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Mines students to perform, serve meal at Sweetheart Dinner & Dance

Grab your sweetheart and head to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology next weekend. 

Mines student musicians will host the Sweetheart Dinner & Dance from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 17 at the SD Mines Music Center in Rapid City.

Tickets are $50 and available at The deadline to buy tickets is Sunday.

The evening will include a four-course meal and dessert bar, while jazz and choral students from Mines perform Big Band era music, including fan favorites like "In the Mood," "Sing Sing Sing," "Embraceable You" and "Fanfare for the Common Man." 

“This is very nostalgic music that many people know and love,” Haley Armstrong, director of bands at Mines, said in a release. “To hear it live performed by such a talented group of young musicians will be a real treat.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit music scholarships at Mines, and range from $500 to $3,000. Currently, 235 of the 2,778 students at Mines participate in its music programs.

Armstrong said two years ago, the department could only offer eight scholarships; last year, that number doubled to 16. Next year, the school hopes to award 25. 

Students will serve the meal along with performing, which Armstrong said is an effort to get them even more involved in philanthropy. 

“I think it’s important for students to be part of the philanthropy,” Armstrong said. “It’s a chance to instill the spirit of giving in our students.”

Anti-alcohol resolution gets booted by legislative panel

PIERRE | A legislative resolution calling for “thoughtful taxation” of alcohol products in South Dakota ran into stiff opposition Thursday from some state lawmakers.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 8-3 against adopting it. HCR 1007 called “for alcohol to become budget neutral rather than a drain on the resources and the economy of South Dakota.”

The resolution came from the South Dakota Alcohol Policy Alliance. Among its claims: Alcohol caused around $600 million of harm in South Dakota, while taxes and other revenue produced around $20 million for state government.

Doing much of the talking in favor of the resolution was Matt Walz. His LinkedIn account said he’s a medical affairs specialist and marketing rep for Keystone Treatment Center in Sioux Falls.

“We believe in free markets and free-market economics,” Walz said.

Terry Dosch, representing the South Dakota Council of Substance Abuse Directors, said the resolution’s language came “from the viewpoint of the trenches” such as emergency rooms and law enforcement.

Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre, challenged Walz on the sources of information. Rounds said the studies cited “are basically an individual’s research and there’s nothing to back it up.”

Rep. Nancy York, R-Watertown, said she “whole-heartedly” supported the resolution. “This (alcohol) tax has not been raised since 1987,” she said. “This is just one small step.”

Rep. Mike Diedrich, R-Rapid City, said he didn’t want a tax increase and didn’t favor approving the resolution “because of the vagaries” but was willing to continue discussion.

Making chislic the official ‘nosh’ finds trouble in House committee

PIERRE | The rule of 13 came into play Thursday for the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Needing a majority of seven, the committee was one “yes” short of recommending that chislic be designated as South Dakota’s official “nosh.”

The committee then went the other direction and tried to kill it. That roll call ended 6-5 too.

“We’re missing two people. We have to carry this over to next week,” Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre, said.

Rounds had stirred the ashes beneath a bill that didn’t have anyone testify against it. He called the legislation a “trivial item” and asked why not “tiger meat” that he said was popular in the northeastern counties, or popcorn balls from Kimball.

“We could go on and on with the nosh,” Rounds said. “We don’t have the time.”

Rep. Steve McCleerey, D-Sisseton, returned fire, saying Rounds’ comments were “a slap in the face” to agriculture. Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, said the discussion already had wasted 25 minutes.

Rep. Wayne Steinhauer, R-Hartford, suggested in his role as committee chairman that the critics could help pass it and put it on consent and be done with the matter. Even that wasn’t enough for Rep. Leslie Heinemann, R-Flandreau, to let go.

“Why can’t we change it to jerky?” Heinemann asked.

Turns out he was serious. Heineman said the Jack Link jerky plant is two miles outside his legislative district.

“Should I go on and on?” he asked.

Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, was prime sponsor of SB 96. The Senate voted 22-12 for it. Nelson had Rep. Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, as the lead House sponsor.

That was a turnabout. Just months before, Nelson wanted Schoenfish to testify to the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee.

Nelson wanted answers regarding private audits that the Schoenfish and Co. accounting firm performed for Mid-Central Educational Cooperative. Instead Randy Schoenfish, the legislator’s father, presented testimony.

On Thursday, legislator Schoenfish opened the testimony for the seemingly simple “nosh” designation.

“I can personally attest to how great chislic is,” Schoenfish said.

Then he saw the legislation spin off to a place few innocuous bills ever find. In the end, neither side had the votes. Next week the committee will gnaw on it again.

The deadlock brought to mind a comment that Tom Harmon, a lawyer long retired from the state attorney-general office, made in support.

“I’m not sure how you could be against this,” Harmon said, “unless you’re a sheep or a lamb.”

Titus, Ronald J.

PINE RIDGE | Ronald Jason Titus, 42, died Feb. 7, 2018.

Wake services begin at 4 p.m., with 7 p.m. Rosary Feb. 11, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Services at 11 a.m. Feb. 12, at the church. Burial at Holy Cross Episcopal Cemetery.

Sioux Funeral Home