Rick Weiland, the only Democratic candidate so far for the South Dakota seat in the U.S. Senate up for election in 2014, isued a news release today blasting the national news media for not giving more news coverage to last weekend’s blizzard across western South Dakota and parts of neighboring states. I happened to check The New York Times edition from last Sunday that I received in the mail this week, and the storm received a story at the bottom of a page in the main news section. I also noted last weekend that National Public Radio on its newscasts talked about the storm (if memory is correct, in one instance, I heard a national report by SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray). I will acknowledge that through the years I’ve felt at times that winter storms in South Dakota deserved more national coverage. But… I wouldn’t go as far as Rick did today when he declared:
“We just had our ‘Sandy’ out here in Western South Dakota and ranching families have been completely abandoned.”
It’s true, a lot of ranch families lost a lot of cattle. Their losses will be compounded, because not only did they lose calves, they’ll need to replace the cows that produced the calves. A good cow is worth a lot of future money in calves. Thousands of people lost electricity and many are still without power. A lot of tree branches are busted off. But putting the storm on the same level as Hurricane Sandy? That is a big reach. Damage in the United States alone from the hurricane was estimated at $65 billion. Congress approved relief of $50.5 billion. A total of 256 people reportedly died along the hurricane’s route through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic coast. I don’t mean to minimize in any way the damage and suffering from the blizzard. I just don’t think it was anything close to Hurricane Sandy — and for that I am thankful.