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Troubled American

The United States of America has always had wounds, but we rarely exposed them and always stood tall. Our pride says it all in the Star Spangle Banner. 

“O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?” 

The Star Spangle Banner is an exquisite piece of American history. As an American, I am proud reading the Star Spangle Banner. I’m also proud of our American roots that embedded into the soils of this great nation, but America is all shook up.

    More people every day are becoming apprehensive about the state of the American nation. The past few months have felt like all hell has broken loose. A lot has happened since the beginning of May 2016. I feel like we are letting our issues tear our nation down. We face many problems in western civilization.  These problems as a whole now affect our everyday life. America has a bad hand of cards; we fear Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as our next president. Neither candidate will serve as a good president. We the people have to choose the less problematic of the worse. 

Political madhouse aside, there are a lot of domestic problems in our country. Racism, sexism, a broken justice system, debt, and guns are a few of many serious issues right here at home. President Obama has been blacklisting some critical topics and responding poorly to others. Our congress, justice system, and the government in general seem to be failing the American people on one issue after another. How long before the American people know that the government will be accountable its actions? I am a troubled American wondering why our government can’t represent us fairly. I feel upset when my government hides the truth and protects unlawful behavior of politicians and crooked cops. I am a concerned as the FBI release criminal politicians AND ALLOW them to continue to run for president. I became furious when police gunned down Alton Sterling and Philando Castile for no reason.   

 It doesn’t seem like a lot of progress has been going on in Congress. People are protesting in outrage, and some are lashing out in violence while others sit in silence. Meanwhile, other people shout for justice and peace holding their loved ones in the street. To turn on the news is heart-wrenching because of all misery people are enduring. To enjoy social media is almost impossible with sickening stories flooding the news feed. It is hard to be a trusting citizen in today’s America, and I am not even sure what is real coming from the media let alone our government. As an American, I would like to ask my government how I could ever feel safe again.

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Jackboots Jackley’s Wacky Weed Witch Hunt?

So for those of you who don’t follow local news (and you should, shame on you), South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley seems to be on a one man mission to take down marijuana consultants from Colorado.  Argus Leader’s Jonathan Ellis even called in Jackley in a url “Jackboots Jackley” which is clever.  (We would like to point out that Scott Ehrisman first coined that nickname in 2010.)

This controversy started back in June of 2015 when the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe came up with a plan to legalize marijuana on thier reservation and create a sort of “Disneyland of Pot” on the reservation to attract tourist dollars.  The tribe faced such a high level of hostility from the surrounding communities and state law enforcement they ended up scrapping the plan and burning all of thier first crop.  Having smashed the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s marijuana fruit cart, you would think that the matter would be over and everyone could get on with thier not having access to the “Disneyland of Pot” lives.  You would be wrong.

On August 3rd Attorney General Marty Jackley presented charges in a Flandreau courthouse in front of a bevy of local media.  In the press conference he outlined charges against employees of the publicly traded consulting company Monarch America, Inc. that the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe had hired to consult on setting up their marijuana operation.  He alleged Eric Hagen and Jonathan Hunt violated state and federal law.  All while being very careful to paint the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe as victims.

They plan on bussing our college kids to smoke marijuana — South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley at a August 3rd Press Conference in Flandreau, SD

Many in the South Dakota media (including Jonathan Ellis in the previously cited Argus Leader blog post) speculate that this is all part of Attorney General Marty Jackley’s groundwork for a future run for Governor.  It seems he thinks beating up some Colorado pot consultants will make him appear tough on crime.

The tribe has become a victim — South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley at a August 3rd Press Conference in Flandreau, SD

Critics like Ellis see this whole saga as Jackley “wagging the dog“.

It’s no secret he’s running for governor in 2018. And part of that campaign clearly rests on portraying to voters that he’s been hard on crime. In at least two high profile cases – the EB5 and Gear Up scandals – Jackley pursued criminal charges when he could have filed civil cases.  — Jonathan Ellis, Argus Leader, August 6, 2016

So what do you think?  Is Attorney General Marty Jackley keeping us safe?  Is he running for governor?  Is he trying to distract from the state’s recent wave of violent crime?  Let us know in the comments below.

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How I survived Sioux Empire Fair: Attack of the Mini-Doughnuts

Oh god why?!  Why did you let me eat so many mini-doughnuts at the Sioux Empire Fair?

So it was a great first weekend for the Sioux Empire Fair.  My wife and I went Sunday just before noon and the temperature was perfect.  The sights, sounds, and smells of the fair were all where they should be.  Nothing tends to change a lot from year to year with this fair, but that’s not a bad thing.

First we went through the expo building.  I am not a fan of that building since it is usually a gauntlet of people trying to sell you things you would not seek out.  In the normal world anyway.  But this is the fair, so crazy window liners?  You got it.  Essential oils?  Check.  Poorly xeroxed socialist newsletter?  Of course.

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 - Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 – Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpire.com

I was relieved that there wasn’t the cascade of signature booths for various petitions.  If you’ll recall last year there was one petition booth that was shady as all get out.  But this year was quiet.  You had the Republican and Democrat booths on site.  But in stark contrast to the national stage both booths were serene and people were friendly.

Only down side this year was how expensive everything is.  I don’t think that has changed from previous years.  But it still bugged me.  I don’t know that prices have actually increased that much.  I think I might just be getting older. Nothing reminded me of that more than the carnival games.

The carnival games kicked my ass this year.  Let’s be clear, I hate the carnival games.  So why do I play them you ask?  Because my wife likes me to win her stuff.  So like the rube that I am.  I drop $5 dollar bill after $5 bill on rings, poles, balls, darts, and other paraphernalia each game requires.

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 - Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 – Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpire.com

Ten minutes and $25 dollars later we left the midway with her prize.  A tiny stuffed clownfish clearly meant to be an unlicensed rip of Marlin from Finding Nemo.  With our discretionary budget almost spent for this trip already it was time to head to the food.

That’s when it happened.  We started with strawberry smoothies which is always a good call in warm weather.  Those were great.  But then I looked up from our shady bench and saw it.  Mini-doughnuts.  I told my wife I would be right back and headed over to the stand.  The girl inside had a bit of a european accent and asked me what I wanted.  It was all downhill from there.

Now, in the past I assumed that quantities at the fair were going to be outrageously small for outrageously high prices.  So when I saw “Bucket” of mini-doughnuts I figured that meant it was $14 for a hard plastic cup of mini-doughnuts.  That seems expensive but I’m at a fair and I want mini-doughnuts.  So I slapped my twenty on the counter and said “one bucket please”.

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 - Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 – Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpire.com

She proceeds to pull out a quarter gallon size plastic bucket and fires up the doughnut machine.  As I watched  doughnut after come floating down that river of oil I naively thought. “She must be making more to have on hand for the lunch rush.”  But no.  I was the lunch rush.

As a hauled my livestock feed bucket of fried dough cinnamon sponges back to our bench my wife asked.  “What have you done?” In the same way a spouse asks you why you got drunk and crashed the family car through the living room.  “When I told you I’d help you eat them I meant I was going to have like three doughnuts.”  She clarified as I sat down.

And so the grim work began.  My guts aching with each adorable fried lump I ate.  “At least I won’t need a funnel cake now…?”  I said timidly.  She gave me that look that communicates “well duh stupid” without any need for words.  I managed to eat the pyramid of doughnuts that doughnut girl had stacked on top of the bucket.  But that’s all the further I made it.

On our way back toward the gate I stopped my wife and told her I needed some protein.  Without it all that fried dough would make me sick.  Being the smart man that I am, I chose a foot long corn dog for my “protein”.  About half way thought that corndog I learned that this was not one of the good corn dogs.  Like where there is a large premium hotdog inside.  No, this is one of the corndogs that has a small cheap dog inside.  So the body of the corn dog is primarily composed of fried breading.

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 - Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Sioux Empire Fair 2016 – Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpire.com

It was a nice visit to the Sioux Empire fair this year.  I am grateful that the fair only comes once a year.  I think I’ll cry if I see another mini-doughnut in less than a year.  My wallet and bowels can’t take any more than that.  And we didn’t even make it to the booze.

What’s that?  The Sioux Empire Podcast is sending me to cover the State Fair later this summer.


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Pokehon: Suicide Squad Review!

Pokehon from YouTube reviews Suicide Squad!

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We could really use some better options in 2016

So both candidates suck this year, if you could decide who should run in this year’s presidential election, who or what would you choose?

Ford Lucas 2016 - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Ford Lucas 2016 – TheSiouxEmpire.com

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Arick Strauser Benefit Concert August 13th

A concert to benefit the family of a Sioux Falls teen Arick Strauser who died recently is scheduled for August 13.

The concert will help the family of Arick Strauser, 18, who died July 22, pay for funeral services, and other expenses. Strauser died after a fight involving multiple teenagers. Part of the fight was recorded and posted online, leading police to arrest Wilson Deontrez Hughes, 16, Sioux Falls, on first-degree manslaughter charges.

The event will include performances from Luxurious Cypher, Crime Spree, JusLon, Dc1noly and Sarah Liben. A silent auction will also be held. Food will be provided and anyone can attend, he said. Donations will be welcomed for the family.

The benefit concert will be held 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13 at Brass Rail, 1213 N. Cliff Ave.

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10-Spot Spotlight with Zach Dresch

When someone mentions the word “comedy” or talks about a “comedy scene” we immediately think about LA or New York, maybe even Minneapolis, but no one would ever think that Sioux Falls or the Sioux Empire would have a flourishing comedy scene. Though with the new comedy club, Wacko’s Comedy Club opening up August 11th, The Sioux Falls Sno Jam Comedy Festival taking place next February, and a few really good mics such as the Boss Pizza & Chicken open mic every Wednesday it should be no surprise to anyone that comedy is booming in the Sioux Empire.

It may not be well know to many, but South Dakota has produced some pretty reputable comedians such as Timmy Williams who appeared on IFC’s “The Whitest Kids U Know”, Sean Jordan who makes regular appearances on the “Doug Loves Movies” podcast, and probably the most well know (at least in the heartland) Williams & Ree. As a touring comedian myself I’ve met and worked with hundreds of comedians from celebrities like Dana Carvey & Gallagher to comedians that you’ll probably never hear about and I must say some of the most talented reside right here in our own backyard such as Sioux Falls native Zach Dresch.

If you’re a social media junkie you may recognize Zach from some of Hy-Vee’s recent Facebook videos or perhaps you’d recognize his voice from the local radio station KBAD 94.5 where he DJ’s on the weekends. If you’re a music fan it’s possible you’ve heard him laying down the percussion for the local band The Disarmed. On a mid Thursday afternoon I met up with Zach at Black Sheep Coffee to see what’s behind this magnificent man asking him 10 hard hitting questions.

Zach Dresch - Photo by Dan Bublitz Jr.

Zach Dresch – Photo from Dan Bublitz Jr.

DB: What’s your background in comedy?

ZD: I went to college for theater at the University of Sioux Falls.. Then I started doing improv through an improv club we had there. I had a blast doing that and that’s kind of where I realized comedy is where I belonged. Whenever we did improv shows I would get such an adrenaline rush and I was like I need to find another outlet. I always admired standup comedy. Whenever there was a new special or an up and coming comedian I knew about it.

DB: What’s your favorite local hangout spot?

ZD: Monk’s House of Ale on 8th.

DB: What was your best show? Worst Show?

ZD: I think my show ever was back in December of 2015 at Rookies Comedy Club. I don’t know what it was, but I had a really solid set and Craig Gass was in the audience that night. At the time I didn’t know who he was or that he was in the audience, but I had a really solid set. I was doing impressions after impressions and immediately after my set Craig walks up to me and asks me to open up for him. So I got to open up for him later that week for a sold out show at Wiley’s and had a solid set that night too. My worst show was the last time I performed which was a couple of weeks ago. I bombed pretty hard, but I handled it better than I would have a year ago.

DB: What do you like most about South Dakota? What do you like the least?

ZD: The local music & comedy scenes because both are blooming right now. Lots of people are going to local shows and huge artists that I thought would never come to Sioux Falls are coming here. Road construction is what I like the least.

DB: When you’re at a buffet, how many trays of food do you start off with?

ZD: 1-2 actually. I don’t know what it is, but I’m so overwhelmed that there is so much food that I just stick to my one plate. Once I finish that if I feel like having seconds I’ll go up again. I used to be a 3-4 platter, but I was a lot chubbier back then.

DB: On average, how many time a week do you hurt yourself trying to dance in the shower?

ZD: Negative 20. I’ve never danced in the shower.

DB: Your biggest inspiration?

ZD: Dave Grohl. He started off just as a kick ass drummer. He was just great with everything he did. Then Kurt Cobain died his career with Nirvana was essentially over. You’re the biggest rock band in the world and then your singer dies what do you do? He wrote a bunch of his own songs and took them out on the road with him and becomes this huge rock star, but he’s incredibly humble about it. I love that he’s so humble and will take on any project. He’s been in so many bands. People gravitate to him because he’s so humble about his work. He’s my inspiration for ambition. I wanna keep branching out and doing different projects.

DB: What’s your favorite thing to order from Olive Garden?

ZD: Fettuccine Alfredo

Zach Dresch - Photo by Dan Bublitz Jr.

Zach Dresch – Photo from Dan Bublitz Jr.

DB: How many friendships have you ruined because you refused to play a game of Monopoly mercifully?

ZD: None. I don’t like playing Monopoly. That might be a deal breaker if I meet someone in the future, “wanna play Monopoly?” “um…ah…no, not for me friendship over.”

DB: What are you currently working on?

ZD: I’m always working on my standup. It’s a never ending process. My band is working on its second album which should be released in the next 2-3 months. Then I’m going to be starting a Youtube comedy channel to do show comedies and sketches to showcase what I can do and I want to learn to play the guitar so I can write some music for my band.

Okay, so maybe they weren’t all hard hitting, but now you know exactly who Zach Dresch is. You can catch Zach almost every Wednesday & Thursday night sharpening his comedy chops at Boss’ Pizza & Chicken (Wednesdays at 9pm) or Wacko’s Comedy Club (Thursdays at 8pm) and when he’s not perfecting his comedy he’s playing with his band. Be sure to catch them headlining the Icon Lounge in Sioux Falls September 22nd, 2016. You can follow Zach on Twitter @zachdresch and his band’s Facebook page.

For my complete schedule visit my website www.danbublitz.com

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SEP042- Bruce Danielson fights City Hall and the return of Christopher Lee Hamilton

This show was HUGE (In my best Trump, which is to say nothing like him).  The Sioux Empire Podcast crew of Robert Mehling, Seth Glover, Natasha Estes, and Emily Alexander are joined by three other people.  Needless to say our normal studio would not do so we moved to a larger venue.  We were joined by Bruce Danielson who came on board to talk not just politics in general but he’s also here to mention his petition drive to stop sales tax revenue bonds from being sold to fund the city administration building that Sioux Falls mayor Mike Huether used the first veto of his career as mayor to secure.  We’re also very happy to have back on the show returning musical guest and friend of the show Christopher Lee Hamilton and he brought awesome singer Ellen Ackerman DeNeui with him.  They played four great songs in studio for us.  We talk a lot of politics (local and national), history, millennials, Social Media, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Pokémon, Low voter turn out, the power of showing up, South Dacola, Music, Vaping, The Chrisellen Experience, fake Asian internet babies, and Stranger Things.  The Sioux Empire Podcast is happy to accept your nomination for dogcatcher.

Bruce Danielson’s Contact Info:


PO Box 1954

Sioux Falls, SD 57101

Office / FAX: (605) 334-9511

Cell: (605) 376-8087


Email: bruce@citizens4integrity.org

Check out Bruce Danielson’s videos at


Learn more about Christopher Lee Hamilton and Ellen Ackerman DeNeui


Parental Advisory


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Local Music Spotlight: Christopher Lee Hamilton

From Christopher Lee Hamilton:

I grew up in Memphis, TN and the surrounding areas and was always surrounded by music. My mom introduced me to my first guitar, a Fender classic acoustic that I still have to this day…it must be about 60 years old! At first I was self-taught and just picked away at strings, but around the age of 15, lessons came about and I learned some blues scales. From there, many small bands and jam sessions pushed me more and more into music as I was being sucked into bands like Megadeth, Skid Row, Ozzy, etc. I did the band scene for many years in the South.

Fast forward to now. I met a girl from North and ended up moving here to be with her and, slowly but surely, started coming into contact with local musicians. Ellen was one of the first I met up with along with a small folk group called Salvage Project that we were both a part of. She had been in a local band named Trouble Makers and had since wanted a smaller kind of thing. So, we started doing acoustic stuff as I was attending college, just her and I, and liked more intimate settings like small bars or even fancy doing coffee shops. So at this point I am both playing with Ellen and also the lead guitar for a 90’s covers rock band called Ground 0. Music follows me anywhere and I wouldn’t have it any other way.



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Party Like It’s 1945

Thursday night started off as just another standard work day. I arrived, set up shop at the YMCA and went through my normal routine. During a break I received a critic message from my beloved which read more or less: “I’m bringing you a change of clothes. We are going on an adventure!” Now if any of you know me, I am a sucker for any adventure that shakes up the mundane, and gives me a good story to tell. For the next 4 hours of my shift I wracked my brain trying to deduce what would be remotely fun on a hot, humid night at 10 pm when I would be done working. Try as I might, I could not image anything, and began, to some extent, dread the impending adventure. As my shift end slowly approached, around the corner my human comes, “shit-eating-grin” on his face, waving something at me in his hand. He excitedly reveals one of my “Betty Page-esk” dresses and two tickets to the CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance. Excitement level ORANGE! I couldn’t get done my shift fast enough.

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Tickets – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Tickets – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

Now for a little background before I go on. I have always had a passionate affinity for the military, especially the Air Force. Many members of my family have and do serve, and during my college years I attended AFROTC(Air Force Reserved Officer Training Corp) until I was medically released due to reconstructive back surgery that left me disqualified to serve. While the chance to wear a uniform was no longer there, I have always maintained a strong support for our service men and women, and love, Love, LOVE to participate in events that are hosted on base. The CAF (Commemorative Air Force) was founded in 1957 by a service pilot by the name of Lloyd Nolen and a group of service pilots from Texas. They started with a single P-51 Mustang (Pictured below) and the simple desire to maintain and preserve the craft. It quickly became evident that what they had started was so much more, and on September 6th, 1961 the CAF was formed. Dedicated to the preservation of history, the mission was to collect, preserve, and restore if necessary, an example of every type of war-bird that flew in World War II.


CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance P-51 Mustang – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

As the organization grew, squadrons across the US formed with the same supporting mission to educate, preserve and fly these amazing war-birds. In 2013, the Joe Foss Squadron of the CAF was established and assigned a 1944 Stinson L-5B Sentinel. This aircraft originally left the US in early 1945 where is was assigned to the 71st Infantry Division. After its return, it became a part of the New York Civil Air Patrol until finding its home with the CAF Joe Foss Squadron. As a way to raise fund to help them maintain their bird, which costs roughly $12,000 a year to maintain, they have thrown the CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance. If that isn’t a mouthful! And now we come to the 2016 dance, and all of my excitement. The theme, as always, is Party Like its 1945, and guests are strongly encouraged to dress the part, though its not required. It was hosted at the Maverick Air Center on the west side of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport with the dance starting at 7 with music, snacks and beverages till 11pm. The event was sponsored by several local businesses (listed below) and hosted a 13 piece swing band (Gale Pifer Orchestra), free swing dance lessons, and majestic war-birds on display.

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Gale Pifer Orchestra - K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance Gale Pifer Orchestra – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

Birds in attendance were the B-17 Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey and the planes of Joe Foss including a Wildcat, Corsair and Mustang, as well as a visiting B-25, TBM Avenger, T-6, L-5 and Japanese Zero. When we arrived around 10 pm, the band was still in full swing (pun intended) and about 50 people were mingling, dancing and admiring the planes they had displayed both inside and outside the hangar. It may sound strange to the less enthusiastic, but the workmanship of many of the older plans are absolutely beautiful. From the ladies painted on the side, to the precise riveting on the panels, it amazes me what the innovative mind of a human can accomplish.

CAF Joe Foss Squadron Hangar Dance B-17G Flying Fortress – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

And what is more, 70 years ago these magnificent bird were made, and are as majestic today as they were when they were first commissioned. Whether you are a history fan or not, its worth at look at these amazing pieces of history, and support a cause. I have attended every Air Show since I moved to South Dakota, and had not heard of the CAF or the dance event till the night my person surprised me with tickets. It was well worth the sweltering heat, to get up close to the planes on display, and meet some of the members behind the organization. You can follow the CAF Joe Foss Squadron on Facebook for more events, plane rides, and general education. And don’t forget to get out to the Air Show today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

CAF Objectives
 1. To acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States and selected aircraft of other nations for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.

2. To provide museum buildings for the permanent protection and display of these aircraft as a tribute to the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and flew them.

3. To perpetuate in the memory and in the hearts of all Americans the spirit in which these great planes were flown in the defense of our nation.

4. To establish an organization having the dedication, enthusiasm and esprit de corps necessary to operate, maintain and preserve these aircraft as symbols of our American military aviation heritage.


Vern Eide
Showplace Kitchens
Maverick Air Center
10th Street AutoWash
Look’s Market
Handy Man
Beal Distributing, INC.


NAI Sioux Falls – Craig Hagen
Sands Drywall
Fernson Brewing Company
Scott Lawrence – Lawrence & Schiller

Resources & Links

Kelo September 29, 2015 Article 
Kelo July 21, 2016 Article 
SD Magazine.com 
Commemorative Air Force 
Gale Pifer Orchestra 
CAF Joe Foss Squadron 
Sioux Falls Air Show 
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