Accepting The Things We Cannot Change


By Peg Ryan
Mile High Pilates And Yoga

Last week we all had spring flashes and this week it’s welcome back to winter.  As usual, our weather here in the Black Hills is an adventure.  Wherever you are when you are reading this, my guess is you could say the same for your area.  Weather is a great example of how circumstances beyond our control affect our lives.  We can worry about it or get angry with it or defy it.  But in the end there isn’t a thing we can do to change or even influence it.  We can play with our clocks and give ourselves the illusion of control, but no matter what the clock says daylight will arrive and retreat on it’s own time.

Are there other areas of our lives over which we have no control?  Of course.  We dislike admitting it, but, for the most part going out into each day is an act of faith.  We might have a daily routine or what we imagine is a well-laid plan for the day, but in reality we will be lucky if things go the way we planned.  Yup – lucky.  Everyone wants to think that it is their own genius responsible for things going their way, but ultimately there is always at least a little luck involved.  Of course, we can prepare ourselves to take the best advantage of chips falling our way.  But ultimately no one – not even the most careful and detailed planner – can predict the future.

So how can we move forward when everything is really uncertain?  We could approach each day with trepidation and fear, worrying about every possible detail in hopes that worrying will somehow make a difference in the outcome.  Unfortunately, that never works.  Can you think of a single time when worrying about some unwanted concern actually prevented it from happening?  Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t, but either way the worrying you did in advance didn’t change anything.  All it did was stress you out.  And if what you worried about doesn’t actually occur (which is most often the case) then you stressed out needlessly.  And what about events occurring that weren’t even on your radar screen?  You didn’t even have a chance to worry yet here you are, having to deal with it anyway.  It might surprise you to see yourself somehow managing the challenge, whatever it is.  All of us can look back through our lives and find examples where that was true.  We’ve all had the experience of living through something we never would have thought we could handle.  Yet somehow we did.

Of course, I do my share of worrying, too.  And this is not to say that events shouldn’t make us angry or sad.  It also doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t bother planning. But a plan is like a path through the woods.  You don’t always know where it’s going to take you. Have you ever had the experience of following a route on a map but ending up someplace completely different from what you expected?  Outcomes can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean that the journey wasn’t worth taking.

Life is so full of uncertainties and none of us really knows what it’s all about. In the end, though, it all comes down to learning to go with the flow.  Which for me is a practice.  Not something I’ll ever be perfect at, but something to keep striving for and working at.  Accepting the good, the bad and the ugly of whatever life hands you and doing the best you can with what you’ve got to work with at any given time.  We can’t change the past or predict the future. And as much as we’d like to imagine we can control the behavior of others, that, too, is impossible.  Most of us can barely control ourselves.  Think of all the times you’ve said something you didn’t mean to say or done something you didn’t mean to do.

As Joni Mitchell writes in the song “Woodstock”:  “I don’t know who l am, But you know life is for learning”.  Treating life as an adventure is not always easy, but it might help to remember that nothing ever stays the same.  Everything is always changing.  Remember the weather.  As Mark Twain (or whoever it was) said, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.  It will change.”  Have a “Plan B” whenever possible, but no matter what happens, being kind to yourself and all those around you is always a good plan.  Focus on the things you can control like your attitude, your own behavior, your actions and reactions.  Attend to the journey and let the outcomes be what they are.


The Purpose of South Dakota’s Juvenile Justice System

A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

It has been three years since we reformed South Dakota’s juvenile justice system. When the legislation was passed, South Dakota had the second highest juvenile incarceration rate in the country. It was nearly three times the national average. At the same time, our juvenile violent crime arrest rate was approximately one-third of the national average. We were locking up primarily non-violent juvenile offenders.

Since this law has been in effect, we are seeing fewer juveniles committed, fewer juveniles reoffending, and success among those who are sent to functional family therapy. Since Fiscal Year 2014, new commitments to the Department of Corrections have declined 56 percent and the number of recommitments has declined by two-thirds.

Additionally, functional family therapy, which offers treatment for the entire family to address juvenile issues, is available in every single community in South Dakota. To date, 346 families have successfully completed this therapy and 88 percent of these families have reported a positive change as a result.

These reforms still support institutionalization of children who pose a risk of harm to others. Our system has always allowed for that, and the juvenile reforms did not change that. A juvenile who commits a violent crime can be committed to the Department of Corrections, and a judge can also commit a child who is found to pose a serious risk of violence.

Reserving commitments to cases of violence is in line with the national trend. Juvenile commitments to state-run facilities have been falling in almost every state in the nation over the past 18 years. Nationwide, placements fell from 40,678 in 1997 to 13,970 in 2013. In South Dakota they fell from 315 to 102, even before the 2015 passage of juvenile justice reforms.

The statutory purpose of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, and we must never lose that focus. I spent 20 years working at Children’s Home Society, which operates institutions for children who have suffered abuse and neglect. Often these children have behavioral problems. At Children’s Home, our priority was always to do whatever we could to return children to their families, or if that was not possible, to a foster family or adoptive family.

I know that juvenile offenders can be difficult, but we need to remain focused on what is best for them. Locking up children because they are difficult to deal with is not acceptable. Putting a child in an institution, away from the community, is incredibly disruptive to the life of a child.

Beyond violent cases, we must continue to build our capacity to treat children in their communities – near their homes, families and schools – whenever possible.  For most children, this offers the greatest chance of true rehabilitation.



The Luck o’ the Irish won’t get you home safely, but a sober designated driver will!

The long-established traditions of St. Patrick’s Day, like corned beef and cabbage, and shamrocks, go hand-in-hand with the tradition of drinking Irish beer. If you plan on participating in St. Patrick’s Day festivities, don’t forget to plan for a sober ride home. Volunteer to be the sober driver; plan for a sober ride home; plan for that extra guest to spend the night; collect the keys—in short, do what it takes to ensure a safe and fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day.

In 2016, there were 10,497 people who lost their life in a drunk-driving crash, a 1.7% increase from 2015. Exponentially more lives were forever changed by the loss of a parent, child, friend, or loved one.

In advance of the celebration, NHTSA would like to invite you to a Twitter Chat on March 14, 2018 from 3-4 p.m. ET to provide stats and information on buzzed driving prevention. Experts will be available to answer questions while you spread the word and encourage your followers to plan ahead. We’ve also got plenty of other resources available for you to help spread this life-saving message.

Who: NHTSA and our team of experts

What: St. Patrick’s Day Buzzed Driving Twitter Chat

When: Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 3 – 4 p.m. ET

How: Follow the conversation using the hashtag #BuzzedDriving. Feel free to mention @NHTSAgov in any of your tweets and we will get back to as many questions and comments as we can! Remember to include #BuzzedDriving in your comments so others can follow the conversation, too.

Invite your friends and followers to join us and help spread the important message about planning ahead, designating a sober driver, and not getting behind the wheel impaired. Buzzed driving is completely preventable. All it takes is a little planning. Don’t rely on luck this St. Patrick’s day—get a sober ride home.

Follow NHTSA on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest recalls and safety campaigns.


NHTSA’s SaferRide app will help keep drunk drivers off our roads by allowing users to call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their location so they can be picked up.

Buzzed Driving

Additional Resources

>> Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

>> Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

>> Impaired Driving Information at 


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the decision to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule published on January 19, 2017. The rule would have increased federal regulation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers. The withdrawal becomes effective May 13, 2018.

Significant policy and legal issues were identified after the rule published in January 2017. After careful review and two rounds of public comment, USDA has determined that the rule exceeds the Department’s statutory authority, and that the changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program, including real costs for producers and consumers.

“The existing robust organic livestock and poultry regulations are effective,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach. “The organic industry’s continued growth domestically and globally shows that consumers trust the current approach that balances consumer expectations and the needs of organic producers and handlers.”

According to USDA reports for 2017, the number of certified organic operations increased domestically by seven percent and globally by 11 percent. Industry estimates show that organic sales in the United States reached almost $47 billion in 2016, reflecting an increase of almost $3.7 billion since 2015.

The Department carefully considered public comments and the relative costs and benefits for both producers and consumers of imposing the proposed additional regulations.


Influenza activity was atWIDESPREAD level in South Dakota again during the past week.  

·      313 new confirmedcases of influenza were reported last week.   4,423 confirmed cases cumulative so far this season:  3,651 Influenza A and 772 Influenza B.  *Lab confirmed:  PCR, culture or DFA. The number of laboratories using rapid confirmatory tests has increased, which may account for some of the increase in confirmed cases observed this influenza season.

·      27.29% positive rapid antigen tests reported statewide (402 positives out of 1,473 individuals tested last week).    Total 35,834 tests performed so far this season.

·      35 new influenza-associated hospitalizations reported last week (Brown, Brule, Charles Mix, Codington, Davison, Day, Deuel, Hutchinson, Lake, Lawrence, and Lincoln, Minnehaha, Moody, and Pennington counties).  Total of 600 hospitalizations so far this season.

·      One influenza-associated death was reported last week (Potter County). Total of 34 deaths so far this season.

·      4.27% of clinic visits were for influenzalike illness (ILI), 35.75% of ILI visits were children 4 years of age and younger.

·      2.19% of K12 students were absent due to any illness, range 0% – 10% absent (136 schools reporting).

South Dakota Dept of Health



Dominate virus



Confirmed cases (Culture, PR, DFA)

Peak week






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A(H1N1) pandemic




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February 3rd week




 Not reportable


March 2nd week




 Not reportable


February 3rd week

Median (2004-2017)





February 3rd week

Influenza surveillance website:  

National Synopsis:   Influenza activity has decreased in the United States.

Nationally, 47.1% influenza A and 52.9% influenza B of 663 positive specimens tested in public health laboratories.

Influenza activity by state:

–    WIDESPREAD (highest level) influenza activity in 34 states; including South Dakota;

–    REGIONAL activity in 12 States and Guam;

–    LOCAL activity in four states, and the District of Columbia;

–    SPORADIC activity 0 states;

–    NO activity in US Virgin Islands.

Our neighboring states:

–   WIDESPREAD activity: North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and
South Dakota.

–   REGIONAL activity: Minnesota

SD Dept of Health website:   SD Dept of Health Facebook:


WASHINGTON, March 5, 2018 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Steve Censky today announced two new efforts to provide states and school districts with additional flexibility and support to operate more efficient school meal programs. Censky made the announcement during a speech at the School Nutrition Association Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

Child Nutrition Hiring Flexibility Rule

In 2015, USDA established education and training requirements for nutrition professionals as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. While this strengthened many school meal programs, some small school districts faced challenges finding qualified applicants to direct their local food service operation. Today’s proposal would provide much-needed relief for school districts with less than 2,500 students, allowing them more flexibility in the hiring of new school nutrition program directors.

“Small and rural school districts will no longer have to overlook qualified food service professionals because of one-size-fits-all standards that don’t meet their needs,” said Censky. “We trust our local partners to hire talented school nutrition program directors who will manage the meal service in a way that protects the health and well-being of students.”

USDA is providing a 60-day public comment period and will then develop a final rule that responds to the needs of partners and stakeholders.

Child Nutrition Food Crediting Request for Information

To support states’ efforts to improve program integrity, USDA also rolled out a suite of customizable resources to help local school districts improve the accuracy of their school meal application processes. These resources include support for online applications, evidenced-based materials, and best practices to simplify the process for families and ensure that eligible children receive free and reduced-priced meals.

“USDA’s goal to do right and feed everyone starts with our children,” said Censky. “We are committed to giving states and school districts more tools and options to build a bright, self-sufficient future for America’s children through well-managed school meal programs.”

As part of this package, USDA is offering guidance to help schools utilize its award-winning, open-source online school meal application model. USDA developed the application with input from local food service professionals. The customer-friendly design of the model is intended to increase the integrity of the application process by reducing common mistakes families make when applying for free or reduced-priced school meals.

“These tools are the benchmark for future innovation and give schools 21st century resources and strategies to run efficient food service operations, now and into the future,” Censky said. “Schools can ensure the proper use of funds for feeding students in need, protecting the taxpayer dollar through high integrity programs.”

USDA invites software developers in private industry to join schools in delivering customer service by helping them tailor their own applications.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of recent USDA actions to expand flexibility and ease challenges for partners and stakeholders who help feed our nation’s children. Other actions include:

  • Publishing the School Meal Flexibility Rule, which provides local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation.
  • Releasing “The Food Buying Guide,” a mobile app that puts critical information at the fingertips of food service professionals and makes it easier for them to plan wholesome, nutritious, and tasty school meals.
  • Selecting Kansas State University to direct the Center for Food Safety in Child Nutrition Programs, which will help improve food safety across all of USDA’s child nutrition programs.
  • Inviting the public to submit ideas on food crediting, the system that defines how each food item contributes to meal requirements under the National School Lunch Program and other federal child nutrition programs.

About 100,000 schools and institutions feed 30 million children through the National School Lunch Program and nearly 15 million children through the School Breakfast Program. Many of these children receive their meals at no cost or for a reduced price according to income-based eligibility.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which together comprise America’s nutrition safety net.


PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Social Services and the Department of Health, in partnership with the South Dakota Helpline Center, developed and created toolkits for communities to engage in suicide prevention.

“Suicide does not discriminate and can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender or ethnicity,” said Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti. “Suicide deaths are on the rise, and communities play a critical role in suicide prevention.”

Each toolkit has a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and is targeted to a specific audience or activity. Toolkits available at include Building a Coalition, Employer Toolkits, Native American Toolkits, Healthcare Toolkits, Senior Care Toolkits and Military Member and Veteran Related Toolkits.

“The step-by-step guides in each toolkit give communities the resources they need to get the conversation started to address suicide,” said Secretary Valenti. “Suicide deaths are preventable, and communities can help by creating community coalitions that can review and evaluate local data and develop suicide prevention action plans.”

Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in South Dakota, and the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 15 to 34.

“Preliminary data for 2017 shows the number of suicide deaths in South Dakota will surpass the previous record high of 173 suicide deaths that occurred in 2015,” said Department of Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon.

In addition to the toolkits, the website lists additional information on the warning signs, how to get help, support groups and upcoming suicide prevention trainings. Individuals in need of help are encouraged to call the South Dakota Helpline Center at 1-800-271-TALK (8255). Services are available 24/7.

For more information about behavioral health services, or to find a Community Mental Health Center in your area, contact the Department of Social Services’ Division of Behavioral Health at 605-773-3123, toll-free at 1-855-878-6057 or online at


PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations (SDDTR) has partnered with the South Dakota Departments of Health and Social Services (SDDOH & SDDSS) to highlight ‘Partners in Health’ during this legislative session at the State-Tribal Relations Events on Feb. 27 and 28, 2018 in Pierre.

“It is important to address areas of mutual concern in health and look for ways that we can work together,” said Steve Emery, Secretary of Tribal Relations.

The events start with a ‘Partners in Health’ State-Tribal Listening Session from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Feb. 27 and will look at public health and access to care.  “Tribal partnership is an essential part of our agency’s mission to promote, protect and improve the health of every South Dakotan,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health.

Some of the topics include public health data overview and resources; chronic disease prevention and health promotion; suicide prevention and more. “Partnership and cooperation with South Dakota tribes is vital in developing effective behavioral health and prevention services,” said Lynne Valenti, Secretary of Social Services.

A Legislative Reception will follow from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CST.  The reception is by invitation only.

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, tribal, federal, and state health booths will be available in the Capitol Rotunda from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST. A Rotunda Ceremony will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST featuring a welcome from Gov. Daugaard as well as comments by tribal leaders.

Also featured at the Capitol Rotunda will be the Sisseton Wahpeton Desert Era Honor Guard, the Rosebud Singers from Rosebud Elementary School, and dancers from Enemy Swim Day School.  A lunch will be prepared and served by the Lower Brule High School with supplies donated from InterTribal Buffalo Council and Lynn’s Dakota Mart. Events in the Capitol Rotunda are free and open to the public.


WASHINGTON –  The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it is looking for innovative ideas to promote work and self-sufficiency among able-bodied adults participating in the department’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The public is invited to provide input through a notice in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted on the web through the Federal Register tomorrow. USDA intends to use the input received to find improvements to SNAP policy and related services that can best assist SNAP participants return to self-sufficiency.

“Long-term dependency has never been part of the American dream,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “USDA’s goal is to move individuals and families from SNAP back to the workforce as the best long-term solution to poverty. Everyone who receives SNAP deserves an opportunity to become self-sufficient and build a productive, independent life.”

Federal law limits the amount of time an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) can receive SNAP benefits to three months in a 36-month period, unless the individual is working and/or participating in a work program half-time or more, or participating in workfare. The law exempts individuals from the time limit for several reasons, including age, unfitness for work, or having a dependent child. The law also provides state agencies with flexibility to request a waiver of this time limit if unemployment is high or the area does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment.

“Too many states have asked to waive work requirements, abdicating their responsibility to move participants to self-sufficiency. Past decisions may have been the easy short-term choice, but USDA policies must change if they contribute to a long-term failure for many SNAP participants and their families,” Perdue said.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal, released on Feb. 12, proposes to limit waivers of the time limit for ABAWDs to counties with 10 percent unemployment over 12 months.

“The SNAP safety net must be there for those unable to work due to disability or another legitimate reason,” Perdue said. “But for the able-bodied, we must reduce barriers to work, and hold both individuals and states accountable for participants getting and keeping jobs.”

Starting tomorrow, the public is invited to submit comments or ideas on helping able-bodied SNAP participants find work and become self-sufficient through The comment period will be open through April 9, 2018.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, these programs include Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, the National School Lunch Program, and the Summer Food Service Program which together comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information, visit