All the news in the paper is not necessarily bad

Gordon Garnos

AT ISSUE: After hearing for the umpteenth time, “It seems like all we read any more is bad news. Isn’t there any good news any more?” There is plenty of good news out there as well. All you have to do is look for it. Here are some for instances.

ONE OF THE FIRST canons taught in Journalism 101 is that news comes in two molds, bad and good.

For instance: “A youngster was lost as he wondered into a corn field.” That was bad news. A day or so later we read, “Lost youngster in a corn field was found and is OK.” And that was right here in South Dakota.

Sadly not all bad news gets topped with good. Some times, even, what is good news to some may be interpreted as bad by others.

For instance: A story the other day announced that Gov. Daugaard has pledged $4 million as the state’s match for a Tiger III railroad rehabilitation grant. These funds will help restore an additional segment of what was once the Mitchell to Rapid City railroad line. A Tiger II grant had been awarded earlier. It was to help pay for the work now being done on the line between Mitchell and Chamberlain.

I don’t know one tiger from another, but according to the article, the Tiger III funding will be used for rebuilding the line past Chamberlain to at least Presho, with the ultimate goal of reaching the Vivian area.

THE ESTIMATED cost for this rehabilitation is about $600,000 per mile. That’s a lot of money, but the package is slowly coming together. The Dakota Southern Railroad has pledged $2 million. The South Dakota Corn Growers and South Dakota Wheat have each promised at least $125,000 to the project as well and other producers have been approached for contributions. As I said, It is slowly coming together.

So, how would you look at such a major project? It has to be good news on at least two fronts. First, look at the jobs the project will make. Secondly, when completed, only a person without vision would say the project is a mistake, or it costs too much money. The potential of the reborn railway is virtually unlimited.

Here is another for instance: We now know which legislative district we are in. The special session of the South Dakota Legislature met last week to realign the boundaries of the state’s 35 districts. The Legislature must redraw the boundaries every 10 years to reflect population changes that are reported by the census. The ideal district would contain 23,261 people, but the courts have said this could vary by five percent above or below that number.

WAS THIS GOOD news or bad? That depends on how you look at the redrawn lines. When this has been done in the past the minority party usually cries foul because the majority will do the aligning to benefit its members.

Not so this year, said House Speaker Val Rausch R-Big Stone City, who heads the Republican-dominated committee that proposed the redistricting map. He denied the allegations that the map was drawn to favor his party. He said the new boundaries because they simply made sense.

When one considers that the Republicans hold a 30-5 edge over the Democrats in the Senate and a 50-19 advantage in the House, with one listed as an independent, it is easy to conclude the opposition could not complain in a very loud voice.

Rausch, himself, is term limited in the House and if he decides to run for the Senate seat in his new district it would set the stage for a primary election in that legislative district. Good news or bad news?

Photo credit: Adam Drew

I WOULD BE remiss if I didn’t conclude this epistle with what I would have to say, being half Norsky, was participating in the 29th annual Lutefisk Supper by the members of the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Clark. And, needless to say, I participated my fill of the Scandinavian delicacy.

The fact this annual feast has such a long history, that, in itself, has to be good news to a lot of us. But getting a list of ingredients for the supper has to be good news for any group wanting to go into the Lutefisk Supper business. While this may not sound too attractive in some parts of South Dakota, other parts might jump at the chance. Needless to say, the Clark folks couldn’t have been better hosts and hostesses.

Here is all you need to feed some 650 hungry souls: 1,250 lbs. Lutefisk, 300 lbs. red potatoes (fresh peeled), 150 lbs. of hamburger for meatballs (church made), 800 rounds of lefse (church made), 90 lbs. real butter, 24 lbs margarine, 65 quarts of sweet corn (grown and canned by church couple), 125 lbs. cabbage (from Hillcrest Colony), 6 lbs. carrots (grown by church member), 3.5 gallons of Miracle Whip, 40 lbs. sugar, 2 quarts white vinegar, 14 boxes of salt, 2 lbs. of pepper, 52 bags of cranberries (ground fresh), 26 oranges, 150 dozen Norwegian pastries (all homemade by members of the church), 40 dozen homemade krum kaka, 250 pieces of homemade flatbread, 5 32-oz cans coffee, 5 gallons milk, 1 quart of coffee cream and well over 225 volunteer chiefs, cooks, bottle washers, waiters and waitresses to put it all together for a most delightful evening.

And here is more good news. The 30th annual Lutefisk supper by the St. Paul folks is just a year away….

Gordon Garnos was long-time editor of the Watertown Public Opinion, retiring after 39 years with that newspaper. Garnos, a lifelong resident of South Dakota except for his military service in the U.S. Air Force, was born and raised in Presho.

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