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Excerpts from recent South Dakota editorials
Argus Leader, Sioux Falls. Nov. 26, 2012
Wind energy credit vital for S.D.
South Dakota has at least one constant: wind.
It can pack a punch no matter the season with a drying spring wind that allows farmers to head to the fields, a summer blast of hot air that does little to cool us, fall winds that strip a tree naked in a day and howling winds of winter that ignite a blizzard or just make our homes feel more drafty.
Those breezes blow enough for our state to rank fifth in the nation in potential for wind energy development.
But a tax credit that is crucial to the wind energy industry expires at the end of the year with nothing yet to replace it. That leaves an uncertainty in the industry — an unknown that slows any wind development. This year, zero megawatts of new wind power have gone online in the state.
The tax credit waits for a lame-duck Congress to make it a priority and fund the Production Tax Credit. South Dakota's congressional delegation approves extending the tax credit but has work to do and faces budget challenges when it comes to any subsidy.
It's a pricey expense at an estimated $5 billion for one year, but it also generates private investments that far exceed that amount.
It's time for all three of our lawmakers — Sen. Tim Johnson, Sen. John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem — to work together to help get approval for the tax credit and put aside potential political differences to help an industry that has growth potential in a state where the wind rarely stops blowing. Jobs depend on it, and it's the right thing to do.
We can't change the wind, but we can change the direction of wind development by extending the tax credit, at least temporarily, to help the industry continue to develop this renewable energy source.
Rapid City Journal. Nov. 28, 2012
Preserving Lakota language important
Bryan Brewer knows that he faces a challenge when he is sworn in next month as president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Brewer, who is retired after 30 years as an educator, told the annual Lakota Language Summit held at Rapid City that preserving the language and passing it on to future generations can be a turning point for the Sioux tribes.
"It affects our culture, it affects our children. A lot of them don't know who they are or where they came from," Brewer said. "Through our language and our culture, they're going to know where they came from, and hopefully, that will help. Somehow, it will be intertwined."
Brewer told the group that he intended to lead a Lakota Language Revitalization Initiative when he becomes tribal president that will focus on creating Lakota language immersion schools and identifying fluent Lakota speakers.
A year ago, the Lakota language was declared to be in a state of emergency by state and national groups trying to save Native American languages and an action plan was suggested to the Oglala tribe. Brewer said the OST tribal council ignored the action plan and did nothing.
"We're going step it up and take it before our council and find the funding for it," Brewer said.
According to the nonprofit Lakota Language Consortium, the average age of a Lakota speaker is about 65 years old, and only about 14 percent of residents of the various Sioux reservations can speak their Native language. Without a Lakota language program in Oglala Sioux and other tribal schools, the language could become extinct someday.
That's not too far of an exaggeration. Of the estimated 500 Native American tribes that existed in North America when Christopher Columbus landed in the New World, fewer than 50 Native languages have more than 1,000 speakers today.
We applaud Brewer's commitment to create a Lakota language program in OST schools. Preserving the Sioux culture includes preserving the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota languages.
The Daily Republic, Mitchell. Nov. 27, 2012
Uniforms are too revealing
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