COVID ripples, a Plainsman policy change and other observations

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I believe, when the history is written about this point in time, the effects of the worldwide COVID pandemic will appear as ripples in a pond when a large stone is tossed into it.

There is the immediate upheaval of a changed lifestyle, losses of friends and family and taking precautions that made sense, but still required a different mindset. Many people were affected at the time and the tentacles of the infection still grip some of them.

We learned that while it was may not have been the optimum way to do things, students were able to obtain schooling in a remote way. Millions of students - and likely an equal number of workforce members completed assignment from their home.

And COVID never really left. It’s always been there lurking in the shadows and reared its head again this fall and winter.

The long-range effects of everything touched by the pandemic may not be known for years.

Will students who spent a year learning remotely be affected by being in a solitary classroom? The jury will be out for some time.

Ripples.

If you would like a story on the immediate effect that COVID had - a happy, if immensely sobering presentation - take a look at “The Year Earth Changed,” a documentary created by the group led by David Attenborough, who has presented some of the most beautiful pictures in the world through his various programs, such as “Blue Planet,” “Our Planet,” and many others.

I won’t offer spoilers on this program, which is on AppleTV, but we have now watched it three times and marvel at what is revealed each time.

And all we humans had to do was get out of the way.

If you are a regular reader of the Opinion page, you may have noticed that the disclaimer on the bottom of Page 4 has changed slightly.

Beginning Feb. 1, Letters to the Editor urging a vote for or against any candidate or ballot measure will be charged $25, which must be paid prior to printing.

In this measure, the Plainsman and News Media Corp makes this change after much of the industry had been charging for such letters for many years. When I was at the newspaper in Hot Springs, we had a similar policy in place. If you have questions, please drop me a line or give me a call.

Earlier this week,. S.D. Assistant Attorney General Grant Flynn was quoted as saying “The master cannot be beholden to its creation,” in reference to the state following county zoning requirements regarding a proposed state prison near Canton.

The idea was that counties only exist because the state created them. He went as far as calling the state’s counties “children.”

I found that funny (funny ha ha, not funny strange, as my mom would say) because in 2020, Governor Kristi Noem - who is now Mr. Flynn’s boss - was deferring each and every decision regarding how the COVID pandemic was handled to the counties and cities.


New Hampshire recently held its presidential primary, in which former president Donald Trump was the winner on the Republican side, over challenger Nikki Haley.

I found it kinda funny (funny ‘strange,’ not funny ‘ha-ha’ as my mom would say) that Haley’s hopes were pinned upon having those registered as Independent cast their ballot for her.

The funny part is that while Republicans in New Hampshire need and pursue Independent voters, in my home state, as a registered Independent, I am not allowed to cast a ballot in a primary race among Republicans.

Well, unless I change my registration. Which I did for many years in the Black Hills.

I would became a ‘paper’ Republican to vote in a primary race, then change back a week later. (Spoiler - we Independents get far less campaign literature in the mail)

When that is the only way for nearly half of a state’s voters to have a voice in who represents them, it’s just not right.

And that is not funny in any way.