Grumpy Editor notes most print/broadcast media overlooked two noteworthy events last week: an unusually early and wicked snowstorm packing hurricane force winds that smacked South Dakota and southwestern North Dakota, killing almost 80,000 cattle, and the 12th year mark reached by the U.S. military fighting in Afghanistan --- making that conflict more than three times longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II.
With the early October storm, up to four feet of snow fell in southwestern South Dakota.
Cattle ranchers, along with farmers, faced a major problem with assistance because of the partial shutdown of the federal government, leaving them without an agency to report financial losses.
The South Dakota Stock Growers Assn. estimated 15 to 20 percent of cattle died in some parts of the state. Some ranchers said half or more of their herds were lost.
A calf normally sells for about $1,000, while a mature cow brings $1,500 and up.
Todd Campbell, executive director of the Grand River Grazing Cooperative, Lemmon, S.D., said many ranchers had difficulty getting out to their cattle. Compounding the situation was phone service disruption.
Lucas Lentsch, South Dakota agriculture secretary, termed the early-season blizzard “devastating to our producers.”
South Dakota Cattlemen’s Assn. said the storm’s effects would be felt for years.
U.S. troops entered Afghanistan Oct. 7, 2001
Meanwhile with Afghanistan, one of the few newspapers reporting the dozen years of U.S. boots on the ground there was Stars and Stripes.
Staffer Heath Druzin reported the conflict has been “seemingly forgotten by most Americans who’ve grown weary of war.” He pointed out the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, 2001 and 54,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan.
“That is more, by far, than at any time during the first seven years of the war, yet these days, they garner scant news coverage,” he added.
The S&S writer mentioned Army Staff Sgt. Mike Toole, a member of III Corps based in Kabul, said he understands the dwindling interest back home: “After 12 years, people are going to get tired of it,” Toole said. “I mean, we’re tired of it, so it makes sense to me.”
But next year will see the U.S.’s “formal mission” in Afghanistan end as troops pull out.
So far this year 104 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, the latest being on Sunday.
In case you missed these…
Also not widely mentioned with the partial shutdown of the federal government: Important information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That includes auto recalls and safety complaints. Without the usual warnings, lives and property are at greater risk…Also linked to the shutdown, use of “Gestapo tactics” with harsh treatment of senior citizens --- including foreign visitors --- at Yellowstone National Park, is detailed by the Newburyport (Mass.) Daily News, one of the publications of Eagle-Tribune Publishing Co., North Andover, Mass. Read the account here. (For those fuzzy on the Gestapo description, it reflects the German secret police during the Nazi regime, organized in 1933 with its brutal methods and operations through World War II.)
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