Fictional Democracy in South Dakota

As a lifelong Republican and casual observer of South Dakota politics, I have had a nagging feeling for several years that something just wasn’t working right. Then I heard reports from this year’s Republican convention and it started to sink in. Our 20th century...

Effective City Government Arrives in Sioux Falls

“You can’t fight City Hall.” It’s one of those sayings that sum up recognized truths. It generally suggests that you can’t win when challenging a bureaucratic system like the government. But in the early 1990s a bunch of us in Sioux Falls did just that. We convinced...

The Western Surety Kirbys

Over a period of many decades and four generations of one family’s leadership, a South Dakota business quietly dominated its industry. The company was Western Surety Company. The family was the Kirbys. And the industry was the small, miscellaneous fidelity and surety...

One of the Strangest Episodes in Supreme Court History

It began with a call from a friend working at the downtown Sioux Falls public library. She had received an information request from someone on the east coast about a long-dead local attorney, my great grandfather, Joe Kirby. She wondered if I would be interested in...