The weather is still hot and dry. No rain here this week, but no fires either. That heavy smoke in the air is coming from all those fires burning out in Montana. So far over 700,000 acres have gone up in smoke that burns our eyes and interferes with breathing in the western Dakotas. The national news media is so concentrated on the flooding in Texas that they don’t even mention the fires that are devastating Montana.

Iver Heier and I rode to Pierre with Rep. Sam Marty to attend the Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) meeting on Tuesday. Debbie Trapp from the Brand Board came to testify before the committee about what the two members of the Department of Criminal Investigation is costing the Brand Board since the state took over the brand program. The Brand Board is funded by the owners of registered brands, and we have to pay DCI almost $150K to investigate criminal activities like cattle theft! Brand owners are the only crime victims that have to pay DCI to investigate the crimes against them. Now that the state controls the Brand Board, it’s time the state starts paying for the investigators who work for the state instead of making brand owners pay for it.

The Gear Up program was also on the agenda for GOAC and the testimony and following discussions got VERY interesting. It seems like some new scandal about the Gear Up program and Mid-Central comes out every week. Pierre reporter Bob Mercer has had some informative stories about the Gear Up mess in several newspapers across the state. Stay tuned, we haven’t heard everything yet.

Late that evening as we were headed home from Pierre, I got a call from my sister to tell me that her son Daren is recovering from a heart attack he had a day earlier. Doctors put a couple stints in for him and he’s doing much better. Daren works for the Government Printing Office in Washington D.C. and he and his family live in the D.C. area.

Our chicken population increased this week when a setting hen hatched out around a dozen chicks in the barn. We keep the barn doors shut all the time, but there is a square window hole in the wall about twelve feet off the ground and, unbeknownst to us, one of the Leghorns flew through that hole in the wall every day to lay the eggs she hatched out. We caught another coon in the live trap just outside the barn, so hopefully our chicken population has stabilized.

Most of Harding County went to Bison Friday night to watch the Harding County Ranchers football team play the Bison Cardinals. It was a hard fought game, but HC won 54 to 20. Jarett Jenson and Trig came up from Spearfish to watch the game, but they had to get back to Spearfish that night because BHSC had a football game on Saturday. BH won that one too.

Labor Day is Buffalo’s major celebration and it takes a lot of preparation by the locals. Casey went in to Buffalo Wednesday to help get the rodeo arena ready for the Labor Day festivities. Lanie, Matt and Trace came down from Dickinson Friday and went to Buffalo that evening for the class reunion Sam Olson was hosting for his and Lanie’s graduating class. Reub and I went in to watch the Hackamore Ranch Match Bulldogging at Tipperary Arena on Saturday.

We didn’t make it to Buffalo for the rodeo on Sunday because Bekah Jerde and Bart Vargas got married at Immanuel Lutheran Church at Zeona that afternoon and had their reception at the Reva Hall. I’m writing this early because of all the Labor Day events, but I will be driving Sen. Ryan Maher and Rep. Sam Marty in the Labor Day parade on Monday. Bill and Verona Vroman are the Parade Marshals this year so it should be a fun day.

Next Saturday Doug Doll’s sister and our former neighbor, Elaine Doll-Dunn, will be celebrating her eightieth birthday pool side at the Spearfish Holiday Inn starting at 2:00. Elaine’s birthday fits this joke Ron Traver sent me this week:     

Thank God for Seniors!

An elderly woman had just returned to her home from evening church services, when she was startled by an intruder.

She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: “Stop! Acts 2:38!” (Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven.)

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The burglar stopped in his tracks.

The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: “Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.”

“Scripture?” replied the burglar. “She said she had an ax and two 38s!”

Knowing scripture may save your life - in more ways than one.

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