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County WIC participation decreases

The number of Davison County residents in the county's WIC (Women, Infant and Children) nutrition program is down nearly 100 people from the average two years ago.

Community Health Nurse program administrator Natalie Van Drongelen reported Tuesday that 427 participants were in the program at the end of March. That's down from 511 participants the WIC program averaged during the 2012 federal fiscal year, which ran from October 2011 to September 2012. Those are the most recent WIC numbers on record with the South Dakota Department of Health, according to state officials.

The report was presented to the Davison County Commission during its regular meeting Tuesday at the Davison County Courthouse in Mitchell.

Van Drongelen said there's still plenty of demand for the program, and the county has not had to turn anyone away.

WIC is an income-based program for pregnant women and new mothers.

"We know there's more people who are eligible," Van Drongelen said, referencing the WIC program's current usage.

As a whole, South Dakota's WIC participation dropped from fiscal years 2012 to 2013. A total of 20,430 residents were in the program on average in 2013, down from the 22,153 average per month in 2012.

County shop to staff Fridays

Davison County will staff its highway department office on Fridays during the summer months.

There was previously discussion about whether or not the offices would be staffed, considering the county's road crews work Monday through Thursday during the summer months.

The county's highway workers have already moved to their traditional summer schedule. Since April 21, they work four 10-hour days and take Fridays off. County Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg said the schedule allows workers to get more done.

The commissioners said the county has to have someone to answer calls from the public during weekdays, especially when the rest of the county's other offices are open Monday through Friday.

"There needs to be someone there Monday through Friday," Commissioner Gerald Weiss said. "We have to be there five days a week."

Weinberg said the department phone system will be set up to allow calls to be redirected to his cell phone if there's not anyone in the county office.

Concern about water regulation

Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett said he's very concerned about the effort by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to more closely regulate ditches and marshes through the Clean Water Act. He said the recent decision to expand federal jurisdiction would impact the installation of everything from culverts to bridges.

"That's something that we really need to watch," Claggett said. "It will have a big impact on us and I don't think the feds fully understand what this will do."

Claggett said it would be something that county department heads should voice their concerns over during the public comment period, which runs through July 21.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said earlier this week that the proposed rule was built on incomplete scientific findings and flawed analysis.

"I am extremely concerned by the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' recent assertion that ditches, prairie potholes, and seasonally wet areas should be under the federal government's control," Noem said.

Other business

• Heard from Davison County Fairgrounds Administrative Assistant Judith Rowley, who said the county will hire summer part-time help for its 4-H program for 500 hours at $8 per hour.

• Approved the purchase of a new copy machine for the planning and zoning and register of deeds departments at a cost of $4,758.56, including maintenance costs.

• Approved a raffle request from Poet to help fund a mission trip in June to Kenya; a hunting rifle will be raffled off.

• Moved the county commission's regular meeting from June 3 to June 5 because of the primary election.

• Approved outstanding bills and previous meeting minutes.

• Acknowledged the absence of commissioners Kim Weitala and Denny Kiner.