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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

STUDY: Democrats View More Porn Than Republicans, North Dakotans More Than South Dakotans

NPN graphic by Todd Epp

By Todd Epp
Northern Plains News

Democratic Blue states residents watch more pornography than Republican Red states residents and North Dakotans watch more porn than their South Dakota cousins, according to a recent study by a pornography purveyor.

But one of the reddest Red states — Kansas — leads the nation in per capita viewing of online naughtiness.

Those were some of the conclusions a recent study discovered about online porn browsing habits based on a state’s political leanings.

Pornhub Insights calculated solidly Republican South Dakotans were among the least likely porn viewers in the United States while their somewhat less Republican neighbors in North Dakota were above the national average of porn page viewership.

Democratic stronghold Minnesota led the Northern Plains in pornographic page views per capita.

The results for Northern Plains states: South Dakota, Republican, 88 page views per capita; Wyoming, Republican, 89; Montana, Republican, 90; Iowa, Democratic, 118; North Dakota, Republican, 123; Nebraska, Republican, 129; and Minnesota, 136.

Democratic states averaged 137 page views per capita and Republican states 121. Kansas had the highest views at 194 and Arkansas the lowest at 77.


Pornhub.com claims to be the world’s biggest Internet porn website and says its Pornhub Insights service compiles information on pornography viewership based on “billions of hits” to its site.

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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.
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STUDY: Long-Term Care Costs Increase in the Dakotas


By Northern Plains News

RICHMOND, Va., -- Long-term health care costs in South and North Dakota have increased over the past five years, according to a new study.

The 11th annual Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey reports that in South Dakota, the median hourly cost of homemaker services is $22 and the median hourly cost of home health aide services is $22. In North Dakota, it’s $25 an hour for either type of service.

The median hourly cost for homemaker services in South Dakota has increased 5.1 percent annually over the past five years, and the hourly cost of home health aide services has increased 3.3 percent. In North Dakota has seen 4.7 percent annual increases over the past five years and hourly costs have increased 5.1 percent

Nationally, the 2014 median hourly cost for the services of a homemaker or home health aide hired from a home care agency is $19 and $19.75 respectively. Homemaker costs nationally have risen annually 1.2 percent on average over the past five years and home health aide services have risen, on average, 1.32 percent annually over the past five years.

By comparison, the median annual cost for care in an assisted living facility is $42,000 nationally and $37,320 in the Dakotas. The national yearly cost of assisted living is increasing 4.29 percent annually over the past five years and increased 4.9 percent in the Dakotas.


The comparable cost for a private nursing home room rose 4.19 percent annualized over the past five years to $87,600 nationally and increased 1.6 percent over the past five years to $70,810 in South Dakota and 8 percent to $93,623 in North Dakota.
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DATA: Black Hills Slightly Ahead of South Dakota for Uninsured

Black Hills Knowledge Network graphic


New federal data shows the Black Hills region had a slightly higher percentage of people without health insurance than the state as a whole in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available.

In the Black Hills region in 2012, 14.8 percent of the population lacked health insurance compared to 13.6 percent for the state. Both numbers dropped a few points from a recent peak in 2009 during the Great Recession.

The national rate of uninsured in 2012 was 16.7 percent.

Some Black Hills cities, however, had markedly higher rates of uninsured, placing them among the most uninsured places in South Dakota.

Only Winner, 29.3 percent uninsured, in this category, outpaces Hot Springs, 18.2 percent uninsured, Belle Fourche, 21.7 percent uninsured, and Lead, 21.9 percent uninsured.

The four other Black Hills communities on the list of 27 municipalities with populations over 2,500 fall near the middle of the pack, while bedroom communities to Sioux Falls record the lowest rates of uninsured residents.

Demographers caution that margins of error for smaller communities can be large, so these rankings should be used with caution.

Here's a look at some select cities:

          Tea — 3.7 percent, No. 1
          Dell Rapids — 4.7 percent, No. 2
          Harrisburg — 6.8 percent, No. 3
          Pierre — 7.1 percent, No. 4
          Sioux Falls — 11.9 percent, No. 13
          Box Elder — 14.2 percent, No. 17
          Sturgis — 15.0 percent, No. 18
          Rapid City — 15.6 percent, No. 19
          Spearfish — 15.9 percent, No. 20

As the deadline for signing up for health insurance under the first round of Obamacare passes, some Black Hills locales could see a significant drop in the rate of uninsured residents.

Younger people and rural residents were more likely to be uninsured. For South Dakotans ages 18 to 24, 21.2 percent were uninsured in 2012, compared to 19.8 percent for those 25 to 24. Those rates are down a few points from a recession/post-recession trend that lasted through 2011.

For each older age group, the rate of uninsured goes down; however, the rates for other age groups have held mostly steady since the recession. One anomaly comes for those ages 55 to 64, where a sudden spike in the rate of uninsured occurred from 2011 to 2012. That group went from an 8.4 percent rate of uninsured to 12.4 percent.

Over the past several years, rural South Dakotans are more likely to be uninsured compared to their city cousins.

In 2012, 16.7 percent of South Dakotans who did not live in a metropolitan or micropolitan area were uninsured, compared to 12.3 percent for metropolitan areas and 13 percent for micropolitan areas.

Here's a look at the uninsured rates in Black Hills area counties:

          Meade — 13.6 percent
          Lawrence — 14.5 percent
          Pennington — 14.6 percent
          Custer — 14.9 percent
          Fall River — 16.2 percent
          Butte — 16.6 percent
          Shannon — 17.4 percent

*Shannon County is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where many residents access health care through the federal Indian Health Service, which is not considered health insurance by the federal agencies that compile this data.


Data sets and graphs on health insurance coverage in South Dakota also include comparisons with other states and between metropolitan and micropolitan areas, county-by-county and city rankings, as well as coverage on American Indian Reservations, and coverage among different demographic groups by gender, age, race, nativity and poverty status.
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AT&T Invests Nearly $120 Million to Enhance Local Networks in South Dakota


By Northern Plains News

PIERRE — AT&T says it has invested nearly $120 million in its wireless and wired networks in South Dakota from 2010 through 2013.

The telecom announced Tuesday it has conducted projects that enhance speed, reliability, coverage and performance for its South Dakota residential and business customers.

In 2013, AT&T says it made more than 350 network upgrades in South Dakota, including, seven new sites, 250 capacity enhancements and 98 enhanced fiber (Ethernet) backhauls.

"AT&T is making robust investments locally to make sure that residents can take full advantage of the latest services and tools, and that businesses have the speed they need to compete and grow," said Cheryl Riley, director of external affairs, AT&T South Dakota.


In 2013, AT&T added the Brookings and Watertown to its LTE network.
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Tax Day Protests in Iowa Over Government Spending

As residents across Iowa race to beat the midnight tax
deadline, protesters are hitting the streets over what they call
misplaced priorities on government spending. Photo credit:
DonkeyHotey


DES MOINES, Iowa - As residents across the Northern Plains and Iowa race to beat the midnight tax deadline, a protest is planned this afternoon over the way the government is spending those hard-earned dollars.

The protest will focus on the corporate tax breaks given by Congress, which, according to Kathleen McQuillen, Iowa program coordinator with the American Friends Service Committee, come back to corrupt the political process.

Of particular concern, McQuillen said, is the roughly half of U.S. discretionary funds that go to the Pentagon and the weapons industry. She said that money would be better spent addressing some of the country's most serious problems.

One example cited by McQuillen is Lockheed Martin, which she said spends millions every year on political contributions and lobbying efforts while reaping billions in defense dollars from the government.

She said that payoff comes "in terms of contracts and earmarks and grants, and so their lobbying is paying off very well and their contributions, but we're paying for that."


This afternoon's protest will be held at the Neal Smith Federal Building in Des Moines.
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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.
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Black Hills Center for Equity Holding "Big Gay Prom" Saturday



By Northern Plains News


RAPID CITY — The Black Hills Center for Equity is holding its first Big Gay Prom Saturday, April 19 at the Moose Lodge.

The theme is “The 80s: Pretty in Pink.” The event runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., with the bar open until 2 a.m.

Cost is $15 per couple, $10 for a single and a $2 discount with military or student ID. The Moose Lodge is located at 841 E. Saint Patrick Street in Sioux Falls. Participants must be 18 or older to attend.
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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.
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Groups Join Forces to Give Wounded Veterans Hunting Opportunities

Brett Bastian and Karl Kreutzmann present two crossbows to CVSG
Chair, Byron Dietsch, to help with future veteran’s hunts.
Submitted photo. 

By Northern Plains News

Hartford, S.D. —Two nonprofit organizations from southeast South Dakota are raising funds and developing hunting adventures for wounded and disabled veterans and their families.

Warriors Never Give Up from Brandon and the Central Valley Struttin’ Gobblers from Hartford announced their cooperative venture Monday.

CVSG is a local chapter of the National Wild Turkey and WNGU is a grassroots organization that promotes reconnecting with and being good stewards of the environment.

CVSG has taken freewill donations for tree removal and is currently offering a gun raffle for a 7mm-08 rifle. Donations awarded to the WNGU are two Stryker crossbows, compliments of Bowtech Archery.


The groups plan to offer what they say is a once in a lifetime turkey hunt in 2015 to qualified military veterans. For more information, contact project Chair Byron Dietsch at (605) 201-5102 or WNGU co-founder Brett Bastian at (605) 310-8330.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

POLL: Sioux Falls Most Optimistic City in America



By Northern Plains News

Sioux Falls is the most optimistic city in the United States, according to Gallup.

The sunny optimism of South Dakota’s largest city just edged out the almost as sunny optimism of Des Moines, Iowa, 77.7 percent to 76.6 percent.

Gallup asked respondents if they believed the city they lived in was getting better.


Sioux Falls and Des Moines might want to share some of their glass half full positive thinking with Binghamton, N.Y., where only 36.5 percent of the resident feel their city is getting better.
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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.
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CORY ALLEN HEIDELBERGER: South Dakota Gets B+ for Online State Finance Transparency


Columnist Cory Allen Heidelberger

By Cory Allen Heidelberger
Madville Times

“[W]e might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress, and every man of any mind in the Union, should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them” [Thomas Jefferson to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, 1802.04.01].

We're not that great at running elections — how'd your great-idea voting centers do on poll wait times in Sioux Falls Tuesday, Secretary Gant? But South Dakota gets good marks for online budget transparency. 

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has scored states on offering online access to government spending data. South Dakota gets a B+, tying with North Carolina in the "Advancing" category and just missing joining eight "Leading" states. 

Our only neighbor in the Leading category is Iowa, scoring 90 compared to our 89.5 (so close!). Minnesota and North Dakota both get D's.

South Dakota was among the top 10 improvers, boosting its public finance website score from 70 to 89.5 in just one year. The big improvement was adding searchable data on "Tax Expenditures," the tax revenue that South Dakota could collect under uniform application of existing laws but which it gives up in the form of sales tax exemptions, preferential rates and other special favors. 

The total listed for all tax expenditures: $632,450,622.00. That's enough money to raise our teachers' pay to the highest in the nation and still have $304 million left. Or we could pay the $510 million it would cost to send all 36,000+ plus students in our Regental universities for free.

Of course, since our EB-5 program went private, I can't find the checks Joop Bollen, Richard Benda and friends were able to cash under his contract with the state. Open. SD. Gov allows us to follow the money — just not all of it.

We also get special mention for auditing our state checkbook each year. The online checkbook is fun: it allows to discover fun information like the fact that so far in the current fiscal year, the state of South Dakota has paid Lawrence & Schiller, the ad firm founded by state GOP chair Craig Lawrence, $3,039,006.20. 

It also lets us itemize state payouts to Northern Beef Packers over its unproductive five years for $2,327,815.47. What fun!

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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.
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Many Babies are Missing Out on Bonding, Crucial to Success

A strong bond with parents can be critical to a child's later success, but a new review finds that that connection is never made with some 40% of babies and toddlers. Photo credit: Scott & Elaine van der Chijs

BISMARCK, N.D. — The bonds that children develop with their parents early on can be fundamental to their success in life, but the latest research finds many babies and toddlers are missing out, and that means problems.

A new analysis concludes that 40 percent of children are not getting that needed secure attachment, which family therapist Susan Stiffelman says comes through parents being attuned to their baby.

The report says those children from birth to age three who do not form strong bonds with their mother or father are more likely to suffer from aggression, defiance and hyperactivity as they get older.

Stiffelman says that lack of a loving bond can also impact other areas for children, including health and educational achievement.

While some may think that the need for a loving bond is most important for girls, the report finds that the behavior of boys is actually more affected by early parenting.

The Baby Bonds review from the Sutton Trust also says that those children without strong attachment to their parents are also at higher risk for depression, family instability and poverty.

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