The national news gives West River's October blizzard the usual blippy coverage and chirpy newslady-weatherman banter about being glad they're not in South Dakota (exactly the scene I saw on TV this evening... but never my words. Never.).
Be glad you're not a cow... or a rancher in Meade County, where the word disaster can be used without exaggeration:
Jule Lamb with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Transportation Department, traveling near Dupree on SD Hwy 212 came to a stop, seeing something partially buried by the snow. A closer inspection found cattle, buried two and three deep – near the Woodward ranch. Now, officials are estimating there are many more similar scenes out in the country where many producers haven’t brought their cattle home yet in what is the traditional fall roundup season [Francie Ganje, "October Blizzard Taking a Toll on Livestock," KBHB Radio, 2013.10.06].
Read Ganje's full report, and you'll be done telling blizzard jokes for the season.
Read the final paragraph of Ganje's
report cri de cœur, and you should also be done playing politics and shutting down your government:
These first early reports of the loss of livestock on the outer plains may bring the Governor closer to declaring a natural disaster – that will pave the way for a federal designation and financial assistance. That is, if elected Congressional representatives supporting the present federal government shut down decide it’s time to stop holding the taxpaying public and their needs, hostage [Ganje, 2013.10.06].
I'm pretty sure Senator Johnson is listening. Rep. Noem, Senator Thune, you should be, too. It's time for you, as South Dakotans, to cut through the la-tee-da-pretty-snow crap and get everyone back to work solving the problems we form government to solve.