David Lias

David Lias

The grandkids spent Christmas with us, and during the grand times that we had celebrating together, there were moments where we needed to find some kid-friendly television shows.

Our cable package includes a network that broadcasts TV programs that first aired when I was a little kid. While granddaughters Samantha and Abigail were momentarily entertained by programs that today are a blast from the past, like, for example, “The Andy Griffith Show,” I got to thinking of others shows of that era, particularly those of the genre that defied reality.

I remember “My Mother The Car,” which tried to ignore the real world every week. Among the main characters was a talking car. The show only lasted one season.

A much more popular, reality-bending sitcom during the 1960s was “Bewitched.” I’m not sure that the grandkids found the reruns of that program during their time with us. “Bewitched” originally was broadcast for eight seasons from the fall of 1964 to the spring of 1972, and starred Elizabeth Montgomery as a witch who marries an ordinary mortal man, and vows to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife.

Those who are familiar with the show will remember that Montgomery, as Samantha the witch, could simply twitch her nose and make magical things happen.

If I were able to twitch my nose and influence the newsworthy happenings that affect all of us, I would like to see these headlines appear in the Plain Talk during 2021:

I know that I’m not alone in hoping that the miraculous COVID-19 vaccine, which states began receiving just before Christmas, will put the COVID-19 pandemic to an end, once and for all. We likely will have to get a COVID shot every year, just as we get (or should get) a flu shot every year.

So, I’m ready to see this headline:

Vaccine Ends Pandemic, Life In Vermillion Returns To Normal

A shot in the arm is pretty easy for Vermillion citizens to take once they realize that the Vermillion School District will eventually be able to ditch its Return To School Plan and its efforts to reduce attendance at sporting events, music concerts and other extra-curricular activities.

The same goes for the University of South Dakota. There are plans in place to drop USD’s mask mandate once everyone receives the vaccine and is protected from the virus. Plans are in the works for students to be welcomed in the traditional way – with open arms – and the community is bustling once again. Downtown’s restaurants, coffee shops, and bars are now packed as the vaccine offers everyone protection from the virus.

The lack of social distancing without masks by students are sight for sore eyes as life in Vermillion has returned to normal. A Dakota Days Parade, a Dakota Days football game in the Dome, and both the high school and USD “normal” sports seasons are scheduled.

In the spring, the high school and university have planned “normal” graduation ceremonies. As spring ends and summer nears, the city intends to open up its parks, prepare the Prentis Plunge for swimmers and Prentis Park for both recreational activities and the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival.

“Normal” concerts return to Radigan Platz in downtown Vermillion during the summer, allowing citizens to enjoy live music and socialize shoulder-to-shoulder once again. The Vermillion Community Theatre, which couldn’t perform during 2020 because of the pandemic, attracts record-setting audience numbers. Clay County 4-H’ers show off their hard work at the Clay County Fair in August at the fairgrounds.

Shortly before the arrival of autumn, the community welcomes the public to its annual Ribs, Rods and Rock ‘n Roll event. The city is overrun by with off-the-charts attendance numbers.

Gold Discovered On Goat Island

Note to readers: I made this prediction a couple years ago, and it hasn’t been confirmed yet because I don’t think anyone has kept this in mind as a possibility.

A hiker on Goat Island, upon seeing something along a trail on the island glint in the sun, will discover a vein of gold ore in 2021 that runs the entire length of the island.

Mineralogists will soon be trying to determine just how much gold exists on the island. Their initial findings will indicate there may be hundreds of tons of the precious metal on the island that covers nearly 600 acres and is located about four miles west of Vermillion.

Although it took several years for Nebraska, South Dakota and the National Park Service to finally agree in 2016 that the island should be managed by the National Park Service as part of the Missouri National Recreational River, there will be no squabbling when it comes to what to do with proceeds of the gold, which is being mined slowly by hand in an environmentally safe manner by a group of volunteers from both South Dakota and Nebraska.

Cash from gold sales will be used for further trail development on both sides of the river near the island. Plans are in the works to also boost funding of research in the national recreational river and to step up conservation and recreation measures that are currently in place.

Goat Island Gold Helps Meet Public Needs

As volunteers slowly mine newly discovered gold from Goat Island near Vermillion, the proceeds of the sale of that precious metal has helped the South Dakota Legislature expand its plans for meeting the public’s needs.

Even though Gov. Kristi Noem noted in her budget address that South Dakota is in strong financial shape mainly because of approximately $4 billion in has received in various federal stimulus and $1.25 billion from the coronavirus relief fund, there will eventually be a downward adjustment that means people will feel the impact when federal money runs out. She made this observation before the gold was discovered, however.

Upon being presented with this unexpected gift, state lawmakers agreed that the gold is a finite resource and that for the state to successfully progress into the 2020s, a new, sustainable and fair revenue source is needed. State lawmakers are expected to take the unprecedented move of enacting a state income tax during the 2021 legislative session and Gov. Noem is expected to sign it, making history. This action will allow the governor to fulfill her plans of paying off technical college bonds, improving the state’s internet system, building a new beef complex on the South Dakota Fairgrounds in Huron, fighting cybercrime, improving the state radio system and purchasing a new state airplane.

Noem Bucked Off Horse; Announces She Won’t Seek Second Term

On the same day that Gov. Noem announced she is expanding Medicaid in South Dakota to make sure that all citizens receive adequate health care and that all health facilities may meet local medical demands, officials with the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed that on New Year’s Eve the governor was bucked off her horse.

Medical personnel who treated the governor said she suffered only a light blow to the head and didn’t need to be hospitalized.

According to confidential sources in Pierre, there have been marked changes in Gov. Noem’s behavior since the incident. She reportedly has become more considerate regarding CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 mitigation and has been seen wearing a mask when she enters the Capitol building in Pierre and will don it whenever anyone enters her office.

She also has been spending up to eight hours a day at her desk reading policy and budget reports and has, without fanfare, signed several new executive orders that increase transparency among her cabinet offices, allowing local media to accurately inform the public why no decision has been made in the investigation of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s accident.

The governor also announced that, as President Trump served for just one term as president, she, too, will serve just one term as governor. She announced that she will also be spending nearly all of her time in South Dakota as she plans to permanently end any political activity, will no longer be traveling out-of-state to make speeches that benefit only her and not South Dakota and will return to the family farm when her term ends.

She made these announcements via her press secretary, Ian Fury. Fury announced later that he has accepted a role with his former boss, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Fury refused to comment on whether Noem’s decision had anything to do with news from Rep. Dusty Johnson that he would be challenging her in the 2024 gubernatorial primary election.

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