A decision that could benefit businesses and South Dakota



A few months back the United States Supreme Court, in a case brought before them by Marty Jackley not only on behalf of South Dakota but many states, made a decision requiring online retailers to collect sales tax and remit it back to the state where the items were sold.

Twenty some years ago this was not an issue. It was not even known what impact the internet would have, if any. Move the clock forward to 2018 and people are searching the internet for what they consider a bargain. If that bargain is not paying the sales tax, they think it is a savings. But it is not, it is a cost.

With every purchase over the internet, our Main Street brick and mortar stores were losing out. Our city and state were losing out. That is right, in the case of Webster and South Dakota that was 6.5 percent on every dollar today. Plus it was the small margin our local retailers were missing out on. The amount they were counting on to help hire employees, pay for services and most importantly keep their doors open.

Internet sales is not the only reason a business may close, but it does have an impact. This past week our legislature met in special session to pass a law to notify and allow South Dakota to collect sales tax on items sold over the internet even if that company does not have a brick and mortar store in South Dakota.

I hope this will help drive more people back to our community brick and mortar stores. The people who are our neighbors, support our youth, community festivals... Most importantly the businesses who hire employees and keep the dollars coming back into the community many times over.

Congrats on getting it done for everyone.


Remaining silent, a reporter’s public meeting protocol



Robert’s Rules of Order are a set of procedures developed to help keep meetings orderly and everyone on task so as to make the most of everyone’s time who is there. Following these procedures at a meeting helps get the most accomplished while being respectful of all in attendance.

I love Robert’s Rules of Order.

That love stems from the fact that I attend so many meetings. On an average week, I attend a lot of meetings. A lot. Some of them are for church or other extracurricular activities and groups I’m interested in, but the vast majority of the meetings I attend are for my job.

Most of the time when I attend a public meeting, people understand I am there to cover it for the newspaper. I feel there is something I need to clarify about my presence, however: If I appear reluctant to speak or participate in the conversation while wearing my reporter’s cap—it’s because I am.

In recent weeks, I’ve covered a couple of meetings during which there was an attempt to draw me into the conversation because it was rightly assumed that, through my job, I would have knowledge on the topic at hand. I’ve also been confronted and asked why I don’t confront public boards at the meetings if I see something they’re doing that isn’t right or out of line.

Simply put, that’s not what I’m there for.

When I’m at a meeting as a representative of the newspaper, it’s not that I’m being rude or stuck up and it’s not that I don’t care about what’s taking place. It’s my job to just observe. Journalism ethics dictate that I not influence the course of the meeting. I am only there to observe and report on what happened. Nothing more, nothing less.

I have no problem with sticking around after a meeting to talk or share my knowledge; I don’t mind being stopped on the street corner or in the grocery store to answer questions; anyone can call me at the office to chat about some happening at a meeting we both attended—I will even dig deeper into a topic after the meeting for a more in-depth story or article so that the public is aware. Trust me, I love to help out and I’m not afraid to be vocal at a meeting if needed.

I just can’t do so at a public meeting.

So, dear residents and boards of Day County, please don’t think I’m a snob.

I just can’t make a comment or statement at a public meeting while I’m on the clock.

Let’s talk afterwards.


Just might be a fruit farmer yet



Many years ago I was told that with a condition I have, if my hands shake there are two treatments available. One is anticonvulsant drugs. That’s not about to happen. The other is a glass of wine or beer. Not to sound like a lush or anything, but it sounds like the better option.

My birthday was coming up when this occurred, so I told John I wanted a wine making kit. He came through with all the chemicals and equipment needed, plus a recipe book. All I needed was fruit.

This was going to be my new hobby. The next spring we ordered a couple of grapevines and even talked about putting in a little vineyard.

But that never happened. We put in the two vines, watched them for a couple of years and forgot about them. Before long they were overgrown with weeds. Years went by. The wine making equipment was dusty from lack of use and moved to the basement.

One year a windstorm took out many of our trees. A few years later we replaced some of them and figured it might as well be with fruit trees. We put in apples and plums. The trees actually took root and we didn’t mow over them.

Last year two of them started to bear fruit. One of the apple trees had a few apples – however, they were small and the bugs got more of them than we did. One of the plum trees had fruit too and we diligently watched, waiting for it to ripen. Every day at lunch we sat on the patio and looked at the plums. One more day, we thought, then they will be ready. The day came and we went to test one and make sure. But there was not one left. The birds must have been eyeing that tree every day too, and had their lunch before we had ours.

This year the same two trees had fruit again. Last week as we sat on the patio at lunch, John looked toward the plum, which had been slowly ripening its banner crop. Once again we were a day late and a dollar short. So we went to the apple tree and picked them all. We may share our plums but this year we will eat our own apples.

And as for the grapevines? A couple years ago John found some grapes. They were great, but there were not more than a dozen or so – not enough for me to resurrect the wine making equipment. This year there weren’t any at all, but next year we are going to fertilize them, weed them and even water them if they get dry.

Someday yet we will be fruit farmers.

Reporter & Farmer Important Links

Go to the desktop version for the full site

Like us on Facebook