be a state of the art hunter education facility which it is. It can never be over stated that shooting instruction represents less than 20% of hunter education.
The Fall River County Sportsmans organization, with a little help from PR funds and a GFP land trade with a benevolent landowner constructed a comfortable and functional shooting range about two miles north of Maverick, along highway 79 nearly 11 years ago. It is well designed, easily and thriftily maintained by volunteers and accommodates a wide range of shooting interests that avoids massive development and land modification. It is also frightfully under utilized. Any person interested in shooting can easily find opportunity and space to shoot on weekends to their hearts content. There is very little weekday activity at all. We already have a high capacity, public/private maintained range that is free and highly accessible to the shooting public. We don’t need another one, particularly when the land involved could easily be converted for wildlife open space wildlife use and the greater public interest in conservation and wildlife stewardship. Our public money is more wisely and purposefully spent enhancing our culture and the open space we enjoy that Tourism takes advantage of and never puts anything back! The land ethic and the landscape itself suffers. GFP acquires land for wildlife conservation and preservation of ecological sustainability and it’s called a land grab but let the gun lobby propose to burn public money on a project that less than 2 percent of the population will use or benefit from and it’s a perfect fit and sacrifice for the greater good. I empathize with the neighbors of this farce but from a much broader perspective. If the firearms industry wants an elaborate range for special uses, it can buy it’s own land, spend it’s own money on construction, maintenance, and operation and charge sufficient fees to support it rather than use my license money, general tax revenues and federal wildlife conservation money to do it. And they can do it somewhere where environmental damage and ecological threats are fully minimized!
A year ago Noem tweeted, “we need to educate our kids on how socialism destroys lives, how it is contrary to American values.”
Yet, trumpian socialist Noem wants socialism for her GFP range AND her 175 pad “campground (aka RV park)”.
What a queen.
Noem is less a queen and more a liar of drumpfian proportions.
I wish we could get the National Guard to rebuild the dam at Hiddenwood State Park near Selby. It was a gem of a park until the rain destroyed the old 1930’s Conservation Corp dam and the road to get in. Guns aren’t allowed however so no one at the state level takes notice.
Use of NG should be reserved for critcal/emergency projects not recreational projects. This is akin to the NG building a golf course for the city