Archive for April 2011

Royal Reflections

Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 2:58 am
By: Doug Lund
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wedding ceremony


Here’s a short sample of a golf course conversation I had this past week..

“Well, Lund, I suppose you being an old newsman, you’ll be up early to watch the royal wedding, eh?”

“Not hardly. To tell you the truth,  I can’t understand why everybody’s so amped-up and excited over this foreign future King’s decision to finally make an honest woman out of the attractive young commoner he’s been shacked-up with (off and on) since their university days.”

 But I actually DO understand the hype.  In fact, I was Keloland’s designated reporter for the wedding of Prince William’s mommy and daddy 30 years ago when there was a world wide frenzy even more over-the-top than this.

wedding charlies diana

My source on all things British was an English journalist, whose name escapes me now, but who happened to be spending several months in Sioux Falls doing some type of research. He was a fan of my band which played music next door to the Keloland building and we got to visiting during breaks. I was fascinated by his knowledge of the Monarchy and British government plus listening to him speak with that rich English accent was fun too. As the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana approached, I did several interviews with him for KELO which received lots of viewer comments because it was as though I had an inside track to the big event with information coming direct from a loyal subject. One of the delicate matters we talked about and put on the air had to do with whether or not Diana was a proper virgin which my new friend said he, “Rather expected she was, indeed.” Diana’s uncle later confirmed that to reporters, so it MUST have been true.  Obviously, such public revelations concerning the monarchy have long since past the point of being scandalous but it seemed important at the time..

I actually DID watch a good part of the William and Kate ceremony; not because I planned to but since I’m usually up a few times during the “wee wee” hours of the morning anyway and I use the television as a night light, the live coverage from London was on most cable channels so I saw bits and pieces with the volume down low.

An estimated two billion people watched the Royal Wedding and excitedly waited for the balcony kiss. But this AP photo shows one of the little bridesmaids just not caught up in the magic of the moment.

An estimated two billion people watched the Royal Wedding and excitedly waited for the balcony kiss. But this AP photo shows one of the little bridesmaids just not caught up in the magic of the moment.

Princess Kate certainly was beautiful in her wedding dress that millions of royal watchers had been dying to see. And the groom looked positively dashing in his bright red drum-major outfit. I didn’t realize he had become so follically challenged. His hair has gotten as thin as the vegetarian menu at Tea Steak House. By this time next year, there won’t be enough left for the princess to run her delicate little fingers through unless he decides now to be fitted for a rug. Toupee or not toupee..that is the question. (sorry)   Oh, and what’s with that funny little wave he was giving the crowd from the balcony; rapidly rocking his hand from side to side like the impish 8 year old Kevin McCallister did at the end of the Home Alone movie waving to the wet bandits being hauled off to jail.  

wedding wave

                                 wedding home alone wave





Come on, William don’t be like grandma with her pitiful little palm lifting gesture..give us a great big, arm-fully-extended kingly wave from now on.

 Seriously though, this regal couple seems to adore each other; a match made in Heaven or at the very least the pearly gates of Buckingham Palace. And, as long as the masses still feel the need for Royalty in their world, these two should fit the His and Her Highness bill quite nicely for years to come.  Cheerio for now mates.

Birther B.S.

Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Well, the Trumpster has been trumped.  Big shot billionaire with the big hair and head to match, Donald Trump, has turned up a losing hand in his claims that President Barack Obama isn’t a natural born U.S. Citizen and, presumably, not legally qualified to be president.  

Obama birth certicate

But this egomaniac, who has been dipping his chubby little toes into the political waters testing to see if they’re warm enough for a swim in the presidential pool, doesn’t see his foolish fuss over the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship ( with racial overtones) as embarrassing. On the contrary, he’s delusional enough to believe he was right.   “I feel I’ve accomplished something really really important and I’m honored by it,” Trump said at a press conference held during his pre-scheduled visit today to New Hampshire. Trump noted that people have long been requesting the document, but Trump was the only one who got the president to release it. Trump suggested Wednesday this development will boost his own potential presidential candidacy.

I have no idea why President Obama waited until now to release this “long version” of his birth certificate because the delay  has only fueled the fires of those race baiters, like Trump, looking to make political hay out of unfounded rumors and appeal to the lowest common denominator of Americans who will never accept the reality of a black man in the White House.

I may not agree with everything the President has done so far and am, in fact, disappointed about a lot of changes that were promised and have not yet materialized but it has nothing to do with the man’s name or skin color or length of birth certificate. The President is right; as he said this morning, we’ve got important stuff to deal with. “But we’re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted. We’re not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”

 On another note, I recorded a promo this morning for Thursday night’s Eye On Keloland at Ten. I had a tough time getting through it because it’s the story of a child permanently disabled because of a parent’s abuse. I don’t know if this sort of thing is getting worse or we’re just hearing about it more but I do know that EVERY parent gets upset with their little ones from time to time and are about to snap. Most manage to summon up enough patience to deal with the crying or rebellion but some can’t control the rage. If you are ever in that situation please STOP IT!  Count to ten or whatever number will get you to calm down. Leave the room, think positive thoughts, pray…just PLEASE don’t hurt that child!

 Okay? Okay.

Plumb’s The Word

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 at 10:23 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Douglas, come down here!”

Whenever I hear those words uttered from the lips of my dear wife down in our basement..I shudder. First of all, it can’t be good if she uses my whole first name and if it IS bad news, there’s a 99% chance it has something to do with water.

The only time I ever saw Linda nearly collapse out of frustration and exhaustion was in the early 80’s when, after a summer cloud burst, water started seeping into the basement from several corners of the floor.

basement wet vacThis was before we were married but I was around to help pull up the glued-down carpet and move furniture plus all our kids each took shifts on the Shop Vac sucking up puddles which continued to form for several days. One of the first items on the domestic agenda after we were wed was to have drain tile installed downstairs which has kept even the severest rain storms and snow melts at bay. It was expensive but worth every penny considering how it saved my sweet wife’s sanity.  

If only that was the end of the story.  But no sooner did Linda feel confident enough again to put down new carpeting throughout the basement including the bathroom, than I heard from the depths of the deep; “Douglas.”  The drain which handles water from the washing machine and shower had plugged up causing sudsy solution to seep under the laundry room wall and soak the rugs. We now have Roto Rooter on speed dial but even after he left that day, Linda had to lift up the carpeting (not the glue-down kind this time) off the concrete floor and point every fan she could find in the direction of the wetness.

basement water heaterIt seems like we have some kind of water issue at least once a year. We’ve had to deal with mystery leaks from the furnace, air conditioner, water heater (twice), washer, sump pump and the shower which, on the night of my retirement with a house full of overnight guests, wouldn’t shut off. Just last month Linda came very close to walking out of this place never to return after she went downstairs to get something out of the freezer and felt a familiar squishy sensation in her stocking feet. “Douglas.”  We really had to search this time because, while the rugs were wet, there was no sign of leakage from any of the downstairs contraptions with pipes running in and out of them.  Finally, using her detective skills honed by years of practice, she zeroed in on the water softener. “Well, at least it’s a rental so we won’t have to buy a new one,” I said. But that wasn’t much comfort as Linda began the old routine of propping up rugs and digging out the fans. I made another feeble attempt to console her saying, “Look at it this way, there’s not much that can leak anymore down here that we haven’t already fixed or replaced.”   Why do I tempt fate uttering stupid stuff like that?

Earlier this week there came a shriek from the basement which was clearly more urgent than other times. I clomped downstairs to find Linda standing over the open toilet tank trying to deflect a powerful stream of water that, for a split second, reminded me of the glory days from my youth when I could muster up one like that and write my name in a snowbank..including the middle initial. But I digress. She’d removed the lid when the tank wasn’t filling and received a spray in the face from the faulty filler tube which also doused the wall and rug. In the pandemonium, I managed to reach around her and shut the water off. When the silence came and I saw her there dripping like she’d been standing in the rain, I wasn’t sure if she was about to laugh or cry. I do know that If I’d have given into my silly instincts right then I might be filling up a suitcase and looking for a cheap apartment someplace. Instead, I was off to Wally World in search of a toilet repair kit.

basement toilet

As usual, what is a simple task for most people becomes a major exercise in frustration for me. I first replaced the filler tube and it worked fine. For ONE flush; then the tank wouldn’t fill again. I dinged around with it for awhile then went upstairs to fix a drink vowing to approach the project with fresh eyes and attitude the following day. This is the part where you’re expecting me to say that I ended up calling a plumber and, I DID have my friend who knows his toilets, on standby. But no, this morning I went down, replaced the flapper and fiddled with the float chain for about an hour but, Halleluiah, it works!

I’m sure that’s finally the end of our basement water issues and from now on when Linda calls out my full name it will mean what it used to mean..not a disaster but a delight.

Take that, fate.

Oh, What A Night!

Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I don’t mean to put too fine a point on it but for someone who works at  and worries about finding  just the right words to describe things I have experienced, none seem adequate enough today to explain the thrilling sensation I..and about 15 hundred other fans of old time Rock and Roll..enjoyed at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall last Saturday night.  This was the third annual induction ceremony for the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association Hall of Fame. This year, ALL of the musical groups inducted actually got back together and performed on the huge stage just like they did thirty or more years ago. Fans started pouring through the doors just after they opened at 4:30. The Jadesmen, who were inducted in 2009, were the house band..followed by Arlie’s All Stars who entertained the crowd for the next half hour and were recognized for the concerts they’ve done raising nearly three quarter of a million dollars for charity. Every band that followed were simply terrific; The Torres, The X-Men, DD and the Fayrohs, The Shattoes, Steve Ellis and the Starfires, Don Robar and the Monarchs, The Pulsating Pilgrims and, of course The Mob.

Ron Nelson, whose group, The Cavaliers, was inducted last year, took some marvelous photographs of the evening which you can see by CLICKING HERE.

It’s an honor to sit on the board of directors of the South Dakota Music Association Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Myron Lee, John Mogen, Mark Aspaas, Rick Knobe,  Terry Tausz and Don Fritz whose love of old time Rock and Roll and vision for a hall of fame, made the whole event possible.

Until next year: Rock On!

Pennies From Heaven

Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 at 2:14 am
By: Doug Lund
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I shelled out the most I’ve ever paid for a tank of gasoline last weekend in Minneapolis; $3.99.9 a gallon. How stupid do they think we are, to fall for that old penny pricing trick? “Yah, it’s high alright but at least it hasn’t gotten up to four bucks yet.”   Although I admit I once tried to talk Linda into letting  me buy a new HDTV by telling her it was only $999.99 instead of a thousand. She didn’t buy it..nor did I.  

I really think it’s time to do away with pennies in our U.S. currency.

penny trayYou never have one when you need one at the store; then end up with a bunch of them you don’t want from all the change you get back. Oh, sure, lots of retail places have a little dish of pennies by the check-out stand for customers to use but it’s usually empty by the time I’m there so when the clerk says “That’ll be $4.01 sir,” I end up leaving the place a half pound heavier because of all the change in my pocket.  Sometimes I’ll be three or four cents short and, even if there are pennies in the dish, I feel guilty about taking more than one or two…especially if they’re the LAST two.

No…I say it’s time to round all prices off to the nearest nickel. It seems to me that stores would still come out about the same and people would certainly be less stressed out not having to scramble for pennies all the time. Or, worse yet, be standing BEHIND someone  in line who won’t give up until they find that penny they know is buried somewhere in their pocket or purse.

 Pennies lost their luster a long time ago when we  first decided it was more trouble than it was worth to bend over and pick one up off the street.  

Although I must admit, they once proved to be a real blessing when I worked full time at Keloland.  Years ago, one of our guest cooks on Monday Menu left an empty two gallon glass jug in the studio. When I showed up for work the next day, somebody had put that jar on the corner of my desk with a little note that said “Doug Lund’s retirement fund, pennies only.” There were even a few coins inside to prime the pump. I decided that rather than take offence I’d play along promising that once the jug was full of pennies,  I’d cash them  in and buy pizza for everybody in the newsroom.

penny jar oneBefore long my desk became like a toll booth as co-workers walked by and unloaded their pennies; often by the handful. After every donation I got into the habit of saying, “God bless you.” It was fun watching the pot grow and speculating as to how much money was in there. But then Steve Hemmingsen would show up, give the jar a shake, which settled the coins way down, then he’d walk off laughing. Eventually, though, after a huge donation from photographer Kevin Kjergaard and his brother, Buddha, who apparently cleaned out their dresser drawers at home, the jug was full to overflowing.  Now, this was at a time when the government was talking about a penny shortage and urging people to stop hoarding them. So, I decided to make a Lund at Large report out of it and called Sioux Merchant Patrol who sent over an armed guard to accompany me, a photographer and the penny jar to Home Federal where bank employees played along as we dumped the money into the coin counter. I don’t remember the exact total but we were pleasantly surprised to find it was just over 62 dollars; more than enough to fill everybody up with pizza the next day. I thought that would be the end of it but employees kept dropping their pennies in and Hemmingsen kept torqueing contributors off with his regular settling shakes. After a couple more years and a few thousand “God Bless Yous” it was full again. This time we ordered Chinese food.  We were well on our way to filling it a third time when Hemmingsen, now retired, stopped by the newsroom to say hello, drop in a few cents and just had to shake the jar for old times sake. This time, the stress was too much. The glass broke sending thousands of little coins rolling all over the floor. We found a smaller replacement jug which eventually was filled up and cashed-in for one last pizza party.  Then I actually DID retire.

As I think back on those seven or eight years that the penny jar sat on my desk, I remember that it wasn’t just my workmates who donated. Senator Tom Daschle, Mayors Hanson and Munson along with a lot of other politicians and notable people who passed through the newsroom would smile, toss in a few coins and get a blessing just like everybody else. Come to think of it, maybe pennies aren’t so bad after all.

And The Charnley Goes To……

Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 10:27 am
By: Doug Lund
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Other than the airport, Linda and I haven’t been to the Twin Cities in ages. We remedied that last weekend with a quick trip to attend the Northwest Broadcast News Association’s annual awards banquet. More about that in a minute. 

We used to go there several times a year especially when our daughter, Suzan was attending the University. Both she and her boyfriend (now husband) were in theater and I don’t think we missed many of the productions they were in. Plus we loved going to ballgames and out on the town afterwards to places like The Dakota Bar and Grill on Nicolett (Now Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant) which features wonderful food and terrific live music. 

mpls nyes And, Nye’s Polonaise Room a delightfully quaint corner bar and restaurant just across the river from downtown on East Hennepin. It’s the perfect place for anyone feeling nostalgic for the sixties. The place hasn’t noticeably changed since Al Nye bought it in the late forties. They still have a piano bar on the restaurant side and the world’s most dangerous polka band performs every Friday and Saturday night on a tiny stage at the back of the bar next door.  But we just didn’t have time on this trip to make it to either of them. It is nice, though, knowing they’re still there unlike the Prom Ballroom on University Avenue in St. Paul which went the way of the wrecking ball shortly after our first and only visit there in 1987. It was the last bastion for live big band music in the Cities.

We encountered heavy fog along I-90 Saturday morning and heavy rain and hail when we turned on 35 W. Big Red is still pretty resilient, though, and survived the ice attack without a dimple. I had planned our route to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Bloomington perfectly only to arrive and find out they didn’t have our reservation. “Wait a minute,” I said, “I’ve got a confirmation number right here so you better have a room for us!” “Ah, yes sir, but that is for the Crown Plaza AIRPORT which is East of here a few miles.” If I’d have had a tail it would have been dragging between my legs as I hung my head low and schlumped out of the lobby dragging our suitcase and cooler back to the car.

Well, we found the right hotel and had a delightful evening at the banquet where, for some reason, the Northwest Broadcast News Association saw fit to present me with the Mitchell V. mpls charnley award 009Charnley Award for lifetime achievement. My friend and longtime colleague, Jaine Andrews nominated me and somehow managed to make it flowery and glowing enough for the NBNA board to go along with the idea. Anyway, Mitchell Charnley was a brilliant journalist, writer and professor who spent much of his career at the University Of Minnesota where he taught the likes of Eric Severied, Edwin Newman, Harry Reasoner and Garrison Keillor. Past recipients of the award include Tom Brokaw and Steve Hemmingsen.  It was a great honor and I am humbled by..and grateful for it.


Here I am making my acceptance speech. Fortunately the audience laughed in all the appropriate places.

Here I am making my acceptance speech. Fortunately the audience laughed in all the appropriate places.

We chugged home on highways 169 and 60 which may be slower than the interstate but  a lot more scenic even at this time of year before the Minnesota Valley trees have had a chance blossom. Plus it gives me a chance to repeat that terrible old joke whenever we drive past the Jolly Green Giant billboard at Le Sueur. “Look, Linda, at the Jolly Green Giant as he stands over his corn and peas…ha, ha ha.” She always humors me with a little smile but I think it’s mostly out of pity for such a pitiful tradition.

I’m heading back out to the golf course today where, so far, my game is showing a few signs of improvement. Such wonderful things happening to me at this golden age of geezerhood.

My cup runneth over. (DD)

Taylor’s War

Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:50 am
By: Doug Lund
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The war in Iraq must be all but over since we don’t hear much about it on the nightly news any more. We still have about 40-thousand American troops over there but the main mission now appears to be propping up a shaky Iraqi army and government so we can clean up our mess and get the heck out of there in 2012; 9 years after we first went in. In recent years, we’ve concentrated our efforts on Afghanistan in hopes of rooting out Islamic terrorists holed up there and killing off the leader of the pack, Osama bin Laden..the guy who planned 9-11. Trouble is, most experts now believe that bin Laden is either dead or high tailed it to Pakistan a long time ago. It all seems to be a mess that, like other recent wars, has no clear objectives or exit strategy. And now it is PERSONAL.

taylor smiling marineLinda and my grandson, Taylor Smith, is probably landing in Afghanistan right about the time I’m writing this.  I’ve talked here before about Taylor. He’s always been a big hearted considerate kid with a dream to follow in the footsteps of his dad and grandfather by becoming a U.S. Marine. He signed up shortly after graduating from West Central High School. 

The Marine Corps is legendary for its grueling demands both physically and mentally especially during basic training. But Taylor endured it better than most because he’d been training for those challenges all his life. Although younger than many of the other new Marines, Taylor’s dedication and performance first led to leadership positions within the infantry ranks and then he was hand picked to serve in one of the Corps’ most elite units: providing security at the Presidential retreat, Camp David. During his time there, Taylor regularly went jogging with then President, George W. Bush and later scrimmaged basketball with President Obama. But, while it was a prestigious assignment..okay, maybe even a cushy one, Taylor was ready for his Camp David tour to be over.  

Now, you should know that he is not one of those stereotypical gung-ho robot-like types just itchin’ to get into a fight. He simply wanted to do his duty and serve alongside his fellow Marines wherever the war against terror is being waged. And so now we, his so many others.. must spend the next year anxiously waiting for any and all news coming out of that god-forsaken country.  I don’t mind telling you that we’re all extremely proud of Taylor but pretty darn scared too. However some of that fear is tempered by the knowledge that he’s a young man of faith and in addition to his own prayers, he’ll have plenty of others being offered up for his safe return.

Exposing Valhalla

Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 10:25 am
By: Doug Lund
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 Whew! Our long state nightmare is finally over. Valhalla has been returned to the people!

valhalla cabin

To be honest, I didn’t know this governor’s getaway in the Black Hills even existed until about three years ago when democrats tried to have a political meeting at the cabin and were turned down flat by Republican Governor Mike Rounds who said that Valhalla..built by former governor and U.S. Senator, Peter Norbeck in the 1920’s, was not to be used for political events. Well, that ticked off former Republican turned Democrat, Scott Heidepriem and then State Senator, Tom Katus. Pretty soon they had other Democrats and several bloggers all riled up valhalla insidesuggesting that Rounds was hogging the place for himself and his Republican cronies at taxpayer’s expense and, by god, that just ain’t right. Before long, reporters were demanding to see lists of guests who’d stayed there and when those requests were denied, they screamed their objections in editorials as if to suggest that Rounds was hosting orgies at the place. Come on..really?

Katus, who made an unsuccessful bid for South Dakota Treasurer last year, seemed absolutely giddy when he learned that Governor Dennis Daugaard had given in to pressure and decided to open up Valhalla for public tours as well as business meetings and retreats for 200 dollars a day. Daugaard will have priority use of the cabin but will also pay for its use out of his own pocket. “He’s one of us again,” Katus told Keloland’s Austin Hoffman. “I think South Dakotans really like that when he’s no better than the rest of us.”

Well, THIS South Dakotan wants a governor that IS NOT like the rest of us. I want him (or her) to represent my state much better than I ever could; to use the skills revealed in his (or her) campaign, that most of us voted for, and apply them to the job.  The position has always come with power and a certain amount of privileges; from a mansion in Pierre to a house in the Hills where he (or she) can get away from it all on occasion. If he(or she) invites some big wigs out there to wine and dine in hopes of bringing future investments and jobs to South Dakota ..what’s wrong with that?  When a Democrat gets elected he (or she) can invite anybody THEY want.

I’m not saying this actually happened but what if Bill Janklow had used Valhalla when he was governor to schmooze Citibank and other credit card execs into moving their operations to South Dakota?  Would anyone have dared to tell HIM that the public needs to see a list of his guests and to justify the expense of keeping the place up?  Nah, Mike Rounds and Denny Daugaard are easier targets.

The fact is that after the legislature adjourns; much of the governor’s time is spent doing pubic relations stuff which is fine by me.  I want him to leave his office in Pierre and get out there amongst the people listening their ideas, needs and concerns first hand offering suggestions, solutions, and comfort when he can. I also want my governor to be a respected ambassador for South Dakota using every tool at his disposal to attract out of state businesses and tourists to come here. To do all that traveling,  I want him to have access to the best and safest airplane and other forms of transportation. Some would have our chief executive driving an old pick-up or flying commercially because that would make him more like the rest of us.

I also don’t give a rip who the governor invites along on his annual pheasant hunt and can’t really understand why, in the last few years, it has become such a major “people’s right to know” issue. If some deals can be done between the corn rows on the condition of anonymity, I’ve got no problem with that. I have a hunch that those yelling loudest about seeing the list of invitees are torqued because their name isn’t on it.

valhalla peter norbeckSchmoozing big wigs on the Q.T. is nothing new in South Dakota. Former governor, Peter Norbeck, was a U.S. Senator in 1927 and looking for ways to promote tourism in the state. He, and a few other enterprising fellows, managed to convince then President Calvin Coolidge to escape the stifling heat of Washington D.C. and bring along the misses to spend the summer in South Dakota’s beautiful, cool, bug free Black Hills. Norbeck made sure Silent Cal had all the creature comforts and took him around to see all the sites.

The State Game Lodge served as Coolidge's summer White House 1927

The State Game Lodge served as Coolidge's summer White House 1927

While he had the President’s ear, Norbeck also  asked for his help in securing federal dollars to pay for a huge sculpture to be carved out of a nearby granite mountain called Rushmore. It worked because Coolidge was instrumental in convincing congress to pay for the monument. The President loved everything about that South Dakota summer especially the fishing.  What wasn’t known for years is that Norbeck and his cronies had sweetened the pot by stringing chicken wire across both ends of the pond Mr. Coolidge fished from and stocked it with big trout from the hatchery in Spearfish guaranteeing plentiful catches.

The Prez heading out for more Black Hills trout 1927

The Prez heading out for more Black Hills trout 1927

Hey Lund, I thought as a former reporter, you’d be in favor of open government and keeping the public informed on how politicians spend our tax dollars.  I am. But I can also spot manufactured rage and political grandstanding when I smell it.  I suspect those taking deep bows for exposing such “dirty little secrets” as Valhalla, Pheasant Hunts and  alleged State Airplane joy rides are more interested in a headline than actually giving a damn about issues that are really important.

Oh least I can now get a group together for a meeting or  little retreat at Valhalla for a couple hundred bucks a day. Cheaper than the Super 8.  I just hope someone’s keeping an eye on Governor Daugaard to make sure he forks over the cash whenever he wants to check-in to the place…”just like the rest of us.'”