Hey, we're still here! No supervolcano, no hyperinflation, no Fourth Reich... whoo-hoo! Happy 2014!
With faith that no such disasters will wipe us off the map or put us on The Road, here's my holiday wish list of the top ten stories you'll get to read about here on the Madville Times in 2014:
1. Sioux Falls, November 5, 2014: Senator-Elect Rick Weiland today vowed to sponsor Medicare E—Medicare for Everyone—as his first piece of legislation when he is sworn into the Senate. "South Dakota Democrats showed last night that they are ready to carry on the legacy of George McGovern," said Weiland, fresh off what he described as his first full-night's sleep since August. "The ACA is working; making every citizen eligible for Medicare is the next logical step and a sure way to drive price competition."
In related news, second-place Senate candidate Stace Nelson will join Toby Uecker as a contributing author on the Madville Times. Nelson will be the blog's conservative correspondent. Third-place finisher Larry Pressler says he enjoyed being back in South Dakota for the campaign so much that he will return to living full time in Humboldt and telecommute to Paris.
2. New York City, April 16, 2014: Columbia University announced that Bob Mercer is the recipient of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. For six months, Mercer has been documenting the vast web of corruption and money-laundering in South Dakota's now infamous GOED/EB-5 scandal. Mercer has also led the charge in the fight for open records against a secretive state government for which he once worked. The scandal has rocked the South Dakota political landscape, leading to several arrests and indictments, resignations of state officials, and the departure of once-frontrunner Mike Rounds from the U.S. Senate race.
3. Aberdeen, December 24, 2014: Northern Beef Cooperative members received their first dividend checks today, just in time for Christmas. "The dividends are small, token payments, but they show our business model works," said NBC spokesman Jorge Alvarado. "Local ownership was key. Local livestock producers wanted to build a plant like this ten years ago, but the governor and the lawyers were more interested in elaborate Ponzi schemes. Now we're making it work with a cooperative of ranchers and workers who are dedicated to quality beef and honest business." NBC put its first shipments of South Dakota Certified Beef on regional store shelves on December 1.
4. Rochester, Minnesota, March 29, 2014: Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say they are "flabbergasted" at the apparent complete remission of Rep. Steve Hickey's pulmonary fibrosis. The South Dakota legislator and pastor credits God and good politics. "I've always preached that God will reward those who do His will," said an exuberant Hickey. "We repealed the death penalty. We banned payday loan centers. And the Lord said that it was good! Now let's raise that minimum wage!"
5. Rapid City, April 30, 2014: Stan Adelstein formally announced his candidacy for State Senate this morning. Adelstein, who resigned from the Senate last winter due to health issues, says he has recuperated fully and is ready to serve again. "The GOED/EB-5 scandal shows that South Dakota needs all hands on deck to root out the privilege and corruption in Pierre. And that kid the Governor appointed to fill my seat is not the right person to take on that challenge." Adelstein filed as an Independent yesterday.
6. Castlewood, November 30, 2014: Outgoing Congresswoman Kristi Noem moved her family into a used RV today. "With no Farm Bill, Bryon couldn't sell crop insurance," said a tearful Noem. "And now that you people kicked me out of Congress, I don't what we're going to do. But Annette tells me this camper has pretty good heat."
7. Pierre, December 2, 2014: Governor Dennis Daugaard surprised legislators and the rest of the state by including proposals from Governor-Elect Joe Lowe in his final budget address today. "The people of South Dakota elected Joe Lowe to 'put out the fire' of cronyism and corruption in state government," Daugaard told lawmakers, quoting the former state fire chief's campaign slogan. "Now I'm free to say that the voters and Joe are right." Among the Lowe proposals Daugaard endorsed is a transfer of 90% of state economic development funds, split evenly betwee K-12 and higher education.
8. Calgary, Alberta, July 4, 2014: TransCanada CEO Russ Girling announced his resignation today. Girling is stepping down amid the collapse of TransCanada share prices following President Barack Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.
9. Hot Springs, July 4, 2014: News reached South Dakota today of Powertech's corporate dissolution and the end of its in-situ uranium mining plans. "The Legislature turned against us and reinstated the DENR's regulatory authority," moaned local Powertech backer Mark Hollenbeck. "Our Chinese investors lost confidence. The terrorists won!" Local opponents of the uranium project toasted their victory with tall glasses of cool, clean water.
10. Spearfish, December 31, 2014: Blogger Cory Allen Heidelberger stopped in town today as part of his Madville Times "Back from Exile" tour of South Dakota today. "I'm thrilled to be back in South Dakota," said the unapologetically liberal blogger while entertaining friends, taking news tips, and joking in French at Common Grounds. "Erin has her first call and did the Christmas Eve service last week. Our little one is ready to finally settle into a school for the long haul. And I'm going for a run up Lookout Mountain. Happy New Year, South Dakota!"