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Last Thursday, Governor Kristi Noem paid a visit to Todd County Middle School, where students led her on a guided tour of the facility that included stops in several classes in progress, including the Lakota Language lab.
Also on hand were South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Ben Jones, Secretary of Tribal Relations Dave Flute, State Senator Troy Heinert, State Representative Shawn Bordeaux, and Rosebud Sioux Tribe Vice-Chairman Scott Herman.
The purpose of the visit was to speak with school officials about the many improvements at Todd County Middle School since it was awarded a Native American Achievement School Grant three years ago.
Sponsored by Senator Troy Heinert and Represenative Shawn Bordeaux, and passed by the South Dakota Legislature in 2016, Senate Bill 82 established the Native American Achievement Schools Grant Program, which provides grants to schools that demonstrate commitment to increasing student success through building cultural identities, encouraging academic perseverance, supporting the development of the whole child, and encouraging student leadership skills. TCMS was one of the inaugural recipients of the grant.
Principal Dana Haukaas said that it was staff member Sage Fast Dog who was responsible for inviting the Governor to see how things were going. While attending Tribal Affairs Day at the state capitol, Fast Dog had the opportunity to speak with Governer Noem and her Education Secretary, Dr. Jones. Fast Dog said that it was hard to describe the successes and changes taking place at the school - you had to see them for yourself. So Noem, Jones, and David Flute decided to visit in person.
After introductions, student guides led the entourage through the school corridors and talked about some of the programs in which students can participate. In the library, one of the tour guides, eighth-grader Leona Ritter, showed Gov. Noem a quilt that she is working on in a quilt-making class, which sparked a recollection by Noem how, as a youth, she’d get so enthusiastic about a project, such as making a quilt, that she wouldn’t quit until it was finished - often to the chagrin of her parents who would have preferred that she go to bed at a reasonable hour. She said that being a legislator and governor has given her a channel for that tenacity.
One of the stops was in Misty Novotny’s writing class, where students were learning narative structure and creating their own stories. The group also paid a visit to the classroom of teacher Steve Heinert, who was honored the previous week for 45 years of service at Todd County School District.
One of the highlights of the tour was a lengthy stopover in Lakota Language teacher Allen Wilson’s class. Wilson explained how he used a large picture of dozens of caricatures as a visual aid to teach descriptive works in Lakota. Noem introduced Senator Heinert to the students who spoke about the recent passage of a bill that designates Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota as the official indigenous languages of South Dakota. One student was more interested in whether or not the governor had any bodyguards with her.
After the tour, the lawmakers sat down with school officials for a idea session on what was working and how Noem and Jones, in their respective capacities, could provide additional support for the program to continue its success at Todd County as well as in other districts. Heinert stated that the school had been transformed in a few short years. Principal Haukaas stated that disciplinary suspensions had decreased by almost 75 percent in that time.
Haukaas also encouraged the policy-makers to look at program successes and see Todd County as a growth model. She said that standardized testing and measurements don’t always paint the whole picture. It’s better to recognize the amount of progress students have made even though many of them arrive at the middle school with below grade level performance.
Ultimately, Haukaas sees a vast improvement in student achievement and believes that kids actually like their school and enjoy attending classes. She knows that she and her staff do.
The car crash that took their daughter’s life nearly three years ago still haunts the Ken Hespe family every day. While no one teaches us how to deal with grief, the Hespe’s do something every year that brings good memories of their daughter to life by pumping positivity into someone else’s life.
Every year, right around graduation, the Ken Hespe family presents two Todd County students with a scholarship to continue their education.
“Well Princess, we honored two Todd County students with your 2nd Annual Memorial Scholarships,” Sandra Hespe said. “We are so proud of these two amazing graduates [Ally Murray and Harlan Guerue, Jr.] as they posses the Lakota virtues of wisdom, perseverance, bravery, humility, compassion, generosity, and respect.”
Late last week the Hespes handed over a check for $500 dollars to Guerue and Murray. The money is to be used at a school of higher learning that the young people have decided to attend.
But the scholarships happen because of the work and generosity of others. Hespe said she was grateful for speaker and presenter Butch Artichoker, as well as to Janice and Brian Dillon for heading up the annual Jordyn Hespe Memorial Basketball tournament and to the Jordyn Hespe Memorial Scholarship committee.
While there will be a lot of scholarships distributed in the next five days at graduations, this one has some extra meaning behind it.
“Jordyn always was so generous and she loved being a Falcon. She loved kids so it just seems so right to give out scholarships to two Todd County Students,” Sandra Hespe said. “We look at students who work really hard, are respectful, caring, and don’t always get the recognition they deserve. They are also chosen on how they treat their elders, family, and friends.”
As one might imagine, this scholarship program helps the Hespe’s remember their daughter’s love and appreciation for athletics, young people and the Todd County Falcons.
“Being able to carry on her memory in a positive way helps us,” Hespe said. “although nothing - and I mean nothing - prepares a person for the horrible pain that we live with every second of the day.”
With the presentation of scholarships this week, the Hespe’s turn to the next cycle of this scholarship program.
“We will be having Jordyn’s 3rd Annual Memorial Basketball Tournament in July and are finalizing things for the latter part of July,” Hespe said.
With increases in drug use and drug overdoses, and suicide on the rise across South Dakota, many of these issues were discussed during Monday’s Sicangu Health Summit on addiction and suicide.
Since 1999, opioid overdoses among men have increased 265 percent. For women, over the same time span, those numbers have increased by 400 percent.
During one of Monday’s sessions, a representative from Massachusetts presented an opioid overdose training, focusing on:
•Recognizing an opioid overdose,
•Providing emergency assistance,
•Administering Naloxone to the victim, and
•Emergency follow-up procedures.
The speaker talked about the drug fentanyl that is in many opioid prescriptions but is now starting to show up being laced in other drugs.
“We had two young (Massachusetts) teenagers die recently by smoking marijuana laced with fentanyl,” she said. “Fentanyl is ten-thousand times stronger than morphine. The kids were non-opiate tolerant and ended up dying because of overdose.”
An expert in her field, this representative spoke of the dangers of fentanyl.
“We’re seeing a lot of heroin that is laced with fentanyl,” she said. “Also, a lot of people that use cocaine thought they were safe, but they didn’t account for their drug of choice being laced with an extremely powerful opioid.”
How opioid overdoses happen:
•Opioids bind to opioid receptors in the brain as well as on vital organs.
•Breathing is slowed down or stopped with not enough oxygen getting to the brain.
•Time without oxygen kills brain cells.
The Massachusetts representative spoke of one of the most common forms of opioid overdose.
“A person will use for awhile and go to detox and get all of the opioids out of their system,” she said. “They haven’t used for a long time, and if they relapse they use the same amount they were using previously and that is extremely dangerous.”
She pointed out that mixing alcohol and other drugs with the opioids is one of the key factors in all overdoses.
Within the 2019 Recovery Movement is the idea of Harm Reduction to assist with necessary procedures to resuscitate someone who is experiencing an overdose.
For drug users, “Never use alone,” she said. “If something goes wrong there is no one there to help.”
One of the newer opioid prevention drugs today is Naloxone, most frequently administered in emergency situations as the nasal spray Narcan.
•Naloxone displaces opioids from opioid receptors.
•It is only effective for overdoses related to opioids, but it is not harmful if administered to someone overdosing from another substance.
•Naloxone works for about 30-90 minutes.
“Even if an individual responds to treatment you must still seek emergency services,” the Massachusetts representative said. “If no treatment is administered within 90 minutes, the opiods will reattach to the opioid receptors.
Signs of an opioid overdose:
•Slow breathing, gurgling sounds or no breathing.
•Cold and clammy skin.
•Blue lips or fingertips.
•Confusion, seizures or unconsciousness.
“If a person is overdosing on opioids the pupils will be very small,” she said.
At last week’s regular meeting of the Mission City Council, after approval of the agenda a previous meeting’s minutes, the council tabled the appointment of new aldermen to fill vacant positions until the next council meeting, May 22, 2019, at which the city’s attorney can be present.
Due to end of term and resignation, two city alderman positions are open. State regulations require notice to be given at the beginning of an election cycle of open seats and petitions for nomination are due at the city office no later than February 22. Elections are then held in April, and the first meeting in May is usually an organization meeting to introduce new members and review procedural matters.
No petitions, either from sitting council members or nominees at large, were submitted by the deadline, which results in the appointment of aldermen to fill the open seats by the remaining council members. Those aldermen agreed that it would be prudent to wait until the next meeting when the city attorney would be present, as no one had participated in an appointment before and the council members wanted to be sure that everything was handled according to regulations.
Dan Brave and Frank Iron Heart, who have submitted letters of interest in the open posts, arrived at the meeting shortly after the agenda item had been tabled, and expressed dismay that the council was delaying a decision until the next meeting. Everyone in attendance was in agreement that a regular election would have been the best solution, but no nomination petitions had been submitted. The issue will be settled at the next Mission City Council meeting.
Next on the agenda, Chad Chauncey expressed concern about the lack of daytime police presence in town. His house had been burglarized the previous week, and among other things a loaded handgun was stolen. Council members and Mayor Jack Herman pointed to a lack of funds in the budget to hire more police officers. There are currently three part-time officers in Mission, and another new hire was approved later during the meeting.
Along with the Todd County Sheriff and presence of Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services, there is a significant police response team in the area, even though around-the-clock patrolling is not always possible. Fortunately, Chauncey was able to provide police with surveillance video of the perpetrators, and hopefully they will be caught soon.
Council members noted that new officers, once they’ve completed training and probationary periods, often leave for higher paying positions elsewhere. It was suggested that the topic be revisited during the next meeting to see if the city’s attorney could offer advice.
Other topics discussed that evening were flood plain cleaning, road repairs, getting an estimate for a new storm drain, and the impending arrival of the new hot mix pothole patching machine. The state is also taking applications again for mosquito control funds.
The next Mission City Council meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the city office. Meetings are open to the public.
PIERRE - Gov. Kristi Noem has requested that FEMA join state and local teams for a preliminary assessment of damages to public property as a result of the severe winter storms, snowmelt, rains, and subsequent flooding that occurred throughout South Dakota.
The Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) process allows for these teams to assess the extent and severity of damages to public infrastructure in 58 counties and seven tribal reservations impacted.
“We know there was public property damage in many counties and on tribal reservations,” said Gov. Noem. “This assessment will provide a more detailed and accurate picture of the extent of the damage and where it is located.”
Assessments started Monday, May 13, 2019, and are expected to continue throughout the week and include the following counties and tribal reservations:
Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Davison, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Lyman, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Mellette, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Oglala Lakota, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Walworth, Yankton, Ziebach which also includes the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe; Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe.
Eligible applicants include state, county and local governments as well as township and road districts; private non-profit organizations such as fire departments, rural electric cooperatives, libraries and community centers; and tribal governments within the areas being assessed.
Gov. Noem says the information gathered during the PDA process will help determine whether federal assistance should be requested and will form the basis for any disaster declaration.
A preliminary damage assessment of individual property was done May 6-10, 2019.
Todd County School District held its annual staff recognition dinner and awards ceremony last Thursday at the high school’s Ben Reifel Auditorium. Event organizers created an elegant atmosphere around the theme “You [school staff] are the diamonds in our children’s lives.”
The evening opened with a welcoming address by Dr. Richard Bordeaux, Todd County School District Superintendent, who also served as the event’s Master of Ceremonies. The Lakota Flag Song by Gabe Red Kettle and the invocation by Roger Allen also preceeded dinner.
Below is a summary of the evening’s recognitions, with photos and bios graciously provided by TCSD Curriculum Center Public Relations and Dreamcatcher Editor Phyllis Littau. (Editor’s Note: The bios have been edited in the interest of brevity.)
Retiring in 2019
Laura Peterson (35 years), has a talent for specific special needs programming best directed toward learners who need reliability, predictability and kindness - as all children do - and has worked with the earliest learners in elementary and pre-school settings.
Vicki Klein (34 years) has taught at Happy Valley, Klein, South, White River, Todd County and North Elementary schools. She has been a technology mentor and reading specialist, and spent the last five years teaching third grade at TCES.
Diane Linster (31 years) has taught various math classes at Todd County High School, including Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Independent Geometry and Integrated Math, and is hanging up her calculator after 31 years of teaching.
Sharon Hair (30 years) has been working with students in the Todd County School District just one year shy of three decades, serving preschool and elementary-age children in St. Francis and Parmelee communities.
Lynne Longcor (27 years) has been at Rosebud Elementary as a paraprofessional for nearly 30 years. “Rosebud has always been a great place to work. The people are wonderful and always have a smile on their faces,” she said.
Brenda Borer (25 years) spent most of her time at North Elementary and most recently at TCES as a paraprofessional in the Exceptional Education Department.
Leslie Whipple (23 years), whose dedication to the students and her job, as well as her reliability, has always been evident and undeniable.
Dr. Richard Bordeaux (16 years +1) will be retiring from TCSD (again) at the end of this school year, having come on board to steer the ship as Interim Superintendent until another captain could be found. “Bon Voyage, Doc. We wish you smooth sailing.”
Tonya Whirlwind Soldier (April 9, 1970-December 8, 2018), Teacher, Coach, Friend. “Truly a diamond in our children’s lives.”
45 Years of Service
Alice Hansen, Payroll, District Office. Alice started as an aide at the High School then moved to the Business Office, where she currently serves at Supervisor/Payroll Clerk. She helped to write the handbook for support staff, helped to establish a Wellness Program, and served as an officer (including president) with the South Dakota Association of Educational Office Professionals.
Steve Heinert, Teacher, Middle School. Now in his 45th year of teaching, Steve has been a Paraprofessional, student teacher advisor, teacher, and coach. Instead of becoming an administrator, he says, “I want to be in the trenches with the students.”
35 Years of Service
Cindy Bachelor, Head Teacher, Littleburg School. For 35 years, Cindy has been a boo-boo kisser, hand-holder, silly song singer, story teller, shoelace double-knotter, jumprope twirler, word sounder-outer, tear dryer, and (of course) teacher to some 400 kindergartners. Her name has become synonymous with Littleburg Elementary over the past four decades.
Claudette Crow Eagle, Paraprofessional, Rosebud Elementary. As a paraprofessional at Rosebud Elementary, Claudette has worked with all grade levels and is currently with the kindergarten class. She enjoys working at Rosebud Elementary and plans to be there another 30 years!
Laura Petersen, Teacher, Elementary and Pre-School. See bio in retirement listing.
30 Years of Service
Sharon Hair, Teacher, St. Francis and Parmelee. See bio in retirement listing.
Gwenda Jackson, Secretary, Bus Shop. Gwenda’s first jobs at TCSD were as Suburban driver, substitute in the classroom, and cook. She worked as an Exceptional Ed teacher at Spring Creek, subbed at lunch halls, drove for basketball games, ran the clock and kept score, and made activity bus runs for Lakeview and the high school. She has been the secretary and dispatcher at the Bus Shop for 17 years.
Marlys Walkling, Principal, Rosebud and Lakeview. Marlys has shared her enthusiasm for teaching and learning with everyone for 30 years! She completed her National Board Certification in 2011 and Specialist in Education degree in 2013, allowing her to become principal of Rosebud Elementary and Lakeview School.
25 Years of Service
Brenda Borer, Paraprofessional, Exceptional Education Department. See bio in retirement listing.
Carol Galbraith, Exceptional Education Director, Resource Center. Carol started at TCSD in the Gifted and Talented Program and was given additional responsibility as Exceptional Ed Program Coordinator. After completing her Master’s Degree, she began her tenure as Director of Special Education, and will assume the mantel of TCSD Superintendent in July.
Melissa Larvie, Secretary, Todd County Elementary. Melissa has worked the last five years at TCES, most recently becoming one of the secretaries. She can always be counted on to make sure no student is hungry and that each student has what they need to be successful in school.
Marie Reagle, Secretary, Todd County Achievement. Marie has driven a Suburban and worked as a custodian and secretary at the Bus Shop. Since then, she served at the District Office, and is currently secretary at the TC Achievement School.
20 Years of Service
Everett Bordeaux, Paraprofessional, Rosebud. Everett spent his first couple of years in the Exceptional Education Department and the next seven as School Librarian. For the last 11 years, he has been a Paraprofessional in a variety of classrooms, including Mrs. Hammer’s where together they have created a strong intructional team.
Patrick Bordeaux, Security Guard, Rosebud. Pat wears many hats at Rosebud Elementary, starting as a Paraprofessional and now as the Security Guard. He also coaches basketball, serves as Athletic Director, and drives a bus.
Janet Colombe, Technical Assistant, Middle School. Originally at the High School Dining Hall, Janet currently works at TCMS, where students and staff alike think they have the best food in the district, because it is made with love by the Food Service Team.
Georgia Guerue, Teacher, He Dog School. “Dete” has been with the Exceptional Education Department at He Dog School all her 20 years, where she is also a long-time coach for girls and boys basktetball, track and cross country. She is definitely a “Team Player!”
Sandra Hausmann, Teacher, TC Elementary. You can find Sandra in her constantly busy second grade classroom at TCES, or leading her collaborative team in planning lessons and activities to improve student learning. She also volunteers with Boy Scouts and her church.
Cindy Sokol Homan, Teacher, Spring Creek. During her years of service, Cindy has worn many hats at Spring Creek Elementary, including classroom teaching and technology/instructional coach, as well as Eighth Grade Advisor.
Patrick Johner, Teacher and Coach, High School. At TCHS his entire career, Patrick has taught World Geography, U.S. History, and Personal Finance throughout his tenure. He’s also an assistant coach for football and girl’s basketball.
Phyllis Littau, Public Relations, Curriculum Center. For 20 years, Phyllis has been the face behind the camera at school events and board meetings. Her tireless work allows families and the community see students and teachers at work, featured in the school newspaper, “The Dreamcatcher,” which she publishes each month, and in the yearly calendar.
Candice Reagle, Exceptional Ed Teacher, Resource Center. Candi has already had a long career in education, working with children in different capacities, including kindergarten, computers, and Exceptional Education. This year she joined the pre-school Exceptional Ed population.
Carrie Reinders, Counselor, Rosebud. A counselor at Rosebud and Lakeview schools, Carrie has also been a Cheerleading Coach, Peer Mediation Coordinator, and head of the Counseling Department.
Rhonda Stoecklin, Teacher, Middle School. Originally a Language Arts Teacher, Rhonda has been leading classes in a variety of performing arts for the past two years.
David Worsech, Paraprofessional, Middle School. Dave has spent the last five years working at TCES following 15 years at other locations in Todd County.
15 Years of Service
Bryan Burnette, Dean of Students, Curriculum Center. A proud graduate of TCHS, Bryan works tirelessly to make sure the date entered in Infinite Campus is correct, so that every student is counted and they have the best opportunities in life.
Bobbie Cox, Principal, Todd County Elementary. Starting as a teacher and now Principal of TCES, Bobbie has been an influential leader in the Todd County School District for 15 years.
Ira High Pipe, Paraprofessional, He Dog School. Bringing years of experience in his Native Lakota Languange and Culture, Ira worked for several years as He Dog’s Lakota Language Instructor before moving to the classroom.
Patricia Iron Shell, Paraprofessional, High School. Patricia started as a high school and middle school substitute teacher, then as attendance secretary, before finding her passion in the high school Exceptional Ed Program.
10 Years of Service
Carla Felton, Paraprofessional, Todd County Elementary. Carla is an Exceptional Ed paraprofessional at TCES currenly working on becoming a certified teacher.
Joseph Heinert, Manager, Supply Office. Even though still a young man, “Joe is an excellent boss and great guy to work with,” his employees say.
Stephanie Schuyler, Teacher, Resource Center. Steph works with infants, toddlers, pre-school, and Headstart children, and is the provider for some of the lower elementary students on IEPs.
Willie Thompson, Head Custodian and Bus Driver, Rosebud. As Head Custodian, Willie is one of the reasons Rosebud Elementary looks so good and is always in tip top condition.
5 Years of Service
Mary Lu Rich
Teachers of the Year
Carrie Kornely, TCES, whose dedication to her students and the teaching profession is clearly evident the second you walk into her warm and inviting classroom. Evidence of what the class is learning hangs on the walls in colorful displays of students’ work. A National Board Certified Teacher, Carrie attended elementary and high school in Todd County, and is a graduate of Sinte Gleska University.
Ray Taddeo, TCMS, is a rare find - a teacher who has battled and defeated his own school demons. Through his perseverence, he has succeeded where others have failed. He brings this indomitable spirit to his classroom and the school. Ray is also a football coach and advisor for the “Wildcat News’ school paper.
Mary Lu Rich, TCHS, makes classes interesting and challenging. She is a student favorite because she works hard to help them become better. They also know she really cares about them as students and individuals. One student said, “...she gives up hope that we will succeed in life.”
of the Year
Pat Eddie, TCES Paraprofessional, is a community member and a critical connection between school and other community members. She is the voice of reason and advocacy for students and the school, and celerated 25 years of service in 2018.
Jim Williams (32 years of service), Theresa Pretty Bird (29), Harry DuBray (26), Everett Felix (17), Lori Leese (15), Keith Olson (15), Pat Bordeaux (13), Harlan Walking Eagle (13), Donnie Farley (9), Sally Herman (8), Walt Hernandez (8), Vern Knox (7), Francis Young (7), Kenny Hespe (5), Tim Cournoyer, Jr. (4), Daniel Razo (3), Calvin Jones (3), Lacey Bettelyoun (3), Justin Klein (3), Randy Klein (2), Spencer Bear Heels (2), Rebecca Childers (2), Kelley Lafferty (2), Craig Scott (2), Josh Wilson (2), Mina Dillon (2), Fontaine Big Crow (1), Paul Mitchell (1), Torrie Guerue (1)
One of the first nice weekends of the summer provided a bunch of local activities, from flea markets and little league baseball training to the Boys and Girls Club carnival and a fast-pitch softball tournament. SGU hosted a hand games match and Antelope Community honored the Todd County girls basketball team and cheerleaders. On the previous page, a couple of young fair attendees experience space, the final frontier, against a backdrop of cheerful clouds.