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At least 200 boats expected for Trump parade at Pierre
  • Updated

President Donald Trump will have plenty of support on the Missouri River Saturday, according to those who organized the Pierre boat parade.

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Steamboat Park and the Missouri River Causeway.

“We are expecting probably 200 to 300 boats, possibly more,” organizer Brandi Barth of Pierre told the Capital Journal on Thursday.

Like Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Pennsylvania and California, along with several other states across the country recently, South Dakota will host a Trump boat parade. Barth on Thursday said there were about 1,400 people who expressed interest in the event.

“We are hoping to get things going around 1 p.m., but it just keeps bigger by the day, so I couldn’t even tell ya the amount of people,” Barth said earlier in the week.

The boat parades are not without danger, however. According to multiple news outlets, including NBC News and MarketWatch, multiple boats were overtaken by high waves and began to sink during the Sept. 5 event on Lake Travis in Texas.

No injuries were reported from these sinkings.

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Noem Traveling Country To Campaign For Trump
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No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio in the Electoral College — and the Buckeye State is one of those to which South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has traveled to campaign for President Donald Trump.

“In recent weeks, she has traveled to Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Iowa, and Ohio for campaign efforts,” Noem spokesman Ian Fury told the Capital Journal on Thursday.

According to the Ohio Republican Party’s Twitter feed, party Chair Jane Timken appeared with Noem on Tuesday to address more than 100 Trump supporters in the Columbus suburb of Westerville. Also attending was Trump campaign spokeswoman Erin Perrine.

“Governor Noem is traveling the state with Chairman Timken to see the incredible support President @realDonaldTrump has in Ohio,” the Ohio GOP’s tweet states.

President Barack Obama carried Ohio in 2008 and 2012, but Trump turned it Republican red in 2016 by defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 8.1 points.

The last person from either party to win the presidency without Ohio was Democrat John F. Kennedy in 1960. The Thursday Real Clear Politics compilation of polls showed Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden in the Buckeye State by 2.4 points.

Fury said Noem plans several more outings ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

“She has upcoming travel scheduled to Minnesota, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Florida between now and Election Day,” Fury told the Capital Journal.

Noem strongly endorsed Trump during her speech at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina last month.

“In just four years, President Trump has lifted people of all races and backgrounds out of poverty. He shrunk government and put money back into the pockets of hardworking, ordinary Americans. He has advanced religious liberty and protected the Second Amendment. You can look back 50 years, and you won’t find anyone that has surpassed President Trump’s success on these four issues alone,” Noem said of Trump.

“President Trump places the American people, American liberty, American security, and the American Constitution before all else. He honors the fact that the American people provide the ‘consent of the governed’ on which legitimate government depends,” she added.

Travel Expenses And Obligations To South DakotaThe Capital Journal addressed questions to Fury and Noem Policy Director Maggie Seidel regarding how the governor’s travel around the nation benefits South Dakota taxpayers — and if the state’s taxpayers are on the hook for any travel costs.

Fury said the travel expenses are “paid for on a case-by-case basis,” but said no state taxpayers’ money is used for this purpose.

“Governor Noem believes that in a second term of President Trump, we’ll continue to see economic growth, limited government, and respect for the rights of South Dakotans,” Fury said. “If Joe Biden were president, we’ll experience a resurgence of overreaching government regulation like we experienced under the Obama administration. Frankly, her freedom-respecting approach to COVID-19 may not have been possible had Joe Biden been president.”

Electoral College OutlineNoem likely feels no pressure to campaign for Trump in South Dakota, as no Democratic presidential nominee has carried the state since President Lyndon B. Johnson did so 56 years ago.

States considered “toss-ups” for this year’s Electoral College include:

Texas — 38 electoral votes (Trump won by 9 points in 2016)

Florida — 29 electoral votes (Trump won by 1.2 points in 2016)

Pennsylvania — 20 electoral votes (Trump won by 0.7 points in 2016)

Ohio — 18 electoral votes (Trump won by 8 points in 2016)

Michigan — 16 electoral votes (Trump won by 0.3 points in 2016)

Georgia — 16 electoral votes (Trump won by 5 points in 2016)

North Carolina — 15 electoral votes (Trump won by 3.6 points in 2016)

Arizona — 11 electoral votes (Trump won by 3.5 points in 2016)

Wisconsin — 10 electoral votes (Trump won by 0.7 points in 2016)

Minnesota — 10 electoral votes (Clinton won by 1.5 points in 2016)

Iowa — 6 electoral votes (Trump won by 9.4 points in 2016)

New Hampshire — 4 electoral votes (Clinton won by 0.3 points in 2016)

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S.D. Community Foundation building new foundation, office in Pierre
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The South Dakota Community Foundation is building a new foundation and structure between its current building on Lincoln Avenue, just off East 4th Street, and City Hall in Pierre.

The new build illustrates the growth the organization has made in its mission of “bringing philanthropy to life for a stronger South Dakota,” according to President and CEO Stephanie Judson.

“We have been in our existing office space since 2011,” Judson told the Capital Journal. “We have been in operation since 1987 and we were in the St. Charles (former historic hotel downtown) on the second floor until 2011.”

The new building has a price of $1.8 million, according to the building permit filed with the city.

Puetz Corporation of Mitchell designed the new 7,700-square-foot building and is the main construction contractor. Plans are to have the new building enclosed before winter hits so the finishing work can continue indoors, Judson said.

The new structure will about double the foundation’s practical office space. In its current building, the foundation has 3,800 square feet on the main floor and a 3,500 square feet in the unfinished basement, which includes the mechanical parts of the building and storage.

The new building will have its 7,700 square feet, all on the main floor.

“In the new building, we will be able to accommodate more people,” Judson said. “We are reducing the size of individual offices to accommodate more people.”

“When we came here in 2011, we had five staff workers. We are now at 12. Nine of them are based in Pierre and the other three work in Aberdeen, Sioux Falls and Rapid City but spend time in Pierre, too.”

Judson calls the foundation South Dakota’s “best-kept secret.”

It was founded by Gov. George Mickelson as “a public nonprofit apart from state government to establish, attract and distribute gifts to charitable agencies across the state,” Judson said.

North Dakota and Wyoming have similar such foundations that are statewide in scope.

“We manage over 1,000 individual funds that benefit nonprofits: communities, local schools and families who have started donor-advised funds. We manage several hundred scholarships that pay out millions in scholarships each year. We work with 80 communities across the state, including Pierre and Fort Pierre, who partner with us in starting Community Savings Accounts. The idea is to commingle assets to have a higher rate of return and higher efficiency in doing it,” the organization states.

It helps smaller nonprofits by providing administrative services for their fundraising and grant-making and also providing a wider view, perhaps, of potential investments and earning potential.

“We have an endowment base now of $370 million in total assets. Our distribution rate is 4.5% of the average fair market value. And that is $18 million to $19 million a year we are awarding.”

Funding for the $1.8 million new building has come from donations from several key partners, Judson said.

She promises a big gala to celebrate the opening of the new building, down the road maybe from January, when the employees plan to move in, when warmer weather will return, Judson said.

Shown is a highly magnified photo of the virus that creates COVID-19.

COVID-19, By The Numbers
  • Updated

4 (Same as Wednesday)

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Hughes County, according to the South Dakota Department of Health as of 4 p.m Friday.

16 (Same as Wednesday)

Active COVID-19 cases in Hughes County as of 4 p.m. Friday.

1 (Same as Wednesday)

Active COVID-19 cases in Stanley County as of 4 p.m. Friday.

6,381,013Total COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of 4 p.m. Friday.


Deaths attributed to COVID-19 across the U.S. as of 4 p.m. Friday.

16,117 (+ 546 from Wednesday)

Total COVID-19 cases in South Dakota, according to the state Department of Health as of 4 p.m. Friday.

2,515 (+ 81 from Wednesday)

Active COVID-19 cases in South Dakota as of 4 p.m. Friday.

177 (+ 4 from Wednesday)

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 in South Dakota.

98 (+ 22 from Wednesday)

People “currently” hospitalized for COVID-19 in South Dakota.

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Pierre firefighters honor victims/heroes of 9/11 attack
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Anytime Fitness in Pierre had two special guests come in around 7-8 a.m. the morning of Friday, Sept. 11 (9/11).

In full firefighter gear, Geritt Tronvold and Wyatt Trautman exercised on the stair climbers. Both men are members of the Pierre Volunteer Fire Department.

“These gentlemen came to the gym this morning to climb the twin towers in honor of our first responders. What an incredible community we have,” stated the gymnasium’s website. “A day of remembrance for those who lost their lives, and for those who gave their lives. We remember. Thank you Geritt Tronvold and Wyatt Trautman.”

“We both joined the gym recently. We both wanted to do the steps for 9/11, but couldn’t before,” Tronvold said. “We thought it was the least we could do. Every year on 9/11 first responders from across the country do something similar. We just wanted to do our thing; didn’t think it would get so much traction.”

“We’ve been friends for years; and both on the fire department,” Trautman said. “It’s a great way to memorialize what happened; we don’t want to forget. We made a point of getting up early before work this year. We appreciate everyone for supporting the fire department. I love what we do. Everyone needs a firefighter. I believe Geritt and I, and maybe other fellow firefighters, will do something similar next year.”

“Wyatt and I have known each other for 17 years. I was his best man, and he’s going to be my best man tomorrow. I’d say we are more like brothers at this point,” Tronvold said.

“I remember when 9/11 happened,” Trautman said. “I was in kindergarten. My grandpa picked me up early, not at noon. I usually watched cartoons after school, but my parents wouldn’t let me change the channel. It was something very important.”

According to national records, the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers each consisted of 110 floors and 2,071 steps. Though quite the honor in remembrance of the people who died on that date, the idea of climbing 110 floors — in real life or on such things as gymnastic equipment — is not new. People in many walks of life, but especially first responders, have been performing this tribute across the nation since 9/11.

As a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 2,977 people died, 19 hijackers committed murder/suicide, and more than 6,000 others were injured. Included in these deaths were 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers. More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks.

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State health officials say youth COVID cases trending upward
  • Updated

COVID-19 cases among children aged 5-17 and young adults aged 18-22 are on the rise in South Dakota, state health officials reported during a Thursday news conference.

Based on data from July 19 to Sept. 5 analyzed by State Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton, the average number of cases for children in a given week has been increasing. The number of infections for children aged 5-17 rose from about 100 per week for the week of July 19 to 160 per week by Sept. 5. Officials added there are now typically about 600 cases among those aged 18-22.

Despite the higher infection rates, only three cases in the 5-17 age range and seven cases in the 18-22 range required hospitalization. Zero deaths have been reported for either age group.

All universities in the state have offered mass testing, while the Department of Health has multiple strategies in place to increase testing. The health department works closely with K-12 school districts when there is a positive case within a school and has provided testing opportunities to all schools. Sixty-one school districts are participating in centralized testing, and the health department encourages the remaining districts to consider participating as well.

Additionally, there has been a surge in contact tracing staff with the increase in new cases in K-12 schools. One hundred new contact tracers have joined the ranks recently, bringing the total number of contact tracers to 243 statewide, state Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.

The biggest obstacle confronting case investigations has been contacting individuals who have been tested. When contact tracers reach out to an individual, Malsam-Rysdon emphasized that individuals respond to the call to ensure people are appropriately informed about the actions they should take regarding the safety of themselves and others.

Malsam-Rysdon said people “shouldn’t be surprised” by the high rate of cases per capita in South Dakota.

“People need to continue to follow the guidelines to the greatest extent possible,” she said. “If you’re gonna see events over weekends like Labor Day, you’re gonna see more cases.”

“Any time a group of individuals come together, there will always be a risk of COVID-19 transmission,” Clayton said.

Because individuals encounter multiple sources of exposure throughout the day, Clayton said it is difficult to identify the exact source of the exposure.

“We’ve not seen larger clusters identified in the school setting; most of what we’re seeing is individual cases that are able to be contained through the efforts the school districts are taking,” Clayton said.

Malsam-Rysdon said the state health department, under Gov. Kristi Noem’s leadership, is working “continuously” to push social distancing messaging.

“We’re not doing this outside of her leadership and in recognition of what the CDC guidelines are,” Malsam-Rysdon said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ve been very clear with getting the CDC recommendations out to the public across the state. Our current campaign is exactly on this topic about the need to contain and social distance, so we are very much in line with that and that’s part of all the messaging that we make,” Malsam-Rysdon said.

Malsam-Rysdon added the health department set a statewide testing goal of more than two times the minimum required testing for the state, which she said the health department has exceeded every month since July.

“This isn’t a situation where people can do it for other people. We’re encouraging people to get the facts, be mindful of what they can personally do, and stick to those recommendations. We’ve been at this for a long time, and it’s easy to move away from them...but we really need people to stick with this,” Malsam-Rysdon said.

“We welcome colleges and universities to take a look at the data that’s out there and the study that was done to continue the discussion around what we know, which is that when we do have a number of individuals that come into close contact,” Clayton said.

Despite the necessity to continue following mitigation guidelines, Malsam-Rysdon said the state’s infection rate is “not even close to numbers of major concern.” The number of hospitalizations remains very low — only 3% of hospital beds across the state are being used for COVID-19 patients, with 46% of those beds available for COVID.

As of the press conference Thursday, there were 11 new hospitalizations, four new deaths, and 237 fully recovered cases, and 2,256 new tests reported in the last 24 hours. Overall, the state health department reported 283 new COVID cases in the state from Thursday to Friday.