GOOD: Chris Chaisson had been around before he and his wife moved to Rapid City last year from Albuquerque, New Mexico. They have lived in Europe and others states in this country. Chris also served a total of eight years in the National Guard and the Army, which led to his deployment to Iraq. It was while serving there that he lost his leg in the line of duty. Now, he gets around with the help of his service dog and a computerized prosthetic, which naturally draws attention while he is out in the community. But rather than stares or uncomfortable glances, this disabled veteran is the recipient of respect and kindness here. One man paid his $200 grocery bill after meeting him at Walmart. A restaurant manager and fellow diners have picked up the dinner bill for Chris and his wife, a nurse. While appreciating the generosity of others, Chris said he really enjoys the chance to engage with so many good people. “I’ve been thanked and been shown so much love for my service and it really takes my breath away.”
BAD: One wonders when George Ferebee attends to Pennington County Commission business. He has been a frequent attendee at West Dakota Water Development District meetings where like-minded board members voted not to spend $14,785 for stream gauges that were funded for decades by the elected body with the mission of managing water resources. The gauges are so essential to the county that the commission voted 4-1 last week to provide $8,137 for them. Ferebee, whose disregard for water issues is becoming crystal clear, opposed the appropriation. Meanwhile, Ferebee has successfully appealed his conviction for not complying with a county ordinance that requires rural property owners to get a $20 septic-system permit, which could require him to clean his system. The new trial comes after several delays initiated by Ferebee stretched out court proceedings for two years in the first trial. The conviction led to a $200 fine. Ferebee is a man on a mission, but the cause appears to be largely his own.
UGLY: Speaking of a man on a mission, House Speaker Mark Mickelson is apparently not too keen on the initiative and referendum process, which has been part of South Dakota politics since 1898. According to Bob Mercer, who has been covering the state capitol for years, the Sioux Falls Republican is floating an idea that would deny citizens the right to gather signatures for measures that could amend the state constitution. At the same time, he is using this age-old constitutional right to put a measure on the 2018 ballot that bans out-of-state fundraising for citizens' initiatives even as lawmakers court similar sources for campaign contributions. This all comes after voters in 2016 approved Initiated Measure 22, a campaign-reform and ethics ballot measure that was quickly overturned by the Legislature. Instead of jobs, education and health care, Mickelson seems more focused on discouraging the public’s right to participate in the political process.