- All of us South Dakotans will get to vote next year on the bar-restaurant smoking ban. Secretary Nelson's 5% random sample indicates that 18,320 of the 25,000 signatures gathered are probably valid, and that's plenty for a vote. Lobbyist and petition drive coordinator Larry Mann says he's [Steve Young's words] "disappointed that the number of valid signatures wasn't higher." 73% is a surprisingly low success rate, but Larry, you had bar and casino owners gathering signatures: should we be surprised that one out of four signers were too drunk to scribble the right address or recall that they aren't registered to vote?
- Brookings County residents will have the pleasure of voting on August 11 on the county's plan to buy and demolish a couple houses in the Brookings Historic District.
- Our neighbors in Howard have rustled up a vote for themselves on August 18. The matter at hand: two city resolutions vacating portions of Farmers Avenue and an alley. Back on June 8, 50 people attended a Howard City Commission meeting to discuss the actions, which would allow the Rural Learning Center to move forward with its plans for the big downtown learning and demonstration center. Howard's elected leaders approved the vacations. 33 signatures would have been enough to refer the matter; 75 Howardians signed to say, "Hold on, let's vote!" Obviously I hope Howard will vote a big yes for the vacations (wait, do the petitioners want a staycation?) and let this visionary project go forward. But whichever way the vote goes, I'm pleased to see the community have the chance to buy in or boot it out.
***Carolyn Ann Johnson 1938-2016 - In October 2016, an old friend, James A. Johnson, died after being in a nursing home and hospital for some time. I intended to send a memorial and contacte...
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