Monthly Archives: July 2013

American Legion baseball: Day 2 wrap-up

Pierre notched a berth in the Class A state tournament for South Dakota American Legion baseball teams with two wins in the west regional Wednesday. Rain continues to fall and puddles keep growing on the Hyde Stadium diamond this morning, putting the start time in question for the scheduled 4 p.m. loser-out contest between Spearfish and Sturgis, each 1-1. Pierre defeated Rapid City Post 320 and Sturgis, while Sturgis defeated Spearfish and Spearfish sent 320 home.

In the north regional, Aberdeen blasted past Huron 11-1 in seven innings Wednesday, securing a state berth for the Smittys. Perhaps the oddest twist is that two teams — Pierre and Aberdeen — that were the first to win two games in their regionals had losing records in the regular season. Watertown meanwhile is state-bound, too, after eliminating Renner Post 307 and Huron with two losses apiece Wednesday in the north regional.

The south regional saw Brandon Valley eliminate Sioux Falls West and then fall to Mitchell 15-5. Brandon Valley and Mitchell meet again today for the regional title, but both teams are heading to state.

So we now know six of the eight teams that will gather at Fitzgerald Stadium next week to play for the South Dakota championship. Rapid City Post 22 received an automatic berth as host. Pierre, Mitchell, Brandon Valley, Aberdeen and Watertown are in. The winner of the Sturgis-Spearfish game is in. The eighth berth will go to the winner of the playoff at 1 p.m. Saturday in Sioux Falls between the third-place teams from the north and south regionals, Huron and Sioux Falls West. State tournament play opens Wednesday.

American Legion Class A baseball: Day 1 wrapup

Two of the three regional tournaments that set the field for the state tourney began Tuesday in South Dakota American Legion baseball. And we now quickly know two teams that won’t advance to Fitzgerald Stadium in Rapid City next week — and one is the defending champion, Brookings, and the other is the defending runner-up, Sioux Falls East.

At the north regional in Aberdeen, Brookings was bounced in two games. Huron stunned Brookings with 10 runs in the eighth inning and rallied to win 11-2 behind Tyler Waddle’s day to remember. He pitched a complete nine innings and was 4-for-5 at the plate. Brookings was eliminated with its second loss, falling 9-7 to Renner Post 307, the third Sioux Falls team that started last year under a separate organization.

In other north-regional games, Watertown defeated Renner 8-6 in the opener, behind six different Watertown baser runners scoring, led by Mitch Moes with two runs; and Aberdeen then set down Watertown 8-6 as Lucas Lorenz powered the winners from the No. 3 slot in the batting order, going 4-of-5 with four runs and three RBI. Today Huron meets host Aberdeen in a 12:30 game that will determine one of the region’s two berths in the state tournament, while Renner faces Watertown in a loser-out elimination game at 5 p.m.

At the south regional in Sioux Falls, Brandon Valley received a first-round bye and then defeated Yankton 7-4 in a game that got tight at the end with bases loaded in Yankton’s last at-bat. In early games, Yankton shut out Sioux Falls East 3-0, while Mitchell shut out Sioux Falls West 2-0 behind pitcher Michael Sadler. West then eliminated East 8-3. Today’s showdowns have Brandon Valley facing Mitchell for the inside track on a state berth, while West and Yankton tangle in an elimination game.

Last summer, Brookings won its first American Legion state title with a 11-10 victory over East.

The west region in Pierre opens today at 10 a.m. with top seed Spearfish facing Sturgis, followed by No. 2 seed Rapid City Post 320 battling Pierre Post 8 in a matchup that has seen each team beat the other earlier this summer. Rapid City Post 22, as the state tournament host, receives an automatic bid and therefore isn’t playing in the regional. Post 22 is likely the dominant team in South Dakota American Legion baseball this summer and will have the advantage of playing at home next week. The state tourney will be the showcase for the team of Post 22 head coach Mitch Messer. He is in his second year of succeeding Dave Ploof, who built a program through nearly 50 years that is unmatched in reputation and facilities and talent in South Dakota.

The eighth team to make the state field will be determined in a one-game playoff between the third-place teams from the north and south regionals.

Another reason to love S.D. baseball

The South Dakota American Legion baseball tournament for B-sized communities starts later this week in Webster. For the first-round pairings, see John Papendick’s report in the Aberdeen American News at this link:,0,1346193.story

Note that Groton plays rival — and neighbor — Webster, while neighbors Winner and Colome make the long drive north to face off. Other first-round matchups Friday are McCook/Miner vs. Vermillion and Milbank vs. Tabor.

Play ball!

Recommended reading: Highway fatality report

Here is a news release issued this morning from the state Department of Public Safety about a deadly crash in Kingsbury County. I confess it makes me sad.


What: Three vehicle fatal crash involving juveniles in a car, an adult in a car and a school bus

Where: U.S. Highway 14, 1/2 mile west of Arlington, S.D.

When: Monday, July 22, 2013, 4:58 p.m.


Driver 1: Savannah Koistinen, 17, Badger, S.D., fatal

Passenger 2: Kelsey Keller, 15, Bryant, S.D., serious non-life threatening injuries

Passenger 3: Levi Tapani, 16, Sheridan, W.Y., serious non-life threatening injuries

Vehicle 1: 2002 Oldsmobile Alero


Driver 2: Cynthia Holmquest, 25, Sioux Falls, S.D., no injuries

Vehicle 2: 2013 Mazda 3

Charges Pending: Careless Driving


Driver 3: Johnnie Brown, 52, Clark, S.D., no injuries

Bus Passengers: High School Volleyball players traveling from Elkton, S.D. to Willow Lake S.D., minor injuries

Vehicle 3: 1999 International 3000 School Bus registered to Duenwald Transportation of Clark, S.D.



Arlington, S.D. – A 17 year-old Badger, S.D. girl died in a three vehicle crash involving a school bus a half mile west of Arlington S.D. on Monday, July 22.


Savannah Koistinen, of Badger, was driving a 2002 Oldsmobile Alero eastbound on U.S. Highway 14. Traveling with Koistinen was Kelsey Keller, of Bryant, S.D. and Levi  Tapani, of Sheridan, W.Y.


As Koistinen slowed to make a northbound turn into a private rural residence near Arlington, a 2013 Mazda 3 driven by Cynthia Holmquest, of Sioux Falls, S.D. failed to slow down and struck from behind Koistinen’s turning vehicle in the back end.


Koistinen’s Oldsmobile was forced into the westbound oncoming lane of traffic, where a 1999 International 3000 School Bus transporting a group of high school volleyball players made head-on contact with her vehicle. The school bus was driven by Johnnie Brown of Clark, S.D. There were minor injuries on the school bus.


Koistinen died at the scene of the crash. Her passengers, Keller and Tapani, were transported to Brookings, S.D. by emergency personnel and then flown to Sioux Falls area hospitals with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. All were wearing seatbelts.


Holmquest was wearing a seatbelt and not injured. She was cited for careless driving.


No further information is immediately available.


The South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating. Kingsbury Sherriff’s Office, Arlington Volunteer Fire Department, Sanford AirMed and McKennan Air Ambulance assisted.




Vision service board gets new faces

The governor recently named several new members to the state Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired. Patrick Czerny of Piedmont, Teresa Nold of Harrisburg and Linda O’Connor-Ohayon were appointed. They succeed Chuck Fullenkamp, Joleen Schaffer and Ed Pinkman. The governor also reappointed Kenneth Rollman of Rapid City. The board was created in state law in 1990 and all but abolished in 2001. The state Department of Human Services sought the full repeal of the laws governing the board that year. An amendment kept the board in place but stripped it of its rule-making authority and eliminated all of the membership requirements. The board originally had 12 members, of whom at majority needed to be “blind or severely visually impaired” and of whom no more than seven could be of the same political party. The old law also set a limit of two three-year terms. Currently there aren’t any membership requirements or term limits, and the board doesn’t appear to have any official functions defined in state law.

Will heads spin on ed-funding panel?

Eleven presentations will be snugly fitted into a day and a half by the Legislature’s interim committee on education funding when its members meet next week. The topics cover technology in schools and service groups outside the standard K-12 curriculum. Chairing the committee is Rep. Jacqueline Sly, R-Rapid City. The vice chairman is Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings. The meeting at the state Capitol starts at noon CDT on Monday, July 29, and continues through Tuesday, July 30, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Part of the meeting will be a walk across the street to Georgia Morse Middle School for a first-hand look at technology there. To see the agenda:

Four in a row? Twins start ticking again

Beating the New York Yankees twice in the final games before the All Star break, and beating the Cleveland Indians on Friday and Saturday in the first games after the break, the Minnesota Twins ended their horrendous losing streak and now have won four in a row.  The Twins’ latest wins came by 3-2 scores with All-Star closer Glen Perkins shutting the door each time. Holding a major league team to two runs is difficult and usually produces victories. The Twins were able to limit opponents to less than three runs only twice in the losing streak that began June 30 and saw the Twins lose 12 of 13 games. (One of those losses was 2-0…) After their Sunday game against Cleveland, the Twins head west for a seven-game trip where they meet the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners. The Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday games are at night, starting shortly after 9 p.m. CDT. The other three are afternoon games, including the final pair on Saturday and Sunday in Seattle. The Twins head into today’s matchup with a 41-53 record and are .500 at home (23-23). The Twins are either allowing too many runs (431 overall, 212 at home) or scoring too few runs (385 overall, 205 at home). The answer, really, is the Twins aren’t hitting well. Only Joe Mauer (.307) and Jamey Carroll (.311) are hitting better than .260 in day games, and only five regulars — Trevor Plouffe, Eduardo Escobar, Mauer, Oswaldo Arcia and Justin Morneau — have batting averages better than .260 at night. The Twins are abysmal at the plate in road games: Mauer and Arcia are the only batters above .260. We’ve all focused on the Twins pitching this season, but we’re probably looking at the wrong side of the equation. We’ll learn a lot during the seven-game road trip this week.

Stained-glass on long list of Capitol complex projects

One of the often overlooked costs for any business or institution is maintenance and repair of existing buildings. Such is the case for state government, too. The $2.7 million estimate for the stained-glass rehabilitation at the Capitol is part of a list of projects, some approved last year and some coming this year, that show how quickly such costs add up. To see the list submitted earlier this year to the Legislature’s appropriations members, see this link:

At that time, the full reconnaissance wasn’t complete for the stained glass work. Will the Capitol appear any different when the project is complete in 2014? Not significantly. Does it need to be done? Absolutely. A special type of plywood will be installed to fill the spaces while the glass is off to New Berlin, Wisconsin, for the refurbishing and some new support structures are added. As part of the project, all of the legislator desks in the House and Senate chambers will need to be temporarily removed.

It’s doubtful any government would spend money on art for a new building these days the way that art was integrated throughout the Capitol more than a century ago. The South Dakota Capitol is a showplace of late-19th century taste. Two neat additions might be a keepsake booklet on the art of the Capitol and interpretative displays, placed discreetly, throughout the Capitol for visitors curious about the stained glass, the many murals, the materials used and the artists and political figures who combined talents to assemble such a showplace. There is a solid book already about the Capitol, written by Marshall Damgaard (only about half of his material reportedly made it into print!) and published by the South Dakota State Historical Society Press.

Pagones leaving Board of Regents

Ten years is a long time to hold any volunteer post. Carole Pagones of Sioux Falls has told the governor she is resigning from the state Board of Regents, whose members govern South Dakota’s public universities and special-needs schools. Carole was appointed to the board in 2003 by then-Gov. Mike Rounds. She wasn’t a speech maker but she inevitably had wisdom to share when she spoke up during a board meeting. A successor will be selected by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to serve the remainder of her current term that runs into 2015. The governor announced her decision today. It won’t be easy finding someone just as pleasant and professional.

Whether her successor will come from the Sioux Falls area is a good question. Terry Baloun, another board member, is a retired banking executive who lives in Sioux Falls and lists his official address as Seneca. He was appointed in 2004. At the time, a state law (“No two regents may be residents in the same county…” seemed to have been overlooked. Terry, a native of Faulkton, later converted his official residency from Sioux Falls. (As a reader points out, however, a person can live in Sioux Falls these days and live in Lincoln County rather than Minnehaha County.)  Carole retired as development director for the Main Street Sioux Falls organization prior to her 2003 appointment (she previously was executive director). Having both Carole Pagones and Terry Baloun on the board raised a pretty good case of why-not? about the no-two ban.